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Home Features Top of the Week Nurse Betty Lathers Up

Nurse Betty Lathers Up

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Soaps in the movies, Fan events and more

Hollywood Goes Soap Dear Suds Buds: Hollywood is abuzz with notions of Oscar in regard to the new film, Nurse Betty, starring Rene Zellweger, Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock. It's about a die-hard soap fan from Kansas who turns the fantasy of daytime television into her own reality. Without giving away the plot, Nurse Betty operates under the delusion that Dr. David Ravell, a character on the fictitious soap, "A Reason to Love," is a real person, and that she was engaged to him six years ago. However, there are extenuating dire circumstances that cause her delusional behavior.

The NY Times says "Nurse Betty takes the most hackneyed dramatic ploy of soap opera, a case of amnesia, and spins it into an irresistibly heady mixture of sadness and hilarity. At its giddiest peaks the movie produces that shivery feeling when your heart melts but at the same moment you want to burst out laughing. This whimsical rose-colored fairy tale with tragic undercurrents suggests a contemporary Wizard of Oz for grown ups."

Photo credit: Bruce Birmelin/Universal Studios
Rene Zellweger is wonderful as Nurse Betty, IMHO. All the performances are top notch. I loved this film. It had heart, guts, twists and turns, and tons of soap fans. Even the deranged young hit man was a fan of "A Reason to Love." As was a waiter in Italy, a barmaid, and Nurse Betty's best friend. I did not think it demeaned the industry, its professionals, or its fans. In fact, I will say that it honored the industry in its handling of the story. It showed that producers were open to taking suggestions, and to trying something totally new and different, that there was a very good reason for Betty's delusions, and the ending ending would have made any soap storyline proud.

Okay, so that's what the New York Times and I think. Lynn Leahey, Editor-in-Chief of Soap Opera Digest has a completely opposite opinion. In her editorial for the August 29, 2000 issue, Leahey insinuates that she was against the film from the moment she got invited to the screening. "Upon hearing the premise I was insulted," she writes. "Do people really think soap fans are that stupid? Having seen the movie, however, which explains (in gory detail, by the way this film is not for the squeamish) how a fan could become so deluded, I was satisfied that the filmmaker wasn't any more scornful of soap fans than he was of the rest of humanity."

Hello? What movie was Ms. Leahey watching and why is she so bitter against filmmakers who are in line to perhaps walk away with Oscar nominations for this clever, heartfelt yet somewhat tragic film? Yes, there are some gory plot points. Yes, there are some despicable actions. But there are also some wonderfully drawn, complex characters driven to do things in order to save their own lives or sanity, and a story filled with a wonderfully romantic notion that revolves around the world of soaps. Methinks that Ms. Leahey is being extremely myopic in her comments. I agree with the NY Times reviewer who states: "Nurse Betty says its okay to wallow in suds, that dreaming is only human. And without dreams to guide us in the land of a thousand and one beckoning television wizards, we would never leave Kansas."

Nurse Betty is not the first film to use the world of soap opera as its backdrop. (Tootsie and Soapdish ring any bells?) Soap opera is part of the fabric of American life. Any and every person I meet on the street has a story to share about their experience watching soaps. We've all grown up with soaps. They have touched, and will continue to touch, all our lives in one way or another. It's no wonder then that they have become fodder for filmmakers.

You are soap fans. Nurse Betty is about an ardent soap fan. Are you offended by in any way by this film?

Your homework, should you decide to accept it, is to see Nurse Betty and tell us how you feel about the movie and it's depiction of the world of soaps and it's fans. Please post your thoughts in the Nurse Betty folder on the Turtle Run Movies message boards. I look forward to reading your comments.

Soap News

ABC Daytime, Planet Hollywood and US Weekly have partnered in a joint promotion that will showcase top ABC Daytime stars at Planet Hollywood locations across the country. Appearing at Planet Hollywood restaurants every weekend through mid-November will be ABC Daytime stars that include Cameron Mathison (Ryan, AMC), Billy Warlock (AJ, GH), Josh Duhamel (Leo, AMC), Coltin Scott (Nikolas, GH), and Michael Saucedo (Juan, GH). The 2-hour event will consist of autograph signing, question and answer sessions, handprint ceremonies and a memorabilia donation. US Weekly will distribute gift bags to fans which will include a current issue of the magazine and promotional items from ABC Daytime and Planet Hollywood.

Speaking of ABC Daytime, Port Charles is delighted to announce that Barbara Esensten and James Harmon Brown are joining the head writing team. "We are excited by Barbara and Jim's vision for Port Charles, and I believe the fans are going to love what we have planned for the show," said Angela Shapiro upon making the announcement. Esensten and Brown first began their successful television collaboration in 1988 as scriptwriters for Dynasty. In 1989 they were named head writers for Dynasty and continued to create movies for television such as Rich Men, Single Women, through 1992. In 1993, they joined the daytime drama, Guiding Light. They were part of the GL team that won an Emmy for writing that year. They were then named head writers for ABC's Loving. During their tenure, Esensten and Brown were responsible for the Loving murders, a storyline that captured the attention of audiences nationwide. They also served as headwriters for The City which starred Morgan Fairchild. In 1995, they returned to Guiding Light.


Days of Our Lives: Morgan Sheppard portrays Charles, the caretaker of Princess Gina's estate. He airs on Friday, September 22, 2000.

Seeing Stars

November 11 &12, 2000. NBC announces the stars attending NBC FanFest 2000 to be held at Universal Studios, Florida, Islands of Adventure. From Days of Our LivesKristian Alfonso (Hope), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), Matt Cedeno (Brandon ), Jason Cook (Shawn), Patrika Darbo (Nancy), Drake Hogestyn (John), Deidre Hall (Marlena), Jay Kenneth Johnson (Philip), Lauren Koslow (Kate), Joe Mascolo (Stefan), Julianne Morris (Gretta), Austin Peck (Austin), Peter Reckell (Bo), Kevin Spiritas (Craig), Kirsten Storms (Belle), Alison Sweeney ( Sami), and Arianne Zuker (Nicole). From Passions, Galen Gering (Luis), James Hyde (Sam), Kim Johston Ulrich (Ivy), Brook Kerr (Whitney), Lindsay Korman (Th eresa), Ben Masters (Julian), Jesse Metcalfe (Miguel), Juliet Mills (Tabitha), Tracey Ross (Eve), Travis Schuldt (Ethan), Molly Stanton (Charity), Donn Swaby (Chad), Eva Tamargo Lemus (Pilar), and McKenzie Westmore (Sheridan). To book accommodations and/or further information call 877 912-3838.

Don't forget ABC Supersoap Weekend at DisneyWorld on November 11 & 12, 2000. To book accommodations and/or further information call the Super Soap Hotline at 407-397-6808 and ask about the special Super Soap Weekend package.

All My Children: Mark Consuelos and Cameron Mathison (Mateo and Ryan) will be appearing at the Planet Hollywood, Washington, D.C. on Saturday, September 22, 2000. Call 202 783-7827; at Planet Hollywood in Atlanta, GA on Sunday, September 23, 2000. Call 404 523-7300; and Cameron Mathison will be at Generations Expo in Cincinnati, OH on Saturday, September 30, 2000 from 2-4 PM.

General Hospital: Coltin Scott (Nikolas) and Michael Saucedo (Juan) will be at Planet Hollywood in San Antonio, TX on Saturday, September 29, 2000. Call 210 212-7827; and at Planet Hollywood, Dallas TX on Sunday, September 30, 2000. Call 214 749-7827.

Days of Our Lives: The Wesleys will be in Cut Bank, Montana (just north of Great Falls) on Saturday, September 30, 2000. Kevin Spirtas and Patrika Darbo will help kick off an event to raise money for medical supplies for the Glacier County Medical Center, which serves a substantial number of Native Americans. The event includes a family rodeo and games at 3 PM in the Cut Bank Saddle Club, and a Meet & Greet autograph session and auction beginning at 7 PM at the Cut Bank Elk's Lodge. Call 406 873-4280 for info. Drake Hogestyn will be signing autographs at the Farm Fresh Extravaganza in Hampton, Virginia from 1-4 PM on Sunday, October 15, 2000. Call 757 369-6179 for info. Kevin Spirtas will sing the National Anthem for the Phoenix Suns at Portland Trailblazers game at the America West Arena, located at 201 East Jefferson in Phoenix, AZ on Thursday, November 2, 2000. Tickets for the game can be purchased through ticketmaster.com

Louisiana Days of Our Lives fans! Make a date to ring in the New Year with Kevin Spirtas (Craig). On New Years Eve, 2000 at the Central School Arts & Humanities Center Auditorium in Lake Charles, LA from 10:00 PM 1:30 AM, Kevin will pay tribute to Broadway musicals and share his unique stories of how the Broadway stage influenced his life. Mail your ticket request to: Kevin Spirtas c/o New Year's Eve with Kevin Spirtas, 8033 Sunset Blvd., Suite 637, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Single tickets: $85.00. Two or more, $75.00 each. All orders MUST be placed by December 15, 2000. Make checks payable to Kevin Spirtas.

Passions stars Jesse Metcalfe (Miguel) and McKenzie Westmore (Sheridan) will participate in the First Annual Ronald McDonald House Celebrity Mini Grand Prix and Vintage and Custom Car Show on Sunday, October 1, 2000 at the Inland Center Mall in San Bernardino, CA. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Ronald McDonald House, a "home-away-from-home" for families of critically ill or injured children receiving treatment at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital.

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