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    Showbiz I Shouldn’t Love

    Jan Wahl

    By Jan Wahl–

    Suddenly one of my favorite songs is not cool anymore. Frank Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a ball, especially when sung by Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt on YouTube.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtoW4aV-CIc ) The original singing of it from Neptune’s Daughter is also wonderful, with its catchy melody and celebration of the fun of flirting. Come to find out it’s now considered sexist. I still love it, so kiss my feminist backside.

    There is nothing (OK … almost) that thrills me more than a fabulous movie musical. It doesn’t get too much better than Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Based on the Sabine women story from Plutarch’s Life of Romulus, it tells the tale of abducted women in the clutches of mountain brothers. The songs, casting, and Michael Kidd’s remarkable choreography make this a movie musical not to miss. Apparently, I am insensitive because I love it, absolutely adore it, and watch it constantly. I promise I will continue to do so, especially the barn raising dance.

    Let’s lower the bar, and you cannot get lower than 1995’s “erotic drama” Showgirls. That’s how it was once described, though I laughed often while watching the “serious” story of a street smart (?) drifter who goes from stripper to star Vegas showgirl.  Elizabeth Berkley, fabulous Gina Gershon, and Kyle MacLachlan put the three in threesome. This movie is so controversial that my sister and I had an argument if two people could really have sex in a swimming pool exactly like that. Yes, won out. The film is misogynistic and exploitative. Be warned.

    YouTube is a place I find everything to love, often videos I watch to put myself in a good mood. Over and over again comes classic Hollywood, from old What’s My Line shows (Mystery Guest only) to Oscar fashion. One that people wonder about is my fascination with the premiere of That’s Entertainment! when a huge group of MGM stars are called to the stage by Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis, Jr. From Myrna Loy to the incredible Nicholas Brothers, Gloria Swanson to Elizabeth Taylor, go into YouTube MGM Stars Old and All Together ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVLJpjdIhVk ). Just Taylor’s necklace makes it worth it. Maybe people check it out once … but every week? I am somewhat obsessed.

    Sometimes a great movie has a sequence even I cringe at. Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tracy started their wonderful collaboration together in Woman of the Year. The sexual sparks fly, and the script is divine. Unfortunately, there is a dumb scene where Hepburn shows she is useless in the kitchen. It just doesn’t fit at all with her character. But there it is, and I always avoid it when watching this classic.

    There are many TV shows I love, but most agree that Northern Exposure, early I Love Lucy (especially when they are in Hollywood) and Frasier are terrific. But few can understand why I watch The Nanny over and over to this day. Though it was on from 1993 to 1999, the two characters I need to constantly visit are Fran Drescher and Daniel Davis as the butler Niles. It is everything I love.  Jewish humor, a relationship between a WASP and a Jew, great pacing, and fun side characters. People tell me they don’t like or appreciate this show. Everyone has a right to be critic. Good thing I just listen to my own critical thinking!                      

    Jan Wahl is a Hollywood historian, film critic on various broadcast outlets, and has her own YouTube channel series, “Jan Wahl Showbiz.” She has two Emmys and many awards for her longtime work on behalf of film buffs and the LGBTQ community. Contact her at www.janwahl.com

    Published on March 25, 2021