And more from our Gossip Girl: Tom Cruise soars in the latest “Mission Impossible” … will Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris” make the Academy scream “Oui! Oui?!”
“THE MORE I see of men, the more I like dogs,” said Madame de Stael.
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THERE WAS little surprise in Hollywood when Chaz Bono’s girlfriend, Jennifer Elia, returned his engagement ring and the pair then announced that they are “no longer a couple.” Chaz had proposed to Jennifer several weeks ago atop Seattle’s Space Needle. It was a special segment of the “Being Chaz” series. Chaz did the traditional down on one knee thing. Jennifer’s acceptance was awkward.
This split has been a long time coming, and anybody who had seen the documentary “Becoming Chaz” would have noted the signs and portents. As devoted and stand-by-your-sudden-man as Jennifer was — all through Chaz’s decision to self-identify as a male, have his breasts removed and be legally cited as male — Jennifer was clearly struggling and suffering.
Jennifer is a lesbian. Her relationship with Chaz — once known as Chastity — began as an affair between two women. Chaz was a big, butch woman, but still claimed a female identity. To turn around and declare a total gender switch, take testosterone to grow a beard and remove breasts, was a lot to adjust to. Jennifer did her best, though it was clear that the testosterone was not simply altering Chaz’s physical self, but had some affect on Chaz’s personality. There’s a difference between a butch woman and a man — a man treats a woman differently. Jennifer wasn’t loving that difference.
I think Chaz has been brave throughout this public transition. Some say it has been unnecessarily public, but Chaz marched to his own beat, much as his parents, Sonny and Cher did. But his bravery has come at a price, and perhaps he expected this ending. Chaz is not stupid. Though he is certainly very male in his expectations of what women should put up with. That was the impression I got from “Becoming Chaz” and several interviews he did with Jennifer.
This was a real relationship and the breakup has to be painful for both. I wish them happiness in future romantic endeavors. For Chaz — who has not had any below-the-waist surgery — I will only advise that he take better care of himself. Everyone close to him — especially his mother — had hoped his stint on “Dancing With the Stars” would jump-start a diet and exercise regimen, a la Kirstie Alley’s fabulous transformation. That did not occur.
Chaz, we have but one life to live — be whatever you want to be. But most of all, be healthy.
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TOM CRUISE says he “falls more in love with Katie Holmes every day.” That’s nice. I mean it. I’m not being bitchy. As far as I know they are both happy, despite the media insistence that they can’t be or shouldn’t be.
But love aside, the big news for Tom is that his latest “Mission Impossible” movie has garnered excellent reviews, with many stating that this fourth installment is the best yet — at the very least, the most action-packed. One critic carped a little, saying the film was less adult-themed than past “MI” flicks, and aimed more at teens. Well —why not? At 47, Tom is staying current. He has the time, money and power to do adult-themed character roles anytime he wants. (Although, with Hollywood so oddly resistant to awarding him an Oscar, he might figure, why bother with adult movies?)
I hope “Mission Impossible: “Ghost Protocol” is a huge hit. I like Tom. I don’t care what he believes spiritually. He’s a movie star, an excellent actor and to be honest, aside from those who criticize Scientology, or those who want to speculate pointlessly about his sexuality, I’ve never heard a harsh word about him. His co-stars and directors always come away with high praise for his talent, passion and commitment. He’s a driven type-A personality. That’s no crime. And if it is, it’s one offense most of us would like to commit. Then we, too, would have something like $500 million dollars.
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GREAT PIECE in Sunday’s New York Times on the already-legendary Elizabeth Taylor auction at Christie’s. I bet the final tally will be near or over $200 million. Nice for everybody — her estate, her family, Christie’s and the IRS.
I was particularly amused by writer Charles Isherwood’s conclusion: “As I left the auction I had visions of a Russian tycoon’s wife or a Wall Street banker’s mistress greedily ogling her acquisition and thinking, ‘Once Liz’s, now —mine!’” Somehow it wasn’t a cheering image.”
Oh, but you see, without Elizabeth Taylor’s opulent energy, the jewels are just shiny stones, with no inner life, the clothes and accessories simply things owned by a dead person. (I say it again: the clothes should have gone to a fashion museum.) It was La Liz’s lusty appreciation of her goodies that gave them that special sparkle and flair. She always insisted, “I’m just borrowing them.” That’s true. But I have a feeling she knew the other truth — that when she was gone, they’d never look the same on another woman. And that every woman who wore them, would know it too.
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HAD A chat with a well-connected Hollywood insider over the weekend. We discussed which movie might take Best Picture at the Oscars.
My friend said: “The Help” and “War Horse” are too saccharine, “The Artist” is too self-conscious — a silent film in 2011, how arty!, “Tree of Life” and “Moneyball” might have some chance. But if you ask me, it’ll be “Midnight In Paris.” It’s the best thing Woody Allen has done in years. And you know what — I have not spoken to one person who’s seen it who didn’t love it! And I speak to a lot of people.”
Well, I, too, loved “Midnight In Paris” — I’ve seen it three times! — and if it wins the Academy Award, I won’t feel it an undeserved honor.