Highway of Blood 

Divine Secrets of Obsessive Oprah Fans

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
dir. Callie Khouri
Opens Fri June 7
Various Theaters

From the moment I catch sight of the ladies jockeying for a place in the long line at the theater, I have a very bad feeling in my gut. Granted, if my editor had offered me the option of pouring Southern Comfort in my eyes or sewing my vagina shut with dental floss, I might have stayed home. But he didn't, so here I am forced to fend for myself among hostile strangers in thrall to The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

I got two chapters into the pseudo-Southern Gothic sentiment meets pop-psychology feminism bestseller before hurling it out of my apartment window onto a freeway. My best memories of the tome are of watching rush-hour traffic turn it into confetti. Oprah's Book Club, on the other hand, have hauled themselves off the couch en masse to witness one of their favorite novels come to life, and goddess forbid the poor soul who tries to get in the way of their catharsis. The last time I'd seen this crowd was at the launch of a new beanie baby--and when supplies of Trixie the Tapir ran out, the fur was flying, so I know the depths to which they can dive.

Bravely, I elude their rapier-like French Tips and push into the packed theater where their panting, post-menopausal breath has raised the temperature to tropic levels. The air is electric with expectation and when the lights finally go down, the ladies vigorously applaud the announcement that the theater is equipped with Dolby Sound. The last time I've seen an audience this worked up was my 11th Grade Driver's Ed. class on the day we were finally going to see Highway of Blood.

Which, in comparison to this warmed-over Fried Green Magnolias, was a veritable masterpiece mercifully devoid of hugging, burnished flashbacks to the "Greatest Generation," English grand dames choking on Cajun dialects, the bugbear of "repressed memories," hugging, the enduring power of female friendships, curmudgeonly but lovable colored servants, hugging, stoic men in pleated slacks, Sandra Bullock growing leathery and irrelevant before our very eyes, or macaroni crafts. But don't tell the ladies I said that--who knows what they might do?


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