I managed, though somewhat uncomfortably, to sit through two films in the theatres this weekend.
The first was Hairspray, on Saturday. It is absolutely terrific. Well cast, great songs, swell choreography. For those who don't recognize him, John Waters, the writer and director of the original film (on which the stage production and this film are both based) has a cameo in the opening number. He's the flasher on the streets of Baltimore, in the song "Good Morning, Baltimore." Christopher Walken, who attended Hofstra University a few years before I did, is just great as Wilbur. The breakouts are the kids who play Seaweed and Tracy. And whodathunk that Cyclops could sing and dance! James Marsden certainly had that early 60s look.
On Sunday, we saw Stardust, based on the graphic novel by my friend Neil Gaiman. He didn't write the script (although we did see a trailer for the film Beowulf, for which Neil did write the script), but his voice is there in the dialog. It started a little slow for me, but when Robert De Niro came on the screen, it really picked up. This was the second day in a row I got to see Michelle Pfeiffer play a villain, and she's good in both films. I must say I really found the "Greek chorus" of dead princes pretty macabre and hysterical. Very Neil.
Speaking of whom, there's really good coverage of his "Spotlight" appearance at Comicon at Comic Book Resources. I especially liked this bit:
When asked which authors had made him realize that he wanted to be a writer, he replied that the first one was C.S. Lewis. "I loved the way he put things in parentheses." He then rattled off a list including Len Wein ("Len and Bernie's 'Swamp Thing' was the first time I read a comic and said 'now this is art'), Archie Goodwin, Will Eisner, Gene Wolf, Jonathan Carroll, Ursula K. LeGuin, Roger Zelazny ("Roger's a wonderful writer - you can watch him having fun writing"), and others.
I've heard Neil credit Len in the past, but I must say this is particularly nice.
Lunch with the Barefoot Contessa
6 months ago