Episode 042

GOOD: SISTER ACT

Hail Whoopi, Full of Grace. One-time Oscar winner, four-time Oscar Host. Standup comedian, prestige actress, box office draw, supporting player, talk show panelist... Goldberg has played many parts. Simultaneously smart, saucy and saccharine, she is truly one of Hollywood's most beloved personalities - over a career that ranges from huge hits to massive misfires. Through it all, she's somehow never lost our affection, whether communing with dead spirits or summoning the Holy Ghost to shake up Maggie Smith's cloistered convent. SISTER ACT was first envisioned as a vehicle for Bette Midler, but Whoopi in a wimple proved impossible to pass up. Brian was raised by a nun and Seán has played one on the gay cabaret circuit, so returning to this family classic didn't feel like penance. Upon rewatching, though, how many of its cardinal virtues remain intact?

BAD: THE ASSOCIATE

At your next pub quiz, when asked to name a Whoopi Goldberg movie that features Donald J. Trump, you'll have the answer! THE ASSOCIATE is a 1996 satirical comedy of finance and feminism in which the Whoopster launches a one-woman campaign to break into the world of Wall Street (with help from spunky secretary Dianne Weist). This Clinton-era curiosity was woke before woke... sort of. You see, this film's version of taking down the patriarchy involves layering its heroine in a mask of (Caucasian) latex to pose as a fictitious white male titan of industry: the aptly - and repetitively - named Robert Cutty. (What was that name?? Cutty. Cutty? CUTTY!) There is probably a brilliant Brechtian bouillabaisse to be made from these ingredients, laced with a hearty helping of identity politics, but this earnestly flat-footed film is not it. Instead, it's Simone de Beauvoir meets Mrs. Doubtfire as the very real structures of institutional sexism serve as the backdrop for a gender-bending so-called romp. And they say the name "Cutty"...A LOT!!

CRAZY: THEODORE REX

What do you get when you pair an angry, embittered cop with a sparky, big-hearted yet bumbling T-Rex designed to sell children's Happy Meal tie-ins? Quite possibly the most bizarre, joyless film in history. THEODORE REX was a film that Whoopi Goldberg had to be sued into making, because how would she have thought that anyone pitching this film was serious? "Yeah sure I'll make your family-friendly, buddy cop dinosaur movie, yeah!" she must have said, never believing that she was entering into an orally binding contract. The film that you most certainly thought was a rumour, is in fact, real. And we've seen it. Move over, Francis Fukuyama, this film is truly the End of History.