- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2000

Wet T-shirt feminism

" [O]n the set of 'Coyote Ugly,' the latest film from action producer Jerry Bruckheimer … all eyes are fixed on five scantily clad bartenders … as they gyrate atop the bar to the heavy-metal twang of Kid Rock's 'Cowboy.' … And now for the money shot a kind of Budweiser commercial come to life, in which the women pour pitchers of water on one another. One thing can be said of Jerry Bruckheimer: He gives the guys what they want.
"A sentiment not lost on the actresses. 'You've just witnessed the dream of every young boy in America,' [actress Maria] Bello laughs. But don't confuse actions with intent. Bello insists that if taken out of context, the sexually suggestive scene contradicts the film's message. 'This movie is really about empowering girls.' Come again? According to Bello, the working girls' 'decision of when to dance on the bar and when not to' is about post-feminist sexual liberation… .
"[Director David] McNally recognizes the inherent irony of presenting wet T-shirts as a female-empowerment tool. But he is completely earnest when he says his film subscribes to 'postfeminist feminism,' which he defines as 'women who use their sexual powers to be strong, misbehave, have fun, and succeed in a business.' "
Timothy J. Swanson, writing on "Bruckheimer Reveals the 'Ugly' Truth," in the February issue of Premiere

Leaving his mark

"From his breakthrough year 1994 a year that saw 'Ace Venture: Pet Detective,' 'The Mask,' and 'Dumb and Dumber' arrive in head-spinning succession to his Oscar-class performance as Andy Kaufman in Milos Forman's 'Man on the Moon' five years later, [Jim] Carrey has continued to develop as an actor and an artist. Combining a genius for highly stylized physical comedy with a palpable core of genuine human feeling, Carrey is starting to look like a keeper a comedian (one of a mere handful) who will leave his mark on the medium… .
"Already, Carrey is defining himself as something different from the lovable loser who tends to dominate American comedy; not only does he get the girl, he gets her again and again on his own, imperious, swaggering terms… .
"The key moment in every Carrey performance is the split second when the worm turns; when the sweet, passive guy becomes a monster of aggression… . In 'Man on the Moon,' though, both sides of Carrey's persona occupy the screen at one time; in Kaufman, he's found a character who is both an infant and a killer, and who made that paradox the basis of his work."
Dave Kehr, writing on "The Lives of Jim Carrey," in the January/February issue of Film Comment

Celebrity cause

"No entertainers have been as vocal about their support [of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal] as Rage Against the Machine. In January 1999, a New Jersey benefit the band staged … raised $80,000 for Abu-Jamal's defense fund. Before Rage's November appearance on the Conan O'Brien show … the [Fraternal Order of Police] demanded that NBC cancel Rage's appearance. 'Late Night books guests for their talent and popularity, not for their political beliefs,' the network responded in a statement. 'We don't blacklist certain guests because of their views.'
"Perhaps the most powerful ally the FOP has is Maureen Faulkner, the slain officer's outspoken widow, who earlier this year debated Rage guitarist Tom Morello on Howard Stern's radio show. 'Imagine kissing your wife good-bye one day and finding out later she's been shot in the face,' she says. 'And the man that murders her becomes a cause celebre to all these celebrities.' "
Steve Knopper, writing on "The Thin Blue Skin," in the February issue of Spin

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