Friday, May 06, 2005

PETA, G-CAPP, J-Lo, Jane, Mom and Me

My mom picked me up from my office at 4:30 yesterday, and we immediately headed down toward the Fox for "Monster-in-Law." I asked Mom which famous people she wanted to see, and she said "Ted Turner," which I personally didn't understand - though I guess Mom likes money.

We parked the same place we always do, walked the short distance we always do and ended up in front of that grand awning once again. A woman walked by my mother with a neatly groomed, purple-painted poodle in tow.

My mom told the lady her dog looked really cute and asked her where she got the dog's paint job done.

I asked the lady a tongue-twister.

"You're walking that purple poodle past the PETA people?"

The lady said she wasn't with PETA and, of course, she would walk the dog past them. The PETA protestors were stationed right by the old Will Call window, to the left of the cordoned-off red carpet area.

I held on to the shoulder of Mom's neat, black pinstriped suit (technically riding her coattails, I guess) as we fought our way past the bloody animal photos. The guy holding the plastic model of the bleeding, skinned puppy dog caught my mom's attention, but she quickly shuffled past him. (She kept mispronouncing the group "petta," instead of giving the name a long "e." And she kept telling me that "those PETTA people are psychos.")

The real Will Call window was toward the back, through hundreds of people, but Mom's a trooper. Mom led the way through because she's short and could shoulder-pad her way past ladies in couture without apology. She was basically unmoved by sights of glitter, though plentiful cleavage was displayed throughout the crowded gallery.

My mom kept watching for crowds and camera crews, though, trying to see if she could catch a glimpse of someone famous on the red carpet over her shoulder. We never saw anyone out there, thanks to the hordes of people congregated around any sign of lights-camera-action.

We got to the real Will Call window, tried to discern if there was any real line there. I accidentally stepped on a woman's open-toed, sequined shoe, and Mom and I finagled our way in front of her.

"Sorry," I said to the lady.

"It's my fault," she said back. "I put my foot under yours. You didn't put yours on top of mine."

Another lady in line with us, wearing this puffy, turquoise jacket and this plastered, fake, real-estate-agent smile, was sent away by the ticket booth for not having her credit card. I loved that.

Once we got our tickets, we headed directly for the door of the theater.

"I just want to get in and sit down," Mom said. "I don't really care about seeing J-Lo. I just like the Fox."

So we went inside, and there was breathing room. Instead of lingering in the lobby to catch a glimpse of Dallas Austin or the beautiful Michael Vartan (who, I found out later, had to work on ALIAS and conspicuously wasn't there ... although I thought ALIAS already wrapped for the season), Mom and I found our aisle seats. Then, we headed to the lobby, grabbed some refreshments and sat back down, gabbing about what people were wearing as they walked by.

"I can see right through her dress," Mom said silently about a random lady who limped by while nursing her ankle.

One of the ushers helped that lady, telling the injured limper that she could lessen the pain of leg cramps by pinching the divot just under her nose. The usher said that home remedy was in Ann Landers. Mom and I misunderstood and almost offered the cramp lady a napkin for her apparent nosebleed.

When the seats finally filled and the program began, Jane Fonda came out from behind the red curtain on the stage, looking really good in this white jacket and ruffled gown. There was much applause, particularly when Jane said that this crowd was larger than the L.A. premiere's crowd and when Jane called Atlanta her hometown.

Our seats were OK, so Mom, wearing her glasses, got a pretty good look at Jane's outfit.

"She looks AMAZING," said my finally star-struck mother. "I wish I'd brought my digital camera."

When Jennifer Lopez came out in this short, pink-looking dress, there was more applause, of course. And I got a little excited because, as I admitted a couple days ago, I'm a fan. And, even though she was on a stage and I was in the aisle, it was really cool because, I dunno, she was right there.

Then they trotted out all the famous people, each of them getting applause - though there were audible boos when Jane announced that Michael Vartan wasn't there.

The 20-minute G-CAPP speech and presentation, which I figured would happen, kinda annoyed my mom. She just wanted to see "Monster-in-Law," not hear about some pregnant 13-year-old girl who made the Honor Roll.

"If that girl had been really smart, she wouldn't have gotten pregnant," my mom said.

"Mom, she's 13," I reasoned. "She's a kid, and she just made some really bad choices."

Mom rolled her eyes during the film about G-CAPP's housing initiatives for teen mothers.

"Why don't they show us some girls who actually listened to the G-CAPP arguments on safe sex and abstinence and didn't get pregnant?" Mom asked.

"Because their stories aren't as visual," I told her. "It's a documentary."

After the documentary, of course, the movie started. And, during the opening credits, one of the PETA people who'd managed to get inside yelled out something like "KILLER!" every time Jennifer Lopez appeared onscreen. Thankfully, the ushers put an end to that quickly.

Jane and her two dates, Big Boi and Dallas Austin, actually came into the theater during the opening credits and, I believe, watched the whole movie. Or, at least, most of it. (I figure that, once you're in a movie, you manage to see it in parts about three-dozen times before the actual premiere, so I didn't actually expect the stars to, you know, watch the movie.)

Since it was Jane's big comeback, though, and it was her fundraiser, I guess she felt it necessary to watch "Monster-in-Law." Thank God she was there, though, because her scenery-chewing, over-the-damn-top, broadly comic performance is HILARIOUS.

My mom said herself, "I never much agreed with her politics, but Jane Fonda is a GREAT actress. That was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and she should get an Oscar for it. She stole that whole movie. And I liked J-Lo, too. I thought she was sweet."

Maybe it was because I was in a good crowd (which I understand can influence the experience), but "Monster-in-Law" came off as a really, really funny movie. There were about a dozen laugh-out-loud moments, and it's the best Jennifer Lopez movie I've seen in a long time. And you get more fight scenes (real and imagined) than I thought possible. And Wanda Sykes, though her asides were planted a few times too many, has great delivery. Michael Vartan, sadly, doesn't get much to do besides look really good.

Mom walked out of the theater and called the whole experience a blast. Even though we didn't see Ted Turner or Michael Vartan in person.

It was lots and lots of fun - stepping on toes, watching PETA go crazy, getting to see celebrities and also getting to laugh out loud alongside my mother.

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