When you see the first scene of Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too), you might think you have this movie pegged. Two teens are screwing -- noisily, nastily, and clumsily -- below a poster of that cult-movie classic, Harold and Maude. A panting discussion commences: Promise me you won't fuck any Italians, says the boyfriend to the girlfriend. Ah-ha!, you might think. It's a standard formula: possession, jealousy, and a the betrayal of teen love for a horny/funny May-December romance.
The Web site of Democratic Congressman George Miller of California features a touching photo of the signing of the education reform bill at an Ohio school on January 8. Flanked by beaming African-American children, Miller, Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, and Republican Congressman John Boehner of Ohio -- three of the bill's four authors -- stand with Education Secretary Rod Paige in a happy barbershop quartet of bipartisan unity. George W. Bush, the self-proclaimed "education president," is also beaming, pen in hand, as he prepares to sign the historic No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
Ah, Barbie: feminist whipping girl, delight of fashion-forward children, she of the flowing flaxen mane, booboisie charms, and impossibly pointed feet. Barbie's been doing some soul-searching lately, which is what happens when a parent dies. Her creator, Ruth Handler, passed away recently, sparking a wave of nostalgia and introspection on the part of those who played with Barbie, hated Barbie, loved Barbie, or some combination thereof. What does Barbie mean to us now? Does Barbie enforce oppressive gender, racial, heterosexual, and consumerist norms or is she just a toy? And why don't her shoes ever stay on?
Elvis Costello is not dead. He's just been reincarnated in stranger and stranger shapes over the course of his decades-long career: from punk and singer-songwriter to fusionist and haute artiste. With the just-released When I Was Cruel, Costello has reappeared in what seems to be, upon first listen, a retro-form: Elvis the rocker, the bilious nerd with the poison pen. We've missed that side of him. Sure, the last six years without a straight-up Costello album have been interesting. We've gotten collaborations with opera singers, jazz ensembles, and old-schoolers like Burt Bacharach.
With a title like "Sexaholix...A Love Story," John Leguizamo's recent one-man special on HBO gives us fair warning what we're in for: a one-two punch of cute raunchiness and unabashed romanticism; and a comedic enactment of the pull between yowling boy id and wised-up man love. But for the post-There's Something About Mary and -American Pie crowd, these dichotomies are familiar ground, and all the interest shifts to the gray area represented by the title's ellipses. How will our hero-as-character navigate between raging testosterone and happily ever after? How will our hero-as-performer balance funny smut with true emotion?