Monday, February 8, 2016

Memo to Gwyneth Paltrow: How to Diva

Wanted to love Country Strong, but it was a shot of alcohol-free Jack Daniels. Only after I filed my review did it hit me what went wrong.

Memo to Gwyneth Paltrow: How to Diva

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Wanted to love Country Strong (read my review here), but it was a shot of alcohol-free Jack Daniels. Only after I filed my review did it hit me what went wrong:  Kelly Canter, the Britney Spears in cowboy boots played by Gwyneth Paltrow, was too sympathetic, insufficiently diva-esque. She has only two diva moments, and they're the best things in the film: 1) After killing onstage in her strappy lurex gown, Paltrow slinks past Leighton Meester, playing a Kelly Canter wannabe, and murmurs, "That's how you do it, darlin'." 2) She goes to Meester's dressing room and shares hard-won diva wisdom, including "No carbonated drinks the day of a performance -- you'll bloat!"

Tips for Gwyneth Paltrow on How to Diva:

1) Divas never make eye contact with lesser mortals: Think Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Or Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago.

2) Divas don't make statements. They make pronouncements. The more italics, the better. Think Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire: "Wealthy men are never old." Bette Davis in All About Eve: "Peace and quiet is for libraries!!!"

3) Divas never do the shrinking violet thang. They expand to fill all available space. Big clothes and big hair helps. (This is the diva equivalent  of "the big tail" a cat makes when it's about to pounce. Think Diana Ross trailing chiffon and voluminous sleeves in Mahogany. Or Joan Crawford and her shoulderpads in Mildred Pierce. Or Streisand with her massive Gibson Girl updos in Funny Girl. Faye Dunaway and her hats in Chinatown.

4) Divas upthrust their chins, eyes on the prize. Think Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus. Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls. Michael Douglas in Wall Street. Kevin Spacey in L.A. Confidential. (Are male divas called Divos?)

5) Divas make like the figurehead on a ship slicing through the waves. Think Mae West in almost anything. Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. Beyonce in Cadillac Records.

Am I missing anything? Your favorite movie diva? Diva performance? 

Film Critic
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Carrie Rickey Film Critic
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