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Julia Roberts Tag

“Being told that girls can’t play rock ‘n’ roll — I mean, even as a kid, it was so illogical to me. It’s like, what do you mean? That girls can’t master the instruments? I’m in school with girls playing cello and violin and Beethoven and Bach. You don’t mean they can’t master the instrument. What you mean is they’re not allowed, socially — it’s a societal thing.” Joan Jett, Interview magazine, 2010.

Chicks can rock. And they do. Even if they’re not playing rock ‘n’ roll, a female musician has just as much power to melt your face off with their talent and attitude as any male musician. Is it because they have something to prove? Maybe. Is it because they have generations worth of anger at stereotypes and oppression to strike back against? Perhaps. But most likely, chicks who rock do so because it’s in their blood; making music is what drives them, gives them a reason to wake up in the morning. Despite all the bullshit that surrounds being a female musician, they stick with it, thus inspiring legions of other girls to do the same — and inspiring filmmakers to tell their stories.

There are many films about musicians, but not a great deal about female musicians, particularly female rock musicians. Even so, coming up with my list of favorites was tough. I originally wanted to only write about films featuring women rock musicians, but I decided to broaden my scope a little bit when I realized there were a lot of movies about or featuring badass chicks whose music wasn’t rock, but they rocked anyway (does that make sense?).

My list includes both fictional chicks who rock and biopics about kick-ass lady musicians. There is a bit of a blur between those lines with some of these films, as they are not outright biopics, but are clearly inspired by certain female musicians. I’m sure my list is missing some of your favorite chicks who rock, so let me know who makes your list in the comments.

If you are a woman, the relationship you have with your best girlfriends is special. It’s different than any you have with your parents, siblings, romantic partners or even other friends. Your best girlfriend almost always knows you better than anyone else. You trust her with your secrets and you know that she is someone you can turn to no matter what. She’s someone who will listen to your problems and be honest with you, even it if it hurts.

A best girlfriend will be there to console you when you get dumped at 1 A.M. by that asshole you’ve been sleeping with who’s been stringing you along for months. And even though she insisted you could do better and you should stop seeing him a long time ago, but you didn’t listen to her, she’ll take you to an all-night diner and buy you pancakes and coffee and let you cry and bitch and moan without judging you or telling you she told you so.

A true best friend will go shopping with you and tell you when a dress you’ve chosen is totally fug and will help you pick out clothes that hide your fat rolls and make your boobs and ass look amazing. She will talk you out of buying those boots you love that cost almost as much as your rent because she knows you can’t afford them and she doesn’t want you selling any of your other possessions to make ends meet — or asking her for money that she doesn’t have but wouldn’t refuse you.

A BFF will gladly judge horrible skanks that your ex is now sleeping with, but will stop you from making an ass out of yourself when you drunkenly decide to approach the bitch and tell her what you think of her. She won’t judge you when you show up to brunch with greasy bangs and mascara smudged under your eyes, wearing the same clothes you had on the night before.

She will talk to you on the phone for hours about nothing in particular, but won’t be offended if you don’t call her for two weeks. She will organize your wedding and/or baby shower, even if she hates weddings and babies. She will throw you a surprise party when you think everyone has forgotten your birthday. And if something unfortunate happens, like a death in the family or a bout of depression, she will be there with a fresh box of tissues, your favorite ice cream and many, many hugs.

She will tell you when you’re being a bitch and will expect you to do the same for her. And she will always remind you that, no matter what happens,  you’re awesome and fuck anyone who doesn’t think so.

Wow. That all sounded like one of those awful “In honor of women” forwards your crazy aunt who barely knows how to use her Hotmail account sends you every other week, doesn’t it? Well, whatever. I love my friends and I’m lucky to have such fierce ladies in my life.

Inspired by a recent viewing of one of my favorite films, Walking and Talking, and the success of the hit female buddy comedy Bridesmaids (which I still haven’t seen because I’m terrible), I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite female BFFs in film. Whether they’re laughing, crying, talking about sex or plotting murder, these ladies all share a strong bond that (for the most part) can’t be broken. And that’s why I love them.

My list was originally a lot longer than this, but then I noticed that several of the ladies I had listed were BFFs who happened to also be co-workers, so I decided they’d become their own Filminism post later on.

Who are your favorite female friendships in film? Tell me in the comments!

Warning: some of the clips below might be a little spoilery.

Had director Garry Marshall consulted me during the postproduction editing stage of Pretty Woman, the film would have ended with Julia Roberts’ lovable hooker Vivian being driven away from the Beverly Wilshire to the strains of Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love”. We would also have seen the wonderfully empty Richard Gere’s emotionally distant corporate raider Edward standing on a Wilshire balcony, mourning the loss of the only woman he ever truly loved, or at least the only one he ever paid three grand to fuck for a week.

Fade to black. Cut. Print. Roll credits.

Oh, no, you say, not so fast, Cecil B. DeSmitty. You want the fairy tale, just like Vivian tells Edward before that particular montage. Lots of people wanted the fairy tale. Garry Marshall certainly wanted the fairy tale, and instead of a relatively reasonable ending to a film with a decidedly unreasonable premise, we got Sir Edward riding in to “save” Princess Vivian from turning her life around on her own terms, whisking her away to be his well-cared-for trophy wife forever and ever, amen.

A few weeks ago, concerned (i.e. nosy, spiteful, possibly dating archnemesis Matt Wardlaw) citizen-journalist Annie Zaleski leaked a letter I wrote, one that would let all of my constituents know where I’d been since New Year’s Day.

I had every intention of leaking — nay, showering — it on the people myself, but first I wanted to make some revisions, eliminating potentially offensive heterophobic words like “rainbows” and the statement “Bootleg City is the only place I feel any warmth and affection,” which was an insult to my puppy-filled water bed. (The puppies sleep on the bed. I repeat, for PETA’s sake, they’re not in the bed. )

Unfortunately, another letter — an e-mail to my former Spanish lover, Anita — has been leaked, and this one could be slightly more damaging to my career …

From: Robert
To: Anita
Subject: You know what time it is.
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 2010 00:24:54 -0400

Hey, girl. I been thinkin’ ’bout you.

And while you’re asleep in the other room, I’m sitting here in your den, thinking about you and writing you this e-mail. But since I’m an American, I need to be staring at two screens at all times, which is why I’m watching some freaky Pedro Almodovar movie on TV as I write this love (to talk dirty to you, hahaha!!!!!) letter on your laptop. (I know I’m at a loss without the subtitles, but I have to give that guy from “Eat Yo’ Mama’s Tambourine” credit — he’s pretty hot as a young Julia Roberts.)

Last summer I wrote about one film starring a Family Ties cast member as a struggling rock musician. Now I bring you another. That’s right, girls and boys, it’s time to get some Satisfaction (1988).

Retitled Girls of Summer for TV, Satisfaction is probably most notable for being the feature-film debut of two of its stars, Justine Bateman and Julia Roberts.

While Bateman already had a successful television career, having starred as Mallory Keaton on NBC’s Family Ties since 1982 as well as in several TV movies, Satisfaction was Roberts’s first big acting gig (she had previously only appeared in an episode of Crime Story, another NBC series, and a dinky little movie called Firehouse, in an uncredited role).

Also starring Trini Alvarado (Little Women), Scott Coffey (Shag), Britta Phillips (of rock duo Dean & Britta), and Liam Neeson, the movie centers on Bateman’s character, Jennie Lee, a recent high school grad who’s also the lead singer of an all-girl rock band called the Mystery. After convincing her older brother — the head of the household, since their parents are dead — to allow her to spend the summer with the band, Jennie Lee and the Mystery — bassist Daryle (Roberts), drummer Mooch (Alvarado), guitarist Billy (Phillips), and newly recruited male keyboard player Nickie (Coffey) — head off to audition for a gig as the house band at a beachfront bar.

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A nation mourned Wednesday night, as CNN’s Lou Dobbs, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration, announced his retirement from the network. Though it’s still unclear which nation is in mourning, experts have conclusively ruled out Mexico.

According to the Associated Press, the controversial newsman “angered CNN management this summer by pressing questions about President Obama’s birth site after CNN reporters determined there was no issue.”

I myself was skeptical of the president’s birthplace until he drank a domestic beer — Bud Light — at the July 30 “beer summit.” Then I remembered that Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Bud Light, sold their company last year to InBev, a Belgian company. Thanks to CNN’s shortsightedness, we may never find out if InBev is secretly run by Kenyan expatriates.

This isn’t the first time Dobbs has left CNN. He was one of its original anchors back in 1980 when it debuted, overseeing financial news and hosting Moneyline. But in April of ’99, after being reprimanded by the network’s then-president, Rick Kaplan, for cutting away from a speech by President Bill Clinton on the Columbine shootings, Dobbs announced that he was departing CNN, saying he wanted to focus on a new website he’d founded, Space.com, because in space no one can hear you call your boss an idiot.

(I was working at CNN in a bottom-rung position back in 1999, and I would bet money that Kaplan’s voice, which combined the omnipotence of God with the volume of a T. Rex, can be heard in space. If I remember correctly, he was also nine feet tall.)