Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tune in to TCM: Be Our Guest

This post begins a new subsection for "The Latest on TV" that will highlight the monthly programming for every movie lovers' favorite cable channel, Turner Classic Movies.

Kicking things off, November is "Guest Programmer Month" at TCM, where 29 famous names (and one lucky contest winner) present four of their personal pic picks each night. In addition to some of our celeb faves -- like Whoopi Goldberg (1), Cybill Shepherd (15), Tracey Ullman (17), Martha Stewart (30) and even Kermit the Frog (21) -- three gay icons are also participating in the month long event:
  • Gore Vidal (4): The celebrated author and screenwriter includes two classic melodramas -- Bette Davis in The Letter and Vivien Leigh in That Hamilton Woman -- and two Shakespearean adaptations -- James Cagney in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Laurence Olivier in Hamlet.
  • Charles Busch (8): The stage diva extraordinaire naturally picks a quartet of legendary ladies of the silver screen: Judy Garland (I Could Go on Singing), Ida Lupino (The Hard Way), Norma Shearer (Escape) and Joan Crawford (A Woman's Face).
  • Harvey Fierstein (26): One-upping Vidal and Busch, the beloved theatrical legend has both Bette (The Catered Affair, a stage version of which he'll star in on Broadway next spring) and Joan (in The Women, natch), plus two rarities about misfit youths, The Boy with the Green Hair and The Devil is a Sissy.
Weekdays this month will find airings of some of the most popular film series ever, from spies (The Saint) to lawyers (Perry Mason) to doctors (Dr. Kildare) to the Mexican Spitfire, not to mention a slew of detectives (Nancy Drew, Philo Vance, Dick Tracy, Sherlock Holmes, The Thin Man, The Gay Falcon) and two days worth of Andy Hardy.

And finally, notables from the "Not on DVD" file: Test Pilot, The African Queen, The Magnificent Ambersons (3), This Sporting Life (7), Four Daughters (10, 27), None But the Lonely Heart (12), Blues in the Night (14), Red Dust, Kes (17), Maytime (19) and The Crowd (22).

Numbers in parenthesis are the airdates for each program; check the TCM schedule for showtimes in your area.

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Robert Goulet: 1933-2007

Robert Goulet, the velvet-voiced actor/singer who originated the role of Sir Lancelot in Broadway's Camelot, died yesterday.

Known primarily for his Grammy Award-winning recording career, Goulet did appear onscreen occasionally in such movies as Atlantic City, Scrooged, Beetlejuice and The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear. He also lent his distinctive vocal talents to animated films, like Gay Purr-ee, Toy Story 2 and Recess: School's Out.

Goulet won the Tony Award for his role in Happy Time and starred in several popular television productions of stage musicals, including Brigadoon, Carousel and Kiss Me Kate. His last Broadway role was Georges in the recent revival of La Cage aux Folles.

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Women We Love: Cassandra 'Elvira' Peterson

Who else could be the subject of a Halloween day Women We Love (wrapping up our month long salute to the "scream queens of the silver screen") then the one, the only Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, nee Cassandra Peterson:

- Why we love her: For deftly mixing the saucy sexuality of Mae West with the gothic sensuality of Vampira to create an iconic character who made B movies sexy. Also: for better or worse, inspired perennial Halloween costumes for drag queens everywhere.
- Choice role: The sassy siren of celluloid screams, the "hostess with the mostess" of the long-running syndicated program Elvira's Movie Macabre and her own, self-titled feature film.
- What else has she done: Her film debut was in Fellini's Roma. Played the "biker mama" in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.
- First big break: Right after high school, at age 17, went to Las Vegas and became the youngest showgirl in Sin City history. Elvis Presley saw her and encouraged her to become a singer (they briefly dated as well).
- Bet you didn't know: The original idea for the Elvira character was patterned after Sharon Tate's role in The Fearless Vampire Killers.
- Side job: Has made millions over the years licensing her unique likeness to everything from Elvira wigs to arcade games to her own line of DVDs.
- No kidding: Has always been a fan of Ann-Margret.
- Can we quote you on that: "I'm glad to see you're back. You're glad to see my front."
- You go girl: Is a big supporter of gay rights and animal rights.
- What is she up to now: Will pick her perky protégé on tonight's finale of Fox Reality's The Search for the Next Elvira. And, as you can see from this promo clip for that show, she looks as frightfully fabulous as ever. You think she sold her soul to the devil for some eternal youth?

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Wicked Betty

Tomorrow night will offer a rare treat for musical theater fans: the Emmy Award-winning Ugly Betty goes to Broadway. And no, not for the rumored all-singing, all-dancing episode, but for a special visit to the Tony Award-winning Wicked. Through the magic of television, Los Angeles' Pantages Theatre will stand in for New York's Gershwin, and the stars of the west coast production, Eden Espinosa and Megan Hilty, guest star.

Betty fans will remember last season's aborted date to see the show for our plucky heroine (America Ferrera) and her nerd prince charming Henry (the surprisingly ripped Christopher Gorham). Well, they'll finally see it this week, although new prospective love interest Gio (new cast member Freddy Rodriguez, of Six Feet Under fame) may disrupt the enchanted evening.

And if all that isn't gay enough for you, perennial That Girl Marlo Thomas also appears as a cougar out to land perennial bachelor Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius).

UPDATE: As every "greenie" will say from now on whenever talking about their favorite show, the episode was "wicked awesome!" Furthermore, it looked like Betty and Henry were going to do some "defying gravity" of their own at the end there. Go, Betty!

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Pumpkins Scream in the Dead of Night

Movie Dearest has been celebrating Halloween all month, so to cap of the frightful festivities this year, here's a little treat to go along with all your (ahem) tricks: direct from Halloweentown, the cast of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, with a vocal assist from shock rocker Marilyn Manson, perform their official anthem, "This is Halloween".

The video footage is straight from the movie, but the audio is Manson's cover of the song, which can be found on the special edition soundtrackthat was released last year.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Latest on DVD: Filthier Then Usual Edtion

A gay icon's latest inspires this highly censored look at this week's newest offerings on DVD:
All titles can be purchased from by clicking on the above links.

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Monthly Wallpaper - November 2007: Fantasy Worlds

November is a time for families to come together, and what better way to recognize that then to give you some "Fantasy Worlds" to escape to when you've had your fill of all that "family time".

From a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, to where no man has gone before, from the earth to the moon or a forbidden planet, to a never land waiting for you, these fantastic films offer wonders to behold. The lands of Oz, Wonderland, Narnia and Middle Earth await, or you can visit the magical realms of Sinbad the Sailor, Willy Wonka and Harry Potter, get lost in Pan's labyrinth, or take a trip to the ends of the universe on a space odyssey of your very own.

Just click on the picture above to enlarge it to its 1024 x 768 size, then right click your mouse and select "Set as Background", and you're all set. If you want, you can also save it to your computer and set it up from there, or modify the size in your own photo-editing program if needed.

Memo from Movie Dearest, RE: Back on the Beat

After a week away in not-so sunny Florida, I am back ... and I bear good news: I got the job! As of the beginning of next year, I will be back in the employ of a certain major worldwide entertainment corporation that won't be too hard for those who know me and/or read this blog on a regular basis to figure out. I know I will be very happy in this new role and even happier once I get out of the snowy Midwest and back to the Sunshine State for good, all settled in and back to work, both in my new "real job" and here at Movie Dearest.

My actual move won't be until after Christmas, which is good news for you all, as I have a lot of things planned for the upcoming holiday movie season, including special coverage of at least two movies (Enchanted, Sweeney Todd) we're all excited to see in the coming months. And I'm hoping to be up and running, post-move, just in time for Oscar season to kick into high gear.

In the meantime, a thank you to all who wished me well on my trip and in getting the new job; it is most appreciated, as always. I will be back shortly with the new November movie wallpaper, plus this week's Latest on DVD, an overview of Turner Classic Movie's schedule for next month, another article about MD in the gay press, and lots more.

But before I go, I wanted to remind everyone to visit my sponsors when doing their online holiday shopping this year. The links can be found toward the bottom of the sidebar on your right, and when you click through to their websites, all items purchased there generate a commission for MD, which will be very beneficial for my upcoming relocation. I am also planning a few Sponsor Spotlight posts in the weeks to come, to highlight some of the great movie-themed gifts available from, Sideshow Collectibles, the New Line Cinema Store, Entertainment Earth and more. And you know how the old saying goes: "Please visit our sponsors!" ... every little bit helps.

Be back soon ...!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Memo from Movie Dearest, RE: Vacation Time!

As I mentioned earlier this week, Movie Dearest is going on a little vacation. Actually, it is more like a "working vacation", as I will be interviewing for a new job and, if all goes well, I will be moving to a new state by Thanksgiving.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves here yet, I still have to land the job; I will say the prospects look mighty good at this point. In the meantime, MD will be experiencing some downtime until at last next Tuesday (October 30). I may be able to get some computer time in the next week, but I'm not sure if that will happen or not. If it does, groovy, if not, I will see you back here next Tuesday.

So wish me luck on the interview (it is on Thursday, so send happy thoughts my way), vote in this week's poll, buy lots of stuff through the shopping links so I can afford to move ... and I will be back soon!

The Latest on DVD: Just a Word, Please

This week's slate of new DVD releases can be summed up in one word - diverse:
  • Masculine: Burt Lancaster: The Signature Collection- Five of the macho star's best: The Flame and the Arrow, Jim Thorpe All-American, His Majesty O'Keefe, South Sea Woman and Executive Action.
  • Feminine: The L Word: The Complete Fourth Season- "L" is for ladies: Marlee Matlin and Cybill Shepherd join the cast.
  • Nouvelle: Breathless- Jean-Luc Godard's highly influential progenitor of the French New Wave, now in a Criterion edition.
  • Retro: Meet the Robinsons- Disney animated adventure about a boy inventor who goes to the future to find his past.
  • Iconic: Battleship Potemkin: Ultimate Edition- Sergei Eisenstein's silent masterpiece, presented in its most complete form to date.
  • Iconoclast: Stanley Kubrick - Warner Home Video Directors Series- Five of the master director's classics, each in two-disc editions: 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut (OK, four of his classics ...).
  • Surrealist: O Lucky Man!- Lindsay Anderson's off-the-wall musical indictment against capitalism, starring Malcolm McDowell.
  • Lyrical: Days of Heaven- Terrence Malick's beautifully photographed ode to an America long gone, from the Criterion Collection.
  • Hysterical: I Love Lucy: The Complete Series- Yep, all of 'em, including the hour-long episodes.
  • Unattainable: Under the Volcano- John Huston's film adaptation of the "unadaptable" novel, starring Albert Finney in an Oscar nominated role.
  • Forgetaboutit: The Sopranos: Season 6, Part 2- The final chapters of the epic mob saga.

All titles can be purchased from by clicking on the above links.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Women We Love: Tippi Hedren

Due to Movie Dearest's upcoming vacation, here is a special Monday edition of "Women We Love", continuing the month long salute to the scream queens of the silver screen:

Object of our affection: Tippi Hedren, actress/ Hitchcock blonde.
- Why we love her: For holding her own against a roomful of blood-thirsty beaks in the Alfred Hitchcock classic, The Birds (her Golden Globe Award-winning film debut).
- Other choice roles: Hitchcock's Marnie, Chaplin's The Countess from Hong Kong.
- Family ties: Co-starred with future son-in-law Don Johnson in The Harrad Experiment; co-starred with daughter Melanie Griffith in six movies, including Pacific Heights.
- Nickname: Her real first name is Nathalie; her father called her "Tippi", which is short for "Tupsa", a Swedish nickname meaning "little girl".
- Yes, it's true: She was working as a model when Hitchcock discovered her; he saw her in a diet drink commercial airing during the Today show.
- Pet co-star: Named a pet cat after her Marnie co-star Sean Connery.
- Bet you didn't know: Her 1998 movie, I Woke Up Early the Day I Died, was based on a script written by noted "worst director of all time" Ed Wood. The film came out 20 years after his death.
- What has she done lately: Played an abortion activist in Citizen Ruth and got to slap Jude Law in I Heart Huckabees.
- What she is up to now: Protesting the impending remake of The Birds. Go Tippi!

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Trivial Pursuits: Dirty Pillows Edition

As you may have gathered by now, Carrie is thought of very highly around here. Something about the "alienated youth with a secret" plot speaks to us, I guess. On the other hand, maybe it is the "getting revenge on your high school tormentors" that does it.

While you ponder that, here is some tasty trivia about the film starring the movies' most memorable prom queen:
  • This was the first Stephen King novel to be adapted into a movie. (And it mostly went downhill from here.)
  • Brian De Palma's Carrie and George Lucas' Star Wars were cast from the same casting sessions. Just think of the possibilities: William Katt as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Carrie White ...
  • Bates High is the name of the school, and if you don't know what that's a reference to, then you don't know your horror movies.
  • The little boy who taunts Carrie was played by De Palma's nephew, Cameron. His voice ("Creepy Carrie! Creepy Carrie!") was dubbed though, by ... Betty Buckley.
  • Amy Irving's real-life mother, Priscilla Pointer, played Sue Snell's mom in the movie.
  • What a trouper: Sissy Spacek was willing to have real blood poured on her; it was actually a mixture of karo syrup and food coloring.
  • P.J. Soles' eardrums burst and she was knocked unconscious in the scene where her character is killed by the fire hose. And that shot is what is seen in the final film.
  • That is actually Spacek's arm thrusting out of the ground during the famous final scare.
  • Unusual for a horror film, Spacek and her onscreen "mama", Piper Laurie, were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances.
  • Buckley would go from sympathetic gym teacher to irrational mother in the infamous Carrie - The Musical, one of the biggest flops in Broadway history.
Click here to purchase Carrieon DVD from
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Todd Trailer 2, With a Side of Gore

Another trailer for Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has arrived, and if it's blood ye wanted, it's blood ye get. (Honestly, it's really bloody.) Alas, no singing whatsoever this time out; the new clip seems to be geared more toward the thriller elements of the story, so it will likely show up on some of the recent Halloween releases to lure in the Sleepy Hollow crowd.

Considering the minimal singing heard in the first trailer and the complete lack of it in this one, the vultures are already circling claiming that star Johnny Depp must not be able to sing at all and that the studio is trying to hide it for as long as they can. Which, of course, is all conjecture at this point; we'll all just have to wait until the film opens on December 21 to find out.

Or will we? Those who can't wait will get a chance to hear Depp (and Helena Bonham Carter and the rest of the movie cast) singing the Sondheim score when the new, two-disc soundtrack goes on sale December 18, a few days prior to the film's opening. This will be a specially packaged deluxe edition soundtrack, with bonus content and a bound booklet (presumably similar to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack from a few years back). And, if you so wish, you can even pre-order it right here, right nowfrom

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Memo from Movie Dearest, RE: Housekeeping

Regular readers of Movie Dearest may have noticed a few changes in the last week or so. I've taken a cue from our namesake Joan (seen here in an uncharacteristic image) and done a little housecleaning around the place, all in an effort to not only make it a little easier on my end, but also to make it more enjoyable and informative for you to come and visit whenever you're in the neighborhood.

One of the first steps, the "Pink is the New Out" feature, has already been discussed, and that was just the beginning. As of last week, three of the most popular MD features ("Cinematic Crushes", "Women We Love" and "Out in Film") have undergone a little facelift. Instead of the mini-biographies I was doing, these posts will now be capsule profiles of our favorite celebrities. Elsewhere, "The Latest on DVD" has been streamlined (offering a "best of this week" view of new releases) and such other sections as "Coming Soon", "From Screen to Stage" and "Ride the Movies" will focus more on individual entries, as opposed to just a list of story links.

The biggest change concerns "The Latest on TV". As I mentioned in today's post, this week's entry will be the last weekly installment. From now on, notable programs (like award shows and movie-related specials) will be profiled in individual posts either the day before or day of their airing.

The reason for this change in particular, and all the changes in general, is so I can focus more time on the individual stories and less time on the extensive research to prepare these longer articles in their previous forms. For example, checking all the TV network schedules for programs of interest takes a lot of time, time I would rather spend actually writing more articles. (And not to worry if you're a fan of Turner Classic Movies; I will still highlight their exceptional programming, but in a monthly article rather then weekly, beginning next week with their November schedule.)

If you're wondering why all these changes now, the reason is that I will (hopefully) be starting a new job within the next month or so, and I wish to maximize my time for this blog as much as possible when that happens. Furthermore, this new job is in another state, so MD will be seeing some downtime in the near future, including ... later this week. Yep, MD is going on vacation. More on that later, but don't be surprised if you see a little shuffling around of the usual posting schedule this week.

Stay tuned ...

Sharpen Those Claws

And save the date: May 1, 2009. That's when Hugh Jackman will be back in fightin' form as the star of the now officially titled X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (Expect the Magneto solo pic to follow suit, title-wise, any day now.)

Jackman will be joined by director Gavin Hood (Rendition) and possibly Liev Schreiber as the younger William Stryker (played by Brian Cox in X2: X-Men United) when filming begins later this year. Locations will include Jackman's native Australia, as well as New Zealand and New Orleans, fueling rumors that Gambit, a fan fave in the comics, will make an appearance. Other mutants, both new to the series and others already seen in the main trilogy, will reportedly make appearances in the spin-off, so the idea of Gambit, a renegade who can control kinetic energy, is not far off.

Taking a seat in the official Movie Dearest "Armchair Casting" Barcalounger, I'll throw a name out there that was mentioned back when it was rumored that Gambit would be in X-Men: The Last Stand: Josh Holloway. As every Lost fan knows, he certainly has the southern bad boy charm the role requires. Reportedly, Holloway turned down the part before it was cut from that film, but maybe a larger role in this one could entice him to pick up the cards and take a chance.

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The Latest on TV: Tell Them Boris Sent You

Notable movies and other programs on TV for Monday October 22 to Wednesday October 31:

Boris Karloff wraps up this month's monstrous offerings on Turner Classic Movies, with a marathon of his non-Frankenstein films on Halloween, including The Old Dark House and The Walking Dead (not available on DVD).

Another actor best known for his fright films, Anthony Perkins, gets the non-horror spotlight as well on TCM Saturday, including the not-on-DVD Five Miles to Midnight and Green Mansions.

And rounding up the channel's month long look at "Classic Horror Directors", Roger Corman will be saluted on Friday, including his The Terror, starring Karloff.

TCM celebrates the 75th birthday of Louis Malle with a two-day marathon (Tuesday and Wednesday) of his films, most making their debuts on the channel, including the not-on-DVD Zazie Dans le Métro, The Fire Within and Black Moon.

Also on TCM but not yet on DVD for the next week and a half: Edward G. Robinson in Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet, Spencer Tracy in Edison, the Man and Rosalind Russell in Sister Kenny (Monday), Norma Shearer in The Barretts of Wimpole Street and Fredric March in both The Adventures of Mark Twain (Tuesday) and One Foot in Heaven (Wednesday), Frank Sinatra in Come Blow Your Horn (Thursday), Irene Dunne in The White Cliffs of Dover and Barbara Stanwyck in The Miracle Woman (Sunday), Cornel Wilde in A Song to Remember (Monday, October 29) and Dirk Bogarde in Song Without End, Ginger Rogers in Tender Comrade, Susan Hayward in Deadline at Dawn and Gene Kelly in The Cross of Lorraine (Tuesday, October 30).

The Sundance Channel original series Iconoclasts returns Thursday with Sean Penn and author Jon Krakauer, author of the book Into the Wild, the source material for Penn's latest film of the same name.

As if you couldn't tell by the title, vampire movies are the subject of Bloodsucking Cinema, a new special on Starz Friday featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Corey Haim, John Landis, Leonard Maltin, Joel Schumacher and Stuart Townsend. Over at AMC, Backstory takes an hour-long look at Carpenter's Halloween on Saturday.

Bravo offers up the Ultimate Superheroes, Vixens and Villains and Even Scarier Movie Moments on Friday, and The 100 Scariest Movie Moments on Saturday. The latter two specials (which are a must-see for horror movie enthusiasts) are running several times between then and Halloween, so check their schedule for other showtimes.

Click on the network links to find the show times in your area. All programming is subject to change.

PLEASE NOTE that this week's "The Latest on TV" not only goes to the end of the month, but also that it will be the last weekly edition. Tune in later for a full explanation and the future plans for this section in an upcoming post.

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Film Art: Stupid Bunny Suit Edition

The Prophecy of Frank, acrylic on wood by Scott Scheidly: More cool cult art, this one inspired by the cool cult film Donnie Darko, which wasn't really a horror film, but did take place on Halloween!

Click here to purchase Donnie Darkoon DVD from
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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Potent Quotables: McDreamy Edition

Patrick Dempsey is mostly known these days for playing an adorable brain surgeon on Grey's Anatomy. However, although he is returning to film with the upcoming Enchanted, you can see by this excerpt from last week's Entertainment Weekly that no matter what he does, McDreamy won't be far from many people's minds:

"In a recent test screening of Enchanted, during a climactic scene in which Amy Adams' princess has taken a bite of an apple that may or may not be poisonous, a prim, grandmotherly woman seated in the back of the theater gasped and then shouted into the darkness of the packed theater, "Kiss her, goddamn it! That man could bring anything back from the dead."

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Direct from Mr. Pinky's Hefty Hideaway

Looking for the hippest, the hottest, the happenin'est Halloween costumes this year? Then look no further then these hair-raising Hairspray get-ups from!

(Speaking of hair-raising, check out those models. The Tracy resembles a petulant Jessica Biel, while the perky Penny and lascivious Link look like refugees from bad straight porn, circa 1972.)

Of course, no ensemble would be complete without accessories, and no hair-hopper would be complete without their 24-inch tall Hairspray Inflatable Canof Ultra-Clutch! (24-inches, huh? Talk about a stiff one!)

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Holy Roller Coasters, Batman!

Timed to coincide with next summer's release of The Dark Knight movie, Six Flags has announced that a new Batman-themed thrill ride will open in three of their theme parks.

Combining an indoor roller coaster with dark ride elements, The Dark Knight Coaster will plunge riders into a Gotham City under siege by the "Crown Prince of Crime" himself, The Joker.

To the tune of $7.5 million a pop, the coasters will be built at the Six Flags locations in Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

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How to "Bee" Homophobic

Leading up to the release next month of DreamWorks Animation's Bee Movie, the film's star, Jerry Seinfeld (he voices the title insect) has returned to NBC for a series of ads promoting the animated comedy. In a spot that aired this week (and that can be seen here), Seinfeld is seen discussing the script with co-star Matthew Broderick. Seems Broderick is concerned about the relationship their characters share, complaining about "wrestling naked in a barn" with Seinfeld's character, who also seems to like "touching" and "landing on" Broderick's character. And, as if that isn't enough to tip you off to where this is going, Broderick asks, "Why are we on a cruise with Rosie O'Donnell?", and, to add insult to injury, at one point says, "I was going to take my kids to this thing, Jerry!" To end this whole fiasco, as Seinfeld storms off, Broderick wails, "Why am I in a bra and panties?"

Oy, where to begin. Did somebody actually think this would get people to want to see the movie? And what were Seinfeld and, especially, Broderick thinking? Matthew, Matthew, Matthew ... didn't co-starring with Harvey Fierstein and Nathan Lane for all those years teach you anything?

At the beginning of this little skit, Seinfeld states, "If a comedy isn't funny, that's serious". Good point, Jer, and this lame attempt at humor was not only not funny, but homophobic. So you got some serious explaining to do. Doesn't "not that there's anything wrong with that" ring a bell?

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