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Kino Korner October 2, 2002
A Big Fat Greek Lie
By Mark Ames Browse author Email

This kino review is something special. It's a first in Moscow, if not world history: the first authentically interactive kino review ever.

When I read that a film called MY BIG, FAT GREEK WEDDING was an indy hit in the US, I was deeply suspicious. It was supposed to be an indy film, sure, but the title had all the cute, harmless irony of a high school play. One nice thing about indy flicks is that few of them make it to Moscow. That means fewer slow films featuring uncommunicative lead characters and close-ups of boiling tea kettles and entire dinner scenes in which no one says a word -- the kind of thing that passes for "realistic" at film festivals.

To my horror, My Big Fat Greek Wedding made it to Moscow. And it arrived with only one purpose: to raise my blood pressure.

I knew I'd hate it. That was the easy part. But I was scared, really. I don't need another chick flick to throw oil on my misogyny peat bog fires, turning them into a serial murder inferno.

Another, quieter fear: what if Greek Wedding was actually good? Aiieee! In that case, I really, really couldn't watch it. Because if it was good, it would be depressing as hell. One of those unmediated peeks into the small, sad dreams that make a woman's inner world.

So I decided that the best thing to do would be to review an American woman watching the movie. Rather than the movie itself. That seemed safer and easier, like grabbing a bystander and using her as a shield during a shoot-out.

So on Sunday morning, hungover, I posted this message on the Expat List:

Subject: Movie Date with the eXile!

For the film review in this issue of the eXile, I would like to conduct an experiment which will require the participation of a female American subject. I will be attending the 9:30 p.m. showing of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" at the America Cinema, and I would like to take with me an American woman as my "date" in order to record her reactions to the film. I will pay for her ticket and snacks. Any female Americans interested please email me today at

Mark Ames

To my relief, I didn't get any responses on Sunday, which I felt gave me the right to skip the film. But then an amazing thing happened.

I got this message on Monday afternoon:

Mark Ames-

I just saw your post on the expat. You may have already found a date, but I figured I'd send you an email anyway. My numbers in Moscow are [...].


At first, I assumed I was being set up. But the phone numbers were real, as was the email's tone. I figured that Paige must either be an ironic alterno-grrl or frighteningly desperate. And duty demanded that I find out which.

In the meantime, I got two more letters. They were sexy as hell, I have to admit, but they rekindled my misogyny. What drives a woman to humiliation?

I called Paige and arranged to meet on Tuesday for the 5 o'clock showing, right as this issue was going to bed. She was neither defensive nor ironic on the phone.

To Paige's credit, she didn't lie when she described herself as looking "Russian." She didn't look all that Russian, but she definitely didn't look American: pale, lithe, with bright red lipstick and bright gold eye shadow. She had features, which is rare with American women. She held out her hand to me. I thought, "Uh-oh, I can't be mean to her." Nevertheless, I had Dr. Dolan, who accompanied me, take photos of us as if we were on a "date," which I planned to plaster on the kino page.

When Paige told me that she is a ballet dancer and a gymnast, I thought, "Uh-oh, I really, really can't be mean to her." She comes from the Deep South; she skipped college in favor of dance and travel, even given the option -- it takes incredible courage even for the dimmest American to forego college. I had to admit -- she was impressive.

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Separated At Eye Hood? :
Iggy, The Great
Concert Review: Iggy and the Stooges : B1 Maximum, September 11

The Theory Of Dyevolution :



Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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