Daily Corinthian • Sunday, February 19, 2012 • 3B
5 favorite Reese Witherspoon performances BY CHRISTY LEMIRE Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — “This Means War” may not be Reese Witherspoon’s finest hour — it’s a glossy, noisy, love-triangle-slashspy-romp — but it’s fun and it allows her once again to demonstrate her radiant likability. It also allows us the opportunity to look back at her career and ponder five of her best performances: ■ “Election” (1999): No matter what she does, no matter how many major roles she takes on or Oscars she wins over her career, Witherspoon will always be Tracy Flick to me. And I say that with great affection. The balance she finds here is so delicate and difficult. She’s playing an essentially unlik-
able character: a prim, scheming know-it-all who will do whatever it takes to be voted president of her high school’s student government. Adorable and annoying at once, she always seems to be trying too hard to please. But Witherspoon finds the loneliness and vulnerability in Tracy, and makes us ultimately sympathize with her. ■ “Walk the Line” (2005): In theory this is Joaquin Phoenix’s movie, because he’s the one playing Johnny Cash. Then along comes Witherspoon as Cash’s lifelong love, June Carter, and she pretty much steals the movie right out from underneath him. This isn’t a knock on Phoenix, who’s extraordinary in captur-
ing the energy and essence of a towering American cultural figure. Witherspoon, though, just takes over the entire screen, and when she’s gone, you want her to come back. This was the first truly grown-up, womanly role she’d played at this point, and she got to be not just an engaging on-stage performer (she also sang and played the harpsichord) but also a wife, mother, caretaker and no-nonsense family backbone. Oh, and the performance earned her the Academy Award for best actress. ■ “Legally Blonde” (2001): As a perky blonde sorority girl myself, I initially mistook this for a documentary. That’s how convincing Witherspoon is as the ebullient
Elle Woods, a pampered campus princess who finds her true voice in the unlikeliest of places: Harvard Law School. She is just irresistible here in the classic ditzy-blonde mode, a perfectly coifed, pink-clad force of nature, and her charm and conviction make the fish-outof-water antics work. As the saying goes, you have to be pretty smart to play dumb. In that regard, Witherspoon proved she must be brilliant. (Everyone involved should have quit while they were ahead, though, and said no to “Legally Blonde 2: Red White & Blonde.”) ■ “Freeway” (1996): Witherspoon did some of her most challenging work in her youth, and this darkly funny,
twisted take on the “Little Red Riding Hood” fairy tale is a prime example. She stars as Vanessa, a trashy teenager who ends up hitching a ride with a youth counselor named Bob (Kiefer Sutherland) in hopes of finding her grandmother. She opens up to him but eventually realizes he’s a serial killer. High-spirited and foulmouthed, she ultimately turns the tables on him, and the sight of Witherspoon pistol-whipping and berating Sutherland in her girlish Southern twang is a hoot. ■ “Pleasantville” (1998): In a large and esteemed ensemble cast that features Tobey Maguire, William H. Macy and Joan Allen, Witherspoon just shines. She
uses her comic timing to great effect here as a sassy and subversive teenager who gets unwittingly sucked into the television set with her twin brother (Maguire) and finds herself in the idyllic, fictional 1950s town of Pleasantville. Gary Ross’ high-concept directorial debut finds its characters transforming and literally becoming more colorful, more complicated, and a lot of that has to do with Witherspoon’s character’s inability to keep her mouth shut. Everyone’s better for it — especially the audience. Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire.
Mardi Gras means fat business for Gulf Coast states BY MELISSA NELSON Associated Press
FAIRHOPE, Ala. — Mardi Gras. It brings to mind beads, parties and fancy floats in New Orleans as people cram in all the fun they can before Lent begins. In reality, Mardi Gras has long been celebrated in coastal towns from Texas to Florida. And it means big business. “It is more of a regional thing, Mardi Gras is, from Texas down to Gasparilla (pirate festival) down in the Tampa area,” said Stephen Toomey, whose family started a chain of Mobile, Ala.-based Mardi Gras party supply stores. “It means a way of life for people who live in these communities, but the bottom line is that it creates a lot of jobs.”
Tourism leaders estimate more than 1 million visitors pour into the Mobile area each Mardi Gras season to watch the festivities. The city claims to be the place where the Fat Tuesday celebration originated in the U.S. back in the early 1700s. New Orleans and Mobile have long disputed where the tradition that dates to their French founders really began. Visitors to Mobile spend money at hotels, restaurants and stores during the celebration that can stretch weeks and includes dozens of parades, balls and other events. A 2004 study commissioned by the city of Mobile estimated Mardi Gras had a $225 million economic impact for the
area and tourism leaders say that has grown as the festivities become more popular. “I would say tens of thousands of dollars are spent on the different beads and throws and things that are thrown off the floats. It really benefits every kind of retailer and the tourism industry,” said David Randel, president of the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. “From a convention and visitors bureau standpoint, you hope people come for Mardi Gras, fall in love with the area and come back to visit again when the weather is better.” In smaller towns like Fairhope, population 17,000, Mardi Gras is a big help.
Horoscopes Sunday, February 19, 2012 BY HOLIDAY MATHIS Creators Syndicate
This week the sun and Neptune are exploring the early degrees of Pisces, the sign of faith, spirituality and deeply held beliefs. A conjunction of these dreamy influences will inspire contemplation and new insight regarding belief systems. Soul searching is favored. Good fortune comes when the subconscious becomes conscious. ARIES (March 21-April 19). Your social talents shine. You have a knack for summarizing and coming up with an action plan. Other talents of yours include bringing things full circle and helping people move on. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). There is tremendous happiness in making others happy. You’ll strive for this and love the challenge of it. It’s about being tuned in to the very specific things that make a person smile. GEMINI (May 21-June 21). Financial matters need to be spelled out. It would be risky to assume others are on the same page as you if you never read aloud said “page.” Spell out the terms in a non-emotional way. CANCER (June 22-July 22). Your energy comes from enjoying your life. When you feel tired, it’s because you haven’t made “fun” a high enough priority. Decide what would bring more humor and levity into your world, and take action. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22). You have the gift of gab over the next three days. You’ll use your words to entertain and enlighten others. Your ability to actualize your ideas depends on how well you can express them.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22). You can be under-confident at times. You are so focused on what you need to improve that you forget to give yourself credit for all you have accomplished. Cultivate a healthy regard for yourself and your powers. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23). Because you have an active, curious mind, you are likely to follow distractions a bit longer than is good for keeping to your schedule. However, when it’s time to get down to business, you do what needs to be done. SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 21). Your first priority will be to get along with people. It is from this intention that all good things will come to you. You genuinely care about what’s best for those around you just as much as you care about what’s good for you. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21). You will be inspired by the prospect of getting an award. Tangible evidence of your talents will motivate you to continue to strive for excellence. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19). You’ll enjoy a bit of cosmic mathematical justice, which doesn’t always follow a logical path. For instance, shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness, when shared, is doubled. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18). There is nothing to be gained from unfair self-criticism. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to be confident of yourself if you are habitually hard on yourself. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20). One way to deal with tense situations is to avoid them altogether. You correctly will sense when to make a speedy exit. Follow-through is key. You’ll depart the scene in as friendly a manner as possible.
Heavenly Creations Bakery sold 1,500 Mardi Gras king cakes in 2011. Owner Robyn Yoder hopes to beat that this year. The colorful cakes go for $9.99 for a small and $19.99 for a large. “Mardi Gras is good for everyone. I think it brings more people downtown and it brings more people in. It’s a boost in sales and it does a lot for all of us, more tips for the girls who work, it’s good,” she said. Rosie Miller has sold Mardi Gras ball gowns to the women of the Gulf Coast for 30 years. She has thousands of gowns, most for under $300. “Poufy Gowns this year are really in,” Miller said as she pulled a gown from one the dozens of racks at her Mobile store on a recent morning.
Miller said Mardi Gras gowns are usually overthe-top and are more fun than traditional formal. The store has vanloads of women from small towns all over the region who come to shop. Some buy five or six gowns for the various balls they attend during the season. “Mardi Gras has grown and grown and brings millions of dollars into our economy,” she said, although she didn’t have specific figures. People who might go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras sometimes drive east and include a beach trip to Pensacola, Fla., said Valeria Lento, spokeswoman for Visit Pensacola. Lento said Mardi Gras drives up the town’s tourism numbers during its
traditional pre-spring break down time. And the city offers lots of Mardi Gras activities to bring in tourists. Small towns all over the Gulf Coast have parades, balls and other festivities during Carnival Season. Pensacola Beach’s 2012 Mardi Gras’ Schedule includes 16 events from Jan. 7 to Feb. 21. Among them are a Moon Pie party, a red beans and rice lunch, a “Kids and Kritters” parade and a shoe box float contest. “Oh yeah, Mardi is a ball, absolutely, it’s fun,” said Jill Jones, who dressed her Afghan hound up in a headband, jester collar and cape and wore a matching costume during the beach’s pet parade this month.
021912 Corinth E-Edition