I hereby name you ‘film star’

Dakota Blue RichardsFollowing on from Clair’s “stupid kids’ names” post earlier this week, I spotted a billboard poster for the new Philip Pullman adaptation The Golden Compass*

Walking past this billboard, I was looking at the star names appearing in the movie. And one name in particular stood out: ‘Dakota Blue Richards’.

Yup, this is the girl who plays Lyra Belacqua in the film and, contrary to my original assumption that she was American, actually comes from deepest, darkest, err, Brighton.

Her British origin aside, she surely joins the list of people who were born to be famous. I mean, if you’re born with first names ‘Dakota’ and ‘Blue’, you’re going to look pretty silly, if you end up working in a solicitor’s.

With a name like that, she was destined to be a movie star. Other stars who fall into the same camp include Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning – names that are impossible to forget, either by the general cinema-going public, or casting directors.

Then there’s the Phoenix family. All five of the siblings were given a great start: River, Joaquin, Summer, Rain and (the forgotten) Liberty.

In their case, they were onto a winner with a surname like that, but how different it would have been, if they’d try to get somewhere with their birth name: Joaquin Bottom doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Anyway, with genetic testing moving forward apace, surely there’s something to be said for having in mind the career you want your child to take, when it comes to naming them.

* I could Google it, but why has this been changed from the original novel’s title ‘The Amber Spyglass’? Surely, it’s not to do with the American market again, is it?

Sex And The City: The Movie – why?

Sex and the CityThere have been numerous pictures taken on the set of the new Sex & The City movie (SATC from hereon in).

There has been a lot of hype built up around the film already and it won’t be out for a good while yet.

Now, when SATC was showing in its prime it was one of the hottest TV shows going. Sure, it didn’t pull in the numbers of EastEnders or Corrie in the UK, but the specific 18-34 market was hooked.

I mean, two of my ex-workmates actually used to text each other while it was on to marvel at the outfits the cast members, and specifically Sarah Jessica Parker, wore.

We even had a phrase (possibly slightly uncharitable) to describe Ms Parker – “man-faced tit stand”.

But this was five years ago. The series kinda jumped the shark before it finished anyway. We’d lost interest in whether Carrie ended up with Mr Big. Samantha’s sexual antics had become waaaayyy too silly. Miranda never got any good storylines and Charlotte’s life was just ridiculous.

So do they really expect people (and specifically women) to be interested enough that they’ll want to see the movie?

Clearly, yes. But something tells me it’ll be a total train wreck. The series dealt with life for NY 30-something women – not only will the characters have moved on, but so have the actors.

I will happily eat a slice of humble pie, if it’s a roaring success, but I’m betting it will be pretty ropey.

Ugly guy gets girl – why is that so bad?

Knocked UpThe movie Knocked Up is everywhere at the moment – in case you’ve been walking around in a daze, it’s a comedy about a dumb, porn-loving geek who gets a beautiful intelligent girl pregnant and then the hilarity that ensues, as they try to make the relationship work.

In today’s Guardian movie critic Joe Queenan rails against the movie, the latest in a series of what he calls ‘misogynist nonsense’.

Now, I haven’t seen the movie, so clearly can’t comment on how misogynist this particular film is, but one of the strands of his argument was that it’s unrealistic that geeky, unattractive men are getting films made in Hollywood, where they, effectively, get the girl.

He cites the likes of Something About Mary, High Fidelity and Sideways as further examples of films where a deeply unattractive, juvenile leading man manages to snag a very good-looking, intelligent woman.

This particular comment sums up his argument: The script sought to suggest that she had picked Stiller over Matt Dillon; the fact that Diaz and Dillon began a real-life relationship off screen tells you all you need to know.”

Well, excuse me. Are “ugly guys” not allowed to try and date attractive, intelligent women any more? Clearly Queenan thinks that Hollywood should return to the days where all men looked like Cary Grant and were chasing the likes of Doris Day or Grace Kelly.

The trouble with this is that those ‘screwball’ comedies were just as misogynistic in their own way, making fun of women and portraying them as ditzy blondes (where were the dark-haired leading ladies, I ask you?).

I agree that Hollywood is still dominated by men and, it just so happens that geeky Jewish men seem to have the upper hand in getting funny comedies made, but it’s hardly a recent phenomenon and not exactly a reason to cite the death of Hollywood.

After all, no-one moaned about “dorky” Bill Murray in Groundhog Day wooing Andie McDowell back in the 1990s.

In real life, quite often funny, yet superficially unattractive men do get the girl. Laughter always wins out and women admit, time and time again, that being funny is almost always as important as looks in a man.

Let’s just celebrate the fact that comedies coming out of Hollywood seem to be funny again, for once, rather than the turgid nonsense that we’ve had to endure over the past 5-10 years.

Which would rather watch – Knocked Up or Runaway Bride? I rest my case…