Tuesday, June 4, 2013

American Fame

I really don't know what to say about this. That the Lifetime network have made a television movie based on the life and times of Anna Nicole Smith is hardly surprising. They're not exactly known for their prestige and award-winning drama. However, what is surprising - and, quite frankly, a little depressing - is that The Anne Nicole Story (even the name sounds like glam-trash, which is befitting, I guess) is directed by one Mary Harron. Yes, the director of masterpiece American Psycho is now forced to direct TV movies about Anna Nicole Smith. And, let's be honest, this doesn't look like a Soderbergh-making-Liberace-for-HBO scenario, but rather a director taking whatever she can to survive in the industry.

The film (admittedly sight unseen) appears to signify a most startling fall from grace for the director that had proven to be such a unique feminine voice in the American arthouse scene. With I Shot Andy Warhol, The Notorious Bettie Paige, and one of the very few best films of the 2000s American Psycho, Harron's film's were rich and complicated, constantly flirting with female and male sexuality in ways that were far from the norm for both mainstream and the American mainstream flirting era of independent cinema that rose so prominently in the 1990s. In that regard The Anna Nicole Story makes some thematic relevance to her career - I have not seen her teen-lit adaptation The Moth Diaries, but I suspect that fits in with her favoured themes as well - but it's hard to ignore the basic fact that this just doesn't look particularly good.

Set to a cover of Irene Cara's "Fame", The Anna Nicole Story has a plot that everybody knows. When she was alive, Anna Cover was a walking, talking cliché. I have no doubt that Harron will be able to wring something out of her story, and it's nice to see Agnes Bruckner again who I don't think I've seen since Blue Car many years ago, but I can't help but wish she would get back together with former writing partner Genevieve Turner and make something as ferocious as American Psycho. Watch the trailer below and be as confused as I am.

I do notice that the cast includes Martin Landau and I can only hope that means he's playing her feeble octogenarian husband. What a confounding one minute of video. And furthermore, speaking of Agnes Bruckner and Blue Car, that film's director Karen Moncrieff has a new film coming soon, too. Something called The Trials of Cate McCall.

1 comment:

Barry said...

Loved Blue Car when it came out. Loved Agnes Bruckner and David Strathairn.

She also did very well in Lucky McKee's The Woods. Nice little scary film, that one.