Make Me Watch a Terrible Movie: The Schadenfreude Poll

Apparently, failure begets failure. I’m looking at my Best Picture Challenge that I’m miserably behind on, and while I totally have time to catch up — I just don’t want to. Considering these are made-up and deeply insignificant challenges that I’ve entirely created for myself — yeah, I think I’m just going to bite the bullet and call it a loss now, rather than stretch it out and be needlessly miserable for the rest of the year.

I’m already looking ahead to next year’s possible challenge (current contenders are Disney Princess Movies vs 80’s Classics I Somehow Missed) but today’s poll is all about punishment. Last time I failed a movie challenge, I had to (sob) watch and review Battlefield Earth. I have never properly recovered from this trauma.

Which movie (or television show) should I traumatize myself with now?

Manos: Hands of Fate
Jaws: The Revenge
The Wicker Man (with Nicholas Cage, obviously)
Troll 2
Spiderman 3
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Plan 9 From Outer Space
The Room
The first three episodes of Birds of Prey

Please leave your vote in the Comments (or on Facebook/Twitter/whatever — just make sure I can find it.) I’ve linked all the trailers here, if you’d like a more fully informed decision. (I’m sort of hoping that no one has seen all of these movies, or else I’ll have to feel sorry for you.) I was also going to offer to watch the first three episodes of Cop Rock, but the total lack of availability made that impossible. (It’s almost too bad. I’m pretty sure I could have come up with an entertaining review of a 90’s police procedural where everybody sang.)

The poll will be open for one week, and I (the Despairing) will have to watch and review it before the end of the year. Fair warning: alcohol may be involved.

Posted in MONDAY MORNING BLASPHEMOUS POLL | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

2015 Clarion West Write-a-Thon: Week Six Update

Current Project: “All the Dead Girls”
Current Project’s Alternative Title: “If We Survive The Night”
Current Pitch: The Last Final Girl meets Scream meets, uh, the last season of Lost?

Number of Killers: Multiple
Number of Angels: 1
Total Kill Count: 9

Song From Current Project Playlist: “Where is My Mind?” – Yoav, feat. Emily Browning

Goal Met: Sadly, I continue to fail. But I’m getting there!

This is the sixth and final week of the Write-a-Thon, which means next week we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled programming; in other words, no more updates on all my writing woes. I like to think you’ll be as thankful about this as I am. Now when I abruptly switch projects, no one will be the wiser!

I haven’t finished, “All the Dead Girls/If We Survive the Night,” yet and it may not happen this weekend, primarily because I have to work. But I don’t feel too bad about it because I’ve made pretty good progress on this first draft and I’m relatively sure I’ll be able to finish it next week. Which is exciting — I’m happy to have something new to play with, particularly something as fun as this. Slasher tropes are kind of where I live. A few of the tropes I’ve managed to reference thus far:

Danger Takes a Backseat
Death by Sex
Dangerous Windows
Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome
Sorting Algorithm of Morality

Honestly, that Sorting Algorithm of Morality is basically what this whole thing is about. This story is less about survivor girls and more about what kind of girls aren’t allowed to make it.

Your final, random line:

This is what Abby will be doing for — for forever. She will eat strawberries and confess and die.

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“People Keep Asking If I’m Back, And I Haven’t Really Had An Answer, But Yeah, I’m Thinking I’m Back.”

So, last year I saw a trailer for John Wick and, man, I laughed my ass off. It looked terrible. It looked beyond terrible. I had a giggle fit that lasted, like, a solid minute.

But after the movie came out, I heard a surprising number of good reviews for it, and not just people saying stuff like, “Man, this is so-bad-it’s-good,” but like, “Dudes, this shit is AMAZING.” So eventually I was like, “Okay, well, I’m gonna have to give this an honest shot at some point,” and some point turned out to be last week.


Ultimately? I was like, “Yeah, that was pretty decent.” Continue reading

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2015 Clarion West Write-a-Thon: Week Five Update

Old Project: Untitled Fantasy/Murder Mystery Novel
New Project: “All the Dead Girls”
New Pitch: The Last Final Girl meets Scream meets, uh, the last season of Lost?

Number of POV Characters In One Damn Story: Five
Number of Horror Tropes Being Played With: Too Many To Count

Song From Current Project Playlist: “Youth of America” – Birdbrain

Goal Met: . . . well, not exactly.

Okay, so here’s what’s going on: I’ve been fighting tooth and nail with this novel since I started it, and it’s gotten to the point where I’m not only starting to lose interest in a project I believe in, but just saying to myself, “Okay, it’s time to write now,” is depressing the crap out of me. And guys, it’s way too early in the process for this level of anxiety. I thought using the Write-a-Thon as a way to push myself into working on a novel-length project again was a good idea, and maybe it was at the time, but I just don’t think I’m there yet with this one. There’s fighting through the rough spots, working to get past the moments and scenes that just aren’t playing right, and then there’s stressing yourself the hell out for no good reason, and I feel like that’s what I’m doing here.

This is a novel I really want to write, but . . . I just don’t think I’m ready to work on it right now. And ever since I decided to press pause, I’ve felt a lot better.

But I don’t want to abandon the WaT entirely — after all, the general life goal is to always be writing something — so I’ve decided to go back to a short story I was working on last year, something I got about 2/3 of the way through before I was forced to put it on hold. (Life, you know how it goes.) I was pretty into this story at the time, though, and I’m excited to get back to it now. The new goal is to finish the first draft by the end of next week. It might not happen, but I’m going to try cause, damn it, I desperately want something in Nightmare. (Which, okay. This might not qualify because it’s one of those stories that’s about horror but isn’t exactly scary itself? To hell with it. We all have dreams.)

So I bid you adieu, fairy tales, at least temporarily. Time to switch gears to feminist meta horror. (God, that’s like 2/3 of my brain right there. Add in superheroes, and you’ve basically covered everything I ever think about.)

Finally, a random line from the current project:

Megan has always been wary, even by dead girl standards.

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Five Utterly Ridiculous TV Crossovers (That Would STILL Make More Sense Than Bones/Sleepy Hollow)

Last week, the world learned that there would be a Bones/Sleepy Hollow crossover, which seemed . . . strange, considering that Bones is a criminal procedural with absolutely zero supernatural elements (brain tumor-induced hallucinations of dead people and cartoon characters aside), and Sleepy Hollow is a show about an 18th century soldier who gets resurrected into the modern era by his imprisoned witch wife so that he might become one-half of a supernatural crime-fighting duo destined to try and stop the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from destroying the world. They’re not exactly peanut butter and jelly, is what I’m saying.

Of course, then I immediately had to come up with my own ridiculous crossovers. (Potential SPOILERS for all shows mentioned.)

1. Scott McCall’s Pack of Miscellaneous-Creatures-That-Are-Mostly-Not-Werewolves Scouts Colleges in Central City


Teen Wolf meets The Flash

Stiles may have a vision that involves the pack moving to the Bay Area, but everyone decides to check out some (heretofore unmentioned) college in Central City anyway, over his animated and vehement protests. Of course, there’s a grisly werewolf murder as soon as they get there.

Flash and the gang investigate, naturally assuming the culprit is a metahuman, but are abruptly introduced to the supernatural once they meet Scott’s pack. Scott and Barry have some hero bonding time, while Sheriff Stilinski (acting as chaperone) commiserates with Joe on being the parent/law enforcement in-on-the-know. Lydia will help Caitlin with science things (and possibly fashion tips), while Cisco and Stiles will obviously geek out together — or, alternatively, hate each other because they’re both The Funny One. (I’m so torn on this.) Meanwhile, Kira will probably kick some werewolf ass (and bond with Iris, I guess?) while Malia will mostly be around to point out all the mistakes the Flash gang regularly makes. (For some reason, Malia point blankly informing Barry that his ideas are stupid fills me with such joy.)

Things will end happily, keeping to The Flash’s generally lighter tone, but if we need a Big Emotional Moment at some point, that will obviously go to Cisco and/or Stiles. Malia should (a) mistake Barry, Cisco, Iris, and Caitlin for high schoolers, and (b) be surprised at how many people actually wear shirts in Central City, as opposed to Beacon Hills. Oh, and Scott and Barry should probably duke it out at least once. You know, for science.

2. The Best Superhero Road Trips End in Clones


Arrow meets Orphan Black

Oliver and Felicity have fucked off to the open road, leaving their vigilantism and unnecessary angst behind in Starling City. Unfortunately, they get a panicked SOS from Roy, who has somehow found himself in Toronto, ass deep in Clone Club problems.

I’ll admit, I don’t have any idea how Roy became involved in Clone Club problems, and I don’t care. What I do care about is a scene where Helena strokes Roy’s exquisitely beautiful cheek and says something like, “I have boyfriend, but you are very cute. You will protect babies with me, yes?” and Roy is utterly terrified.

Felicity and Felix will get along, obviously, and will both get immense satisfaction from watching Felicity’s cell phone video of Oliver doing the salmon ladder. Felicity will have to nerd out with Cosima, too, possibly playing extra geeky board games. Meanwhile, Allison will host some kind of wholesome cutesy dinner for her new guests, and Oliver will sit through it with his usual tight smile and otherwise vaguely-pained expression.

Diggle won’t come up to visit, but he will video chat with Felicity so he can get a good look at all the clones and, hopefully, have a reaction like this.

3. The Machine Has a New Number, and It’s a Heavily Sedated Sensate


Person of Interest meets Sense8

Finch and Root have brought The Machine back to life, somewhat, but it’s definitely weakened. It does, however, give them a new number: Will Gorski, a policeman from Chicago who has recently gone missing. They manage to track him down in a New York safe house, where Riley, Nomi, and Amanita are continuously drugging him. Reese and Root understandably misread the situation at first and fight Nomi/Sun and Riley/Wolfgang in an epic battle sequence before they all realize they’re trying to do the same thing: save Will.

After everyone’s caught up on the various conspiracies that make up the plots of these shows, Team PoI has to help the Sensates get out of New York (and probably the country) because Samaritan is now on Whispers’ side and is helping to track them down. Nomi, Finch, and Root all have to do some Super Hacking together at some point and, hopefully, Amanita gets the opportunity to both help and annoy the dour Mr. Reese. Cause, c’mon. You know they would be the most delightful pairing.

Everyone makes it out alive at the end, although some of the good guys definitely get shot. Especially Reese, who I think has been shot at least three times in four seasons, and we wouldn’t want things to get too easy for that guy.

4. Goofy Adventure Fantasy Accidentally Stumbles Into Grimdark


The Librarians meets Game of Thrones

So, our Librarians (all of them, including Jenkins) are affected by some kind of magical artifact thingy and get sucked into the world of Game of Thrones. Worse, they get separated and have to figure out how to get back into their own silly-happy world before they’re all brutally and awfully murdered.

Flynn and Baird end up with Brienne and Podrick. Brienne and Baird get along well enough, though Brienne obviously has no use for Flynn and his manic, flailing antics. He’ll probably amuse Pod, though, who I imagine is just happy that Brienne is yelling at someone else, for once. Brienne and Baird will obviously have to do hand-to-hand at some point.

Ezekiel and Stone, meanwhile, will end up at the Wall, arriving just in time to see Jon Snow resurrected by flame. Stone is disgusted with the men of the Watch for betraying their commander (and, also, by the tacky, grotesque artwork that is surely hung improperly on the walls inside), while Ezekiel is mostly freaked out by Melisandre because that woman be scary. Ezekiel will also take the time to mock Jon Snow and all his brooding because that obviously needs to happen whenever possible.

Finally, Cassandra and Jenkins will end up in Mereen with Tyrion and Varys, mostly so Jenkins can be offended that absolutely nobody here is behaving in any kind of noble, Arthurian way and grump a lot about it. Tyrion will snark back, and Varys will be idly fascinated by one of Cassandra’s math visualization things (technical term) while simultaneously wondering how these people have survived this long.

There will be much discussion of power and morality in this crossover. There will also be many instances where each character from one ‘verse asks each character from the other ‘verse, “What is WRONG with you people?”

5. Zombies Arrive at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital


iZombie meets Grey’s Anatomy

Okay, I haven’t watched Grey’s Anatomy in a few years now, but hey, they both take place in Seattle, so why the hell not, right? Do you know how much more awesome Meredith’s VO narrations would be if they were about zombies? Yeah. SO MUCH more awesome.

There are actually a few ways this can go. iZombie ends its first season at a hospital, and there’s really no reason it couldn’t be Grey Sloan Memorial. (For that matter, I don’t think the show ever named the hospital that Liv used to work at, so Liv could totally have worked or gone to school with one of the interns there. Stephanie, maybe.)

But I kind of don’t want this to be subtle, like, I want a full-on zombie outbreak where various doctors die because, let’s face it, that’s just what doctors do on that show. (Don’t believe me? Here’s a list: George, Sloan, Lexie, Reed, Percy, Heather, and fucking McDreamy. Seriously, they killed both McSteamy AND McDreamy. How does that even happen on a network television show? And that’s not even bringing in all the tragic love interests and dead parents. Grey’s Anatomy is a Show of Death, you mark my words)

So, maybe this could happen: Liz goes with Clive and Ravi on their usual case of the week, but whatever suspect she sees in her vision turns zombie and starts eating other patients and staff. Liz has to stop the zombie outbreak from spreading while somehow keeping Clive (and most everyone else) from figuring out what’s actually going on. (I suspect Ravi will be doing some very fast-talking here.) Bailey, Meredith, and Alex will all find out about zombies and survive as a reward for still being alive from the first season. Cristina will also make a guest appearance because Cristina Yang vs Zombies is a thing that totally needs to happen.

Jo will definitely die, though. Jo will get eaten, like, a LOT. And at least one or two other main cast members will have to bite it. Maybe April? Or Amelia Shepherd? I hear she’s annoying. Or possibly Richard, if you want to tug at the heart strings. How Richard (a mentor) outlasted McDreamy (the One) continues to boggle my fucking mind. But I kind of like him all the more for it.

All right, those are my ridiculous crossover ideas for now. Ideas for your own? Leave them in the comments.

Posted in LISTS, TV STUFF | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

2015 Clarion West Write-A-Thon: Week Four Update

Current Project: Untitled Fantasy/Murder Mystery Novel
Current Pitch: Pinocchio meets In the Heat of The Night. Plus Practical Magic.

First (Relatively Minor) Flashback: Pg 36
First Real Hint of Tension Between Sisters: Pg. 37
Number of Major Changes to Original Six-Chapter Outline: At least 7

Song From Current Project Playlist: “Optimist” – Zoe Keating

Goal Met: Not Yet.

Okay, so this time I really had ample opportunity to finish my chapter before Friday. Instead, I worked on Teen Wolf fanfiction like the failure I am because oh my God, this season. And — and cliffhangers! And, okay, yes, I’m a tiny bit obsessive with semi-poor impulse control, but I’m LOVABLE, DAMN IT.

In my defense, I do have until tomorrow night to finish the chapter before I fail my goal, and I did get a pretty good start on it last night. It’s just that I do the majority of my writing at night when even God is asleep, and unfortunately, I have to work this weekend.

But yes, to the project. I yelled at all the gardeners last week because it made me feel better, but like most writers — I imagine — I’m a little bit architect and gardener both. I love writing notes for stories. I can, and have, filled up whole notebooks on character descriptions and world-building details and who’s going to do what and go where and end up with whom. I make detailed outlines for everything I want to happen . . . and then I start writing, and wholly unexpected characters appear from out of nowhere and people cough up graveyard dirt in their sleep and love interests who were supposed to start out as antagonistic strangers turn out to be childhood sweethearts instead, and I just go with it and write and make new outlines.

The bad news is that, as I’m figuring these things out, I can tell the mystery is taking longer than it should to really get going. The good news is that my magician sister has finally committed to the possibly-impossible cause of resurrection.

So . . . woot for eventual plot advancement?

She didn’t understand why he couldn’t do with flesh what he’d done with stone, paper, and glass.

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Emmy Nominations, 2015

A few reactions:

1. I’m obviously never surprised when the Emmys choose to overlook Justified, but I’ll admit, there was a teeny-tiny sliver of hope in my heart, considering this was their last chance and their final season was so strong. But as Mad Max says, “Hope is a mistake.”

2. Except it’s totally not because holy shit, Tatiana Maslany FINALLY got nominated.


Plot-wise, I don’t think Orphan Black’s third season is its strongest, but Tatiana Maslany continues to do some of the best godamn acting on television and I’m ecstatic that the Emmys have finally decided to acknowledge that. I’ve watched Orphan Black for years now and I’m still sometimes stunned when I remember that the same actress is playing all these roles. Like, it took me a minute to realize that Jordan Gavaris and Kristian Bruun and Evelyne Brochu are all playing off the same person.

3. Liev Schreiber is nominated for his work on Ray Donovan. I’m mostly noting this to point out that the only time I remember Ray Donovan is a thing is when the Emmys come around. I have no idea what this show’s about. I’ve seen maybe one commercial on TV promoting it, ever. I’ve never seen a recap or review of it online, and I know nobody that actually watches it. It is the strangest thing.

4. I love Game of Thrones and I generally enjoy Emilia Clarke, but I’m not at all convinced that she did anything particularly special this season to earn an Emmy nod. Her storyline was one of the worst, actually. This is similar to how I felt in Season 2 when Peter Dinklage got a nod over Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Not because Dinklage isn’t generally awesome — he totally is — but his work that season was limited and didn’t necessarily merit the attention he’d received in the first season. I wish that watching the Emmy’s didn’t sometimes feel like I’m back in Spanish class again with the teacher who played favorites.

On the upside, Lena Headey definitely deserved to get nominated this year, so I’m happy for her.

5. And, huh . . . Alan Alda got nominated for Best Guest Star for The Blacklist? He . . . well, he’s enjoyable enough in that, and I’m sure I know what scene he got nominated for, and I do like the actor, but still . . . my mind is a little boggled. It’s not that complex of a role, certainly not that complex of a show. Again, this feels a little old guard.

6. It kind of kills me that Tituss Burgess got a nod for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt when Ellie Kemper didn’t.

Say what now?

Say what now?

Burgess has a few good moments, but mostly I think he’s one of the weakest parts of the show. I want to like him a lot more than I actually do. (To be fair, I’m not entirely convinced this is the actor’s fault.) Meanwhile, Ellie Kemper is what makes that show work. Actually . . . shit, is she the only main player that didn’t get nominated? This is ridiculous. EVEN TINA FEY GOT NOMINATED FOR HER STUPID TWO-EPISODE GUEST SPOT. Look, I like Tina Fey like every person on the planet, but her role wasn’t even that funny.

That’s it. I am officially outraged on the internet.

7. Excited to see Amy Schumer nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress, but a little surprised to see that Constance Wu and Gina Rodriguez were not. Mind you, I’ve never seen Fresh off the Boat or Jane the Virgin, but I’ve heard so much buzz about both of them that I thought they each had a pretty good chance, especially Rodriguez, who won a Golden Globe for the part. Then again, Jane the Virgin is on the CW, and no one takes that channel seriously but me.

Also . . . as much as I will always have a spot in my heart for Lily Tomlin . . . does anyone actually WATCH Grace & Frankie? Maybe this isn’t fair. She’s a hell of a comedian. But I haven’t heard anything good about that show yet, and it’s hard to shake the idea that she’s being nominated because she’s Lily Tomlin.

8. But hey — Key & Peele, YES! Although, poor Jordan Peele. It must suck to be judged just not quite as funny as your only other co-star. Still, delighted to see Keegan Michael Key’s nomination.

9. Also delighted to see Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I’ve been a fan of The Daily Show for years and with Jon Stewart leaving, I feel like it’s going to win for the umpteenth time, but . . . I’m still kind of pulling for Last Week Tonight here.

10. Finally, I actually watch three of the Outstanding Variety Sketch Shows: Drunk History, Inside Amy Schumer, and Key & Peele. This . . . is bizarre. And kind of fabulous.

Now, I just need to start watching shows that people actually take seriously.

Posted in MISCELLANEOUS | Tagged , | 4 Comments