“Wow, You’re a Winner, Ain’t Ya?”

Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. You get to dress up in fun costumes, have an excuse to eat junk food that you were going to eat anyway, and watch a bunch of scary movies. Also, it’s not a traditionally Family Gathering kind of holiday, so it comes with a lot less drama than, say, Thanskgiving or Christmas.

Also, in my house, Halloween is a time to savor truly terrible horror movies.

We will begin Splatterfest 2014 with our first film: Nine Dead.

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Coming Soon-Ish: Tomorrowland, Demon Whales, and Kick Ass Librarians


This looks kind of interesting. Heartwarming, too, I assume — because, you know, Disney. But the teaser sparked my curiosity enough to check out the cast, and man. There are some fantastic people here. Other than Britt Robertson and George Clooney, we also have Judy Greer, Hugh Laurie, Keegan Michael Key, and Chris Bauer. I’m concerned that the success of this film could mean movies for every Land of Disney — I personally fear the dread Critter Country movie — but this could eventually be a rental, if I like what I see in longer, more illuminating trailers.

Although I feel it should be said: wouldn’t you try to pick up the pin with your sleeve or something, at least until you got out of juvie? I think I would.

In the Heart of the Sea

And then we have an excellent cast starring in a movie I have absolutely ZERO interest in. Let’s see, we’ve got Cillian Murphy, Chris Hemsworth, Brendan Gleeson, Michelle Fairley, Ben Whishaw, and Donald Sumpter, all being directed by Ron Howard, and yet . . . no, unfortunately, it’s still about a bunch of dudes who get shipwrecked by a giant whale. Pass.

Seriously, there’s this line where they say, “The tragedy of the Essex is the story of men . . . and a demon,” only we’re looking at a giant whale tail with, like, angry alien screaming background noise or something, and I just can’t take that shit seriously as all. I’m not saying a whale can’t fuck your shit up. I’m saying DEMON seems a little excessive. And yes, I know this is the story that inspired Moby Dick, or at least I figured it out by watching the trailer. Still can’t take it very seriously.

Fun fact: when they first mentioned the Essex, I was like, “Hey, I’ve heard of a ship called Essex before, and it obviously wasn’t this. How do I know that name?”

Star Trek: TNG, baby. “Power Play.” Ha.

Top Five

And another one where I care considerably more about the cast than the story, although admittedly, I’d rather watch this than In the Heart of the Sea. (Probably. It’s problematic. As a romantic comedy goes — cause I think we all know that’s where Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson are headed — I don’t think Top Five will do anything I haven’t seen a dozen times before. And the whale movie, at least, could have more exciting action and (hopefully) grisly death scenes. On the other hand, that movie looks like it’s taking itself WAY too seriously. This one isn’t screaming for Oscars and could ultimately be the more enjoyable film.)

Honestly, it’s the rom-com stuff that has me worried. I actually could watch a movie about a comedian who wants to take on more serious roles. It might be kind of nice, even, to see Chris Rock in something that isn’t, oh, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, one of the Madagascar movies, etc. Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Gabrielle Union, Rosario Dawson, and Tracy Morgan also make up a vey nice supporting cast. I’m just not hugely inspired by this trailer, that’s all.

A Merry Friggin Christmas

Oh, this is sad. It’s always strange to watch actors in their last roles (or one of their last roles, as the case may be), doubly so with Robin Williams. You just don’t quite know how to react. And Robin Williams seems a little different in this movie. Not in a ‘you can tell he was in a dark place’ or some bullshit like that. (I kind of can’t stand people who think they know what’s going on in someone’s life, even if they’ve never met them.) I mean, his role in this particular movie seems less spastic and childlike than others. He’s apparently the conservative, grumpy old man guy, and in a way, that’s kind of funny in and of itself.

Christmas family comedies come out every year, and they usually don’t do much for me, but I’ll admit, Joel McHale and Lauren Graham do pique my curiosity just a bit. (Probably not enough to actually see it, though, not without hearing good things from people whose film opinions I trust.)

And Finally . . . The Librarians 

I’ve only seen one of TNT’s Librarian movies — The Curse of the Judas Chalice — and let me tell you guys: it was hysterical. Intentionally, even. I watched it purely to mock the movie and was delighted to see that it was constantly making fun of itself. With that in mind, I watched the trailer for the new TV show, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to try this one out. The self-aware cheesy humor hasn’t gone anywhere. It seems like the perfect silly show to fill the gap that Warehouse 13 left behind. (Also, Leverage.) And I like many people in the cast, particularly John Larroquette and Christian Kane (who has, praise Jesus, cut his hair).

Admittedly, I’m less excited about Lindy Booth, but I guess I can’t entirely blame Cry_Wolf on her, and it’s not exactly her fault that she played the dumbest character in Dawn of the Dead. I will give her another chance. But I may have to be won over.

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Top 10 Halloween (or Vaguely Halloween Related) Episodes

Mek and I have been watching scary movies — mostly bad ones — this October, but we’ve also been revisiting some of our favorite Halloween themed TV episodes as well. Because I am who I am, I decided to make a list.

It’s not a perfect list. I’m going to admit that upfront. It feels a little wrong not to include a single Treehouse of Horror from The Simpsons, but I just don’t remember them that well anymore, certainly not enough to differentiate between episodes. Also, three different shows have multiple episodes here, either because I need to expand my horizons or because these TV shows just have a lot of awesome pop culture references. Regardless, here it is:

Top Ten Halloween (or Vaguely Halloween Related) Episodes

Disclaimer: Mild spoilers below. Also, as always, the order of this countdown is subject to change at my whim.

10. “You Don’t Know How It Feels” – Cougar Town


This isn’t one I watch every October, but I do enjoy it. There’s the whole emotional content stuff that Cougar Town likes to surprise you with now and again as Jules tries to connect with her emotionally distant father. There’s also all the wacky costumes: half the gang dresses up as each other (which is pretty funny, except for the regrettable brownface). Meanwhile, Jules is a princess, Grayson is Prince, Andy is Burt Reynolds, and Bobby — who obviously wins — is Windy Guy, literally, a guy being blown around in the wind.

It is also the episode that gave us “dead baby lasagne,” which makes me so happy. Because I am a terrible person.

9. “This Episode Sucks” – Psych

psych vamp

Psych is the King of Awesome Guest Stars and Pop Culture References. (Okay, they share the title on references. Unless they’re from the 80’s — Psych automatically wins anything from the 80’s.) And this vampire episode not only guest stars both Kristy Swanson (from the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Corey Feldman (from The Lost Boys), it has Shawn dressing up as Lestat from Interview with the Vampire and Gus as Blacula from, well, Blacula. (Thank you, SFSU, for providing a Vampire Fiction class so I actually knew that reference.) And they even name drop Dracula 2000, which is one of my very favorite guilty pleasure movies!

For that alone, I would love this episode. But this is also the first time we meet Marlowe (Swanson), and I was really happy she kept coming back as Lassie’s prison GF and eventual wife. And Juliet is typically awesome. The show’s consistency wavered some after the first four seasons, but Maggie Lawson just got better and better. I really hope to see her in more things.

8. “Halloween” – Buffy The Vampire Slayer

buffy costumes

It’s always fun to see characters play against type. Dainty and Ridiculous Buffy is kind of hilarious, and Competent Soldier Xander is pretty cool. (And I love how his magically induced military knowledge will come in handy for future episodes.) We get our first introduction to Giles’s Shady Past. And I won’t lie: I’m all about Willow’s ghost costumes, both the Kid Friendly and the More Sexy one.

Also, Oz is all crushing on Willow from afar, and screw Buffy/Angel or Buffy/Spike — Willow/Oz is my OTP. (I mean, I really like Tara too. But at the end of the day, yeah. It’s gotta be Oz.)

7. “And Then There Was Shawn” – Boy Meets World


My nostalgia pick. A lot of the humor here sails past silly and lands firmly into cornball, but I can’t help myself: I still like this episode. After all, how many episodes deal with the emotional ramifications of your best friend’s messy breakup by playing around with horror tropes? Not enough, obviously. Also, you know what doesn’t happen enough in television? People dying from pencil-inflicted stab wounds. “We’ll always remember he was this tall.”

Heh. That still makes me laugh.

6. “Bad Blood” – The X-Files


Okay, I’m sure that when other people pick X-Files episodes to watch in October, they go for the actually spooky ones . . . but if it hasn’t already become readily apparent, I tend to like my horror with a healthy dose of humor mixed in. And comparing Scully’s version of How Mulder Came to Stake a Kid With Fake Vampire Teeth to Mulder’s version is pretty hysterical. Favorite parts include Scully’s profoundly unenthusiastic autopsies, Magic Fingers, and Mulder’s song. Also, it’s Luke Wilson! And that kid from The Sandlot!

You know, I always liked Scully, but I don’t know if I appreciated her enough when I was young. Maybe one of these days I’ll go back and watch this show from the beginning again.

5. “Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast” – Psych

psych axe

I’m not crazy about Lassiter’s temporary partner subplot — I like the payoff with the team more than the actual goofy scenes leading up to it — but I love seeing Juliet undercover at the sorority house, and there is something about her scene where she’s gotten the upper hand over the bad guy, and Shawn and Lassie have to show up in time not to rescue her but to stop her using the axe herself . . . I don’t know, I just love it. Henry laughing at the boys for their unnecessary, twenty-year-old psychological trauma is pretty hilarious too.

Also, this monologue from Gus: “I will not enter a room first. I will not enter a room last. I will not investigate any suspicious noises or go looking for a fuse box, and you will not under any circumstances leave me by myself without a weapon of some kind. Do you understand and agree to my terms?”

Good for you, Gus. I mean, it doesn’t end up helping you very much in the end, but still. Good for you.

4. “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps” – Community

community spooky

I love all the stories, of course, but I think Abed’s has to be my favorite. Bringing a radio for news reports when you’re staying near an insane asylum with an outdated security system? Standing in the center of the room, back, to back, with knives? LOVE IT. After years of watching people in horror movies make the dumbest choices they can possibly make, Abed’s ghost story was both funny and refreshing. Although Annie’s enthusiasm for gore and viscera was also pretty awesome.

And, of course, I love that almost everyone in the group is a dangerous psychopath. Because really, that seems accurate.

3. “Fear Itself” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

buffy fear

I don’t know if I have too much to say about this one, other than I like it. (In fact, my only critique is that it’s during the Everlasting Parker Woe. Ugh. Fucking Parker.) But here are a few of the things I especially love:

Oz’s God costume
Anya’s Bunny costume
Everyone being haunted by their personal fear (I’m always a sucker for that — though I will admit to liking Willow’s fears better in “Restless” than in this one.)
Giles in a sombrero and Giles with an axe (sadly, not at the same time)
Taunting the fear demon.
And, of course, “actual size.”

2. “Epidemiology” – Community

Quite possibly my favorite episode of Community ever, which isn’t exactly an easy choice. I love how this show has forever managed to link zombies and ABBA in my brain, like that’s not creepy or anything. Also, I laughed SO HARD when Troy utterly fails to fight the zombies with the Power of Imagination, like, his line, “Okay, I don’t know why I thought this would work,” had me in tears. And you have to love a zombie virus that can be cured merely by turning on the A/C, right? Also: George Takei’s beginning and ending narration.

I’ve never been so disappointed that my parents didn’t inexplicably name me Kevin in my whole life.

1. “Tuesday the 17th” – Psych

psych killer

Oh, God, you guys. This was so hard. Trying to pick between my favorite Community episode and my favorite Psych episode? It’s too much. In fact, I might make a different call tomorrow.

But for today . . . I can’t begin to tell you how much I love Psych’s Friday the 13th parody. I love everything about it: the Rick Astley piñata, the MANY spot-on homages, the Deep Blue Sea reference, Juliet saving the day (again), and of course, “Let’s twist this.” It’s also got one of my favorite continuity gags ever: in an earlier episode (from an earlier season, even), a fugitive badly pretends to be one of Shawn and Gus’s childhood camp counselors, and he’s forced to improvise a Camp Tikihama song, which they utilize again in this episode, all creepy like. Cracks me up every time.

Honorable Mentions:

“The Rocky Horror Glee Show” – Glee, primarily for Kurt as Riff Raff.
“Heeeeere’s Lassie” – Psych
“Lassie Jerky” – Psych
“Let’s Get Hairy” – Psych
. . . and every other horror tribute episode of Psych I failed to mention. Because there are a LOT of them. God bless you, Psych.

Have your own favorite Halloween episodes? Tell me about them in the Comments.

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Pick Your Dreamcast: The Female Ghostbusters Poll

People, I have heartlessly abandoned my imaginary Charlie’s Angels remake to talk to you about the potentially actual all-female Ghostbusters remake.


Now, if I’m being honest, I’m not buzzing with excitement over this news like some people are (or frothing at the mouth like others), probably because I don’t have the same level of nostalgia for Ghostbusters that most people have. But I’m at least a little excited because let’s face it: primarily female casts are rare, and when you see them at all, it’s usually a romantic-comedy or — maybe — a family drama. I can think of maybe ten SF comedies off the top of my head (Men in Black, Hot Tub Time Machine, Galaxy Quest, Paul, etc.) and none of them are headlined by women. So, this could be kind of cool.

Bill Murray has announced his own dream cast, and while they’re all very funny ladies, it was hard not to notice he’d — either accidentally or intentionally — created an all-white cast. (He might not have given any thought to it. Lots of people don’t see why it makes a difference, but I’m trying to be better about that because I think it does.) So, I was wondering to myself, Well, who would I rather see instead, and then decided I could just ask you people to do the work for me.

Here’s how this poll is going to go.

Unlike my Charlie’s Angels poll, I’m not separating these ladies into teams. (Mostly because that’s more work for me, and I already have a headache as is.) You pick any four actresses from my list. I’d like to see some diversity among your casts, but I won’t actually make that a requirement. The four ladies who get the most individual votes will win. In the event of a tie — which unfortunately seems likely, given the format — I will break it. So get voting.

Your Nominees:

Emma Stone (Zombieland, Easy A)
Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls, Bad Santa)
Jessica Williams (The Daily Show, Girls)
Mindy Kaling (The Office, The Mindy Project)
Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, SNL)
Aisha Tyler (Archer, CSI)
Alison Brie (Community, Scream 4)
Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Community, Drake & Josh)
Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow, Shame)
Kat Dennings (Thor, Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist)
America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants)
Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog)
Tina Fey (30 Rock, SNL)

The poll will be open about a week. I’d love it if you voted here in the comments, but I will also take votes on Facebook or Twitter, provided I see them. (If not, sorry, but you’re SOL.) I’m also happy to hear actresses you would’ve liked to have seen included in the poll, but — and I cannot stress this enough — you must pick FOUR actresses from MY list for your vote to be considered. If you do not, I will not count your vote.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go blow my nose for the sixtieth time today. Happy voting!

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“Either You’ve Got the Car Started, or You’re a Dead Man.”

Interesting. By happy coincidence, Kirsten and I both recently ended up watching sequels from different horror franchises where an emotionally traumatized survivor named Tommy has to come face-to-face with the monster from his childhood.

Luckily for me, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning is a little better than Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. I mean, don’t get me wrong: it’s not ART. But I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

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And The Winners for the Next (Imaginary) Wave of Charlie’s Angels Are . . .

This one was interesting. Going into the weekend, it looked like Team 2 had it in the bag — enough that I already went ahead and picked out pictures for the winning actresses — but some last minute votes for Team 5 tied things up. And then I was fretting because I wasn’t sure I could break that particular tie. Luckily for me, however, I stopped in to say goodbye to my mom before I left work, and she told me she’d had trouble getting her vote to show up. So, I asked her which team she wanted, and her vote broke the tie.

The next awesome ladies of Charlie’s Angels:


Amber Tamblyn


Kristen Bell


Rinko Kikuchi

Team 5! (I kind of saw this as being the slightly quirkier Charlie’s Angels group. In particular, I was seeing more Bang Bang than Mako Mori and more Casey Shraeger than Joan of Arcadia. Veronica Mars, clearly, is Veronica Mars. But obviously that’s all up to interpretation.)

Team 2 (Tracie Thoms, Maggie Lawson, and Rosario Dawson) came in a close second place. Team 1 (Emma Stone, Alison Brie, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Team 3 (Kat Dennings, Jennifer Lawrence, and Ellen Page) tied for third. Total Loser Award, sadly, goes to both Team 4 (Taraji P. Henson, Sandra Oh, and Kerry Washington), and Team 6 (Jewel Staite, Cobie Smulders, Karen Gillan), for neither team got any votes.

People who voted for the winning team, feel free to gloat. People who voted for the losing teams, feel free to grumble. And thank you all for playing.

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“Michael Myers is My Business.”

My friend Kirsten wrote me and said that she had, for some unknown reason, decided to watch Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. She’d also written a review and was like, “Hey, do you want this?”

What I heard:

“Hey, Halloween’s around the corner, and you have stories you’re supposed to be working on, stories that people are actually planning to pay you for. You want a Free Day from MGB to go, you know, do something about that?”


Thus Kirsten presents the majesty of The Curse of Michael Myers.

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