Friday Film Review: Nine to Five

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Here we are!  This is my last post on this blog, and I’m very excited that I’m reviewing Nine to Five for it.

First off, if you’re one of those people that, for some inexplicable reason, do not like Dolly Parton, I don’t even know what to say to you.  Shit like that breaks my heart.  She is literally everything that is amazing about Nashville.

This movie revolves around three women working in an office.  Judy (Jane Fonda), a newly divorced lady, has snagged a new job at the office and is working/being trained by Violet (Lily Tomlin), a widow and mother of four kids.  There is also Doralee (Dolly Parton), the sassy personal assistant to the boss, Frank Hart (Dabney Coleman).  The movie is about sexism (and, if you’re paying close attention, racism, ableism, and ageism) and Frank is pretty much just one of the worst bosses around.  He only hires [young/pretty] women, and rules them like slaves from 9-5.

On a technical aspect, there’s nothing that really stands out to me with the film.  It’s a pretty straightforward 80s film.  I liked the opening sequence, because they focused on everyone’s shoes, and all the women had to wear heels as part of workplace attire.  And anyone who’s ever worn heels, you know, it’s kind of the worst thing ever when you have to do it for more than a couple of hours.  And just from looking at the sequence, about half the people looked like women going to work – so a lot.  The women looked stressed, they are getting their kids to school, and they are rushing off to barely make it to work on time, all the while, Parton’s “Nine to Five” song plays in the background, and clearly lays out everything we are about to see.  There’s also a weird murder fantasy sequence, that’s hilarious, as a result of the girls smoking pot (and, most importantly, bonding).

In some ways, this film is mind-blowingly revolutionary.  I’ve seen plenty of films that take a really close look at sexism in everyday life, but not a lot of mainstream ones.  They are few, and very far, between.  Even now, I see movies that aren’t a whole lot different than movies during times where people claim “things were different.”  Hell, it’s rare to have a film starring women, even now.  Ask any Hollywood producer, or a female director – female-lead films are something they hate touching.  So, if you’re afraid of watching this movie because you think it might be boring or a “chick flick,” go away, I don’t want to talk to you.  This film was awesome.

And in other ways, this film shows how far we’ve actually come (it’s not very far).  I worked for YEARS in offices, and dealt with a lot of the same stuff these girls dealt with.  I’ve been sexually harassed.  I’ve been verbally abused.  I’ve trained people to move up over me.  I’ve created projects that my boss took credit for, including materials that went national.  And I’ve been denied promotions, even when they were promised to me, and even though I might have trained everyone in that department, and wrote their training manual.  It hurts.  My feelings actually hurt FOR the characters in the movie.  Because it’s still there.  Maybe it’s less likely for some of the things in the film (at least without repercussions) but it’s all still there, looming over anyone who isn’t a straight white guy.

Then there’s Doralee.  Her character comments on the all too familiar thing girls tend to deal with – sex-based gossip.  She tells her husband, “I’m as nice as I know how to be to every single person down at that office.  Everybody treats me like a bastard at a family reunion.”  Doralee, girl, I can relate.  And she IS one of the sweetest sounding people ever.  So people assume she’s a whore and dumb.  But we, as an audience get to see all the gossip before we really meet her, and with her tight sweater and fluffy blond hair, I know some probably made knee-jerk judgements.  Actually, when Judy first meets Doralee, she subtly touches her own breasts in a weird, judgmental, yet self-conscious gesture.  I’ve actually seen people do that with me (hey, I’ve knocked things over in stores with my knockers, so I’m hyper aware of people’s reactions to my chest).  It was like, a genius thing.  I don’t know if that was a writing thing, or a Fonda thing, but it was beautiful.

All the actors were amazing.  Tomlin is one of my all-time favorites, and she just shined in this role.  She’s intelligent, independent, strong, and yes, just a little crazy.  She shows that even the most level-headed people will snap after a while.  And she’s pretty level-headed.  She can take just about anything in stride, shown by the scene where she’s taking calls, and without skipping a beat, is able to navigate her children’s arguments via a phone call in the midst of madness.

My only criticism of this film is Judy’s character.  I feel like she was the main character, but was the least developed.  It was like, “oh, her hubby left her for a secretary so now she hates secretaries.  Oh, now they are friends, she was wrong about all of them, okay bye.”  They could have done better.  Fonda is a great actor.

Now, as for the boss, I’m not going to really go into that.  Watch the movie, it’s pretty obvious.  He’s a very 2-dimensional character that serves a purpose beyond the actual character.  We don’t need him to be a person.  Women are so flat in movies most of the time, that making him flat was a statement in itself.  The only big difference, is that society doesn’t notice that female characters are flat, that they are only defined by their romantic relationships (or lack thereof), by having/not having children, and most importantly, by their bodies.  They are not making a statement by doing this.  They do this to spotlight the male characters.  I wonder why rape culture is so prevalent?

I did mention very briefly that this film also alludes to other unresolved human rights’ issues.  While they don’t state anything outright, because they are only dealing with WHITE feminism, they still note it.  We see African Americans unable to advance, and when things “change” in the movie, you should notice that there was a lack of diversity in many ways.  You don’t notice, until it’s there/not there anymore.

So, if you are one of those people that don’t believe everyone should be paid equally for the same work, and be afforded dignity with their occupations, AND you see this movie – you are just an asshole.  Because your arguments are idiotic, and they were the same arguments they used to argue against anti-sexual harassment, healthcare, overtime, childcare, etc.  It’s frustrating.  People like that frustrate me.  And hurt my feelings.  I get lots of hurt feelings.

But seriously, watch this movie.  It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s an easy movie to watch.

Favorite Line:
“And if I wanna have an affair, or play sex games, or do M&M’s, you can’t stop me!” – Judy

Favorite Scene:
I really like the scene where Frank is pursuing Doralee in the office.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a scene like that in a movie, and didn’t get intense anxiety.  Because Doralee is the most calming character with a gun I’ve ever seen.

IMDB Stats:
Director: Colin Higgins
Year: 1980
Rating: PG (although, it’s like, old-school PG – there is a lot of naughty language, and like, drug-use, so if your kids aren’t used to that, proceed with caution)

Currently streaming on Netflix.

That’s all folks!  I’ve enjoyed writing for you all, and I’m even more excited for all the things that I’ve got going for the future.  Happy blogging!

xo – Meg

 

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Mourning an Icon (Goodbye, Spock)

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I remember the exact moment I decided to watch Star Trek.  It actually wasn’t that long ago.  I asked Zach, “Do you think I’ll like Star Trek?  Should I watch it?”

“Sure,”  he replies.  “The Next Generation is really good.”

“No, I mean the original.  I have to start from the beginning!”

Because I’m really obsessive like that.  Sure, I would have been perfectly fine if I had started with TNG (it’s literally the most amazing thing ever).  But I needed to start from the original.

Oh was the pilot horrendous!  It was long and boring, but I knew it wasn’t the cast we all know and love, so I pushed through it.

Except Spock.  I loved Spock, even in that awful pilot.  It only got better and better and I was a Spock addict.  There was a humanity about him that no other character on the show had.  Even though he was the one “without emotion” he had the most depth, and the one who could empathize the best.  After all, he was someone who could mind meld with others, something so ridiculously intimate that the idea of emotional expression was put into question.

I have my criticisms of the films, but Spock stayed true to character.  It’s not surprising, because Nimoy himself took the character seriously, and developed a connection and understanding of Spock that went above and beyond what is required of an actor.

And then the new films!  The only reason I watched the new films was because of his cameos.  I figured, if it’s good enough for Spock, it’s good enough for me.

I know I’m talking a lot about Spock, but that’s the character I know him best as, and love the most.  Nimoy was passionate and kind.  When he talked art, he talked substance.  Spock wasn’t a curse to him, it was something he embraced and made his own.  The character of Spock will never belong to the franchise, it’ll always be his.  There aren’t a lot of fictional characters that are so deeply connected to a real person.

When I was trying to think about others that reminded me of such a character, I immediately thought of Bob Ross, Jim Henson, and Julia Child.  All of these people made a difference, and all of these people are ingrained in our brains and culture, for all the good reasons.  They are timeless.  I’m glad too, because sometimes I lose so much faith in what we have on this Earth, and then The Joy of Painting comes on, or I see a great Spock quote, and it gives me a lot of hope.  Happy trees, muppets, good food, and going boldly are my religion.

Even though Leonard Nimoy is no longer with us, he’ll live long and prosper in our lives and memories.

Until next time, LLAP.

Sad Dreams and Bob Dylan

Last night (and this morning, I eventually went back to bed for an hour) I had the saddest dreams I’ve had in a long time.  They were so sad, that I actually feel sad thinking about them.  Maybe it’s the cold weather.  Maybe it’s the end of the year.  Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Bob Dylan lately.  Seriously, I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob.

And not just listening.  Last night I watched, for like, the 4-billionth time, Don’t Look Back, the Bob Dylan documentary by D.A. Pennebaker.  It’s my favorite movie of all time.  It was also my formal introduction to Dylan.  My parents never really listened to him (at least not while I have been alive) so I wasn’t really exposed to his music, except in a passing, superficial glance.  The documentary didn’t just make me go out and get more of his music so I could sit and listen to it for hours, it didn’t just spark creative energy in the films I was making at the time, it was my first, giant epiphany.

I’m still not entirely sure what exactly about this film that always gets to me.  Dylan himself is represented in a very strict, particular way.  And despite its documentary status, I take the authenticity of documentaries, in general, pretty lightly.  Editing is a powerful tool.

But the film, itself, is lovely.  Pennebaker makes choices based on feeling rather than image.  He uses a lot of footage that is underexposed, overly grainy, and not that great in order to capture these truly beautiful moments, like Joan Baez singing “Percy’s Song.”  It’s such a beautiful and intimate moment, and rather than focusing on how the film will turn out, he concentrates on the moment.

But this isn’t a film review, and I could go on and on for hours talking about that movie, so I’ll just shut up about it already.

Other than my seemingly depressing nightlife, my weekend was good.  We did very little, which made me happy.  We spent so much time running errands for two weeks straight that I was more than happy to be home-bound.  We played card games, watched movies and hung out with friends.  I made gluten-free Oreo truffles, and now I’ll be fat forever and ever and won’t care, because those things are amazing.

I’m definitely ready for some adventure though.  Until then, I have a lot to do to prepare for a lot of different things, and a little bit of writing to do.  The entirety of next year is going to be re-structured.

Until next time.

 

Hot Chocolate and a Publishing Date

This weekend, we watched The Polar Express with friends, while eating cookies and drinking this hot chocolate recipe.  It’s one of my favorite holiday movies – a little dark, and a little sad, but still uplifting.  And actually, it is the first Christmas movie we watched this year, because we’re currently making our way through the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  And in other nerd news, I’m almost finished with Star Trek: The Next Generation, so I feel like I’m making good progress in the nerdom.  I am not, however, doing well with the Star Trek original series movies, because, well, they are tedious, and I have to watch them alone.  Fans of the franchise say that all the odd-number movies suck (though the revival movies broke that curse) and the even-numbered ones are good.  I will not agree with that, because I did not like The Wrath of Khan, with the exception of a few moments.  I just really didn’t like that the movies don’t have the spirit of the TV series, but, such things happen this way.  It wasn’t as bad as the first one though – oh god was that the most boring movie ever.  I started to nod off in the first 15 minutes.  Perhaps I’ll do a review of The Search for Spock in the Friday Film Review this week.  It’ll be risky, since it’s an odd number…

Tomorrow is the big day.  I asked Zach if we could go and eat a meal at all my favorite restaurants for my birthday, and he initially replied, “That’s all you want for your birthday?”

I didn’t really have to think about it very long.  Yes, of course that’s what I wanted for my birthday.  I just never knew that food was an acceptable thing to ask of someone.  My sister thinks it’s weird, and insists I’ll regret it or not be happy with this decision.  To be honest though, I’m actually looking forward to my birthday now, even though it sounds a lot more like I’m an inmate on death row.

Because when I think of most places, I think of them in regards to food.  Perhaps that makes me a foodie, I’m not sure.  I just really like the experience of eating, especially eating at fun places.  When Zach went on a trip with his dad to Gettysburg, I texted at least a half a dozen restaurants I needed them to try.  And of course, I asked for thorough descriptions and pictures.  I think that makes food my porn, rather than me being a foodie, but oh well.

This is probably why I prefer road trips to camping.  My ideal vacation would be a combination of both though.  The dogs would also be there.  And copious amounts of fries.  That we would share with the dogs.  Like, we would do a lot of hiking and stuff, but then have breakfast at an awesome cafe.  Maybe I actually only like hiking, and not even camping.

The year is winding down.  I need to readjust my goals, and decide what I want to do for the next year.  I feel like the first half of 2014 was amazing and I did everything, and then the second half wasn’t as great.  I’ve finally started thinking about my next steps, though I must admit, it’s become a more tedious process than I originally expected.  I have a lot of ideas, but I’m not quite sure which to approach first, and how to approach them.  I’m ready for a change.  I’m antsy and feel stagnant.

I will announce a publishing date for my short novel though.  It’ll be February 2015.  There.  It’ll be available for all to read by then.

Until next time.

Friday Film Review: The Lego Movie

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This is a pretty new movie, that I think a lot of people have already seen, so I won’t go into a ton of detail.  Just my reactions.  I was hoping to do Toy Story, but Netflix is holding it hostage.

Ugh.  I really, really hate when I don’t like a movie that everyone else loves.  But it happened with The Lego Movie.  I don’t mind when I love something that people hate.  It doesn’t offend me, or sway me.  But when I dislike things everyone likes, people get raging mad and my intelligence is brought into question.

I honestly would have never considered watching it, had it not gotten the most rave reviews ever with every single outlet and person that watched the movie.  It even has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  That’s basically unheard of.  It’s basically the best movie ever, in everyone’s minds.

But I just did not understand why.  Was it just because of the Lego brand?  The all-star cast (the cast WAS amazing)?  Perhaps my expectations were TOO high.  I didn’t think it was very creative or original, it was basically the same story I’ve seen a million times but with Legos.  It was a little boring, the writing wasn’t that great.  It was a pretty average kids’ movie.  And the ending:  UGH.  THE ENDING RUINED EVERYTHING FOR ME.  In fact, I probably would have liked it slightly better, if it wasn’t for the weird, disjointed, and redundant ending.  And I’m talking about the life-action sequence part, in case we’re not clear.

BUT – I didn’t HATE the movie.  Batman saved the day.  I do, however, truly hate the narrative of the boring protagonist outdoing everyone, including the awesome, kick-ass girl character.  He was literally so boring and annoying (sorry, Chris Pratt).  Then Batman came (voiced by Will Arnett) and saved everything for me.  Maybe it’s Arnett’s voice, or the fact Batman is already kind of an established character (so things “out of character” were hilarious), but he was the most developed, and had the most interesting lines.

I get it.  I get that you want to encourage kids that they are “special” and should strive to do better.  But really, you’re saying that no matter how special you are if you’re a girl, you have to defer to a boring dude.  Wyldstyle’s story actually made me sad, especially when she laments that SHE “wanted to be the special.”  It broke my heart a little.  She worked her whole life.  She was strong and interesting and believed in herself.  But someone unqualified, uninteresting, and dispassionate came in and took it all.  I actually, for ONE SPLIT SECOND, thought the narrative would change, hearing her tell her story.  I was like, “Oh my god!  Are they going to let her be special and save the day!?”  No, they didn’t.  They totally could have because SPOILER: being special had nothing to do with a prophecy.  God, when art imitates life, sometimes it truly sucks.

There were some good, touching points I liked though.  For instance, I liked the idea that the master builders were these creative powerhouses that didn’t need any instructions to build.  It was all in their minds.  They were creative.  (But we won’t talk about how in order to save the day they needed to relinquish their minds to the masses).  That’s the special thing about Legos – they can be anything you want.

So, if you’re reading this and you’re considering watching it, I don’t really recommend it that much.  I mean, if you’re curious, it’s not long so… not a waste of time.  Plus, you’ll probably like it, because I’m in this incredibly tiny minority of 1 that didn’t like it.  If you already saw it, I hope that my thought’s on Wyldstyle touched you, and made you wish she got to find the piece to save them all from the Kragle.

Favorite Line:If this relationship is going to work out between us I need to feel free to party with a bunch of strangers whenever I feel like it. I will text you.” – Batman
Favorite Scene: When Emmet is telling Wyldstyle how awful Batman is for leaving and Batman was standing behind him, holding the part they needed for their spaceship.  This was really the defining lurking moment for Batman.  He lurks a lot in the film.

Movie Stats
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Release: 2014
Rating: PG (I’m assuming for the Lego massacres)

 

Also, a bonus comic, because this is how the movie made me feel (and how a lot of movies make me feel):

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For more MOVIE NIGHT ideas.

 

I Have Feelings and Sometimes They’re Angry Ones

Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Things got crazy last month.  I didn’t get to do all the things I wanted to do, mainly because of illness.  And lately I’ve been preoccupied.

AND I’m thinking about posting less on this blog and/or changing the format.  Because life changes and you must adapt.

Anyway, let’s start.  I’d like to mention, this is not a rant.  This is a deliberate response to my feelings.  A rant presumes that I didn’t think things through carefully before I wrote.  I thought things through.  Carefully.

The election was yesterday, and honestly, I wasn’t surprised about anything.  I called it all.  I don’t consider myself a cynical person in any way, shape, or form, but I figured the GOP would take control.  Zach was upset last night.  He took it harder than I did, even though a lot of my personal rights are more at stake.  Here’s kind of how our conversation went down:

Zach:  “This is upsetting.  I can’t believe people are so stupid.”
Me: “Well, things aren’t that great now, I have to worry about what I say on the internet for fear of getting rape and death threats.  Black people are just being gunned down left and right.  Plus, now, we can watch it all burn.  There’s no stability like before to give any sort of wiggle room.”
Zach:  “Well now you get to watch it burn.”
Me: “Muahahaha!!!  Here, have some legalized recreational marijuana to make you feel better.  You can light the joint on the burning flames of our society.”
Zach: “No.  Stop it.”

OK, that was basically an interpretive transcript, but I think you get my meaning.  I did not, however, take creative liberties with the maniacal laugh.  That actually happened.

If you’re reading my blog and are super conservative and don’t care about people before money, I’m not sure why you’re here.  Clearly, you’re lost.  Here, let me help you: http://www.foxnews.com.  I think you will find that style of writing more to your taste.  Please, don’t leave hateful comments, or argue with me, because I don’t really care about being nice or polite.  I am an elderly 28 year old woman.  I will block you and silently flip the bird at the computer.  Don’t get me wrong, I pretty much hate all politicians.  I’m not a fan of a bunch of rich white guys making decisions for everyone.  Because to be honest, most people aren’t rich white guys.  THEY DON’T KNOW BETTER/WE’RE NOT YOUR LITTLE CHILDREN/YOU’RE NOT MY DADDY/DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO.  (*It should be noted that the author of this post may have some severe daddy issues*)

I wish I could say I was done with the snarkiness, but hold on a second, I need to share a news story I saw yesterday, that touched me deep to the core:

PTC and the ‘Scandal’ Sex Scene after Charlie Brown

This is much less serious, but I actually laughed out loud when I saw this headline.  I laughed even harder as I read the article, lamenting how children were assaulted with “graphic” sex within 26 seconds after the credits rolled on Charlie Brown.  But a few things came to mind:
#1 – I’m glad someone rewinded their DVR to count the seconds.  Because you KNOW some crazy-ass parent did that.
#2 – It blows my mind that The Great Pumpkin is considered a children’s cartoon, because it features horrible disappointment of childhood beliefs/those children are super mean.  Lucy, WTF is your problem with the football?!  Those aren’t regulation rules!
#3 – I’ve never seen Scandal, but it’s on regular TV, and I’m well versed on TV censorship, so I doubt there was any sort of nudity (kids see more at a public pool), and it’s not porn.  Or worse, HBO. *wink*
#4 – Like I said, I’ve never seen Scandal, but I have a feeling it’s about scandals.  If I was a super conservative parent who was scared my kids might find out sex exists and they might want to talk about it, I’d avoid TV about scandals.  Yes, I’d have my finger on the remote, Fox News!
#5 – PEOPLE STILL WATCH SHIT ON REGULAR TV WHEN IT AIRS ? What’s that like?

I’m filing this under my “people will get mad about anything” file.  Seriously.  Worry that your kids are growing up in a society that terrorizes female gamers with threats of violence.  Worry that non-white children their age will probably be victims of violent racism.  Worry that children are starving in America. Worry that some other kid might shoot them at school.  Or in a park.  Or in a theater.  Worry that people have strayed so far from compassion that we don’t know how to take care of each other.  Worry about a lot of things.  But a sex scene on prime time TV is NOT what we need to be worrying about.

Besides, people complaining about sex stuff are boring to me.  Those people BORE ME.

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the olden days.  But now I get to wear pants.

The sarcasm is strong in this one.

Until Next Time.

Oops, I Did it Again

I’ve failed at the daily posts!

Last week, I was under the weather and really didn’t have any motivation to post anything.  Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much, and I’ll update you on the happenings that you did.  I’m still not feeling great, but I’ll try my best to keep up with daily posts.

First and foremost, I do regret not doing a Friday Film Review.  To make up for that, I’ll be doing a double feature this week.  In the meantime, I did watch quite a few scary flicks last week:

Insidious and Insidious 2
Netflix does not stream the first one, but you can get it on DVD.  And you must watch the first before the second, because honestly, the first is a little scarier, and the second literally starts the second the first ends.  We think they might have been filmed at the same time.  You can look that up if you’re curious, because I’m like, eh.  Anyway, I actually liked these movies, directed by the same dude who did Saw and The Conjuring.  They are a little weird, not too scary, and pretty creative.

The Awakening
This is streaming on Netflix.  It’s OK.  The protagonist reminded me of a female Sherlock, so that was awesome.  She even had the jacket and popped collar.  The acting was really great, and I realized I had never seen a British horror film before this one, done by BBC films.  It’s not that scary, so if you want more of a drama and a light creep, this one might work for you.  Also had some creative moments, and a nice twist ending that’ll leave you scratching your heads.

The Addams Family
A nice family film.  No horror and it’s still fun.

Sadako
I believe this is the 3rd in the Ringu series.  It’s a 3D film.  I don’t have a 3D TV.  So… yeah… crap.  It’s not scary, the plot is confusing, and we were very close to turning it off halfway through because it was just so awful.  I like the American adaption of Ringu the best, to be honest.  They’re just not the best Japanese horror out there.  Too much camp.

That’s about it on the movie front.  I also made a wreath:

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The final product
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First, I sprayed the wreath ($5 at Michael’s) with ultra matte black paint.
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I bought rubber snakes, painted them black, and re-painted their eyes and tongues.

 

I also got some costumes for the dogs.  I don’t have Layla’s up as a picture, but here’s a preview of Penny’s:

We need to add wire to the wings to make them more... Devilish...
We need to add wire to the wings to make them more… Devilish…

 

And that was my week.  Not a whole lot.  Didn’t have a ton of energy, and I’m running behind on many things.  BUT – I may do some cookies and bread this week, so we’ll see how things go.

Until next time.

Friday Film Review: Devil

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I hope by now, people that read my film reviews realize they aren’t normal reviews.  Since I review things that [generally] have been out for a while, I don’t feel it’s necessary to give a “real” review.  To be honest, even if I was reviewing fresh in the theatres, I’d still do it this way.  Everyone’s a critic, so if you want “real” reviews with “meaning,” you can find them anywhere.

So, I didn’t really want to watch this movie because it looked boring, but then I watched the trailer, and decided I had high hopes for Devil.  Basically, the second I found out that one of the people in the elevator was going to turn out to be the devil, I wanted to watch it.  We love anything in which we can place bets on who lives until the end, and who ends up being the bad guy.  It makes the movie interactive.  This is why we can’t watch movies with people.

Zach and I put our bets in before the movie started.  Then, halfway through the second act, we readjusted our bets.  Then we split our bets. (Side note: we generally only place 2 bets – 1 before the movie starts, and a second around 30 mins into the movie) Basically, we were over-thinking it.  Our first bet (before the movie started) was actually the right one.  Go with your gut, guys.

Technical stuff:
The opening sequence was stupid.  Seriously.  The ONLY thing they could come up with to show the devil was among them was to shoot the city upside down?  Lazy.  And then the end, it showed the same footage right-side up.  Lazy again.  I GET IT THE DEVIL IS GONE SHEESH.  Also, the dialogue in the beginning and the end sequences was terrible.  It’s like, they couldn’t figure out how to set up the elevator stuff with all the people.  They needed to do a better job.

Story:
This movie is about how the devil walks among us and punishes us or something (I didn’t really catch that last part).  We are introduced to the main detective (Chris Messina) as he investigates a jumper from a tall building.  I have to hand it to them.  They made that particular part of the movie really complicated for absolutely no reason at all and wasted a lot of time on it.  It was solid though.  Then, people get into an elevator and people start dying.  The same detective gets brought in to investigate the elevator, and one of the security guards helping him is very religious (and also narrating the story).

I liked the idea of this movie, because I was told similar stories growing up.  I was even warned by my mother (who was warned by her mother) that the devil walks as one of us to tempt us.  I wasn’t sure if the story was meant to scare me, because I didn’t really know who Satan was as a child.  I thought he was a Bible salesman (long story).  Even though I had fun watching the movie, it kind of fell short for me.  It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  But it actually wasn’t very scary.  And literally everything scares me in scary movies.  I’m an easy scare.  I fall prey to all the traps.  I jump high, whimper, and yell out.  I’m the perfect audience.

But it didn’t really scare me.  They needed more creepy devil stuff, and less whiny drama.  To be fair, devil themed movies are actually the least scary for me – I just thought the claustrophobic elevator would be my downfall.

Favorite Line: “When he’s near, everything goes wrong. Toast falls jelly-side down, children hit tables, and people get hurt.” – Ramirez (security guard)

Favorite Scene: The scene with the quote.  He takes a piece of toast, throws it up in the air, and it falls jelly-side down.  The look on his face when it does, is priceless, making him the best actor of all time.  The detective looks at him, and you know he’s just thinking, “I’ve seen a lot of fucked up shit in my day, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”  We laughed all night about this scene.  Watch this movie just for this scene.

IMDB Stats:
Release: 2010
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Runtime: 80 mins
Rating: PG-13 (for throat stabbings, I’d imagine)

Currently streaming on Netflix.

If you like the satanic genre, I honestly haven’t seen a lot that are currently streaming on Netflix, except Rosemary’s Baby, which is a genuinely great film.  Here are my other recommendations that you could find elsewhere:

The Exorcist (classic, disturbing)
The Amityville Horror (honestly, take your pick of the original or remake, I’m not a snob, they are both just OK)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (I actually liked this one, it kind of scared me and made me “believe”)
The Blair Witch Project (It’s OK, it has its moments, but I think has a bad rap because of the bad press around it)
Poltergeist (another classic, you should see it, even if it’s just for the pop culture references)
The Conjuring (was this devil related?  I can’t remember, but I liked this movie, and will be seeing Annabelle, the spin-off movie)

And that’s all I have.  You’re on your own for devil movies!

My Halloween Throw-Together Post!

Sorry, apparently I didn’t want to take the extra 30-60 seconds to try and come up with a more creative title.  But here it is!  My non-extensive list of all my favorite Halloween things!  Decor, recipes, movies… ALL THE THINGS.

Let’s start with food since I’m currently shoving my face full of it.  I will not overwhelm you with long lists, just a few things to try (despite my “all the things” claim).

RECIPES!

Breakfast:
Why not try this lovely gluten free pumpkin waffle?  I’m gluten free, so all my recipes will reflect such, but if you happen to love gluten, have no fear!  Add pumpkin (or sweet potato puree) to your favorite waffle recipe.  I’m currently eating leftovers for lunch of this waffle.  I threw it in the toaster and gobbled it up.  It’s delicious and filling.  It goes great with chicken and maple sausage.

Lunch:
It’s my own warm salad recipe.  Sorry, I unfortunately haven’t made it yet this year, so I don’t have any pictures yet, but as soon as I make it again, I’ll re-post my recipe.
Ingredients:
Salad
2 cups quinoa
Couple handfuls of baby spinach
1 can garbanzo beans, toasted in olive oil and salt in the oven – 20 mins (toss halfway through)
1 cup pecan halves, toasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, brown sugar (sprinkle over), and cumin – 20 mins (toss halfway through)
Dressing
4 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Pure maple syrup
3 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
Directions
Cook up quinoa. Shake up the dressing in a small jar, or mix well in a bowl.  Toss all ingredients together with dressing, adding the spinach last.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Dinner:
Another easy favorite of mine.  Easy Crock Pot chili (I’ll add a recipe page for this later too).
Ingredients:
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies
2 small cans of jalapenos
1 1/2 tsp chili
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 can water
1/4 cup stout beer (optional)
Directions:
Add all ingredients together in a slow cooker, using only the juice of the cans of the jalapenos.  Mix well and set for 6 or 8 hours.  Serve with your favorite corn bread (mine is Pamela’s gluten free mix).

MOVIES!

My all-time favorite thing to do during October – watch spooky movies!  So grab some hot cocoa, or something pumpkin flavored, your favorite snuggly blanket, and try one of these:

Scared Shrekless: This is seriously my favorite Halloween “movie.”  I know, it’s for kids, but I think it’s hilarious, and I really adore the Shrek world.  It’s not very scary, so it’s perfect for little kids, or if you want a silly laugh after your terrifying slasher, pull this one out.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!: This isn’t exactly my FAVORITE, but I feel obligated to watch in on Halloween every year.  Somehow, I just don’t feel complete without it.  And it’s depressing!

The Nightmare Before Christmas:  We are watching this one tonight to officially ring in the Halloween season.  Not only is this movie fun, but it’s beautiful and the music is magical.  I’m jealous I don’t live in Halloweentown!

Sleepy Hollow: We’ve actually already watched this one for the year, we couldn’t wait.  It’s fun, spooky (maybe a little too much for little ones!) and even a bit of a murder mystery is involved!

The Frighteners: I watched this for the first time last year, and I must say, I loved it.  It’s on Netflix, if you haven’t seen it.  It’s a tad dated, but it’s actually not too bad after the beginning sequence.  It’s rated R, but there isn’t anything too over the top in it (I think the rating is mostly language, to be honest).

A Tale of Two Sisters:  This one doesn’t have a rating, but it’s spooky as hell.  It’s an Asian horror flick, and my all-time favorite.  There’s a mystery and twist ending.  It’s not overly violent, and there’s just enough scare in it to keep you white knuckling it the whole movie.  The acting and writing is great, and so are the special effects (they don’t show too much!).

The Happiness of the Katakuris:  If you want a zombie musical, here you go.  It’s campy, weird, a little morbid, and not too scary.  If you don’t know Japanese, you’ll wish you did, because the songs are incredibly catchy.

White: The Melody of the Curse:  Sorry, this is the last of my Asian recommendations (for this year, muahahahaha!).  This is a great Korean movie with the whole “rage ghost” theme (think The Ring and The Grudge).  But in my opinion, they did it best with this movie.  I thought it was going to be a little dumb, because it’s about a Kpop group that sings a haunted song, but it’s really scary and fun.  The song is catchy too, you’ll be humming it all night.

Psycho:  I don’t watch this every year, but I love it.  Despite being made over 50 years ago, this movie still scares audiences.  I got the pleasure of showing it to Zach for the first time a few years ago, and he actually didn’t know the ending AND WAS SURPRISED!  That’s rare, and amazing!

American Werewolf in London:  I’m not really big on “monster” movies, but this is one of my favorites.  It holds up well, the wolf makeup is great, and I’d fit it into the “dark comedy” category.

 

DECORATIONS!

OK, so I don’t have a lot to put here right now (I’ll have some DIY projects up later), but I wanted to give some of my tips for doing up the spooky decor.  Since everyone has a different decorating style, I think these tips can be easily adapted for any needs.

1. Shop the thrift stores.  Especially in metropolitan areas, or high-end neighborhoods.  I’ve found some really beautiful pieces at thrift stores, including a cookie jar that I got for $5 that is gorgeous and the #1 thing people ask me about.

2. Shop after the holiday.  If you really need something new or want to build your collection faster, shop the Halloween stores after Halloween.  After a week, you’re going to get thrift store prices for new stuff.  Michael’s also does AMAZING sales after the season.  Stock up your carts!

3. DIY when you can.  What pisses me off more than anything are wreaths.  Seriously, THAT wreath is $50???  It looks like a 1st grade art project.  Wreaths are easy to make, and make them affordable.  So go to a craft shop, buy a plain wreath for $5, and decorate it yourself.  I promise, even if you’re not crafty, yours will look better than the ones I’ve been seeing in stores.  You just need a hot glue gun to make your life easier.

 

Well, I think that’s it for now!  I’ll be spattering Halloween tips and updates the entire month, so if you’re not really into Halloween, you should have left this blog long ago.  Share your favorite tips, recipes and movies with me!  I love finding new things for my favorite holiday.

Until next time.

 

 

 

Friday Film Review: The Craft

N CAMPBELL,F BALK,TRUE,TUNNEY THE CRAFT COLUMBIA 01/05/1996 CTJ27346

So here we are, the first of the Halloween series!  Let’s start with a cult classic, The Craft.

Quick breakdown:
It’s about a girl moving to a new town (surprise!) and she encounters 3 witches at her new school, who, surprisingly, are actually outcasts.  She encounters some bullying, and quickly connects with them.  The witches discover she actually is a natural witch herself.  Match made in heaven!  They become besties and live happily ever after calling the corners and chanting to nature.

Eh, not so much the last part.

I love supernatural movies, especially ones about witches.  I’m not exactly sure why, it could just be the magic aspect.  It’s definitely not because Hollywood represents witches accurately.  However, this film is actually pretty even-keeled.  It shows them doing “witchy” things, like calling up the corners (N, S, E, W), it talks about animal powers, there’s even some accurate information on the technical aspects of witch magic (negative energy is returned 3-fold), and we even see the leader of the pack, Nancy (Balk) use an athame, but maybe not in a completely authentic way.

But I’ll tell you right now, not one piece of historical information in the film is correct in the slightest.

That’s OK though.  It’s Hollywood.  It’d be a pretty crap spooky film if it showed witches how they really were: which were pagans that used magic for good.  The bad stuff was invented by the Catholic Church (which, btw, is heavily referenced in this film – WIN).

Now that you’ve had your incredibly quick and dirty history lesson, let’s move on.

This isn’t a film that even demonizes witches anyway.  It demonizes teenagers.  Especially angsty ones that get bullied and have a rough background, or, I guess, are black?

I’d like to point out IMDB’s synopsis for a second: “A newcomer to a Catholic prep high school falls in with a trio of outcast teenage girls who practice witchcraft and they all soon conjure up various spells and curses against those who even slightly anger them.”

SLIGHTLY anger them?  One girl says she bullies one of the girls, Rochelle, because she’s a “negroid.”  Um, yeah.  I’d be super pissed at that too.  The magic she used wasn’t exactly an over reaction (OMG, maybe I’m an angsty teen!).  The love spell that’s used isn’t really revenge, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to being rejected by an asshole jock.  Plus, it turns him into a rapist, so sorry if I don’t exactly feel “bad” for him.  And the other two witches: one uses a spell to make herself pretty, and the other to have unlimited power.  You know, angsty teen stuff.

Not surprisingly, Nancy goes crazy by having unlimited power.  Trust me, you see it coming.  Since she’s the leader of the group, the others (except the new girl) go along with her.

So really, this movie is about how dangerous teens can be in a click.  And if they came upon getting magic, the balance of powers would tilt, and all would be lost.

I highly recommend this classic.  It’s a twist on the high school drama, and is incredibly dark, with enough humor to balance it out.  The writing isn’t GREAT and it is dated in some aspects, but all in all, I think it’s a pretty good Halloween movie.  Another thing with this film that I really just LOVED that wasn’t really addressed completely, but was throughout the entire movie.  The “glamour” part of their magic.  Was it all tricks to create illusion?  If so, the movie is completely psychological, and almost more terrifying if everything that happened was mostly in their minds.

Favorite Line: “Since I was a little girl all I’ve wanted in life was a jukebox that played nothing but Connie Francis records.” – Grace, Nancy’s mom.  Because she wins for my favorite character because of her pants.

Favorite Scene: The scene in the beginning where the creepy guy with the snake comes into the house.  It’s hilarious, even though it’s supposed to be creepy.  Especially when the dad chases him out like a stray cat.

IMBD Stats:
Release: 1996
Director: Andrew Fleming
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Rating: R (language, violence)

Currently streaming on Netflix.

 

Since I can’t exactly review all the movies I watch on Netflix for Halloween, I’ve put a list together of other Halloween movies under the “supernatral” category on Netflix that’d I’d recommend you check out, because I probably won’t watch these this year:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Vampires)
Rosemary’s Baby (Supernatural/Satan)
Carrie (Supernatural/Telekinesis) 
Nosferatu (Vintage Vampire)
Leprechaun (Supernatural/Campy)
House (Supernatural/Campy)
Ravenous (Horribly inaccurate representation of Windigo, a Native American folklore/Cannibalism)
Night Watch (Vampires/Foreign)
Dead End (Supernatural/Campy/Ray Wise)

More for Movie Night.