A Star Is Born

 

lead_720_405I loved it!! It was so fucking SAD though. I knew it was a remake (of a remake!) but didn’t know really anything about the story/what it was about.

Don’t keep reading if you don’t like or want spoilers!

SO very generally, Lady Gaga (Ally) is a cater waiter with her best friend (Anthony Ramos) and he also runs a monthly drag show where she sings in French. In a literal turn (right turn to be exact) of fate, a famous alcoholic musician (Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine) stops in and gets a drink and ends up seeing Ally perform. They connect (she splays out on the bar in front of him and stares unblinkingly into his eyes) and her friend makes him stay after to meet her.

They have a whirlwind night where she punches someone in the face then sings to him in a parking lot, and he invites her to his show but she turns it down saying she has to go to work and sleep (very reasonable). While walking away from the car, we get the very memed portion of the film where he’s like, “Hey!” then after she turns around he’s like, “I just wanted to get one more look at you” and she runs her hand along her nose.

Once she gets back inside her home we get a better feel for the rest of her life. Her dad also wanted to be a singer but never made it, and became embittered about the state of “Hollywood/the Business” and how it’s not really about talent, but about looks and charisma. This clearly hurts Ally, and it seems like she hears it as, “you’re not beautiful enough to succeed.”

Then she goes to work but her boss is a dick, (go figure!!!) so she quits and gives into the chauffeur who was hired by Jack and has been following her around for like 10 hours now, and she and her BFF go to the show.

They get there right during the performance and he invites her on stage to sing the song she sang in the parking lot. He has arranged it and is gonna do it ‘with or without’ her. So-let’s pause here for a minute. This worked out fine, and I’m sure a lot of people were like, “aw!!” but this annoyed me–if anyone did this to me (took something I created and shared privately, then did their own thing with it without my input/telling me, then was gonna perform it on a huge public platform without my consent) I would be very angry. But it worked for her-some people just need a “push,” idk, so she goes on stage with him and sings her part (it’s a duet now, lol) and guess what, she’s talented and amazing and it goes great.

Also someone recorded it and put it in YouTube and it is rackin’ up the views. (Probably the funniest scene in the whole movie to me was when her dad and his friends are like, “And this number is how many people have seen it-how they know that?” Then every time a new person comes in they’re like, “Did you know this is how many people have seen it?” very cute). Jack invites her on tour with him and she sings songs she’s written and they duet, etc. etc. It’s going great!

At some point in the tour a famous manager (this is code for evil!!!!) comes up to her and is like, “I think you’re great, we wanna sign you.” She tells Jackson and he smashes a pie in her face, which again, to me this is rude as hell!!! I thought this was incredibly disrespectful but she seemed ok with it?? Hard to tell because she was joking around like, “You jealous bastard” but then did this thing where she made him fall over into a wall because he was drunk? Hard to read tone there. I hated it in my core, but I’m not dating him!

So she’s signed, and surprise! They have *ideas* about how to make her more marketable as an artist. She pushes back but still does a lot of them, like they want her to go blonde and she goes red (or actually like a Vitamin C orange but u know), and they want her to do choreo and she does but she loses the dancers, that kind of thing. So Ally’s working on her album and releasing singles, etc. ALSO they get married at Dave Chappelle’s house (engaged then married at a church then they go clubbing) and the wedding is pretty and they give Jackson Maine black friends so you know he’s the good kind of Southern.

Ally gets SNL and nominated for a Grammy, (huge week girl!!!) but as her star rises, his keeps fading. Jack gets demoted from singing at the Grammy’s to playing guitar in the background (shameful!) and other stuff. Also his alcoholism (which has been like another character this whole time!) feels like it’s ramping up as well. He punches his brother (SAM ELLIOTT who will NEVER not be Wade Garrett from Road House to me) in the face which makes his brother quit, and other stuff. Have you ever seen a movie show someone’s alcoholism? It’s that. The worst probably though is a scene in the bathtub where Jack comes in to congratulate Ally on getting nominated for a Grammy and she’s like, “How do you know that?” bc he’s drunk and they haven’t talked and he ends up saying he’s embarassed of her music and she gets mad and says something about his dad and he pops off and calls her ugly and she yells at him to get out.

Sidenote: If a woman is having sex with you, you can’t call her ugly, you simply cannot. 

One of my favorite things about this movie that I haven’t seen other people talk about (I also haven’t read any other reviews, so that might be part of it) is how POP music is talked about & viewed. Like ok, when she’s touring with him and doing songs on the road they’re these kind of soul power ballads, then her singles for her album are mostly pop. A hugely significant scene in the movie is when we see Jack seeing her perform on SNL and she’s singing a song called “Why Did You Do That?” of which some of the lyrics are, “Why do you look so good in those jeans?/Why’d you come around me with an ass like that?” and the chorus goes,

“Why did you do that, do that, do that, do that Do that to me?
Why did you do that, do that, do that, do that
Do that to me?
Why did you do that, do that, do that, do that
Do that to me?
Why did you do that?
Why did you do that?”

and he walks out. To me, it is intentionally asinine to show a difference between the music he encourages in her and the music the label encourages in her but people really like this song and have been playing it at parties recently, and I’m self-aware enough to know that even though I don’t like this particular song I LOVE songs that are essentially the exact same song as this: repetitive and sexual and shallow (which lol, that’s the name of the “good” song actually). But it’s really clear Jack doesn’t respect these new songs (not usually great when your husband doesn’t respect your art) but she’s proud of them and she can write both. I just think people denigrate pop and don’t allow that as a genre it just values different things.

As a smart person who loves pop (never thought I’d type that out) I think the pretension people have around most music is stupid and wrong but in this movie I was like, “Oh but these songs are objectively worse than the other songs” so that’s interesting. His big thing seemed to be ‘what are you SAYING’ that’s what he thought was an artist’s biggest contribution. There was a whole thing with his brother about how he stole his brother’s voice which I didn’t entirely understand but it seemed to be that his brother didn’t have a message and he did and that made it okay. And with Ally he gave her this big speech before he got so drunk he defecated himself on a nationally televised live event where he was like, “People like the way you say things, and you don’t know how long they’ll be listening” and that’s why the SNL thing was so devastating to him because he said that and then her song was about someone’s ass.

A big thing then was that at the Grammy’s he got loaded and she won for Best New Artist and he came on stage with her as she’s giving her speech and pisses himself and falls down and then she’s cleaning him up instead of basking in her moment and her dad gets mad at him, etc. So that was the impetus for him to go to rehab, and he does and she visits him and he’s so sad and sorry but she doesn’t care because she loves him.

Then he comes home and it feels like they get ONE FUCKING DAY of happiness before her manager who I hate (my takeway from this is that all managers are evil and I never want one and now I understand why a lot of famous people’s managers are their mom & shit because who else can you trust????) basically tells Jack that he’s bringing Ally down and it’d be better for her career if she wasn’t with him so he KILLS HIMSELF and obviously that’s not the best thing and it’s devastating and she sings a tribute love song that he wrote for her and then I think it ends (I saw it like 4 days ago and I already forgot).

One thing I did appreciate was that they didn’t do this suicide porn thing that’s been happening since the dawn of time where they just WALLOW in the details and show all this shit- they don’t even really show his body except a slice through the garage door window. They also don’t show her processing or finding out, the next scene is after it’s been a little bit. They don’t show her finding him and I actually loved that choice.

Something that’s been pointed out by people I like and respect is how parasitic they portray her success, like as soon as she starts to rise he starts to fall and it makes it seem like that was a cause of it, not like alcoholism is a serious disease that’s no one’s fault and that was gross because women’s success isn’t a detriment to their partners actually even though sometimes people can turn it into that, but that’s on you!!

Gaga did have a lovely cadre of gays and I am forever happy that she gives opportunities/voice to the lgbtq community because they made her who she is and it’s good to honor/not forget that. Obviously I did not *love* that a huge narrative of this movie is that she’s “not pretty enough” bc she is literally a thin white woman who fits every standard of beauty except she just has a big nose and maybe that’s why she was a good choice to replace Streisand, but it can’t be good for anyone to watch that and have everyone agree, “Yeah she’s not a looker” and then think about what that means for you, but every movie isn’t going to save the world I guess.

I have not read the article about Bradley Cooper wiping the makeup off her face in the audition, but I’m sure I would hate it. As we are incredibly aware, just because you can make good art (I did like this movie) doesn’t mean in any way you are a person to be trusted or good at all. I’m sure if I was at a dinner party with Bradley Cooper and intersectional feminism came up there would be some wincing on my part, but that’s just a hunch, maybe he’s Good. No clue.

I do wish someone had told me how sad it was? I thought it was just gonna be one of these musical dramas with a little arc and then a little bow on the end and maybe a shot of them singing their song as old has beens while the next hot young thing makes it, I was NOT emotionally prepared for what I went through and I had to eat an entire pizza afterwards to get over it. Also I hate the poster, the poster is ugly.

4/6 guitar string wedding rings, would masturbate again.

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Drama, Romantic Comedy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Nanette

Nanette_Upset-Digital-Fox-Media

Didn’t like it. I don’t know why I feel the need to be vocal about it though, because I want to just let people have it, if it meant something to you I’m happy, and the last like 8-10 minutes were very powerful, but the HOUR before that just wasn’t funny to me. I wish it was a much shorter talk or lecture because I loved some of the points she made, but it wasn’t really stand up to me, and I read an article that was like, “this changes stand up!!” but I don’t know, stand up is just talking with jokes in it and there weren’t very many at the end which was the best part and the ones that were at the beginning I didn’t really like.

Also there were a lot of sweeping things she said about comedy in general that I didn’t think were true/agree with. Like, ok FOR YOU comedy made you see your coming out as one thing and “sealed the trauma” but a lot of people, myself included, use comedy to actively process things as they’re happening and after the fact. And the idea that comedy can never tell the end because the resolution isn’t funny, idk Mike Birbiglia has built a pretty successful career on telling very inclusive nuanced stories that are very hinged on the ending, and lol that I’m using Mike Birbiglia to prove a point because he’s not really my favorite either, but just–that statement isn’t really true.

I love that she’s telling her story, I liked a lot of the connections and points she made, all the stuff about humanity vs. reputation and how gender plays into who we allow to tell our stories and what that says about us, but again, I wish that had all been a 42 minute TED talk not an hour plus stand up special. Because when you call it stand up I expect to laugh and I didn’t really, outside of 4-5 times. I nodded at things and I empathized, and valued her, but I wasn’t laughing.

I also didn’t like her delivery. She laughed after almost every thing she said in the first hour, and it felt like a mollification and it bothered me. Just say the joke. And the thing she said about self-deprecation, no one made you do that type of comedy. Just change it if you don’t like it. And it bothers me to make a special about how you need to quit comedy. Stop telling me why you need to quit comedy. I did not like that as the thematic refrain. Just quit then. Or do a play. It really rubbed me the wrong way.

Also the whole, meet people with love and humanity-I get it, and sometimes yes, but not all the times. Sometimes that’s just the same respectability politics shit. And the “anger is never productive” thing, ummm, sometimes it is. When it’s civil disobedience and protest and organized political action it is. It’s funny because she said Picasso’s mistake was that he assumed his experience spoke for everyone but that’s kind of what she did too, she assumed problems and solutions based on her experiences which while very valid aren’t the complete picture. And again, I’m not trying to negate any part of her experience, have it- I’m glad to learn and know about it, but structurally and stylistically it did not work for me.

I mean, even the name thing bothered me. You named it after a girl you thought was interesting but turned out not to be? Ok? Honestly, I would like it more if she never tried to explain it at all and left it a mystery but to give a one line, “Ah yeah it means this, not that big of a deal” feels so unartistic to me.

I did like her as a person and I’m happy if someone needed to hear what she was saying. But so much of it I didn’t like. Also the refrain of “not enough lesbian content” it clearly bothered her SO much a woman said that to her and instead of writing a joke about it, she just told us about it, then retold a bunch of jokes about her being a lesbian she wrote a while ago, then referenced that woman at the end of all of them with that line, then went BACK to tell us that telling those things wasn’t her whole truth and was limiting to her.

Why go through all that just to get there, why not just tell the whole truth the first time? And make it funny? Idk clearly it’s not my sense of humor. It felt very jilted to me, like stop and go stop and go. Joke, story, little fact, joke, aside, etc. etc. I felt like she had flashcards and was reading from them for an hour and then in the last eight minutes had a cohesive thought. Before that there was no pacing or build for me, it was stop start stop start then an on-ramp to the highway out of nowhere. Also, a lot of the pieces building up to that I have heard many times before. Like the Madonna/Whore complex thing, I’ve heard that a lot so it wasn’t *personally* groundbreaking, I’m glad if someone heard it for the first time but I have many times.

Some things I did like: I DID like how she said her sensitivity is a strength, and “why is being insensitive the goal?” something like that. It was funny to me how much she didn’t like Picasso and when she was talking about Cubism and how much we all need it and how we all write about it in our gratitude journals. It was funny the first time she said it but then she KEPT saying it, like going way too long on the same punchline/joke. That happened a lot. I truly loved the end like I said. I also liked the line, that lesbians just used to be women who didn’t laugh at men’s jokes. That is a very funny (& true!) observation. I liked her outfit a lot, I don’t know if that counts but I did. Navy blue on navy blue is a bold choice and I respected that. She did have a lot of good lines, it just felt like they were wasted, thrown into this abyss of other talking that didn’t build on them at all and wasn’t connected to itself. Yes, it was all connected in the most general sense that it was her life and ideas but in terms of thematic and articulated thought, it was pretty touch and go.

She did this at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest and I honestly see it fitting that better, and I know she’s performing it in New York as like a one woman show and I think that’s good (I still think it needs some editing) but for a comedy special? For someone who understands how labeling & contextualizing art (Post-Impressionist, Cubist, Modernism) is important to critical reception, this seems an oversight/mistake. It’s a powerpoint presentation with jokes in it but not a stand up special. TO ME, I can already feel people (women) hating this, and I hope no men are taking this as validation if they were uncomfortable that they’re right and just to dismiss it, because don’t do that, that would be a mistake.

I did learn from it and I guess I’m glad I watched it but I’m allowed to not like something and still think it has value or can teach something. There’s a lot in there that was/is good for people to hear, myself included, and I hope they did/do hear it. But that doesn’t make it funny or good comedy. Also I already saw a meme being shared that was her being like, “I don’t identify as a man or a woman, I identify as tired” which, isn’t that a street joke by now? I feel like I’ve heard that a million times already and I don’t like it. It feels like the gender version of those kitchen signs white women have about it being wine o’clock.

Also, I am a straight white woman, I did not grow up with a marginalized identity, certainly not one that was illegal where I lived til only like 21 years ago, that feels like it bears saying. I also haven’t been doing stand up 10 years (halfway there though!). But I DO consider myself an expert at Netflix. Also having opinions, I’m very good at that.

Look, if you loved this, I’m not trying to take anything from you. If you didn’t love it because you didn’t like the things it made you think and feel, maybe examine that and I hope you don’t take this review as permission not to do so. But if you respect what she’s trying to do/did but it just didn’t tickle your funny bone the way Comedy is supposed to, then this review is for you. Also, I get it about Picasso and I HATE when people rape other people (it’s the worst!) but it seems insane to me that she didn’t at least mention Guernica ONCE to just be like, “he is a monster but he did this one good thing.” Am I Joe Rogan now?

2 out of 5 medicated sunflowers, would not masturbate again.

 

Posted in Comedy, Netflix, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hereditary

20180615-122745-phpJmScG7

I loved this movie!!!!! It was truly nuts. A lot of people are calling this a horror movie which it definitely is, but people keep asking if it’s “scary” which is not the word I would use. I think it’s very TENSION filled (amazingly so, the pacing and build is capital A, Artful) and it does have conceptual horror where you have to sit with ideas that are disturbing, but there’s not that many gore/jump scare moments. There’s definitely a little girl being decapitated by a telephone pole, and a pigeon being decapitated by said little girl. But most of the other scary things are just REALIZATIONS you have which is SO COOL.

Ok so-basic plot: Toni Collette (a goddess on this earth who’s never made a bad movie, including xXx: Return of Xander Cage) is a woman who builds tiny scenes for a job (white people) and has a very fucked up family history. The almost first scene in the movie (the very first scene is a zoom-in on the brother waking up in a dollhouse that the whole movie takes place in which I will get to later) is their family going to the funeral for Toni’s mom. She gives this REALLY strange eulogy about what a private person her mom was, and that even talking about her seems like a betrayal. She comments on how she’s honestly suspicious of how many people attended and how she doesn’t know any of them. It’s nuts, it feels so awkward but no one seems to care. We also see a symbol everywhere, Toni and her mom both have it on a necklace and it’s hanging up in certain places as ornamentation for the service.

We learn some stuff at the funeral: the daughter draws, and she has a nut allergy. In the most relatable two minutes ever filmed, the little girl (who looks like the white boy from Stranger Things? Gaten Matarazzao? Am I alone in this?) opens a chocolate bar and takes a bite and her dad immediately is like, “Are there nuts in that? You know you can’t have nuts” and she’s like, “No” and then A HALF SECOND LATER her mom walks up and is like, “Are there nuts in that? Cause we don’t have the EpiPen” and the amount of times my parents would ask me the same question back to back growing up was innumerable.

Ok so they go home, we’re like getting to know this family, the brother is older and seems angsty and weird but also normal. He likes a girl in his class, he has a mole, he’s closer to his dad, it all checks out.

Slowly we learn some more stuff. (Through an amazing monologue) we learn the mom (whose name is Annie btw) was made to come to grief counseling at a different time and she thinks it’s bullshit but she also doesn’t want to put any more pressure on her family. Her brother killed himself, her mom and her were estranged, the mom (Ellen) was weird but moved in with Annie at the end, and Annie’s dad killed himself too I think. She (Toni/Annie) used to sleepwalk and one time woke up covered in lighter fluid at the foot of her son’s bed, where he and his sister were also covered in lighter fluid and she was holding a lit match. She blew it out and apologized/tried to explain but she feels like her son never forgave her & thinks she hates him. In a dream thing later we learn that she never wanted him but her mom made her have him.

Ok so hopefully if you’re reading this you’ve seen the movie, normally I go through and say what happened but I’m finding it really difficult to do that because I saw it a few days ago and the timeline has already left me, but also because so much happens. BUT what I do want to talk about is my thoughts and FEELINGS about the movie because that’s what’s been sitting with me and I want to share.

Ok, so. This movie I think was brilliant in a lot of ways because it lived in this ambiguity where you never knew *quite* who you could trust, (playing with trust of the narrator when the protagonist is a woman is so interesting, it made me wonder about if the main character in  One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest was a woman would reader reaction have been the same?) and what was really happening. To me this movie was a rumination on the intersections of mental illness/family/religion, and where the lines are for behavior becoming harmful, namely when does something shift from regular religion to cult or from human behavior to classified illness. It seems to be when it hurts your family or you prioritize it over the people in your life. The biggest question to me throughout this whole thing was: was Toni Collette (& her mother) mentally ill and imagining/creating these things, or was there a supernatural cult thing happening and they were really communing with the spirit of the devil king?

The title of the movie is one of my favorite things about it because you think it’d be a clue to the answer but actually it supports both- hereditary can mean “determined by genetic factors/able to be passed on from parents to their offspring or descendants” (which would be the mental illness theory, that the mom and the daughter both had schizophrenia and were seeing things that weren’t really there) but ALSO it can mean, “a person holding a position by inheritance” LIKE the Devil King inheriting the body of the child and taking human form!! Supporting the ‘it’s all really happening’ theory. Also, Toni’s brother killed himself and she assumes it’s mental illness/he was unhinged but she says in the grief counseling meeting that he said his mom was “trying to put people inside of him” LIKE THE SPIRIT OF THE DEVIL- so it’s hard to tell whose reality was valid.

One of the most horrifying parts of the movie was Joan. If there was a group of people I swore I could always trust it’d be middle-aged women in linen but apparently not so. The idea that she must have been following Toni Collette for SO LONG—like from when she went to grief counseling for the FIRST time, when her mom was still alive to know about that group and WAITED her out?? And in that art supply parking lot??? Jesus lord. Also who forced Toni to go the first time I wonder?

Steve (Toni’s husband) I trusted the whole time. Also the funniest part of the movie was when he was going up to the attic and Toni was like, “And there’s more” and he was like, “More than the headless dead corpse of your mother in the attic? of course there is.” But like ok, STEVE–did she burn him to death?? I think they made it a bottle of lighter fluid to remind you that this was something she has almost done before/was potentially capable of doing within a delusion. But also it could have been the spirit!!! Tricky.

Also I loved the little girl I thought she was an incredible actress and so INTERESTING. She made so much of the relatively short screen time she had- and honestly with not that many lines either, the physicality was fuggin’ on point, I mean, the way she escalated her breathing episode in the car was a masterpiece, I can’t remember the last time I was that stressed out over something that wasn’t happening to me.

That 12 minute chunk that began with the close up of the girls at the party chopping walnuts (walnuts is their Chekhov’s gun!!!) and ended with the telephone pole beheading, was again some of the most artful build of tension and emotional pitch I have ever seen. I was STRESSING. 

Also did she voodoo doll herself? Because she liked to make all those little totems and she was really close with the grandmother who was a Magic Priestess Queen or something (what was the field of flames thing? I forget what that was) and she cut the head off that pigeon and put it in an altar thing on her desk then SHE got beheaded. Coincidence?? I felt like the grandma possessed her and made her sacrifice herself. Also maybe it’s just all the oversized hoodies and dead birds and chocolate but I really identified with that little girl.

To return to the crux of this whole thing- there’s basically two stories that it could have been. Either it’s mental illness-which would mean, Toni dug up her mother and put her in the attic, her mother killed her father, she killed her husband-it’s this cycle of the disease. OR if the religion/cult thing is real, everything we saw is true and she tried to save them but the spirit possessed the daughter and killed her to eventually get the son to break to be weak enough to be inhabitable as a body.

Visually: The shot of the bike on the ground outside the house when the mom is in the car and watches Peter go inside then drives to grief counseling is BREATHTAKING. Some of those larger tracking shots of like the forrest and stuff were models I’m pretty sure, which is also fascinating. Also I love the little circle picture windows that were in the scenes she made and in the real house they lived in, it blurred the line of what was what and made everything look like a creepy dollhouse.

We cannot forget the element of these little houses and scenes being built, of which the whole story takes place (remember that zoom-in from the beginning??) and that would support the idea that it’s mental illness, everything we witness is part of Toni’s construction, she’s creating all the elements in this world, and pulling all the strings. I wonder if the pressure she felt from the gallery represented the real world closing in-maybe that and the deaths made her snap? I wish I could remember what play they were discussing in Peter’s history class in the beginning I’m sure it has thematic significance and would be a good clue here. Can someone tell me? I don’t remember and can’t find it. They were saying a long name that began with an E maybe? Euripides? And the class discussion revolved around guilt/moral absolution of blame based on intent? I think? And what were the words the little girl wrote on the walls everywhere? They were in another language and maybe they were the grandmother working through her either to make possession easier or to give Paimon (the devil king) handholds in this realm? The mom painted them into the lil replicas too. Um lol also canNOT believe she recreated the car accident with the bloody head, that felt like WorldStar shit, but emotionally. You get it.

The son leaving the sister in the car for them to FIND, and going to bed without telling them was UNREAL. Then the petty part of me couldn’t help but notice that she did it to him later with the dad after he immolated, she didn’t warn Peter, he just found him. I felt like that was intentional even if subconsciously. That scene at the dining room table where she screams at him was so incredible and real. Toni Collette is an incredible actress. That scene and the monologue she gives at grief counseling were like a master class in emotional pitch and control and range (she has the range!!!).

I missed what the obituary notice in the beginning said, did it have any clues? I was finishing a tweet and missed it. 😉 The note the grandma left was apologizing for not being able to explain things and that she would understand and all the things she’d done would pale in comparison to the rewards so I think she did murder the husband but it was to set their family up for all of eternity with the leader of the apocalypse on Earth? That’s sweet.

Annie’s mom made her have the baby (Peter who she didn’t want) so she could have a host body, but Annie never let her near him. Then with the second child she “sunk her claws in her” immediately, and I think made her die ultimately so the spirit could possess Peter. (Lololol that the disembodied spirit of the devil preferred a male host. Is it commentary that men are the root of all evil or that even in a spirit realm independent of time and space there’s stil sexism?? We’ll never know!!!)

Also from the Wikipedia page, this is insane: “On Anzac Day in 2018, the trailer for Hereditary played before the PG-rated family film Peter Rabbit in a cinema in Innaloo, Western Australia. According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, the Hereditary preview was accidentally shown to family audiences and created a small panic in the theater. The theater was apparently full of families including ‘at least 40 children.” Lol, whoops!

Anyway, honestly I’m giving it 5 out of 5 decapitated pigeon heads, would certainly masturbate again.

Posted in Drama, Murder, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upgrade

UpgradePosterDC-Copy

Loved. Along with Venom, this is a summer blockbuster where a man is violent because of something on his body he can’t control. Logan Marshall-Green plays Grey Trace (which is A. the most fake male protagonist character name in the world AND B. a weird mixture of the name of the role I know and love him from, TREY, Ryan’s older and troubled brother on The O.C.) is a house husband (I lovedddd that they never gave him a career) to the love of his life, Asha.

Asha works for a tech company making body parts for soldiers injured in combat-also we are in the future btw-and a lot of money. She has a car that drives itself and a lot of love for her husband. Grey (husband) loves working with his hands, fixing up cars and complaining about technology. They are a classic pair: hot smart girl and curmudgeonly old grandpa inside the body of a hot man.

Asha gets home from work and wants to sit down, order pizza and do more work, but Grey has to drop off a car to a rich client who lives under a rock (very literally) and he needs her to come with so she can drive him back. They go, meet the guy who is a blonde weird introvert genius who is building a cloud when we walk in. Asha knows who he is (something Keane–the imdb is listing people alphabetically right now which I hate, and I’m not gonna sift through) and gushes a lil. He is still weird but opens up and shows them his newest project, a little mechanical bug called Stem that can control anything. It’s a system? Who knows. Grey hates that, they leave.

While driving home, they decide to have sex in the car because it’s driving itself but suddenly realize the car isn’t going home, it’s going to New Crown, Grey’s old neighborhood and a Bad Part of Town. They try to stop the car but can’t and it crashes into a tented area for homeless people. Immediately, a bunch of dudes with masks and knives pull them from the car. Grey is immobilized on the ground and they murder his wife in front of him. No matter how far into the future you go, there will always be someone who murders your wife right in front of you! Very annoying.

He wakes up in the hospital, he is a quadriplegic now. There are mechanical arms installed in his smart home that are voice controlled and can do anything you want, also he has this motorized wheelchair that takes him wherever. His mom comes over and takes care of him, we see him have one breakdown. They go to the police station where the cop on the case is Cortez (Betty Gabriel, most commonly known as Georgina from Get Out–but PERHAPS soon to be known as Nari from Unfriended: Dark Web! Idk there was a trailer, she seems to be in everything right now. Anyway). Grey is frustrated by the lack of progress on the case and he yells a little.

He also decides he wants to kill himself and makes his mechanical arms OD him, but they don’t deliver the fatal dose and call the ambulance. He wakes up in the hospital and the blonde genius is there, skulking around in the corner with a surgical mask on. He tells him that the bug he made can make him walk again, etc. Grey doesn’t want to at first then is kind of emotionally manipulated into going through the procedure to implant the thing in him. He signs a confidentiality agreement and swears never to tell anyone.

It works, the thing (Stem) can talk to him and also help solve the case. It immediately identifies the dudes in the video and they go to the house of one. The guy comes back and starts attacking Grey. This is when he allows the implant to “take over” and it kills the dude in a really cool fight scene where we start learning the full extent of this thing and how it works.

I need to take an aside here for a minute and explain that I saw this movie on a Saturday at 4:30pm in a PACKED theatre, the kind that tries to curate an experience and a ticket is 16 dollars and you can order a steak while you’re watching (Moviepass bitch) and I was sharing a table with someone who ordered four chicken tacos and a root bear float (interesting!), only ate three of them, then LET THE WAITRESS TAKE THE OTHER ONE AND THROW IT AWAY. Which was of course, upsetting to me on every possible level. On the OTHER side of me, these two guys kept laughing at everything, and yes, some things were a little overly dramatic and funny (like when he can feel his arms and legs for the first time after the operation and they play this dramatic music and it’s a lot) but they were laughing at so many things it felt like they thought they were better than this movie which 1. Hello, you’re not and 2. It was so distracting and I hated them.

So he murders this man with a knife by splitting open his jaw on both sides, which looks very cool and gross. Ok, so to fast forward kinda, there’s a bunch of scenes of him using Stem to piece together clues to find all the people who were there who killed his wife, then Stem kills them and he relinquishes control of the body but also is disgusted and steps in when it gets too bloody.

The trail takes us to this guy who is really enhanced and can kill people with his sneezes (the bacteria weaponizes somehow? And attacks them from the inside?) and also has a gun in his arm. This was one of the coolest things in the movie, a lot of these dudes had surgical weapons enhancements and got guns put into their hands and they load the bullets into their arms and it’s really cool. (This and the thing going into the base of your spine and amping you up are both DIRECTLY pulled from two different episodes of Dark Angel, I know no one knows or cares, but it’s important for me to acknowledge). Also, I know the world is terrible especially with guns right now and the NRA is incarnated evil but I still really like fictional violence and this movie did it really well. ANOTHER note-this guy was really intense and dangerous but was also very tiny and had this blonde mustache, like if Mr. Anderson from The Matrix and Kip from Napoleon Dynamite had a baby together.

Um, so he kills that guy and ends up going back to the rich blonde guy house. The cop (Cortez) follows him and Stem tries to kill her. This is where Keane (the inventor person) spills the beans that the mastermind behind the whole thing, the person who killed his wife was….Stem!!! The thing in his head he thought was helping him catch the killer this whole time! The thing just needed a body without any technological enhancements to attach to and Grey fit the bill. So it made the car malfunction and paid people to sever his spine, and the wife dying thing was just kind of lagniappe.

Then we see Grey wake up in a hospital bed and he can use all his limbs and his wife is alive and she’s like, “You’ve been out for a few days” and they kiss but then we go back to the rich house with the cop on the ground and she’s like, “Where’s Grey?” and Stem is like, “I just needed his mind to break and he broke it. Now he’s exactly where he wants to be, in a better place” and it controls the body and kills her and walks out.

I am TELLING you–this is a summer/new era of the bad guys winning. That’s what’s been happening in so many movies I watch! Infinity War (sorry) and if you saw that horror movie Truth or Dare, and now this! We went darker with Christopher Nolan Batman and now as a culture we’re going one step beyond that where the good guys are allowed to lose in the end of anything!!! Watch out. I personally like it, I think it’s interesting and fun, and film positivity has reigned for too long. I like that a different narrative is now becoming an option. And no, not like there’s never been sad movies before but they always have to put some positive spin on the end, or like something to make the bad seem good like *closure* or *personal growth* or something and I like that it’s just fucked up now and people end the movie there.

I really liked this movie a lot, despite the situation I watched it in. 4.5/5 (gasp!) Things That Make Me Want To Rewatch The O.C., will masturbate again.

p.s. I looked him up and the director of this movie did the original Saw!!!! That’s why he gets gory psychological thrillers!

p.p.s. Was it a crime that they didn’t play Upgrade U by Beyoncé ONE time in the whole 95 minutes? Yes, definitely.

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Murder, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Feel Pretty

08-i-feel-pretty.w1200.h630

I did like it. I just didn’t love it and I don’t all the way know why. Good things first: I like the concept overall. Just changing someone’s perception of themselves & how they act instead of physically changing anything or dressing better or changing the way they interact, etc.

I liked that they never showed what she saw. That was cool. I liked the casting, Sasheer Zamata was funny, Aidy Bryant is always funny, Michelle Williams was great, the brother was hot, Rory Scovel was a breakout, the casting was great.

Some stuff I didn’t like: I didn’t like that the opening scene, our introduction to this character, was her falling off a bike and hurting/embarrassing herself. I think there’s a lot of stereotypes about fat people (which also, Amy Schumer is not) that they’re sloppy, lazy, uncoordinated, bumbling, etc. Fat people can ride stationary bikes. It felt like a cheap shot right out of the gate that kind of undermined some of the goals of the premise to me? There’s just so many situations where being fat turns into a negative that isn’t that person’s fault it was weird that they chose an example that seemed to blame her body. Anyway. I didn’t love that, but it didn’t make me mad or hate the movie or anything.

Um, I liked the guy she worked with Mason, even though he was a little “fat gross guy” in the beginning as well, we get more from him later.

So, Amy Schumer plays Renee Bennett, a down on herself programmer? She does something with the website of a makeup brand headed by Michelle Williams as Avery LeClaire, a tiny blonde with the voice of a scared bird. Renee dreams of working in Manhattan at the fancy Headquarters instead of a weird basement office with Mason. She goes there one day to drop off some reports because the internet was down (any time the internet is ‘down’ anywhere, even in a fictional world, I feel a little bit of involuntary stress). While there, she learns about a job opening as a receptionist which apparently is a dream job for her. (I’m rewatching The Office for the millionth time and at one point Pam doesn’t care about the downsizing because, “I don’t think it’s any little girl’s dream to be a receptionist” WRONG PAM-we found the one girl!!).

Then she has a Soul Cycle mishap AGAIN where she falls off a bike and bangs her head. Instead of calling any sort of medical professional, they give her a bandana and a lot of rude looks. She could sue?? Maybe don’t keep bitchily implying that she’s ugly? Idk.

Also Emily Ratajkowski has some stuff about how she has issues with her appearance too and she got dumped. I liked that they remind us that being beautiful doesn’t protect you from heartbreak but thin women being like, “I have body image issues too” is like the All Lives Matter of body positivity bc like, yes, body dysmorphia & eating disorders, but also you feeling bad about yourself isn’t you not being able to buy your size in most stores, or fit on a plane or being discriminated against in a job interview or have a doctor miss a time sensitive medical diagnosis because they just keep telling you to lose weight and don’t trust your own account of your symptoms. (All of which happen constantly). But instead of explaining that in any way, Amy’s just like, “I want to punch you in your dumb mouth” which, is a lillll lazy writing and also a copout of a punchline at this point to me. Eh.

Um, so then she sees herself as beautiful which is cool, and she has lots of confidence n’ stuff. She goes to meet her friends and tells them she’s her, and that scene is funny and well-navigated. I also really like her friends. Busy Philipps is lowkey beautiful and was another one who played a “fat friend” when she was still underweight, (White Chicks, which is otherwise a perfect movie) and Aidy Bryant is the perfect amount of everything. I love her so much.

Then Renee has the job interview at Lily LeClaire for the receptionist job. Naomi Campbell is there (is that common for the CEO to be present for the hiring of a receptionist?) and they’re all shading her a lot but they’re also starting a ‘diffusion line’ which is a more accessible product for Target/drugstores instead of department stores and they’re looking for someone who understands this new type of client they’re courting.

So she gets the job and is killing it, she meets the hot brother who is very hot and he likes her. This was one of my favorite parts because hot men like women who aren’t thin!!!! I mean, I know they like thin women too but I liked that he flirted with her, it felt realistic to me.

Throughout all this, she has picked up and started seeing Ethan No Last Name (Rory Scovel) who did such a good job and is very attractive and funny. I feel like this movie will be huge for him.

There’s a great scene where she and Ethan are on the boardwalk? Coney Island? I don’t know what anything is-but they’re walking by and a bar is having a bikini contest and she goes in and participates and it’s so fun and she doesn’t win which I LOVED because that was realistic. But then she doesn’t care and that’s tight. (There’s a fun cameo from Dave Attell here as the bikini contest runner where he gives a heartfelt speech about how hot his goddaughter is and what a great person Renee is. It’s so good).

They start to date and have sex and they also show stuff with Rory’s character that he’s not all the way comfortable with himself and he kinda lives outside gender norms which are strict and oppressive to men as well and I liked that. Like when they have sex for the first time he keeps turning the light off and she’s like, “No I’m good,” and he’s like, “I just didn’t know if you wanted to see me” which is so sweet and I loved that they gave him uncertainties around sex, we don’t allow men that enough, especially straight men in romantic roles.

Renee’s killing at her job because she knows blush should have an applicator and she tells all the thin rich women that and they eat it up with a spoon. She gets invited to a private dinner with the LeClaire’s and then invited to Boston for the big pitch meeting. The brother is hitting on her hardcore which again, I loved, but she doesn’t cheat on Ethan thank tha lord. I hate cheating!!!!! It shouldn’t be acceptable!!! How can people do that to each other? Anyway. Then she falls AGAIN (AGAIN!!!!!!!!) and is bleeding in the shower for a while.

When she goes down to the lobby her vision of herself is back to what it was and this saps her confidence. She immediately bails on the presentation and FLIES back to NY and ignores all these calls from her boss, and breaks up with her boyfriend over Facetime.

I mean, this level of self-destruction seemed a little intense to me? I guess I’ve never been magically altered and then returned so maybe that’s too much but I’ve done stuff when I felt ugly or fat and you just suck it up and do it anyway. I just feel like I wouldn’t risk being fired because I felt fat? Like at what point is your body such an offense that you can’t do your job? It was a little overboard for me, but to each their own.

Poor Ethan, he’s like, “I think I deserve better than this” and she’s like, “You do- you deserve the world.” And he does!!!!!

We also get a classic fountain/lightening storm in the rain wish scene here, where Renee tries to reverse the magic but no dice.

Some more stuff happens and she finds out Emily is auditioning to be the face of the diffusion line which is all wrong, so she puts on a trenchcoat to correct this mistake LeClaire is about to make. She of course ends up making an emotional journey speech on a stage full of people with a powerpoint about beauty and strength. That bothered me a little too, there was so much emphasis on ‘strength’ in that speech about being yourself and seeing your own beauty, it was like, “We’re all strong enough to ignore SOCIETY’S prison we’ve set for ourselves” and again it’s putting the onus in the wrong place to me? Like, women shouldn’t have to be strong every second of every day to feel good about themselves and if they can’t they’ve failed/it’s a weakness- I think it’s ok to be like, “This is a tough situation and it’s really hard and you’re allowed to feel bad but remember how great you are, etc.” It was mostly fine, about how when we’re little we have all this confidence and then the world takes that away from us, and how many women have seen a photo or video of themselves from before they were cognizant and you’re in awe of your brazen ability to take up space and be loud and unapologetically be you? Probably eleventy million. So that part was resonant and good.

The end I don’t all the way remember now even though I saw it earlier today? She gets back with Rory? And apologizes to her friends for being a dick-oh that’s a whole part of this I forgot, there was an arc after she got used to her perceived hotness where she was being rude and dismissive to her friends and other people she didn’t deem attractive enough, and that was good to show how easy it is to fall into these patterns of thinking and judging/how much work it is to intentionally buck that and try to dismantle it.

Full transparency, I left in the middle (when she’s breaking up with him at the restaurant?) to go throw up in the bathroom because apparently I have a stomach virus or something, so that was also going on with me. I liked their reconciliation where he picked her nose. Probably because I pick my nose and I have been shamed for it!!!!!!!! We can’t all fit your perfect clear-nostriled idea of women, SOCIETY!!!!

Oh I do remember the end, she’s back in a Soul Cycle class, somehow managing to stay on the bike, and a Lizzo song is playing, which, thank god. She is a fuggin’ beacon for inclusive beauty and anthems for self-love. I love her. That was a good choice.

I laughed out loud at a few parts but the funniest one was where Renee interrupted a meeting accidentally then ended up giving some good feedback but was excusing herself and was like, “Ok just give me a sign if you guys need anything else, like a water or anything. And the sign can just be like, ‘Renee can we get a water in here?” and for whatever reason that was hilarious to me. Two straight men (I’m pretty sure) saw it by themselves and that was so cute. I love when men go in groups (however small!!!) to see movies with female leads.

Um, aside from my constant nausea and diarrhea that I was feeling during this viewing, I also was held back from COMPLETE love by some minor annoying things that they got wrong that could have so easily been fixed had they had one person on the writing staff who knew about fat activism or anything like that. But overall it was fun? It didn’t change my life like I was hoping it would, but it’s not a step backwards? It was cool that she wore Spanx and had underboob in that one scene, I haven’t seen that represented often and it was cool. But truly Amy Schumer is still pretty small.

It kind of was like the updated female Shallow Hal and I love that movie, and it wasn’t as good as that to me. But, movies where size is being addressed and people are at least being made aware of these tropes instead of blindly fed them? I’m ok with that. Actually, it felt like the Freaky Friday/watered down/lite version of Dietland. If you were interested in the ideas of this movie but disappointed in the execution, you should definitely read Dietland by Sarai Walker, it’s phenomenal and radical and a more extreme version of this, & I can’t recommend it highly enough.

3 out of 6 stewardess mini skirts with buttons (WHY???), will prolly masturbate again before I die.

 

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Quiet Place

quiet-place

Wow! I went to see this movie because I follow John Krasinski on Twitter (lol) and he retweeted some kind tweet about the movie from Stephen King and if Stephen King compliments your horror movie, I’m gonna go see it.

The premise is one sentence which is that there are monsters that attack anything near a loud noise. The first scene, which is the family at a very ransacked drug store in town getting some medicine for their sick boy, establishes all this SO beautifully without any dialogue. Everyone’s being really quiet and scared and when they’re leaving there’s a newspaper blowing in the wind by the door that has a two word headline that’s just: “IT’S SOUND” and I could kiss whoever wrote that/put it in. So simple and it says so much.

Leaving the store one of the little boys (the non-sick one) tries to get a toy rocket from a high up shelf. It almost falls to the ground but his sister (who’s deaf, this is incredibly important later) dives and catches it before it hits. He brings it with him to the door as they’re leaving and the dad is utterly terrified when he sees him holding it. He takes it from him, takes the batteries out and puts it on the counter and signs to him, “Too loud.”

After he walks outside the sister takes it off the counter and gives it back to him, then he takes the batteries when no one is looking. As their lil nuclear family is walking back to the house (all barefoot), we hear the toy making toy noises. The dad sprints for him but right before he gets there this MONSTER THING whips by and eats/kills him. It’s brutal.

Then we jump to like a year later (the first scene is Day 89 then the second one is Day four hundred something). Everyone seems to take the death in different ways, the remaining boy is really frightened of the outside and leaving their farm (who can blame him though), the sister and mom have internalized guilt, and the dad gets somehow more protective.

We see some exposition shots of them living their silent little lives: eating steamed fish off a leaf, playing Monopoly, walking, pretending to drive a truck, the mom still teaching division still for some reason??, etc. Also Emily Blunt is pregnant now! John Krasinski keeps trying to build a hearing aid for his daughter that works and she gets frustrated because all she wants to do is go with him on these little expositions he insists on taking their son on who very much doesn’t want to go. It was annoying to see that gender binary stuff being enforced even during an alien apocalypse. Like Jesus Christ, if most humans are dead I think we can relax on gender roles and let the older girl who wants to go with her dad and let the younger scared little boy stay home with his mom.

But he doesn’t let her go and she thinks he hates her/blames her for the death of her brother so she runs (walks) away from home. (I know I just keep saying pronouns for people but I don’t think we ever learn their names because no one talks. The imdb is saying the parents are Evelyn and Lee and the remaining alive children are Regan and Marcus but I’m not gonna use that because they weren’t introduced to me that way). I like this girl mostly because of the way she carries herself. Let it be known I love a girl with a sturdy gait.

Meanwhile, out on this voyage to collect fish/teach his son the ways of surviving off the land, they take a nice little detour to a waterfall and John teaches his son how you can yell if you’re by a waterfall because it’s so loud it covers it up. They have some of the only dialogue in the movie here, and we learn that Regan blames herself for their brother’s death and she doesn’t think her dad loves her.

After leaving the waterfall family therapy session, they come across an old man and a dead woman in the forest. It seems like she just died, how is unclear. But the old man, consumed by grief, scrunches up his face to let us all know he’s about to commit suicide by yelling. John grabs his kid and they hide behind a tree. This poor kid, it’s a lotta trauma to absorb before puberty.

They don’t get back to the farm until after dark. MEANWHILE Emily, who isn’t due for 2 weeks, goes into labor early. When going downstairs to SILENTLY GIVE BIRTH BY HERSELF she steps on a fucking huge nail in the stairs and drops a picture frame and one of the demons comes into the house. So she is IN LABOR, bleeding profusely from her foot and vagina, trying not to make any noise so this thing doesn’t eat her.

Emily Blunt acted the shit out of this movie. She is such a good actress, so subtle and controlled and expressive and intuitive and I really like her. I don’t think she has hype because she kind of looks like every white woman actress ever? Like very generically beautiful in an unmemorable kind of way (I think she’s very beautiful!! But I think it’s true what I’m saying) and I think people forget about her or downplay her hits when they happen. They don’t stick to her for some reason like they do with Jessica Chastain, and I think it’s because Jessica Chastain is a little more weird looking/memorable. Cause Emily Blunt has delivered a lotta hits for little to no fanfare. She’s SO funny in The Devil Wears Prada, Sicario was amazing, The Girl on the Train was meh but she did incredible, which goes the same for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Into the Woods was great, The Five-Year Engagement is under-appreciated & great, Looper I think I liked but I kind of don’t remember, but she even does good in The Adjustment Bureau and that movie was terrible! After going through her imdb it seems like she just picks mediocre projects but that streak seems to be over, although she’s also in Sherlock Gnomes so I could def be wrong. Let’s all cross our fingers. Also on the record I do think she’s very beautiful!!!!

She manages to change all the outside lights to red so when John & the boy are walking back they know something’s up. John sends his son to set off some fireworks over the cornfield to distract the demon monsters. There’s a lot of cliffhanger horror-y type things and for a while we can’t tell if Emily and their new baby got eaten but then they’re there.

I don’t have to go scene by scene, they have the baby, but the whole last like 40 minutes is a non-stop barrage of these demons coming for them, and them narrowly escaping, only to have to deal with another one in a different way. There’s a scene in a grain silo which, first of all, I don’t think I understand how grain silos work—–they did this in the most recent Saw as well, had someone drowning in uncooked corn in a silo like it’s quicksand-is that how it works? Why can’t you just rest on top of it? Can someone explain grain silos to me? In this scene we as an audience figure out the girl’s hearing aid is the monster’s weakness, something to do with the frequency, but in a very frustrating turn of events, she doesn’t figure it out til after her dad dies trying to protect them. Nothing like a little of the ole “dramatic irony” to get the blood cookin’.

Anyway, finally she realizes it and in the last scene she weakens one and her mom murders it with a shotgun, then we see on the video monitors like 10 more of them coming and Emily cocks the shotgun and grins and it blacks out. It reminded me of Signs a little bit, where the thing that defeats the aliens was resultant of a personality trait of the white daughter & there the whole time they just had to realize it.

This movie was executive produced by Michael Bay which was a shock to me because there’s only like 1 explosion and no slow pans of Megan Fox’s body but suspense horror and action are closer than most other genres of film. Also maybe he’s maturing as he gets older. Excited for Michael Bay’s arthaus phase.

I said it before and I’ll say it again- Emily Blunt acted the SHIT out of this. She is definitely the stand out. John did a good job but was still Jim a little to me the whole time and great performances shake that and in this one he didn’t. (Unrelated I saw a tweet that said “Jim and pam are for sure divorced by now and really who gives a shit” and number one, how dare you, but number two they’re definitely not. Until John & Emily get divorced in real life I will assume his fake character is also still married). Related-John and Emily didn’t kiss once in this movie, which I think was a strategic choice on their part to preserve privacy which I totally respect. There’s a dance scene where they’re close and she leans in but he doesn’t and when he finds her alive in the tub with their new baby they kiss but the camera angle is behind him and you don’t actually see it because his shoulder blocks it. John also directs the movie. Like I said I think that was a very conscious choice that I respect and agree with.

I love the way sound was used/explored as an element in this movie, just today actually I met someone who does music/scores movies and they were saying how one of their film professors told them to just put a movie on and listen to it, but not watch. To let the sound be the whole experience and that’s such an interesting way to look at movies and such an interesting one for this one, where it’s mostly silent. I don’t even think there’s music? I don’t remember. Also I feel like this goes without saying but the film was gorgeous. There was one shot in particular, an aerial view when Emily’s silently giving birth in a bathtub, that’s a split screen (not through a device there’s just a shelf that cuts the picture in half) between her and this flickering light above her that made my mouth open.

Overall really liked it, cried one time. Me and the guy across from me bonded at the end because we were both alone and it was such a ride and I think he heard me crying. Also the guy behind me dropped his cell phone TWICE which, if you’ve seen the movie, the whole theatre is very silent because the movie almost requires it so it was extra jarring. Also the theatre I went to see it at (Williamsburg cinema) CHECKED MY BAG for snacks!!!!! Is that illegal?? They were very chill about it bc I had snacks and they didn’t seem to care, but I was so happy the theatre I went to last night (Moviepass y’all) didn’t because I had two axes in there!!!! (My job gave them to me and I went straight from work!).

But anyway, I really liked it. Actually all except this one speech Emily Blunt gives to John where she’s like, “What are we if we can’t protect them?” about their kids & it’s like, “Idk, normal people in a difficult situation??” You can’t always protect your kids from the horrors of the world, that seems a weird thing to put your self-worth/identity in. Maybe because by this point there’s truly nothing else in the world? It’s not like she can take a  pottery classes somewhere or anything. But it felt imploring of John & putting all the burden on him to protect the kids, in another weird gender-y kind of way that was like, “I give birth to them, you protect them, those are our roles, I fulfilled my end now you do yours” kinda shit which I’m not really into.

AS A FEMINIST if I was in a post-apocalyptic world where there were sonar aliens who were eating people, I wouldn’t rely on a MAN-you get it.

Anywhoo, 4.5/5 apocalypse dye jobs (Emily Blunt had blonde highlights in this movie and for 489 days without civilization she had NO roots is all I’m saying) would masturbate again.

Posted in Drama, Murder, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

I-Now-Pronounce-You-Chuck-and-Larry-DI

I remembered that I loved this movie and was rewatching it and was a little taken aback by some of the things I forgot that apparently weren’t outwardly terrible yet in 2007. It’s insane how much the cultural tide has changed in so little time!! A positive for us and a negative for romcoms from the early-2000’s! But there so much good here you would be remiss to write it off in my opinion.

To be clear though, Adam Sandler casually says faggot a lot in the first parts of the movie and there’s a lot that’s offensive to gay people/anyone/also Rob Schneider does his best Mickey Rooney impression in yellow face as an Asian wedding officiant in Las Vegas which is…just terrible.

But there’s so much that’s genuinely funny and it somehow in this round about way gets to a good point at the heart of it! Like most people!

If you’re somehow unfamiliar—I feel very bad for you because this movie is really good to me and oddly canonical,—but basically Adam Sandler and Kevin James (who can do no wrong in my eyes! Both of them!) are New York firefighters. Kevin James’ wife died of something like 4 years ago and he’s worried about being injured on the job and not being able to provide for his children, Tory and Eric.

He has recently saved Adam Sandler’s life and Sandler has promised him a favor that’s for anything he wants. The next logical step of course is for them to file a partnership with the fire department so they can both receive pension benefits from the city if one of them gets hurt so the kids are protected.

Adam Sandler (Chuck) is unsurprisingly not on board at first, because he (as he often is characterized in his own movies) is a ladies man. In this movie that means he is “Mr. February,” a pinup in the city’s firefighter calendar. But then Larry (Kevin) reminds him of his promise and says it’ll just mean getting his mail forwarded to his place for a while and he agrees.

But ACTUALLY it’s not that simple, and the government doesn’t just let people do that. So they get assigned a lawyer who SURPRISE is very hot (Jessica Biel) who’s going to help them fight the government (Steve Buscemi) and prove their love is real.

A lot of hi-jinx (the internet is very divided on how to spell that word) ensue: Chuck and Larry go to a gay ball where a butterflied Nick Swardson keeps screaming things that are absolutely a caricature of gay people but also very funny, Chuck gets approached by a very menacing Ving Rhames who until this point has been feared but comes out to Chuck and tells him he inspired him to live his truth, Larry’s gay son Eric auditions for Pippin and gets in a fight where he tap dances his way to victory, there’s an especially revealing career day where the term ” butt pirate” is used, etc.

Throughout all of this, Chuck is falling in love with Jessica Biel and they are spending ‘girl time’ together (one of the offensive parts of this is it constantly frames gay relationships through a heteronormative lens, continually referencing who is the “woman”) and it comes to a head when he feels her up and they make out. Jessica Biel is upset and throws him out.

Meanwhile, at their firehouse, once the relationship comes out all the other members of the house sign a petition asking the chief to transfer Chuck and Larry. This is met by a good speech from Larry where he goes through all the names and gives examples of times he & Chuck have helped different members throughout the years and how “gay” it was: “When Chuck dragged your limp body out of the third story of a collapsing building even though his leg was broken in three places, that was pretty gay of him.” I liked this part a lot because what this movie gets wrong (a lot) is to me outweighed by what it gets right, which is that sexuality isn’t the determining quality of any person and also love and relationships can be deep and protected and not be sexual and men can have deep love for each other within their friendships and also sexuality is fluid and most people aren’t 100% one thing and all of that’s ok!!! Also being gay isn’t weird and doesn’t change your friend and you can have friendships with gay men as a straight man and it’s cool and good.

This movie is also so funny, I don’t think I can stress enough how funny a lot of it is to me, I think I just really love Adam Sandler and Kevin James so much. A running joke in this is that Adam Sandler does the voice of Kevin James’ dead wife when they’re in bed like, “Larry, you betrayed meeee” when he’s falling asleep and it’s very funny to me. Idk what to tell ya!!!

In the end, the fire chief (Dan Aykroyd) outs them in their hearing as not gay, and they all get arrested and go to jail (all the firemen have a change of heart!), but then the gay community saves them. Ving Rhames marries Jessica Biel’s brother (Nick Swardson) and everyone’s at the wedding and Adam Sandler and Jessica Biel dance and Larry seems to find a woman to talk to that isn’t the ghost of his dead wife and everyone is happily ever after-ing.

Basically this movie is great and I like it so much and it both holds up and doesn’t hold up. There’s a lot of interesting critical gender theory to be employed here and I’m certain that’s what Adam Sandler had in mind when he made it, just like all his movies.

4/5 Apple costume dick flaps, would masturbate again.

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Netflix, Romantic Comedy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Katt Williams: Great America

image

Katt!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!! This!!!!! I loved it! I was so happy and ready to laugh today- and I have nothing but WONDERFUL memories of The Pimp Chronicles which defined an entire era of high school for me, certain friendships even, were predicated on reciting bits from those specials (Kryptochronichondilite???). That velvet blazer, the dancing, the press n’ curl, I just liked him, everything. It was all good.

So I was very excited to see he had a new special out, but also VERY wary. A lot of these male comics haven’t aged especially well (in the ideas department) and coming off the last two Dave specials I was veryyy wary. But Katt!!!!!!

So, first of all, I truly love Katt Williams because he is always sweating very profusely in the first three minutes of any special he has and as someone who also sweats a lot, I love that. Representation in comedy is very important, stop sweat-shaming!!!!

He also opens with maybe TEN minutes of local jokes. I mean down to the names of streets, neighborhoods, bridges, restaurants, etc. etc. It is all about local Jacksonville culture, which is a risk for a special being filmed to air nationally, but it’s so funny he gets away with it. Also, so much of America’s cities have many similarities so it was relatable-there was one part where he said, “lots of cities only have one hood” implying that Jacksonville does not, which reminded me of Durham, and then was talking about how sometimes when you’re getting gas you decide you don’t need gas when you get to certain gas stations. Everyone has felt those things and even just the way he says the physical words, the emphasis he puts on them, is also so FUNNY. He’s just a funny person.

I really enjoyed the content and the shifts therein-we went from a solid very serious Trump bit that covered Philando Castillo’s murder, immigration/the wall, global warming, etc., RIGHT into Taco Bell’s use of fried chicken and the Popeye’s lady. He cares about what I care about!!!!! Social justice and chain fast food nuance. He talked about Arby’s longer than I’ve ever heard anybody talk about Arby’s and I was laughing the whole time.

Katt Williams really has a gift to cut to the heart of a topic that’s the relatable part. He really understands people. He did a joke in the beginning where he referenced Mesothelioma, and it got this HUGE laugh and you could tell a lot of it was surprise at hearing another person say out loud, “Mesothelioma.” It’s this thing all of us have seen/heard (those commercials) in private, but isn’t referenced in popular culture outside them, so it feels like it’s just you-so then to hear someone say it in this setting, it’s so gratifying and surprising.

The only part I really did not like (aside from some gender stuff/he uses the word ‘bitch’ more than the word ‘the’ but what’re you gonna do) was when he was talking about My 600 Pound Life- that show upsets me and reinforces these terrible ideas about bodies and health and weight- leave those people alone don’t gawk at their lives like they’re some kind of freak on display for you to judge and also how dare you fucking judge them?? Since when did all our bodies become our economy of worth that everyone gets to have an opinion on? Since the beginning of time, I know, but that doesn’t make it right and I hate it and I hated that part. But luckily it was very quick-at least he understands to move on, not like Dave Chappelle who would have made it the breadth of the entire special.

Something that fascinated me that I had to look up because I wasn’t all the way sure and am still not 100%-was that behind him, there were full windows (the whole stage setup is something I wanna talk about and will in a minute because it was FUCKING PHENOMENAL) that you could see rain through the entire time. The whole hour it was “raining.” Now, I have looked up the layout of that theatre. I am 90% sure there are not windows behind the stage to outside you can see through. Even if there are it was a choice to not build over them and then maybe it was a coincidence it was raining outside the whole time but I truly don’t think that’s it. (Let me know if I’m wrong-but I looked through an entire gallery of interior photos on their website & I don’t think I am). I think he built them and designed a system that would continually loop water over them for an hour to look like rain. If this is the case, I have a fuckton to say about that.

The effect of rain on windows is deep. It’s this psychological thing that makes you feel permanent where you are and dry and home. The background of this blog is rain because it makes me feel safe. When it’s raining it’s okay to take a nap, watch a movie during the day, get drunk, abandon all expectation of productivity that you’re not allowed to in good weather. Rain is my favorite kind of weather, it’s sad and accommodating, and pretty, and a huge plot point in MIB 2.

I have never, NEVER seen a comic utilize the psychology of weather to create a mood for a special. Andy Kauffman once made it snow indoors for a Christmas special but that wasn’t comedy it was one of the straight ones he did after he got cancer. I love to see what people do with sets because it’s an often neglected part of the experience because when you’re starting out it’s something you have no control over so I think most people just ignore/forget about it, then when they get big enough that they can control it they don’t have much preference. I LOVE when someone does an elaborate set, it adds to the material in this subtle but completely permeating way.

This stage set up was amazing. It looked like the Oval Office but when he walked out there were six black women onstage dressed in diamond black & silver mini dresses with briefcases full of cash (one is open on the desk, they all have handcuffs attached to the handles) like an episode of Deal or No Deal THAT WERE JUST THERE FOR HIM TO WALK OUT TO! They left the stage as soon as he comes out! They’re there for less than a minute!!!!!! That’s incredible. The Oval Office is decorated with framed portraits of himself (God Bless) and two huge gold lions and two HUGE red leather fainting couches. There’s also American flags everywhere and on either side of the stage big black gates with his initials on them. The middle of the stage has a HUGE GOLDEN STOOL and the microphone is also gold. Katt is wearing head to toe black and gold, with an embroidered jacket and pants and shoes. He looks amazing.

The whole thing feels like the Scarface White House which when you think about what we really have in there, isn’t that far off. An overreactive, vain, paranoid man who sexually covets a family member? Got it!

The rain. I can’t get over the rain. I will never get over the rain probably. Katt also did the whole first 50 minutes straight then dropped a dick music cue on us which was—–brilliant. No one was expecting it and it was so satisfying and hilarious and I love him. That shit is so simple but I haven’t seen anyone do it as well as him. He understands physical comedy on this level where it’s just effortless and he can make a joke 10x funnier just by moving his body a certain way. It’s a gift.

He also has such prescient things to say about race, and he darts in and out of it so you’re never allowed to tense up, he’s talking about bridges, then talking about how a white restaurant cooks jerk chicken so good he expects to see a slave in the kitchen, then we’re back to driving or whatever. It’s incredible he can still do that in a climate where people are very tense around identity politics but it’s the thing I was talking about in the beginning, he can relate to people so well it feels safe when he does it, you trust him.

(Speaking of identities, there was a white guy in the third row in the audience who kept getting up and sometimes the camera would cut to the crowd and he would just be standing in the aisle???? And it was really distracting & idk what was up with that)

At one point he told women not to make noise if their man has great dick (Gender is a construct Katt!!!!! We never own people even if we engage in a long term consensual relationship with them! Why define people by their sexual behavior and then categorize them as such!) because then a ho would swoop by–then he was that woman flying–and said, “Aw, that’s just Gerald.” As if to imply, Gerald did not have great dick, his woman was mistaken, and this ho somehow knew. After the special was over, the first credit was Producer Gerald McBride and I wonder if that was an inside joke at him!!! Gerald!!!!

Truthfully I was pretty blown away by a lot of it, there were minor bits I didn’t like but to be that solid for over an hour and that genuinely funny is pretty incredible. And that fucking rain. Also to name your special “Great America” after a racist piece of shit ran on the platform “Make America Great Again” and film it in a town that’s got huge minority populations and make a point of acknowledging how many Latino, Pilipino, Black and White people were in the audience is a wonderful fuck you/subversion—and I loved that too. Ok I’m done.

7/8 Gold Dick Microphones, would masturbate again.

Posted in Comedy, Netflix, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dave Chappelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation

Dave-Chappelle-Equanimity-Credit-Mathieu-Bitton-Netflix

Equanimity

This makes me sad. I’m not done watching it yet but I’m like 27 minutes into the first one and I had to pause and write some things down before moving on, I couldn’t really watch more without doing that.

So———the first like 10 minutes of the special, I’m rolling. Laughing out loud to myself in my room. Stupid laughter, these big unwieldy surprise laughs that almost only Dave Chappelle can get from me at this point. I watch so much stand up, I usually just smile or think, “that was a good joke.” But I’m LAUGHING. Then, Dave starts talking about the trans community.

Which, number one, why?? Dave! I’m getting to a point where I’m really annoyed to hear men complain about how people get offended “these days.” Every time you turn around some dude is only too willing to explain to anyone who’ll listen how people are too sensitive now, too PC, blah blah blah. Yes, the world’s changing! You have good medicine and computers now! First of all if you can accept progress in medical & scientific fields, accept it in social and cultural fields. Second, people aren’t “just now” getting offended, they were fucking offended before, you just didn’t know about it because they didn’t have a platform. But now, marginalized communities have access to global platforms, which is a fucking gift, so we have access to those perspectives. Also YES things are changing- buckle up! It’s only going in one direction (hopefully!!!). There’s trans people. People are non-binary. Also none of these concepts is unique to America or recent at all, but ok you’re just now hearing about them, fine.

I DO NOT understand the reaction/impulse to DIG IN your fucking heels and WHINE. People don’t like your shitty jokes where you call women cunts? Boo hoo! Write a better fucking joke. With Dave’s last special I had much more empathy because I was like, “He’s figuring it out, he’s not just gonna arrive somewhere all of a sudden, he’s a comic he needs to talk it out to get there and process.” And that last special was amazing. I’m sure this one will be amazing too, and the one after it. But why the fuck does he feel the need to stubbornly live in his willful ignorance out loud? And I say willful because oh boy does he claim innocence so many times. He describes a letter he got from a trans fan who was ‘devastated’ and hurt by his jokes and he says he has no idea what joke upset them (“I have so many transgender jokes” he reminds us proudly). He goes on to say he really likes the transgender community and doesn’t know WHY he keeps upsetting them.

All ya have to do is ask Dave! Talk to one trans person! Read some stuff! It’s all there. It’s not very difficult. But he continues to act as if trans people are kept behind some glass that no one gave him the combination to, and he just has to endure not knowing.

He then goes on to tell a joke about a trans person that he speculates is the one that was so upsetting, while shrugging like a child who ate a cookie before dinner. It’s about dancing with a trans person and having sex with them (“only titty-fucking!”) and it really felt like that was to shore up this idea that he might not say the right thing but he does the right thing/his actions are unprejudiced. But the whole way he tells the story contradicts that very notion! He puts the burden of his reaction to that person’s identity on them, blaming them for not telling him they were trans. He also told this story after describing the idea of Caitlin Jenner’s naked body, specifically the idea of her genitals, as, “Yuck.” Dave, you can’t in one breath treat someone’s sexuality as disgusting then ask for a medal for dancing with them!

ALSO sidenote: So many men seem to think them deigning to say they’d fuck a trans person is the ultimate validation. That that’s the ultimate extension of humanity, if they’d stick their dick into something, or that it’s a compliment. It’s not! Plenty of trans people wouldn’t fuck you!

Someone’s identity isn’t validated by whether or not you want to fuck them, also you don’t have to personally come to terms with the genitals of trans people (get out of there!!!) to recognize their humanity. Ugh, the whole thing made me really sad because this impulse to fucking double down on your own ignorance makes you at best come off as old and out of touch, but at worst, willfully hateful.

Another incredibly confusing part to me is his insistence to treat being trans and being black as if they’re mutually exclusive. Like there aren’t black trans people. It’s so strange. He outlines “If I’m being brutally honest” the only reason he feels the trans community is gaining acceptance is because white men ‘want to do it’ and it stems from white privilege. Which I’m sure is a comfort to all the trans women of color murdered every year, we’ll tell them.

It seems like he set these two identity markers (being black & being trans) which are not mutually exclusive, in opposition in his own mind then constructed a lil oppression Olympics for them. The general vibe very much seems to be, “I was oppressed without humanity/recognition so now you have to be too.” At one point he asks the audience, “Since when does America care how people feel?” In reference to trans people being vocal about their identities, and the room erupts in applause. Are we all clapping that in the past culture has been exclusionary and harmful? Why wouldn’t you want to change that?

Also, if you truly don’t understand…………shut the fuck up! It feels like for a lot of these older (I know he’s 44 but he’s been around for 25 years) comics they think they have to talk about what everyone’s talking about to seem relevant & have a take. There is like TWELVE fucking minutes dedicated to this. Dave! You’re 44. Call Janet Mock, call Laverne Cox, fuck call Chaz Bono, just don’t keep writing jokes in an empty room about something you know nothing about. It’s hurting people. And he has no excuse now, because people TOLD him. And he just keeps doing it. That’s what makes me so sad, because he’s so funny and amazing. He’s probably the funniest person I think, to me. He’s the one. So to see someone you idolize and respect just digging this hole of their own words and stubbornness to be right over everything else? It’s the fucking worst. I’m gonna leave this now and continue watching. I’m sure everything else will be fantastic and great. Just this. This is the hill he has publicly chosen to die on.

Yeah, now he’s talking about his dick being Morgan Freeman (“without the dots”) and it’s hilarious. Goddamnit. Cause also wtf he had this line in the trans thing, after he read the letter and he said, “Then I did something that many black men in America don’t have the time or money to do. I thought about how I felt.” And that’s so important to remember how we as a culture don’t prioritize or encourage the emotions of black men—ugh it’s heartbreaking to me how one person can be so insightful about one issue and so obtuse about another. It’s funny because later he uses this example of why Amish people’s God is wrong (lol) where he’s on the highway and the speed limit is 75 mph but one lane is blocked by a horse and buggy. YAH EXACTLY DAVE. THE HIGHWAY IS GENDER FLUIDITY AND UR THE HORSE!!! CLOGGING IT UP FOR THE REST OF US.

Anyway.

“Initial reactions are often wrong, or more often incomplete” and the whole standing too close to the elephant thing- every part of his special could be mirrored back to him to prove why he’s wrong about his own point. Everything else is good! The kick her in the pussy thing worked for me, everything else pretty much. Ok I’m gonna watch the second episode and hopefully he doesn’t mention anything about trans people and it will all be good. Although something that’s striking me about this one and the last two he did before- these jokes aren’t classic/timeless jokes like his old specials, these all seem to be topical political reactions. No one’s gonna be repeating lines from this in 10 years (like they do with the others), because these things (hopefully) won’t matter anymore and the jokes aren’t written to be repeated anyway they’re more anecdotal aside from a few punchline/callbacks. I wonder if the second one will follow that construction or vary.

The Bird Revelation

Oh fun!!! In this special he’s talking about rape!!! Oh lord he’s talking about the Kevin Spacey thing and is choosing to focus on how mature gay young boys are? Daveeeeeee. Dave!!!! First of all, lol to talking about this while your sweatshirt is so tight I can see your necklace through it, second, DAVE. Also you think the biggest problem with him molesting that boy is making the child keep an adult’s secret for 30 years? Not the sexual assault? Ugh. now he’s talking about Louis. This is bad, this is really bad. It’s as if he thinks that if says, “But ladies, you’re right” after everything he says it’s ok? It ameliorates that he said he thinks the harassment was funny when he heard about it? Ok, so after saying he thinks the women Louis CK sexually harassed were weak, he’s comparing those instances to middle passage.

David.

This is interesting because it’s the exact same tactic he took with the previous special: Take an issue you have no personal experience/point of emotional reference to, compare it to racism, find it lacking, dismiss it. It’s like he doesn’t know what relativism is. Two things are allowed to be bad at once. (There’s also black women who are sexually assaulted!!!) But ok. He also does this tonal shift to do an amazing searing black history refresher-in this one the legacy of black injustice & forced labor starting with middle passage all the way through reconstruction, Jim Crow, (“They made us do their work, then the irony is hundreds of years later they called us lazy”), and the one prior he did the entire story of Emmett Till, but then shifts back in the joke, and brings the point parallel to something else he’s been talking about, almost as if to demonstrate it isn’t as bad.

At one point after saying one of the many things where you can feel the air leave the room a little bit he says to the audience while inhaling his cigarette, “C’mon baby it’s me. I was right once? Remember that?” To me this is the essence of both these specials. He remembers being revered & on the forefront and can’t step down from that role/doesn’t understand why he isn’t now. “I walked away from 50 million dollars. A lot harder to walk away from than Louis’ freckled dick” they’re not the same! You as an established comic with your own show on Comedy Central choosing not to renew a contract isn’t the same as two women in a hotel room at a comedy festival being sexually harassed. Nor is anyone saying they need to be!

“The most uncomfortable person in the room is the person that’s right” -that’s why trans ppl are uncomfortable at your shows Dave! It’s honestly incredible how much what he’s saying can be inverted to prove a point about himself he refuses to see.

He talks for a while about how men want to help, “I want to help,” like it’s our problem to solve, and men can choose to be a part of it or not. Not like it’s their problem too, or that they’re part of both the problem and the solution and inextricably linked to both. Like women are the gatekeepers of their own harassment and men are standing on the sidelines with Capri-Suns and women with short haircuts won’t let them pass them out.

I really thought this special would be ok. Dear God in Heaven, please let Dave Chappelle be trapped in an elevator with Frank Ocean and Alok Vaid-Menon and Jessamyn Stanley and Didi Delgado and let them bring him into this new year with us because I need him here. I need him to acknowledge that women who are affected by sexual harassment EVEN OVER THE PHONE YES are not weak, and that the joys of being wrong, and speaking recklessly, certainly have value and are worth considering but not without any context or regard for whose truth you’re being reckless with. I have already seen comics quoting those lines on Facebook and yeah it’s cool to think of ourselves as these truth crusaders but what he left out is it has to be your own truth, otherwise you’re just a wrong asshole. And so far it hasn’t been his own. It’s been trans folks and survivors of sexual assault and he’s been depressingly didactic about how they should both handle those things.

I’m just. Almost at a loss for words. This second one was a lot harder for me and sad. Because all the things he says about women made me sad. And I think he’s a genius. But just like Kanye, his only flaw is he doesn’t respect women at all! (That is a joke, I’m joking). Dave respects women in some capacity but he doesn’t understand gender and you can’t respect something you don’t understand and it was really difficult to hear him call women who came forward about their sexual harassment weak, and hear a tale about a pimp where the twist is that he tricked a woman into selling her body for him 6 months longer, and I know it was an allegory about himself and maybe I just didn’t understand, but you know.

There were also a lot of abstract platitudes. Like, “Hollywood is no place for moral absolutism.” Why not? Is the world? Is anywhere? What’s the standard then? What’s our goal? A lot of times he ends these big speeches with something equivocal that doesn’t feel all the way right to me, “We all need to come together,” “We all worked hard and are where we are now.” Calls for unity, and that most of America has differences but respects each other. Truthfully, I don’t know if the world feels like that right now to me. And I don’t think there can be true equality unless there is a breaking down of almost all the systems, social and otherwise, that are currently in place. I don’t think black people will have true freedom until white people understand systemic oppression and privilege and history. And I don’t think most white people do understand those things. And I don’t think women can be equal until men understand sexism and misogyny, and I truly don’t think most of them do. If they did we wouldn’t have men saying “Why didn’t she just hang up the phone?”

I love Dave Chappelle but I’m happy this is his last special for a bit because I think he needs to listen for a while.

4/10 Pimp manifestos, will masturbate again whenever Trump is out of the White House

Posted in Comedy, Netflix, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rough Night

Scarlett Johansson;Kate McKinnon;Jillian Bell;Ilana Glazer;Zoe Kravitz

You guys I liked it. I know it’s terrible and Girls Trip is way better and racism and Hollywood and they killed a fake stripper and all of that, but I still liked it!!

I think this movie was a classic dark comedy (***not a black comedy, that’s Girls Trip***) just maybe people aren’t used to seeing that now? Or there’s a different lens for judgement now that identity politics has taken the forefront as a means of analysis and people consider the implications of plot relying on throwing away certain identities as a joke? Which is all good, but this movie felt pretty self-aware to me. I know a large criticism was that they killed a stripper and how that is a classic devaluing (here’s a good article about this) but the guy they killed wasn’t even a stripper, he was a secret robber coming to hurt them also some of the characters have a conversation about these issues (ok it’s one line but it’s there). I don’t know how much it complicates or ameliorates anything (the detail that he’s not a stripper) and certainly there’s very valid emotions and reactions to objecting to that as even a hint of a plot device/being in the movie at all. But, simply, for me it was ok (just me!!) and I’d recommend watching it before you decide what you think about it. As it often is, comedy is a slippery fish and there’s so much subjectivity within context that affects overall judgements about a joke. ANYWAY–I’m gonna stop being defensive now. I liked it. If you think that makes me a bad person, that’s ok, I still liked it. 

I watched this in two sittings, initially I watched like the first 15-20 minutes and thought it was SHOCKINGLY bad. Like laughably, inexplicably bad. Then when I watched the rest of it, something changed!!! I think after they kill the guy (spoiler alert they kill a guy) the movie really finds itself!!

The main premise is that one of a group of friends (Jess, played by Scarlett Johansson) is getting married so all her friends from college (Jillian Bell as Alice, Zoe Kravitz as Blair, Ilana Glazer as Frankie) and her best friend from studying abroad in Australia (Kate McKinnon as Pippa) organize a bachelorette party in Miami, which includes hiring a stripper. One thing leads to another and wouldn’t you know, they accidentally kill him. They spend the rest of the movie trying to hide/dispose of the body and many hijinks occur.

Some of these hijinks include: the real stripper coming later and getting accidentally knocked out, the other two diamond thieves coming to find the loot their partner stole from them, all of them trying to fit in a jet ski/smart car, Blair having sex on the beach with a horny neighbor couple (played excellently by Demi Moore and Ty Burrell) to steal the security video footage, Jess’ fiancé’s cross country drive to win her back after he misunderstands a phone call, etc. etc. For not leaving their rental beach house for 2/3rds of the movie, a lot is happening.

That scene that happens in all movies where a group has to deal with a lot of stress happened, which is that it takes literal death to get people to open up about their feelings. There’s always a scene in movies like this where the pressure just gets to be TOO much and people start spilling secrets and they saying how they really feel (remember when they thought the plane was crashing in Almost Famous?) which was enjoyable. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman myself, but I love a group of women just laying out all their shit and being honest with each other. In an emotionally tense scene (relatively) we learn that Jess has been lying to Alice about knowing how to use Skype, and had a bridal shower she didn’t invite her to because she feels like Alice monopolizes her time. Alice is very hurt and almost leaves, but then two men with guns come and don’t let her.

They end up resolving it (Jess finds a very sweet card from Alice about how her mom’s Alzheimers will always keep them together) and then they are back, better than ever!

Kate McKinnon comes in after about 15 minutes and makes all the difference. She is so naturally funny. She brings the whole thing together and I think saves everyone. Her character is Australian (an accent she’s really good at) and she is very connected to the Earth and maybe gets rabies at one part, it’s kind of unclear. Kate also has a really beautiful singing voice! Something I didn’t know at all! She writes and sings a song after/during the credits that’s very funny and pretty and I didn’t know she could sing.

Zoe Kravitz is the thinnest most beautiful person in the world and she doesn’t seem real to me. In this movie her character is going through a custody battle and has a lot of orgasms on the beach. She also has an uncle who advises them on the legality of murder. (Not very!)

Ilana Glazer kind of plays the same character she always is, herself. If you love it, you love it, if you find it kind of abrasive and derivative, then it’s that still! I’m somewhere in the middle of those on her- I don’t HATE her, I do think some of it is funny, but she always seems like she JUST did coke and that can be too much for me. Coincidentally in this movie she does a lot of coke. (Also I saw her do stand up and her stand up is truly horrible and that affects my judgement of her probably more than it should, but I can’t change who I am!!!).

Jillian Bell is so underused in the world in general, I think she is hilarious and I’m so happy for her every time I see her in Workaholics or this. She has really perfect timing and her control over her facial expressions is great. She somehow manages to combine masturbating and her bird, which I’m all for. Her character ends up finding the 2 million dollars worth of diamonds the police never found in a box of dick pasta which felt poetic somehow.

Scarlet Johansson hasn’t done a comedic character for a long time (not since The Nanny Diaries right?) and at times this seems a bit of a stretch for her. She does alright but I think out of everyone she has the most misses/jokes that fall flat. Really I will never forgive her for so many roles (Matchpoint?? In Good Company???) and that kind of clouds her for me. She has a short haircut in this, I think to make her look serious because she’s running for political office? Whatever the reason I liked it.

Jess’ fiancé, (Peter played by Paul W. Downs) gets better as the movie goes on. First he seems like a wet blanket and boring, but soon we go to his Bachelor party and you see that he is a wet blanket but that’s kind of his thing. He does a wine tasting with all his friends- who are made up of shockingly obscure and famous comedians (Bo Burnham, Hasan Minhaj, Eric André) who quickly counsel him to drive to Miami and convince Jess to take him back. He gets a lot of Red Bull, some Russian adderall and diapers for the journey (inspired by a woman astronaut who drove many hours straight without stopping to go to the bathroom for love apparently) in a song montaged shopping trip that is quite funny. He also connects two star-crossed lovers at a truck stop who share a love of meth and blowjobs. Peter ends up saving the day then immediately passing out. He and Jess get married the next day with everyone there in the middle of a foam party.

The funniest detail of the whole movie to me was during the final wedding scene, where Scarlett gets a call from her campaign assistant. He relays that word has spread of how she and her friends stopped a group of diamond thieves (the guy they killed was on the run from the cops and they were absolved of any wrong-doing) and that Jess was going to win the election/needed to start doing a press tour immediately. She responds by telling him she’s in the middle of her wedding and will be there first thing Monday morning, then takes the phone away from her ear to take pictures. But right after she says she’s at her wedding, her assistant says into the phone, “You’re getting married? Jess I’m in love with you.” This was hilarious to me and I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe because it’s hinting at this completely other storyline we never get that’s centered around him, or imagining this main character we’ve spent so much time with as merely a piece in someone else’s story? Maybe because it’s such an intense emotional admission and they never explain it or do anything with it?? She never even hears it!! Whatever it was, it tickled me.

The biggest problem with this movie is that it seemed Hollywood made a white and black version of the same movie (literally saw an article titled exactly that) and there were big picture ASTOUNDING similarities between the two that caused them to be compared: ensemble female comedic cast, same month release, a group of college friends travel to a new city to get back together because one of them has an important life event, the first scene of the movie is a college flashback with them doing a choreographed dance, like astounding.

But aside from those structural things, the content/movies themselves are actually pretty different. Girls Trip is more character driven and focused. We learn more backstory, motivation, we feel for the characters more and see them all as complete and complex people. It’s also just funny. Knee-slapping funny. In Rough Night we don’t know that much about anyone, it’s mostly about how the group dynamic is reacting to the situation they find themselves in, and the vibe is totally different: tenuous and awkward and it’s not trying to be funny the whole time. It’s not just a straight comedy. Truthfully, it never stood a chance the second it was compared to Girls Trip because it’s just not as good but despite everything, they’re not that similar of movies.

So basically, I liked it- I think if you’re willing to go suspension of disbelief/cognitively know that sex workers lives aren’t disposable, you’re not a bad person for liking this movie. (But also sit with how bad white women are for a lil bit! Can’t hurt).

Equality to me is that women get to make shitty insensitive comedies that history (and also blogs right now!) will look unkindly on/judge them for and Rough Night is that comedy!! For women!!!

3.5/5 beach tampons, would masturbate again

 

 

 

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Murder, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment