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Little Miss Sunshine, JonBenet Ramsey & Childhood

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:54 pm - August 17, 2006.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

It seemed an unusual coincidence that yesterday, the day a former schoolteacher was arrested for the murder of “6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey,” I would see Little Miss Sunshine, a movie about a family’s adventure as it makes a cross-country trip to get their young daughter to a beauty pageant.

Going into the film, I had no clue what it was about. I only went because people kept telling me how wonderful it was. And they were right. It is a pretty amazing movie, certain to touch you, particularly if you are devoted to your daughters or nieces.

The juxtaposition of these two events made me wonder yet again about the whole phenomenon of beauty pageants for pre-teen girls. In the movie, the serious contestants looked less like girls than like miniature fashion models. It was as if someone had taken their childhood away.

That’s certainly what I thought when I first read about JonBenet’s murder, now nearly a decade ago. On the news, they showed clips of such pageants. In the movie, Olive, the young girl, wants to win her contest, just as most little kids want to win something, to be recognized as special.

I have five pretty amazing nieces, none of whom dress up like beauty queens. Still, they are the most beautiful girls in the world. And maybe they don’t need such competitions because their parents and grandparents as well as their aunts and uncles let them know how wonderful they are.

Childhood is so short. We should let kids be kids and do whatever it is kids do, whether it’s playing with dolls or toy trains, climbing trees, reading books or eating ice cream or whatever else a particular child might enjoy. And not let them grow up too quickly. If we encourage them in their passions and even their silliness as children, they will likely grow up to be more responsible adults.

Kids do have so much to give. And they can better give if they’re allowed to be kids, rather than expected to become miniature adults. That seems to be the message of this wonderful movie. One of the many reasons which I recommend it so highly — and may even see it again even before I buy the DVD.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

Why are Some People who Work for LA Restaurants So Rude?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:19 pm - August 17, 2006.
Filed under: General,LA Stories,Movies/Film & TV

For over four years, I have been organizing dinners for my alma mater’s alumni entertainment group. And while I have (generally) delighted in my responsibilities, one aspect of the job never ceases to irritate me.

Whenever we decide to try a new restaurant, I will solicit suggestions, then start calling dining establishments in the area chosen for our next dinner. And while this is a service industry, the rudeness of many of restaurant’s staff never ceases to amaze me. It would seem that restaurant workers would want to be friendly as that would encourage business and larger tips. (I make sure not to call during the lunch or dinner hour when the staff are less harried.)

This is not to say that the staff of all LA restaurants are rude. At a number of places, we’ve had great service, even when our party is as large as 30, with many of the guests joining us after we have already eaten.

I sometimes wonder if the rude ones are those who are only working for a restaurant until they get their first big break in the biz, i.e, until they get discovered by Hollywood. They don’t think they need make any effort to welcome patrons because they don’t really belong there.

But, these people don’t always know whether or not someone eating at their place could help them fulfill their career goals. If they were more courteous, they might draw the attention of someone, who may not yet have clout, but be on his (or her) way up in the industry. Their rudeness could well be compromising their chances for professional success.

It’s a sad commentary on these Angelenos that they adopt such a cold attitude in an industry where kindness could increase their remuneration and perhaps even open doors.

That said, there are a number of places where the staff treats us well. And it’s to those places we return, often tipping very generously.

Hollywood Bigwigs Take A Stand Against Hezbollah, Hamas & Other Terrorists

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:04 am - August 17, 2006.
Filed under: Media Bias,Movies/Film & TV,War On Terror

Over at Democracy Project, Bruce Kesler links a piece he found in an Australian paper reporting that a number of Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times expressing their concern about the devastation “caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

These high-profile individuals in the entertainment industry urge us to “to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs.” I might have noticed this had I not let my Times subscription lapse due to its bias. These terror-opponents of the silver screen had to buy an ad for the paper to take notice of their stand.

Bruce observes that he had to “get this news from an Australian newspaper” as his google search yielded no other stories “on this out there.

Actors signing the letter include Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton and William Hurt. And the directors signing on included Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Mann, Dick Donner and Sam Raimi.

Looks like there is some hope for Hollywood.

UPDATE: Well, at least one American paper has picked up the story. About the letter, today’s Boston Herald asks, “Whatever will the crowd at Spago think?” and notes that “this alternate A-List appeared to steal some of President Bush’s “A” material.”

Boston Herald City Editor Jules Crittenden finds that one of the chief signatories of the ad, Nicole Kidman, “is hot.” Now, instead of having me summarize his piece for you, just read the whole thing.

And I’ll just wonder if Nicole’s name on this list is going to make me to enjoy Moulin Rouge! even more.