Liz Smith: A Pulled-Together Charlie Sheen Steals Emmy Night

Charlie Sheen at the 2011 Emmy Awards

And more from our Liz: Michelle Williams in Vogue as Marilyn … Cheryl Crane, Hollywood’s ultimate star child, writes her first novel

“WHENEVER YOU’RE in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is ‘attitude,’” said William James.

* * *

WELL, Charlie Sheen had the right “attitude” on Sunday night at the Emmy Awards, I must say.

Charlie looked pretty good — a little mussed, but he prefers to dress very casually — and seemed almost conciliatory as he wished his former castmates on “Two and a Half Men” well. No drama. No sarcasm. (Well, a little drama. He paused significantly after each word, before he got to the “all best wishes” part.)

I was glad to see Charlie up there. He’ll work in that town again. Sooner perhaps than later. Who knows, if Ashton Kutcher doesn’t jell with viewers … we shall see.

Oh, as to Ashton: we don’t know yet what kind of character the writers have created for him, but his current beard is unappealing. He looks like a skinny street person.

* * *

THE EMMY show? Not fabulous, but what three-hour awards show can be fabulous? There’s always too much of something. Like that third hour.

Host Jane Lynch was fine, if not scintillating. I don’t understand the need for “witty” 15 minute opening numbers. Let’s just get on with the show! Lynch did get off the funniest bit of the night: “People ask me why I am a lesbian. Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of ‘Entourage!”

I was happy for “Mad Men” and for “Modern Family,” though I am not as familiar with the latter. But it is a serious hit!

I adored the business with all six nominees for best actress in a comedy running onstage and holding hands like Miss America contestants. (I assume this was a pre-arranged bit, as they had a crown and roses ready for the winner, a shocked and emotional Melissa McCarthy of “Mike & Molly.”)

Loved Guy Pearce’s sincere (and raunchy) speech for his “Mildred Pierce” win and even though “Mildred” wasn’t my cup of tea, who could resist gorgeous, joyful Kate Winslet, up there looking truly surprised and grateful. Kate is an earthy, well-balanced young woman, one of the nicest actresses I’ve met. No phony baloney at all. I just had to be happy for her. I was also thrilled for the great Dame Maggie Smith, who took an Emmy for her fabulous scene-stealing in PBS’s “Downton Abbey.” And after having beaten the drum all season for the brilliant Peter Dinklage in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” it was satisfying to see him take his well-deserved award.

And though the Emmy telecast was no great shakes, it was actually more engaging than some Oscar shows we’ve all endured.

* * *

OH, the real drama, as you probably know by now, occurred off-stage, hours before the show began, when Alec Baldwin excused himself from the telecast because Fox, which was airing the show, would not allow a Baldwin joke about the Murdoch phone-hacking scandal. This just means Alec will move on to one of his favorite spots, “Saturday Night Live” and eviscerate all who opposed him. And he’s probably already written something scathing for The Huffington Post.

As to fashion, I’ll leave most of that to the Rivers girls on E! But I did like my friend Jennifer Westfeldt’s yellow vintage number (she is the wonderful actress/director/writer and also the beloved of “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm.) Gwyneth Paltrow’s bare midriff number didn’t wow me. And Julie Bowen, who won an Emmy for “Modern Family”… honey, please eat.

And so the awards season has begun.

* * *

Michelle Williams (c) Vogue

SO THERE is Michelle Williams on the cover of Vogue, doing her best to look like Marilyn Monroe, with platinum locks and pushed-up cleavage. She stars as MM in the coming feature film, “My Week With Marilyn.”

Michelle doesn’t look much like Monroe. Some have said unkindly that she hardly appears to be a woman, but rather a female impersonator. Harsh! But I don’t believe this is the fault of the great Annie Leibovitz, who took the pictures, or the fault of the talented Miss Williams. Blonde hair and glistening red lips don’t turn a girl into Monroe, just as black hair and aggressive eye-paint won’t make one resemble Elizabeth Taylor. Maybe it is best to avoid these dress-up-like-somebody-else sessions. Even in the hands of a genius like Annie, it is hard to capture the elusive essence of an iconic dead star.

“My Week With Marilyn” (which is based on a book that can only be called “fanciful”) opens the prestigious New York Film Festival on September 30. Perhaps we should take this as a positive sign. Perhaps Michelle eschews drag-queen intonations and perhaps the film rises above its questionable source.

* * *

“In this age of digital cameras, the paparazzi no longer flashed and popped. Instead, they sounded like a swarm of clicking insects.” So writes Cheryl Crane, in her first novel, The Bad Always Die Twice.

Miss Crane, as any good movie fan knows, is the only child of screen goddess Lana Turner. Cheryl survived a hard life within the silken confines of Hollywood — molestation at the hands of one of Lana’s husbands, put on trial for killing one of Lana’s abusive lovers, in and out of reformatories and hospitals. But she pulled it together finally, becoming a successful real estate agent.

She wrote a devastating book about her life, titled “Detour.” But she never ever turned her back on Lana. Mother and daughter remained close until Lana’s death.

Cheryl’s novel, unsurprisingly, involves the lurid Hollywood milieu, and cops and killings. What — you expected a saga about life on an oil rig? And, it stars a real estate agent with a glamorous screen goddess as a mother. Miss Crane writes with great flourish, and has a fine eye for detail. This is only the first of a planned series of books featuring Nikki Harper, real estate agent with a nose for crime.

Miss Crane is a lovely person, a real survivor who never blamed anybody else for her problems. Are you listening, Lindsay, or are you too busy throwing cocktails across crowded rooms?

21 Responses so far.

  1. avatar wilowist says:

    Was proud of Charlie; always a certain sweetness to his character in spite of recent

    Do wish handsome Ashton Kutcher was not rocking the scruffy look.

    • avatar Jay Gentile says:

      Kutcher looks like the homeless guy that hangs aorund the bus shelter. And last night he basically played Kelso from “That 70s Show.” I watched the first episode of the rebott. Don’t plan on returning.

  2. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Are we actually celebrating Charlie Sheen behaving as if he were a reasonable human being? If he were a simple member of the Great Unwashed, we’d be fervently wishing him to be locked up somewhere that would prevent him from sullying our tender sensitivities (“porn-addict”, chronic cheater, user and abuser of prostitutes, druggie…and someone who actually makes Denise Richards look like a Saint and Actual, Real, Acceptable Parental Material). Of course he was humble and sweet…he just lost his cash cow. He wants another teet to suck. And doubtless, he’ll get one. Poor darling.

    Once again, I am darkly amused. Charlie Sheen is Genus Creepus. I don’t wonder that he repeatedly manages to gain the sympathies and tender mercies of so many women…it’s a common mentality…the same one that puts so many in hospitals, morgues…or fleeing for their lives to shelters with only the clothes on their backs. He has those sad eyes, and that winsome smile. He’d probably retain it while he was coked to the nines and terrorizing you too. He’s really just misunderstood.

    Ashton Kutcher? O, please. I’ve found all sorts of men (I have eclectic taste) interesting in my time…but Mr. Kutcher’s particular type always strikes me as being ready with a long, drawn-out whine should he not get his way. And a first class pout if the whine wasn’t successful. And he needs to eat a sandwich. And shave the fungus from his chin. And take a four-year course in acting. Attaining puberty might help as well…

    No one can be someone else. Case in point: all of the recent photographic attempts to simulate Marilyn Monroe. She was…she is no more. Her life was, in essence, a travesty and a tragedy, in a time when women has little value and less validity as human beings. In the constant attempts to somehow bring her back to life through other women there is a failure to pay tribute, and the whole business becomes a mockery as other women…women of the 21st century…desperately try to become someone who was of a another time and place that they can never fully comprehend. Why? Because it is uncomfortably close to now, and yet an anachronism. Women may play the Sex Kitten, and the Blond Bombshell…but how many actually are forced into that role publicly and privately…to the point of near destruction…for most of their lives? These young women who play at being Marilyn cannot be her, not even with the genius of Ms. Leibovitz. We need no more documentaries from some I-knew-her-back-in-the-day individual’s personal point of view. Let her rest. Give her that final respect.

    Once again. Those who would refer to me as chronically cynical regarding their favorite celestial black holes would be wise to note that I was quite the surly beast in speaking of the much vaunted and pitied Ms. Lohan when she was riding her wave of sympathy, jail time horror and rehab. O my…the darling just got righteously booted from a club for party crashing…after bribing someone to get into a venue at which she was clearly not wanted. A club. And she’s claims to have joined the ranks of self-centered stars who need constant reminders that they are perfect who have become…Scientologists.

    This people will rest.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Briana, honey…

      You were absent for a while, but I see you are back!   If only you could learn to express your true feelings forcefully.   You are so timid.


    • avatar HauntedLady says:

      Well, good to see that compassion for others is something that will never intrude on your unbridled desire to excoriate them. I don’t know what Charlie Sheen’s problem is, but it’s obvious he has a very serious one. It appears that he is trying to get himself cleaned up and straightened up. I hope he succeeds. As for Lindsay Lohan, she’s another one who is in serious need of help and deserves compassion and empathy. We don’t know anything, really, about these people’s lives, what drives them to behave as they do, what made them what they are. Remember, there but for the grace of God, go you and I.

      I don’t think anyone is trying to be someone else when they portray Marilyn Monroe, or any other celebrity, any more than someone portraying George Washington or Abraham Lincoln is, and paying tribute to someone is not an attempt to bring them back to life. It’s a compliment, an expression of esteem, that’s all.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Haunted Lady, I have plenty of compassion for others…especially those who want to help themselves. Ms. Lohan and Mr. Sheen have had more than ample, deeply compassionate, opportunities to bring themselves to a…mmm…better place. O, my, I forgot, they have had occasional brushes with the law. That would be feather brushes. For violating it. Poor dears. If they were peasant class the door would have been locked and the key thrown away a long, long time ago.

        Of course Charlie Sheen is cleaning up his act right now. He is out of a job. Lindsey is back to her old habits. And the world turns. God doesn’t have a thing to do with it, nor does grace. I am an addict and alcoholic, dry these last 26 years or so. I have been there, and I straightened myself up when I was just about the age that Ms. Lohan is right now. Sans rehab, AA (not into that whole 12-stepping, give it over to a Higher Power, you’ll most definitely relapse, it’s not in YOUR hands thing), compassion…but with plenty of nay-sayers and enablers to get in my way. And a prior life that makes for the kind of reading that gets nice people squirming and saying, “Ew…does that really happen?”. O, and early onset childhood schizophrenia, etc., completely untreated until I was 39 years old.

        Now please…I am not playing “I have it so much worse than thou”. But I also have little empathy, much less sympathy and compassion, for people who so enjoy the pleasures and advantages of their addictions and miserable behaviors that they will not take advantage of all of the wonderful help fully available to them because they are wealthy and famous and people are willing to sacrifice almost anything to throw a life line to them. For most Americans…there is no help. Private mental health care is hideously expensive…and even good insurance covers it poorly. For those without insurance? There simply aren’t even 25% of the beds needed to hold those who need mental health treatment (this includes drug addiction and alcoholism) in the public systems…and adults can only be held until they’re stabilized…then they are back on the streets, sick again. They can’t even be involuntarily committed unless they are SEEN acting in a manner that is dangerous to themselves or to others…or if they are arrested for drug use or possession, and end up in detox or a mental ward because they are in a drug-induced psychotic state. A large percentage of the homeless in the United States are mentally retarded adults (this is not a pejorative, it is an accepted use mental health term) with attendant Axis I or Axis II mental illnesses who have become addicted to alcohol or drugs through self-medicating because their families could not afford proper care for them once they turned eighteen.

        I am fortunate. I am a survivor…and I somehow managed to not end up living in a Dempsey Dumpster, with my own personal shopping cart. Or, alternatively, dead. Mostly because I didn’t want to make other people as miserable as all of the other narcissistic addicts and alcoholics in my past made all of the people around them. If I’d had people to care (and in the last 17 years, I have) it would have been so much easier. I have empathy and compassion for all of those for whom there is so little hope, who are largely forgotten, and will never be presenters smiling winsomely on the Emmy Awards, saying “Aw, shucks, please give me a thousandth chance…and another multi-million dollar contract”.

        For self-satisfied self-made losers like Charlie Sheen? Sorry, darlin’, not nearly so much.

  3. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I must say I love the headline. “A pulled-together Charlie Sheen…”  That will never happen.

    As for Alec Baldwin good for him.  Personally I wouldn’t have agreed to appear simply because Fox was airing it. I never watch Fox unless by accident when “channel-surfing” and having barely recovered from everything else found myself staring at another of Fox’s stellar commentators recently. None other than Mark Fuhrmann.  I suppose he’s a “good fit.”

  4. avatar mary burdt says:

    Charlie Sheen at no place at the Emmy’s. What were the producers of the show trying to accomplish? Giving him a forum to espouse his half hearted good wishes to the cast of Two and a Half Men was beyond ridiculous. Charlie, stay away from Hollywood for at least another year or so. Work on yourself…recovery doesn’t happen in such a short period of time. Wishing you well.

  5. avatar mary burdt says:

    Sorry, I should have said Charlie Sheen had no place on the Emmys.

  6. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    The book upon which this Monroe movie is based, is a ridiculous, obvious patching together of everything the author (or his ghost writers) had ever read about Monroe.   With “intimate” chats and confessions from MM  to this assistant to Laurence Olivier thrown in.  (As if the intimidated actress would be spending her time with somebody so close to Olivier, whom she disliked. She was too busy coming across Arthur Miller’s unflattering diary mentions of her–left conveniently open for MM to read–and having the first of her three miscarriages.)

    It’s a dire piece of work and I expect the film to be even worse.  Too bad, because Miss Williams is a wonderful actress. 

    • avatar Jody says:

      Mr. Wow…
      I hope you’re working on your next article. I can’t wait to read what you have coming next!

      I always enjoy reading You, Liz, and Margo in here. Great reading before bed!

      Cheers to you!

  7. avatar Jody says:

    Call me crazy…. I’m from Gen X and we LOVE our “Brat Pack”. I will always have a place in my heart for Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Robert Downey Jr., Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Kevin Bacon, John Cryer, John Cusack, Mathew Broderick, Sean Penn, Keifer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, James Spader… and a whole host of others. These actors defined my high school years through movies like, “The Breakfast Club”, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, “Pretty in Pink”, to just name a few. Charlie Sheen is part of this cast, and although I hated seeing him spin out of control as he did, I guess I sort of expected it. He’s not the first one from the Brat Pack, and he may not be the last. The coolest part is watching them bounce back, like Robert Downey Jr. I hope Charlie Sheen can do it too!


  8. avatar dew says:

    Everytime I see Kutcher I think Jesus Christ Superstar. Clean it up Ashton.

  9. avatar lakers says:

    OH, please doesn’t anyone remember that when Charlie Sheen was unable to work on Two and a Half Men that the crew was not able to work either and they went without paychecks during that time?  How do you spell Charlie Sheen?  D-O-U-C-H-E

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Lakers…

      Agreed that Mr. Sheen was very unprofessional.  But, this is a site aimed at women.  Let’s not use the D-word as a form of insult. 

      • avatar Rho says:

        Mr Wow, first — I enjoyed Kutcher on the program.

        Second, can you tell me why I find it hard to post, login, logout.  I’m tired of doing that.

        I have asked others, but nobody answers me,

        • avatar Mr. Wow says:

          Dear Rho…

          I don’t know.  I am challenged myself with the inticacies of thsi site and others!

          And for one thing–WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH THIS TINY FONT?!!!  I have complained endlessly. 

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        We could use enema bag. I think it describes Charlie rather nicely…and it isn’t gender specific.