May 2001
FILM DUDS - “May offered some real duds”

FILM DUDS - “May offered some real duds”

By Kellye Whitney (Chicago)

It’s Kellye Time! I’m back with the latest addition of “Film Duds.” Current fashion accessory of the moment: The BDL - Best Dressed List.  My favorite fashion mag Harper’s Bazaar dropped their May 2001 best dressed list featuring cool-indie-film-It-Girl Chloe Sevigny. While Chloe’s interview sounded slightly self-serving, I agree with her status as one of film’s fashionable elite. The former grunge poster girl learned early that true style comes not from imitating current trends, but from your own personality and character. The Chicago Sun-Times was savvy to recognize Chloe’s stature on their BDL. Shameless regional plug, sorry! May I also congratulate my personal nominee from the big and small screen who did not make the list: Lucy Liu. La Lucy’s wardrobe on Ally McBeal is Fab-u-lous!


Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know!

Poor Jewel (Liv Tyler), all she wanted was her dream house... and a DVD. One Night at McCool’s wasn’t cinematic greatness, but Liv Tylers collection of madonna and whore slip dresses was well worth the price of admission. She was a walking contradiction, or very appropriate, depending on who was looking!

For Randy (Matt Dillon), a hapless bartender, Jewel was like the white trash version of a french maid, sans apron. She kept house, and kept house! Liv paraded contentedly around in tight, low cut tops and tight, short dresses in a range of sexy colors from blush pink to pale purple. She had stripper ties in the back, plunging neckline in the front, and black and gold lame leopard stripes everywhere else.

Costume Designer Ellen Mirojnick went to town on Jewel’s manipulative house maker persona, offering strategic glimpses of color-coordinated underwear via fitted sundress. For Randy’s cousin Carl (Paul Reiser), well, do the words, black corset and whip mean anything to you? Before Carl’s lust-filled eyes, Jewel’s quite modest black sundress shrinks at hem, neck and navel. This could be interpreted as one man’s warped sexual perception. But hey, aren’t things always slightly muzzy in those first sessions with a new therapist?

For church-goer and by-the-book Detective Dehling (John Goodman), Jewel was innocent and sweet. All that was pure and in need of saving, a diamond in the ruff. Randy was the Ruff! Only to glad to foster his roe-colored view of her, Jewel presented herself in a pink Princess dress with silver glitter, cooked, and you-know-what her way into poor Dehling’s heart.

The men all looked like they shopped in the same upscale thrift store for out of work cowboys and suburban golf caddies. Paul Reiser gets the gas face for his barbecue outfit, a hot pink plaid short set with a straw belt and neck sweater. His therapy shirt and tie on the other hand were nice. Michael Douglas wins the Accessory of the Movie award. His toupe, a greasy, brown, bad pimp flip from the snakes and gators era, always seemed to appear a few minutes before he did. Andrew Dice Clay got a giggle and a thumbs up for his dual role as a not-too-happy pair of twins who stand in the way of a good/bad girl and the house of her dreams...


Curvy, British, Drunk, Tactless. It works.

Renee Zellwegger, fresh from “Nurse Betty” triumph, is a hit in “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” A chubby Zellwegger is completely believable as the unlucky but goodhearted Brit. Bridget Jones is the unfortunate victim of her odd ball family’s good intentions and her own unhealthy attraction to vodka and loose-moraled bosses with Hugh Grant’s hair and blue eyes. To complicate matters enter recently divorced Colin Firth as Bridget’s extremely annoying mother prospect Mark Darcy, who is very nattily dressed when not under his own mother’s rather skewed style vision. Add to that a group of madcap, sarcastic friends and her mother’s sudden bunko with a home shopping guru, it’s no wonder Bridget’s hair has a tendency to stand on end.

Make-up and hair designer Graham Johnstone and Costume Designer Rachael Fleming created a balance between natural, yet minimalist style (a la low budget British) with a slightly chaotic look that shadowed Bridget's swinging mood changes. Ecstatic? Copper see through gauze shirt over black bra with black mini and black knee boots with heel. Completely unexpected 32nd birthday embarrassment at hands of equally tactless mother and assorted party guests? Mud-burgundy dress with a floral carpet (or was it drapery?) pattern and a bib collar, a green reindeer jumper (sweater), occasional leopard knickers (panties), and a red snowman tie. Maudlin backslide into vodka bottle? Wool print pajamas that flood.

I admired a shaggy black sweater with a hood and belt, ‘poofs,’ Brit slang for homosexual, and the movie’s smash down, bang up restaurant/street fight scene. The window breaking bit might have been overkill, but the heart behind the punches was fabulous!


The Southern New Yorker

Academy Award winning Costume Designer Ann Roth gives another stellar performance with the film adaptation of best selling novel “Animal Husbandry” by Laura Zigman. Roth, whose recent projects include “Finding Forrester” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” joined up with long time collaborator and Costume Designer Michelle Maitlin - The Out-of-Towners, The English Patient, and Guarding Tess.

Ashley Judd’s schtick as Jane Goodale, a nice girl pushed too far, is light-hearted and funny. She's a talent booker on a popular daytime talk show who falls for the okey-doke from the show's hot shot executive, Ray Brown. Ray dumps her and chaos reigns.

Judd’s country roots showed in floral prints, some ruffles, and an especially cute strapless silver dress with a red pattern. She rocked Jane’s quietly oddball/career girl vibe with choice pieces like a pale blue, see through shirt with tiny floral print and yellow lace at the sleeve, and a Burberry-patterned coat. There was a mix of soft grays, sudden cuts like the hem of a gray tweed skirt, and a fabulous, blood-red, ankle-length satin coat.

Marisa Tomei (Lizzie) was a smash in a polka dot blouse and a powder blue coat with a big floppy collar. With friends like Lizzie, who cares about enemies? Do what Jane did. Get your heart broke, get evicted, then devote all your waking energy to research into the male psyche via mad cows. It should be that easy to get a successful sex column!

Jane’s brother-in-law is the one faithful man in the movie. Because of him and moviegoers tried and true belief that a happy ending can happen in less than two hours, the idea of her coupling with career womanizer Eddie Alden (X-Men’s Hugh Jackman) is a good thing! I guess love really does conquer all.


The Ups, The Downs, and Penelope

Current It Girl Penelope Cruz (Mirtha) did her best to eclipse Johnny Depp in director Ted Demme’s “Blow.” The movie chronicled the life and times of drug kingpin and ultimate loser George Jung. But Johnny Depp’s hairstyles and sunglasses saved him. The film did a fabulous job bringing back that uni-color, fabric belt charm from the late 70’s and the decaying elegance of the early eighties.

Penelope could have walked from “Blow” to the set of Dynasty without missing a beat. She was all about lush, rich silks in dramatic colors and big, sexy hair. Whether screeching bitchily or snorting noisily, she flaunted her femininity with the subtlety of a karate chop! High point - red ball gown, plunging neckline with silver trim, fabulous! Second high point - also cherry red, a flowing silk number caressing the unborn version of child newcomer Emma Roberts who’s related to, you guessed it! Julia Roberts via brother Eric. Paul Reubens was a stylish and believable complement to the cast as George’s sweet sounding drug business associate.

“Blow” Costume Designer Mark Bridges has worked on feature films like “Magnolia, Blast from the Past,” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.” He also worked on LL Cool J’s scene stealing “Deep Blue Sea,” and my personal Indie favorite, “Thursday,” both featuring the yummy and always stylish Thomas Jane. Jane will appear next in Billy Crystal’s baseball flick “61.” Can’t wait to see what those tight baseball uniforms do for him and Barry Pepper.

Do you want to discuss this article with other community members? Have any comments on black film?  Then go to our Community section --