Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Having a Pop Culture Birthday

Today is my birthday(no punches,please)and I thought it would be cool to go over some of my favorite birthday moments in books,Tv and film. I've known for years that I share my b-day with Al Pacino but it turns out that Jason Lee and Renee Zellweger are also entitled to their fair share of cake and presents today as well. Nice,since Renee rocks and even tho Jason Lee named his kid Pilot Inspecktor(no misspelling here,sad to say),he's still aces in my book. So,let's get this party started,right!

Movies: Many of my generation look to Sixteen Candles as their big John Hughes fix but frankly,I find it to be rather overrated. Yeah,sure,Samantha gets ignored at first but she winds up with her dream guy,who of course was into her all along. Make me gag!

I'm more of a Breakfast Club girl-good mix of stock teen characters,plus Judd Nelson was harsh(gotta agree with Jay and Silent Bob on that one). Also,is it just me or did Molly Ringwald pretty much played high maintence chicks in all those '80's teen movies?

Anyway,it's scary what comes to mind sometimes-the first movie birthday thought that popped into my head was the poster from Happy Birthday To Me,a horror flick with Melissa Sue Anderson(Mary,the older sister who went blind on Little House on the Prairie) trying to break out of her good girl image. She did a much better job of that in a made for tv movie about witches called Midnight Offerings. Back to the HBTM poster,it's quite memorable-not too often you see a guy take shish kebob the hard way. I did actually see the movie on cable a couple of years after it's release and the ending is rather cheerful,if you have a sick sense of humor. Ah,the early '80s!

For a more pleasant birthday bash,one of my favorites is Bridget Jones' feast of "blue soup,omelette and marmalade" that wins her a toast from her friends(and Mark Darcy,aka the gorgeous Colin Firth) who"love her just as she is." Now,those are true blue buddies,in my opinion. Also,the festivities end with two men fighting over the birthday girl and how can a lady resist that?

TV: Buffy the Vampire Slayer tended to have rather risky birthdays-if she wasn't losing her virginity to her vampire lover which turned him evil,she had to deal with her kid sister's coping with the fact that she wasn't Buffy's sister or even human to begin with. Even Spike at one point asked her"Even consider not celebrating your birthday?" Man had a good reason to bring that up,since they and the rest of the Scoobies were trapped together with a wall hiding killer demon. Let the good times roll!

Even Cordelia Chase got wacked with the birthday whammy in Season 3 of Angel when she awoke from her mind shattering vision coma with shiny new demon powers. One of the highlights of that episode was seeing the sitcom that could've been "Cordy!". On the DVD set,you can see some extra scenes that were filmed for that bit of alternate reality-worth checking out,I swear!

South Park's had some birthday fun as well-the episode where Cartman tricks Butters into hiding out for a week in an elaborate scheme to join Kyle on his birthday trip to Casa Bonita(which is a real place,believe it or not!)is rather outstanding. But,if I'm choosing an animated show with a b-day theme,that honor goes to Batman:the Animated series for Be A Clown. It's a Joker episode,of course,and Mark Hamill has such great lines as " They don't make straightjackets like they used to. I should know."and " It's a candle Einstein, except this one blows you out." Love that Joker!

Books: Harry Potter and Buffy both have birthday war stories to swap-his are abit more on the positive side but still,... One of my all time favorite booklover's book and film is 84 Charing Cross Road. For those who don't know,it's a collection of letters between Helene Hanff,a New York writer for theater and Tv in the fifties who had a love of English Lit and the staff of a used and rare bookshop in London,mainly Frank Doel,one of the managers. Helene and Frank became overseas pen pals who never got the chance to meet up-Frank died before Helene ever got the chance to go to England. This sounds like a love story but it's only the love of books that they shared(Frank was married,with kids and his widow became good friends with Helene).

One year,the staff of Marks and Co. sent Helene a book of Elizabethan poets as a gift-she had been sending them care packages of food,since at the time,Britain was still recovering from WWII and rationing was the order of the day. Helene's thank you to them suits the occasion:

April 16, 1951

To All at 84,Charing Cross Road:

Thank you for the beautiful book. I've never owned a book before with the pages edged all round in gold. Would you believed it arrived on my birthday?

I wish you hadn't been so over-courteous about putting the inscription on a card instead of on the flyleaf. It's the bookseller coming out in you all,you were afraid you'd decrease its value. You would have increased it for the present owner.(And possibly,for the future owner. I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins,I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned and reading passages some one long gone has called my attention to.)

And why didn't you sign your names? I expect Frank wouldn't let you,he probaly doesn't want me writing love letters to anyone but him.

I send you greetings from America-faithless friend that she is,pouring millions into rebuilding Japan and Germany while letting England starve. Some day,God willing,I'll get over there and apologize personally for my country's sins(and by the time i come home,my country will certainly have to apologize for mine).

Thank you again for the beautiful book. I shall try very hard not to get gin and ashes all over it,it's really much too fine for the likes of me.

Yours,Helene Hanff

If you have not read 84 or seen the movie(nicely done and starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins),by all means do so at once! I must be off,to start making merry and getting some goodies. One treat tonight will be American Idol's Love Songs night(oh boy,oh boy-should be some ear bleeding for certain)and a spanking new Veronica Mars. What more could a girl ask for that's inexpensive and not illegal?

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