Cuppa Criterion ’round the Interwebs

Hello all,

No new movie for this week, but I did want to share some crazy, funny, odd things I’ve found when I’ve plundered the internet for appropriate screenshots.

Thanks to places like Pinterest, Ebay, and Etsy… there’s so shortage of whimsy.

Harold & Maude

Harold and Maude Earrings

Harold and Maude Earrings

sunflower mug . harold and maude inspired . hand painted . great gift for coffee tea lover drinker . best friend . be unique . be yourself

Maude Mug

I Like You, Maude - Illustration Print

Harold and Maude Print by Nan Lawson
(I have a couple prints by this artist. Love them)

The Vanishing (Spoorloos)

Spoorloos Trading Card

Chasing Amy

Chasing Amy Shirt

Chasing Amy

Chasing Amy Movie Poster

Kevin Smith Triple Feature (Clerks / Chasing Amy / Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) [Blu-ray]

Kevin Smith Triple Feature

Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs - Hannibal Mask - Minimalist Film Silhouette - Wall Clock

Hannibal Mask Wall Clock

Silence of the Lambs Quote 8x10 inch Funny Sign Framed Embroidery- adjustable in color

Lotion Quote Embroidery

Death's Head Moth Sweater Guard Brooch

Death’s Dead Moth Sweater Guard

The Canterbury Tales

CANTERBURY TALES Chaucer Altered Art Charm Pendant with Rhinestone

Canterbury Talks Charm Pendant

CANTERBURY TALES Chaucer beaded earrings

Chaucer Earrings

Geoffrey Chaucer Cookie Cutter

Chaucer Cookie Cutter

The Ice Storm

The Ice Storm/Chosen: Music From the Films of Ang Lee

The Ice Storm/Chosen: Music from Ang Lee’s Films

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The Ice Storm on Laser Disc

Tiny Furniture

lena dunham fan club button

Lena Dunham Fan Club Button

NEW! 1 Miniature copy of the book 'Not That Kind of Girl'

Dunham Book Miniature

Actual Tiny Furniture

Frances Ha

Frances Ha Poster

Korean Limited Edition DVD

So, you know, act fast if any of these tickle your fancy.

Also, last week a coworker gave me a box of Chai from Trader Joe’s. I was skeptical. I sniffed it cautiously. Smells delightful. I executed my “making chai at work” fail-safe recipe (hot water, two mini-moos, and a Splenda) and was surprised to find that it is really quite delicious. If you give it a try, let me know how you like it.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you stumble across other fun Criterion stuff, things, and oddities.

– SH

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Frances Ha

This week is my last Spring Break. Which is rather anticlimactic when you work full-time and your plan to go to New York and see fun Broadway shows fails… so you work, and you come home, and dear green goddess I’m bored. Yawn.

But hey, I cooked dinner and that’s impressive for me. I even have leftovers and my tea is cold…. so dinner took longer than a pack of ramen. Also, new mug, thanks for a promotional coupon from Penzey’s Spices. It’s purple, I’m happy.

Frances Ha (2012)
Starring Greta Gerwig, Mickey Summer, Adam Driver
Directed by Noah Bauchman
How I saw it: Streamed via Netflix
First time seeing it, No previous knowledge of the film

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Ok, the blurb on Netflix says this about a girl who goes to New York to dance, but she’s not a dancer. Hey, this movie is in black and white. Nifty.

Frances Ha (2013) (l to r) Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner playfighting

Opening shot of two women slapfighting in the park. Opening montage following slapfight.

Frances: “I should sleep in my own bed.”
Sophie: “Why?”
Frances: “Because I bought it.”
Sophie: “Take off your socks.”

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Title card

Life milestone: Boyfriend asks her to move in; and she says no. Milestone averted. Abrupt exit of boyfriend from the film.

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Ok, I love that Frances is as goofy on the phone as I am. Proof that you can be an “adult” and a complete spaz/dork.

Adam Driver is in this!

Frances: “I love you, Sophie. Even if you love your phone that has email more than me.” Frances, this is a cross we must all bear in today’s world.

Dancing. Dancing. She’s teaching a class of young dancers.

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Ah, the great love affair that is female friendship.

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Out to dinner with Adam Driver. Card gets declined. Frances: “I’m so embarrassed. I’m not a real person yet.”

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There’s a party and I go get my bag of SweetTarts shaped like chicks, ducks, and bunnies. Oh, you guys. If you’ve never had Tim Tams w/ hot tea, you haven’t lived. You nip a corner of the top and bottom and them slurp the tea up through it like a cookie straw, then pop it into your mouth before it dissolves…. chocolately amazingness. (Tim Tam slam)

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Frances is running wildly down the street because she’s carefree and liberated.

Things we’ve learned about Frances: She’s not a real person, she’s 27 but looks older (re: awkaward breakfast scene), she’s broke, she likes to dance, and she is a mess. I feel like Frances would be fun to go out with and then go our separate ways. She’s fancies herself an artistic type without the discipline or drive to actually DO the thing. We’ve all been there. No, I never procrastinate writing by doing everything else instead.

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Frankie: “Frances: Undateable.” He says this often. Which is either endearing or…

Frances is told she will not be part of the dance company’s Christmas show. She’s an understudy and we get the impression she’s being told to dramatically reevaluate her life.

Dramatic breakdown in which Frances and Sophie try to go out for drinks with Sophie’s man, Patch. Cue aggressive female tiff in the restroom complete with body posturing, and a rather fabulous exit. Don’t get me wrong, Frances is a drama queen. But just once it would be kinda fun to make a scene, tell the other parties to stay seated, and walk out the door with the vodka. To life!

Goes home to Sacramento and squishes the face of her parent’s small fluffy white dog against her chest immediately upon arrival. (group hug, dog was a breasted casualty)

Sacramento montage. Wait, are we in a cult? AHH. Biking through the burbs.

Their Christmas tree is out of control. It’s flickering but in a counter-intuitive manner that’s distracting from the rest of the scene.

Is that Mamie Gummer???? You stole 13 hours of my life via your failed TV show Emily Owens M.D. that ended mid-season in the WORST way possible. How? How could you do that to Kostas? I mean….the traveling pants!

Pause. I just remembered I bought wine. Mmm, not bad, says the girl who usually makes an angry baby face upon sipping ANY kind of wine. It has fruity nodes….notes…nodules. Whatever. Also, I hard-boiled eggs earlier and EVERYTHING in my fridge now smells like the gates of hell. #proteinproblems

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Frances is at a dinner part with Dr. Owens and a scruffy guy that looks familiar from some film project where he appeared in full color. shrugs

Frances finds out that Sophie and Patch are moving to Japan. She’s shocked because apparently they no longer talk but she feel she should’ve known, somehow. Growing up is hard. Letting friends go, relationships changing, meeting new people. etc. etc. etc.

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I gotta say, I love the authentic nature of Frances’s hair. It isn’t perfect, even though she’s in a movie. It’s mostly straight, but kinda wavy in random places, and it’s obvious she’s tucked it behind her ear for too long. She’s one of us!

So, this wine is yummy. But now my lips are buzzing, like if you’ve played a brass instrument for too long. Because that’s a universal experience, right? No? Has everyone blown across a blade of grass/paper and made it vibrate? Hmm? Anyway… wine buzz.

Frances is still unsuccessfully fighting toward adulthood as evidenced with the phone message she just left on a voice mail. Frances: “I’ll be the girl with acne, holding more acne.”

She flew to Paris for the weekend. Two days. Two.

Sadness. She came in for a meeting at the dance company thinking she would be offered a position in the company but was offered an office position instead.

Sophie and Frances reconnect. Sophie says she will leave her fiance and return to New York. We have this moment of female bonding just like they were at the opening, and then morning happens.

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Sophie goes back to Patch. Frances takes the office job, she starts dancing, and doing her own thing, choreography.

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We get to see one of her pieces performed and everyone from the entire movie is in the audience. Including Frankie.

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Ah the complexity of female friendship. Frances: “That’s Sophie. She’s my best friend.”

We don’t get the reason for the title until the last moment of the film. Frances gets her own place. When she goes to slide her name into the the front of her mail slot, she discovers her name is too long. She folds it over and all that is visible is “France Ha”.

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What a delightful film. Highly recommended. Kind of in that quirky and slightly painful Amelie sort of way.

– SH

Tiny Furniture

Testing testing…
Hey guys. Remember when I started a blog and then disappeared for a month because I thought this would be the perfect time to start a new exciting blog venture in addition to grad school, work, and a writing fellowship? Yeah, me too.

So, in light of the fact that I have a paper due Friday, my second submission for my fellowship due Sunday, and about 30 pages of a screenplay due Monday, I bring to you…

(BTW, I’m a total tea cheater right now because I need some serious caffeine to help me confront this mammoth writing monster.)

Tiny Furniture (2010)
Starring Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham
Directed by Lea Dunham
How I saw it: Streamed via Netflix
Second time watching the film, and I heart Lena Dunham

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Opening shot of Lena Dunham (Aura) looking disheveled in the backseat of a cab caressing a small white gerbil/hamster/rodent. Oh yeah, Jemima Kirke and Alex Karpovsky are also in this. Shout out to all the GIRLS fans.

Dear god, I reached for a cheeto and somehow turned off Netflix. You know, this evening just needs to chill out.

Lena arrives home (still having not spoken a word) looking forlorn and angsty.

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[first lines]
Dunhum (Aura): Honey, I’m home… Family?
Asisstant: Downstairs…
Mom/Siri: Can you turn your right toe slightly towards me?
Sister/Nadine: It hurts.
Mom/Siri: Perfect.
[click]

Mom, assistant, and sister are downstairs in the mother’s studio where the sister is posed next to tiny furniture.

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Lena’s sister has wedding cake shoes and intensely awesome eyebrows.

Ok, attempting to obtain a cheeto a second time…Success!!

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Sisterly banter.

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Lena looks for her mom’s old journals clad in t-shirt and no pants, and we aren’t offended by the presence of her butt because the female form in all it’s variations is wonderful. She reads a few pages then has a quarter life crisis the following morning.

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Just dropped my computer on the floor and instinctively reached for it with cheeto fingers. My life is a tragedy. Shakespeare could learn a few things from me.

Aura talks to her friend Frankie from college on the phone

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And then meets “Ray” at a party who is slightly internet famous for his YouTube videos – The Nietzschean Cowboy.

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So, now that we’re four seasons into GIRLS, this movie is very proto-GIRLS. Several of the same actors (which I have nothing against because I long ago pledged allegiance to Joss Whedon and he does that all of the time. With all of the actors. Because he’s Joss Whedon and he can do what he wants.)

Aura’s little sister usurps the  pedestal usually reserved for older siblings. She is the more conventionally attractive, the more focused, and successful. She wins this nationwide high school poetry award and then says this: “Poetry’s a very stupid thing to be good at. I mean, poems are basically like dreams — something that everybody likes to tell other people… but nobody actually cares about when it’s not their own. Which is why poetry’s a failure of an intellectual community.”

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Date with “Ray”, “Ray” agrees to stay at her place while mom and sister are gone. Awkaward social interactions occur. Aura’s hamster dies. She puts it in the freezer.

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Aura goes in for first day of work as a day hostess at a restaurant and flirts with Hipster Chef.

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So, here’s the deal with Lena Dunham. She’s a polarizing figure, and that’s ok. I like her because even if her characters/story lines aren’t completely realistic, her sentiment and the feelings woven throughout are authentic. And there will be moments where you resonate with one of the characters, that moment is accessible to you. Similarly there are times where you think, “Who the hell are these kids and how do I get them off my lawn?!” So, it’s kinda like life.

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I also feel like one of the themes throughout her work is “Only connect” (c/o E.M. Forster). Maybe not well, maybe sometimes badly, but sometimes well and sincerely… She’s always working for and taking the connections that come to her characters. So, yes, sometimes we see them do silly and idiotic things, endure drama and pain to see if that connection is worth salvaging. And that’s an experience everyone endured. Staying in that relationship a little too long, pushing a little too hard, giving up too easily, etc.

Ok… movie.

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Aura is flirting with the Hipster Chef again. Ugh. Flirty small talk. Ok, even thought he mentions “tentacle rape” is worth Googling, maybe don’t. And definitely not at work. If you’re unfamiliar with Hentai (the adult version of Anime) think rope bondage with living ropes that get a little probey. Shudders….awkward flirting. sips Diet Coke.

OMG. the cat in this movie as the most pronounced browline of any cat I’ve ever seen. It’s seriously intense.

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Family meltdown. Chef asks out Aura.

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She goes to Charlotte’s house to find something to wear where she teaches us important life lessons… like… “show off your puffy nipples” and “just, grab his cock”… If that offends you in an interpersonal way, your can mentally redress the advice to apply to life. I.E. “Grab life by the balls.” Or nipples. Why shouldn’t life be female?

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Mom kicks out Alex, Aura quits her job with a flourish. I’ve never quit a job. I had one really self-satisfying two weeks notice. But then there was that awkward two weeks of “I don’t want to be here. You don’t want me to be here… I’m just going to go to Wendy’s and sit in my car everyday at lunch until this is over.” Little sis throws a party, GASP. Aura throws away her frozen hamster because, letting go.

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Etc. Etc. Frankie friend-from-school arrives and doesn’t mesh with friend from pre-college life.

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Aura gets high and has sex with the Hipster Chef in a construction pipe. Which, can’t be pleasant… I mean: drafty, noisy, and not conducive to proper communication.

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In the last few minutes of the film and nice stride comes into place between Aura and her mom. “You know, if the Fulbright thing doesn’t work out, you could be a massage therapist. You have a very intuitive touch. You’re like my sister.”

I love LOVE the last ten minutes. The conversation between them is so perfect. I love that the mom is in the childlike fetal position, that Aura is comforting her, but how the conversation is still so mothering.

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And here’s where I am with this movie. At this point, it is really difficult to separate this from all the episodes of GIRLS I’ve seen, especially with the actor overlap, and some similar plot moments that I’ve seen used and reenacted better in her series. That last scene makes the whole movie for me. I do like seeing Lena act opposite her sister, that’s neat. There’s a lot about this movie that bumbling, but it’s supposed to be that way.

If you are anti Netflix, you can also find the film it it’s entirety on YouTube.

Thanks for reading!

– SH

The Ice Storm

It’s winter in Texas. My apartment is cold. My tea is tepid the instant I put it down on a coaster, and my cat must be touching my person at every moment. What better film to watch than…

The Ice Storm (1997)
Starring Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, and Sigourney Weaver
Directed by Ang Lee
How I saw it: Streamed via Netflix
First time seeing it, No previous knowledge of the film

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The credits show over Native Americanesque flute music (scored by Mychael Danna).The screen is dark and we slowly, painfully slowly pan across something that at first looks, to me, like a coffin, then maybe a fallen tree. At last, train tracks, covered in ice. I just love icicles. Would it be strange to call them cute? Whoa, Christina Ricci is in this? Where has she been? Incidentally, if you haven’t see Snowpiercer, you should. Fantastic film by Bong Joon Ho. Also deals with a frozen train. Title appears

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Tobey McGuire is reading a Fantastic Four comic. Wrong superheros, Spiderman. Monologue equivocating Fantastic Four with family, how family is what you must emerge from and return to. So, there’s our theme everyone. Got it? Like a thesis statement. Nice.

McGuire: “It was a typical predicament for the Fantastic Four, because they weren’t like other superheroes. They were more like a family. And the more power they had, the more harm they could do to each other without even knowing it. That was the meaning of the Fantastic Four: that a family is like your own personal anti-matter. Your family is the void you emerge from, and the place you return to when you die. And that’s the paradox – the closer you’re drawn back in, the deeper into the void you go.”

With a quick trip to IMDB, I figure out the family units.
Hood family: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Tobey McGuire, and Cristina Ricci.
Carter family: Jamey Sheridan, Sigourney Weaver, Elijah Wood, and Adam Hann-Byrd

And now here’s Katie Holmes.Note to Spiderman, flirting via Dostoevsky isn’t the wisest plan.
OMG Mr. Universe!!! You’re alive. Can’t stop the signal. *fistbump*

I’m kinda in love with the Hood family’s house. So 70’s and so many patterns going on. On the walls. On the furniture. Like a Magic Eye book vomited.

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So family and neighbors are under one roof, which I’m sure will lead to all kind of craziness. They’re discussing key parties. Unsure how that greatly differs from swinging? More random less choice involved. And Kevin Kline is shut down by his wife. Ouch. So their marriage is clearly happy.

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New scene. Watching the train come into the station. Lemmings fill the train, go about their day-to-day. Kevin Kline wistfully looks out the window not reading his newspaper and can’t focus at work. You’re right, Kevin. Something has to change.

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We’re panning across a table covered with books: Doris Lessing – The Summer Before Dark, Sarte – Being and Nothingness, Camus – Resistance, Rebellion and Death etc. Oh my goodness. Reverend has flowing hippie hair. Whooooa.

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Ok, so we segue between scenes kinda like a flipbook. Lee cuts back and forth frequently between ongoing storylines so we get the sense of all that is going on at the same time. Ricci and friends having some girl talk. Wood and boys sucking at flag football. Ricci and Wood have an eye contact moment… so… Ricci takes off on a biking quest.

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Mom looks to be crushing on the Rev. Ricci shoplifts from a pharmacy. Now she’s making out with Wood in an empty pool. He put his gum behind his ear for safekeeping. Who does that?

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Kline and Weaver are having an affair. She has to remind him that their relationship is strictly sexual, as they are both married, so small talk is not required. Laughing because the woman is telling the man to talk less. So, you know, subverting the expected gender norms. Resisting the urge to make an Alien facehugger allusion.

Weaver: “Ben, you’re boring me. I have a husband. I don’t have a need for another one.”

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Ricci plays the trombone. Yeeeeees. That’s awesome. Because you know I’m all about that brass, bout that brass… Mom tries to shoplift lipsticks and gloriously fails. No shades of vicious trollop for you.

Frodo’s younger brother is playing with firecrackers.Weaver instructs him to play with a bullwhip instead. Because, parenting!

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Ricci and Firecracker have the beginning of a coming-of-age moment in the bathroom. She shows a little skin and when it’s his turn, he loses it. This kid has serious issues. Please do not buy him a pet. He is a psychopath. Or maybe he’s just rebelling because she actually said “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

Kline and wife make out in the kitchen. Then Kline picks up McGuire. Thanksgiving break. Decided this is a good time to discuss the “facts of life”… Oh dear. Excellent father/son moment talking about “self abuse”.

Kline: “On the self-abuse front – and this is important – I don’t think it’s advisable to do it in the shower. It wastes water and electricity and because we all expect you to be doing it there in any case. And, not on… under the linen… Well… Anyway, if you’re worried about anything at all, just feel free to ask and we’ll look it up.”

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The family is all together and they have their Thanksgiving meal. When Ricci is asked to say grace she waxes poetic on white privilege and the injustices done to the Native American. Such a good little liberal. All together now “Amen.”

Ricci: “Dear Lord, thank you for this Thanksgiving holiday. And for all the material possessions we have and enjoy. And for letting us white people kill all the Indians and steal their tribal lands. And stuff ourselves like pigs, even though children in Asia are being napalmed.”

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Ricci puts on a Nixon mask and asks to touch Wood’s manhood. Frodo remember what Gandalf told you…Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

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Kline walks in as they start messing around. Breaks things up and and he and Ricci walk home through the snow. He asks if her toes are cold. When she nods, he picks her up and carries her home. Into the woods. Into the woods.

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Kline and wife accidentally end up at a key party with the horny teacher from 10 Things I Hate About You (you know, and other things too).

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They’re both justifying the desire to stay. Dramatic pause…They stay. The plot thickens. And the Rev. appears and says a truly icky line “Sometimes the Shepherd needs the company of the sheep.” Can we not? He left. All rejected like.

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Ricci, rocking the toe socks. Decides to go explore the ice storm with Mikey.

McGuire, Ricci, and Mr. Universe are having a tiny little party: beer and pills. Mr Universe passes out. Killed me Mal. Killed me with a sword. McGuire starts talking about her aura and she says she thinks of him like a brother. Ouch. Then she passes out and face-plants in his crouch. McGuire spends the next several minutes in an ethical quandry.

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Ricci circles back to hang with Firecracker. Mikey is alone at the empty pool jumping on the diving board covered in ice. Why are you doing that? Stop it. No really, stop it.

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Firecracker shows off his talking soldier toy showing Ricci a hangman’s knot and says, ” Let’s hang him.” What is going on with this kid?

Adults are drawing out keys for their festivities. Ladies, choose wisely.

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Ricci and Firecracker take a few shots of vodka, strip under the covers, and he passes out. Which is kinda of precious and innocent, except she is snuggling with a future serial killer.

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McGuire makes it to the train, just in time, having wisely chosen to leave his friends to choke on their own vomit and flee for public transportation powered by electricity…during an ice storm.

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Why do I feel like this movie is going to end with everyone dead?

Kline’s Wife and neighbor go off the road in his car, but don’t die.  Weaver makes it home and looks sad…. uh oh are Ricci and son still asleep in that bed? Kline is passed out in the bathroom of the key party house.

Mikey is running through the ice covered landscapes like a crazy person. He’s feeling liberated or something. Are you kidding me?! He sits on the edge of a guard rail because he’s out of breath. He looks absentmindedly at a fallen streetlight, he cable snaps, sparks light up the sky, touch the guardrail and sizzle. He falls to the ground, slides a few feet and the scene cuts. What in the actual hell?

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McGuire is reading his comic on the train, the power goes out, the train comes to a stop. Dude, I think your train just fried your neighbor.

Neighbor and wife make it home. She sees Ricci and tells her to “Get dressed.” Kline picks up his keys, drives himself towards home and comes across the prone form of Mikey in the road. He picks him up and carries him home through the woods. Into the woods. Into the woods. Everyone is understandably emotional when Kline appears and deposits the boy into the waiting arms of his father. Families returns to their corners and disentangle themselves from their plot lines.

The Hood family goes to meet McGuire at the train station. There’s a poignant moment. Everyone gets in the car, Kline starts crying, looks back at his son, wife puts a hand on his shoulder, the camera settles once more on McGuire’s face, and the screen cuts to black.

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Well, that was rather fascinating. Still a little concerned about Firecracker. I need him to grow up into a person who is less interested in always blowing things up.

Overall, highly recommended. Some nice wistful 90’s throwbacks. Before hobbits, and Marvel, and a girl named Joey met Dawson and Pacey. *tear*

Thumbs up, pinkies out.

– SH

The Canterbury Tales

A brief confession.

This morning…
I drank coffee instead of tea.

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Shocking, I know.
It was made all the more glorious by a generous swirl of french vanilla. Made much less glorious by the quick gastrointestinal ramifications due to the reintroduction of coffee.

PG Tips forgive me. Smite me no more.

To continue our theme of dramatic word play I decided on…

The Canterbury Tales (1972)
“I racconti di Canterbury” (original title)
Starring Hugh Griffith, Laura Betti…
Directed by Pier Paola Pasolini
How I saw it: Streamed on Netflix
First time seeing it, a little afraid this is the film my Chaucer prof mentioned in undergrad

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**If you’ve never read Canterbury Tales, please know is it sassy, saucy, and just a bit raunchy**

Show credits slowly change over background noise. Is this a stage production? Oh oh…music. Umm….music? Quick, everyone get to their places so we can start the film. I’m not sure if the instrument I’m hearing is a clarinet or a bagipe. Which is, unfortunate. Still staring at black and white credits.

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Eats ramen noodles. Don’t judge me.

Fades to black and….That’s a drunk monk singing next to wine barrels. Ah, Chaucer. Ok, we’re in a city center, guessing we’ll be picking up the pilgrims soon. Camera flips past a few faces and then suddenly, Hercules appears in a stellar blonde wig. I mean, wow.  In a fight scene that looks to be choreographed by Chuck Norris himself, Hercules let’s his pants slip slightly to reveal purple underwear, his opponent admits defeat, and Hercules is given a goat.

Looking through the entry gate a purple clad gentleman with a wide brimmed hat (Chaucer) is bantering with a mysteriously over-tatted older gentleman.
Older gentleman: “Between a jest and a joke, many a truth can be told.”
Snap. The character of Chaucer is portrayed by the director himself.

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At six minutes in, let me say two things. The costuming… just, who is this person and can I please watch all of their films? Secondly,that sketchy man currently throwing shade at who I assume is the Wife of Bath, has to be Russian mafia. And that confuses me greatly. Chaucer, What have you done?

We’re in a pub-like Viking hut and the Host begins to speak. Who, if he is never given a name, will be called Mr. Filch (and he’d like his cat back, Harry.) Tell us a story Chaucer…. do it.The extras are restless, bemused, and they keep smiling awkwardly at the camera. Make them stop. Too much eye contact.

I took a class on Chaucer in undergrad. My professor was rather special. She had a hat she wore to class with replications of pilgrimage pins on them. So three hours a week, I stared at this hat covered in tiny shiny vaginas and phallic images. She also mentioned there was only one version of Canterbury Tales that was made into film. She mentioned is was rated-X. Which is not the same as NR, right?

As a bare butt fills the screen and a rich old man “moans” then “giggles”. Oh, dear. Ladies, when there is a man of means around looking for a wife, please don’t flash your bum. You could end up married. Lesson learned.

Bumflasher is chowing down on some wedding turkey because, we all know she’s hoping he’ll have a heart attack before sunrise. Then, suddenly, what should she spy? But oh my oh my a waif-ish young man sitting spread-eagle across the room clad as a jester. Hold me back. The sexual tension is palatable er palpable.
They are NOT going to consummate this marriage in the middle of their wedding guests.
Creeper: “Alas, I must trespass against you, my spouse, and make you suffer, for a moment of pleasure.” WTF. After a long awkward silence where we find ourselves outside the house/castle/rock-thing with the miserable looking waif, Creeper shouts: “I did it. I did it.” and laughs.

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Cut to a field filled with carefully coiffed trees and a young man with a leafy crown plays a bamboo flute.

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And then, Adam and Eve or two lost young Woodstock lovers peak through the trees as their skyclad forms meander gracefully across the screen.

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The garden belongs to our newlyweds. Creeper (proper name January) sports an impressive cape/coat that I believe was stitched from the fallen hide of Smaug. Copulates on the dragon hide to the alarming grins of flutist and naked Biblical hippies. Really people… some decorum please.

I’ve slept since I read the tales. So I’m currently unsure if we’re on the pilgrimage already, or if all this exciting action took place beforehand. Oh look Creeper has woken up blind. Dragons take their revenge in their own time.

The King of Hades speaks. What? I don’t remember this. Mr. Filch, is that you talking? Did you wander into the Restricted Section? Dumbledore will be cross with you. No way! Hippie Adam is the King of Hades? Shut. up.

That was some painful voice-over work (even though they probably are speaking in Italian). I think they might’ve stolen these two from somewhere and forced them to lip-sync the parts. If you pay very close attention it looks like she says “Help me.” Also, she may be high.

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Sneaky Hippie restores Creeper’s sight just as his wife climbs up the mulberry tree to kiss the waif. May (Bumflasher) is inexplicably overjoyed that his sight has returned. May, girl, I need to introduce you to Lagertha. She’s can teach you the ways of the Northmen, and you could be free from this old man, and be Earl of your people. Plus….Ragnar Lothbrook. I’m just saying. You’d never look at your waif again.

I think that story ended. We have a new character, male, hanging off the side of the building just his head showing in the opening of the window. Someone has been exercising. Or they have a sneaky foothold somewhere on that set.

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He enters the room, peaks through a drape and… shagging peeps. This must be Chaucer’s voyeur bit. I think I skimmed over that. Scandalized gasp… As the Sir on top reaches over for an apple, Is that you Hercules? Your hair I spy? But where is your goat? Calm down top, no one asked to see those kinds of pelvic thrusts.

Excuse me… my tea is getting cold.

There hasn’t been any sound for three minutes. Seriously, is everyone in this place either shagging or peeking in on those that are? I mean, I know Canterbury Tales was a long book, but even if I squint this doesn’t seem familiar to me. Maybe I suppressed the memories. What’s that Abbott and Costello bit? Who’s on First. This part of the film is like that, but the bases are bums. Nuns walking… if only they knew what was happening behind closed doors.

I’m watching this with the subtitles on to make quotes easier, though there’s really not much dialogue, and if some of those titles hadn’t given names as people spoke, I would have no idea who an of these folks are supposed to be.

Gent in the second room pays off the church and receives a pardon, Sir in the first room is poor and so is told he will burn on the griddle. (Also not Hercules as previously thought) Nice little working in of the problems regarding the practices and theology of the church in this time. Check.

There is a crowd in the courtyard, present I assume, to watch the execution of Sir because he is guilty of being poor. The peeking guy is walking through the silent masses repeatedly yelling “Griddle cakes!” peddling his pre-Americana version of baseball’s hotdogs, beer, and Cracker Jacks. (Cracker Jacks?…Tracker Jackers?… Whichever) He’s said it at least twenty times. I’ve begun to go mad. Ok, Sir was definitely dosed with Tracker Jacker venom before they brought him outside. That guy is seriously scrappy. Do we have to watch him die? Oh my god, they’re burning him alive. I am so disturbed. The peddler is overjoyed and keeps maneuvering closer to get a better look. Morbid weirdo. Stop smiling like that!

Then there’s a stilted interchange between two rent collectors (one of which is our morbid weirdo). One who invites the other to his place (because we didn’t already have enough homo-erotic tension).

I was about to tune out for a second an then weirdo said “I am the devil. My dwelling is in hell. And hereabout I ride to earn my living just as you.You cheat without scruple just as I do.” So, I’m thinking that invitation is retracted. But this movie has surprised me before. Why is the Devil peddling griddle cakes anyway?

Windmills! Don Quixote must be near. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actual windmill in person. That must be rectified.I think the Devil is going to make this old woman tilt her own windmill. Don’t do it. If I was reading, this is the point I would skim and start over with a new chapter. Instead I’m going to go put away dishes…

New story. A young Italian Charlie Chaplain exits a barn with a fine hat and cane whilst an angry man yells at him calling him a bastard.

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There’s no dialogue for a a little while. It all gets very vaudeville, then Chaplin returns home. He father yells at him and his mother brings up an entire turkey for him to eat in bed. Good boy.

Chaplin’s gotten a job shining eggs. I just… I have no words. And he’s fired for winking at a man with long ginger hair. So he went home with the long-haired ginger man and it would seem that he had a menage a trois with ginger and ginger’s wife. Now he’s dreaming of a naked dance party. The musicans and none of the ladies are wearing a stitch of clothing aside from their little white caps. Chaplin is still fully clothed. He sings gleefully as he’s put in the stocks. And thus his story ended.

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Finally a story I remember. A youth oh so in love with Allison. Beware the beard lusty youth. Oh my….what a large….presence the youth has hidden in his orange britches. Allison is such a cougar.

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Full-frontal male nudity. That’s equality for you, and shaved as well. I feel that’s probably a historical inaccuracy. I also feel like this story is the one that most people know, if they’ve read any of Chaucer. If not, I can’t even tell you what to expect besides lots of flesh, farting, naughty humor, a hot poker, and an unfortunately placed kiss.

This movie isn’t for those who tire of a constant onslaught of pale flesh flashing before their eyes. And it is constant.

Gotta love the Wife of Bath: “But as all my husbands say. I’ve got the best little venus down there in the city of Bath.” Step aside Allison.

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And then there was The Miller’s Tale and an excellent example of the issue of “consent”… More than a little rapey. But told with such humor you almost miss it. *facepalm*

Ok, now I have no effing clue what is going on. Are we in a brothel? I don’t think I can handle one more dangling, bobbing, bulbous appendage. 13 minutes left.

Nope. For the love of…. I don’t even know. For some reason we descended into hell. There are naked demons covered in body paint flopping about the screen. One of them bent over, farted, and Friars came jumping out of his bum.

I quit.

– SH

The Silence of the Lambs

Being the Monday after Christmas I thought I ought to ring in the new year with a flourish. So, let’s watch…

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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster
Directed by Jonathan Demme
How I saw it: Streamed on Netflix
I’ve seen the movie once before.

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Opening shot of a misty woodscape obscured through a stark empty tree. labeled “Woods near Quantico, VA” Which is exciting for me because I’ve been binge watching all the seasons of Criminal Minds. So that has rightly prepared me for viewing this film.

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Jodie Foster got top billing. Get it girl!

Scruffy looking Jodie Foster with a side ponytail before its time emerges from the woods clad in sweats running, running, sweating in the horribly affected chest triangle that all movies seem to depict. Who actualy sweats through their shirt in a perfect triangular pattern? Really.

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Howard Shore did the soundtrack. That seems to make sense. Because he does almost all of the movie soundtracks.

How short is Jodie Foster? She just got in an elevator with all men and was at least a head shorter than all of them? Oh, I see…. woman holding her own in a man’s world. Got it. Subtle.

Dreamy eyed Foster looks at the wall of case evidence. “One day, I too shall solve a case…” Clarice Sterling? or Starling?….Starling.

Dr. Frederick Cleary is a creeeeep. Close shot of the face as he shamelessly hits on Foster. Ugh. I bet he eats faces too.

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Ooh there are rules for seeing Hannibal.
“Rules: Do not touch the glass. Do not approach the glass. Hand him nothing but soft paper. No pencils or pens. No staples or paperclips. Use the sliding food carrier, no exceptions. if he attempts to pass you anything, do not accept it.”
I think this will be important.

Prison guard: “I’ll be watching. You’ll be fine.”
There are other crazies down here we need to meet in this film.
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Hannibal and Clarice have the same color eyes. I wonder if that was done on purpose. Ok, her accent is bothering me. Settle down Ms. West Virginia.

Hannibal: “Memory is what I have instead of a view.”
He even blinks deliberately. How fascinating. Makes him looks like a bird of prey. The intense unyielding eye contact.
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Why is she so pliant? Does whatever anyone tells her. Come on Foster. Don’t be reactionary.
Look, she isn’t the only female. There’s also a convenient women of color… light skinned. (Diversity – check. eye roll)

Why do mysteries generally lead to locked/abandoned storage units? Call the Winchesters. They might be helpful in the next hour and a half. Hey, look. Stuffed bird of prey.. you know… because predator.

Now we’re building rapport between the characters, letting both their characters fill out and size each other up. Sooo much talking.
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Scrolls through Pinterest…Captain America, Sherlock meme, cute panda…

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Cut to Memphis, TN. WHAT? Is that Dr. Hahn from Grey’s Anatomy? Dang curly hair. No, no Dr. Hahn. Don’t get in the van. Really?? SEE! That’s why you don’t get in the van. Some strange man hits you over the head and guesses your dress size. Run away. Oh, you can’t.

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Clay Co., W VA
“Looks like a Buffalo Bill type situation.” ewwww Can we not?

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Pulls bug cocoon from mouth of dead woman. No. No. No.

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Now that we had a side scene with a couple awkward smart guys in a dark place. We know it is the death-head hawk moth, or something. We’ll just call him Dead Head.

No, we went to a scary place. I want to be somewhere else. I see buttocks and a small fluffy white dog. Lassie, Timmy is down the well!

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Stop looking directly at the camera, Hannibal. No one wants to lock eyes with you. Can’t look away.

Buffalo Bill: “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.” Ok, this is a hot mess. I can never again casually stroll through Bath and Body Works. Ever.

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Seriously. Stop.

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Hey, creep face. Why did you let Hannibal get at your pen? You are in so much trouble.

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Foster and Hopkins are going through their lambs scene. Sigh. We keep getting closer and closer to Hannibal’s fce. Must. back away. Don’t get close to the glass. Ewwwwwwwwww…. his finger touched her finger when he handed her the case file. Must pause film and go wash hands.

It’s about to get bloody. Dear Nameless (soon to be faceless) police officers, Its been real. Camera reveals a paperclip(?) in hand. So those handcuffs won’t last long. Don’t crouch beside him. Never crouch beside a crazy person. I find it very interesting that he winces each time he hits the officer over the head. Seems like, if he were enjoying it, that wouldn’t be his reaction. Let me consult Dr. Spencer Reid. He’ll know.

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My nose is running. I’m cold. And Diet Coke is gross…. should have brewed tea instead. This movie is making me uncomfortable.

Doors fly open to reveal a grotesque masterpiece illuminated by sunlight. Ok, someone should be vomiting. This is seriously disturbing. There’s a room full of cops an they are just seemed slightly shocked. Not a gag anywhere? A dry heave? No.

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Ok, so this is the last thing I remember from the movie. It doesn’t end here? Oh….uh oh. What did my mind want me to forget?

What. WHAT? He’s in the ambulance. AHHHHHHHH. Turn around. See. This is why I don’t like masks. You are wearing a face that is not yours. Don’t do that.

Oh great, back to Buffalo Bill. Because that is so much more sane. Sewing skin. Obviously. Wrong leather, weirdo. Buffalo Bill needs to learn how to manage his wig. That is unacceptable.But his tuck job, admirable.

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Why had is been twenty minutes since we last saw Hannibal Lecter? You know, he was wearing someone else’s face in an ambulance. Hannibal is at large. I repeat, Hannibal is at large.

Why are there Rocky Horror lips on my screen?

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Foster is in skinwalker’s house because she doesn’t know how to clear her corners…. as we saw earlier at the FBI Academy. Luckily one of the Dead Head’s flew into the room, so she realized her error. Not the basement. That’s almost as bad as running upstairs. Things you don’t do when there is shady music playing: run upstairs, out into the dark, through a corn field, stand in one spot and never look behind you.

Ten minutes left to the film. I’m unsure how this will all resolve. Hannibal is ravaging the city. Buffalo Bill is hunting the new fall collection with his night vision goggles. And Foster will soon hyperventilate and fall down the well with Timmy because she can’t calm her very loud breathing. Dr. Hahn will never make it to Seattle Grace but she will use the fluffy dog as a grappling hook in an attempt ot free herself. Fluffy dog will wiggle loose leaving the two women at the bottom of the basement in eager anticipation of their contribution to the fashion show..

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OR, Starling shoots skinwalker, continues with the heavy breathing, and right….. let’s please address the Hannibal issue.

Such good lines right at the end. “Have the lambs stopped screaming?” “I’m having an old friend for dinner.” Well scripted. As Hannibal saunters off into the crowd.

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So, wait, what happens? Is there more? Nooooooo….. I hate unresolved endings. Grr.
Ha, the credits thank the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI. Sweet. High fives Dr. Reid and knocks on Garcia’s door to study her subtle genius.

In the words of Druscilla from Buffy: “Do it again. Do it again.”

– SH

Chasing Amy

I’m a few days out from my Hobbit Marathon. I’ve just iced 70 cookies for an office thing tomorrow, and there is still much evening left. So, thanks to some fancy Googling and a quick scan of titles that look a little happier than that last movie I viewed… I found…

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Chasing Amy (1997)
Starring Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams
Directed by Kevin Smith
How I saw it: Streamed on Netflix
First time seeing it, No previous knowledge of the film

Oh look. Ben Affleck. I like this movie already. Can we talk about the foreshadowing opening shot of a newspaper talking about Batman with a b&w shot of Ben Affleck’s character off to the side. You know, because he’s about to play Batman. Whoa.

Why are they showing comic strips? Not complaining. Looks more my speed. Ok, this movie has legit geek cred. – just realizing who Kevin Smith is.

Where are we? Dude, ComicCon!! But not real ComicCon. One in Manhattan. Need to go to SDCC.

Points for the Rosencrantz an Guildenstern reference. (If you’ve never seen Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, do yourself a favor. Also, Hamlet. Oh..Hamlet.)

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This is very 90’s grunge.
So Holden is a writer for a comic whose name I can’t remember. And he has this really intense roommate named Banky…who shall be referred to moving forward as Banksy.

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Alyssa Jones is our female protagonist. Handy that she’s speaking on a panel so she has her name card right in front of her.

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Ben is yelling with one of the panelists about Lando and Star Wars and racial tension is reaching some extreme levels at this panel. ComicCon is not a joke, people.
Banksy: “What’s a nubian?” Oh dang… Chasing Amy just got relevant. Angry man is yelling about gentrification. And pulls a gun.

ChasingAmyFabEnd of scene. Angry man breaks character and we realize…Angry black man is actually fabulous. It’s all staged. I feel so lied to. Thank you, Fab Man. Thank you for lying to me.

That girl. She has the voice..what is she from? Are we now hearing the Mighty Mighty Bosstones? What? “Never had to knock on wood…” Wow.

Uh oh, Holden and Alyssa are by themselves at a table in a smokey bar with the MMB singing out over them. She challenged him to darts. She’s good. You show him. On the wall behind them someone has written “And on the eighth day God created beer.” Aww. Originality is cute. Alyssa exits screen… and Holden is wooed. Staring off screen with the light on his face, illuminating his formerly darkened heart.
Fab man: “Let me guess, you like her.”

Cut to: Red Bank, NJ
We’re in the guys’ apartment? Studio? Both? Working on their drafting tables in the soft window light diffused through a flourishing marijuana plant. So elegant, so homey.

Dear Ben Affleck,
You are in a RomCom. Things are going to get so much worse before they get better.
Sincerely,
The Plot Twist That Invited You To The Club Opening

Hahaha oooooh Holden. She’s a lesbian. Please realize this before you say something really awkward, or continue dancing like you are. (Club is called Meow Mix) Plus the proportion of women to not women present is painfully obvious.
Check – three sets of ear piercings. Sooooo 90’s.

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I feel like this is Buffy at The Bronze in a crossover non-Whedonverse world. Maybe that one issue of Season 8 where she dabbles with same-sex tomfoolery.

This song has gone on too long. We can move on now.
Alyssa aggressively kisses blonde in the front row. Cat is out of the bag. (Yes, I went there)

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It’s ok, Ben. It happens to the best of us. This is incredibly high brow. I wouldn’t recommend viewing unless you have an expensive glass of wine in hand. Extended table scene discussing the proper usage of “fuck” and the proper level of communication during sex. Excellent reference sequence for HS Health courses, maybe even to show during freshmen orientation at college. Poor Holden is not appreciating the other two one-upping each other on their past shenangians.

Awwww baby Matt Damon is in the movie. Baby Matt: “The days of Butthead are over.” That’s a career changing line right there.

OMG rapid progression through time sequence of Holden and Alyssa. And Holden is wearing a TRAGIC cable knit sweater. Yikes.

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There it is. In front of the marijuana lamp with peace signs on it. Holden declares his love for Alyssa to Banksy. It doens’t go well, because Banksy may or may not be ever-so-slightly in love with Holden. Holy homoerotic tension, Batman.

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Holden and Alyssa are driving in a car: Nooooooo he just said he loves her in the rain, on the side of the road, in a car….and he’s still going. Oh my goodness. AHHH.

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That is some Say Anything, crazy 80’s John Hughes, please make it stop monologueness. “Don’t you forget about me.” Uh oh… now they’re standing in the rain. You are standing in dripping nature pheromones. Flee!

You know, she sounds like Julie Benz. Darla….from Buffy. That’s what her voice reminds me of.
Holden’s walking alone in the rain… sad and alone…. annnnnd she’s kissing him. I told you both to flee the pheromones.

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They destroyed his apartment. And is that mustard, everywhere? How does that even happen?

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Then the plot spiral begins… I’m working a puzzle on my iPad. Because, free daily puzzle.

I will never look at fingercuffs the same way again.
Also, my cat is trailing a ribbon across my foot just hoping I’ll pay attention to her. OMG Banksy was in Dogma. When was the last time I saw that movie? Alanis Morisette doing her God thing.

Then things get very loud and dramatic at a hockey game. WHY IS THERE SO MUCH YELLING?!

I will say, I appreciate this movie being told through the lens of two male friends instead of from a female perspective. That’s counter-normative. The guys in this movie have so many feelings. SO many. This movie is way too wordy for me. I’m kinda flip-flopping between thinking this is the “bro-i-est” movie ever and thinking it has these crazed movies of subtle genius. Maybe I’ve eaten too many sugar cookies.

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Things fall apart with Holden and Alyssa because fingercuffs and not letting the past be in the past. Which leads to a conversation in a cafe that I’m sure is much more exciting if you’ve seen Kevin Smith’s other movies. But I’ve enver seen “Clerks” or “Mallrats” And who is Silent Bob?

We flash forward to a year from now. Banksy is by himself at a ComicCon. He looks across the room and sees Holden. They have one of those cinematic silent conversation with their eyes and microexpressions that means either “Goodbye”, “I love you”, or both.

Then Holden shows alyssa his new comic which is about him, and no one finds this creepy, at all.

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But let’s not kid ourselves… in the end, this movie was really all about Holden and Banksy. Ahh…true friendship.

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That was amusing. I’ll have to watch it again when I’m much more tired. My appreciation for comedy dramatically increases when I’m exhausted. Otherwise, I’m pretty much a comedy snob. I.E.: “That was not funny. Why is everyone laughing?”

Thumbs up and a fist bump for “Chasing Amy”

– SH