Planet Hollywood… 17 Years Later


plan hol 20.jpgLast night, following a friend’s birthday party in midtown Manhattan and 4,000 concoctions known as “Berry Cosmos”, a friend and I thoght it would be a fabulous idea to head over to Planet Hollywood in Times Square. As a quick reminder, Planet Hollywood (or “The PH”, as us insiders refer to it) was opened in 1991 by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis. Today, it remains a leopard-carpeted maze of movie props and costumes, where tourists happily shell out $4 per popper to snap a photo of the uniform worn by Roger Dorn in Major League, among others.

Here is my story.

Upon entering, one is greeted with a gigantic — and quite terrifying — statue of Jack Nicholson’s Joker:

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Which I’m guessing is way more upbeat than a looming plaster Heath Ledger. One way to perhaps jazz this statue up a bit? Put an Anne Geddes baby in his hat. No, really. People, specifically women, more specifically Celine Dion, love babies the size of peanuts. I digress.

It’s clear that the restaurant, in an effort to appeal to the “youth”, have moved all of their Disney-era memorabilia to the main lobby area. Which is how I discovered that my hands are pretty much the same size as the kinda gay Jonas brother:

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“Be gentle Officer!” — Michelle.

Many many more photos of me acting a fool at Planet Hollywood ahead. Also, a Ghostbusters suit. Really, you want to see this.

And in what could be considered sacrilege, Paul Newman’s plaster handprints were only a stones throw away from The Jonas Brothers. I wasn’t really sure how to pose with Paul’s hands, given the heartbreaking news of his passing: Smiling would be gauche, remaining stone-faced would be… un-Facebook-taggable, and frowning too broadly could appear jokey. Perhaps I should have gone the “classy” route and just have left myself out of the picture altogether? Nah…

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I was going for solemn and sad with a dash of parker-posey. Oh, and that 48 lb. doorknocker on my finger? Just my fall statement ring, no big deal. And my earrings? I’m pretty sure they’re the same ones worn by Harvey Keitel in Monkey Trouble, though I didn’t see any proof at the Plan-Hol.

We came across Arnold Schwarzenegger’s handprints, which looked like the mark of an anal-retentive gorilla:

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And Jack Nicholson’s hands, which were surprisingly small and detailed, much like the hands of fellow Oscar winner Jessica Tandy:

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But enough with the hands! What about the props? No, not those kind of props. The movie props. Well have youuuu ever taken a dark photo standing next to the vest worn by Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

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“Planet Hollywood: Making Dreams Possible.”

Now, all of these amazing sights are actually placed before arriving at the actual restaurant. Which is actually… kiiiiind of a let down. Don’t get me wrong: I had no problem ordering a drink from their cleverly titled menu:

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Hmm… they might want to consider updating some of their drink titles. Cool Runnings was great cinema, and Death Becomes Her… was another movie… but are they aware that hundreds of movies have come out in the new Millenium? This is a prime time to add a There Will Be Bloody Martini or a Lord of the Rinds Screwdriver or something way more clever than either of these titles. I ordered an Unbreakable, the kind of drink I’ll only be able to enjoy until my inevitable diabetes kicks in. Insulin & vodka? Probably also delicious.

So while our 48 oz. drinks were being made, we took a stroll around the restaurant to check out what sort of props were in our midst. And, oh, THE PROPS THAT WERE IN OUR MIDST:

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Recognize this? Why, it’s the VERY SAME rhinocerous head used in the classic comedy sequel Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Yes. From this scene. I KNOW! But things get even better, because uh-right next door, we found ourselves staring at something better suited (pun alert) for the Smithsonian:

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It’s Dr. Egon Spengler‘s Ghostbusters Costume. WORN BY THE ONE AND ONLY HAROLD RAMIS. Oh, the delightful Jewish body hair that that ghostsuit has seen.

One strange thing at PH: The dining room was half full of European tourists (yes, we spoke to every single one of them) who appeared TERRIBLY DEPRESSED. Really. People were barely speaking to each other, shoveling Cap’n Crunch Chicken into their mouths with morbidly obese abandon, lazily looking up to catch a movie trailer now and again. Which was odd, as I was in one of the best moods of my life. That is, until a waitress told us about a “secret” room that was chock full of Broadway Musical props. Musicals? Why, I absolutely love musicals! I handspringed my way to the room only to discover…

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That it totally sucked. I wanted Sky Masterson’s fedora from Guys & Dolls! I wanted Les Mis face dirt and Phantom masks! Instead, I got a genie costume from what I’m assuming is Oh-oh oh oh oh-oh-oh: The MC Hammer Story, and a Balky Jacket from Who Cares?: The Musical. If you do go to PH in Times Square, do your best to avoid being seated in the dreaded Broadway Room.

Drinky time! Wait a second, that’s not vodka…

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That’s spinach dip! God, what an a**hole I am. (I will try to keep my italics to a minimum. It’s just that I get very excited about Planet Hollywood, and need to exhibit that excitement to you through text. My apologies.)

So, an hour later, spinach dip depleted and blood alcohol level reaching precinct proportions, we said our goodbyes to Planet Hollywood. But not without taking one more absolutely necessary photo:

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His glove was covered with the face grease from people all over the world, folks. I truly lived a dream. And in case you were worried…

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I’m totally OK!

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