To read the columns from Premiere on this blog, click on any scanned page, then right-click to download it as a JPEG that can be magnified on your desktop so you don't get a headache squinting at all of Libby's great one-liners. (Alternately, you can right-click to open a page in a new tab on your browser and magnify it that way.) I never worked for Premiere, so if you're a copyright owner and would like Libby's columns to be removed from this blog, please contact me at rwcass@gmail.com. They're meant for informational purposes only, I promise. (Well, they're also meant to make you laugh, but you get the idea.)

If you ask me, the world needs more of Libby Gelman-Waxner.

After St. Martin's Press published If You Ask Me, a 1994 collection of the first five years of Libby Gelman-Waxner's tongue-in-cheek film criticism for Premiere magazine, I figured I could look forward to a new collection every five years. But that didn't happen.

Libby's first column for Premiere,
February 1988 (credit: Sixsquare.com)
For whatever reason, no follow-ups were forthcoming, even though Libby continued to write her monthly column for Premiere until the U.S. edition of the magazine folded in April 2007. (She also wrote for Entertainment Weekly, another magazine I subscribed to in the '90s, from December 2011 to March 2013, from what I can gather.) When I was 13 I bought my first issue of Premiere; that was in the spring of '89, almost two years after it debuted here in the States, and as a Christmas gift in 1990 my parents gave me a subscription, which they generously renewed for the next seven years, until the issues started to stack up and I felt guilty about asking for another year's worth.

I was obsessed with movies throughout middle school, high school, and the majority of college (my enthusiasm began to wane after I spent my freshman year in a film-school program), so I read Premiere from cover to cover most months, and the one thing the magazine had that my parents and I could bond over in each issue was Libby's column. I would read it to them after supper or in the car on a long trip; Libby's Cass-family record for laughs per minute was challenged only by Dave Barry. When I spotted the paperback edition of If You Ask Me in a bookstore in New York City in December of '95, I immediately bought it for my parents for Christmas.

Ten years later I came home to my apartment building in Chicago and found a stack of Premieres in the lobby dating back to 1999. Someone in the building didn't want to move them to his or her next apartment, I guess, so I grabbed the entire stack.

In July 2015 my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with my brother, his wife, their two daughters, and me, and on the way from North Carolina, where my parents have lived since 2009, to meet my brother and his family in Tennessee, I read my parents nine of Libby's columns from that stack. It didn't matter that the movies Libby was writing about were more than a decade old—funny is funny, and Libby's writing was LOL long before that acronym became ubiquitous, which is why I decided to make as many of her post-If You Ask Me columns available online as I can. (A good friend from college who subscribed to Premiere until it went belly up in '07 generously clipped many of Libby's columns for me after I stopped subscribing.)

By the way, if this blog encourages you to purchase a copy of If You Ask Me, make sure you don't order a "print on demand" copy from Amazon or another site. I've made that mistake twice, unfortunately, and learned my lesson. You're better off paying a little extra for a used paperback from 20 years ago, and if you want a first edition signed by Libby herself, there's one listed at AbeBooks.com whose description would probably make even her laugh: "Signed and inscribed by the author. Also signed by Paul Rudman (?)."

December 2004-January 2005: "The Tao of Libby"

"As a rule, only rich white people can afford to get deeply existential; enjoying a dark night of the soul is like buying a second home or hiring someone to tutor your child for the SATs. That's what I loved about Huckabees: It's like a completely sincere, giddy movie made to be screened at David O. Russell's bar mitzvah."


July-August 2004: "Kill, Libby, Kill!"

"I totally identified with Uma because after she dismembers someone, she checks off her accomplishment on a list, just the way I do when I return calls or pick up the dry cleaning. Uma is a Martha Stewart-style assassin, because she's strict, blond, organized, and always at least a little furious."


November 2003: "Bull Marketing"

"I've heard that Capturing the Friedmans contains actual home movies of a Long Island family torn apart when various members are convicted of molesting children, but is this any more upsetting than those moments on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy when overweight heterosexual men are taught how to shape their eyebrows?"


September 2003: "Only the Strange Survive"

"These mutants can do things like telekinetically start fires or shapeshift, and most of them are also young and gorgeous, but they're still treated like outcasts, as if the ability to control the weather or crawl across the ceiling was the same as a lisp or a weight problem."


July-August 2003: "Starlet Express"

"'... But Amanda and Hilary are both beyond cute because they're both really pretty and have great stomachs but they're not, like anorexic, and even though they both have shiny long hair for styling options, they both still sometimes act geeky and even trip and fall down so you know they're real.'"


June 2003: "Gastro-physics"

"I wasn't totally clear on the message of Dreamcatcher, but it's something like, be nice to retarded people, because they might grow up to save the Boston water supply from alien spores. Stephen King has been threatening to retire lately, and while that would be a shame, maybe a nice long nap isn't such a bad idea."