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Under the Tuscan Sun and Diane Lane’s Smile

Whoever took tho photo of Diane Lane (and did the inevitable Photoshopping) deserves a commendation or an award (friends of Strong Bad might recommend a pizza-trophy). This ad is all over the place in SF (MUNI shelters) and on a huge-ass billboard on 101 South.

(to see the pic I’m lookning at, check out the official site .

Let’s just start out by my saynig that Diane Lane has got to be the hottest older (she’s 38) woman in the universe.

Let me first address her smile. It is simply amazing. Something about her facial expression and lips express the word possibility in an entirely adult fashion. Somehow, though she’s not actually doing it, I swear she’s somehow psychically beaming to me that she’s also biting her lip. Is it possible?

Her mouth is like a toothpaste ad. I admit I’m quoting Reese Witherspoon speaking of Ali Larter in “Legally Blonde”. I remember thinking that Reese’s protracted description of Ali’s mouth on the special track of “Legally Blonde” was really quite sensual - mayhap Ms. Witherspoon has a future in poetry or some other art.

Back to the ad though, men have a coded genetic weakness to blue jeans and a white long-sleeve, collared shirt. The semiotic connotation of this sign means: relaxed, sexy, and fun. It says, “Hi, I’m classy but won’t mind if we grab a burger and beer after our promenade.”

And she’s looking, as you see her, to her left, more importantly to the viewer’s right. Now English readers and writers natually tend to look to the right when reading or viewing, so Diane is looking to the right, to the “next” which really only reaffirms the message of “possibility.”

In summation, this ad says “Classy and fun, but relaxed, possibilities” to the viewer. From what I understand of the movie this is sort of the idea (How white girl got her Italian Groove back, apparently) of the film.

I’ll probably never see the movie because it can’t live up to the explosive chemistry of the picuture. Three cheers for Diane Lane.

But now that I’m thinking about hot older women of the silver screen, back when i was a bit younger the lust object beyond all conception was Sharon Stone. Right about the time of release of “Basic Instinct” (my sophomore year in high school) everyone went nuts over her (uhm, and her choice of couture).

Now let’s not be mistaken, I thought she was pretty good looking (gross understatement) but something about her performance as Catherine Trammell was so smart, so dangerous, so enticing that I concluded: Sharon Stone is hot, older, and smart. Clearly only someone with great intelligence, the key to being able to emote, could have given such a performance.

Then I saw her in several interviews and she was a total dingbat. I was floored. Keep in mind, this is in high school, where smart geeky guys think that they’ll never get to kiss the prom queen - and, for the world outside John Hughes films, they never do. Somehow Sharon had become, for a brief moment, the symbol of a terrifyingly beautiful and so goddam smart lustobject - and the golden era was over.

Many years later she was on junket for the movie “Sphere” and I thought I’d visit my previous reveries by watching her, and, much to my surprise, she was totally intelligent. Her manner of expression didn’t have the slow, cool, collectedness of Audrey Hepburn or the dispassionate sangfroid of an icy new england intellectual out of one of those John Irvingesque wife-swapping stories, but nonetheless, she had opinions about the philosophical underpinnings of “Sphere” that displayed keen acumen. In interviews I’ve read with her she is quite bright and seems to be nice company.

So where Am I now? Stone is a good-looking and smart woman who, despite getting a ‘tawdry’ rap, I actually find rather elegant. So Sharon, if you’re reading, and you’re ever in the city and want to meet an admirer (and what’s not to like about a person who had a conversion from hater to fan) let me know.