Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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August 23, 1999

Picture: The Divine AnitaAnita Manceau-Baddeley presents
Anita's Fabulous Summer Movie Reviews!

Darlings! It's been too, too long. It was just the other week that I was speaking tete-a-tete with darling Sir Charles and I said to him, "Sir Charles, after you remove your hand from my thigh you really should consider allowing me to have my own little say in your column every now and again. It's true that you have so many readers that were each a peacock you might produce enough feathers to make me, Anita Manceau-Baddeley, a fabulous headdress worthy of me. But the world is so much broader, Chuckles, than manners and etiquette. There are museums! There is literature! There is culture! Who has spent more afternoons alone in a dark theater with a raincoat over her lap than moi? And what could be more chock-full of culture and high Art than the summer movies of Hollywood?"

So without further ado, let's get right to the top picks for the summer.

The Haunting:  A creepy old mansion that looks as if it had been personally designed with the credo, "Nothing can't be improved with a bit of red velvet and several thousand gargoyles." Ominous rumblings. Odd creakings. Long, dark hallways in which the fear is nearly palpable. And then, in the middle of the night, high-pitched screams of "GO AWAY! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET OFF ME!" Yes, darlings, I know it sounds like my last visit to Sir Charles' estate of Blandsdown. But never mind the plot. Just look at Catherine Zeta-Jones and that fur vest she stole from Wilma Flintstone's closet, and those kinky boots! Isn't she fabulous? Four out of five shrieks for this spine-tingler!

The Mummy: Girlfriend really appreciated this one. Because isn't it too true that when we all get out of bed after a night's rest (or several hundred thousands of them under the desert sands), we none of us look our best? A few rogue archaeologists have to die just so Mr Mummy can regain his buff looks. Honey, a girl will do anything to get the wrinkles out of her carcass on a day like that! Five out of five body wraps!

Mystery Men: Honey, the title certainly is the tale of my life. The things I could tell you! But the movie turned out to be some tired old story with all sorts of dark, murky sets. I mean, honestly. Can't supervillains afford recessed lighting fixtures and some lovely antique Oriental carpets, and maybe some subdued pastel paint on the walls with a complimentary scumble glaze done to reproduce the rich look of pallazzo plaster? I think they can! Only one out of four bowling balls.

Dick: Enough said, honey! Five out of five Deep Throats!

The Blair Witch Project: At first I thought, "It's about time they made a movie about that Camilla Parker-Bowles!" But then I saw it was a camping film about three youths who--and don't ask Anita to explain it, darlings, she simply can't begin to fathom--go camping in the wilderness without even a single battery-powered makeup mirror or a leg razor between them. Obviously I knew when I saw that that the rest of the film would be a typical Hollywood fantasy with no basis in reality whatsoever. One out of five yawns.

Australian Lifeguards in Paradise II: Buns on the Beach: I saw this arty little number with Penelope Windsor-Smythe at a special private screening (there are advantages to being friends with the girl who's eighty-somethingth in line for the throne!) and darlings, let me tell you, the culinary tips alone made us sweet young things nearly immediately book holidays with Qantas. Five out of five thongs!

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace: The hit of the summer, dears. How much praise can you give a movie in which the planet Naboo elects its ruler? Honey, under that system even I, Anita Manceau-Baddeley, could be elected the planet's biggest and most fabulous queen! And then I'd get exclusive access to what is apparently Naboo's primary resource--its pancake makeup mines! Five out of five droids!

That's it, darlings! And when you're alone in the dark with popcorn on your lap and greasy fingers, think of
Your correspondent for the week,
Anita Manceau-Baddeley

Picture: Batter Up!Sir Augustus writes:

Sir Charles,

You might recall we met last year at the Little Widderscombe Lawn Bowls Tournament. I recall you bet quite heavily on the fellow from Branswicke--Bob Tell, I believe it was. Won a tidy little bundle too, if I recall correctly. Heavy odds against him.

Of course, this year I'd like to make the same little profit as you, and Tell looks to be the man to win it for me. Unfortunately he seems to have moved from Branswicke to heaven knows where. I wonder if you've heard for what city he's bowling now? I'd like to get my bet in early, while the odds are still in my favour.

Sir Augustus Schmee

Sir Charles replies:

Sir Augustus,

One, too, has lost track of good old Bob Tell. A pity, because one would have enjoyed making a bit of extra spending money oneself.

However, this year, who knows for whom the Tell bowls? He bowls not for thee.

Poetically, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Joe writes:

Selrahc Ris raed,

Revelc os er'uoy kniht uoy sekam tahw os?  Siht ekil kcimmig a fo thguoht evah reven d'uoy...  Lanigiro dna yttiw os er'uoy gnikniht, tesolc s'Socram Adlemi ni seohs eht naht suoremun erom era sredaer ruoy taht gnitsaob, ythgim dna hgih os eb ot flesruoy dloh uoy.

Eelg dekciw htiw gnilggig,
Snibor Eoj

Sir Charles replies:

My dear, poor Joe,

A clever gimmick it is indeed, to have the 'ability' to write everything backwards. Why, I've not seen so clever a gimmick since one of the girls from the local tavern decided to go into business for herself by attaching electrified lights to her corset and advertising herself after dark as 'Bulb-ous Barbara, the Bawd of Bagley Bottoms.' A pity she forgot to ground herself.

One can scarcely wait to see your next 'trick.' Honking horns on a stand and clapping your flippers while your trainer throws you anchovies, perhaps?

Simply itching with anticipation, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: The Sisters Of Perpetual IndulgenceSister Mary-Fred  writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I write to you on behalf of the Blessed Sisters of Hot-Cross-Bunthorne Abbey in South Westchestershropshireford.

We nuns have been most upset by the fact that there have been no saints named recently; since the passing of dear Mother Theresa, no one seems interested in the possibility anymore. But I say, pish and tush! There are quite a few saints out there, and we wish to name them at once! Would you consider letting us put your name on our list as a candidate for sainthood? We want to submit it to the Pope as soon as possible!

After all, it is truly a miracle that a member of the British nobility would take time out of his illustrious day to extend himself to the benighted and ignorant for their edification and general enlightenment . . . which you feel compelled, most certainly by the moving of the Holy Spirit, to do! We are most impressed with your generosity and desire to do good, and we want to spread you around throughout the masses who need you desperately! We hope you will consider our extremely unctuous request. After all, I think you'll agree that "Saint Charles Grandiose" sounds pretty good, doesn't it? 

Yours in the Light of Holiness,

Sister Mary-Fred Mermanethel,
Hot-Cross-Bunthorne Abbey,
South Westchestershropshireford.

P.S. Do tell me, Sir Charles . . . when you feel "moved," (by the Holy Spirit, that is), is it a directly physical sensation of some sort, or simply thoughts that you experience with your mind? Or do you see doves fly up? We wish fervently to know, as Sister Marion-Bert Aretha Yolanda is keeping a careful catalogue of such happenings in her daily diary. 

Sir Charles replies:

Holy Sister,

It is most odd that you should write upon this day, for one has been dispensing charity as if there were no tomorrow. One met a beggar at the gate this morning, and instead of peppering his rear end with buckshot as one is usually wont to do, one directed him to have a bowl of stew with one's gamekeeper (beyond the invisible maze of hidden tiger pits and tooth-jawed bear traps that only the gameskeeper and oneself can navigate without losing a leg).

Upon returning to the house, one encountered one of the paparazzi. But as one was in a good mood, on instructed Jenkins to administer only a severe thrashing to him, rather than an outright pistol-whipping.

Feeling smug and self-satisfied as one rebudgeted the pounds one had intended to give to the local church for one's decorating 'mad money,' (for God is beauty, is he not, and what is more beautiful than another ancient Indian brass spittoon in the shape of one of the positions of the Kama Sutra?), one reflected to oneself, "One has truly had a blessed day."

Indeed, 'Saint Charles Grandiose' does have something of a 'ring' to it. And one rather gathers, since the canonization of Edith Stein, that one actually doesn't have to be Catholic in order to become a saint, eh? Grand business all around.

Blessedly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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