67. Soapdish

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Movie: Soapdish

Release Date: May 31, 1991

Director: Michael Hoffman

Starring: Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey Jr., Cathy Moriarty, Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Shue.

Tag Lines: “All that glitter… All that glamour… All that dirt.”

“A Deliciously Malicious Comedy.”

Relevance: As I mentioned before while discussing Demi Moore and ‘The Seventh Sign’ (see 80. The Seventh Sign), I was a huge soap opera fan as a kid. It was my maternal Grandmother’s influence as she was my babysitter a lot of the time while my parent’s worked. We were ABC soap fans for the most part, although I eventually picked up “Days of Our Lives” on NBC in college and my Grandmother added “The Young and the Restless” on CBS after awhile. But the ABC soaps were our favorites, especially “General Hospital.” Luke, Laura, Robert Scorpio, Anna Devane, Frisco and Felicia were all like family members and we loved watching their drama unfold daily.

I continued to watch my soaps right through my college years, eventually giving up on them altogether by the year 2000. However in 1991, still young in my college career, I watched them when I could and tried to the best of my ability schedule my classes around at least “General Hospital.” That was also the year that ‘Soapdish’ was released. By that time I was a fan of all the actors in the movie, especially Sally Field and Whoopi Goldberg. Considering the subject matter of the film, I was one-hundred percent sold. But I never made it to theaters to see it.

‘Soapdish’ was not received that well by critics or by audiences. It got mixed reviews, although it did receive a Golden Globe nomination for Kevin Kline, and its overall box office gross was over its budget, but by no means was the movie considered a summer blockbuster. I’m not really sure why I did not make it out to theaters, but I’ll blame Madonna. Her documentary film ‘Truth or Dare,’ which you know will eventually be a part of my list of most influential movies of all time, was released earlier that May. I went to see it a few times in theaters and it was really the only movie on my mind at that time. So ‘Soapdish’ was sidelined.

However, once ‘Soapdish’ was released to home media, it was rented as soon as possible. I don’t remember exactly when I watched it, but I know with who…my mom. And the reason I remember… her laugh. The woman had a tremendous cackle that was infectious and during the movie it was heard over and over again. And I was laughing just as hard right by her side. The movie was completely over-the-top and ridiculous but in the best way possible. My mom who was not usually a fan of “silly” for some reason loved the kind of silly that ‘Soapdish’ presented. We watched the movie a few times before returning it and the more we watched it the more we laughed.

‘Soapdish’ eventually became a popular film for us to watch on HBO. When it aired on that cable channel, I watched it with my maternal Grandmother. I mean, I watched soaps with her so it seemed appropriate to watch a parody of the shows we loved so much. She laughed just as much as my mom and me and the film remained a family favorite. It also became somewhat of a cult classic, even spawning a possible stage adaptation, and a lot of my friends over the years have loved the film just as much as I did. It gets quoted quite often and even a discussion about it always brings a huge smile to my face.

Today’s Thoughts: “Actors don’t like to play coma. They feel it limits their range.”

After yesterday’s movie (see 68. The Laramie Project), I needed a good laugh. So today, after early voting with my husband (Ridin’ with Biden), I got that laugh (quite a few actually) when we watched ‘Soapdish.’

It is still a great comedy with perfect performances by the entire ensemble cast. However, no one plays over-the-top hysterics like Sally Field and she really is perfect as Celeste Talbert. There are really funny gags and lines that keep this spoof rolling and she is part of many of my favorite moments. Her trying to put mascara on…priceless! The rest of the cast, especially Kevin Kline, are equally hysterical. The movie is not short on laughs and each one of them add to its charm.

‘Soapdish’ may not be on everyone’s list of favorite movies, but I am proud that it sits firmly in my top one hundred. It is silly, ridiculous, quirky and downright funny and sometimes that’s all we really need out of a movie.

Awards: Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Kevin Kline (nomination).

Ways to Watch: Hulu, Sling TV, Starz, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, DVD Availability.

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