Video Picks – Pretty people and their problems

There’s something about soap operas that is so perfect. The hair, the clothes, the makeup and the ridiculous dialogue: What would we do without them? I am sure there are a few naysayers out there that think the soaps are worthless fluff specifically designed to sell diapers and Pine Sol. This is just not true.

Soaps provide a way for those of us who are not filthy rich and gorgeous to live vicariously through people who say things like, “I have to get that tape so that I can blackmail my best friend’s boyfriend who is also my nephew and the alleged father of someone else’s baby.”

Lines like that are brilliant. My personal favorite is “Days of Our Lives;” I started watching when I was in the third grade. My mom would tape it in the afternoon and watch it at night so that she wouldn’t interrupt her housework. This kind of dedication to the art of cheap melodrama has been made into quite a few great films that I beg you to rent and watch again and again.

If you don’t, I may slip into a coma only to be awakened by the kiss of my one true love, but I don’t know him because I have … gasp … amnesia!

“Delirious” is the story of a soap opera writer played by John Candy who is accidentally transported into the world of the soap he writes. In a mysterious twist of fate, he gets to write himself into his own show and get himself a hot lady, played by Mariel Hemingway. The film is great at capturing the poetic beauty of soap dialogue and maniacal characters.

Sally Field plays the epitome of the Susan Lucci-esque diva in “Soapdish.” This one shows that the action behind the scenes is even more ridiculous than the storylines of the show. With an all-star cast including Kevin Kline, Elisabeth Shue, Whoopie Goldberg and Robert Downey Jr. to name a few, this is the most famous soap opera cast in recent history. The plot twists and turns and keeps viewers on their toes with secret affairs and lots of cleavage.

However, the best movie about a soap opera is “Tootsie,” starring a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman plays a difficult out-of-work actor who will do anything for a role – including pretending to be a woman. His performance garnered him an Academy Award nomination but he didn’t win. Jessica Lange as the nurse next door with the heart of gold was good enough to win the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role. Hoffman realizes how to treat women after being one, and I think that fact alone makes soaps worth their weight in pancake makeup.

Go now and rent a movie about the soaps, or better yet go home in the middle of the day and watch a few of the real things. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from a daytime soap. Like for instance, if a psychiatrist is possessed by the devil don’t let her talk you into untying her from the bed because she will try to kill you. Don’t be fooled, the soaps teach valuable lessons about life, love and outlandish medical problems. And that makes them the best entertainment around.