I’ve seen all three Godzilla movies. Can’t name a single character or even bother to remember the actual storylines. Scientists and…I’m done, I’m out.
So, this last movie, where Godzilla smacks King Kong around and King Kong doesn’t like it much. Wish it had been two hours of the two icons battling it out instead of conspiracy theories are real, interchangeable stock characters and dialogue formed by throwing fridge magnets against a wall.
I love this current imagining of the Godzilla creature. It’s impressive, cinematic, theatrical, powerful, fun and gorgeous to watch. Well done! Yay! I like the old Godzilla, too. The Japanese one. The ancient, creaky, hilariously bad monster flicks that bring a smile of recognition at the sheer nostalgia for ‘simpler times’ when monster movies were viewed from a questionable, shabby couch, late at night, the lights turned off. And the notion that childhood would be forever, that everything would be safe and good and life not so hard at all to conquer.
Yeah, none of that happened and life sucks. Godzilla, you fucking cunt lying lizard shitweasel fuckface.
I had no high hopes for this newest money grab by cynical movie moguls trying to stay afloat in these interestin’ times.
I’m not invested in these movies. That’s a problem. I don’t care about anything that happens. I can’t remember who any of the characters are, even on a rewatch. I have no interest in watching any of these again. I’ve seen the Kong movie, with Loki and Captain Marvel, many a time now. It flashes by on basic cable, you stick with it as you putter about scrubbing the sink or whatever. It’s just background noise. I’ve seen the remake with Jack Black and Naomi Watts. Eh.
I’ve even seen the blasphemy that was the one with Matthew Broderick. Bigger is better, was the tagline or something like that. No! No, it was not!!
Oh my goodness. Happened to catch Mulholland Drive for the first time ever. WTF? How does Lynch keep getting funding? What the hell was that? I couldn’t stop watching, yet I was aware of my ‘this is crap wrapped in shiny foil’ impression the entire time. Lesbians just kiss awkwardly and grab each other’s boobies? Maniacal old people, bwhahahahahaha. Blue box of mystery is a snooze. I loved the singer near the end, that was great. Um…cowboy? I’m not a David Lynch fan, so that might be it as well. I always feel as if he’s a third-rate Fellini. Like he’s trying too hard to be strange and different, it’s not natural or organic with him. None of his stuff seems to spring from any real or honest place. Which might be his entire point but still…eh.
Oh yeah, Godzilla versus Kong. I don’t really have a long review here. Just…get rid of the people. More monsters. All monsters, in fact. Not unless there’s a startling new storyline that NEEDS TO BE TOLD. And there isn’t. Not here, anyway. It’s just evil scientists and conspiracy theories THAT TURN OUT TO BE TRUE. Fuck me, are you kidding?? Why not have this thing set in a New Jersey pizza parlor’s basement?? Fuck a unicorn, you lazy shit writers. Just have the two iconic monsters battle it out for ninety minutes to two hours. Happy girl here! I’d be extra happy and dance around like no one’s watching. To Harry Styles songs. Yep.
Breakfast was so gross. Rice, leftover gravy, eggs and insanely spicy hot dogs chunks. Oh gag me with a spoon already. So! Let’s purge that plate of Not Ever Gonna Eat That Yuck with a talk about a version of a Christmas Carol I happened to catch on FX.
It stars Aussie Guy Pierce in the role of the rich curmudgeon. And there’s this odd sexual smolder going on? Um? Have I wandered into some weird mashup of CC and Jane Eyre?
Maybe. Because this three hour plus offering also descends into actual horror movie territory, with the ghost of Jacob Marley thrusting his severed jaw back into his face, watching a child drown and the general overly dreary settings. Scrooge’s house is kept so dark and shadowy I kept waiting for Game of Thrones characters to wander through drinking mulled wine and speaking of their sexual conquests or why they deserve the Iron Throne.
Basically, it does follow Dickens’s storyline. We meet Scrooge, who’s a real awful craptoad, hellbent on making everyone around him suffer because money is king in his brain. Orphans and widows and beggars can all suck it, yeah, same ole shtick here that’s, um, oddly relevant right now, or always. Charity never seems to actually do anything at any time in history; okay, Dickens, yeah, we know this already.
Pierce can’t hide that he’s a sexy dude, even when frosted with age makeup a bit. I haven’t yet found a production or a movie where Scrooge is, um, sexually active or could be some sort of Victorian era stud. Kind of weird at first and then it descends into HE’S A RAPEY POS FUCK HIM kinda reaction. And we get the backstory about the school, and how his dad basically sold Ebbie into some sort of sexual slavery with the headmaster and…Not even kidding. I just…mm. This was to save money. See where Scrooge gets it, my lovelies???
Mary Cratchett goes to Scrooge for money to get the operation to save Tiny Tim. Now, was it just me or was Tiny Tim about the creepiest thing in this entire three hour plus retelling??? I…damn. He looked like one of those haunted dolls who goes about at night with your sharpest butcher knife clutched in his doll fist. His dialogue was also unnatural and stilted, compared to the actors around him. That might have been Dicken’s fault but still. Make him sound like a kid, not some killer doll who sucked helium from the balloon that will be used to strangle you as you bleed out from the butcher knife stabbings…
Where was I?? Oh yes. Mary, who usually doesn’t get much to do in this story besides bake a goose or shake her head over how mean Scrooge is…goes to the steely-eyed sexy master of Thornfield Hall for a loan. Sorry, no, that’s Jane Eyre! Anyway–
She posits this as a loan, where two shillings gets subtracted from her husband’s salary. Scrooge, cruelly good at math, calculates this all up, adding interest even, and figures, ha ha, it would take about six years for his employee to pay off a thirty pound loan, plus something like 4% interest. This is of course not a good scenario for smoldery slinky Mr. Scrooge! We then get subjugated to about the most gulp-inducing WTF, is this a Christmas movie?? scene where Scrooge offers Mary the money outright if she…lets him do whatever he wants to her. On Christmas Day, no less. She can earn the money on her back is the gist of that scene and she, being desperate and not wishing to watch her child die, agrees to this. As Scrooge taunts her, in that quiet slithery way Pierce can deliver so well, about what a good wife, mother and Christian she is. It’s…it’s unredeemable. There isn’t a coming back from this. I don’t care…it….fuck.
So here Mary returns, and Scrooge toys with her, then tells her he doesn’t want a thing to do with her. As she stands there nearly naked. He’s more interested in torturing people because he’s a scientist at heart or some such unjolly shit. She’s still violated and demeaned, she takes the money because it’s her kid and there’s no way she can get the money otherwise. She also curses Scrooge, telling him she’s a woman and she has the power to call spirits…ah. Ah! Interesting.
So the spirits.
The main spirit of Christmas is played by Andy Serkis, of Gollum fame. And yes, he knocks it out of the ballpark. We get to see a lot more of the spirits and Marley outside of their usual show up and spook Mr. Scrooge bits. There’s this giant, visually stunning, bonfire. The main spirit, who also seems to be all the other spirits as well, has strange pale eyes, a wild Santa Claus-like appearance and speaks about how this thing with Scrooge is more of a game than…any actual effort to save him. Ouch. That it’s the challenge presented by Scrooge’s stony unfeeling heart, not any actual need to save the man himself from a hellish fate, such as Marley earned. That the gods play with us rather that love us is very much the theme here with the ghost/s.
Now, this is a new one to me. Scrooge displays kindness only toward animals. He draws a blanket over two carriage horses, who are shivering in the snowy air. He remarks about the ponies used down in mines, rather than the children he watched cough and choke with utter indifference. And then there’s this pet mouse his sister gave him, with a little gilded bell about its wee neck. The ghost of this mouse shows up and we get to see Scrooge’s horrific father cut its head off. We see this framed as a shadow but still. Just a jarring, take me out of it, why are you including this, moment. In a Christmas movie.
I guess this slight care toward animals is supposed to make Scrooge a bit sympathetic and redeemable? That there is something still, um, good left in this sadistic snotwaffle?
So the three ghosts go to work on Scrooge and the way this is done is quite okay. The ghosts change and morph and dig into his memories like surgeons. The mine disaster was especially hard to watch. The young Scrooge being almost dragged to an older man’s bed was surreal and the sister arriving to save him…as Scrooge admitted in perhaps the most gutwrenchingly honest scenes about child sexual abuse, far too late. The ghost of Christmas Future, the one who decides if Scrooge is ‘saved’ or not, seemed a zombie or some sort of undead victim of the Inquisition. Blue skin, lips obviously sewn together at one point, silent.
Here we get to watch Tiny Tim drown. He speaks the entire film about wanting to go skating. So this death of his is framed over the head of Scrooge and the ghost, who watch from below. As if both stand beneath the pond, looking up. The ceiling of the room Scrooge stands in becomes that treacherous ice sheath. Tim breaks through, weighted down by the borrowed skates and his clothing. He’s too weak to pull himself out so we watch him stop struggling and just hang there until a hook yanks him out and up and up…Such a well done scene yet so horrible.
Of course we get to the ending where Scrooge goes manic. He steals the gravel of an old lady, who’s been graveling the icy walkways, to make it so no one can skate on that bit of pond or river, then runs over to Mary and Bob’s to terrorize them with his manic promises that he’s changed and…yeah. It’s such a joyless, grim, abrupt ending. We also don’t get any reconciliation with his nephew. And we’re made to understand that maybe Mary is working with the Christmas ghosts? Wha…?
That’s what is missing from this adaptation. Joy. That redemptive joy of someone who decides to change who they are for the better. We saw this in Scrooged, with Billy Murray’s version bringing us to tears with his speech at the end, because he meant it, he had experienced an actual revolution within himself. Here, in this Guy Pierce led shadow-filled morality play, we get a grim character with very little or no redeeming values sort of…not be so awful for a bit. Will it even last the day? I’m not sure it will. Someone peeing on your gravestone is not really a life-changer, not for someone like Scrooge who went to court to make sure the families of those who died in his mine never got a ha’penny for those deaths.
Dickens wrote about a man who got a wake up call, so to speak. Who learned and grew and changed, due to three spirits, his old business partner and his own sense of conscience, guilt, shame and remorse. And how it was the light in his heart that got kindled toward others that made him over into a better version of himself. That light lit by his own willingness to face his past, what he had done to others, what he had allowed himself to become.
We do not see that so much in this version of Scrooge. This is a horror story, not a Christmas tale. If the goal here by the main ghost was to destroy Scrooge’s sense of self, then leave him with nothing much after that, then…hey, well done?
It was a well done production. Acting was first rate. The ghosts and other supernatural elements didn’t seem jarring or out of place or not to fit this Victorian setting. Making Scrooge into a rapey creep…just took me out of this and I could not wander back in with any sort of ability to care about Scrooge in any way. Too many women face this sort of crap, yes, I get it. It gave Mary real motivation and explained, maybe, the ghosts. She was able to see Scrooge when he and the second ghost, his sister Lottie, visited the Cratchett house. Get out of my house! might be my new go-to anthem when things get terrible, dark and twisted in my head.
But I think this production also missed the joy, love and light that are so rewarding in more traditional retellings of this well-known Christmas staple. It’s famous for a reason. I don’t want a gritty reboot of this one. No thanks. I admit it. I want a silly, happy, joy-filled, bedizened ending that fills me with happiness after watching a somewhat horrible man, a stand in for most rich people, let’s be honest, ahem, learn that others suffer and can’t get the help they need so often. So he can help the man who works for him and reconcile with his nephew, cause family family Christmas, the end.
Sorry, this was long. But the movie was long. And I wanted to write this all up while it was still fresh in my head.
I’ve been perusing the usual holiday fare on the telly! Which is…Hallmark and now, the Lifetime Channel. The syrupy, always ends happily, tales of Christmas, and yes, I saw one advertised, Hanukah.
I even saw one with, gasp, gay people in it. I know! Hallmark is woke, y’all! Though, I have seen several with a gay sibling or a friend but those characters were very much side, seldom mentioned at all and generally kept off the main stage of shiny scrubbed lovers staidly hurtling toward love’s destiny. As the titles all run together in my head…Ah, okay, that was a Bride for Christmas. Her sister was gay, as played by the same actress who was in one of my all time Hallmark faves, Nine Lives of Christmas. Which features cats and firemen, hello! Kimberly Sustad is that actress. Brandon Routh was the fireman who got adopted by a cat, and she was a vet student…you’ve seen this one, right? Right?
Yes, there is backlash to all the ‘wokeness’ being inserted in the shimmery holiday fare. Mostly directed at all the GAY STUFF. Which is so absurdly tame and not at all cause for alarm. Surely, surely, you can just find another movie to watch, cause there’s the Up channel and Ion and AMC is showing holiday flicks and the ABC Family Channel which now has a new name and…okay. I’m SERIOUS here. You can flip over and find Elf 24/7 right now.
If you, um, watch television. I hear there’s some new-fangled stuff called streaming where you don’t have to flip channels or something. It’s just so futuristic. Yeah, I’m almost a Luddite. Yep. Back to the rambling–
I think the freak out was over the new one called the Christmas House, which features a gay couple trying to adopt a kid. Um? Thousand Karens Upset Enough To Call the Managers were clutching pearls over this. You just wanna…ask them why they can’t turn all that hot outrage toward an actual good cause. Like ending world hunger or save the bees.
I happened to flip to Lifetime, to check out their VERY SIMILAR, EERILY SO fare last Sunday. Six at night, it’s called something like Christmas Ever After or Christmas Happy Happy Nice Nice.
Okay! I’m rather charmed by the blond perky, not model thin and not runway in Paris looking, lead actress. I do mean perky with a capital P! She’s a writer! On her way to finish her book! In a very Christmas-positive place! She sees someone who resembles, or, hey, looks exactly like, the man on all her romance novel covers. As she writes a series of time travel romances featuring the same two characters. Got it? All righty.
Oh my, he’s rather handsome! She nearly runs him over, what an almost meet-cute this is. Usual opening to the Life-Hall oeuvre, and I am down with it, baby. Bring it on! Got my ratty purple blanket, the dogs are snoozing, the cat has her butt in my face, it’s a low key Sunday eve and I am determined to see how this ends.
I keep hoping it will all end badly and she will find out he’s a serial killer or a Trump supporter or some sort of conspiracy nut living out in the woods afraid of Bill Gates and Big Pharma. A perennial watcher of the Hallmark stuff can hope, damn it. One time they’re gonna slip there at the Hallmark factory and a gruesome awful ending is gonna escape in a shower of blood or even just a ‘not gonna work out, I choose my career which I’ve worked so hard for, over some small town diner owner in Montana’ finale. They part ways and both are relieved they didn’t have to do that awkward kiss that takes place in the last ten seconds before the credits roll in the usual…
What is…What? Is she…Is Izzi [played by Ali Stroker] in a WHEELCHAIR? And the entire story doesn’t revolve around the BRAVE LADY IN THE WHEELCHAIR OVERCOMING THE ODDS? WTF is going on? Did hell freeze over, Lifetime?? Brave new world of Christmas movie involving not-perfect people just living their lives, being all outgoing and sassy, coping with everything as best they can and…FINDING LOVE? What?
Seriously, did I slip into some weird alternate time dimension?
No. Decorating, cookies, Christmas contests, singing carols…the wokeness got me all woke for a bit.
Yeah, okay. We also did not get the backstory of how or why she’s in a wheelchair. She drives her own car, doesn’t have an aide or help of any kind and takes care of herself. We don’t see her do any of this, not really, but…it’s implied.
So the reason the guy, who’s the son of the owner of the place Izzi stays every year during the holidays, is on her covers is that…no no. No spoilers. But it’s actually not that far out in left field nor does it feel forced or ridiculous. Okay, it does, it’s very CONVENIENT AND NEAT, which is not what real life is like at all but if I wanted real life I’d watch documentaries on factory workers or something. Mm.
It’s a very sweet movie. I do mean sweet. Your teeth will ache after watching it. And the ending? Yeah. It’s exactly the ending you think it is but oh my, it’s so very…sweet. A wholesome earned sort of sweet, like a slice of punkin pie with a big dollop of hand-whipped cream.
I also like how this guy– names are not important for the guys, are they? They’re always something like Hal or Sam or James or Roman or Bucky the Wonder Stud– grew to like Izzi very much, then to LIKE Izzi very much. It was done quite well, I thought. Sure, it was the actual plot but the two actors seemed in the same space and accepting and…uh huh.
I also just watched one called Christmas Waltz, which was very much Hallmark Standard Fare. Lacey Chabert, playing a lawyer, breaks up with her fiancee right before her giant Christmas wedding, she’s supposed to take some dance lessons and…you guessed it, she falls for the dance teacher guy.
Now, I enjoyed the dancing, I am a sucker for a movie with dancing in it and the actor, Will Kemp, actually looked like a dancer. And could actually dance. That is my amateur take on the dancing in this movie. No, it wasn’t Gene Kelly standards or even Channing Tatum sexywrithing levels but it was passable. Hello! And the movie had moments of the two just dancing through snowy streets in NYC, which is always something that should now be in every Christmas movie made from now on. Rando dance scenes with snow falling down around the pair. Let’s do this, Hallmark and Lifetime and all those other channels churning out endless holiday hours of slight romantic fare!
Oh my, could we get Channing Tatum to appear in a Hallmark movie with one of their usual actress leads and the two could dirty dance to the shock and horror of the small town that lives for Christmas?? No? Not ever gonna happen? It was a stupid idea and I should be very ashamed of myself for all time?
Yeah, okay. Whatever.
We need a new dance movie to appear, don’t we? Magic Mike was a while ago. Dirty Dancing? Forty years? Oh!
Hallmark and the relentless happy ever after. I really do need it this year. I need some assurance that things do turn out well and fine and good. It’s why I watch those sad animal rescue videos. The puppy thrown in the ditch that’s skin and bones?? It get’s adopted by a royal family and lives the best life ever! I try to avoid the super-sad ones where the animal doesn’t make it.
Damn. I just have to pay the slightest bit of attention to the news feed to get all the sadness, grief and rage I could ever need.
And on that note! Aftermath:Boise, Idaho is available RIGHT NOW. Buy it. Right now!
Note: I am waiting for snow. It’s close. Like Lorelei Gilmore, I can sense it just around the corner…
June. It’s June. A few more months than it’s the glut of holidays. Thank the blessed unicorns of the third-party American voters, I never ever take my various decorations down. Score!
Thanks. I’ll be here a while. Try the chicken.
And on to a movie I’ve been wanting to see since it hit theatres in 2019. So about twenty thousand years ago, or so it seems.
I did not go see it. I think I went to Rise of Skywalker instead, because hey, sat through the other two. And I actually liked Last Jedi. Do I hear snarls? Is that snarls?
Little Women! Feminist remake! Unpronounceable Irish-named actress as Jo! Timothy Challawallabingbang as Laurie, the alleged six foot plus Italian stud-hunk.
Um, no. No.
Otherwise the casting was pretty spot on.
I LOVED Laura Dern as Marmee. This is the first time I found her to be human and lovable, instead of the stalwart lecturer of the four sisters, the saintly mother-goddess archetypal figure so often depicted in nearly every Little Women adaptation. This Marmee is far more human than superwoman. And it’s fantastic. Adds so many layers right there. The way she wipes tears from her cheeks, takes a moment to put on her Happy Marmee Face before facing her daughters…damn. We get a glimpse into just how hard her life is trying to raise her kids and make ends meet and live up to her own ideals is. That little sigh, that little moment of utter weariness. Show don’t tell moment, y’all.
Emma Watson as Meg. Eh. There’s really never been much there to play with. But Watson gives it her best. We also get glimpses of Meg’s talent as an actress, and the creative lives of these lively sisters reminds how limited and few their choices were and how limited a lot of the time women still have it. Even now. Yeah, I went there. Meg marries a good man, settles in for motherhood and caregiving, and oh…we get to see her dissatisfaction, her restlessness, her unhappiness even. This was covered a tiny bit in the actual novel, but Alcott resolved it too neatly and Meg gets to play St. Housewife the rest of her time in the Alcott universe. Through Little Men and Jo’s Boys. Don’t believe me? You have some reading to do, kiddos.
Beth is Beth. I did like this actress in the thankless role of Dying Young role. I am so glad it was not that drawn out or even given all that much screen time. You can see the potential of Beth and how she supports her sisters and lives life through her wild, free, strong protector-friend Jo.
And yes, we also get to blame German immigrants for bringing disease to the March family. That was in the novel, it’s been in all the movies, as it’s an integral part of the story as set down by Alcott.
Amy had to be my fave here. Florence Pugh gives this most unlikable sister actual layers, practicality, a lot of heart and that careless something we can call charm. Amy’s future relationship with Theodore Laurence, the hunkalicious boy next door, gets a lot of timne spent on it. In the movie, that is. Not the novel. The relationship does seem one-sided. however. Amy loves him, he tolerates her for the moment…but they do know each other, grew up a bit together and don’t ever really face any real challenges. At least, none on screen. Other than Amy’s other candidate for Rich Husband, Fred Vaughn. But he’s not given much more to be than Obstacle. We barely even see his face, let alone how all of this affects him. Amy tosses him aside like a used handkerchief. But we’re supposed to believe she had chosen love over being mercenary. Or has she???
Ah, Jo. One of my favorite literary characters. I identify with someone who wants to write. Yes, I do. I identify with someone who has such trouble fitting in and being what’s expected of a girl. Here the Jo character doesn’t really deviate from all the other Jo’s, not really. I did like how we got to see the business end of writing. The getting your stuff into print work Jo had to go through. She was always working out story ideas and composing her tales. We got to see that. We got to watch her work on a novel. It wasn’t she sat down at a desk, poof, the next scene, the novel is finished and ready to go to print. Nope!
I adore that this film tackled, head on, the Jo mantra that she would never marry and yet the novel and movie ends with the requisite happy ending. Because it’s what people want and expect, not because it’s what the characters want or need to happen. Gut punch. That’s a gut punch. That a story involving women or a ‘woman’s tale’ has to end in either marriage or death.
I had no quibbles, much, with Professor Bhaer. Except…HE’S GERMAN, POOR AND NOT HANDSOME AND OLDER THAN JO BY A LOT OF YEARS. Ugh. In the film, he was young, French and should maybe have swapped with the Timothy Challawalla kid. I felt a real hollowness over this alleged romance between him and fierce independent Jo. It seemed to arise out of nowhere and suddenly, she was madly in love so they could have AN ACTUAL DASH TO THE RAILWAY STATION scene. I. Just. Ugh.
Suddenly we’re in romantic movies land and it just rang so goddamn false. I DIDN’T BELIEVE THE CHARACTER SET UP OVER THE COURSE OF THIS LONG ASS MOVIE would suddenly turn into Meg Ryan galloping after Tom Hanks or some other screen couple we wait two hours for to do just that. Not Jo March, no sir! Christopher Columbus! But…then again, we are set up that the publisher guy told Jo her stories involving women had to have it end with a wedding or the death of the woman. She could not go off to a life of happy spinsterhood, no no no!
Now, the neighbor guy who was in love with Jo from their first meeting to marrying some other sister cause…mm.
I, too, always asked why Jo didn’t marry Laurie. Or Teddy, as she called him. Teddy, in the book, made the other boys call him Laurie, after beating the shit out of them. As they were teasing him anyway. He’s also presented as some sort of ‘other’ due to his hot Italian blood. Alcott’s wording. As if those of Italian descent are fire-blooded hotheads with almost no morality. Oh, you thought stereotyping of other cultures was a new thing??? Bwha ha ha ha.
We get to see a very torn up Jo, lonely and confused, reconsider her choices here. Openly saying she’d give another answer to that proposal. It was hinted at in the book but here we get to hear it.
Aunt March is played, with lots of fun and vinegar, by Meryl Streep. Teddy’s grandpa is played by Chris Cooper, one of my fave actors. Both are a hooty hoot.
I was taken out of this otherwise stellar film every time Timothy Wallawallbang bang popped into frame. He looks twelve years old to me. He’s heroin skinny with the frame of a stork. I just. I just can’t overcome my suspension of disbelief barriers to swallow him as the over six foot tall, built like a brick shithouse, Theodore Laurence. Who is also supposed to be astoundingly handsome. Rather the perfect foil to Jo March, who is often described as her hair being her only real beauty.
Teddy and Jo. They share actual bonds. Friendship, confidences, trust, companionship. They spark each other. We are led to believe this is bad; that actual passion, conflict and being hot-tempered are the worst things, like, ever.
Alcott makes it clear that because the two often fight, this is a bad thing. We are led, by Alcott, to think that Meg and John Brook have the idyllic- more or less—married relationship. All cooing doves, no screeching falcons. That a marriage should be polite barely affectionate people…or a marriage of that time. Okay. Okay!
This film breaks the linear fashion of the story up. That’s good. I didn’t expect it to work, I expected to be highly annoyed. I was not. It worked. It often paralleled a moment from the past with one in the here and now to one of the sisters. We got to watch a jigsaw puzzle being filled in rather than being spoonfed a homespun tale of sisters finding their way through life.
I was jarred a bit by all the legs and underwear shown. That’s fine for modern audiences but…not at that time. Even at home in private with no neighbor watching. Marmee had her skirt hiked up, baking, as Meg was brought home by Jo and Laurie from a winter dance due to a twisted ankle. Marmee, no. No.
And to end this rambling screed on Amy. I adored her speech about how marriage was an economic everything to women, not so much for men. As men held all the power, the land, even the children were theirs. Men held the pursestrings mostly and women were very limited as to what careers they could pursue without having to endure society calling them all sorts of names and shunning them accordingly. Amy declares she can’t be a great artist, so she will be an ornament to society. Laurie is horrified by this but she icily reminds him that she really has very few choices here beyond marry a wealthy man or live in poverty with a poor man or…work at some job she hates for very little money to retain her respectability. Aunt March, in an earlier scene, lays it out quite baldly. She never had to marry because she had oodles of money. She urges the sisters to marry wealthy men because that’s one of the only ways a woman can move up in the world. It’s also a means to take care of the entire family. As the Marches have no sons…well.
And of course…if you know this story at all…who does Amy end up marrying?
I could ramble on for days and days over the nuances of Little Women, feminism, the various cinematic takes on Alcott’s most famous work and the absolute puzzlement that the casting folks can’t cast a decent Theodore Laurence already. Though…Christian Bale was okay, in the Winona Ryder version. Which is such a beautiful film, if you have not seen it.
Over and out, fellow babies. I need to croon over my growing squash plants and squee over the opening of the bachelor buttons.
Oh! Jaws, the kitty, jumped off the fence and must have come down on it funky. I was freaking out thinking she’d broken her leg but after some rest and TLC, she was fine. Today I caught her tormenting a baby mouse, which is now resting and recovering a bit before I find a place to release it or…let it live with me a few days. I’m sorry, the little frightened squeaking! I put it in a giant glass container and will give it some water and…Yes, it’s ‘just a mouse’. But I like to think the March sisters would approve.
Ever seen it? If not, you should. It’s great. You get a mystery basket with four ingredients. Random ingredients. You are on a timed deadline. You have to incorporate all four ingredients into one dish. You then get judged. If your dish sucks more than the other dishes served up, you get…CHOPPED. It’s just brutal and so much fun to watch! Three rounds, starter, main course, dessert. Starts with four chefs, whittles down to two, with a winner declared at end of the hour.
I’ve seen things like Spaghetti-O frozen pops. Goat head. Salmon ice cream. Dried tarantulas. Vienna Sausages, in the dessert round. Vienna sausages. In your dessert.
Now they can do with these four ingredients as they want, with a full kitchen to help out.
I’m trying to make myself write. I thought I’d do a quickie blog post, maybe open that short story I’ve restarted several times now. A story already written, where I switchedPOV and yeah, it’s a whole thing. I did manage to finish it but it…ugh. It’s not right yet. I didn’t hit that groove. I might have a last go today, then just…let it go, let it go. Let it ferment and pickle if that’s what it needs!
Waiting for stimulus check, of course. It’s like a game. Check my account, still not there! A bad game.
I streamed JoJo Rabbit. Loved it! That’s my professional film critique. I have it stored away for a month on Red Box, so might watch it a couple more times, then do a post about it.
Some writing, some cooking tips and a movie. I’ve also been outside moving rocks about, looking for stray sheets of metal and whistling back at the ground squirrels. I do live in the boondocks, in the middle of actual nowhere. It’s vastly easy to social distance if there’s nothing much around you but dogs, a cat and some cheeky rodents.
It’s a wee bit cloudy. I’m jonesing for some sesame pork, looking for potato starch at the boxstore of the damned AKA Wal-Mart. It’s a nope on the potato starch, but hey corn starch will do. I walk by the Red Box, slow. Joker is out. I’ve heard it’s great. I’ve heard it’s not great.
Please note that I tried another grocery store before venturing near the Great Box of Death.
I get the spray bottle and cheaply cheap corn starch. I decide, yes, I will rent some flicks. I got some small royalties in. I have to wait for the slow boomers poking at the screen to get done. I do mean poking. Muttering, snorting, poking at the touchscreen like something out of, well, a movie.
I rent two. Hustlers, with Jennifer Lopez. And yes, Joker, with Joaquim Phoenix. Actual physical have to take the movies home and then return them old-fashioned rentals, even! How quaint!
So. Hustlers. I have no idea what the story is. Something about sex workers? I remember, vaguely, Lopez was fantastic in it, a ‘real’ surprise. Um. She can actually act when given a decent script, y’all. Out of Sight, hello.
Hustlers, with Constance Wu as well in it, is the tale of strippers hustling Wall Street guys from about the 2000’s until the hustling hustlers got caught. Based on a true story. We get that these women are friends, they look out for each other, that they are trying to pay bills, take care of their kids and families, have lives. This is done subtly, just part of the conversations as they get ready for work in the dressing room or on breaks. At the heart of this film is the friendship that develops between Ramona and Destiny. And the question—how real is it? As Ramona knows all the tricks, is a slick, very good hustler who knows how to read the men around her to empty their wallets. Is she just using Destiny or is there an actual connection there?
Lopez plays a seasoned, been there, done that pro who takes the newcomer, Wu, under her fur-covered wing. And Lopez struts her stuff and then some. She gathers a gang as the fortune’s of the strip club decline, due to the recession that hits, and the four decide to hustle Wall Streeters without having to do much more than smile and drink. I don’t want to give away the plot more than that. There’s betrayals and trust broken and a truly quiet heart-breaking moment near the end. Well done. Well done, Hustlers!
What can I say that has not been hashed out until the cows dance home covered with greasepaint?
I could not stop watching Phoenix. More to catch moments when he was just being, not ACTING. The story, eh. White guy gets ignored; already nuts, gets more nuts, sad, bang bang, Batman villain.
I should write movie plots for a living.
So a stray thought after the movie ended. What if Batman is a figment of Arthur’s imagination? What if there’s no Gotham superhero? What if Arthur made up an arch nemesis to make himself seem more important? As he spends the entire film doing what now? Oh yeah, imagining how important and loved he is.
Kind of like the Buffy episode where she thinks she’s in a mental hospital just imagining she’s the slayer. [Normal Again, Season Six]
Buffy chooses her reality, we’re left a bit…oh crap, what if she’s actually just some insane young woman with these dark delusions? Then season seven happens and you sort of long for season six. For season six to reassure you most of season seven is just a fever dream from season two. If anyone gets that, they are true Buffy fanatics.
I kept waiting for the Joker to give me more, I guess, is my take on this. Yes, Phoenix delivers his usual stellar totally immersed in it performance. He’s ACTING. He starts at eleven and goes to twelve. He never let us forget that he’s ACTING DAMN IT.
Not. One. Time.
This is his There Will Be Blood on steroids role. He channeled his inner Daniel Day Lewish, and are we not entertained? Oh my gosh, imagine Russell Crowe in this. Or Tom Hanks! TOM HANKS AS THE JOKER. Oh my lordy, Hollyweird– MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
Back to Phoenix, who is this generations De Niro. Bwha ha ha ha. It snowed, I’m a bit giddy. There’s chocolate in the house. Okay!
It’s uncomfortably repellent to watch his character. Yet it’s reassuringly ‘this is every crazy guy since Travis Bickle’ at times as well.
De Niro appears in this as a talk show host—which is why I kept flashing to Taxi Driver?
I also had another THOUGHT. What if this is the director’s ode, subconscious or not, to Taxi Driver? I am so damn original it slays me. Get it, Buffy fans?
A lone, socially awkward man with delusions about life, women and fame, turns into a criminal/hero uneasy mixture while committing murders.
The lone wolf vigiliante gunman the peasants can rally around trope/archetype/American masturbation go-to.
The Joker torches off actual protests in a city run by rich fat cats, Bruce Wayne’s dad being the fattest cat of them all. Where the poor might actually start eating the rich at a moment’s notice. Gee.
Those opposing what the rich are doing are painted as thuggish criminals with clown masks on. Um. Gulp. The scenes with the throngs of what looks like men seem lifted straight out of a medieval painting about hell. Fire, leering demons with strange fixed faces, violence, chaos, destruction of property. Might as well call the clown-masked protesters Antifa and rake in the cash. Have narration provided by Handtitty or Fucker Carlsfart.
This film seems more about comforting those in charge, than upsetting any actual apple carts. It offers nothing new or insightful.
Do we sympathize with this repellent character or root for the repellent other side on all this? What are we supposed to do here?
All while setting up how a white savior in a bat suit will return Gotham to Law and Order and get those Family Values back into hearth and home.
Protestors, schmo-testors! Let them eat cake. They’re all nuts who just want to burn everything down. The Jews are probably behind all that…Sorry. I’m crossing my streams. Yes, that is a Ghostbusters call out. Yes, it is.
Sure, this film reads almost like right wing propaganda. Almost. Strangely, there’s three Wall Street guys, employees of Wayne Enterprises, who set off the clown stuff. With people shrugging, going, eh, who cares, they deserved it. Rather like the sentiments in Hustlers. I somehow picked out two Fuck Wall Street movies. Except. Wall Street wins in both movies. The hustlers face consequences, Arthur Fleck faces consequences, Wall Street hustlers and murders without a care in the world. Yeah. I need some cake.
note--The sesame pork turned out really good. So proud of myself there. And of course after spring-like warm weather, last night it snowed. Teach me to rent movies I have to old-fashion return to the nearest Red Box.
I really enjoyed myself. I was expecting campy badness to the nth degree. I got a big screen attempt at an overly musical musical that does not boast any sort of coherent or linear story. This film is based on theAndrew Lloyd Weber musical—which is people dressed up like cats writhing and singing for two hours. Sure, there’s something about picking a cat to go to the Heavyside Layer. Where that cat gets a new life—this reads strangely like death. It’s a weird two hour long cat sacrifice? How Egyptian.
Cats is based on the T.S. Eliot poem—Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
The current movie has been directed by Tobe Hooper. It features Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Francesca Hayward, Ray Winstone, Rebel Wilson, etc, etc. A big cast.
I had the theatre to myself. Score! They didn’t turn the overhead light off. Bummer. Did I bother to get up and go inform someone of this? No. I was also in the tiniest theatre. There’s ups, there’s downs, there’s can’t be bothered to get up once the magic starts.
So, our movie opens on a woman throwing away a cat in a bag. No kidding. The cat gets out of the bag. We’re in some litter-strewn dumping ground for unwanted felines. Oh dear, oh what the…!
These freaky human-cat experiments, escaped from the Island of Dr. Moreau, spy on this unseen as yet kitty.
Oh my! It’s the WIDE-EYED INGENUE, Victoria. She knows nothing of this new alley cat/feral cat colony she’s lucked into. And she’s a slinky little thing who can ballet her way around several giant set pieces.
Then I start to notice that the ears and tails are, um, moving. Moving. But the cats have human faces. With whiskers. And human eyes.
Nightmares to follow.
But after ten minutes…Nope! Never. I never got used to the cat characteristics mixing so badly with the human ones. That was. No. Nope. I’ve heard the team behind this movie sent in new, improved movie magic cuts to fix the CGI mistakes that made it into the theatrical release. Wish I’d seen that earlier version…yes, I do.
That horrific cockroach/mouse fiasco. I totally agree here. It was horrific to watch mice with children’s faces…ugh. To watch a human-cat hybrid popping dancing cockroaches into her strange whiskered mouth. Surely someone in editing went—what the actual fuck is this? Followed by– cutting room floor time, y’all!
Surely someone did that. A lot. Who thought this looked okay? Who??
But—the cast of this gave it their all. Nobody phoned it in that I could tell. When it got to someone presenting their particular cat, it was great fun. Some were more fun than others. I loved the train one. That kitty can dance!
I am a huge fan of tap. Love the sound, love the precision and mastery that goes into a great tap routine. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, just bliss for me. No, they were not in this movie. If you don’t know either of those names, then hey, you have some great discoveries ahead of you. Oh yes. You do.
The thief cats, eh, it was all right. Judi Dench as [Mama Cat] Old Deuteronomy– loved her and her singing fit her character. Gus the Theatre Cat, played by Gandalf, was sad and dignified, with a weird fluffy tail but his cat grafting seemed to fit him better than others.
Now, I wanted to be charmed by the Memories cat, played by a truly awesome power singer who made Dreamgirls a must-see. Jennifer Hudson dressed as some sort of bag lady meets Nora Desmond—baggy overcoat over sparkly yet grimy duds. Um. Okay. Why does a cat need clothes…as some of the cats had clothes, some did not; it seemed the main characters had clothes, the ensemble did not.
Some sort of overall arc got attempted here with Grizabella/Jennifer Hudson. The wide-eyed ingénue cat, Victoria, grew to like her and drew her into the performance space inside an abandoned movie house. The other cats, who had to be Jellicle cats, had to audition. Audition to be chosen to die/get a new life/change/move on.
Jellicle cats never got explained and I didn’t really care what that was. It seemed a special club made up of cats hungering to find a new life off the streets. Almost a cult of cats that other cats would have to be asked to join. It seemed Judi Dench’s cat got to control all this.
Back to Memory. The song. Who has not sung this song for an audition or for a gigantic Chinese audience? Raise your hand! Yes, I sang this for a giant audience of mostly Chinese people at the school I worked at. Yes, I managed to hit that big note. I also got to sing this with a student who had a lovely voice. Who wanted us to dress like cats. I said no to that. Memories…!
Grizabella belts out the last few verses of the most famous and infamous song ever to burst from Broadway.
And oh yes, she hit that glory note. She hit it to make Betty Buckley and ever other diva who just stood there on a stage and sang that to the heavens proud as punch. Boom. But this moment seemed contrived and false.
As for every minute up until now, most of the other cats hate this cat with an unfathomable passion. Though we do get Victoria singing the Beautiful Ghosts song as Judi Dench’s Old Deuteronmy watches, Victoria singing it to the disgraced cat who lives by herself in the wastelands. That was rather heartbreaking and rang very true. The performer did not have the voice Hudson has, but she brought a tear to my eye.
Yes, I sat by myself in an empty movie house room, with tears on my cheeks. I have surely hit all the sad spinster bingo card squares by now and then some. Sigh.
What cat gets to go to the Heavyside Layer? That was the story. Victoria allows the other cats to explain everything and then burst into song, do high kicks and back arches. She’s a plot device far more than a character.
Ah, the villain of the piece–the very sexy cat-slinky and funky fake green eyed Idris Elba. No other cat had weird fake eyes. If they did, I did not notice. No weird unblinking neon eye lenses slapped in actors eyes that I noted except Elba.
Not even Taylor Swift, who I thought did a great job with her one big number. Well done, madam! Kind of a big band standards stripper music showstopper attempt where she shimmied and strutted in high heels cause…cats wear heels but no other cats had heels on so…yep.
This bad kitty, Macavity, magicked [?] the other contenders to leave only himself to be picked. So he slunk around, acting all slinky, basically and yes, it was sexy as hell. Then he took off that pimp-ish fur coat and it was…what…what is that? It would be like Darth Vader stripping down to his undies. You’d not be delightfully scared of a baddie standing there in tighty whities. You’d be noticing the train tracks when Darth Vader turned around. Or that hey, it’s just some guy. No big deal.
Macavity and that coat was his look. Stripping that coat off destroyed that aura of menace and charm.
He’s supposed to be a ginger cat, according to the song lyrics we just freaking heard and he’s…kinda dark brown with fixed green eyes. Change the lyrics, dears.
But the movie needs something to play against so we’re not just waiting for the Next Big Song and Dance medley. Otherwise, there’s no tension. None.
Elba as the bad kitty provides some sort of urgency and, um, tension. Though why he’d wish a new life when he seems to relish creeping around being all scary. And he has magic powers. But he has to wait to be picked…yeah, don’t think about the non-plot, do not think about how there’s no actual plot to this thing. Let that go, let that go!
The pacing seemed okay. The first bit of the movie seemed to drag but then it found some sort of strange forward momentum. That’s as close as I can get to…yeah.
Now, I’ve seen Cats on stage. I know there’s no real story there. It’s just a collection of songs, with great dance bits, then the big wallop songs of Act II that do not let up; it’s over. The movie pretty much followed that, sort of.
I’d have ended it with the rewarded cat sailing off to that reward instead of where it did.
I’d have not done that CGI cat-human hybrid shit. Jesus Christ! Help! It never got charming…or forgettable. That suspension of disbelief just refused to stretch that far. I found myself watching the swiveling CGI ears far more than whatever the actors were doing. Maybe Cats the musical is just not adaptable, at this moment, to film.
Did they not learn from the Halle Berry Catwoman mess? Which, yes, I liked. But I can well understand why it tanked. It was over the top absurd, sure, but Berry tried to morph into someone’s idea of a cat. Someone who’s never been around cats. A dog person’s idea of a cat. Okay!
Anyway, thanks for reading my few scattered impressions of a movie I have been dying to see cause it looked like something the SyFy channel put out as a dare. I had a good time, I had the theatre to myself. I could laugh and cry and fart to my heart’s content.
Happy New Year. Go see something silly and fun. Hug your cat. That’s all I got.
Welp. I attended the latest [last?] Star Wars event. I’m not a die-hard fan so enjoyed it. There ya go. My review. I thought the ending seemed rushed, but overall, enjoyed it. You don’t go to a Star Wars movie for…deep savage film making meant to tear the spine out of your soul, after all.
I don’t, anyway.
I go for ‘things blow up’, light saber fights with that wonderful hummy/buzzy sound and scruffy space pirate-cowboys fighting slick Nazi-Empire shits. With a soapy soap opera sort of sheen to it all.
Do the current three movies match the real Star Wars movies? No. That zeitgeist done come and gone, y’all. And that’s okay.
Do I wish they’d left the Star Wars saga at Eps IV, V and VI? Hell to the yeah.
We won’t bring up the Three that just make people weep, yank their hair out and scream why o why to an uncaring Hollywood set of Rascal Gods.
There didn’t seem to be the overall feeling of competent, smart, capable women this time around in the Rise of Skywalker. Rey, to me, is a fairly flat, static character. She had nowhere to go. She started at point A, ended at point B.2 or so. A blip. There’s nothing tearing her apart; not really. The stakes…seem tiny here for Rey.
Kylo Ren, of course, had much more to work with. I thought Adam Driver made every scene better he was in. I also thought Daisy Ridley did what she could with Rey.
Finn. Poor Finn. He spent the entire film yelling Rey’s name, then…spoiler spoiler. You can go watch this yourself to see what happens to Finn. And then I heard the actress playing Rose—a character I really liked from TLJ, got written out or nearly cut out. Why?? I’m not going to go look up why. Politics, fan boy whimperings, who knows.
Back to Rey. Why why why did the writers do that to her? Was this planned from the get go or just thought of ten seconds before slapping people in front of green screens? It would have had so much more impact to have her be an actual nobody, a cast off orphan, a thrown away child who grew to find her worth and way in the world. That’s a goddamn hero’s journey, fucktwits. There’s, like, an arch and everything.
Some out of the blue, out of left field WTF curve ball…eh, no.
It didn’t work. Sure, it’s a space soap opera but you have to, still, set things up.
Poor Rey has a straight trajectory here. Her suffering is very little. She learns very little if anything at all. She’s good. She’s dullishly good. We know she’s good because that’s the point hammered home for three fucking movies. Ugh a bug. I was kinda hoping she and Kylo were gonna switch sides…She’d fuck up in a giant crucial battle, let everyone down and just implode. Kylo Ren would start distancing himself from the order, plagued by doubts and what he’s done. Switcheroo!
Drama based on human actions, not deux ex machina plot devices that not even beginning screen writers would trot out with a straight face.
Again, I don’t think this is Ridley’s fault. She got handed the usual girl hero part…Hollywood and story writers of all stripes tend to make them unbearably dull, earnest, joyless and…Gamora-esque.
There are exceptions—Wonder Woman got to be flawed, funny, strong yet tender; Xena had her goofy moments and an actual journey, um…Elizabeth Bennett.
But Rey, oh dear. There’s no spark written in.
Carrie Fisher had that in spades, so Princess Leia benefited from Fisher’s sheer, forgive me, force of character. She didn’t fade into the background against Ford and Hamill. There was something sexy and warm and faceted about Leia. She was also smart, capable and a powerhouse. Again, that was probably just Fisher being Fisher. I wanted that swagger, that don’t know if Rey will choose good or evil, that flair of a living person with many layers. I got…a plodding central character surrounded by colorful sidekicks.
Just some quick thoughts. I did enjoy the trilogy and am glad I saw them on the big screen. I enjoyed the nostalgia. Of which Star Wars has by the oodle-load.
Tomorrow I might venture out to see Cats. Cause. I OH MY GOD WANT TO SEE THIS MESSY MESS OF A MESS HALLELUJAH AMEN PRAISE BABY JESUS.
I don’t know why I’m invoking my very tame Lutheran Jesus here but it sounded funny in my head.
I survived Christmas with the notion I will skip it next year or at least skip the spend time with other people part. People make me feel bad. Lesson learned. My arc is rather flat and static, too, Rey.
Had two birthdays this weekend, made the ugliest angel food cake. From scratch. Oh the horror. It tasted okay, it just looked like a flat, chewed on by tiger’s prop from a z-rate horror movie set. It should have been featured on some ugly foods website. Even with frosting and a jam layer, that poor cake should have been taken out back and kindly beat to death, then buried in the earth.
My year seems to be ending well, writing-wise.
I placed a story with the Whistle Pig—Pearlie At the Gates of Dawn.
I placed a story with the Ghastling—the Little Visitors.
My poem—My Feet Hurt—will be part of the Rumpus’s Enough section.
I am currently working on a screenplay based on a short story of mine from Oregon Gothic. Prince Charming Finds His Sleeping Beauty is that tale, and the movie title, for right now, is just Prince Charming. I am collaborating with a director/film maker from the Czech Republic, with a first draft more or less done. Working on the newest version.
Got a royalty check in the mail. Small but still a check. It’s still such a wonder to be paid, even a tiny smidge, for something I wrote.
So a few hits, lots of misses. Writing some. Writing political screams but if I posted them, I’d be arrested. As they focus on things like how to build a guillotine and how to stage a revolution on a shoestring budget.
I’ll end on a truly trivial note. Been watching a BBC series called Young Dracula. Cause. Yeah. It’s so much better than it should be. It’s quite funny. I enjoy it. I’m in season three, which features a major tonal shift, a new setting and some could be interesting new characters. I’d never heard of it. It’s from OVER TEN YEARS AGO.
I also binged season three of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The gut-punch cliffhanger…damn it. The world is already burning alive right now. I am not looking forward to season four. I find I want light, frothy entertainment these days. I wonder why. Oh yeah!
Also, anyone out there want to see Cats? Is it the acid trip horror it promises to be??? I’d be down for that. Trippy weird cat-human morph mistakes high kicking for two hours through giant cardboard-looking high school sets…! I am so in!! A deliciously bad musical misfire? Or did those damn trailers totally lie about how good this confection is?? And the new Star Wars. I might have to leave the house. If only to start building a guillotine. Or change the kitten’s poop dirt.
My short play,King Leer, is the basis for a student project over in the Czech Republic. Some pics from that and the link to my play.
Like I promised, September is Promote Myself month. Instead of rando political spurts and hey, sad about the state of my pumpkins. I’ll save those for October!
Oh– if you or your group are looking for short plays, check out–ten minute plays
Directed by Jan Janout, for a university project. I am sharing a few stills from the filming project. I’m not sure of the actors involved or tech people, but can add those in later.
From the King Leer page over on Facebook–
Short film King Leer is directed by Lucie Gukkertová who also wrote the script based on a short play by The Ann Wuehler Experience. This is their second collaboration, the first film Lucie shot based on Ann’s play is Traces of Memory which is now in post-production.
Her last short horror film was a historical horror based on the work of H. P. Lovecraft Psychopompos. It has been shown on film festivals all around the world. After finishing it Lucie has mostly worked on fashion and burlesque videos under the name Gukkertová Neskutečná produkce.