I wrote the following after receiving a rejection.
Then moi conceived a magnificent plan.
Here’s my ‘brilliant’ plan!!
I’ll write some stream of consciousness, totally woke prosepoemsmear and submit that to X submission opportunity! It will be lacking in actual grammar, structure and paternal literary merits! It will have no merit. None. Not a whiff of merit. I stayed highly aware of my own wokeness the entire time I typed that below. Did North Korea just flippin’ BOMB US?? Where is the vodka?
If I consider ‘murica right now…I’ll start eating my bad hair. I won’t bother with a mustard chaser this time.
Flapdoodle sexbugs of Ganderv55
CarLISLE gives nothing and I rot like a dream as we rut in the leaves beneath the tree of his mother. She brings us old toast and new coffee her hair on fire from daddysexjuice and we smell her burning but she pours us coffee and scolds us about jesus who is meek and mild and full of corn. mother moother you are old news and mother directs us like traffic cones into the river of my lovers who slap me with morality. i screamed could not find my way but my carLISLE advised me to take three aspirin and stuff them in my sexbug and oooooh i discovered the sands of my own breasts and i wept because i am not awake.
we went on the sidewalk found a cup and a dead idea, took both back in our backpack and put them in a cage because it’s all we know of high heels. dream on screamed moother and we dreamed on
until father gave us gum that smelled like cinnamon whores at low tide which created ghosts in our intestines that we farted out as ironic statements of purpose for ivy schools that never considered us contenders. I WORE A YELLOW FLAPDOODLE and nobody told me I WORE A YELLOW FLAPDOODLE and I wondered why no one told me because i posted the bread pictures and everyone hit the yes button and told me yes yes yes and squirted yes juice into my burning eyes. I tire to be brilliant but the diamonds turn to rodents in my kneecaps where slime shops for canned meat and mark down cancer drugs. WHY WON’T U SLAP MEE mmmooother asked as she sliced smelly lettuce for the eternal meal
and sister, my sister is dead yet sits on my right hand better than god or allah because she gives me pink gummy bears for my sexbug slit and doesn’t need them back to glue in her scrapbook where she once glued a live frog that begged her to traditional marry it and she told it no, it wasn’t fresh and that she wanted a turtle to lay eggs in her vast pulsing worldwomb. My sister puts her hair out to be sliced and my mother slices it slices and my sister marries the frog and glues herself in the scrapbook that’s how she died and yet how she lives because i can cut her shape from the pages and stick them to my eyes so she stares at me as i paddle over the rainbutt and into the dirk
but CarLISLE won’t say. Theres nothing there and I MADE HIM UP because father asked me to and we all obey we all obey
except the cat but the cat lives on some other plane thats not here at all poor cat.
77 oh 5 hump my leg like naughty poodles of elves left in the jupitor rain and all the numbers confuse me with yearning
so i dig up the cat and the cat doesnt scratch me because mooother
cut off its soul and used it for a suncatcher but the sun stays captured in my father who hangs strips of his love on the wall like narrow rewards won at turkey shoots.
run brother run
u hav no bro says car and i curl up and shud at it all but the Ganderv55 invasive me so i sigh thru the orgi and use vanilla soap and my cookie smell sells stocks so great men can shit with ease
Yours truly took herself to the movies this week. I saw It, the horror film based on Stephen King’s gigantic, sprawling ode to childhood and some other stuff.
I promise not to give away the ending. Those seven kids walk through this closet and have to fight Aslan for ultimate control of Narnia. Whoops.
Okay, if you’re a Steve King fan, you’ve read this novel and have probably seen the television miniseries with Tim freaking Curry as Pennywise.
Good for you! I, too, have both read and seen those. I’ve read It more than once. Because I compulsively read books over and over. Now you know something about me.
So!! This new adaptation. Or remake. Or gritty reboot. Mm. Ahem.
From the opening scenes of Georgie, little brother to Bill, the MAIN CHARACTER, and the paper boat racing along the flood of destiny, we’re SUCKED IN to this world seen from mostly the children’s POV. The cussing, the kid subjects they find fascinating, the fearlessness, the camaraderie in the face of absolute evil…! The grownups seem misty and surreal, which works here. We kind of get why a kid in a rainstorm would talk to a flipping CLOWN in a drain.
I don’t get it, however, because I find clowns fucking scary. They freak me out. I’d never…okay. Which is a problem I had with It, the novel and It, the subsequent visual realizations of said novel.
It’s too on the nose scary in the 2017 film version. It’s obvious. Too obvious, for my esoteric tastes. It starts off as OMG SCARY SAVE ME BABY JESUS and there’s nowhere to go from there. It’s rather static. You can’t keep pissing your pants if you piss them right at the start of the movie, to be blunt and gross. Other reviewers and wiseacres have also mentioned the problems with the clown. It’s not just me.
And…every time Pennywise sticks around longer than ten seconds, we see the zipper up the back of the costume, to quote from King’s Danse Macabre. Which is a shout-out to those old, creaky monster movies from the Atomic Age. Godzilla to Them! to the Mole People. If you have no idea what any of those three things mentioned are…JUST GO AWAY. Ser’sly. Buh bye. Go watch Memento again, you squirrelly assmunch. Yeah, I’m a wee bit hostile.
I’m aware that It, the clown critter, is mostly CGI. It’s neato. Pennywise is far more frightening when it’s just that Skarsgard dude in clown makeup…that is one talented family.
But what I’m ACTUALLY wondering is how that damn clown fools any of those kids into following it anywhere or why a kid would let that thing close enough to grab him or her or them…after all, predators of children are not the scary monsters that Pennywise is. Side note– most kids get molested or harmed or killed by someone they know. We can’t teach Grandpa Danger, after all…
Kids are totally into monsters and avoiding them, after all. It’s called being a kid. Imagination plus knowing, without a doubt, that that shadow in the closet waits until you’re asleep before it stands over you, breathing. Breathing. As the novel does get into– kids have absolute faith. That moment in the novel King penned where young Stan screams the names of birds to banish the monster into the shadows again and it works. That’s the power of faith manifested through a child’s absolute belief that the right words will make the bad stuff go away. Abracadabra.
Where is the seduction from Pennywise? We don’t see it. It doesn’t exist. I was thinking, how stupid are those Maine schoolkids to fall for that obvious craptoad Pennywise? I haven’t read the book for a while, so forgive me for this. But I REMEMBER the clown/It being far more subtle. It didn’t start out at TEN, it began working on victims further down the scale, more at a two or three level. That clown [the creature that inhabits Derry, Maine] had fun with its victims, it didn’t go for the jugular right away like a rabid weasel. At least, that’s what I remember.
Now, granted, the year/s this all took place got upgraded to the late nineties. We went from the fifties in the original book to the time of Bill Clinton and the Backstreet Boys.
There’s a cute little flirty thing in the movie involving Beverly, resident perceived slutchild, and Ben, resident fatboy, about the Backstreet Boys. Or maybe it was New Kids on the Block or…ugh. It was genuinely something kids would do. It’s little moments like that that actually make this film a far better country that it has a right to be. Those little interactions that seem to rise naturally and organically from the story and surroundings…I know, shh. I’m being a pretentious snickerdoodle. Okay.
Oh, the Losers Club is made up of the stereotypical losers from any random school/small town. The nerds, the geeks, the fat kid, the kid that doesn’t fit in, the differently colored kid, the girl everyone thinks enjoys gang bangs, the four-eyed unfortunate sons of genetics gone wrong, the sickly, the weak, the losers. And, of course, they’re all great kids who contribute in some way to HOW TO FIGHT THE MONSTER. The leader, the builder, the navigator, the…these kids could build dams, do research, make connections Sherlock Holmes would have made…!
At least, in the book they were presented as such. I kinda wish more of their talents and gifts had been included in the movie, so as to show why these normal kids could face down an ancient monster clown thingie. There’s bits and pieces but still. It’s rather like the complaint about the magic weapons in LOTR. How come, like, three people can fight off the gazillions of orcs and goblins? It was all laid out in the books but not so much in the movies…okay.
Oh. So. The other MAIN OBJECTION I formed to this film was…the last part of it. Where an ugly little Scary Movie Staple raised its Ugly Little Head.
That would be Woman in Peril.
[the following contains slight spoilers!!]
I’m sitting there, enjoying this movie, wondering why those various other kids follow that damn clown to their doom and did I miss the part where maybe It is using hypnosis or some other machination when…the only girl, Beverly Marsh, in the Band of Losers…gets treated to the ace of Girlcrap in the Scary Movie Deck of Bullshit Cards. Fuck me running!
Beverly, newly on her period, the focus of several cute-ish crushes from her new collection of friends, gets to be an actual fighter and smartie pants for most of the movie. She’s a tough cookie, she smokes, she wallops the bejesus out of…yeah. Just as she was in the book…ahem. And then, yeah. She has this epic fight in her apartment– I won’t go into it because SPOILERS– and the outcome is…SHE’S JUST ANOTHER VICTIM who needs SAVING by the Losers, all boys except for her!!!! who UNITE after a fight amongst themselves…to maybe SAVE BEVERLY FROM THE BAD CLOWN.
Fuck. No, just no. I about came out of my skin. Good day, I tell ya, good day!
I was disappointed with the downswing this movie seemed to take with Beverly’s direction/purpose/character arc. I expected more. It also seemed that third act/building to the showdown seemed…voted on by a committee of advertising reps trying to sell Summer’s Eve products. I expect such woman-in-peril shenanigans from every other horror/thriller/indie/art house/whatever movie on the planet but…sometimes you dream big. You hope gigantically that, maybe this time…it will be different.
There’s also a passage in the book that troubles many, including me. If you already know what that is, well, let’s just say…eh, Steve? What the Cheez Doodles? If you don’t know, go read the book because that passage gets left out…yeah. It’s where they’re in the kid phase of life yet, are disoriented in those sewer tunnels and…! Ahem. But it involved the only girl and it was…iffy. That’s as polite as I can get.
So, yeah, I do recommend this movie. So few actual good solid horror movies float to that swamp’s surface. The horror movies dreckfest swamp, located somewhere between Plan 9 From Outer Space and Annabelle, The Doll That Never Gains Weight. Or whatever the newest Annabelle movie is. What floats to the top would be the original Exorcist, the original Night of the Living Dead and Audition, for instance. Your list will be different than my list of what a ‘good’ horror film is. And that’s okay. For now.
It, the film, the movie, the entertainment juggernaut, has flaws. The clown is too on the nose, for my tastes and the descent into WOMEN IN HORROR FILMS same ole same ole treatment presents some major head-scratching from moi. But it also inspires me to write better heroines who can save themselves. Wootie woot.
To conclude, It was a fine, eh, flawed, eh, goddamn clowns don’t need to be scarier, you fucknuts…entry in the horror field. The previews sucked balls, except for the Stars Wars one. [Shut UP.]
Oh and stop turning women in horror films into damsels in distress, for the love of unicorns and manatees. I don’t care if you couldn’t think of a better third act. Jesus said, in the Gospels, do not fall back on tired Damsel in Distress mode when thou writeth a screenplay involving clowns.
It’s in the new, updated Bible. The one Conservadepia is not working on, by the way.
Here endeth my scholarly film dissection.
Oh, I’m going to write next about AHS:Clowns Fuck In My Supermarket and All I Can Do Is Scream. Which the producers shortened to Cult. It won’t be as long as my It novella.
An Afterthought– nope, not gonna apologize for another post. Nope nope nope! #NotSorry #ClownsRTheNuZombies
Oh I wrote a rambling, first draft, ode to my ‘villain’. I did, I did. I got into how women are portrayed in horror films and scary books. Which in fact does color House on Clark Boulevard’sNancy.
I’ll try again and try to keep my viciously messy thoughts viciously focused on viciously vicious Mr. Blue. All those sibilants! Oh and a bit more about Nancy! Go #TeamNancy!
I wrote HOCB after a pretty awful summer. Just take my word for it. I just sat at my battered ancient PC and wrote. No outline, no idea where this one was going. Just that rather pedestrian title and not much more than a need to drown out the real world.
I let the words form into somewhat coherent sentences, paragraphs and entire pages as they wished. A young wife and mother, in the seventies, dealing with ghosts. I didn’t try to burn the world down with my prose. [God forbid.] I just wrote. If you’re a writer, you get that. Sometimes you just write.
You’re not trying to make a point or come up with themes or miffed about the economic realities of eighteen year olds…you’re just writing. The same as when you’re just breathing, it’s just breathing.
Nancy, a’course, is based somewhat [like, totally] on my own mother. Who would no more have run about screaming in headless chicken fashion over a ghost than not make gravy from a roast. I borrowed that pragmatic, can-do, actual pioneer spirit– my great-grandmother traveled to the West in an actual covered wagon…and gave it to my heroine/main character Nancy.
However…I became infected with the notion that Nancy needs a Loki. I had another rant in my first draft of Mr. Blue’s Blues about how villains are more charismatic and fully fleshed characters than heroes, hence the Loki reference.
After all, she can’t spend X amount of pages vacuuming, cooking turkeys–there are two holidays at the end of the American year– Turkey Day and Presents!– and trying to get her youngest to use the toilet like daddy does, all while sort of ignoring the little and large ghosties bothering her and trying to get her attention. [I’d totally read a novel like that, but I am a unique snowflake!]
So, Mr. Blue crept into my narrative.
That name just strolled from my artistic shadows and took an opening bow. Mr. Blue. Who was he and why was Nancy more concerned about this cat than the tea party little girl ghost or the rolling things or the floating eyes? I find that asking myself questions helps stumble the story forward a bit toward some vague end. Yay!
I offered no origin story. There isn’t one. It was not important to the story. Mostly because, gulp. Actual author confession here– I don’t know what it is yet. I have an idea and no, he’s not a ghost or some remnant from some murder or…no. He’s SOMETHING ELSE. But that’s for the third book, now in progress. I just plopped him down into Nancy’s tale as her antagonist. One of them.
Mr. Blue expects our Nance to act a CERTAIN WAY. The expected female hysterics. The running around in her undies and tripping over rocks trope. After all, we’re led to believe all his other seductions have been successful. That he has managed to get other women to–
Nope, you have to read the book to find out what Mr. Blue wants Nancy to do. I’m a PR genius here! I leave out bits of info to tweak your interest! Available September 22!! I will post links!!
Why won’t Nancy straighten up and act like women are supposed to act? Scaredy-cats, easily led, easily seduced into X,Y or Z. Eve and the Apple! It’s right there, in the damn Bible, women are stoooooopid and must be utterly locked up or else they fuck snakes or something. Anyway!
I read where that snake in the Garden of Eden can also stand in for a penis…so Eve was a slut, too. Ouch.
There’s also that major question as to why people in haunted houses won’t leave. Mostly it comes down to financial reasons. The Amityville Horror tale, for instance. That family stayed because they had no money to go elsewhere. People buy some big beautiful house and then whango, it’s full of evil ghosts trying to kill them!
Every. Fricking. Time! American Horror Story exploits this one for fun and profit. That first season, Murder House. Then the AHS/Roanoke one. Dark Water, both versions. The Conjuring. Mama. The Shining. The Legend of Hell House. Beetlejuice. Burnt Offerings. Oh there’s giant lists of haunted house movies, novels and the like.
The moral is– buy ugly small houses, folks. Ghosts don’t live in shacks and low-rent eyesores. A crumbling castle, sure! It’s still a castle! Geez, does nobody pay attention anymore?? [They probably do. I’m not trying to throw shade at where ghosts take up residences. Just being mildly sarcastic on a Sunday afternoon. Okay, ghosts who live in shacks and low-rent eyesores? We good here?]
Nancy has almost no say in where she lives. That’s due to her own conditioning and training by her own mother and society and…!
So Nancy has to stay put and do the best she can with what she has. And she does! Because I find women are highly resourceful, clever, able to juggle twenty thousand things at the same time while juggling forty thousand other things and…yep.
There’s a hidden world of women as I touched on a bit in the novel. The face women show men, and the faces they show each other. That Margaret Atwood quote– men fear women will laugh at them, women fear men will kill them. That rings so fricking true, you just start nodding your head. Yep yep yep. If you’re female, that is. You just nod your head when you read that, you get it at the very level of your guts where it’s always fight or flight. Except for women, it’s hunker down or maybe find yourself dead if you act the wrong way at the wrong time. That careful read the emotional weather of those around you that women get trained to do…even the Wonder Women’s and the Ripley’s and the Sarah Connor’s and those women not fictional or battling monsters in their armor and underwear.
I watched my own grandmother do this. That careful politeness when the men were present, the raunchy giggler when the men were not present. The two faces of Eve. Indeed. Women don’t tell their real stories and the voices of women have been largely silent except for a few odd lady writers who ‘bucked’ the system. We censor our stories, we women. We ‘nice’ them up for the men and for each other. Silence and omissions and going along so the men don’t get upset, so we don’t upset ourselves and admit icky things that are in plain sight but which we politely ignore. Taking out this or that because it’s ‘too much’. Uh huh.
Nancy fights back against Mr. Blue and the ghosts because not doing so goes against her nature.
Mr. Blue expects her to fold like a cheap folding chair. Will she fold? Read the book to find out!
Nancy is also a version of Little Red Riding Hood. She knows not to leave the path. She wants to be that ‘normal good girl’ she has been told she wants to be. That it doesn’t quite gel with her actual character, well. I also think that’s part of her resistance to Mr. Blue‘s attempts to mold her and shape her. She can’t go against what she’s been taught but she can rebel against some ‘other’ outside of the realm of her tiny world. That she can do. With real relish and glee.
Which confounds poor Mr. Blue and makes him a bit blue and determined to get what he wants…nope, gonna have to read the book!
Yep, I started Book Three of my [some name] trilogy. I’m about six thou words in. Started it, like, two days ago. I’m going back and forth in narrative, a dueling banjos sorta cacophony. Two sisters, one story, everything finally explained. Intrigued?? Well, pull up a chair, friend. Let me walk you through this!
I was all bopping along, project-free, with misty ideas of writing an American-heavy dirge on the, gulp, probably real life scenario of–OMG Why Is the Velveeta Twatwaffle Nuking Canada?Only, I’d have those I find politically repugnant as the Main Characters saying patriotic schtuff and things. Just so I can ‘understand’ and ‘give them a voice’ and…yeah, I just fucking can’t summon up enough demonic power to fuel a short play handling that, let alone a full length musical. [Yes, it would have to be a musical. I just saw Royal Wedding last night and now, must write a musical where someone tap dances while singing vaguely racists lyrics and pinching girls in tight costumes. It’s on my bucket list.] When, as projects do, a terrible, awful, maybe somewhat okay idea birthed itself from the birth canal of my creativity. [Eww, gross!! My idea is all covered in icky creative birth fluids!! Ewwww!!]
That WHAT IF dragon uncurling its loathsome body. Breathing in my ear. What if Lysette…the mute sister who got her voice back…what if she and Alice and Nancy get a showdown or have to team up to fight the forces of darkness or have to take on the devil or…oooooooh. Mmmmm. Wheels spinning. The wheels on the writer go round and round, round and round, round and round. Nancy, of course, our main gal from House on Clark Boulevard, and her daughter Alice, who has her own turn in Alice of Oregonlandia and Lysette…who’s a big girl now in the mythical grunge smear of the late 90′s. And since I’m dealing with ghosts and death and the devil and…those that have died can return for a bit of a cameo and some clean up batting.
Storyline?? Bwha ha ha ha.
Right now, it’s a vague mess about Alice being accused of…oh, let’s say, a crime, a big one. And she’s broken, battered and broken all over again by life, by what the devil…yeah. It ain’t pretty, but do we want characters who barely break a sweat and then win the lottery? After four hundred pages where the worst thing that happened to them was a broken fingernail and a bad haircut? NO, OF COURSE NOT. Lysette, now, she’s a tough cookie, in the mold of all tough cookies everywhere. Hey, fluck you, I’m like ten pages in, if that. She’s DEVELOPING. No, I’m not defensive or bitter. YOU ARE. Are we done fighting? M’kay. I’m letting whatever wishes to be free be free on the page for now. If Lysette comes out like a cross between Buffy and one of those femme fatale broads from film noir, hey, for right now…I’m gonna let her be who she wishes to be. Is that so wrong? [As long as something gets on a page, is that not the whole point of writing?? I read that somewhere. Maybe one of those super-positive slogans people post over pictures of fuzzy baby ducks. Fuzzy baby ducks!]
Okay, so Saint Lysette-– which is the working title I have right now for Book Three in my [name here] trilogy…like I stated earlier, it’s told from both Alice’s end and Lysette’s. I might even add…a third viewpoint to this heady feminine mix. Might. Considering it. It’s being percolated and bottle fed in my creativity nursery. [It would be Nancy. Nancy!! Yes, do it. Maybe. We’ll see.] I forgot where this paragraph was going. I’ve got MST3K pulled up and it’s DISTRACTING me from this obligatory blog post about latest vague project that’s oozing from my creativity nursery like a sullen mythical lizard on heroin.
I feel totally vindicated now. Yep. Totally. [Fuck you, you Velveeta Stalin Wannabe! At least I didn’t call you a piece of shit or show you sans head. Yay for me!]
Oh, before I jump off the cliff, um…my favorite bit of news out of the UK elections. Lord Buckethead. I have no idea what his political views were or are. I am not endorsing said Lord Buckethead. But. Someone went around with a bucket on their head and got three hundred or so votes in that quickdraw election that May called for. It’s the little things that cheer you up and make you grin ear to ear and realize you can badly survive another day on Planet Shitball. Lord Buckethead, well done, sir. Well done.
If LBH was some British version of a KKK…ugh. Must now go look up politics of LBH. Sigh! No sigh needed!! AWESOME POSSUM APPLESAUCE. Next time I have to vote in ‘murica, I am writing Lord Buckethead in for ‘write-in candidate’ slot. My mother used to write Snoopy. She’d write Snoopy in as her candidate of choice. Because in America, we’d rather vote for cartoon characters than the actual…yeah, anyway.
OH WAIT!! A bit more of your precious browsing time!! Here’s, yes, the dreaded writing sample that must, of course, be included in a post about um, a novel. It’s the opening salvo! Mr. Peepers is still with us!! Who’s Mr. Peepers?? You’ll have to wait for the FIRST BOOK OF MY [some catchy, social media friendly name here] TRILOGY TO FIND OUT. Yay!! Oh. This is first draft-ish. It’s rough, bold and will probably leave a rash. Enjoy!!!
Mr. Peepers had gotten on my last cotton-pickin’ nerve. I pulled into the Deadman’s rest stop, outside of Pendleton, with the idea that I should shag my ass back to Seattle. I yanked a pack of Luckies out of my cleavage and noticed a young man watching me as he slithered out of his Ford 4by4 two-tone. Young, dark blond hair a bit too long, a scruffy face like he’d forgotten to shave or he was trying to look like Cobain, who was fucking dead as Reaganomics. Mr. Peepers made a schmoan sound, a sigh and a moan conbined. “We don’t have time for this, Missie Lysette!”
I got out of my old Dodge, stretched, made sure lover boy saw it, made sure lover boy got a real good look at my charms. He came right over. His plates had that Idaho tinge, and he was from Ada county. Was he headed toward Portland or back home? Like I gave a rat in a blender. “Hey, stranger.” I purred at the man, who stopped, his somewhat homely face lighting up like one of those Christmas decorations you buy at Wal-Mart, a cheap decoration you hope doesn’t kill you when you plug it in that first time. The closer Prince Charming got, the more fun I wanted to have with him. Just a young farm boy meeting up with a femme fatale. I had a knife, coated with salt, stuffed in my sock. I’d spill his guts if he tried anything funky. I had before. “You got a light?”
It’s two in the morning and I have a bad tooth. Can’t afford the dentist. At least the super-painkillers I got last year still work a bit and there’s the bottle of ibuprofen and a ten year old bottle of Orajel if I feel daring. As I’m allergic to Benzocaine. It touches my skin, I get swelling, redness, a rash.
Ah but I’m not dribbling out words in the small wee of the night to whine about my lack of access to modern dentistry due to not being born with a trust fund…no no, I have started the third book in what might be an actual gosh darn trilogy. I know!! I’m excited, too. My brain, lately seems to have stopped working. No soup for my brain, to badly para-mix a quote from Seinfeld. I just saw that episode, by the way. Still funny.
So…have no real story in mind for this third book. I just had a notion that Nancy’s other daughter, the one she thinks is imaginary, should take center stage and that the women of the Stockhorst tribe should have it out…or fight the devil. Or both or neither of those things or option C. Which I’ve not thought of yet because I’m, like, three pages in and already wanting to rewrite that. Which is good.
I’ve called this ender in my ‘trilogy’, Saint Lysette. So far, I really like what flowed like a ditch full of dirty water onto the white screen. She’s a tough, savage cookie who likes to play games at rest stops…and Mr. Peepers is still with us. And I want to bring back that character that…and I want Alice to have that moment with her mother and…And I want…
So. Three possible books. The House on Clark Boulevard. Alice in Oregonlandia. And Saint Lysette. Two are written. This last one has just been started…oh the places you’ll go, as Dr. Seuss crowed.
My tooth seems ready to let me sleep.
Oh, on a totally not writerly at all note…I saw Wonder Woman. I went by myself. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I don’t want to pick that movie apart. When you hear the slogan for WWI…The War to End All Wars…and you start weeping, in a dark theatre…because…Because you wish…you wish such foolish, never to be realized things. World peace has become a tag line, a joke, a…And today was D-Day. When the Allies took the beach at Normandy. 1944. Only the dead have seen the end of war, as Plato wrote.
Well, I have a new project. I saw a movie. My tooth aches. Good night.
So!! I read/saw where ABC had remade Dirty Dancing. What? Why? Those were my actual reactions to this ‘news’. As actual news right now [OMG just shoot me in the face with a nuclear warhead, please] seems to be a bit, um, ahem. I see that Abigail Breslin, of Little Miss Sunshine and Nim’s Island fame, will play the part of Baby. Huh. Okay. I can’t seem to find who will fill in for Patrick Swayze’s sexy, sweltering, holy crap can that guy dance, Johnny Castle. I still don’t know. I have no urge to even google it. None.
Personal note: I watched the original and only Dirty Dancing with my mother and grandmother. It has special meaning to me. I know it’s quite shallow and blah blah, but it’s also a fun movie with some great dance sequences. It’s one of those lightning in a bottle movies, that no one should try and remake, recapture or make shitty sequels to. M’kay???!!!!
So, ABC advertises ‘You’ll Have the Time of Your Life’ and flashes some names. Debra Messing is about the only one I remember. Oooooh and Bruce Greenwood, poor sap who seems to get roped into a lot of teenybopper crap. [That remake of Endless Love. Remember that? It’s okay, no one else does, either.] And I know who Abby Breslin is. I’m a bit curious and wondering why Dirty Dancing would be three hours long. I feel a bit of gentle nostalgia suckering me into tuning in for this ‘new’ DD.
So I watched it. And Idedicated my soul to Satan to avenge myself on the powers that be that got this dreck onto the small screen where innocent and guilty alike were forever harmed by it. Yeah, that’s the actual reaction I had. I went out looking for a crossroads, carrying a fiddle and dragging a goat along behind me in case Satan demanded some sort of animal sacrifice.
Um, I like Breslin. She’s a competent actress. However, here, in the DD monstrosity that slimed the ABC airwaves for THREE FUCKING HOURS, she seemed like one of those people reading a statement from their captors, with their eyes constantly flicking toward the gun held on them that we can’t see. She tried. She really did. However, her Baby came off as a twelve year old, not a ready to take on the world powerhouse to be that Jennifer Grey infused the original Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman with. Now, I might be projecting a wee bit; Grey might have actually played Baby in a perfunctory manner. I can utterly believe Grey’s Baby taking on the establishment and her parents for Johnny…I vibrate between derisive laughter and ragestrokes watching Breslin’s Baby stumble about like a hostage told to read the lines or else.
The dude taking on Johnny Castle…um. Eh. I don’t remember much about him except he TRIED REALLY HARD to act tough. And I don’t remember thinking, at all, ever, that he could dance. Was that actor a dancer? Any dance training? Uh…? So when he and Breslin smashed themselves together in the dirty dancing sequence– where the dance kids are shaking their tail feathers to someone SINGING THE DAMN SONGS because covers of those originals…ugh, Satan, help help!! Anyhoo!! When Breslin and nameless New Jersey-esque wannabe “dance”, I had to look away. It was like watching a baby chick get molested by a dead rattlesnake. That makes no sense, but hey, go with it.
Poor Breslin did the can’t dance stuff so well! Too bad she can’t actually dance. Why someone cast her in a movie all about DANCING…? I don’t get it. Did no one watch the rough footage of this and go, hey, we might need to get an actress who can dance? Breslin does fine in the overly emotional scenes. She seems sixteen, not twelve, in those scenes. Where she’s upset with daddy and…can’t remember any other scenes where she had to be ‘upset’. It all just blurs together in a scarlet mist! With a lot of spluttering cuss words escaping my clenched teeth.
Oh, the whole abortion thing was kept in. And the ‘writers’ fleshed out Lisa, Baby’s sister. Who has a ‘friendship’ with one of the black kids at the resort. No, this far more interesting and actually quite timely issue doesn’t get explored much beyond…they sing a song together for the talent show. That abortion angle, also, gets used to hurry the Baby-Johnny pairing along…kinda like in the original, but still. Penny doesn’t go to jail for getting an illegal abortion and Robby, who knocked her up and left her to sink or swim, doesn’t get his recommendation from Dr. Houseman. [Call the Midwife had a show on a desperate woman performing an abortion on herself and the consequences thereof– she nearly bled to death and had to face the police over it. If you want an actual glimpse into what women faced in the past on reproductive choices. Or you can ask older members of your own family. As they have stories to tell.]
Marge, Baby and Lisa’s mummy, and Bruce Greenwood, [I cannot recall Dr. Houseman’s first name, and if I don’t vomit this all out in one go, I will hate myself until the end of time] are having marital problems. They work them out, of course, with a SONG. Because…DD is now a MUSICAL. No, really. People burst into song now! That soundtrack from Dirty Dancing gets turned into unremarkable cover versions that just lay there and ask us to quietly dispatch them before they escape and do real damage.
Yeah, I’m all over the place here, so bear with me. DD starts off with Baby, about ten years after the events at Kellerman’s, attending some Broadway show entitled, wait for it, DIRTY DANCING, with, I assume, Johnny Castle either in it or involved with it somehow. We then flashback to Baby and her family arriving at the resort…and end
[SPOILER ALERT. LOOK AWAY]
the three hour bloated atrocity with Baby telling Johnny Castle his choreography was great, or good or not as bad as she’d heard it would be. My ragestroking had kicked in at this point, so I might have heard stuff that didn’t actually exist outside my tiny red world of WHYYYYYYY. Also…to totally kill me off, what other reason for tacking on that five minute evisceration– Baby’s husband and child come flapping down the theatre aisle and we get the most awkward moment ever filmed between the twelve-year-old yet looking Breslin and the why am I here again Johnny Castle-lite non-stud. My eyes!! My brain melted! I thought Manos, Hands of Fate, had thoroughly topped my list of Worst Movie Ever Made. Nope!! I would cheerfully watch Manos and kiss its greasy, awful frames with a glad heart after sitting through three hours of Clean Dancing, the Advertiser’s Special Cut.
Oh and the sex scenes…How they managed to take what was truly a celebrated journey of a girl’s journey into womanhood at the hands of a relatively nice seducer [Shhh, from those of you giggling in the back! Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Any Gilmore Girls fans??]…and turn it into an awkward, laughable, cringe-inducing spectacles…sigh. It became too hard to believe that these two, Baby 2.0 and Johnny 2.0, felt anything at all for each other but relief that they would get a paycheck after this was all filmed. He crept over into creepy older man territory. [As Breslin, indeed, seemed very much a baby here.] I never got that from the original pair. Grey and Swayze seemed well matched; she might have been eighteen and he not eighteen or anywhere near it, but she also didn’t seem a child. They seemed matched and equal in a way that the new pair of Baby and Johnny did not. That’s as close and as personal as I want to get with that topic.
There was no spark at all between NewBaby and NewJohnny; that was the biggest crime of all in this ill-conceived reworking. Would new casting have fixed this problem and created a brand spanking great new version of DD? Probably not. There was a reason the original movie worked. Why it soared into the stratosphere. The late Eighties and what was going on. Reagan, conservative values, racial unrest, still fighting the Commies, everything old is new again, no good dance movies since, what, Flashdance? What a feeling! I can have it all! What a feeling!
The chemistry of the two leads. Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze! And stories coming out that they ‘didn’t get along’. Ugh! They got along fabulously on screen, so whatever went on off camera fucking helped. Maybe we’ll get an eight hour miniseries from Ryan Murphy on this called– Baby In the Corner, The True Tale of Swayze and Grey.
The dancing…yeah, there was actual dancing in the original movie. Fun, sexy, outrageous [at that time, hello] dancing that made those watching go wide-eyed, a bit squirmy and fall totally in love with Baby, the minute she stammers out, “I carried a watermelon”, when Johnny demands to know why a guest has to crash the off-duty fun of the staffers. Because she was us and not us at all. Awkward and then a dance maven who gets to stand up for something. [Admit it, you’re not a crusader or that good at dancing. Admit it!!] Oh and, those watching, they just go all goofy when Johnny plucks Baby into the middle of that crowded dance floor among the other staffers grinding away…damn. When he’s teaching her to dirty dance and we’re totally getting why Baby finds Mr. Castle a bit intriguing. Yeah, we’re totally with her. She can’t dance, yet…but we see she can dance, with a little instruction and a little gumption from her own sassy self.
Yeah, you don’t get that at all from Baby 2.0.
NewBaby has no gumption! None. There’s nothing there at all. A director or a team thereof, told Breslin where to stand and sit and she stands and sits.
Now!! Was the original DD one of the bestest movies ever made on planet earth? Of course not. Does it have an undeniable charm and some truly fantastic dance sequences? Yep. Did Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Ginger Rogers and so forth, take dancing to the next level decades earlier? Fuck yeah, fellow babies! You want to watch dance masters and mistresses, old MGM musicals for the win! Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, for one. That barn-building ballet alone, wowsers! And West Side Story, hello and goodbye. And…there’s a list. Everyone can argue the merits of their fave dance-heavy movies on their own damn blogs.
Where was I in this rage-induced scream against the dying of the light?
This movie, obviously, means something to me. I watched it, for the first time, in the dorms at Eastern Oregon University, then called EOSC– Eastern Oregon State College. A roomful of eighteen to twenty-somethings, enjoying the hell out of Baby’s journey. We catcalled and hooted and laughed and cheered. I later watched DD with my mother and grandmother and assorted family when my grandmother spent her Social Security bucks on a brand-spanking new VCR. We rented, yes, Dirty Dancing, from the local video store. [Remember when you could rent movies from an actual store?? Oh how technology doth make fools of us all.] There’s a giant gob of GoodTimesExperienced attached to Dirty Dancing, that have nothing whatsoever to do with the technical, or artistic merits of that film.
I won’t get much more maudlin than that.
To sum up this all over the map screamwhine of a ‘review’…IT SUCKED BALLS.
I’m not the only one to hatewatch this new retelling of DD, either. It wasn’t just me! Apparently, I was one of five people to actually make it all the way to the end. Most gave up twenty minutes in. Oh and Peg Bundy sang Fever. [Or Gemma Teller, for the Sons of Anarchy fans.] She was the older desperate ‘bungalow bunny’, who paid Johnny to make her feel like a natural woman. Yeah. [As I’m a Sons of Anarchy fan, watching her on SOA and then watching her sleep her way through the ghastly shitbird that was DD actually made the little hairs on the back of my neck raise up. I felt them. Rising up. They were trying to warn me to find something else to watch.]
I’ll end this with my FB post:
Um. What the holy flippety flip was that Dirty Dancing remake? I think the Apocalypse is actually nigh. Why?? Why would…I just can’t…I can’t even form…ugh…I can’t…I have to pretend, now, that I didn’t watch it, I have to pretend now that no one took DD and turned it into…that. [Was there actual dancing in that thing??Why can’t I remember any dancing?? MY BRAIN DOESN’T WORK ANYMORE.]
I need some homemade dandelion wine and my VHS copy of the actual Dirty Dancing. Dance, Patrick, dance!
Oh, gentle readers and assorted others– I was going to post something writer-ish and perhaps even share a bit of my latest little project! I really was! Instead I saw this list about movies…and felt, as in lots of feels, that I should, instead, fill in my choices for all the movie categories below. It was something I saw over on FB. If that’s even cool anymore to admit you go anywhere near FB. So!! Here ya go. It’s not scientific or artistic or of any merit whatsoever. So it will probably garner moi at least five likes and even a spam comments! Squeeee!!
Most Hated Movie: Drawing a blank here so I’ll put the Matrix. I really did not like the Matrix. I did not like it in a box, I did not like it with a fox.
Movie I Think Is Overrated: Avatar– Fern Gully did this way better and it was funnier.
Movie I Think Is Underrated: Fame– the 80’s movie about the artsy school, and if they remake this one, I’m going on a rampage. Wonder Boys– Michael Douglas and Toby Maguire. I can watch this one over and over. Why is this not a staple of TBS???
Movie I Love: Office Space. I believe you have my stapler? PC load letter. We need to talk about your TPS reports.
Movie I Secretly Love: okay, do not judge me. Don’t. These movies are my version of crack, meth, Oxycontin…Twilight. Yep. Twilight. If you doubt my sanity and have taken me off your list of future Serious Girl Writers, well, I don’t blame you in the least. I watch this movie with a hate-it/this is so oddly soothing back and forth going on in my head.
Favorite Action Movie: Captain Blood came to the forefront here. With Errol Flyn. The Run-Down, with the Rock and Christopher Walken. Okay, the Scorpion King, too. It’s fun and goofy. Um, [if you’re done judging me from the Twilight admittance] the Robin Hood with Kevin Costner. Because it’s fun and goofy and features Alan Rickman stealing the whole movie. Come on!! Thelma and freaking Louise, of course, of course. Jurassic Park.
Favorite Drama: The Color Purple. Like Water for Chocolate. A Room With a View. To Kill a Mockingbird. The Grapes of Wrath. A Streetcar Named Desire. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. An Officer and a Gentleman. Terms of Endearment. The Black Stallion. The Man From Snowy River. Where the Red Fern Grows. Old Yeller. Gladiator. Dante’s Peak.
Favorite Western: The Beguiled– why did they remake this?? Why?? Unforgiven. The Apple Dumpling Gang– does this count? It’s Disney, but it’s sorta a Western. The Ballad of Little Jo– about a woman who dressed as a man to survive in the Old West, based on a true story. The Quick and the Dead, Sharon Stone one. The Coen Brothers and their version of True Grit. [My dad likes the ‘real’ True Grit, by the way. If you don’t know that John Wayne also made a movie called True Grit, you’re probably watching too many foreign cat videos over on the youtubes.] Posse. Renegade with Vincent Cassel, because no one should never not watch a French guy in a Western. Dead Man– Johnny Depp does a fantastic turn in this dark, crystal clear black and white masterpiece from Jim Jarmusch.
Favorite Horror:Okay, here goes. Night of the Living Dead– the original one, not the remake, ugh a bug, stop remaking the classics, you fucksticks. The Exorcist– it still gives me the shivers. The Devil’s Backbone– a Spanish film that’s truly gorgeous and truly spooky. Halloween– the original because I don’t have to explain why, do I? Carrie– the Brian DePalma one, with Sissy Spacechick. Yes, I do want to see the musical based on Carrie, you bet your buckets of pig’s blood I do. An American Werewolf in London, want to watch that right now. Waxwork, both of them. Both!! The Company of Wolves– based on the Angela Carter stories, gorgeous and creepy and darkly sexual. Audition– one of the truly most frightening movies I’ve ever sat through. Drag Me to Hell– eerie and so well done with just shadows and sound effects mostly, rather old-fashioned for a Sam Raimi flick. Army of Darkness– this might be in the sci-fi category, but then again, maybe not. From Dusk till Dawn. Pitch Black. The Abominable Dr. Phibes– I have to drop everything and watch this when it comes on, just a hypnotic acid trip of a movie. I’ve never done acid, but…Holy crap, will stop there.
Favorite Comedy: Arsenic and Old Lace. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer– with Paul Reubens and Rutger Hauer and some truly 90’s slangin’ going on. Harvey. Waiting for Guffman. The Princess Bride. Blazing Saddles. Young Frankenstein. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Run away, run away! Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The Birdcage. This is Spinal Tap. The Ref– seriously, this is Christmas with my family, or it seems like it. Fast Times at Ridgemont High. High Spirits. Dogma. The original Ghostbusters. Heathers. Best in Show. For Your Consideration.
Favorite Romance: It Happened One Night. Strictly Ballroom. Dr. Zhivago. Pride and Prejudice– I like any version of this, really. The Proposal. The Philadelphia Story. La Belle et la Bete– Beauty and the Beast, 1946. Bus Stop. Bringing Up Baby. Sense and Sensibility. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Out of Sight. Moonstruck. Penelope. The Holiday– this might come under guilty pleasure movies. House of the Flying Daggers– this might fall under action/adventure as well? The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Little Women– the one with Winona Ryder.
Favorite Shakespearean Movie: Twelfth Night. Midsummer Night’s Dream– with Kevin Kline. Much Ado About Nothing, with Emma Thompson.
Favorite Period Epic: Far and away, the Ten Commandments. Yul Brynner chewing scenery in that sexy manly skirt outfit, yes, please.
Favorite Disney Movie: Darby O’Gill and the Little People. I watch this all year round, by the way. Just in case you were curious.
Favorite Science Fiction Movie: The Ice Pirates. [Go ahead, look this one up, I dare you not to wonder what happened in my life to make me list this movie in a public forum.] One I saw recently, Metropolis, a silent movie that they should show to those who think history isn’t important…The Terminator. E.T. The Road Warrior– still such a stunner of a movie. Pan’s Labyrinth. Labyrinth– David Bowie as the Goblin King!!! The Dark Crystal. The Beastmaster, with Marc Singer! If you have not seen that one or heard of it, honeychile, you need to go watch it ASAP. Eighties hair, animals, bad dialogue, oiled up heroes and villains. And standing around looking very helpless all the time ex-Charlie’s Angels eye candy. Go. I understand.
Favorite Animated Movie: Toy Story 2. How To Train Your Dragon. I still love Fantasia. Monsters, INC. Finding Nemo– that opening scene…! The first Land Before Time. Bambi. The Emperor’s New Groove.
Favorite Superhero Movie: Christopher Reeve as Superman, that first or second outing he had as the Man of Steel. [The glut of superhero movies lately have left me cold, clammy and indifferent to cookie cutter men in tights. Captain Ironman Spiderhulk Magnetic Batdude can suck it. I’m starting to hope a super-race of villainous vaginas attacks from outer space and turns all the superboring studs into those anal plugs morticians use. Is that so wrong? That was a bit mean. Maybe turn them into potted plants? That way they can brighten a room and give back to the environment.]
Favorite Musical Movie: Singin’ in the Rain. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Sound of Music [did you really think that one would not make a list of movies that I cobbled together???] Brigadoon. [Anything, basically, with Gene Kelly.] I enjoyed the soundtrack way more than the movie of Across the Universe. If that means anything.
Favorite Bad Movie: Um, ahem, [[twilight]] ahem. Oh– Beast of Yucca Flats. Night of the Lepus. Catwoman– omg, I can watch this one over and over and never get tired of watching Halle Berry awkwardly imitate a cat. Wow.
Childhood Favorite: Charlotte’s Web.
Favorite Franchise: Star Wars! I can’t recite the dimensions of the Millennium Falcon, so don’t ask me to.
Best Trilogy: LOTR.
Guilty Pleasure: Dodgeball. The Mummy, with Brendon Fraser. The Fast and the Furious movies…any of them. A Million Ways to Die in the West…I know, shh. The Patriot, with Jason Isaacs. Peter Pan, with Jason Isaacs. Basically, anything where Jason Isaacs shows up as the veddy British baddie. [Lucious Malfoy, you betcha.]
Favorite Movie so far this year: I did go see Beauty and the Beast. I did enjoy it.
Favorite Movie Of All Time: The Fisher King. I keep wanting to write an entire post about this movie.
Okay. Yep. I think you were supposed to keep it down to just one movie per category.Whoops.
My taste in movies is atrocious. So, probably, is yours. I’ve seen a lot of those films on those big important lists that AFI and such put out. I’ve also watched those movies everyone actually watches. As trying to get through some of those ‘important’ films just makes me want to slap puppies at times. But I persist and get through them and then feel really smart and important for the rest of the day. I tried to be honest and not just list those films that make me seem super-intellectual and esoterically out there. Films that would make me seem super-duper ‘artsy’. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the obscure, made in the twenties, silent, B/W, made with actual clowns and random people passing by, German Nouveau, Post-Plague, Pre-Finger-Painting, three-hour take on a dog’s journey to bury its bone in the rotted bosom of society itself.
Oh heck yeah, I will actually watch something along those lines with real wonder and astonishment. I’ll also sit through Dracula, Untold, and enjoy a guy turning into bats to fight the Turks.