Manolo says, it is like watching the runaway freight train, painted in the colors of the American flag, crash into the busload of orphans and nuns and puppy dogs.
In defense of Gwyneth, it is not entirely her fault she cannot credibly portray the country and the western singer. She is the New York, Spence School, Gossip Girl, child of urban privilege, whose every experience is foreign to what she seeks to portray in Country Strong.
To which the Manolo must answer, yes, but then Laura Jeanne Witherspoon is from Nashville, the authentic daughter of Music City. And, she had the template, June Carter Cash, herself, upon which she could base her performance.
GOOP has no such advantages. She must attempt to construct her own credible country star out of the pastiche of Martina McBride and Faith Hill and whoever else is currently at the top of the country charts, without reference to her own experiences and, from what the Manolo can tell, the rather thin singing voice, and possibly thinner acting ability ( Please do not speak of Shakespeare in Love. It is the fluke.)
We must withhold our final judgment until the viewing of the movie, but from the video above, the Manolo believe it is the tragic accident in the offing, one certain to have been caused by the greed and inattention of the producers, director, and casting director.
UPDATE: One of the Manolo’s internet friends just pointed out this…
And now the Manolo is leaning towards the act of terrorism.
How else to account for that accent, and the weapons grade schmaltz of the cancer-stricken child scene, but that it is all the clever al-Qaeda plot?
“Yo Ho! my boys,” said Fezziwig. “No more work to-night! Christmas Eve, Dick! Christmas, Ebenezer! Let’s have the shutters up!” cried old Fezziwig with a sharp clap of his hands, “before a man can say Jack Robinson. . . .”
“Hilli-ho!” cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from the high desk with wonderful agility. “Clear away, my lads, and let’s have lots of room here! Hilli-ho, Dick! Cheer-up, Ebenezer!”
Clear away! There was nothing they wouldn’t have cleared away, or couldn’t have cleared away with old Fezziwig looking on. It was done in a minute. Every movable was packed off, as if it were dismissed from public life forevermore; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps were trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the fire; and the warehouse was as snug, and warm, and dry, and bright a ballroom as you would desire to see on a winter’s night.
In came a fiddler with a music book, and went up to the lofty desk and made an orchestra of it and tuned like fifty stomach aches. In came Mrs. Fezziwig, one vast substantial smile. In came the three Misses Fezziwig, beaming and lovable. In came the six followers whose hearts they broke. In came all the young men and women employed in the business. In came the housemaid with her cousin the baker. In came the cook with her brother’s particular friend the milkman. In came the boy from over the way, who was suspected of not having board enough from his master, trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress; in they all came, any-how and every-how. Away they all went, twenty couple at once; hands half round and back again the other way; down the middle and up again; round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping, old top couple always turning up in the wrong place; new top couple starting off again, as soon as they got there; all top couples at last, and not a bottom one to help them.
When this result was brought about the fiddler struck up “Sir Roger de Coverley.” Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs. Fezziwig. Top couple, too, with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them; three or four and twenty pairs of partners; people who were not to be trifled with; people who would dance and had no notion of walking.
But if they had been thrice as many, oh, four times as many, old Fezziwig would have been a match for them, and so would Mrs. Fezziwig. As to her, she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. If that’s not high praise, tell me higher and I’ll use it. A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig’s calves. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. You couldn’t have predicted at any given time what would become of them next. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig had gone all through the dance, advance and retire; both hands to your partner, bow and courtesy, corkscrew, thread the needle, and back again to your place; Fezziwig cut so deftly that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again with a stagger.
When the clock struck eleven the domestic ball broke up. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands with every person individually, as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas!.
Manolo says, one of the most delightful scenes in all literature.
The Manolo made the mistake of going to see this latest movie starring the Johnny Depp and the Angelina Jolie, The Tourist.
Watching The Tourist was the disappointing experience, much in the way that setting out for the hairdressers, but somehow winding up at the dentist’s office, where two teeth are extracted, is the disappointing experience, but only if the procedure were done without the benefit of anesthesia.
That is to say, it was the sort of nightmare.
The nightmare in which, after your are seated in your chair, and about to ask for the enjoyable little trim over the ears, the dentist and his assistants appear and convince you that, while you are waiting for the barber, perhaps you should kill the two birds with one stone by having the little checkup of your teeth.
“What is there to lose,” thinks the Manolo, “the Manolo has heard of this dentist. He comes most highly recommended, and the degrees on the wall are impeccable and impressive. And, his assistants, in addition to being strikingly beautiful, also have the elevated credentials which impress and reassure. They must be good, yes? Because the examination room of this strangely combined hairdressers/dentistry office is the most handsomely decorated space the Manolo has seen, betokening success and respectablity, with the original Renaissance art on the walls, and the rich leather chai….AYYYY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THOSE PLIERS!!!!!!”
And then you notice that the dental assistant, whom you thought the great beauty as you were seated, has the strangely frozen face, and the overly large alien eyes that unnerve you by staring blankly into your soul, and that, worse, she does not know her job, because she spends much of the time posing as if for the Vogue photo shoot, and sashaying as if doing the runway show.
But, it is clear from the very beginning, she does not know what she is doing, because whenever she appears, OH GOD, THE PAIN!!!!
While the second assistant, the charmingly quirky man with the fine, handsome features, seems to grow pasty and bloated and more lethargic before your very eyes, his charm devolving in the repetitive series of annoyingly mannered ticks and affectations that make you want to punch him, even though you are the practical pacifist.
You abhor violence, yet you keep thinking, “If only the Manolo can get his hands free from the leather restraints he will give Mr. Poppin’ Fresh here the hearty clout on his doughy face.”
But you are trapped, and this ham-handed dentist with the impeccable credentials is inexpertly pulling at your teeth, and yes the office seems to have the original Tintorettos on the walls, and the dental chair is made from the buttery smooth leather, but your teeth, THEY ARE BEING PULLED!!!!
And then it ends, in surreal absurdity, and you are exhausted and spent, and there are gaps in your smile, and you hate everyone involved, including that tall skinny billing clerk who kept popping his head into the room to tell you how much this whole procedure was costing you.
And as you leave the premises, still in need of the little trim over the ears, you vow to never visit this place again, indeed to avoid everyone involved in this nightmare, for it is clear that they are buffoonish incompetents.
So, in conclusion, the Manolo cannot recommend that you see The Tourist.
Manolo says, please excuse the Manolo while he complains about something that has been bothering him for the many months now: the peculiar search results returned by the Google search engine, which has seemed to take the inexplicable disliking to the blog of the Manolo.
Manolo says, yes, we are in final countdown to day of celebration, but there is still just barely the time to obtain the few things with which to delight the ones you love.
“Please, Manolo, the fondue set” you are perhaps saying, “This is not 1963. We have moved beyond this.”
“Nonsense,” would answer the Manolo. This is not the mere fondue set, to be filled with melted Velveeta into which you will dunk the stale Wonder bread and the slices of red delicious. This is the Noirmont Cast Iron Meat Fondue Pot from Swissmar in which you will astound your friends by preparing the hearty Fondue Bourguignon, the convivial and satisfying aprés ski meal, of the sort the Manolo has enjoyed in Alpine hotels, after his more adventurous friends return from the slopes.
The Manolo has found through long experience, that the happy tablecloth is one of the best reasonably priced gifts to give the family of your acquaintance. It cheers the home and warms the heart, and if well chosen, will be the frequent reminder of the respectful affection you have for your friends.
OF the course, if you wish to bring something most extravagant, then please allow the Manolo to suggest, sustainably grown caviar from California. Yes, it is not Beluga or Sevruga, but then you do not have to worry that your precious caviar dollars are going to support Russian gangsters and/or Iranian mullahs intent on denuding the Caspian Sea of life.