Disappointing Diversions…

draft day

Sick from the grueling gremlin that had invaded my body for the past week and dying from boredom, I decided to brace myself for some weekend fun, even if it was going to kill me.


Saturday, I forfeited my spin class with my daughter to gird  my loins for theater. I had purchased tickets for the Annette Bening one woman show at the Geffen Theater in Westwood.

 I opened all my cough drops before the curtain went up, had water at the ready and tissues piled high on my Playbill.  Other than a gum chewer, there is nothing worse in live theater than a persistent cougher.

Unfortunately, the play, Ruth Draper’s Monologue, was as dastardly as my body invader. Annette Bening was excellent, embracing and embodying the 4 characters, but the material was boring and dated.

Ruth Draper
Ruth Draper

Ruth Draper was a pioneer in 20th century drama and the undisputed queen of the one-woman theater. She had been described by John Gielgud as “the greatest individual performer that America has ever given us.” George Bernard Shaw considered her a genius, Henry James wrote a monologue for her and John Singer Sargent sketched her.

I guess you need to possess a 20th century sensibility to appreciate all the fabulosity of Ruth Draper. To put it in 21st century terms, It was a 1920’s version of The Housewives franchise without the cat fighting, plastic surgery and equally repulsive cast members.

There were 4 vignettes: the harried society woman, the hostess, the debutante and the poise instructor…each interminable. The sets and costumes were enticing and the Geffen Theater is a lovely venue. Stick to Mad Men’s Don Draper…way more stimulation and excitement.

I have not been in Westwood in a while and it is now a full blown college town with UCLA expanding in every direction. It gave me an opportunity to hit up Target Boutique (french accent, please) which sits in the center of town and was a much better source of entertainment as I found paper towels and toilet paper at an amazing price.

Sunday, we were ready for some football and headed to Century City to see the first showing ($8) of, Draft Day, which opened nationwide on Friday. It is in my wheelhouse and I was excited to get me some football in the off season.

In reality, is an NFL promotional film intertwined with a really silly script by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph. Directed by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Meatballs, Legal Eagles, Kindergarten Cop, Twins) the film employs way too much split screen action without much action to justify it.

I thought I was having a bad week, but the Cleveland Browns general manager, Sonny Weaver, Jr. (played by Kevin Costner) was having a much worse week than me. The long suffering GM had the #7 pick in the NFL draft. All the action takes place in the dozen hours leading up to the start of the 2014 draft…talk about a long day. It made Ruth Draper’s Monologues seem brief.

Anyway, Sonny had to choose between a hotheaded linebacker and a troubled running back whose father had played for the Browns. Sonny’s father, who was the coach for the Browns, had passed away last week, job tensions were at an all time high and the Browns owner (Frank Langella) had told him he better make a big splash on draft day.

To top it off, his girlfriend,  Ali (Jennifer Garner), had told him on draft day that she was pregnant…they work together and had kept the relationship a secret. Not anymore…that is a heap of shit to deal with and the movie was only 10 minutes old.

Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner
Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner

I do find older men attractive, but Kevin Costner has not aged well. He could have used some man Spanx and hair extensions. The close ups were not working for him.

I was excited to see the Jennifer Garner character as she is portraying  Megan Rogers,  the real life capologist for the Cleveland Browns. Women in the NFL are a rarity and I thought her role would be fascinating and her character on equal footing with the male executives.

 Ali, was a tool for most of the men and always appeared at just the right moment to be Sonny’s gal Friday, picking up the pieces of is life, his garbage and his spirit in a tight fitting skirt and 5 inch heels.

Drama hits when Sonny makes an insane trade with the Seattle Seahawks and the movie progresses from there.

I wanted Draft Day to resonate with me…I am such a football ‘ho, but, alas, it fell short of scoring. It’s a ticking clock plot which takes longer to develop than Eli Manning’s 2013 2 minute drill.

I would punt punt on Draft Day.

One Comment

  1. Hi Toby,
    So funny – I was about to drop you a line and ask if you were in Target on Saturday! I thought I saw you but was chasing my son around and then missed you. Small world.
    Hope to see you in spin later this week. Thanks for the insight as always.
    Best, Cara

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