Life does not always give us second chances. Sometimes, we make a decision and our path is set.
The Big Leap premiered last week on Fox. The show follows a group of underdogs who audition for a reality dance show. At the end of the season, the chosen cast will be performing a modern remake of Swan Lake. Nick Blackburn (Scott Foley) is the producer trying to repair his reputation after his previous show did not go over well. Among the contestants is Julia Perkins (Teri Polo), a middle aged former dancer who has once last chance of glory. Gabby Lewis’s (Simone Recasner) world in high school was dancing. Then she got pregnant and had to grow up. Paula Clark (Piper Perabo) spent years climbing the corporate ladder before realizing that she wanted to do more than push paper for the rest of her life.
As cliché as this program is, I liked the first couple of episodes. I like that is also exposes how far the creative team will go to get a story, even if it is not 100% accurate. But if there was one thing for me that clinched is that Gabby is not a size two. For all of us who believe that our clothing tags have to list a specific number, it is lovely and far too uncommon to see the average American woman represented on television.
My only question is, how long this show can last. If it lasts the full season and we get to the final performance, where does the narrative go? Is there enough story to proceed to further seasons?
There is no more contentious or loving relationship than there is between a mother and a daughter. The mother wishes to impart the wisdom she has learned over a lifetime while her daughter is eager to go her own way, regardless of what her mother thinks.
In the 2007 movie, Because I Said So, Daphne Wilder (Diane Keaton) has three daughters. Maggie (Lauren Graham) and Mae (Piper Perabo) are both married. That leaves Milly (Mandy Moore) as the last daughter without a ring on her finger. Overanxious and maybe a little helicopter parent-ish, Daphne turns to the internet to find Milly a boyfriend. Enter Johnny (Gabriel Macht) and Jason (Tom Everett Scott). Will Milly’s love live ever satisfy her mother and will Daphne’s daughter have a chance of convincing their mother to back down, if only for a little bit?
I like this movie. I like this movie because while there are the usual romantic elements that make up a romantic comedy, the focus is the complicated and sometimes difficult relationships between Daphne and her daughters. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I saw a little bit of my mother in Daphne, which was a little too close for comfort at points.
In the early 2000’s, Hollywood starting cranking out movies about young women who had dreams of careers in entertainment, but their dreams were stymied by life’s circumstances.
In Honey (2003), Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba) has dreams of becoming a professional choreographer. Michael Ellis (David Moscow) is a record producer who can make her dream a reality. But when Michael wants more than a professional relationship, Honey finds that her career maybe over before it has begun.
Are the critics wrong? Yes and no. Is the movie predictable and too reliant on dancing to move the plot forward? Yes. But at the end of the day, the movie is fun and harmless. Sometimes we need a movie that is fun and harmless.
In Coyote Ugly (2000), Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo) is an aspiring singer/songwriter who has just moved to New York City. Unable to start her career, she takes a job bar tending at Coyote Ugly. The owner, Lil (Maria Bello) is initially unsure about the new hire, but Violet soon comes out of her shell, both a singer/songwriter and a bar tender.
Are the critics wrong? Again, yes and no. Is Violet’s story new? Absolutely not. But Coyote Ugly is one of those movies that is perfect for a rainy weekend afternoon. It’s not Shakespeare and it’s far from Oscar worthy, but it’s not a bad way to kill a couple of hours.