top 5

Top 5: Country biopics I’d like to see

I do like a good biopic. From Walk the Line to Ray, it’s pretty easy to get wrapped into a fictionalized, more drama-filled version of the life of an artists that I love and respect. For that reason, it’s fun to play the game “Make that biopic!,” in which I create my dream-team line-up of biopics I’d totally watch. And it just so happens that all of them happen to be country music super-stars. Bonus: I cast them!

1. Hank Williams

Hank Williams I was a rambling, gambling man. He pretty much defined the country singer-songwriter: rough life, sad songs. He was addicted to pain killers and alcohol, was a devout, torn Christian, and was dead by the age of 29. Christian Bale has the intensity to do old Hank proud.

Hank Williams, courtesy Mxdwn

Christian Bale, courtesy Judy Halone

2. Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings is another country music star deserving of a cinematic coverage. His life story is almost too bizarre to be believed. He grew up in Texas, became friends with Buddy Holly, almost ending up on the the plane that crashed and ended Holly’s life. Instead Waylon become a country music sensation, singing about hard luck times that he lived and breathed. Bonus: you’d get to have someone play Willie Nelson, one of Jennings’ close musical partners and a fellow Outlaw. Jason Lee, who did hicks right in My Name is Earl, would play a mean Waylon.

Waylon Jennings, via Yahoofs


Jason Lee via Film School Rejects


3. Dolly Parton

Another fine rags-to-riches country story. Ms. Parton grew up in Appalachia, one of many children. She made it as a songwriter in Nashville, co-starring on the Porter Wagoner Show, and managed to make herself an independent millionaire by keeping the rights to all her songs. I’d love to see the sunny, optimistic star played by the similarly happy (if not endowed) Kate Hudson

Dolly Parton, courtesy

Dolly Parton, courtesy

Kate Hudson, via Celebtv

Kate Hudson, via Celebtv

4. George Jones and 5. Tammy Wynette

What a pair. Depending what you read, he drove the lawn mower to town to buy liquor when she hid the kids. He sang “White Lightning,” she sang “Stand by Your Man.” Their marriage was six years of hell and heartbreak, with two of country’s saddest singers. Call me crazy, but I can see Jim Carrey as the tyrannical George, and Laura Dern as the sweet but sorrowful Tammy.

George Jones & Tammy Wynette

George Jones & Tammy Wynette

Jim Carrey

Laura Dern











Want more?

I’ve written about it before, but Nathan Rabin has the most amazing series (that is turning into a book!) at the AV Club. He takes the anti-country music fan’s tour through these artists’ work. I’d suggest reading them all: Hank, Waylon, Dolly and George & Tammy.

Also, I made a Youtube playlist for your enjoyment!



Top 5: Things I learned from Rob Lowe from reading his memoir

Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe

1. Location matters. Lowe had liked acting ever since he was a little kid, but it wasn’t until his parents got divorced and he moved with his mom from Ohio to Malibu, California that his career as a TV teen heartthrob took off. While he was in high school, he was able to take the bus to Hollywood to go to auditions. And his neighbors and playmates? Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Chris (brother of Sean) Penn…

2. Learn from the masters. The strongest part of the book was Lowe’s telling of filming Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders in 1983. He learned how to bring his acting A-game to the mercurial director, giving it all for 15 takes only to learn that Coppola had been filming a long shot. Most important on that shoot? Observing then-A lister Matt Dillon picking up ladies with a whisper.

3. Keep famous friends close. Oh, did you forget that Lowe has been famous some time in Hollywood? Because he hasn’t. And he’s willing to share some stories (although not the really saucy ones) about crashing Liza Minelli’s hotel room, about getting set up on dates as a child star with Sarah Jessica Parker, about conceiving his child at Sting’s country estate after a weekend trip with Pavarotti. He knows what people want to hear about: other famous people. And the book delivers, reading like a better-written People magazine.

4. Admit your mistakes. Well, kind of. Lowe definitely owns up to his debauched ways in the 1980s, and credits his wife and family for keeping him on the clean and sober path today. But the 1988 sex-tape controversy gets no more than two pages. And the West Wing pay kerfuffle that led him to quit in 2006 was similarly glossed over and not exactly explained.

5. When in doubt, be really, really good-looking. Because it never hurts.

Want more?

I’d recommend reading the book! Especially now that it’s summer, makes for an entertaining and gossipy beach read.

Top 5: Easter candy

One of the best parts of living in America is seasonal candy. Every holiday, about two months before the actual date, aisles of grocery and drug stores get taken over by lurid colors and kindly mascots of holidays. There are toys, cards, decorations, but always candy.

Easter candy traditions don’t make much sense. The holiday purportedly honors the rising of Jesus Christ – heavy stuff, to be sure. Themes of resurrection and rebirth come at the same time as pagan springtime rituals. Honestly, I don’t know how the rabbit fits in, or how he got delegated to delivering chicken ova all over the world.

In terms of seasonal candy, though, Easter ranks at the top. There’s no potential shame to purchase some as a singleton (unlike Valentine’s Day), no purposefully scary or gross flavor combinations (Halloween), and there’s no emphasis on liqueur-filled treats (Christmas, ugh).

My criteria? Had to be a modified candy (nothing just dressed up in pastel colors) available only for the season.


1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg. I confess, this is how this feature began. I was trying to explain, with messy little diagrams, how the Reese’s Egg outdoes the cup variation because of this increased proportion of peanut butter to chocolate. You don’t get that annoying ridged rim like on the cups (or worse, mini-cups); no, this oval is superior to all other iterations. Plus, it comes in jumbo sizes!


2. Cadbury Creme Egg. A controversial choice. It’s kind of a gross concept, eating a fake candy egg make to simulate the raw yolk, white and shell. And I insist you get the mini, not standard-sized egg. Because when nibbled in correct proportion of chocolate to mysterious filling, you get a creamy, sweet taste that could make you think Willy Wonka himself came up with it.


3. Dozen gumball eggs. Check out that carton!! And those colors!! Taste is irrelevant in the face of that preciouscity.


4. Chocolate bunny. I normally don’t even like plain chocolate, but there is something very satisfying about biting off the head of a rabbit. Also, delicious in a Mallomar type fashion when combined with #5. (I’m a pretty dedicated researcher).


5. Peeps. No, they don’t taste very good. Yes, they could probably outlive a cockroach. But they have these hilariously blank faces and are numerous enough to make them extremely well suited for dioramas. And confusing cats.

Want more?
Day after Easter is April 25. Stock up then.

If Kitty doesn't eat it, what does that say?!