Horror Bingo 2022: Poltergeist (1982)

Friends, enemies, random passersby, the end is in sight! I have two more reviews to write (not including this one), and then Horror Bingo 2022 will finally come to an end. (I’d hoped I’d be able to finish up this week, but alas, that was not meant to be.)

Today’s film is a horror movie classic. It is also, hilariously, the only horror movie I liked as a child—hilarious because I did not like most scary things until junior high and usually ran to my room to play whenever any movie frightened me.

Tobe Hooper Poltergeist GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Poltergeist, though? Poltergeist, I liked.

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Triple Scoop Review: Much Ado About Nothing, Hell Fest, and Space Sweepers

Much Ado About Nothing

Year: 1993
Director: Kenneth Branagh
First Watch or Rewatch: Rewatch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: Bitches, please, this story is literally over 400 years old
Grade: Chocolate

I grew up on this movie, like, Much Ado is some formative shit, and I absolutely love it to pieces, despite some of the, ah, questionable acting. It’s not just Keanu Reeves, either, although I can’t say this is his finest hour. (Too bad, too; I’d really love to hear someone nail that whole “I cannot hide what I am” speech.) Robert Sean Leonard is also . . . not great, like admittedly, Claudio is the actual worst? Still, dude’s pretty hard to take seriously. And Michael Keaton, just, what? WHY? Branagh, why didn’t you stop this?

However, I love Emma Thompson as Beatrice; oh, she’s so good, and her scenes with Kenneth Branagh are magic. I also kinda adore Denzel Washington here, who I rarely see in comedies and just seems to be having a delightful time . . . and yes, he does rock those leather pants quite nicely, thank you. (I highly approve of Shakespearian men in leather pants, and have since I saw a production of Romeo & Juliet where Mercutio, dancing around without a shirt, was even more enjoyable than usual.) I’m fond of Richard Briers as Leonato, too, whose hilariously nonchalant delivery makes “she does indeed, my daughter says so” my favorite line in the whole movie. (This entire scene is pretty great, honestly, and is actually where I think RSL does his best work. The comedic overacting is perfect. It’s the dramatic bits I don’t quite buy.)

Gosh, there’s so much to discuss with Much Ado. Like butts. If there was an award for The Most Ass Shots in A Shakespearian Adaptation, it would go to this movie, hands down. (Pleasantly, we get equal opportunity ass shots. It’s not just the ladies for once!) I’d also like to mention that while the cast is overall very white, I do love that Denzel and Keanu are brothers, and no one awkwardly inserts some forced exposition about it; they’re just enemy-bros and that’s that. I like many actors in the supporting cast, too. I’m always here for Brian Blessed and his absurdly deep voice, and I’m never gonna say no to Imelda Staunton, either–although Margaret’s a much more interesting character in the play, which is a hill that I will die on. And hell, how did I go all these years without realizing that Emma Thompson’s mom plays Ursula. It’s so obvious once you know.

Finally, a few things: A) Let’s be real here: that friar is sketchy as hell. B) Leonato seems like a pretty good dude, that is, until he’s all “I shall not suffer a slut to live.” Seriously. Fuck this guy. C) Claudio can’t even be bothered to sing his own goddamned lament. He straight up has that one random singer dude lament for him, ugh, Claudio is THE WORST. And D) In the end, everyone happily dances around except Don Pedro, presumably because he’s the only single dude left? Bullshit. Bullshit to that whole idea idea, but also, bullshit to anyone picking Robert Sean Leonard and Kenneth Branagh over Denzel Washington. (I have to admit, much as I ship Beatrice/Benedick–and I very much do–there’s a part of me that’s always wondered what a Beatrice/Don Pedro ship might’ve been like. I’d read that rare pair fanfic.)

Hell Fest

Year: 2018
Director: Gregory Plotkin
First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Netflix
Spoilers: Yep, sorry
Grade: Strawberry

This was our Bloody Hearts pick of 2021, and despite the film’s dismal reviews, I think it’s a pretty decent slasher. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the best start. The acting in the opening scene is, yeah, not stellar. Also, the Killer’s habit of humming “Pop Goes the Weasel” gets real old real quick. But the main cast is pretty likable. I am, of course, primarily here for Bex Taylor Klaus–and the Tony Todd cameo, obviously–but all the actors have good chemistry with one another, and there’s a lot of easy banter back and forth, which I very much enjoyed. Also, Mek and I definitely wanna go to this amusement park. Sans the murderer, preferably, but otherwise, this place looks pretty great. Well. Okay. While I’d absolutely love to go on an actual haunted house ride (especially if it “broke down” halfway through, YES), I’d sadly have to skip this one, as I won’t do haunted houses where people get to touch me. I don’t even want most people I know to touch me. I am, and forever will be, this GIF.

It’s great that the love interest dies first. Partially because it’s surprising, partially because that mallet to the face hurts me, and partially cause this guy makes absolutely terrible choices, and I feel little pity for him. (Come on. Who goes back to steal a stuffed toy just cause you can’t win one? I promise you, dude, your girl doesn’t give two shits whether you’re good at carnival games or not, and your fragile sense of masculinity is an impressively stupid reason to risk being arrested.) I love, too, that both our final girl, Natalie, and her BFF Brooke make it out alive. Brooke’s survival is especially awesome, as she’s both the MC’s BFF and the only Black actor in the main cast. These are extremely bad odds in a slasher; I’ve got Brandy surviving I Still Know What You Did Last Summer in 1998, and . . . that’s about it. I only wish that Taylor also survived because I adore Bex Taylor Klaus so much, and they’re awfully fun in this film. Still. Such is life.

Final, random thoughts: I kinda like that Natalie doesn’t have some stereotypical ‘dead mom or other trauma’ backstory to explain why she’s been distant; life’s just a Lot and people get busy, and that’s fine. I really like the ending, too, how we don’t get the usual last minute scare where our killer pops up in Spain or something; instead, he just goes home, adds to his serial killer trophy collection, and interacts with his cute little daughter, all of which is, TBH, much creepier. (Though, as an aside, I’m not sure exactly how Natalie is planning to get to Spain if scholarship money is currently a problem.) I’m not sure, admittedly, why Natalie and Brooke are just chilling outside one of the haunted houses at the end of the movie, presumably still bleeding, while the killer is on the loose, like, maybe we should get them to a hospital under police escort ASAP cause, you know, there are limits to the usefulness of shock blankets. Otherwise, though, yeah, I found this one pretty enjoyable.

Space Sweepers

Year: 2021
Director: Jo Sung-hee
First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Netflix
Spoilers: Only mildly
Grade: Vanilla

Space Sweepers is a lot of fun. I think, maybe, it could’ve been a bit shorter? And I feel like we might be stretching what can realistically be expected of nanotech, but also, I care not at all because seriously, FUN. I love the whole Victory crew, I love how wildly dysfunctional they all are, and I genuinely like how long it takes our protagonist, Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki) to fully get onboard with doing the right thing–but for reasons you get, not just, y’know, Asshole Reasons. I’m obsessed with Captain Jang’s whole aesthetic, I mean, damn. She’s great. Kot-nim is adorable. Tiger Park is kinda adorable, too, and of course, I adore Bubs, because I am always here for both A) sarcastic, money-hoarding robots and B) gender identity and expression in robots. Bubs is awesome.

Our villain is played by Richard Armitage, which is hilarious because I never recognize this guy, ever; my brain just refuses to lock in on his face. Mek will be like, “Hey, is that Richard Armitage?” and I’ll be like “WHAAAAT?” as if we haven’t had this exact same conversation twice before. I enjoyed the whole supporting cast, too, and the effort to really make this story feel international. Just in general, there are a ton of small moments that I loved: the makeup scene, Tae-ho and Tiger Park getting into a water fight, the fact that our heroes are just so hilariously bad at being criminals, etc.

I don’t think there are any plans to make a Space Sweepers sequel or spinoff or anything, and TBH, we don’t really need one. The movie stands fine on its own. Buuuuuut . . . you know. If someone were to do that, I’m just saying. I’d definitely watch another movie or television show in this verse.

Triple Scoop Reviews: Jumpin’ Jack Flash, The Skeleton Twins, and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

First Watch or Rewatch: Rewatch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Other – Personal Collection DVD
Spoilers: Nah, unless you really don’t wanna know who plays Jack
Grade: Chocolate

I haven’t watched Jumpin’ Jack Flash in years, but I grew up on this movie–I grew up on a whole bunch of Whoopi Goldberg films, actually; she was probably my favorite actress as a kid–and I’m stoked to see this one holds up really well. Not everything holds up, like, there are one or two jokes best left in the 80’s and, of course, Marty (Stephen Collins) is super likable until you remember that the actor playing him admitted to sexually abusing minors in 2014.

The movie, though, is pretty great, and I adore Terry (Goldberg), our foul-mouthed, hopeless romantic, total nerd of a protagonist. (If you’re going to argue with me about the nerd thing, you’re wrong: she’s a computer geek, talks to herself, dresses kind of goofy, has toys all over desk, etc. NERDS UNITE FTW.) And Whoopi Goldberg is great in the role: she’s sharp, funny, and somehow manages to make all the many scenes of reading Jack’s messages out loud actually seem natural. The genre blend of romantic-spy-comedy works really well for me, and I just love a lot of little things about this movie: all the dialogue, the Rolling Stones appreciation, the set design of Terry’s apartment–I need that giant toothbrush–etc. I like a lot of the supporting players, too: I particularly get a kick out of Peter Michael Goetz as Mr. Page, not to mention that this was the first movie I knew either Garry Marshall or Carol Kane from. (Kane’s line delivery of she’s unwrapping the STROLLER is often, and poorly, imitated in this house.)

Plus, Jumpin’ Jack Flash has gotta be Hollywood’s very first internet romance, right? Like, this movie was made in 1986. It’s so ahead of its time! (Although I will admit that, as a child, I was very disappointed with how Jack looked when he finally showed up. Apologies to Jonathan Pryce, but deeply shallow 7-or-so-year-old Carlie was like, “That guy? That guy is Jack?” It was like watching the Beast transform into his inferior human self with his inferior human voice all over again. At least Jack’s voice didn’t completely change.)

The Skeleton Twins

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: Nope
Grade: Vanilla

I’ve been wanting to try out more of Bill Hader stuff’s since watching It, Chapter 2, so naturally I had to a) binge the first season of Barry last week, and b) check out The Skeleton Twins, a dysfunctional family comedy-drama about estranged siblings. I have kind of a soft spot for both sibling stories and dysfunctional family shit, though I’m often not enthused about how said stories turn out, the former because it so often boils down to “opposite siblings are opposite” and the latter because they’re so often focused on unhappy marriages, like, I could easily go ten years without another boring marital affair subplot.

The Skeleton Twins definitely does have some marital affair shit going on, but for the most part, I liked this movie. I’ll admit, I can’t help but feel that there’s something missing from it, but I’m hard-pressed to say what, exactly, just that there’s a certain amount of predictability to all the emotional beats of the story, so I always felt like I knew exactly where it was going. Still, the acting is great all-around: both Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig give strong performances, and Luke Wilson is just spectacularly well cast. There are also several scenes I really enjoyed (this lip-syncing one is obviously a highlight), and I did become very invested in Milo and Maggie’s relationship, like, I’m really rooting for them to work it out and save each other. And sure, while the siblings initially come across as “the responsible one vs. the irresponsible one,” it’s pretty obvious from the get-go that this isn’t really the case, and I liked that.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

First Watch or Rewatch: First Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Amazon
Spoilers: Only mildly
Grade: Strawberry

This is okay, but it’s definitely my last favorite of the John Wick series thus far. On the plus side, all the fight scenes are a lot of fun, obviously–John kills people in creative new ways, like with books or horses! And I like some of our recent additions to the cast: Asia Kate Dillon has got such a cool aesthetic here, and besides which, I’m forever a sucker for the administrative side of the assassin business. (See also my absolute obsession with the tattooed switchboard operators. Jesus Christ, I love them so much. I want a TV show with them so badly.) I also enjoy Mark Dacascos as our slightly psychopathic assassin, mostly because he so often plays a very solemn or dignified character–Double Dragon very much excepted–where here it’s more like “I’m a fan!” and “we could’ve been pals if only I didn’t have to kill you!” I could do without the whole “we’re the same, you and I” stuff, but otherwise, I liked him.

Still, I think Parabellum has some structural issues. Not much about Casablanca works for me, I’m afraid: Halle Berry’s whole section feels like an awkwardly inserted backdoor pilot, which I’d probably be more willing to forgive if I liked her better in the role. Unfortunately, I never really bought Sophia’s whole angry, tough girl thing, anymore than I did in X2 when Storm very suddenly became super angry and super American. And to be clear, I was 140% into all of her fight scenes, like, Berry does a great job with them, and her dogs are obviously the goddamn best, but the scenes with actual dialogue? Yeah, I didn’t love them. Jerome Flynn and Saïd Taghmaoui also felt unnecessary, especially and unfortunately Taghmaoui, who I’ve enjoyed in various small roles over the years, but this one is just . . . meh. Not poorly acted or anything; I just didn’t care about this whole “man who sits above the table” thing. And all John’s wandering through the desert like Jesus just felt . . . silly, and surprisingly, not the good kind of silly.

And it must be said that while I emphatically do not come these movies looking for realism, like . . . come on, there is a limit to how many times a dude can be thrown through a wall of glass without bleeding out before I’m like really? REALLY? I quickly lost count, but I wanna say John got kicked or thrown through, like, 13 different panes of glass in about fifteen minutes, and dude, that boy be dead. That boy is an ex-parrot. And I don’t care if he’s the Baba Yaga or not; if this motherfucker doesn’t have Wolverine’s healing abilities, he’s stick-a-fork-in-me done. It’s not just all the glass, either, although admittedly, that’s probably the most in-your-face absurdity; during this movie, John also gets a) hit by two cars, one right after the other, b) stabbed in the shoulder (where the blade nicks the artery, but a quick five-minute stitch-up with no blood transfusions, and he’s fine), and finally c) shot off a fucking roof–and like, I’m not talking some one-level grocery here. This is a four story building, and this motherfucker bounces off a metal fire escape on the way down. John Wick is basically just a broken meat sack of goo at this point, or should be.

Generally, I enjoy how this movie sets up for the next, but man, if John Wick, Chapter 4 doesn’t reveal his secret origin story as a metahuman or literal creature of the night, well, my friends, we’ve shot past light speed straight into ludicrous speed.

“Master, I Could Be Wrong, But That Might Not Be The Best Way to Win The Girl’s Affections.”

Continuing with Disney . . . let us now move on to my childhood favorite: Beauty and the Beast.

belle rose

Objectivity may or may not not be found in this review. I have all kinds of nostalgia for this one, so expect a grade that fits said nostalgia accordingly. Still, we definitely have a sketch romance to talk about here. Not to mention: there are a surprising number of shitty people in Beauty and the Beast. Pretty much anyone who isn’t Belle or a magically animated object is kind of a dick.

Let’s discuss them, shall we?

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“A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes When You’re Fast Asleep.”

It’s time to continue the Disney Princess Movie Challenge with our next film: Cinderella.

cover1

When I was two-years-old, I apparently loved this movie so much I taught myself how to use the VCR so that I could torment my family by watching it over and over again. At 30, I’ve discovered that I no longer have any such impulse.

That being said, I definitely preferred Cinderella (both princess and film) to its predecessor, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

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6 Different Ways The Goonies Are All Doomed – A Drinking Game

It was my sister’s birthday yesterday, and we did a lot of the low-key, generally-nerdy things that make up my (and, hopefully, her) favorite kind of days: dining out, a trip to the bookstore, a successful game of Castle Panic, and playing a drinking game to The Goonies.

goonies

I’m not doing one of my normal reviews for The Goonies today because I already have two reviews in the works, plus a few writing projects that are important beause I could actually get paid for them. I was born a sell-out, kids. I like money.

I also apparently like ruining childhood memories. The drinking game, per usual, did not actually lead to getting drunk — more on that below — but it did lead to a list of the many more realistic ways The Goonies should have turned out. Before we get to that, though, let me give you the Rules in case you, too, like to mix nostalgia with copious amounts of alcohol.

The Goonies Drinking Game

Take a sip whenever

Mikey uses his inhaler
Anyone says the words “rich stuff”
Whenever the kids consult the map
Data uses a gadget
Mouth speaks Spanish
Anyone tells Mouth to shut up
Anyone says “One-Eyed Willy”
Whenever the Fratellis argue
Anytime anyone says a word wrong
Anytime someone says “Goonies never say die”

Despite the fact that I take a ridiculous amount of pleasure coming up with drinking game rules, Mekaela and I aren’t particularly heavy drinkers, so we just played this with sips of hard cider. (We did find out, however, that I apparently take bigger sips than Mekaela does.) Obviously any type or quantity of alcohol could be used in your game, although I beg of you — if you’re taking shots, PLEASE do not do so when Mikey uses his inhaler or when someone says, “One-Eyed Willy.” I will not be responsible for your deaths. (On the other hand “Goonies never say die” is only stated once, so making that a shot is one solid variation.)

One 80’s classic and two bottles of hard cider later, I have come up with six different scenarios for you. Don’t let Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner fool you. This is . . .

What REALLY Happened To The Goonies:

Scenario One:

Mikey, after taking his inhaler four times in ten minutes despite exhibiting zero symptoms of respiratory distress, promptly suffers an episode of tachycardia before he can leave his home to look for hidden pirate treasure. Upon returning from her shopping trip, his mother drives him to the hospital. Though Mikey makes a full recovery, he has no time to discover the rich stuff before his father signs the papers. The Goonies never see each other again. The Fratellis are eventually caught — competence obviously not being one of their finer points — but it takes some time, and several innocent people die before they can be apprehended. This includes Sloth, who is unjustly killed by the police, considering no band of mischievous children appear to stick up for his heroics.

Scenario Two:

Mikey and his friends make it to the restaurant. Brand, unfortunately does not, as Troy’s little stunt running him off the road results in Brand breaking his neck. Andy and Stef find Brand’s body and tell the Goonies outside the restaurant. Obviously heartbroken, Mikey returns home. One-Eyed Willy is never discovered, and the Fratellis (including Sloth) meet the same end as in Scenario Two.

Scenario Three: 

The Goonies safely make it to the caves beneath the fireplace and force Chunk to go fetch the cops on his own, proving once again that they’re pretty terrible friends, not to mention lousy forward-thinkers, as Chunk is the least credible member of the group. When Chunk is naturally captured by the Fratellis, he is tortured for information. And once the helpful bats reveal that he was telling the truth all along, Chuck is then promptly murdered because seriously. We all know this. Thus, Sloth never makes it out of his chains, never having the proper Baby Ruth motivation to break them.

Meanwhile, Andy and Stef are not significantly moved by Mikey’s rousing speech, and choose to ride the bucket up to Troy, the King Douchebag, and his douchebag friends. Unfortunately, Andy doesn’t realize until it’s too late that she was bitten by one of the bats. She contracts rabies and dies days later. On the bright side, Stef lives, although she does develop a fairly understandable case of chiroptophobia.

Sadly, Data dies when his Pinchers of Peril utterly and predictably fail to hold his weight, and he is impaled on the spikes below. The others manage to safely make it down but of course are stymied without Andy to play the piano from Hell. They try anyway, though, as the Fratellis are coming, and even manage to guess one note correctly before plummeting to their doom.

Scenario Four:

The Goonies miraculously make it to One-Eyed Willy’s ship, where the Fratellis catch up with them. However, instead of having them walk the plank for no reason whatsoever, Mama Fratelli and her sons instead immediately skewer the Goonies with their pirate swords. Chunk and Sloth valiantly show up to save the day, only to find a bunch of dead children. Still valiantly, they try to avenge Chunk’s fallen friends. Everyone dies but Mama Fratelli, who accidentally sets off One-Eyed Willy’s trap and is thus trapped forever without Sloth to get her through whatever alternate route.

Scenario Five:

The Goonies and the Fratellis make to the beach. However, when Rosalita discovers the jewels at the last minute, she wisely keeps that discovery to herself so that she can buy herself a better life where she doesn’t have to earn a living by helping supposed drug lords move.

Scenario Six:

The Fratellis make it to the beach, and Rosalita does reveal the jewels. Triumphantly, the papers are ripped up.

Unfortunately, six months later, Data’s parents decide to move to Detroit after all — as parents will do — and Data never sees or hears from any of the Goonies ever again.

Rosalita is fired after Mrs. Walsh discovers the broken statue and incorrectly assumes that she was responsible.

Chunk’s parents do not honor his promise to adopt Sloth, who ends up homeless. Meanwhile, Chunk becomes very depressed, eventually comes to resent his friends for being assholes to him, and stops speaking to them a few years later. Enduring the Truffle Shuffle alone costs him thousands of dollars in therapy.

Mikey also starts going to therapy because Brand rightfully informs their parents that his little brother believed a centuries old skeleton was sentient and had been waiting for him to visit, not to mentioned introduced his friends to said skeleton like this was a legitimately normal thing to do. Mikey is treated for his delusional beliefs; incidentally, he also stands by his decision to throw away his inhaler after years of abusing it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the inhaler on him when he suffers an actual asthma attack, having trusted Andy that being a good kisser will make up for his malfunctioning lungs. As the Power of Love (or Lips) is not a scientifically supported remedy for asthma, Mikey of course dies. Brand blames Andy for his brother’s death, and the two break up. Andy doubles down on her conviction that one only needs purely natural remedies for serious physical conditions and creates a blog about them once the internet is born. Brand, meanwhile, goes to college and does pretty well, despite being haunted by persistent dreams that the ghost of his dead brother is now sailing with One-Eyed Willy. Brand also never learns to drive. For Reasons.

Mouth and Stef start having on again/off again hate sex, once Mouth grows up enough that their age difference becomes less creepy. This continues even after they get married to other people.

Finally, the Fratellis escape prison with the same sort of sophisticated techniques they used the last time. The brothers eventually end up killing each other, mostly by accident, but Mama Fratelli lives on to commit terrible crimes and terrify children everywhere with what is clearly not water.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this evening of Ruining Childhood Classics with Carlie St. George. Please remember to tip your wait staff and drink responsibly!

“IT HAS BEGUN!”

Obsessively watching Teen Wolf and Sheriff Johnny Cage reminded me of something last week: I have never actually written a review for Mortal KombatMortal Kombat: Annihilation, yes. But Mortal Kombat itself? Nope.

fighters

This is one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies ever. Keep that in mind while I occasionally and lovingly rip it to shreds.

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“I’m In The Red Car!

So, my parents? Not real strict about what kind of movies I could watch as a kid. And by “not real strict,” I mean I don’t think there actually were any rules, not of any kind. To be fair to them, though, there probably didn’t need to be. I didn’t like scary things as a child, so if I was frightened by whatever they were watching, I excused myself to go play with my dolls. And honestly, I’m still a tiny bit baffled by parents who absolutely forbid their children from watching any rated R film, no matter what the story is actually about.

Still. This is not the kind of movie most kids probably watch at eight or nine years old.

cover

Because I’m not willing to post a picture of what they do while swimming in that pool.

Besides being wholly inappropriate, Color of Night is just a terrible, terrible movie. Like it won a Razzie for ‘Worst Picture of 1994’ terrible. But the film’s long been a joke between my sister and me because, really, who else has childhood nostalgia for a movie that shows Bruce Willis in all his, uh, resplendent glory? So we decided to rent it from Netflix.

Yeah. You’re welcome.

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