Jlee’s Review – Anna Nicole

Photo courtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Photo courtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Everyone knows that Anna Nicole Smith had a larger than life persona. I wonder what took Lifetime so long to make a movie about the voluptuous model’s life.

Channeling Marilyn Monroe
Channeling Marilyn Monroe

When I saw an ad for the movie, Anna Nicole, which premiered on Lifetime Saturday July 29th, I was ecstatic. At the beginning of Anna’s career (1991) I wasn’t as into celebrity culture as I am now, but I do remember thinking she was a gorgeous Marilyn-look-alike and hearing of her marriage to billionaire J. Howard Marshall.

In 2002 I was stoked to watch the train wreck that was Anna Nicole on The Anna Nicole Show on E! The show premiered on August 4, 2002 and, according to Wikipedia, achieved the highest cable rating ever issued for a reality show.

So, of course, as a Lifetime Movie lover I couldn’t wait to watch a movie of Smith’s life. This movie thrilled me from start to finish. I literally could not take my eyes off the screen and was sad when it ended. I found myself wanting more along every phase of her life.

I’m sure the brilliant acting chops of Agnes Bruckner only helped as I’m pretty sure she made Anna Nicole more likable than she even really was! Bruckner played Anna with an innocence that made you root for her until the very end.

Agnes Bruckner, as Anna Nicole, with Martin Landau as J. Howard Marshall
Agnes Bruckner, as Anna Nicole, with Martin Landau as J. Howard Marshall
Agnes Bruckner transformed into Anna Nicole Smith
Agnes Bruckner transformed into Anna Nicole Smith

Bruckner herself said of Anna: “One of the biggest things I noticed about Anna Nicole is the love for life she had. She had a very outgoing personality; she was very bubbly, fun, feminine.” [More from The Hollywood Reporter.]

The movie is a bit dark at times. Yet even as Anna lay over J. Howard Marshall with her “bowling ball” boobs in his face trying to record him saying he would take care of her and son Daniel in his death I found myself standing by her. I was thinking: But she did love J. Howard, she did. He was like a father to her when she had no support system. He was there for her and loved her and she needed that!

Was the marriage weird? Yeah.

Did they ever have sex? According to Wikipedia, No.

Was I fooled? I don’t know! But, I do truly believe that she loved “Pa~pa”, as she and Daniel called him, in her own way. I hope so.

Virginia Madsen as Anna Nicole’s mother was brilliant. She was tough – locking a young Anna in her room and later not allowing Anna back home with baby Daniel. She was teaching her the hard lessons she had said.

I wonder between Anna’s turbulent upbringing and possible mental illness – whether a Guess model or not – where she would have ended up. Would she have made it if prescription drugs weren’t being thrown at her? If she had a better support system?

I found it odd when Anna was in rehab in a therapy session with her mother and mom said: “I love her way more than my mama ever loved me!” I wonder if that was really said.

Virginia Madsen as Anna Nicole's mother
Virginia Madsen as Anna Nicole’s mother

I think the story of small town Texas girl Vicki Lynn Hogan becoming model-actress-television personality Anna Nicole Smith is very inspirational though quite tragic. Anna knew she wanted more out of her life, and she went for it. She wanted a better life for Daniel; only she lost herself along the way.

In the beginning...
In the beginning…

My final thoughts:

–        Awesome movie, felt like a soap opera only better, and I truly wanted to see more. I didn’t want it to end. Would definitely watch again and plan to check out the book: Blonde Ambition.

–        I thought the acting all around was great – except for Graham Patrick Martin as Daniel. I didn’t feel any real connection to the teenage Daniel. I wished he could have shown more pain and depth when discovering his mother was a junkie, when being on a reality show he never wanted to be a part of, when making the decision to take the pills that would end his life. I felt that the young Daniel did a better job of showing pain and disappointment when he found his mother making out with a chick in an elevator. And then I wondered, did Daniel ever even go to school?

–        Howard K. Stern. What’s there to say about Howard K. Stern. Well, a lot if you watched The Anna Nicole Show, knew of their bazaar relationship/commitment ceremony and heard the rumors of a bromance between Stern and Larry Birkhead (oral sex, what?!?). The actor who played Stern, Adam Goldberg, was in Dazed and Confused so I already had a liking to him but wasn’t thrilled with his performance. I expected a lot from Howard K. Stern’s character. I don’t think my disappointment is necessarily Goldberg’s acting ability (see next point).

Did Howard really love Anna or was he after the money? #conspiracytheory
Did Howard really love Anna or was he after the money? #conspiracytheory

–         Much of the movie focused on Anna’s rise to fame (those stripper days) and wedding to Marshall. By the time Howard K. Stern was introduced into the movie we were already into the 2nd hour. The ending felt very rushed, which was what led me to wanting more. Larry Birkhead, father to Dannielynn, was only in the movie for maybe 5 minutes?

–        An appearance by Hef would have made this movie, seriously.

–        This is probably my favorite Lifetime Movie ever except for the one where Kellie Martin kills Tori Spelling. OMG, that one is without a doubt the best. (Quick Google searchDeath of a Cheerleader).

3 thoughts on “Jlee’s Review – Anna Nicole

  1. Cosby’s book of lies and smut called Blonde Ambition was a subject of a libel lawsuit. Cosby used shady sources (Anna’s disgruntled friends and managers), witnesses and did not check the facts. cOSBY ONLY WANTED TO MAKE QUICK MONEY OF OFF DEAD WOMAN. You should read the book written by Eric Redding Great Big beautiful doll”.

  2. I haven’t seen this yet, so I’ll be sure to watch when it comes back on. But I have to say that the movie where Kellie Martin kills Tori is also my favorite Lifetime movie too! In fact, my daughter and and I watch it together every time it’s on, haha. Haven’t seen it in a while though.

    “But you’re so beautiful and popular and funny, I just want to be your friend. ” “Oh my god, you’re pathetic”. My favorite scene.. 🙂

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