Cruise, Streep, Redford take their lumps for 'Lions for Lambs'

The Baltimore Sun

SO, shall we expect to see Tom Cruise, his business partner Paula Wagner, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep yukking it up in costume and singing silly songs, in the wake of the disappointing opening of Lions for Lambs?

Well, Miss Streep has just completed the movie version of Broadway's Mamma Mia! so there are colorful clothes and ABBA tunes galore in her future.

I don't know that Tom, Paula or Redford are quite so lucky. They all had a lot of high hopes riding on Lions for Lambs, it being the initial Cruise/Wagner project out of their United Artists deal, and it is Redford's first directorial effort in seven years.

Conservative TV and radio pundits are reveling in its failure, crowing, "America is saying 'no' to liberal Hollywood!" Actually, America is saying "no" to a not-so-great movie. Word-of-mouth was already bad by the time I attended the star-packed screening at MOMA a week before it opened. Look, everybody's entitled to a well-intentioned misfire.

In the end, however, things might not turn out as bad as some fear and some hope. The budget and marketing were modest, and I don't think anybody was paid a stratospheric salary. Lions for Lambs might recoup itself in Europe.

A wine to remember

The eternally vixen-ish and bullet-bra-ed Mamie Van Doren is still very much alive and high kicking.

She was a minor bombshell who was major fun, and today in West Hollywood, Calif., Van Doren launches a new line of collectible fine wines, Mamietage. Each wine label features nude poses of the High School Confidential star, from age 21 to now. Mamie, 76, has kept her figure. For connoisseurs, the wine itself is a "delicious Bordeaux blend ... with flavors of black cherry, vanilla and a touch of chocolate. The light tannins and medium body give way to a long, fruit-filled finish."

For other connoisseurs - naked pictures of Mamie. Drink up!

Super star

"I've always known that there's joy ... I mean, look; I'm standing here in my sweatpants and I'm going to be on the cover of Vanity Fair, and you guys came all the way here to talk to me, and I'm holding my baby, and somebody's cooking in the kitchen. You know, destiny is joy, to be able to appreciate all those things."

That's our favorite down-to-earth movie queen, Julia Roberts, in Vanity Fair for December.

And speaking of Julia, she might - even in her most modest mode - enjoy this quote, from Jeanine Basinger's new book, The Star Machine. Of Roberts, Basinger asserts: "Although she does not invoke any specific golden era star, she has become our only modern female legend of their wattage. ... She can play cute, icy, daffy, sexy, ... jealous, upscale, downscale, without becoming defined by any of them. In a sense, Julia Roberts, the ultimate modern female star, is possibly the ultimate modern female actor. She has displayed a flexibility from film to film that Meryl Streep can only envy."

Wow. Not too many people challenge Meryl's unassailable position. Not that I think La Streep, with her two Oscars and 14 nominations, is going to lose any sleep over this.

Despite the above-mentioned Lions for Lambs.

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