"Feud: Bette and Joan" Is Must See TV

"Feud: Bette and Joan" Is Must See TV

Ryan Murphy's latest creation makes an old story about old women relevant and enthralling
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It was while watching "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" with a friend the other day that I found myself having trouble explaining the duality of its status. It is a quality film inextricably linked to a legacy that undermines its seriousness. To be sure, it is an amazing movie from start to finish, full of clever camera techniques and, of course, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, who by that point in their careers knew how to command the camera. But to most modern day viewers, unfamiliar to the legacies and acting styles of the two women, the full grotesque effect of Bette Davis' shrieking harridan holds little to no artistic merit while Joan Crawford's nuanced performance, when compared to Davis' lack of abandon, seems flat and dull. Still, watch closely and you'll see two pros and near lifelong rivals waging two simultaneous wars: as onscreen sisters fighting for survival, and as aging stars desperate for the one movie that can kickstart their career.

The real Davis and Crawford

The lives and characters of Davis and Crawford are enshrined in the cultural lexicon not as iron-willed actresses who fought a larger-than-God studio system to claim parts they wanted and deserved, but as jokes. "Mommie Dearest" derailed any chance of a positive legacy for Joan Crawford, while nearly every modern portrayal of Davis is parodic, with emphasis on her cigarettes, voice, and walk. Ryan Murphy's latest limited series, "Feud: Bette and Joan," is the latest and greatest in his star-studded line of anthological series. The eight episode season follows the making of the 1962 classic "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?," and finds Davis (played by Susan Sarandon) and Crawford (Jessica Lange) pitted against and forced to work with one another during low points in their lives and careers. Superb writing, fantastic acting, fascinating subject matter, and production value all coalesce, creating a show not content to simply write off the two legends as the monsters they've come to be seen as, but as real women who lived and felt and fought.

Sarandon as Davis with Lange as Crawford

I mention their legacy because, while the first episode offers slightly forced exposition in their backgrounds (the 1978 interviews with Catherine Zeta-Jones' Olivia de Havilland and Kathy Bates' Joan Blondell, while entertaining, seemed unnecessary), and its focus is on the difficulty older women in Hollywood have obtaining decent roles (in one scene, Crawford turns down playing Elvis' grandmother - a slap in the face to the Academy Award winner), it carries the Herculean task of giving the public something vital and relevant from two women who hit their professional peak seventy years ago. Murphy could have made the choice to play into the long-established stereotypes, but instead he (and Lange and Sarandon) offer raw, genuine introspection into these icons. The sight of Crawford lounging around her house almost seems like sacrilege (she famously insisted on staying camera ready at all times) and the visible loneliness that Davis feels is contradictory to her persona of independence and that time-honored New England patrician inner strength. That isn't to say that these women are unrecognizable; the plastic slipcovers on her living room furniture are a light jab at Joan's well-documented germophobia, while Davis reaches for a cigarette before opening her eyes in the morning. But this show, unlike other representations of Crawford and Davis, goes beyond "chainsmoker" and "neat freak." The women depicted in this show are real.

The scenery, meticulously made to look like the early 1960s, is spacious enough to grant each of the leads a chance to seem dwarfed in comparison, isolated in a sea of pseudo-sycophants. This same scenery drives an aesthetic wedge between the two. Crawford prefers icy blues, sterile whites, and her home can best be described as "postmodern antiseptic," while Davis' home is full of warm, inviting earth tones. Something so ostensibly innocuous as the decorations in a woman's home only adds fuel to the fire: here are two entirely different women (though similar in many, many respects) facing oblivion with one final chance to shine, and their major differences are comprised of such inconsequential details as their choice of liquor (Crawford never strays from vodka, Davis prefers Scotch) and upholstery.

Ageism is the show's primary target. It displays two Oscar winning actresses with real talent who desperately want to work, yet are - in their 50s - deemed too old for decent roles by the same men who made them stars. This tale as old as time could have been written about any two actresses, but only Crawford and Davis were audacious and talented enough to make a fifty year old rivalry-cum-footnote in history must-see TV.

"Feud: Bette and Joan" airs Sundays at 10 PM on FX.

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!

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I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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