Filthy and wise: Madonna is at it again


On February 13, the Berlin

Film Festival will premiere Filth & Wisdom, the feature-length

directorial debut of the inimitable Madonna. The “low-budget

music-based comedy
” concerns a young musician (Eugene

of the punk band Gogol Bordello) who moves to London

to follow his dreams, only to become swept up in the sexy sexy

world of S/M. Perhaps. No one really knows what the film’s

about for sure. No matter the plot, here’s hoping she’s better

at telling people how to act than she is at … you know … doing the acting herself.

OK, so maybe that’s a little

harsh. She put in decent performances in both Desperately Seeking

(basically playing herself) and A League of Their Own

(basically playing herself as a 1940s baseball player). But for

every wonderful comic turn she’s done on Saturday Night Live,

there’s an is she really pouring candle wax on a bare-chested

Willem Dafoe agggh I need to go bleach my eyes

turn in something like 1993’s Body of Evidence.

Don’t get me wrong — I loves

me some Madonna. No, really — I loves me some Madonna, and

I only care a little bit that admitting it might make me uncool.

She’s been around so long that I can barely remember life before

Madonna; it just so happens that I feel the same way about Darth

— make of that what you will.

I distinctly remember the first

time I ever saw Madonna. I was spending the night at my grandma’s,

and she let me watch the very first MTV Video Music Awards — yes, this

was way back in 1984. Madonna performed “Like A Virgin” — and of

course, by “performing,” I mean “she rolled around on the stage

in a trashy bridal dress,” but to my young, impressionable eyes she

was a revelation. Girls weren’t supposed to act like that, after

all, and I was instantly hooked.

For more than twenty years

now (crap, that makes me feel old) I’ve been a die-hard Madonna fan,

though I can proudly say I’ve never once tried to imitate her

style. At times in my life, I’ve worn my Madonna fanship on

my sleeve, like the day my mom let me skip school so I could buy

True Blue
the second it hit stores, while during other times — like

when I was so totally punk rock that I wore a Butthole Surfers

pin on my jacket, man — Madonna was my dirty little secret.

There’s never been a time

I haven’t loved her, though; I’ve stuck with her through all the

dizzying highs, the depressing lows, and the creamy middles. Yeah,

I bought Sex (the book, I mean; come on, I’m not that

desperate … yet). Sure, I’ve spent more money than Switzerland’s

GNP on concert tickets (but last time I was so close, I could see her

crow’s feet!). I sacrificed an hour of my life watching the

shot in ’79 but released in ‘85
stinker A Certain Sacrifice.

I still hit the record store the day a new release drops, and while her

output certainly hasn’t all been gold, there’s never been a time

she hasn’t made me happy. She’s still a revelation.

Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Madonna isn’t one

of the most remarkable women to have walked the planet.

She’s been so maligned for

her acting skills — not always unfairly — that I’m really rooting

for her and Filth & Wisdom … and I’ll absolutely be the

first in line when it hits the states.

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