Tears of Courage; Alice and I Interview Laura Dern’s “Cry Face”

By Joey Nolfi and Alice Groesbeck

Sitting atop the thespianic-Everest that is Dr. Ellie Sattler from “Jurassic Park”‘s mug is Laura Dern’s Cry Face, or “Shine,” as “she” likes to be called.
“Ain’t nobody shine brighter than me baby,” she said while sipping on one of Laura Dern’s tears like it’s a chilled glass of Arbor Mist. Although “Shine” sparkles, her wattage is dimmer than a star’s. Shine’s “shine” is infectious, and when it comes to saving face, she says it’s all about how you work it.

“Shine” happens only on special occasions; i.e. working with David Lynch or starring in a television show you’ve co-created to give yourself complete artistic freedom. For Laura Dern, those two things mean, for certain, that her “cry face” (Ok—“Shine”) will expose itself at one point or another. Whether it’s nestled as comic relief (?) from all the crazy that populates the three hours of Inland Empire or as means to communicate true insanity of her character on Enlightened, Dern’s “Shine” takes the cake as the most generous gift she’s given any audience over the course of her lengthy career.

“It’s a rare and exciting thing to be recognized as one of Hollywood’s most iconic muscular movements,” said the cry face, busy on a promotional tour for Dern’s latest film, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. “I never really thought I was pretty in the first place. I was the “dork” in high school, but now I get to look back at the years when Paula Patton’s ‘I-have-good-hair’ smirk got all the attention in high school and recognize that I’m here. I’m the star now.”

But the road to success wasn’t always easy. Tough competition from the cry faces of Hollywood veterans Julianne Moore and Ashley Judd have given the famous frown a run for its money.

“Julianne’s cry face is just a phenomenal asset to the community,” Shine said. “Without trailblazers like her, expressions like myself would be nothing in this town.”

It’s true we’ve grown to love the startling sight of the phenomenon known as Laura Dern’s cry face, if shock value counts for much of anything these days.

“With shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shore populating our young peoples’ minds, what’s left in this world that can truly shock them?” the somber face said. “They need something that’s going to jolt them into consciousness. Something they don’t know is coming. Something they don’t appreciate the full brutality of until they lay down to sleep at night and they see me when they shut their eyes.”

The thought clearly excited Shine.

“I will give that Honey Boo Boo nonsense some credit, though. Mama’s chin is a genius.”

Shine patted Dern’s cheeks, which are bright red and moist with salty saturation as her face tried to keep the contortion plastered front and center for the duration of our interview. I told her she looked uncomfortable and that if it’s causing too much discomfort, she’s free to take a breather and let any of Dern’s other emotions take over.

“There’s always the angry face,” I told her, “I’ve only ever seen that in Inland Empire, unless we’re counting the times it’s shown up in nightmares.”

Shine doesn’t take the news easy.

“Everyone knows it takes more muscles to frown,” reflected Shine while a lone tear splashes itself on the nether regions of her palette somewhere between her lip and comic fantasy; “so that makes me the strongest of them all. Longer than angry, longer than happy; I’m here to stay.”

From one strong entity to another, I wasn’t convinced. A real woman knows sacrifice, and I decided to throw a wrench into the cold machine that is Shine’s ego by flipping a bitch. While the hot mess that is Laura Dern’s Crispy Bangs distracted Shine, we decided to fill our suite of the Chateau Marmont with surprise guests so they could weigh in on what it means to be a fresh face on an aging starlet. The door opens. Natalie Portman’s Crybrows enter along with the cry faces of Julianne Moore and Ashley Judd.

A cloudy day in facial Hollywood.

“I hate to be the Dance Mom of the industry, but can they please leave the room?” Shine said as her assistant finished patting her with a Kleenex. I can’t tell if the tears are real or not. Damn, she’s good.

Moore’s Cry Face snaps. “Not a chance! This is payback for that trailer prank you pulled on the set of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.” The room shakes, not from fear, but from security running by the Oprah suite to see if Lindsay Lohan’s pride was anywhere in the room. A Macbook cowers in the corner.

“You know, you might be here to stay–for now–but what about these other up-and-coming facial expressions that are nipping at your heels” I said, while Shine snapped at her assistant to fetch her a bobby pin to show Crispy Bangs who really runs the show.

“Natalie Portman’s got fabulous crybrows. Crybrows that won her an Oscar,” I remarked.

Shine shot me a look that was concealed in her typical upset demeanor, but I knew she was colored surprised by my remarks. Shine was confused and had a look reminiscent of Cher’s Ice Face from her Burlesque pitch meeting where the near mention of the words “co-star” and “Christina Aguilera” nearly caused Cher’s lace front weave to file its quitting papers.

But, Shine fought back.
“Natalie Portman cries like her ego knows something great is happening,”  Shine said. “Those brows are frowns turned upside down. Her ego is in it for the glory. She doesn’t cry with purpose for the art like I do.” Her assistant hands her a tissue but Shine cries even more when she is confronted with the cruel reality that she lacks hands.

“Gals, we’re better than this. Can’t you see we’re a revolution in facial performity? There’s strength in numbers, here. Together we can change the ‘face’ of our industry,” cried Shine. “Unless, of course, you only do about 5% of the actual crying. Does the Academy offer cry doubles once you get an Oscar?”

All faces pointed to Natalie, who stormed out. The faces looked around, unsure of what to do when they heard a slight ruffle from the corner of the room.

“Just taking a look at the ‘competition,'” laughed Meryl Streep’s Pursed-Lips Bitch Face in a whisper, soft as wind from behind a sheer curtain it had been hiding behind this entire time. Her words stung like the salty tears hitting Shine’s eye.

“Unless you’re also controlled by Meryl fucking Streep, you don’t run shit,” she says as the curtains close and the lights dim. In the corner, Lohan is seen turning out the lights as she leaves the suite under the cloak of near-darkness, clutching the Macbook Pro as it softly whimpers.

Streep’s Pursed-Lips Cunt Face wafts out, leaving nothing but layers of backhanded sass to blanket its inferiors in a sense of dread.

“It’s a cold day in this warm town,” Moore’s Cry Face reacted.

“No,” Shine remarked. “That’s just my shade.” As Shine left the suite, the hallway fills with light and applause while the rest of the Cry Faces cowered in her shadow.

If it were lonely at the top, the Cry Face of Laura Dern would never know it. She’s just too busy shining.

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