The Anna Nicole Smith Story as performed by muppets, maybe
June 28, 2013 5:24 PM   Subscribe

With the TV premiere of Mary Harron's Anna Nicole Smith biopic fast approaching, The Hairpin wonders what other indie/art house filmmakers would do with the same subject.
posted by The Whelk (16 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
And of course it's made for Lifetime, the network for WTF.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:40 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Would be so much better as little film clips.

The Anna Nicole Smith story is the best example of why little boys and little girls need to study really hard in school to get what they want out of life.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:40 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Or, a cautionary tale of proper estate managment and the perils of perscription pill addiction.
posted by The Whelk at 5:42 PM on June 28, 2013

And of course it's made for Lifetime, the network for WTF.

Yeah, but for years they were the only channel that played Homicide: Life on The Street reruns so they are forgiven. And, I'll admit that in my hormonally overloaded youth, I had something of a thing for Anna Nicole, so I was sad to see her become a cultural joke and of course, at her passing.
posted by jonmc at 5:52 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

I knew before I checked that jonmc and I were the same age.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:59 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would watch several of these!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:12 PM on June 28, 2013

I saw Anna in a drag bar one time. We were drinking pretty heavily and noticed that there was a drag queen who looked JUST LIKE ANNA. Best drag queen ever, I thought. Turns out it was her. We ran into her in the bathroom. She was approximately seven feet tall and smelled great, sugar-sweet.

My (at this point three sheets to the wind) friend went up to her and said "Oh, Anna, I'm from Texas, too!" Anna smiled and muttered something sweet-sounding and they embraced. It was a tiny bathroom and they kind of teetered there together for a minute and then broke apart and that was it.
posted by mynameisluka at 6:12 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

OK, let's say we were going to try to turn Anna Nicole Smith's story into a classical tragedy. I don't mean a "oh, its tragic she died" tragedy nor do I mean a sort of overblown parody of her life. I mean peripeteia/"recognition/reversal," tragic flaw, fall-of-a-great-person tragedy that would be acknowledged as such (setting aside their cultural contexts for the moment) by Aristotle or at least Shakespeare (so we can toss aside the "three unities"that the French Academy would impose on us as well a the Greek chorus).

The moment of her death is not the tragedy, per se, as is the dramatic reversal. The most famous example of this is in Sophocles' Oedipus where the title character has been searching for the person who brought a curse upon Thebes only to discover that it was he who brought the curse down (by unwittingly killing his father and marrying his mother).

So, is there a moment in Miss Smith's life that we can identify as the moment where her fall started? We'll build a Peripeteia around that moment - it will take a little dramatic license but hey if Shakespeare can make Richard III a hunchback, we can alter ANS life a bit.

I propose two possibilities. One is the death of her son. A second is that mysterious moment between Hudsucker Proxy and Skyscraper where she went from being somebody with a bright career in front of her to somebody who was viewed as a bit of a joke (a perception that only increased with time).

I'm going to break with reality here and combine these two moments. In our tragedy, Smith has is a rising star, she's married a wealthy man who has recently died and left her a ton of money, she's appeared in a Cohen brothers film, she's regarded by men as one of the most beautiful women alive. Her tragic flaw, as is often the case in tragedies, is her ambition. Its trumped everything else - her family, her ethics, any real attempt at developing a skill beyond looking beautiful.

Our tragedy opens with her enjoying her growing success, but the first scene ends with the family of her rich husband contesting the will. Not wanting to lose one of the things she'd already compromised herself to get, she devotes more and more of her energy to the legal battle, missing acting opportunities, watching as she becomes synonymous with "gold digger" in the public's mind, and ignoring her family and son. She loses the case and vows to appeal it, but at this point her son, despairing over the fact that she's choosing the court case over him, overdoses. Its unclear whether it was an accident or suicide.

ANS at this point has her peripeteia. She recognizes that the whole reason she's been ambitious was initially to provide her son with a better life. She still has some fame and some money, but she no longer has a compelling reason to pursue those things with the same drive she had before. She realizes she doesn't really have the chops to act, and she's getting older so she won't always have the beauty that made her famous. Our movie ends with her being offered a reality show and her taking it with great weariness and pain.

So, yeah, it doesn't really follow her life story, but it does maybe push the story a little more towards classical tragedy.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:37 PM on June 28, 2013 [6 favorites]

Anna Nicole as a muppet would shatter the puppeteer's arm from sheer monodirectional structural stress.

And, yeah, I was a big fan back in the day, as she represented to me the quintessential blonde bombshell, sadly under-represented since Norma Jean...
posted by Samizdata at 9:48 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Funny the article mentions Todd Haynes. For some reason, his Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story leapt to mind when I first read the thread title.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:07 PM on June 28, 2013

I couldn't think of any appropriate snarky way of introducing it, but I feel that this thread would be incomplete without a mention of /Meet the Feebles/.
posted by oonh at 1:00 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am excited to see the opera Anna Nicole this fall by NYCO at BAM. By Mark-Anthony Turnage with libretto by Richard Thomas it premiered at ROH in 2011 to mixed reviews.
posted by mountmccabe at 5:45 AM on June 29, 2013

Yeah, but for years they were the only channel that played Homicide: Life on The Street reruns so they are forgiven.
It's nice that they're trying a new approach to programming, but so many of the things they've been producing have seemed like they might be interesting...until you throw in that final WTF element. This seems like the latest in their "oh, that could be goodWTF" original movies.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:47 AM on June 29, 2013

I don't get half the references in this article. Is it supposed to be funny? I admit I was confused right off the bat. What does being "on the side of the whores" mean?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:20 AM on June 29, 2013

What does being "on the side of the whores" mean?

I think it was just an unfortunate coincidence that the writer chose the word "whores" to use in the first sentence of an article about Anna Nicole Smith.

Like, wtf?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:21 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, between that first sentence and the use of the word "tranny", this article grossed me out a bit.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:43 AM on June 29, 2013

« Older "We're the anal safety snails!""Reminding you to...   |   The Age of Networked Matter Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments