Man Watches 'Sex and the City'

Daniel Holloway of US Weekly and Metro stops by to tell us what is and isn't worth seeing in theaters this weekend. Out today: Sex in the City, The Foot Fist Way, and Savage Grace.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Thanks, Mark Garrison. So, you know, the week here at the BPP sometimes is akin to a desert. You're dropped into the middle of it on Monday and it is hot, and there are snakes and there are cacti, and you begin crawling slowly, slowly out. And then you see upon the horizon, Daniel Holloway. And if you see Daniel, you know it's Friday, and you are almost out of the desert. But sometimes you see him, and you find strength to stand, and you run to him and he vanishes like a mirage. It is a trick of the mind, a Daniel hologram.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Oh, we're cracking ourselves up. But you are here now in real life!

DANIEL HOLLOWAY: I am life...

MARTIN: Daniel!

HOLLOWAY: I am the light at the end of the tunnel.

MARTIN: I - honestly, you were seriously the light at the end of my tunnel today.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLLOWAY: This week has just - I'm just going to be clean. It's just been a long week, and I thought, if I can only make it to the movie segment with Daniel, all will be righted in my world. So, no pressure, but...

HOLLOWAY: Imagine if you hadn't made it. I would've come in here and you would've been passed out at the microphone, and I would've had to do this myself.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Yeah.

HOLLOWAY: What do you think of "Sex and the City," Daniel?

MARTIN: Oh, but I do not want to miss that conversation, because we - I mean, we haven't really been talking about it, because most everyone on the BPP staff hates it! That's right, you hate it! Haters, haters!

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: But today is Rachel's day. I got left in front of the microphone all by myself, so we're going to talk about it. "Sex and the City" is released this weekend.

(Soundbite of song "Sex and the City Theme")

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: And we're only playing that music to annoy you, Daniel.

HOLLOWAY: It's pretty - yeah.

MARTIN: I know. The film adaptation of the beloved...

HOLLOWAY: You get shivers.

MARTIN: The beloved HBO series about four women wearing expensive shoes, talking about sexual intercourse. Let's listen - let's just get fully in the mood. Here's Carrie telling the girls about her new place with her beau, Big.

(Soundbite of movie "Sex and the City")

Ms. SARAH JESSICA PARKER: (As Carrie) And I got it. Just like that. You know, like, I got it. Like he was picking up a check for coffee or something.

Ms. KRISTIN DAVIS: (As Charlotte) It sounds so perfect.

Ms. PARKER: (As Carrie) Except for the closet, which Big says he can redo. And also he says the kitchen needs work. Of course, I don't know about that, because I keep sweaters in my stove.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CYNTHIA NIXON: (As Miranda) So he bought it and you'll live there with him.

Ms. PARKER: (As Carrie) Yes. Together. That's right.

Ms. NIXON: (As Miranda) But he'll own it. So you're keeping your own place, right?

Ms. PARKER: (As Carrie) Oh, Miranda. I haven't figured out the details yet, but I'm a smart girl. I'm sure I'll figure out something that I'm very comfortable with.

Ms. NIXON: (As Miranda) I just want to be sure that you're being smart here.

Ms. PARKER: (As Carrie) And I love you for that, but for now, can't you stop worrying for me, and just go ahead and feel what I want you to feel? Jealous! Oh, jealous of me living in this gorgeous penthouse in Manhattan!

Ms. NIXON: (As Miranda) All right, I'm jealous.

Ms. PARKER: (As Carrie) Oh, thanks.

Ms. NIXON: (As Miranda) You live in real estate heaven, and I live in Brooklyn.

Ms. DAVIS: (As Charlotte) New York Magazine said Brooklyn is the new Manhattan.

Ms. NIXON: (As Miranda) Oh, whoever wrote that lives in Brooklyn.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: OK, that's annoying, and I even like "Sex and the City." So the line on this one says, women will go. Men won't. You're a guy. You went. But you had to, right?

HOLLOWAY: I had to, yeah, and...

MARTIN: Is the gender divide on this one artificial, or is it real?

HOLLOWAY: You know, it's somewhat...

(Soundbite of song "Sex and the City Theme")

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLLOWAY: Jeez!

(Soundbite of laughing)

HOLLOWAY: Come on!

MARTIN: They're all totally cracking up! Keep talking, Daniel. You're a professional.

HOLLOWAY: I can't talk!

MARTIN: You're a professional.

HOLLOWAY: I'm shaking with anger.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLLOWAY: I'm not a professional. I'm just - I'm like...

MARTIN: Focus.

HOLLOWAY: You know what this movie has taught me?

MARTIN: What?

HOLLOWAY: This movie - I...

MARTIN: You can do it. Power through.

HOLLOWAY: OK.

MARTIN: This movie has taught you...?

HOLLOWAY: Focus. This movie has taught me...

MARTIN: (Whispering) Need to find some Manolos.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLLOWAY: What it feels...

MARTIN: That what? What have you learned?

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLLOWAY: This movie has taught me what it must feel like to be a woman, who doesn't care about "Star Wars," when a "Star Wars" movie comes out.

MARTIN: Except I care about "Star Wars," and I care about "Sex and the City."

HOLLOWAY: And I used to care about "Sex and the City," until...

MARTIN: Until it was a movie?

HOLLOWAY: No, until they started showing the reruns on TBS over and over again. I've now seen every episode 43 times.

MARTIN: So that's what I think this is about.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah.

MARTIN: Everyone's saturated.

HOLLOWAY: It's saturation.

MARTIN: But let's talk critically about the film. Is it a good movie or not?

HOLLOWAY: No.

MARTIN: It is not?

HOLLOWAY: It is not a good movie.

MARTIN: Why?

HOLLOWAY: For all the reasons that the end of the show was bad. And we'll just talk as if, you know - because if you haven't seen...

MARTIN: I never saw those later seasons, too.

HOLLOWAY: Really?

MARTIN: And I've heard that they were not so awesome.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah, they're not so awesome, because the show turns around. And the whole show is based on this idea they're, you know, strong, independent New York women, and you know, they're empowered by their sexuality and by the fact that they have, like, a credit card with a billion-dollar limit, and they can go off and buy Jimmy Choo shoes as if they were buying those 50-cent baubles out of the thing in the checkout line.

MARTIN: She's a poor (ph) writer by the way, too. I never got that.

HOLLOWAY: She will - yeah, she writes for the New York Post or something. I used to write for a newspaper. I couldn't afford to buy sandwiches.

MARTIN: I buy Keds knockoffs in public radio. I mean, how is she affording that? I don't know.

HOLLOWAY: I don't know. But anyway, it turns around. The idea that was presented there in the show, gets kind of turned around at the end of the last season. And all these women end up like paired off with their happily-ever-afters. And this movie is taking that idea that - it's subverting the original idea of the show, which is that you don't really need a man to make you happy. Like, your friends will make you happy, and getting laid will make you happy. Buying stuff will make you happy. And you can debate the, you know, the pros and cons of that idea. But it was never about men making you happy.

MARTIN: Yeah.

HOLLOWAY: And this movie, like the end of the series, is about men making women happy, and women not being able to be happy without men.

MARTIN: I hate men, personally.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah, I hate them, too.

MARTIN: Yeah.

HOLLOWAY: I hate myself.

MARTIN: We could talk about this for many, many moments.

HOLLOWAY: But let's not!

MARTIN: But we're not going to. We're going to move on. We're going to move on. We're going to talk about "The Fist" - no, "The Foot Fist Way," which looks totally hilarious.

HOLLOWAY: Yes.

MARTIN: This is a comedy about taekwondo. Let's set the scene a little bit with a clip from the film. It's a new student meeting with dojo master Fred Simmons.

(Soundbite of movie "The Foot Fist Way")

Unidentified Actress: (As taekwondo student) I just moved to the area, and I was looking for some sort of workout.

Mr. DANNY R. MCBRIDE: (As Fred Simmons) What you want is taekwondo. It's got everything, mental, physical.

Unidentified Actress: (As taekwondo student) That's good, because when I was in school abroad, I really got into yoga. And that's a lot of breathing techniques and meditation.

Mr. MCBRIDE: (As Fred Simmons) Meditation's terrific and all, but never heard of it saving anyone from a gang-rape-type situation. Meditate on that.

MARTIN: Can I just say really quick that - I was in Baghdad for a little while, and I was doing a story on this taekwondo center, this dojo in the middle of Camp Fallujah.

HOLLOWAY: Uh-huh.

MARTIN: And this scene totally resonated with me, because the guy who was leading the class was like, let me show you, Rachel. And he had me down there, and I'm sniggering the whole time, because he's kind of between my legs teaching me this move. And he's like, it's not going to be funny when this guy rapes you. This dude, this is very odd. This is strange.

HOLLOWAY: You're the only person in America who's going to be reminded of your Baghdad experience by this movie.

MARTIN: Anyway, let's not dwell on that. This film seems totally hilarious. It has some very funny people behind it, too, right? Will Ferrell.

HOLLOWAY: Ah, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay produced the movie. But it was - it had already been made and screened at Sundance. However, you can see why they were attracted to it, because on a lot of levels, it's basically a Will Ferrell sports comedy. Danny McBride, who plays the dojo master, is basically playing a Will Ferrell jock, in that he's oafish and has a really inflated opinion of himself. And this is funny. The difference between this movie and those movies is that this one is, you know, it's a rather small, indie and...

MARTIN: And Will Ferrell's not in it.

HOLLOWAY: Will Ferrell's not in it. There's no one of any, like, name-recognition value in the film. But - so it has a little bit more of a grittiness to it. And it's also weird. It's really weird. And there are moments in the film where I was reminded of, like, not early, like, Scat John Waters, but like later, sort of like "Hairspray" John Waters, where there's still a lot of weirdness to it, but there's also like a commercial element to it.

This movie has that quality. Jacob Ganz and I were actually talking about it last week, because he saw it. And he said that the movie, like, turns around. And I thought this was a really good point that it turns around sometime around the third act, when it starts becoming just about how awesome taekwondo is.

MARTIN: Yeah, like the sport itself . Whereas a lot of those Will Ferrell movies, the sport is the wallpaper for Will Ferrell bizarreness.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah.

MARTIN: And this one, the sport actually gets to take center stage.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah, it all of a sudden becomes a lot about, like, how awesome it is to break a board with your head, which is awesome! So, I mean, I'm not...

MARTIN: It is totally awesome.

HOLLOWAY: This is the movie that if you're lucky enough to have it play in the city that you live in, when you take your girlfriend to see "Sex and the City," sneak out, go see "The Foot Fist Way," and "Sex and the City" is also like four and a half hours long.

MARTIN: No, it's not.

HOLLOWAY: So you can sneak back in. She'll just think you went to the bathroom.

MARTIN: Is it really that long?

HOLLOWAY: It is 148 minutes long.

MARTIN: Wow.

HOLLOWAY: Like I expected...

MARTIN: See, we're back on it.

HOLLOWAY: We were, like, in the middle of the second act. I was like, oh, well, at least I'm going to be done soon. I can go home and watch "Transformers" on DVD. It'll be great.

MARTIN: See, you can't help yourself. It's still - it's permeated your subconscious. OK, let's try to move on. "Savage Grace." This is not a funny movie.

HOLLOWAY: No.

MARTIN: No, it's not.

HOLLOWAY: There's nothing funny about this movie.

MARTIN: It is not at all. This is about rich people behaving very badly. Their moral center has been eroded by money. Is there any - is there a larger message? Do you learn anything? Do you become a better person? Are you even entertained?

HOLLOWAY: There is an element of camp to it that can be somewhat entertaining. But the movie is essentially, you know, it's about incest and other things among rich people. And it's treated in this tabloid way. I think it's not a - it's kind of a bad movie.

MARTIN: Really?

HOLLOWAY: Yeah. But I think it's not an impossible movie to enjoy. I think it's going to be a movie that's going to be based on personal preference for a lot of people.

MARTIN: Let's listen to a bit of this. Here's Barbara, played by a great actress, Julianne Moore, explaining life to her son. Let's listen.

(Soundbite of movie "Savage Grace")

Ms. JULIANNE MOORE: (As Barbara Baekeland) Some people's fathers, some people's mothers, they have to go to an office, or a factory, or a store, I guess, every day. But we are fortunate, because what we do, is what we love. What does Francois' father do?

Mr. BARNEY CLARK: (As Tony Baekeland) He works.

Ms. MOORE: (As Barbara Baekeland) Well, we work. I mean, Father worked, Nini worked. There was no other way. I kind of had to raise myself. Then I worked, too. (unintelligible). Then when I could, I left. Just left. Nini wanted what was best for me, only what was best for me. Find a mun (ph), she'd say. She meant man, I guess, and she meant money. The rich, they don't have pet names for money.

MARTIN: Mm. Julianne Moore. I mean, I have high hopes. I like her.

HOLLOWAY: It's actually a good movie for actors. There's not - it's not a - it's a very flawed movie. It's not a completely terrible movie. Just some background, real quick.

MARTIN: Yeah.

HOLLOWAY: It's about the heirs to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Julianne Moore plays a woman of sort of, not - I think lower-middle-class woman who marries into the family. And it's about Brooks Baekeland. And she plays Barbara Baekeland. And their son, Tony, who's an only child and ends up, basically - he and his mother get to the point where they're having a relationship, and this ends badly. It's a true story, and it's - I don't want to spoil anything - but also it's out there on the record, so anyone who's interested can look up what happens. It is a sad story, but I think it's a little - it's played a little too camp in this film.

MARTIN: OK. There are some other people who have just walked into the studio.

HOLLOWAY: I've noticed that.

MARTIN: Yeah, I know, Trisha, Dan.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: Hello.

DAN PASHMAN: Hi.

MARTIN: We have a couple of minutes. I would like to engage you in civil debate.

PASHMAN: OK.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Let's bring it on back to "Sex and the City" for another two minutes! We had such a...

(Soundbite of song "Sex and the City Theme")

(Soundbite of groaning)

MARTIN: That's right. That's what I was waiting for.

PASHMAN: My soul is sinking.

MCKINNEY: Oh, he's crying.

HOLLOWAY: This - this is going to give me Tourette's.

MARTIN: I know, I'm sorry. We have to do it. And we're never going to talk about it again, ever, as of Monday. So we might as well get it out of our systems.

HOLLOWAY: Until they make the sequel.

MARTIN: Until they make the - well, we won't talk about it then either.

MCKINNEY: We had such a heated debate in our editorial meeting, and you were just telling me that you and your wife actually had some very impassioned discussions about this film.

HOLLOWAY: We did. It was very impassioned. And our opinions don't diverge that much. As I said, I used to like the show. I'm not coming at it from a this-show-is-complete-garbage point of view. I'm coming at it from a this-show-turned-around-and-got-spoiled point of view, and the movie is like that. She's just like, no, it's great.

MARTIN: Dan, in 20 seconds, why do you hate this?

PASHMAN: I mean, I think Daniel said it really well. Basically, the show used to be about this idea that women don't need men, and in the end, they completely sold out on that basic principle, and they all ended up with men. And I actually interviewed Candace Bushnell, and - the creator of the show, and basically called her on that. And she was like, I'm - uh - I'm - uh - I'm - uh - I'm - uh - I'm - uh - and she had no answer to that criticism.

MARTIN: Trish McKinney.

MCKINNEY: OK, I've not seen the film. But I have seen every...

MARTIN: That does not stop us!

(Soundbite of laughter)

MCKINNEY: I have seen every episode of this series. Against my own better judgment, I've seen every episode of this series. And I have to take it back to Darren Star. I know we don't have a lot of time, but Darren Star, who also created "Beverly Hills 90210" and created the series, has this somehow - has this ability to make me watch every episode of a show about people I find completely repellant. So, to me, this isn't so much a male-female thing. I might take it back to like a city-country thing, being a country person. I just find these people shallow and difficult to like in any way.

MARTIN: I totally agree with you on that. I think it was really - it was, at times, very difficult to empathize. But being from the country myself, I didn't find it - I was - I found them vulnerable, I found them very flawed, and I found that interesting to watch as they, kind of, fell down into their own...

PASHMAN: Slowly realized that they couldn't be happy without men.

MARTIN: Slowly unraveled. Well, maybe.

PASHMAN: That's what really happened.

MARTIN: And so, c'est la vie. I mean, I don't think they're trying to make any larger statement. But maybe they are and that's why people get upset.

MCKINNEY: They're not real at all in any way. But for some reason, they've been shoved down our throats as real.

MARTIN: See, I think they are...

PASHMAN: I think it's interesting that men say that this is basically an insult to women's lib. And women are like, this show is awesome.

MCKINNEY: I must not be a woman.

PASHMAN: That's the problem.

MARTIN: See, we could talk about this for hours.

PASHMAN: I'm a woman.

MCKINNEY: I'm a half woman.

HOLLOWAY: Bryant Park Project hour three coming up!

MARTIN: You're totally Miranda. Daniel's so Carrie. That does it for this hour of the Bryant Park Project. Don't go away. We're online all the time, npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Rachel Martin. This is the BPP from NPR News.

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