Orphan and The Uninvited: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle lives on

hand that rocks cradle

When I was little, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle was one of my favorite movies. It had everything…suspense, action, even Gilbert & Sullivan. And apparently I’m not the only one who was influenced by this Rebecca DeMornay classic.

This year saw the release of two horror movies that echo themes from The Hand that Rocks the Cradle in very different ways. First there was The Uninvited

This movie seems to pose the question, what would happen if the evil nanny (or nurse in this case) got away with everything? After a troubled teen gets home from the crazy house where she spent years after a mysterious explosion killed her sickly mother, she finds that her mom’s nursemaid has now become her new mom. Creepiness ensues, and a lot of sneaking around and looking for clues to the stepmother’s past, as shown below.

THE UNINVITED

Then there’s Orphan, which is superficially reminiscent of The Bad Seed and The Good Son, but has a darker streak that is all The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.

Orphan

Esther, the titular orphan who seems to be pure evil from the beginning but somehow manages to fool everyone for a long time, sets about tearing apart the family by turning them against each other, much in the same way Peyton Flanders’ murderous nanny does in Cradle. A lot of the action also seems eerily similar, in both mood and pacing, from the violent scenes to the mother-trying-to-defend-her-family scenes.

Now might be the perfect time for a Cradle remake! Just sayin’.

Liz and Laura go to Massachusetts

Ah, glorious Northampton, home to Smith College, these things called “trees” that turned out to be quite lovely, and our dear high school friend and his boyfriend who invited us for the weekend. After several conversations that went something like this…

“We’re going to Northampton this weekend.”
“Oh, you’re going to the Hamptons? Fabulous!”
“No, not THE Hamptons. Northampton, Massachusetts.”

…we traveled to our destination and took in the town with a merry stroll.

walking 2
With plenty of small-town charm and historic-looking homes, it was easy to see why our pals (Chris and Andrew) chose to leave the confines of Manhattan for the verdant scenery and friendly faces of Northampton.

walking 3

Our delightful hosts had arranged an exotic Ethiopian feast for our visit, and we assisted in the preparations with zeal.

cooking 2

When they asked us to bring African outfits, we only half took them seriously, so we were the fools when our hosts came out in full Ethiopian regalia. Themed dinner parties are so awesome it’s not even funny, and we always like to bring our full game when it’s called for, so this was our bad. However, once the food was served, our cares melted away like so much clarified butter.

Ethiopian food

Delicious! From the injera to the lentil stew, it was a meal to remember. Stuffed and content, we pondered what to do with the rest of our evening. Luckily, a local landmark which we have previously visited called to us.

Massachusetts 052

Indeed, Ye Ol’ Watering Hole and Beer Can Museum holds a certain charm that can be matched by no other establishment. With an overwhelming classiness, beer cans of old line the walls and shelves as relics to one of our country’s most beloved pastimes. Who knew that Schlitz could be purchased in so many different sizes and varieties?

beer can museum

We somehow managed to avert out eyes from the magnificent exhibit in order to play a few rounds of pool and ogle the local studs (just kidding, it was mostly middle-aged barflies). So far, this town was treatin’ us pretty alright.

Liz pool table

With her smooth pool sharking skills, Liz was soon challenging the locals while Laura took bets. Except by locals we mean the friends we were staying with. And by bets we mean beers purchased by Liz.

Liz and Laura pool

But our friends had mentioned another bar, and the lure of variety soon proved too strong. Onward! we said.

karaoke bar

You might ask “What could possibly be more entertaining than used beer receptacles on display?” Well friends, how about an extremely poor rendition of 90’s classic “End of the Road?”

karaoke

Yes, it was Karaoke Dance night at the World War II Club…one karaoke song, five minutes of dance party, repeated. Strange but fun! But, as always seems to happen in karaoke, what seemed like a simple pop song was actually quite hard to sing. The DJ had to bail us out with the melody of this Boyz II Men classic a few times, which was kind of embarrassing. We were planning to humiliate ourselves further with a fine Alicia Keys song, but before we had a chance, karaoke night ended.

karaoke 2

As we walked home, high on the brief thrill of our mediocre performance, we thanked Northampton for showing us such a good time, and took the opportunity to strut down the alleyways like a cool West Side Story street gang.

walking night

On our last day, we took a stroll around our pals’ neighborhood. They alerted us to the fact that Calvin Coolidge’s house was but a short jaunt away, so we made that our destination.

walking 1

The rain tried to stop us, but we powered on, and finally we reached our glorious goal. It was a pretty awesome sight, what with Laura’s love of former presidents and Liz’s love of looking at historical shit.

calvin coolidge house

Well, alas, it was time to say goodbye to the lush fields of rural Massachusetts, and hello to the mean streets of New York City. A train ride filled with Samuel Adams (it’s legal to drink on the Metro North!) and popsicles was in order.

Liz Laura train

So that was our weekend in the country. Until next time, dear readers!

I need help with these Michael Musto blind items!

blindfolded

Fun times with blind items thanks to La Dolce Musto!

Which slightly horsey yet sexy young actress is a lesbian, gamely accessorized with one of those perennial girlfriend-slash-assistants? What does that say about her boyfriend?

Probably Anne Hathaway?

Which soul legend approves outfits after being presented with drawings of them in a size two? (If she says, “Uh-huh,” her designer proceeds to make them in a size 2000.)

Either Aretha or Patti LaBelle.

Which Broadway diva who didn’t get the part in that movie musical eventually telegrammed the legendary composer with, “Liked the movie. Wish her music had been better served”? (His sardonic response: “Who asked you, you fucking cunt?”)

Please tell me it’s Bebe Neuwirth.

Who once introduced herself to a theater actress by saying, “Hi, I’m [so-and-so], star of [Disney spoof movie]”? Who asked you, etc., etc.?

No idea. James Marsden (Enchanted)?

Which blonde movie star starts every shoot by scanning the set to see who’s looking at her (and therefore who wants to play fill-the-nacho)?

I really hope it’s Cameron Diaz.

Which brother who has achieved his own measure of success is a creepy egomaniac, according to some who have worked with him and don’t really care to again?

I’m guessing Eric Roberts.

Which actress who was once married to that biggie tells gossip-seeking friends, “I’m not allowed to talk about that based on the terms of our agreement,” rather than say the much simpler, “No, he’s not”?

Clearly this is referring to Nicole Kidman.

Which ’60s pop group supposedly started out as harmonic hookers in the projects?

Please say it isn’t ABBA!

Which actress was just caught doing drugs with a friend in the bathroom of an East Village bar, an act that makes perfect sense if you consider her TV show?

Mary Louise-Parker?

And this one will surely become the intelligentsia’s favorite for some time to come: What one-named star used to eat pussy at the Playboy mansion to feed her then-insatiable meth habit? Huh? I’m waiting!

Madonna? Rihanna? Hey, that rhymes.

Read the full article here

The 10 Most Popular L&L Articles in August 2009

obama on a tiger

1. Laura’s 5 Favorite (and Least Favorite) Celebrity Couples

2. The 10 Sexiest Men on TV

3. The Chuck E. Cheese characters are obvious McDonald’s ripoffs

4. In Honor of Mr. Blackwell, a Worst Dressed List

5. L Word fans–is Niki supposed to be Lindsay Lohan?

6. The Sexiest Men in Their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s

7. The 2007 Celebrity Superlatives: The Best, Worst, and Freakiest

8. 10 Things I Hate About You…the TV show?

9. I think I was a little hard on Rachael Ray

10. The 10 Most Irritating Celebrities

6 TV Shows I’m Obsessed with Right Now

1. Mad Men – The drama! The outfits! The superior feeling you get watching people living even unhealthier lifestyles than you!

Mad Men

2. The Wendy Williams Show – I can only hope I’m as fabulous as her one day, leopard skin minidresses and all.

Wendy Williams

3. Weeds – The fifth season has been extremely satisfying thus far, and I don’t even mind the presence of Alanis Morissette. Plus, that Esteban is sexy in a middle-aged gangster way.

weeds-season-5

4. The IT Crowd – This wacky British sitcom has only one flaw as far as I’m concerned, which is its distracting laugh track. Otherwise it’s totally badass.

IT Crowd

5. Dragons’ Den – This is definitely a guilty pleasure type show, but those wacky inventions and terrible business ideas sure are entertaining to watch get shot down.

dragons_den

6. Monk – Whyyy? Why must it be the final season? I don’t know how I’ll get by without Tony Shalhoub to look forward to every week.

Monk