Put Some Gay In Your Day, Dallas!

Grey For Pay

True confessions. The fabulous Gay List Daily mansion we call home was once a ramshackle possum- and badger-infested dwelling that was literally falling apart at the seams. All of us writers lived in a single room with wall-to-wall twin beds, gossip rags and decades-old porn piled in the corners, and but a single hot plate for heating up day-old foie gras.

When the authorities threatened to condemn our beloved headquarters, our dear cousin, Jackie Beat swept in and paid for the renovation, though she didn’t stick around long. Bitch.

Now, we dance around naked, waving American flags to show our renewed happiness and faith in wo-manity. This, dear readers, is the story of Gay Gardens.

But dramatic and intriguing as our own story is, we think you’ll find HBO’s splendid Grey Gardens even better. Based on the cult documentary of the same name, the film dramatizes the moments of the infamous footage of “Big Edie” Beale and her daughter, “Little Edie” with surprising attention to detail.

Best of all are answers to questions that left fans of the 1975 original scratching their heads. How did the aunt and cousin of Jackie O find themselves in such a strange predicament? What were there lives like before they, well, became crazy? How was their world changed after the documentary’s release?

Spanning the course of several decades, we see the rise and tragic fall of this strangely codependent mother-daughter team. And understanding the wealth and privilege they enjoyed early in life makes their fate all the more disturbing and difficult to fathom.

If you haven’t seen the original documentary, we highly recommend you Netflix it immediately or head to your local gay video store (believe us, they’ll have it). Even if you have to TiVo the HBO broadcast to watch later, you’ll appreciate it so much more with the real thing fresh on your mind.

Only then will it be apparent how brilliantly nuanced Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange’s performances truly are. This is one of the first films we’ve seen where Barrymore is completely transformed into a different person, both physically and emotionally. Under her thick hybrid accent, her trademark lisp is almost completely unnoticeable (just like us after years of speech therapy). It’s truly a high-point of Barrymore’s career.

Lange, too, takes risks and goes for the full Charlize-Monster fuglification, but only after the mandatory look-I’m-still-beautiful scenes of glamorous extravagance.

In the end, we still want to know more as we have became re-obsessed with these ladies of low-rent leisure. Gentlemen, prepare your Halloween costumes now. The Beales are back in town.

Premieres on HBO tomorrow night, April 18, at 8:00 p.m. (rebroadcasts often)
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange, Malcolm Gets, Daniel Baldwin, Ken Howard and Jeanne Tripplehorn
Written and Directed by: Michael Sucsy
Running Time: 103 minutes
www.hbo.com

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