Coming Soon-Ish: Rom-Coms, Cronenberg, and Dick Casablancas

Playing It Cool

When I dreamed of Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie teaming up again, this isn’t what I had in mind.

On the plus side: extremely solid cast. Besides Evans and Mackie, we also have Aubrey Plaza, Luke Wilson, Michelle Monaghan, Giovanni Ribisi, Topher Grace, and Patrick Warburton. On the negative side: I could play Rom-Com Bingo with this movie, I swear to God. Guy who doesn’t believe in love, the girl who changes everything, guy who interrupts the girl’s wedding, guy who punches out the surely arrogant groom, etc. In fact, let me just spell out the story using nothing but quotes from the actual trailer.

“Love is a downer.”
“But then I met this girl.”
“No, he’s my boyfriend.”
“I think we should just be friends. That’s allowed, right?”
“Men and women can’t be friends”
“Do men really think that sex is the answer to everything?”
“Oh my God. You’re falling for her.”
“You won’t even fight for the girl you love.”
“I don’t want you to marry this guy.”

It’s especially annoying, I think, because Chris Evans plays a Hollywood writer forced to write a rom-com, and that’s a setup you do when you want your movie to actually talk about genre, do something interesting with it, something original. There doesn’t look to be a scrap of originality in this movie. And for God’s sake, people. Lots of men and women are friends without doing the horizontal bop together. I, too, like When Harry Met Sally, but it is officially time — past time, even — to let that trope DIE.

John Wick

Oh my God, you guys. I don’t even . . . has Christmas come early? Is this an early birthday present from God? People, this movie . . . this movie looks AMAZING. Not because it’s going to be good. Obviously. It’s Keanu Reeves as That One Super Dangerous Guy Who Got Out Of The Life, Only To Get Sucked Back In For REVENGE. But it’s like someone wrote a script parodying those types of movies, only the people making it didn’t realize the script was supposed to be funny? And dude, it looks incredible.

Lots of cliches abound, of course. In fact, you can almost play the same game as I did earlier with Playing it Cool. (“You got out once, it’s personal, people keep asking if I’m back,” etc.) But nothing is as amazing as this line: “I lost everything. That dog was a final gift from my dying wife.”

There are no words. There is only laughter. So, so much laughter. I was dying here.

Maps to the Stars

Well, this at least looks interesting.

I won’t pretend I fully know what’s happening in this movie. Only that it’s a Hollywood story and, also, a David Cronenberg movie. So, probably a lot of sociopathic weirdness. (You know, I’ve only seen two Cronenberg movies? And I barely even remember eXistenZ, it’s been so long. I don’t even remember if I liked it.) This has got a great cast, though: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Olivia Williams, and Carrie Fisher, apparently. (And, yes, Robert Pattinson. I’ve only seen him in Goblet of Fire, where he was perfectly fine, and Twilight, where he was incredibly not. I’m not excited by his appearance, but I will allow that he could possibly have previously unseen range.)

It’s not the kind of movie I’d jump to go see or anything, but I guess I could try it eventually. I am a sucker for Hollywood stories, weird or otherwise.


But let’s be honest. New Zealand horror comedy is probably more my speed. Actually, it just annoys me that I never came up with this idea myself. House arrest plus haunted house? That’s just simplicity in itself.

This looks kind of fun. How much fun, I expect, will depend on tone, but I like all the comedic touches. (“Restless spirit who lives in this house, what is your business here?”) When the trailer first started, I thought it was a straight-up horror, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, and I’m happier for it. It’s not quite a Must See for me, but I could definitely check it out at some point.

And Finally . . . Play It Again, Dick

This web series, on the other hand has absolutely become a must-see. Apparently, I will never let Veronica Mars go, and neither will Dick Casablancas — er, Ryan Hansen, I mean. The fact that apparently everyone from V. Mars is dropping in at some point makes me inordinately happy. I never did love Dick Casablancas the way other fans did, but I’m looking forward to this, regardless. (Also, I’m kind of amused at the second teaser’s mockery of The Newsroom promo. I don’t know why, I just am.)

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TV Quotes Challenge! (Yes, Another One.)

Okay, it hasn’t really been all that long since my last TV Quotes Challenge, but . . . fuck it. I did it anyway. (Although, I think I’m going to have to go back to movies next time. I’m running out of TV shows.)

You guys probably know the drill by now. I’ve picked out twelve TV shows and given you three quotes per show. BOB continues to be my go-to stand-in for any character name. Place your guesses in the Comments Section and have fun.

1. “Am I the only one zen around here? Good lord.”

“That’s pretty romantic. Screw around?”
(snorts“I’ll go down first.”
“Even better.”

“This is bad. This is really bad.”
“Think about something else. Puppies and kittens.”
Dead puppies and kittens.”

2. “There is not a warmer, kinder me waiting to be coaxed out into the light. I am acerbic. I can be cruel. It’s who I am. Right to the bottom. I’m neither proud of this, nor ashamed of it. It simply is.”

“Don’t touch any of the first editions. Or BOB.”

“I don’t care which cock I’m holding. I just want to know how it got there.”

3. “BOB, the first thing I learned on the street is that any judge who spontaneously makes balloon toys will, at the end of the day, actually hang you.”

“This is classic. The locked door, the scary janitor, the bloody warning, and our soon-to-be first victim.”
“Me? Why me?”
“Well, BOB, it’s certainly not going to be any of us!”

“It was raining. You had an umbrella. I grabbed it, stuffed it down your throat . . . and then I opened it.”

4. “I feel naked, and not in a fun way.”

“I left you behind because you know my backstory. I didn’t want my best pal questioning my objectivity.”
“Dude. That’s what a best pal’s for.”

“If dislike is the opposite of like, is disaster the opposite of aster? See, if things are going wrong, they go right . . . uh, clearly, you’re not feeling the aster. What’s wrong?”

5. “I was clinically insane for a while there, but I’m all right now, near enough. Hey, can I have your goldfish?”

“The first thing you have absolutely no control of: where you’re born. You can leave, but it haunts you like a ghost. And then you come back and you are the ghost.”

“G-man by day, g-string by night.”

6. “Aren’t you worried that one day all the forest animals are going to band together and fight back?”

“You have a friend?”
“You say that with such a discouraging amount of surprise.”

“I mean, did you learn nothing from the moonstone in the soap dish?”

7. “You do not let Vicki Vale into the Batcave! Ever!”

Ridiculously dangerous. It’s like a danger cupcake with murder icing.”

“I need her to be the stick.”
“Well, remember that time I was the carrot and stabbed somebody?”

8. “You hang onto your pain like it means something, like it’s worth something. Well, let me tell you, it’s not worth shit. Let it go.”

“This is my . . . uh, my girlfriend, BOB.”
“I prefer the term ‘fuck-puppet’.”

“There’s just so many months I could have loved you better.”

9. “I hate documentaries. They’re too preachy, and you can’t clap when someone dies because it’s real.”

“I think we’re both going to have the ‘You’re Hooking Up With My Mom’ Hamburger.”
“What’s on that?”
“Who cares? It’s free.”

“I ate dead baby lasagne?”

10. “When a woman tells a man about her feelings, she doesn’t want him to fix her. She wants him to shut up and listen.”

“There are many paths to the same place. Trust me.”
“Just so you know, you sound like a fortune cookie.”

“Can you guys do me a favor?”
“Can at least one of you look like you’re going to see me again?”

11. “They say the snow on the roof is too heavy. They say the ceiling will cave in. His brains are in terrible danger.”

“We need to resort to cannibalism.”
“That was fast. Don’t we have rations or anything?”

“Bye now. Have good sex!”

12. “So my Grandma Reynolds was always saying, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. I wish she was still alive because I’d really like to ask her what she suggests for when life gives you chlamydia.”

“BOB, I was wondering if I could have a word.”
“Anthropomorphic. All yours, big guy.”

“It’s an expression of excitement and enthusiasm. Joe and Frank Hardy and I used to say hotdog all the time while we were waiting for the carhop to bring us our malteds at the drive-in.”
“I hate you.”

Well, that’s it for now. Tune in next week when ALL WILL BE REVEALED.

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An Unusual Intermission to Talk About Actual Things

I don’t often write about the serious stuff. My blog is primarily a silly, sarcastic little place, and generally, I like to keep it a silly, sarcastic little place. Sometimes, I just don’t want to talk about the depressing things. And sometimes, I think, No one comes here for your thoughts on social injustice or American politics. You can’t write a review about some shitty, straight-to-DVD horror movie one day and then the very real issue of domestic violence the next, right? And even if you could, what new or worthwhile things do YOU have to add to the discussion? And what if you say it wrong? What if your articulation fails you, the way it always seems to about the things that actually matter?

Regardless, I just. I felt like I should try. Because the thing about Janay Rice, about her marrying the man who knocked her unconscious, about her apologizing for “her part” in what happened that night . . . it’s hard because I get a lot of the reactions people have. Not the ones where people are like, “Well, I bet she asked for it. She must have done something to deserve a beating.” Those guys are just assholes. I’m not wasting my time with them. But when people are confused or angry that Janay Rice didn’t leave her then-fiancee, that she stood by him and continues to stand by him . . . I get that. When people say that anything that happens to her now is her own fault for staying with him . . . honestly, I get that, too. And I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to feel that way, either, at least not at the outset. It’s very hard to understand why anyone would stay with someone who’s hurting them. And it hurts to watch someone choose to do that, to watch them hold on and wait for things to get better, when you know that’s not how these stories end. That’s not how these stories ever, ever end.

It’s natural to be angry. It’s instinctual. It’s not wrong.

But. Relationships like this, they’re not so cut-and-dried when you’re actually in them. And I don’t want to try and pass myself off as some kind of expert — I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, either physically or emotionally. I want to think I’d never let that happen . . . but that’s what every women thinks. Every woman thinks it can’t happen to her. She’s smarter than that. She’s stronger than that. The problem is, that’s the lie we tell each other, that it has something to do with strength or intelligence, that it’s about the kind of women who are born victims. But no one’s a born victim. It’s not about the victims at all. It’s about the abusers. They’re to blame.

People on the internet can be hateful, awful, fury-inducing trolls sometimes, but sometimes they surprise you. Sometimes they’re supportive and insightful and brave. The #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft hashtags on Twitter have been incredible to read over the last few days. They’re depressing, yes. They’re also hopeful. They’re also educational for people on the outside of this.

I won’t tell people not to be angry. It’s better if you can place the blame on the abusers and abusers alone, but I understand that gut reaction to hold the victims accountable for choosing to stay. I understand it, and sometimes I share it. There’s nothing simple about domestic violence. I think it’s okay if, in your head, you can’t always direct the anger where the anger should go.

But out loud, we need to be supportive. Out loud, we need to stop perpetuating a culture which blames the victims. We need to be there for women when they’re ready for help. And we all need to keep trying to understand until we actually do.

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“I Couldn’t Hear My Own Footsteps. It Was the Walk of a Dead Man.”

Whoops, looks like I’m perilously close to falling behind schedule again. Guess I better watch another film noir.


Today’s movie: Double Indemnity. It’s, well. Let’s just say it’s unlikely to snag the top prize this year.

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RIP Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers has passed away today at the age of 81. She was absolutely a controversial figure, especially with some of the statements she’s made in the last year, and I can’t say I always liked her sense of humor. Fashion Police is one of the only guilty pleasures that I actually feel guilty about because — while I won’t deny enjoying a certain level of cattiness and mockery of ugly, rich clothes — I found a lot of her jokes, particularly her body-shaming ones, to be pretty infuriating.

Still, Joan Rivers could be awfully funny, and she was a pioneering woman who opened up a lot of doors for female comedians. I’ve been getting a kick out of watching some of her early work from long before I was born.

I know there are a lot of people out there with strong feelings against Joan Rivers, and that’s fine, I understand that, but let’s try to be respectful anyway, okay? Yes, even if she wouldn’t have been.

Be the bigger person, just today. It’s what you do when people die.

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Dragon Con, 2014!

Hello, world! I’m HOME!

Where have I been, you might ask? Well, thank you for the hypothetical question: I just got back from Dragon Con in Atlanta, and if I’m reading particularly punchy today, that’s probably because I’ve had, at most, three hours sleep and have spent the greater majority of my day on airplanes or in airports. (By the time I actually post this, that likely won’t be true anymore — but I probably won’t edit the punchiness out.) I had an awesome time in Atlanta, and it went by ridiculously quick — as vacations always do when you’ve been looking forward to them for more than a year — but sweet Jesus, am I happy to be home.

protest sign

Because there are protest signs for everything.

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A Month Early and a Day Late . . . The 2014 Emmys

1. Opinions may be divided, but I actually thought Seth Meyers was a fairly decent host. He doesn’t seem to have the natural energy and charisma that some other hosts have, but I actually enjoyed the majority of his opening monologue, which — outside Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — seems rare for me, these days. I liked that the emphasis was more on industry humor than roasting specific celebrities, for once. (Not that making fun of celebrities can’t be a good time — but the material is often several years old, and sometimes, the jokes are just unnecessarily mean.) I laughed especially hard at this: “That’s right, kids. Jesse Pinkman lived, Dexter lived, but your mother didn’t make it. Sleep tight.”

2. Truth be told, I didn’t much care about who won what, since I don’t actually watch the majority of the shows that were nominated. (I even dropped Scandal last season, although I’m considering trying to start fresh in Season Four and see if I can get back into the crazy soap I once loved.) I was surprised about the The Normal Heart, though — I’ve gotta admit, I kind of assumed it would sweep. But the only thing it took home, in the end, was Best TV Movie or Miniseries. (Admittedly, if you’re going to win only one, I suppose that’s the one to win, although I always think it’s weird when a program or movie wins the top prize if they didn’t win a single acting, writing, or direction award. Then again, who knows, maybe The Normal Heart won a whole bunch of Creative Emmys that I’m too lazy to look up right now.)

Anyway, I was happy to see Sherlock take as many awards as it did. Surprised, but happy. I enjoyed last season a lot more than the previous one, and I liked His Last Vow quite a bit. Up until the last thirty seconds anyway.

3. As you may or may not remember, awards shows are rarely ever scheduled for my convenience. Moving it to Monday didn’t help much, unfortunately, so I did my usual ‘tape the earlier broadcast and hastily watch the recorded version before I have to go to work’ method of Emmy-viewing. And by hastily, I mean I fast-forwarded past the commercials and anything else that looked totally boring. Apparently, I fast-forwarded past one of the better parts of the ceremony, actually, which was some pre-taped thing called Billy On the Street? Oh well, my regrets are limited.

Cause, yeah. I gave Weird Al about two songs before I gave up and moved on. It made me a little sad to do it, because Weird Al was my very first concert, but still. Those parody songs seemed almost painfully unfunny. I also skipped the Q&A session with the stars because that seemed pretty painful too.

4. Other Things That Didn’t Work:

4A: Stephen Colbert’s ‘invisible friend’ bit. Which kills me to say because I love Stephen Colbert, and he did, at least, commit to the whole joke. Still. It was awkward.

4B. Singling out Julia Roberts for a special highlight reel when none of the other supporting actress nominees got the same attention? Dude, that’s kind of bullshit. I don’t care if she’s a Big Time Movie Star. Who thought this was a good idea?

4C. The thing about Sofia Vergara . . . look. I didn’t feel particularly offended by the joke, but I also think it was ill-conceived. Like, I don’t mind someone doing a bit about how sex appeal livens up a boring speech. That’s fine. And Sofia Vergara is an incredibly sexy woman who seems totally confident in herself and her body. That’s great. But here’s the thing: I could be wrong, of course, but I’m going to take a stab and say that nobody suggested a man stand up there on a rotating platform and Just Be Sexy. Which is crap. There shouldn’t be a gender default for sex appeal. If you just want someone to stand around and look hot (and do absolutely nothing else), your go-to shouldn’t ALWAYS be a woman. Because that’s the kind of thing that leads people to think that’s all women should be valued for.

Others might feel differently, but I suspect I wouldn’t have minded this joke as much, or possibly at all, if we could just have some equal opportunity. There’s no reason a man and a woman couldn’t have been on stage together looking hot. I, personally, would have been okay with seeing Matt Bomer up there, or plenty of other actors in the audience. But you know if a man had been up there, they’d have made it a joke — like it’d be Sofia Vergara and some frumpy comedian dude making a lot of exaggerated and awful ‘I’m so sexy’ poses. I find that frustrating.

But in general, putting a live woman on a spinning platform like she’s a new car is probably not going to go over well with a lot of people. I’m a little surprised that needs to be said, but there you go.

5. I might have put the bit about Julia Louis-Dreyfuss forgetting that she made out with Bryan Cranston on Seinfeld in the Fail Section, too — just because it was such an obvious joke  — but it paid off pretty well when she won for Best Actress, and he attacked her with his lips, and she reciprocated in kind, basically all, “Yup, he was that guy on Seinfeld.”

Nicely played, you two. Nicely played.

6. I see that, since MORTAL KOMBAT was successfully averted last year, The Amazing Race has started its second shot at winning ten straight tournaments in a row. Let’s all agree to meet back here in a decade and see how they did, okay?

7. Finally, the most important part of the evening: fashion.

Since Mekaela is usually working during the pre-awards stuff, I usually watch the stars arriving on the red carpet without her and send emails every thirty minutes with updates on who’s wearing what godawful looking thing and why would you ever wear that, WHY, that dress should be burned and its ashes should be scattered so it doesn’t spontaneously resurrect.

Unfortunately, I slept through the majority of the red carpet yesterday — I needed the sleep to make up for the absolute ZERO sleep I’m currently getting right now — so I couldn’t fulfill my usual email commentary tradition, which made me sad. Thankfully, I could still look at the various internet galleries to get a good look at all the dresses I missed.

I think my Best Dressed would have to go to Lizzy Caplan, whose black and white dress I really liked. Honorable mentions, though, go to Sofia Vergara, Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Robin Wright, and Christine Baranski.

But I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly overwhelmed by the vast majority of dresses this year. Ugly ass dresses, though, were everywhere to be found. I’m afraid Worst Dressed would have to go to Sarah Paulson because what. The. HELL. But other contenders were Lena Dunham, Laura PreponAllison WilliamsClaire Danes, and Amanda Peet.

And let’s be clear, Lena Dunham. I don’t care that you’re almost certainly doing this on purpose — I would still put you as Worst Dressed if I didn’t hate Sarah Paulson’s dress so damn much that I’d like to attack it with garden shears.

Well, that’s it for the Emmys this year, folks. Return next year to see if John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight gets nominated for the first time, if Tatiana Maslany gets nominated ever, and who turns out to be the new Drama darling now that Breaking Bad is over.

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