There is a Television God.
Last night, an earnest attempt to watch the newest Homeland came to naught. Earlier in the evening, I turned on my TV to record the new Homeland so I could watch it later. After hitting that lil’ red button, I did some channel surfing and was enthralled for about 90 seconds into Lifetime’s new ‘Witches of East End.’ Since time traveling (or something, I don’t know) witches did not capture my interest for longer than the time it took to write this sentence, I turned off the TV.
Later in the night, I settled onto the sofa to see what was up with the homies Carrie and Saul. The time was 12am. The planets were aligned. I turned on the television to the last-visited channel (OUR LIFE OUR TIME), and immediately the huge letters HOUSE OF VERSACE flashed on the screen. Oh god, this was the Donatella Versace biopic. And there she was. And there were those accents. And that dubious (high or low? who can say?) Lifetime production value. And I had to stay and watch. HOMELAND fell by the wayside for this Lifetime original – watch this trailer, and you’ll understand…it was out of my hands.
So instead of a Homeland recap musing on the possible trainwreck that is Homeland Season 3, here are the very truncated reasons why watching House of Versace is a great life choice, and why you should join me on this crazy train as soon as possible.
1. ENRICO COLANTONI LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HIM BEFORE!!!
You may know Enrico as the womanizing, gap-tooth loving photographer on Just Shoot Me. Or as the caring, sarcastic, and oh-so-righteous sheriff/private eye/father on Veronica Mars. Or EVEN as bank-robber talk-down-ing SWAT team leader from Flashpoint (ok, chances are, you don’t know him as this because I don’t think anyone has ever seen Flashpoint, unless you watch Criminal Minds enough to be familiar with Ion Television’s entire Monday Night lineup).
BUT ANYWAY, back to Enrico… while all true V-Mars fans are fully aware of his wonderfulness, as a loud print-wearing, pin cushion wielding, fashion line leader and visionary Gianni Versace, we have seen him not!
They actually look crazily alike, in a scarily eerie kind of way. Does anyone other than Enrico and Gianni have cheeps shaped like that? But seriously, Enrico’s Italian accent and misuse of Italian expressive hands in the most fugeddaboutit-y way possible: DO NOT MISS THIS FOR THE WORLD.
2. GINA GERSHON AS DONATELLA VERSACE IS AN INSPIRATION!
Gina’s version of the Milanese Italian stylist/powerhouse/fashion icon/drug addict/woman-of-contradiction is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. She achieves this voice that is kind of like if Hank Azaria in The Birdcage was a lifetime 6-pack a day smoker with an infusion of “if you got it, honay, flaunt it!” To be fair, she has a lot to work with – the script is just overflowing with one-liners to make this character as campy as possible. And don’t worry, Lifetime has already provided an entire MEME GALLERY with Donatella quotes + fake Fake Lips.
Not to harp on the voice too much, but it really just didn’t get old. It was the consistency we, the audience, needed to make it through the HIGH HIGHS and LOW LOWS of the House of Versace. Between every rehab stint, stroke of genius, intervention, and triumphant runway show, there was that “HAH” and that “UNH” and all of those moments where you wondered whether Gina’s Italian voice coach was actually a Russian to get you through the Versace journey.
3. RE-LIVE THE FASHION TRENDS AND RELEVANT CELEBRITIES OF THE ’90S.
Oh, Winona Ryder wore Versace? That’s how you know you’ve made it in ’94! Princess Di loved the blue gown? This would be WONDERFUL NEWS if everything about Diana wasn’t just so, so sad in retrospect. House of Versace name drops its way through storytelling, showing how important the Haus had become by telling who wore their wares, who attended Gianni’s funeral (SORRY, SPO1LR AL3RT), and what supermodels the brand created. All of which, was, actually pretty interesting!
Also, this biopic made me believe that Versace is the singularly most important brand for current trends and MNSTRM power players dominating 2013. According to the film, and the accompanying Versace: Beyond the Headlines documentary that I obviously also watched, Versace invented slut-bondage-chic, which is an everywoman of 2010’s “eveningwear” mainstay thanks to Sophia Amoruso’s Nasty Gal brand. Not to mention the things Versace did with gold hardware and lamé that are now Wet Seal/Forever 21 staples, the bold, bright, and busy prints Versace gave us, now known as the “ugly patterns” trend all over womens and menswear right now, and neon. Lots of neon.
4. THE WORSE THAN YOU EVEN THOUGHT AN ACCENT COULD BE ACCENTS AND ITALIAN AFFECTATIONS.
There’s really no way to describe them, other than to watch the trailer or movie and see for yourself. It is astounding that not a single actor – not Raquel Welch (ya! she’s in this! but that didn’t deserve its own bullet point), not Enrico, not Gina, not any of the kids, not even that one guy who looked familiar because he plays the villainous lawyer in Chicago, got Italian-accented English down. Not that we should like, expect them to, since it is completely absurd that they play Italian characters who speak English to each other. That, like the British = old-timey accent we’ve come to accept, is just a suspension of disbelief we’re going to have to give ’em. But really, the accents, along with the “aspicey meatahball” hand gestures, expositional toasts, dramatic hellos and goodbyes, and all things Americans think of Italians, were huge pluses for the film.
I’ve run out of good things to say about this movie. It was a grand old time. I wouldn’t have watched it except by happy accident, but I a little more than half-heartedly suggest that you put a modicum of effort into getting this piece o’work – so like the subject herself – in front of your eyeballs.