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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How Embarrassing.


for about two months in 2006 I wrote an ill-fated Entertainment column for the Lowell Sun. The concept was "Dinner and a Movie." I was supposed to see a movie and then relate it thematically to a dining establishment. For the record, I thought this was a horrible idea, but I was operating under the belief that I should write ANYTHING an editor asks me to in order to get clips and make connections.

I could never even bring myself to look at the edited versions online, because I knew that they were adding in even lamer lines than I had already written. Good thing Ricky Gervais wasn't around in those days. Dude can be so ruthless.
(Link is to a video of Gervais making fun of the Lowell Sun, if you don't feel like clicking through. Relevance!)

Here is one of my hack articles, horrifically cheesy and lame, in its unedited entirety:

Usually fairy tales and dreams only come true at the movies. Take
She's the Man, a goofy comedy that pulls a quill from Shakespeare's
pen. Modeled loosely on Twelfth Night, teen queen Amanda Bynes plays
Viola, who poses at school as her twin brother Sebastian, which
results in countless goof-ups and gender bent tween-appropriate jokes.
The dream here belongs to Viola: to make the male's soccer team by
feigning masculine and prove that she's as good a player as any boy.
There's an unlikely romance or two along the way, and it doesn't ruin
any of the fun to tell you that the fairy tale ending is predictable
from the get-go.

Shakespearean comedies always whet my appetite, how about yours?
Especially Twelfth Night, which was first performed at the close of
London's long winter feast in 1602. Belle's Bistro, a romantic
hideaway with a charmed tale of its own, is likewise welcoming
winter's end with a new menu to celebrate spring's arrival. Head over
and check out the new additions and old favorites. With highlights
like grilled tuna over spicy stir-fried vegetables and sea scallops
with an applewood smoked bacon risotto, you'll have more to look
forward to than fair weather.

Bynes is surprisingly funny as a prepubescent manchild who, in an
attempt to be one of the dudes, says lines like "I'd tap that," with a
southern twang. When she's not busy donning fake sideburns and
avoiding group showers, Viola is preparing for the debutante ball,
where she'll be presented to society as lady. But she seems to be
picking up bad habits from the guys; at a charm class Viola is
instructed to "Chew like you have a secret," after scarfing down
chicken wings with reckless abandon. Don't worry, there are no such
constraints at Belle's. Just be sure to say hello to the owners'
Burmese Mountain dog Belle, who likes to hang out when the climate
suits her.

Opening last July, the story behind the Bistro attests to the fact
that dreams can come true even off the big screen. Owners Nancy
Blanchard and John Mastrangelo hoped to someday own a coffee shop,a
comfortable space where people could hang out. That day came sooner
than expected when they saw the local Beef and Ale for sale in
Westford. When they began renovations, the idea was to specialize in
beverages with the food playing a supporting role. But when chef Glen
Jordan walked through the back door a month before opening to see if
he could help, the vision for Belle's changed to a gourmet restaurant.

Such a star-crossed path and serendipitous fortune seems like the
stuff that only Shakespearean plays are made of. Lucky for you it
occasionally happens in real life too. Go see for yourself why
Belle's is undeniably "the man."


On the bright side? Rick Gervais is in Lowell filming a movie! And blogging about it.

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