Liz Smith: A Fresh Bucket of Blood for “Carrie” and Chloe Mortez

And more from our Gossip Girl: Delia Ephron’s great new novel, The Lion is In … Barack Obama’s big challenge — disappointed young voters

“I CAN see your dirty pillows. Everyone will!”

“Breasts, Mama. They’re called breasts, and every woman has them.”

What movie fan doesn’t remember that exchange between religion-crazed Piper Laurie and her beaten-down but telekinetic teenage daughter, Carrie White, in Brian de Palma’s 1976 horror classic, “Carrie.”

“Carrie” made Sissy Spacek a star, and now MGM hopes that the coming remake will do the same for 15-year-old Chloe Mortez. She will play the tormented high-schooler. (Sissy was actually 26 when she played the role, but looked barely 16.)

Not that Chloe Mortez is a complete unknown. Moviegoers would recognize her from “(500) Days of Summer” and the recent Martin Scorsese film “Hugo.” And she’ll appear in Tim Burton’s coming “Dark Shadows.”

The rest of the cast — psycho mom, brutal classmates, the sympathetic gym teacher — have yet to be chosen. It’s difficult to imagine how much more terrible and emotionally draining a remake of “Carrie” can be. The original film is up there with “The Exorcist” as among the most wrenching, shocking film experiences, ever. Director Kim Peirce has her work cut out for her. (Yet it will be interesting to see the Stephen King tale filmed by a woman, as it is very much a woman’s story.)

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OH, IF you hurry — rush! — you can catch the off-Broadway revival of “Carrie.” Back in 1988, this musical arrived and departed so swiftly it became one of Broadway’s legendary flops. The current limited engagement, at the Lucille Lortel Theater, has fared a bit better. But still, it will close April 8th.

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OKAY! OKAY Stop pushing me. I did finally read The Hunger Games. I’m hooked — on the books, anyway. I gobbled up number one by the gifted Suzanne Collins, and I have the next two on order.

I felt like I was 10, 11, 12 or 13 years old again. This book was written for what they call “young adults.” Well, I never was a young adult myself, I have always been a college sophomore and I intend to keep it that way. However, I continue to run into people who are quite a few years past the “young adult” stage of life, and they know all about The Hunger Games trilogy. They look at me oddly when I say I’ve just discovered the books.

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I WANT to write about Delia Ephron’s new book. She just happens to be the co-writer of three of my all-time favorite movies: “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” … “Michael” … and “You’ve Got Mail.”

Delia has often collaborated with her famous sister, Nora. They wrote a play that has been, and still is, delighting women the world over. “Love, Loss and What I Wore” is leaving them laughing and rueful, and is a great international hit.

So now it’s no surprise that Delia has written a novel that is so bizarre and enchanting that it has a lion as its hero. You will never forget Marcel in The Lion Is In (fresh from Blue Rider Press of the Penguin Group.)

It’s so nice to read a real, imaginative, simple story that doesn’t make you gag and gasp with unhappiness and the feel of impending apocalypse. (The apocalypse seems to be the new religion of Hollywood.)

Delia’s plot here is so unruly that somehow you feel that this story might even be true. Three females are running away from it all; that’s really all you need to know (and they are nothing like our old pals Thelma and Louise).

I wouldn’t begin to ruin this novel for you by disclosing more of the plot. But it is chock full of super inner knowledge about American life and the products on sale at the 7-Eleven, the perils and pathways through the thicket of the U.S. of A, and the ways of the lower middle class or underclass, if you will. They are the very people that we all hear politicians say the other side is either trying to destroy or save these days.

Where did Delia Ephron learn all this and the other stuff she seems so pleasingly familiar with — Alcoholics Anonymous, the meetings, small town cops, weird entrepreneurism alive and well in the heartland, people who want to confess, expiate and experience life. While the absolute good heartedness of Delia’s major characters sometimes struck me as unrealistic, you’ll wish, as I do in my heart, that it is all true and these women have just dared to be lucky, in the words of E.B. White.

And you need to know Marcel, king of the jungle, (ie: small town guy but not small-minded.) He too can fall in love.

Read this one for fun! Can’t wait for the movie.

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ENDQUOTE: “Like Bill Clinton in 1996, Obama can no longer offer any realistic agenda for sweeping change — he can only vow to be better than the alternative. If his secret weapon in 2008 was hope, this time around it’s fear. It’s not about how far we’ve come — it’s how much ground we lose if the Republicans are able to implement the anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-gay agenda they’ve been championing during the ugly and seemingly endless GOP primaries.”

That’s Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson, taking a sober look at Barack Obama’s chances in the coming election.

Even more concerning to the Obama team is the disappointment of many young people who helped him sweep into the White House. One volunteer said, “When they cut us loose, people were disillusioned. The first time you get jilted is the worst.”

11 comments so far.

  1. avatar Jeff Michaels says:

    Tim Dickinson is wrong. Barack Obama’s “secret weapon” in 2008 was the willingness of the establishment media to give him a free pass. His preference for a socialistic style of government was downplayed or ignored to improve his election chances. Fortunately and unfortunately, people have had four years to see how devastating the choice of Barack Obama has been to the United States.

    • avatar HelliePie says:

      Obama . . . a socialist? Are you mad? Clearly you know nothing about socialism . . . or you are demonstrably unfamiliar with President Barack Obama! Obama a socialist . . . that’s a good one!

      For the last four years, this American certainly HAS learned something, something about the distressingly willful ignorance of her fellow Americans. At least I hope it’s ignorance, because there’s a remedy for that, but sometimes it looks an awful lot like stupidity, or, even worse, stupidity married to fear, which breeds hatred, anger, and madness.

  2. avatar Lila says:

    I think Dickinson’s quote is very insightful. And telling. Yes, “Like Bill Clinton in 1996…”. Do we not see this happen to all incumbent Presidents? It’s so easy to promise the moon and stars, until you actually have to do the work, and discover that the President is not an all-powerful king, but finds stumbling blocks everywhere, especially in Congress (But hey, that was actually the intent of the Founders. Probably with people like Cheney in mind, they did not want to grant kinglike power to the office of the President.).

    As far as fear of the alternative – you bet! For all the reasons you cited, Liz. I consider the Republicans unelectable. And more – the devastation America is now experiencing was set in motion by two long, expensive, damaging wars, tax breaks for the rich that helped to deplete our nation’s coffers at a time when we were embarking on those expensive wars, the blind eye turned to the subprime lending fiasco, and other major failings that wrecked the economy. We all knew that whoever stepped ito the Oval Office in 2009 was stepping into neck-deep manure, and there is just no way to fix everything in just four years, or even in eight. Especially with a recalcitrant Congress chained to one’s ankle. I certainly don’t like everything Obama has done (especially the health care solution), but the Republicans get scarier with every passing year.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      ….”with every passing year.”

      Make that every passing second. 

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      But we were promised change. Where is it? The only change I can see has merely taken away hope from those who needed it most.   Obama had a Democratic Congress for two years. About all they did was pass a stimulus for the health care insurance industry under the guise of “health care reform” that the Supreme Court most likely will toss out in June.   Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg probably would like to uphold it but if you listen carefully to their comments even they have some serious doubts about its constitutionality. One of them suggested allowing Congress to “fine tune” it which would require they finally read it. They passed it without reading it. So who wrote it? The lobbyists for the health care insurance industry. Some of us are not that stupid. Just most of us.

      • avatar Lila says:

        Snooks, that Democratic Congress was WEAK. I was incredibly disappointed in them.

        And YES, as I noted, the health-care reform was all wrong. I’m one of those who agrees that the mandate to buy a private, commercial product – health insurance – is unconstitutional, and actually fixes nothing. The same people who couldn’t afford insurance before still can’t afford it, and worse: since the companies can’t drop people, premiums just keep going up. Well, I guess they would have kept going up anyway.

        The way to fix our health care system is to identify and attack the multiple causes of our ridiculous costs. Among developed nations we have the highest per-capita cost, and only mediocre delivery, of care. Fix that, bring costs down, and more people could probably afford better insurance, duh. And Medicaid would be able to afford better care for more of the poor, too.

        But – alas – this would require a lot of actual attention and work, and as you point out, reading. Not to mention standing up to the health-care lobby. Apparently that’s too hard for the Gummint.

  3. avatar camb 94 says:

    Just wanted to correct you about Chloe Moretz. I believe that she is only 14 (per IMDB she was born in 1997). I have followed her career for a while and was first BLOWN AWAY by her performance in “500 Days of Summer”. She seemed so much older than her years. She was also, to my mind, the best thing about Hugo.

  4. avatar mary burdt says:

    Lila, you are a gal who says it all in a way that I wish I could. Keep up the good work. Mary

  5. avatar Frau Quink says:

    Lila – Exactly my sentiments.