Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Popcorn - Beauty Queens

Confession time - I am a sucker for beauty pageants. I can easily spend a whole Sunday transfixed in front of the TV, sucked into the hot-mess that is Toddlers and Tiaras. I thought this week it would be fun to pay tribute to some of my favourite films featuring beauty pageants (and please share yours in the comments - I love film recommendations!) so here are three one-hundred word reviewlettes:

Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
Directed by Michael Patrick Jann
A clever mockumentary following a small Minnesota town's annual teen beauty pageant. Kirsten Dunst is Amber Aktkins, a girl who hopes the pageant will get her out of the trailer park and help her follow in the footsteps of her idol, Diane Sawyer. Her main competition is Rebecca Leeman (Denise Richards), who's 'performance' in the talent portion of the contest is just so completely laughable and cringeworthy (no seriously, a crucified Jesus is involved). I'm happy to admit I've seen this more than a handful of times, and its combo of dark comedy and pageantry glitz is a winner.
Elvis and Anabelle (2007)
Directed by Will Geiger

I stumbled upon this on cable one afternoon and really enjoyed it (and was actually surprised it never had a theatrical release - though it kind of straddles the line between a commercial and arthouse film). Max Minghella is Elvis, a lonely undertaker running his father's business and Blake Lively is Anabelle, a bulimic beauty queen who carks it on stage after winning her biggest title. There's also a (non-zombie) resurrection involved. I'm not a romance-y kinda gal, but I love the way the relationship between Elvis and Anabelle develops and the way the film explores death. Definitely recommended.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

I love, love, love this film! The Hoover family travel via VW bus from New Mexico to California so that Olive (Abigal Breslin) can take part in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. This is such a fresh and enjoyable film, even though family dysfunction and road trips are certainly not new territory on-screen. Every performance in Little Miss Sunshine is just spot on (it always makes me think that Steve Carrell needs to do more serious roles). I find it even more amusing after having since discovered the gem that is Toddlers and Tiaras. It also features the most life-affirming dance sequence ever. Watch it!


Nomes said...

oh ~ elvis and annabelle is one of my faves. just love that movie for some reason. i like those random art house vibe movies more than hollywood's big screen offerings :)

hope you're having a fab week!

Leanne said...

There is a really amazing (and disturbing - think Jon Benet Ramsay) doco called Living Dolls that shows up on SBS sometimes. I'll have to check out Toddlers & Tiaras. It looks terrifying/fascinating!

La Dash said...

Drop Dead Gorgeous is the most underrated teen movie (followed in close second by She's the Man). With a wonderful cast including Allison Janney and a young Amy Adams, it always leaves you with a giant case of the giggles. Amazing!

Miss Friday said...

Nomes - yay, glad you love it :)

Leanne - oh my goodness, is that the one with Swan Bronner? I have totally seen it - I'm kind of obsessed - it's sad I know....

La Dash - Definitely agree and I think Amy Adams got her role in Junebug from her performance in DDG :)

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