The Serving of Olivia Wilde at CinemaCon (2022)
Olivia Wilde gets served by Sudeikis at CinemaCon, Lady Gaga wants you to hold her hand, Alexa Demie has a secret, Beanie Feldstein falls on her Fanny, and more rated Top Shelf to Low Brow!
Well, here we are again, girls! Our little secluded meeting spot, tucked away in the thicket of the internet, against the gentle trickling stream of emails cascading down your inbox. Did you bring all the supplies I asked for—a fried bologna sandwich, a bottle of rosé, a bottle of fauxsé, four black and white cookies, a tennis ball, a nail gun, a copy of Ciara’s debut album Goodies, and fake passport? Oh, you forgot the fourth black and white cookie? Well, so be it, we’ll make do without. Alright, let’s get into it.
Top Shelf, Low Brow: April 22nd-April 28th
Don’t Worry Darling, We’ll Serve You Regardless of Location
Sometimes, the particles of the universe accelerate, converge, and form into something so magnificent that even science struggles to explain it—case in point: Olivia Wilde being served custody papers sent from her ex, Jason Sudeikis, while onstage at CinemaCon presenting the film where she met Harry Styles, the enigmatic force who she was conveniently spotted canoodling with days after Sudeikis and Wilde confirmed their split. Events like this make all the toil of being a pop culture writer—in theory, study, and practice—absolutely worth it. This is why I have student loans and a degree from a (great) state school (Hunter College—did we have a mascot? I want to say The Broken Elevators?—make some noise!) in Media Criticism & Analysis collecting dust somewhere in my home.
In the middle of her presentation for Don’t Worry Darling, her new psychological thriller starring Styles and Florence Pugh, Wilde was reportedly approached by a woman in the audience holding an envelope. Slipping it onstage, Wilde asked, “This is for me?” before popping out the first page, reading its contents, and quickly moving on. Before more details were revealed, The Hollywood Reporter’s headline called it “a mystery envelope,” as if it were some sort of promotional stunt to tie in with the film. Nope! Just custody papers!
It has become immediately and deliciously clear that there is a much more messy story going on behind the scenes of what had seemed to be a mostly amicable parting between Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde—not that you can call being photographed holding hands with your playboy star actor a month after your split and then schlepping bags into his home shortly after that “drama-free,” but still! But if you’re being served custody papers onstage at an event where you’re being billed as a presenter, you’ve been dodging this for a long time already. That process server got her where they knew she would be! Where she couldn’t run or hide! And they delighted in every messy minute of it (while, yes, okay, also doing their job). And who am I not to enjoy the theatre of the rich and famous? I have physical copies of multiple Ciara albums but I’ll be damned if I don’t howl like a hyena every time I see this video of her being served onstage at LA Pride. She may have dodged lube flying through the air and the scent of poppers, but she could not dodge the messiest queen of them all: the judicial court system.
Beyond that, I hold my tongue for now! Some are saying that Olivia Wilde missed her son’s 9th birthday party while she was partying at Coachella with Harry, and while those dates certainly are close together (Harry’s first headlining weekend was April 15-17th and her son’s birthday was April 20th), it’s simply not right for me to speculate on that level with no evidentiary support. Planes go fast! That’s a fact of science. She could’ve made it! I will say that this whole ordeal certainly gives the “Leave America, two kids follow her” lyric from Harry’s latest single, “As It Was,” an even more rich yet bewildering tapestry of context.
Meanwhile, I adore the deluge of quote retweeters and media bloggers treating this like it was a ferocious attack on Wilde. It’s just a process server doing their job. Serving a slippery recipient isn’t an easy task by any means. Doesn’t anyone watch Dateline marathons while holed up in hotels anymore? Just me? It’s also worth highlighting that process servers tend to make every effort to contact and connect with someone in every other way prior to making it a public spectacle like this. But when you’re following your boyfriend on his recent world tour, it can be a little hard to track you down!
Really, there are no winning parties in a story like this. Everyone’s hurting or embarrassed. It’s traumatic! But I do think it’s worth noting, once again, that Wilde went from Jason Sudeikis (hot) to Harry Styles (hot). That has to count for something.
(Rating: Top Shelf)
Hold My Hand While We Fight Against the Military-Industrial Gagaplex
Much in the way that Hester Prynne was cast out by a society of her own for being a sexy, defiant little wench (I have not read The Scarlet Letter, but I have seen Easy A, and Penn Badgley’s chest covered in blue paint told me all I need to know), I am being relentlessly dogged online by my friends because of a lack of excitement surrounding Lady Gaga’s theme for the fucking Top Gun sequel.
When I reposted the single cover for “Hold My Hand” with the caption “can’t believe I have to pretend to care about this,” it was as if I set fire to the childhood homes of all of my friends with their families still inside and then proceeded to eat their loved ones like barbecue right before their eyes. It was like I said child labor laws should be thrown out and we should get kids into the Amazon factories instead of schools. I hit post on that story and immediately had three close friends hit me back within sixty seconds saying “PRETEND?” Like, okay, yes? I’m supposed to be bouncing off the walls to hear my favorite pop star screaming over a song about the Air Force, whatever that is? Sorry if I’m a little trepidatious. Yes, I’m quite aware that Top Gun’s original theme was “Take My Breath Away.” No, I can’t name any other lyric in that song besides the title and its melody. Yes, I do know that Gaga will not be able to compete with Jessica Simpson’s 2004 cover.
The thing about grand, hyper-cinematic movie themes is that it’s not an easy task to make something that can be listened to anytime, removed from its context completely. The big songs in A Star is Born actually managed to accomplish that lofty goal—can lightning strike twice in a bottle? Lady Gaga doesn’t need another big movie moment right now, Top Gun needs her. And now we’re saddled with the burden of the song having to be good, or it’s doomed to live in the shadow of its predecessor forever. While I trust Gaga to do right by the song (especially since it has had the chance to be perfected through the film’s many pandemic-related release delays), that doesn’t mean I have to be chomping at the bit. I still owe her one slight for canceling my signed Chromatica CD after eleven months of waiting.
But my fellow members of the Gaga standom have no reservations. We became Soccer Moms for Joanne, Starbucks Scammers for A Star is Born, and now? Military Wives for Top Gun: Maverick. As toxic and disgusting as fandom can be, Gaga fans always remind me that they’re as creative, cunning, and totally absurdly stupid as their #1.
Thank God for these PATRIOTS! God bless the U-S-of-A and the G-A-G-A!
Anyway, will I love the song? With my whole heart! I could do nothing less, and frankly, it’s insulting for those closest to me to think otherwise. But what I really can’t wait for is the mini promotional tour where Gaga will inevitably claim: “I used to listen to ‘Take My Breath Away’ all the time when I was a kid, so being asked to record this song was such a huge honor for me. I considered joining the Air Force when I dropped out of NYU, but then pursued singing instead.”
(Rating: If I rate this Low Brow, what’re you gonna do…be mad? Why don’t you go stream “Is That Alright?” and maybe you’ll calm down a bit)
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but I think now that we’ve lost Stefani to the military, we’re safe to rely on Julia Fox
While we endure the drought of Lady Gaga going through her second Patriotic Era—the first was when she sang The National Anthem at the Super Bowl and then got zooted out of her gourd and said, “I’m Italian and, you know, European, so for me, it was just like a such uh, it was such uhhh…honor as an American”)—we thankfully have Julia Fox slowly morphing into her tethered to keep us entertained.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again over and over: Julia Fox really is playing the game better than any other celebrity right now. Stomping through New York in Gaga-esque, 10-inch heels and a gorgeous silk slip dress? Come on. My god! How can you not scream about this?
(Rating: Top Shelf)
Bake some banana bread for your mom to sneak into the AMC theater nearest to you…
By the looks of it, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is essentially the MCU for gay boys who enjoy a little Sunday afternoon matinee with their parents! And by MCU, I, of course, mean the Manville Cinematic Universe. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, based on a beloved novel from the 1950s which I had never heard of until just moments ago, stars Lesley Manville as the titular Mrs. Harris, a widowed woman who becomes obsessed with Dior couture and makes a pilgrimage to Paris to buy a dress. There, she must face off against Isabelle Huppert while rubbing elbows with the hot guy from Emily in Paris and the hot guy from Catwoman (2004, the only version).
This particular subgenre, which has no name but can be defined as Esteemed Actresses Having a Little Fun & Making Something Sweet for the Gay Kids, has not been this alive since Frances McDormand and Amy Adams hiked up their skirts for a day of leisure and fun alongside Lee Pace in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I’m telling you, there’s a pattern here. This is a genre, and we need more of these films! Wholesome, feel-good nonsense. If I don’t see more movies where someone who thinks they know it all wags a finger at a woman of a certain age, only for her to defy conventions and come out on top with the power of courage and kindness, I’m going to go absolutely fucking psycho.
(Rating: Top Shelf)
It is me, Alexa Demie, now you must answer my riddles three
I am so beyond obsessed with this photo of Alexa Demie at a For Your Consideration screening of Euphoria last week. Her plastered-down, whisper of a Liza bang. Her 73-degree head turn. Her impish little smile! She’s got a sexy, silly little secret, and she’ll only tell you if you guess the answer to her riddle. Maybe it’s that she did indeed kneecap all of the other girls at The Madonna Biopic Bootcamp. Maybe she did throw a Showgirls string of pearls beneath their unassuming heels, clearing the competition so she could play the Queen of Pop—something she’d be able to do with great skill, as her own age is still (mostly) a total mystery. Was she 21 during the Ray of Light era? We simply will never know, but her smile certainly implies a bevy of secrets hovering behind a silly goose nature.
(Rating: Top Shelf)
An absolutely monumental week for annoying people on Twitter
Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter on Monday afternoon for a cool $45 billion (just under the cost of my 550sq. foot New York apartment) was a free invitation for the most obnoxious people you’ve ever met to practice mounting their high horse to ride bareback into the sunset of self-congratulation. False cries of, “Oh my god, how will we ever continue? Where will we go now?” from people who still have active Facebook accounts and live and die by their Amazon Prime accounts.
For some, this was just simply the last straw, a golden opportunity to finally remove themselves from their self-imposed tenure on “this hellsite!!!!!!” It only took a billionaire to buy it for billions, as if former CEO Jack Dorsey isn’t a billionaire. Like please save the pseudo-intellectual virtue signaling. Of course, Jameela Jamil was quick to chuck the deuces.
Elsewhere, Real Housewife of Beverly Hills and prolific campfire tale spinner Erika Jayne took to the platform not to announce that she’d be leaving, but rather to launch one of the stupidest and funniest tweets I’ve ever seen in my perennially-online life.
Imagining her saying this in her voice that always sounds like she has milk stuck in the back of her throat really tops it all off. I hope this tweet was about me.
(Rating: Low Brow)
Beanie Feldstein gets ahold of the Lu-print
Well, the reviews for the revival of Funny Girl starring Beanie Feldstein are in: it’s not so funny, girl. As a Beanie Feld-stan, it gives me no pleasure to say that, while critics did praise her comic timing, Feldstein remains very much in the large, imposing shadow of Barbra Streisand, who originated the role and infamously played Funny Girl’s Fanny Brice in the Oscar-winning film adaptation. Entertainment Weekly called her “fundamentally miscast” while Vulture’s critic said that Feldstein did not have the presence to carry such a notable, beloved show. For what it’s worth, I had three friends who saw the show, and here are their reviews:
“I don’t know the show, never saw the movie, but got tickets for the previews. I enjoyed it!”
“I had a lot of $16 theatre wine, so I’m not entirely sure I’m the most reliable person to ask.”
But bad reviews don’t deter social media marketing strategists, they only light a fire under them. The person running the Funny Girl account on Twitter has spun jeers into gold, like any thrifty person with access to 280 characters should and plucky theatre kid sensibility should be able to do in their sleep. In a now-deleted tweet captured by a beautifully eagle-eyed Twitter user, the Funny Girl page pull-quoted Time Out New York’s review of the show as such:
The entire section of that review, sadly, read like this:
Immediately, I remembered one of my favorite instances of clever pull-quoting to ever take place: Luann De Lesseps’ putting the quote “Inspiring!” from a New York Times critic on the promotional poster for her cabaret, which would be a huge get for a fucking Real Housewife who cannot hold a tune to save her life.
Absolutely fucking ingenious. And how kismet as well, given that Luann De Lesseps is our modern-day Fanny Brice. Dust off the ol’ stage hook and pull Beanie, we need Luann! The world demands it. And it’ll free up some time for American Crime Story: Impeachment, Part 2 — Monica Strikes Back.
(Rating: Top Shelf)
The Horny Section
Already plotting his next conquest should the Olivia Wilde drama contribute to their eventual fallout, Harry Styles is seeking to appeal to suburban moms everywhere on the cover of the May issue of Better Homes & Gardens.
Just prior to getting his ass out for Middle America, Harold was getting his Double D knockers out for Coachella weekend two (TBD if Ms. Wilde was in attendance this weekend as well). My man working with a whole boobsforqueens.com breastplate-worth of meat right here!
I too would be happy to follow this man around the world and (allegedly!!!!!) abandon my kids for awhile.
Before Jake Johnson (star of New Girl, Minx, and my private dreams) started his casual transformation into Oscar Isaac’s tulpa, someone posted this video of him with an open shirt, thrusting on an exercise ball, to YouTube.
This is something that I, the horniest person to ever live, somehow missed. And for that, I’ll be forever sorry. But I’m here now. Listening, learning, lusting.
Franz Rogowski remains one of the finest (and I do mean FINEst) actors working today.
Will these photos finally get me to embrace the sure-to-be-devastating sadness of him playing a gay man imprisoned in post-war Germany for the crime of homosexuality in lasy year’s Great Freedom? Unclear as of this moment, I can’t take any more depression beyond knowing I’ll never get to rub our noses together!
That’s all for this week! Thank you so much for being here. As always, I don’t enjoy any part of my week more than this. I love writing this asinine newsletter so much, and I love you all for loving it and for interacting with it—whether that be here with a like, comment, or share, or on the newsletter’s Instagram or my Twitter (which I am not leaving, take THAT Jameela Jamil!). I love you all and I hope you have a great rest of your week. Do something fun! Go see Funny Girl and send me a boots-on-the-ground review. Give someone a little smooch! Go wild! 💖
Sparkling, cynical, and hilarious, as always, CS!