Monday, May 02, 2005
Sunday Night Travesty
Andie MacDowell now has the distinction of being in the two worst movies on my worst movies list: 'Crush,' and last night's 'Riding the Bus with My Sister,' the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie on CBS.
It is an alternately appalling and hilarious movie. Rosie O'Donnell plays Beth, a retarded woman who likes to ride the city bus. When her father dies, she must reunite with her not-retarded but very bitchy sister, played by MacDowell. They must live together, because such a movie requires it in order to be a movie.
I can't begin to describe further. I only hope you saw it. I also hope you didn't see it. It's that kind of thing.
O'Donnell's Beth is a combination of that loudmouth character she played in 'A League of Their Own' and Adolf Hitler's voice if he spoke good English and recently had a concussion. The voice is kind of like "SS officer meets Animal from the Muppets."
BETH'S SISTER: "How can you manage [having a baby]? You can't even hook your own bra."
BETH: "HOOK MY OWN BRA? THEY MAKE 'EM WITHOUT HOOKS."
This exchange encapsulates the experience of watching the movie. It's insulting and glorious. And yes, there's a hysterectomy subplot.
Perhaps more appalling than the film itself were the commercials played during the telecast. Each break, Hallmark aired two two-minute commercials in a row. Two minutes. That's an eternity in air time. They were ham-handed mini-movies involving crusty professors and uncles, charitable children and, of course, a retarded guy -- all of them receiving Hallmark cards from friends and smiling, with tears in their eyes, as the Hallmark logo comes up. As my friend Lindsey said during the telecast, "I'm going to jump out of my skin if I hear more inspiring oboes."
What is Hallmark thinking? Who is making these decisions? The company is eroding our moral fabric. Why do we need greeting cards to say things we should say out loud? Why can't we have heart-to-hearts instead of dispatching cute, curt ditties to hide behind? Why must a retarded person be represented by an ex-talk show host who completes her characterization by wearing mismatched shoes, impossibly short shorts, and a lethal underbite?
This is mass madness, you maniacs.
Thankfully, my friend Beth (not the retard in the movie) was on the phone with me throughout the bulk of the movie. We consoled each other as we laughed our asses off. We concluded that Rosie's character was not, in fact, retarded, but just a loud, obnoxious woman. To help you further understand the experience of watching 'Riding the Bus with My Sister,' here is an IM exchange we had during it:
Drz198: what the hell kind of accent is that
ansky222: it's not an accent
ansky222: it's a retarded voice
ansky222: pardon, fat-retarded
ansky222: it's a dialect
Drz198: no, the driver's
Drz198: A COOKIE MOUNTAIN
Drz198: "I'M NOT A THING"
ansky222: oh, this is going to be very bad for you
Drz198: OH MY GOD
ansky222: why does she sound german every now and then?
ansky222: schnow cohns
Drz198: yes, that's it
Drz198: it's hitler after a concussion
ansky222: my head hurts so bad right now from laughing
Drz198: that waitress does not like retardation
Drz198: look at her! wary of blacks, wary of retards
ansky222: we have to do this next time we eat out
ansky222: LOTS OF CHOICES!!!!
ansky222: oh, so many memorable quotes
Drz198: OH MY GOD
ansky222: DON'T BE STUPID, DAN
Drz198: where's my bike helmet?
Drz198: the moon's following us!
ansky222: i think my heart is going to give out
ansky222: still the blue shorts
Drz198: "it's going to be in the high 80s, you should wear shorts"
Drz198: i'm going to call you one day after i check the weather in south bend
Drz198: and if it's in the 80s, i'm going to leave a message like that
ansky222: please don't answer the phone when i call from now on
ansky222: i just want to leave messages
Drz198: what a snot
ansky222: she put MAYONAISE in it!
ansky222: oh wow
ansky222: what a photo shoot
Drz198: still photos
Drz198: and blurry ones to boot
Drz198: oh, it's about the government!
ansky222: ooooooooh, report her!!!
Drz198: fight fight fight
ansky222: no permit!!!!!!!!
Drz198: what a guy. what a bus driver.
Drz198: ZONE 1
ansky222: CHILLIN OUT
Drz198: she's got the hots for him
ansky222: he's SEXY
Drz198: what the hell kind of exhibit is she going to make this into?
Drz198: "Retard with Buses"
ansky222: do you KNOW how fast we're going to hell?
Drz198: no no no
Drz198: we're not going to hell. the people who made this movie are.
Drz198: for making such a trivial, ham-handed, disrespectful movie
that makes people like us disrespectful
ansky222: BUCKLE UP FOR SAFETY!
ansky222: WE GOTTA CATCH THE BUS
Drz198: IT'S GOING TO BE IN THE HIGH 80s YOU SHOULD WEAR SHORTS
ansky222: wow, my head hurts
ansky222: rosie is killing me
Drz198: these commercials!
ansky222: he was a smoker
Drz198: you'd know
Drz198: aren't you an expert?
ansky222: i thought you meant takes one to know one...
ansky222: oh, man. tweety bird
ansky222: looks like loooooooooove
ansky222: man, hotter than a summer DAY
Drz198: OH MY GOD
Drz198: she wants to bonk will smith
ansky222: this is so awful
Drz198: still with those shorts
ansky222: what is the deal?
ansky222: they were at the laundromat
Drz198: i bet jesse dies
ansky222: uh oooooooooh
There's Rachel Simon, author of the book the movie was based on, and Rosie, all dowdy'ed up to look like a retard because, as Hallmark teaches us, all retards are dowdy. But we can still learn from them!