©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:
Ice Princess

Filthy says:
"See it with a drunk, skanky friend."

A word of advice: don't go to the movies with the Harelip. Especially the late night showing of a G-rated movie that she swears to God is based on her life. My evening at the Tavern started as most Friday nights do, with a pitcher of Budweiser in front of me and some skank's ass in my face as I sat in my booth minding my own business and she lined up a shot on the lopsided pool table. It's funny, everyone knows the damn table is lopsided, and everyone knows that no matter what you do, all the balls will drain into the same corner pocket. At least the patrons know this when they're sober. By midnight, though, they're drunk and thinking they're that pro billiards lady with the shiny shirts and enormous tits on ESPN.

Everyone, that is, except the Harelip, who has always understood two laws of physics better than I ever imagined she could. She always knew that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and used that premise when making fun of haircuts. And that you can't beat gravity, which is why she hasn't worn a bra in twelve years and frequently comments on the effect of the Earth's mass and proximity on them. Something times something times something else and the radius of the earth in meters and the center of gravity of each tit, which she insists have distinct elevations, and how if she lived at the Quito, Ecuador she'd have perkier breasts.

Friday night she wouldn't shut up about Ice Princess, a teen figure skating fantasy. "It's my fuckin' story, they stole my fuckin' story," she complained to me, Sue, Worm and anyone else who would listen. Mostly we believed her like we do when she says the FBI has a man hiding under her kitchen sink. You know, the kind of believing where you nod until she shuts up and passes out in a spectacular meth-fueled burnout, face first in the pickled eggs.

But the Harelip sounded genuinely wounded. Her voice cracked with emotion, in addition to the effect of three daily packs of unfiltered Scotch Buy cigarettes. It caused me to believe she meant this complaint more than when she claimed Brother Bear was based on her life. So, after my third pitcher and before my fourth, which is the most compassionate eight minutes of my day, her claims of being robbed by Hollywood were starting to feel like a slight to me as well. She promised to pay for me to see it so she could prove her claim. Next thing I knew, I was walking past the Arva-Pride Mill to the Olde Town 14 for the last showing of Ice Princess for the night.

Which brings me back to my original point: don't go to the movies with the Harelip, even if she pays. First, because she'll tell you to suck your thumb so she can buy you a children's price ticket. She said, "If they say you don't look twelve, tell them you're retarded. That's as good as license to print money." Second, because she won't shut the fuck up. Michelle Trachtenberg is the ice princess of the title, a teen girl with a chance at a Harvard physics scholarship but who discovers that her real passion is wearing tight, outdated sparkly spandex. Fashionably I could see where the Harelip might think this was her story.

As the curtain rises on Ice Princess, Trachtenberg is deep into her studies and trying to to "personalize" her physics scholarship application thesis. See, she's a brainy nerd, and in the world of teen fantasy movies like this, the divide between nerds and everyone else is too great to bridge. So, we're supposed to believe she's trapped with her nerdy friends in baggy sweaters doing mathletics and having absolutely no social life. In these first few minutes, the Harelip leaned over to me and said, "I was hotter than that, but I was so fucking smart it'd make you puke."

Trachtenberg comes up with the idea of applying physics to figure skating. During this part of the movie, the Harelip kept jabbing me with the leather-coated bones of her fingers and hoarsely blurting, "That's me. See, that's me... I never had those shitty pants, but that's me." Even down to Trachtenberg's lesbian mother, played stridently by Joan Cusack. I didn't realize Cusack was playing a lesbian; I thought she just hated men, loved granola and only wore hemp. The Harelip explained, "She's wearing a macrame belt, for God's sake. If she's not a rug muncher, I'll put a pencil through my good eye."

In order to fully understand the physics of figure skating, Trachtenberg hangs around the skating rink and entangles herself with the overachieving junior champions and their stereotypical, hard-driving parents. She discovers first that she loves ice skating, second that she has natural talent at it, and third that the Zamboni driver is totally a dream boat. "Oh, my God," Harelip gushed, "He looks exactly like my Zamboni driver, except in real life he was 42, and had a wife and two kids. Otherwise, exactly the same. Watch, he gives her the clap later."

"Oh," the Harelip continued, simmering, "and they've totally dumbed down my physics. Aerodynamics? What the fuck? That doesn't factor in figure skating. Unified theory? These asshole writers don't know physics from the hole in their asses that shit comes out of!"

"Their assholes," I said, used to her lapses in cognitive ability.

"Not if you ask them," she spit out. "They'd tell you it's your string theory. And all her equations don't consider static and kinetic friction. They're making me sound retarded."

Trachtenberg doesn't tell her mother where she is spending several hours a day as she prepares for local competition and works in a hot dog booth to pay for lessons. You see, being a lesbian, Cusack is opposed to anything resembling pretty, feminine or pleasant. Her daughter can only pursue physics and says a lot of that shit like "What about our plan?" as though parents really say that. Even the Harelip admitted the movie took liberties with her story there. "My mother didn't give a rat's ass what I did," she said. "The only time we ever spoke was when she'd tell me to let her and her women's volleyball coach girlfriend know when their package from Xandria arrived."

After a few script contrivance complications, mostly involving the believably skanky Kim Cattrall as a sneaky mom/trainer, Trachtenberg must make her big decision. Is it to go to Harvard and hang out with other ugly, nerdy physics students? Or is it to bail on her scholarship interview, piss off her mom and compete in something called the Junior Sectional Semi-regional Quarterfinals for Figure Skating? Of course, she chooses ice skating and we're supposed to be thrilled. I mean, come on, she was into ice skating for like six whole months, and anything teenagers are into for six months they will totally be into for the rest of their lives. As we all know from the Barely Legal films and magazine, teenage girls should always trust their instincts and be impulsive. During this part of the movie, the Harelip got strangely silent. At first, I thought she had just nodded off, as I wanted to do. But then I heard the sniffling and felt her tug on my shirt as she used it to wipe her nose. The seemingly insensitive cow I had mocked for years at the Tavern was really crying.

The ending is as cornball and predictable as they come. Of course, Trachtenberg competes and stumbles because her mom isn't in the crowd. Meanwhile, ESPN apparently had no curling events to cover because they cover this amateur figure skating event. Michelle Kwan, a real-life skater playing a commentator, was the only thing that the Harelip out of her sadness. "That bitch," she snarled every time Kwan was on screen. Lo and behold, Cusack, wearing hemp trousers, hurries into the arena in the final moments and so inspired her daughter that she overcomes a nasty fall to grab second place and be catapulted to fame.

The message of Ice Princess is that every woman has only two choices: to be a lesbian and excel academically but look frumpy and have no time for hobbies or joy; or to be a girly girl who likes things as odious as figure skating, pretty dresses and acting like boy toys. There is no middle ground and you certainly can't be both academic and pretty.

It's all terribly exciting fantasy material for any really dumb girl between ten and fifteen who never has any real hope of achieving sports or intellectual greatness. It feels like a movie written expressly for the home-schooled kids; completely out of touch with reality but harmless and joyless enough to pass for entertainment. But for anyone who can figure out the plot in the first two minutes, Ice Princess is a boring slog. Trachtenberg is a plug-nosed, doe-eyed dork who is neither believable as smart nor a graceful skater. She just looks like she's about to say "Jeepers!" and whistle through her nose. Cusack's character is so harsh that it gives closeted lesbians a bad name, not to mention the harm she does to the hemp industry.

As we walked back to the Tavern, the Harelip was still crying and she sniffled, "They took some liberties, changed stuff, and they mocked my research, but the firsthour is mostly true." I doubted her and told her so. I mean, if that's the Harelip's story, why isn't she living fabulously and famously? What's she doing, drunk every night, living in squalor by the railroad tracks, occasionally prostiituting herself and practically connected to an IV of meth-amphetamine?

Through the tears, she said, "Because I chose Harvard." And then she cried even harder.

Two Fingers for Ice Princess.

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Guy Farris of WB-Las Vegas

The Pacifier is "A fresh family film with high-octanne fun!"

Ice Princess is "Perfect for the whole family!"

Filthy's Reading
Peter Gollenbock - Wild, High and Tight, the Life and Death of Billy Martin

Listening to
Soledad Brothers - Soledad Brothers


Godzilla-the Ultimate Collection