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

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

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.

The Ice Storm (1997) Blu-ray Screenshot

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 Vanishing

It’s Tuesday, and I’ve just ordered Jimmy John’s for dinner. My cat is mad at me because I no longer have class on Tuesday evenings. So she’s moping under the comforter on my bed. I have been ostracized to my living room with my fresh cup of Darjeeling tea. I run a tired finger across a handful of movies I recently picked up from the library and land on…

Sploorloos

The Vanishing (1988) Original title “Spoorloos”
Starring Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, and Johana ter Steege
Directed by George Sluizer
How I saw it: Rented DVD from the public library
In French/Dutch, Subtitles in English
First time seeing it, No previous knowledge of the film

Credits, credits, forgettable soundtrack that badly wants to be the synthesized version of the theme from “Love Story” then…

Behold, stick insect. I’ve often thought more movies should open with a good lingering shot of a stick insect. I mean, they’re a fairly photogenic creature. See?

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Oh how lovely…a road trip. Young couple in love… just a car, two bikes, each other, and a foreboding soundtrack.

Dialogue begins, wait, quick subtitles… I can’t understand what they’re saying…

“Animals with a ‘C'”… “Crow” “Crocodile” “Chameleon”

For some reason they’re listing different animals. Must’ve been a long road trip.

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Where is my Jimmy John’s sandwich? A girl can get hungry waiting for plot to appear.

Saskia: “My nightmare. I had it again last night.” Oh look, plot.

Oh dear, they’re out of gasoline…in a long dark tunnel. WHY?
I know, look for a castle, maybe they have a phone. That always brightens things up a bit. (I solemnly swear to work in at least one RHPS allusion in each post I make…So say we all.)

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This woman is still going on about her dream. She’s clearly obsessed with gold eggs and the idea that they’ll be run over. Turns out, her vision of these eggs, was actually headlights… or something. Pft.

Rex leaves her to look for a gas station.
Saskia: “You can’t leave me here alone.” Oh, but he did.
Saskia: “Rex, wait.”
You remember that, Rex. Remember she asked you to wait.

Rex returns with gasoline… annnnnd…*gasp*….she’s vanished.

You know where else people are very obsessed with eggs? The Great Gatsby….those people were all about East Egg, West Egg…scrambled eggs.

Oh, just kidding…. Saskia’s still here. She just walked out of the long dark tunnel and stood there on the road, holding a flashlight until Rex came back…because naturally.

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We now cut  suddenly to a new character. A shady ginger is putting on a fake cast while the soundtrack serenades him with jazzy saxophone motifs. Who? What? Also, why is his cast so big? No one will believe that’s real.

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Rex: “In the tunnel, when you called out to me, I felt I loved you more than ever.”
Saskia:”I hated you.”
Well, good. You two work that out, and for the love of all…stay away from the guy with the cast. I mean… look at him.

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Rex and Saskia make out in a field in matching shirts for awhile, and then she goes into the convenience store. (15:30) Never to be heard from again, except in brief flashback sequences.

There’s a huge 18 wheeler casually pulling through the frame. Is that important? You know, human trafficking isn’t a new phenomena. Rex looks around, OMG, Where is she? She’s in the truck! I bet the shady ginger clubbed her with his fake cast. Open your eyes Rex! Remember two minutes ago, when your life was perfect?

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As Rex panics, he opens the back door to the car and a sack of loose ping pong balls falls out. This nicely demonstrates his current state of disorganization and panic. Thanks for that, director. I was unclear about his current mental status.

Rex leaves a note for Saskia to wait in the car, then runs amok yelling for her everywhere. Seriously, this guy really wants an award for this role. Were there energy drinks in 1988? If so, he must’ve had seven before shooting this scene.
Rex: “I can’t find my wife.”
Random guy in the restroom: “This isn’t the ladies’ room.”
Clearly, but what exactly is a ladies room?

Rex has conveniently captured a glimpse of Saskia in the background of a candid Polaroid shot. Which reminds me, when is the last time I saw Memento? That was a crazy film… Thinking about Memento, thinking about Guy Pearce, Thinking about the last time I saw Guy Pearce in a movie…Wait, movie. I’m watching a movie.

Shady ginger and family live in a shady place, eat with shady spiders, and scream shady screams. Did he just start a stopwatch as he fell asleep? Are we introducing astral projection to the plot? Don’t go into the further…Patrick Wilson awaits you there. Do not go gentle into that good night. Nnnnnnooooo.

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Food’s here. *pause*
Contemplate the shady ginger above.
Would you trust him?

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Ginger just practiced his abduction routine like a dance. And he has a creepy little Moleskin that he records his times, like an athlete… or a bookie. Whhhhhat is happening?
1,2,3 – opens the door
4,5,6 – reaches across his victim to lock the door and cover her mouth with a handkerchief soaked with chloroform.
You know…just say ‘No’ to strangers who are too quick to invite you into their car.

We watch ginge do his thing a few times. See him scope out Saskia. Then we flash forward three years. Poor Saskia. This is what happens when you don’t get top billing.

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We catch up with Rex. He has a new woman with big hair, that doesn’t like being reminded what happened to the girl who came before. Rex is starting to look pretty serial killeresque himself. He is obsessed with finding out what happened to Saskia. Everyone seems to think this is unreasonable and that he should just forget her.

You know, if I had big hair and the last girlfriend of the guy I was dating mysteriously “vanished”… I think I’d want some answers too. I mean, take a look at Rex…he might’ve done it, at this point. Maybe he and ginger are adoptive brothers. If I was Saskia, I would vanish too. This guy is seriously “next week on Criminal Minds”. 

No, no, big hair…. don’t follow Rex up that hill. Use your billowing skirt to fly away to safety.

In retrospect, I would not pair jalapeno chips with Darjeeling tea. It’s a bit, awkward. My eyelid may have convulsed in response. The sandwich, was excellent. I know you were curious.

Rex is having a malarial dream on the hill about those golden eggs again. Maybe he wasn’t breastfed enough as a child. He’s either having a seizure or a spontaneous orgasm. I’m unsure of the need for either at this point.
Ok, he needs some serious medication to cope with his current life situation. It’s ok, Rex. We all need help sometimes. The first stage is realizing there’s a problem. If you need assistance coming to that realization, watch this film.

Ginger teaches chemistry. No wonder he’s a numbers person. Ugh. Numbers.

This movie is only half over…. I may need to spike my mug with something a little peppier. But not pepper-ier. We already tried that. No good. I need pie before this continues to spiral. Ohmygoodness… pie. Why is there never any pie?

What are guilders? Is that currency or a sub-sect of small Tolkien fantasy folk. Oh…Dutch coin. Neat.

Rex, stop with the golden egg already. We’ll find you a nice goose. If you wait long enough, she might just lay you one.

This is no time for a love triangle. Saskia is missing…. she’s not been seen since fifteen minutes into the movie. It’s been almost an hour. Find her!

In other news, if this kind of film seems right up your alley, might I suggest watching Hinterland on Netflix. The Welsh really know how to drown all your hopes and dreams. Then they drown their own…in whiskey. See: Dylan Thomas.

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Rex and the ginger meet. Fighting ensues. Rex is getting in the car. Aww ginger packed him a lunch. How considerate. I love sandwiches cut into triangles. Makes it taste so much better. But why stop with just the halves, Ginger? I mean, follow through, make two cuts…. everyone knows you want four small triangles, not just two halves. Sigh. Rex is so over this movie.

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This is quite possibly the longest car ride ever recorded on film. Though, I haven’t seen Driving Miss Daisy. So, this is the longest car ride that stretched out an hour of a two hour film. I’m now attempting to drown myself in the dregs of my tea.
Ginger and Rex stopped for a roadside chat…. Why?!

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Dear Rex, By now Saskia is 82 years old, and you will no longer recognize her. Please discontinue your search.

Zoned out for a bit…. Ginger showed us how he kidnapped Saskia. Told Rex he would face the same fate she did. So she is dead….ooooooh ok. Well, that’s disappointing.

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Then Rex woke up in a BOX. Is he buried alive? I swear, no. no. NO. He has a lighter. That’s all we can see, and he’s laughing like a crazy person, and screaming for Saskia. Oh, this is bad. This is very bad. Ryan Reynolds couldn’t even get out of this situation.

Am I to undersand that ginger is burying these people on his own property? As we watch his wife water the plants…. No, don’t pan across the ground slowly. I reject this ending. I demand another immediately.

And…cut to black. I hate you. I hate that this just happened to the last two hours of my life.

– SH

Harold and Maude

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

More accurately, in a small apartment ever-so-slightly adjacent to a prominent mall in Dallas, there lived a cat…and her human. Being the second of December the modest living room, furnished with a luxurious three foot pre-lit Christmas tree sat bedazzled with MARVEL superheroes and the endearing Castiel. The tree smelled faintly of Victoria’s Secret perfume because the human hoped the scent would dissuade the feline from munching on the accessible branches. Now the apartment smelled less like the holiday season and more like the “beauty” aisle of a sketchy convenience store. And so the human brewed her tea, curled up on the couch and began to watch a movie…Harold & Maude.

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Harold & Maude (1971)
Starring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort
Directed by Hal Ashby
How I saw it: DVD borrowed from a friend
First time seeing it, No previous knowledge of the film

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The opening doesn’t pull my attention away from my phone until there is music…. “Songs performed by Cat Stevens”. Well, this should be good. Puts phone away

“I suppose you think that’s very funny.” – First line spoken

What the hell am I watching? As a young boy (Harold) with a tragic bowl haircut attempts to hang himself. Woman proceeds to ignore this dire situation, exiting the room. Naturally.

I feel like this would make a great play, how the scenes are set up, the dialogue, even the presentation of the characters to camera.

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Harold, when asked how he amuses himself: “I go to funerals” then cut to car graveyard. At times this has a very Rocky Horror aesthetic. Not complaining. ‘I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.’ How strange was it? Oh, just wait.

At some point I realize this kid is just going to keep killing himself, maybe I should keep track….rewinds

** Harold “suicide” total: hanging, slit throat in shower, drown in pool, shoots himself in the head, death by sword, self-immolation…
Then I gave up. As Harold himself says, “An accurate total would be difficult to gauge.” **

Cue appearance of kooky old woman at funeral… Oh, is this Maude? Who is this actress? Wait, didn’t she have something to do with Satan’s baby (Rosemary’s Baby). Oh my. Neither of them knows the deceased man. So, why are you both at the funeral?!

Then it all got so intriguingly oddly uncomfortably wonderful, that I couldn’t look away. A train wreck flowered before me. My tea grew cold, but I drank it anyway. Is this friendship, is it family, is it love, what…is it?

Now they’re driving in a hearse. How are they not dead after driving like that? Seriously, who drifts in a hearse? This completely blows away any of the Fast and Furious films…because…hearse.

Maude to Harold: “Let me show you a painting I love. This is ‘The Rape of Rome’.” Tepid tea shoots up nostrils

At 37 minutes into the film, as Harold and Maude discussed the kind of flower they would like to be, my cat projectile vomits on my dress shoes to acknowledge the touching moment. Sighs…sips tea.

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I won’t ruin the film for any of you who were equally ignorant of the film until now.

Though, in the future I plan to ruin plenty of them. You’ve been warned. This is your one free pass. Spoiler free.

It will be helpful if you appreciate dark humor. I will say that the performances and chemistry between the actors is wonderful. It is still relevant to cultural issues we still face today, and I was profoundly impressed. This would be a fascinating film for a group to watch together and discuss….As you can see, my cat was largely unhelpful in this endeavor.

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I will watch it again. and again, etc.

Harold: “I haven’t lived, but I’ve died a few times.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to listen to Cat Stevens “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” in honor of true love.

– SH