Tonight was a special screening (projected on a wall at NYC's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Center on W. 13th) of a new movie I had never heard anything about until last week—and it's coming out Friday! The Perfect Family is an indie directed by first-timer Anne Renton and starring Kathleen Turner, 57, as a woman who wants to win Catholic Woman of the Year more than she wants to come to terms with her less than perfect (in the eyes of the Bible) family—a lesbian daughter, philandering son and recovering alcoholic husband.
BOY CULTURE RATING: ** out of ****
The Perfect Family is not a perfect movie—but it's got a lot of heart that almost makes up for its at times one-note approach to faith ("I'm a Catholic—I don't have to think!" Turner's Eileen improbably says at one point) and for its descent into an even more improbably shiny, happy ending. It's hard to forget Turner in any role, let alone the role of a goody two-shoes (with that voice? that voice is sin), but I liked her prickly chemistry with her screen daughter Emily Deschanel and son Jason Ritter.
After the screening, GLAAD's new prez Herndon Graddick attempted to moderate a discussion with the filmmaker, Turner and a queer expert on theology. It was a bit slow thanks to all the scaredy-cats in the audience but Turner was fun, as when one questioner talked about how homophobic the Dominican Republic is and she chortled, "Ever been to Dallas?" She is, of course, known for her sometimes risky commentary, such as when she bragged (at the peak of her beauty) that any man who didn't notice her enter a room was probably gay. I did find it strange that she seemed never to have heard of PFLAG, and was gobsmacked to discover that Turner is a Latina. Well, not really—but she lived in Venezuela and Cuba as a girl so whipped out some Spanish for a questioner she assumed would know it.
It seemed the next logical step, as this was a tiny press screening, would be me getting a great pic-with, but alas, it was not meant to be. Though I was the second person to request a photo after a really harried, brief press frenzy, she turned me down pretty abruptly. I told her I'd been waiting for a photo with her for 30 years and hoped she wouldn't let me down. It's not that I've spent each day of those 30 years craving it, but I was in love with her for Body Heat (1981), The Man With Two Brains (1983), Romancing the Stone (1984), Prizzi's Honor (1985) and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and The War of the Roses (1989). But nothing else. (I'm not a Serial Mom kinda guy.) So it would've been lovely to snag her.
But people have a right to say no. She's suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and alcoholism, so might've just been uncomfortable. But anyway, I just wish she hadn't been so completely and utterly unimpressed with my effort at being charming. "No, now that wouldn't be fair to everyone else and I can't pose with everyone," she said flatly. Period. It reminded me of my recent Lauren Bacall smack-down, which is funny because Turner looks and sounds so much like Bacall.
The only difference is I had expected Turner would be more available since she was actually plugging a movie she not only stars in but executive produced. Oh, well—nobody's perfect.