The Movies of 2016: Some Sort of List

Hello hello! I am back in LA after a cold jaunt to New Jersey for my annual xxxmas pilgrimage. Believe it or not, another year has gone by, and I saw a ton of fucking movies. Here’s my favourites, the ones I thought were sort of “eh”, and the absolute piping hot messes of 2016.

Spoilers ahoy, so no bitching.

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In no particular order..

THE GOOD;

  • Nocturnal Animals. This movie is absolutely HAUNTING, my god. Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon deliver incredible performances in Tom Ford’s second foray into film, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I saw it a couple of months back. There’s this uneasy tension throughout that winds tighter and tighter and tighter.. it’s a movie I won’t ever forget, it’s so intense and bonkers. Just, wow. See it. And if you haven’t seen A Single Man, see that too.
  • La La Land. Oh my god, this movie is so fucking charming. It filled a void and a yearning I didn’t even know I had, it was just the right movie to close out the shit year of 2016. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are wonderful together, the music is super fun, and that montage at the end is nothing short of imaginative and wonderful. The perils of ambition and dizzying love colliding with the truths of reality, it’s all good good great. This movie is lovely.
  • Captain America: Civil War. I dig most of the Marvel movies, and I never tire of Chris Evans’ Cap. I dig the way this movie is structured, and Tony Stark with a bonus Spider-Man and Ant Man are never bad.
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I was feeling lukewarm about this movie until I saw it; I actually saw it the day Carrie Fisher died, and the theatre was absolutely rammed and filled with this understandably sad energy. That first act is a damned disaster, but the rest of the movie is solid.. though I really want to see the original cut pre-reshoots. Not sure what the point of Forest Whitaker’s character was.. and CGI Tarkin was pretty unsettling. Should’ve just gone with actors and makeup/a little enhancement rather than full on creepy BFG CGI.
  • Moonlight. This movie is fantastically written, well acted, and a complete triumph of storytelling. See this movie.
  • Arrival. Emotional science fiction? Yes please. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are great, the story is mesmerising, and the ‘twist’ is really fucking well done.
  • Dr. Strange. Enjoyable! Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent needs some work, but I really dug this movie a lot more than I thought I would. I mainly like that this is a character Stan Lee invented to shut the hippies up. He’s got a dope cape, and uses the power of being an infuriating dick paired with a time loop to save the day. Prettay, prettay.. prettay good.
  • Everybody Wants Some! I love Linklater (except for Boyhood..), Dazed and Confused is one of my faves. This flick is just the right dose of nontoxic masculinity and fun rowdy dude shit set over the course of the first weekend at a Texas college. Linklater excels at capturing the feeling and energy of a particular time in your life, it’s totally magic.
  • Sing Street. This soundtrack hasn’t left my regular rotation since this movie came out, oh my god. It’s an absolutely delightful movie! Positive and hopeful amidst the backdrop of early 1980s Ireland which was anything but. Sing Street is the type of movie you didn’t know you needed until you see it. Watch it right the fuck now, it’s on Netflix.
  • High Rise. I’ve never been so intensely attracted to Tom Hiddleston until I saw this movie. High Rise is a surreal, expertly stylised, darkly funny, dystopian jaunt that I’m still thinking about. It’s intense.
  • Complete Unknown. Michael Shannon again! This movie is slow and subtle, a woman shapeshifting and running from her life and coming back to the man she once loved. Equal parts fascinating and gripping, but very true to life. They have a lost night together in New York City, as he tries to change his life while she wants to stop changing hers.
  • The Nice Guys. Shane Black can do no wrong in my book, I’m a huge fan of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are great together as washed up PIs in 1970s Los Angeles.. this movie is a whole lot of fun, a cool take on noir like his other flicks. So well written.
  • Cafe Society. I never thought I’d see Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart fall in love in a movie (ah fuck, forgot about Adventureland), but here we are. I love the world this movie creates; it’s vintage gorgeous and feels real, along with their ~romance~. And hey, Steve Carell is a complete delight. Well worth watching.
  • Star Trek Beyond. This movie is such a fucking joy to watch! It feels like Trek, the action and story are on point, and you really align with the characters. I watched this again the other night and was completely charmed.
  • Midnight Special. Man, remember when we all thought that Tomorrowland was going to be the second coming of Christ? And it turned out to be a wet fart? Whole lotta big ideas that turned into nothing. Well, Midnight Special is the right kind of sci-fi for me; it’s serious, striking, and grips you with wonder. Michael Shannon gives a stellar performance amidst a sea of fanatical cultists dressed in the earth’s dumpiest dresses made of couch fabric.
  • OJ: Made in America. Holy shit, you guys.. this nearly 8-hour long documentary was on ESPN over the summer and it’s INCREDIBLE. I was 10 when the OJ Simpson trial was going on, and besides being both a literal child and someone who knows fuckall about sports, it was fascinating and horrifying to see what a beloved figure OJ once was, and the darkness.. the cultural background for the fever pitch of race relations in 1990s Los Angeles, all these pieces coming into play.. truly fascinating and shattering, heartbreakingly sad. Check this one out.
  • Elvis & Nixon. I never knew I needed Michael Shannon as 1970s Elvis before, and once I saw this flick, frankly I don’t know how I survived without it. Spacey plays a great Nixon, too. Well worth a spin.

THE BLAND;

  • War Dogs. This movie was incorrectly billed as a comedy. Overall it was pretty fucking dark and enjoyable, but also sort of unpleasant. Todd Phillips has a knack for writing these man friend BRAH characters with a whole lotta mean streak coursing through their veins. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller have real chemistry as bros, even if the latter distractingly resembles a boiled potato. *[editor’s note; my dear husband thinks that comparing Teller’s face to a potato is “harsh”, but I implore you to locate the lie.]
  • Hail, Caesar! I adore the Coen Bros, but this movie felt like it was missing something. The cast is fantastic, the look and feel of everything is incredible, Brolin’s Mannix is fucking magical, we got Alden Ehrenreich’s delightful Aw Shucks character, but the story was .. not great? It seems like it’s going to take a bizarre, surreal left turn when Clooney’s Whitlock is kidnapped by a group claiming to be ~The Future~.. but it’s just a group of Commies. I’ll have to give it another whirl.
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane. John Goodman is fucking incredible in this movie, but it didn’t really hit the mark for me overall. I don’t know. Maybe it’s good?
  • Keanu. Man, there’s a really tiny kitten in this movie. Most of it is pretty funny, but a lot of the humour fell flat for me. Eh.
  • Independence Day: Resurgence. This shit heap of a “movie” is only on the Bland list because of the presence of Jeff Goldblum. There’s SO MUCH fucking wrong with this flick.. AND THEY HAD 20 GODDAMNED YEARS TO GET IT RIGHT. Now. I adore the original ID4, it’s one of my favourite movies in life. This trash sequel from hell has an overabundance of dull undeveloped characters, a blatant franchise setup, Judd Hirsch riding out the apocalypse in a goddamned tugboat.. and they did Vivica Fox real dirty by killing her almost immediately. No. It does, however, have Bill Pullman as a complete crazy person which was sorta cool, and he Randy Quaids it to save humanity all over again. It’s the worst kind of bad movie; there’s so much going on that it actually manages to be fucking boring.
  • Central Intelligence. I love The Rock and Kevin Hart together, but this movie didn’t really land. It was close! Got some laughs.
  • Ghostbusters (Ladybusters). I waffled on this flick. Hated the trailer, liked it when I saw it, and have not thought of it once since. Meh.
  • Why Him? About 80% of this movie works, I’ll be honest; it’s just not entirely all there. Bryan Cranston is fantastic against James Franco, but there was a toilet gag that went on for too long, shit like that.. some of it was a little on the dumb side. I saw this movie at a test screening on the Fox Lot months back, so I’m sure some things were tweaked for the final release.
  • Snowden. Well, that was a movie.. I think I don’t like Oliver Stone.

THE CONFUSINGLY HORRENDOUS;

  • Girl On The Train. Man, this book sucked. It was so predictable and boring. I was hoping the movie would be better and a little Gone Girl-esque, but it was ultimately forgettable and tedious. It did make me crave a dirty martini or 10 from the Grand Central Oyster Bar, though.
  • Sausage Party. This movie tried so fucking hard to be ~edgy~ and Rated R. Granted I’m not the biggest fan of Seth Rogen’s brand of stoner humour, but I’d heard a ton of positive stuff about this flick so I checked it out. Though the beginning is promising and creative, and there are flickers of actual funny gags, this movie was bogged down with SO MUCH SHIT that seemed to exist purely for shock value alone. It was mind-boggling. And that massive food orgy at the end? WHY did that even need to exist? What the fuck?? Maybe I’m an old person, but what the FUCK??
  • Anomalisa. I found this movie so fucking repellant I dedicated a whole blog post to yelling about it. Apparently this is such an uncommon opinion for this flick that it’s one of my most read and Googled posts.. so I’ve got that going for me, I guess. Seriously! I get a couple of hits on that post per week for the past YEAR. Goddamn.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse. What a fucking dumpster fire this thing was, my god. I absolutely loved Days of Future Past, so I had high hopes for this flick.. NOPE. It was at least 7 kinds of dumb, the worst kind of camp, and Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse character touching a television and crooning “LEAAAAARRRNINGGG” was so fucking hokey I laughed out loud for about a minute. What a complete disaster.. not even James McAvoy and flawfree Fassbender could save this mess.
  • Jason Bourne. I adore the Bourne movies (not that Jeremy Renner garbage  filler flick), and this movie was super disappointing. It was not good. Lots of noise, killing off Julia Stiles WAY too soon, and it’s overall super forgettable. Honest to god I don’t even fucking know what happened in this movie.
  • Now You See Me 2. What the fuck? Why is this a movie? The first Now You See Me was one of those extraordinary movies where it all just clicked; it’s an outrageous fun romp that bends reality and is all over the map, and though everything about it conspires to make it a fucking mess, it just works. This sequel absolutely and completely sucks, save for Mark Ruffalo fighting some rando using actual magic.. which was awesome.
  • The Lobster. Everyone has such a huge monster dong boner for this movie, and I absolutely loathed it. The concept is enchanting for the first half of the movie, and made me want to know more of why this world of Relationships Only existed; the hell is that about? Why is this happening? What’s the machine that turns people into animals? Is the rest of the world like this, or only Ireland? The second half of the movie is sad, drab, dull and overall.. no. The tone is so flighty, I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be taking itself seriously as a movie, or if it was a dark comedy, or what.. ugh. I also can’t see Colin Farrell without thinking of him cockslapping that lady in his sex tape and talking dirty WAY too much. So, at least that’s sort of depraved and delightful.

And there you have it! 2016 had some really great flicks for sure. I’ve still got a few movies to see.. but nobody can pay me enough cash to give an iota of a shit about Casey Affleck.

Here’s to 2017!

Late to the Party: Hollywoodland

Nearly 10 years ago to the day, Hollywoodland came out. I remember wanting to see it, but for whatever reason it didn’t happen and it promptly fell off my radar for an actual fucking decade. Joke’s on me. But thanks to the modern miracle of everything being available on Netflix/HBOgo/Hulu, I’ve been able to catch up on movies and TV I simply never got around to seeing.

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image courtesy of Uproxx

So, though I am freakishly late to the party, I wanted to put some words down about Hollywoodland. I really dug it. Early oughts Bennifer-era Affleck is pretty great, though around 2006 he was semi-fresh off the trash barge trio of Jersey Girl, Gigli, and Daredevil. Affleck brings out the allure and magic in George Reeves along with sharp vulnerability. There’s also his crushing, deep-seated disappointment just under the surface, whiling away and ready to explode.

Hollywoodland is a dramatised version of the rise and mysterious death of George Reeves, TV’s Superman. The movie starts with Reeves’ bloody suicide and works its way backwards with Affleck playing Reeves via flashbacks. Fictional washed up PI Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) tries to piece everything together. It’s a love letter to noir, a vintage hard boiled crime drama. And thankfully it’s not all shallow junk either, there’s facets to the characters and their surroundings, right down to the soundtrack.

On a sidenote, is there such a thing as a NON-washed up PI? TV and movie detectives are never not a piping hot mess. Always just on the verge of full blown alcoholism, drowning in cigarettes and stains, weathered hair.. they’re all fucked up. Someone name me a detective who has their shit together, please. The closest one I can think of is Val Kilmer’s Gay Perry from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but even that’s a bit of a reach.. anyway.

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hey, these guys KINDA have their shit together.. image courtesy of Vanity Fair

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…..ah, fuck. image courtesy of Tumblr

Reeves is a man who’s at a bit of a slump in his career, but he appears unflappable. The first time we see him as a non-corpse, he’s hunting down A-list tables at a club and cleverly inserting himself into paparazzi photos. This is how he meets glam 40-something Toni Mannix, and ultimately how his path veers to that tragic ending.

The characters in Hollywoodland all want something tantalizingly just out of reach. Boozed up Simo is grasping at the idea of the whole thing being a murder/conspiracy, if not only to resurrect his flagging PI career but to look admirable in the eyes of his young son, who was devastated at the death of Superman himself. We watch him turn from doing PI work as a means to an end to instead giving a damn about what he’s doing, and what it means for the greater good and his estranged family.

Toni, wife to MGM studio head Eddie Mannix, wants to keep Reeves in a box that’s only for her. She laps up his attention like so many Gibsons, and flips the fuck out when he breaks things off with her to be with a younger woman. Could she have ordered a hit?

Eddie Mannix, hypnotically portrayed by the late great Bob Hoskins, is one of those guys who has it all, yet has the stones to yearn for more. He’s got brass balls, bringing his non-English speaking mistress out to dinner with the wife and Reeves. This dinner is like being in fucking bizarro land.. Toni floats the idea of buying a house on Benedict Canyon for Reeves and Mannix is like “whatevs”. Shortly after Reeves’ death, Mannix tries to have a nice moment with Toni before their lavish anniversary party, but ends up firmly reminding her that she is his. Lends some gravity to the idea that perhaps he had Reeves killed in order to keep Toni in her box..

And the ambitious Reeves, grateful for the paycheck and stunned at the fame from TV, is profoundly vexed with where he’s ended up. He’s resentful and fraying at the edges. Think about it for a second – here’s a guy who had a goddamned speaking role in Gone With The Wind, and now he’s wearing a washed out Superman costume, turned into a cartoon of a man doing cringeworthy public appearances. He wanted so much more from his life and career, yet here he is in a house that Toni bought, with a fiancée who’s rapidly losing interest in him due to his waning career prospects.

Reeves’ true frustration is on display in the final minutes of the film, when Simo views a demo reel from Reeves’ manager. He’s showing off some fighting moves for a wrestling gig, but you can see on his face that he’s just done. Totally defeated, doughy, with a pained expression going through the motions. At that moment, Simo believes (along with myself) that maybe Reeves had committed suicide after all.

Hollywoodland is well worth a spin. Great performances, an intriguing story, wonderful music. I found it to be a more charismatic L.A. Confidential.

Thanks for reading!

In which I Eat My Hat: Ghostbusters was OK!

You may remember my adverse reaction to the Ghostbusters Trailer from March. Turns out it was simply a shite trailer, and not a shite movie; I stand corrected.

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cardigan status.

Ghostbusters is not a perfect movie, but it’s a very fun movie. Totally enjoyable. I went in ambivalent at best and came out of the theater completely charmed. Paul Feig is still not my favourite, but the humour in this movie was mostly spot on. The trailer was worrisome with that grating SNL-style “THAT’S THE JOKE” nonsense, but the movie had very little of it in reality! Praise be.

With the exception of Kate McKinnon being dialled up to 11 in every damn scene, this reboot channels an updated version of the witty quick humour of the 1984 original. And when McKinnon was being a character as opposed to a caricature, I thought she was great.

There’s been a deluge of very polarising reviews for this movie, but at its core I feel that it’s worth seeing at the very least.. plus, plenty of neckbeard tears going around giving the positive reviews lifeblood. There has been a near-absurd level of praise, coupled with burning it to the ground. Y’all gotta calm down.

At the center of everything, it’s a decent comedy with fun science fiction and fantasy elements. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig play off one another incredibly well, and Leslie Jones is an excellent addition to the cast. As an ensemble piece, it all flows really well. I believed them as characters, and I believed them as a team.

This still isn’t a movie that I needed per se, but there are plenty of women who will get something really positive out of seeing lady scientists science-ing the shit out of the supernatural while being covered in goo, and that’s really great. The world is changing in terms of representation, and Ghostbusters is another example of the ever-morphing zeitgeist. Not bad!

The term “bustin’ makes me feel good” is still wildly upsetting, though. N O P E.

In other news, I am off to San Diego Comic Con – it’s time to leaf through 1970s comics and porno mags, spot celebrities, and witness panic-stricken dudes hauling gigantic bags of toys out of the convention center. Til next time!

The Movies of 2015: Tremendously Belated Edition

Getting married at the end of 2015 significantly hosed my schedule for a year of movies recap, so here’s my long overdue post that’s been sitting in some form as a draft for the last 3 months. Pardon the mess.

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Look at all these dresses & tickets!

Spoliers ahoy, so quit yer whining. 2015 had some real gems, and some true trash. Enjoy!

FAUX AWARDS;

Delightful Holiday Romp: The Night Before.
Shockingly Violent and Fun: Kingsman: The Secret Service.
The Most Fucking Infuriating Movie of 2015: While We’re Young.
Most Fun Erotic Dancing: Magic Mike XXL.
Fun Superhero movie that wasn’t Stupid Gritty: Ant-Man.
Best Thriller featuring Jason Bateman as the DouchepocalypseThe Gift.
Best Use of a Soiled Adult Human Diaper: The Visit.

THE GOOD;

  • Spotlight. So happy this won Best Picture at the Oscars this year, holy hell. A really incredible story about a team of journalists unraveling systemic child abuse within the Catholic Church, set in Boston. Absolutely gripping, heartbreaking, and a must-see. Mark Ruffalo remains flawfree, and Michael Keaton has atoned for Birdman.
  • The Night Before. Didn’t have any expectations going into this, and it was wonderful. Fun comedy, good backstory, outrageous shit happens, there’s drugs, and it’s Christmas. I love Christmas.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This movie is pretty polarising, but I really enjoyed it. Adam Driver is a fucking revelation.. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac too. These characters are instant classics, and I am really excited to see what happens. The music, the vibe, all of it.. spot on. No Lucas CGI or garbage in sight. Is Snoke really just a tiny bug? Will Hux bust a forehead vein while screaming about how boss the First Order is? Has Luke just been JO’ing for the last 30 years on that Ireland planet???
  • The Martian. Probably my favourite movie of 2015. I saw this flick twice in one day because I’m a fucking maniac. Loved the book, loved the movie more. The soundtrack, Matt Damon carrying the whole damn thing, the science fiction end of it all.. just fantastic.
  • The End of the Tour. Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel star in a rare dramatic film for them both, centering on Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky interviewing David Foster Wallace post-Infinite Jest during his book tour. I can’t say enough positive things about this movie.. powerful performances, genuine character moments, and the dialogue in this flick is top notch which is no easy feat. Seriously worth seeing. I was lucky enough to see this at the San Francisco Film Festival!
  • Creed. Man, this movie is just wonderful. Michael B Jordan was seriously snubbed for his performance as Adonis. And Christ, is there anything sadder than seeing Rocky fucking Balboa being diagnosed with cancer?
  • The Big Short. Who knew Adam McKay could churn out something like this? Seriously one of my favourites. The book of the same name is incredibly dense and hard to get into, but the movie is just right. Bonus: Ryan Gosling’s spraytan explosion.
  • The Hateful Eight. Technically I saw this on New Year’s Day, but whatevs. Well worth the 70mm Roadshow half a day of viewing, this flick is just about everything you could ever want from a Tarantino western.
  • The Connection. Jean Dujardin stars in this French film based on the 1970s French Connection, as the police magistrate taking down a massive drug ring. Utterly and completely captivating.
  • Joy. I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would, but it’s definitely a solid movie. I’m a David O Russell fan, and Jennifer Lawrence knocked it out of the park. There’s absolutely charming writing/character moments and the soundtrack was spot on, but the pacing overall is a little off. The third act could have been fleshed out more for sure, but well worth a watch either way.

THE BLAND;

  • Bridge of Spies. This movie is neither great nor bad, it just is. I enjoyed it a lot, but it’s very much one of those Spielberg(TM) movies. This is not to say that the man isn’t magical, it was just a very by the numbers flick to me. Tom Hanks remains flawfree, however.
  • The Gambler. Saw it, forgot about it almost immediately. Loved Mark Wahlberg’s haircut.
  • Taken 3. Oy vey. It’s enough already.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Unpopular opinion, I know, but this movie did nothing for me. It felt like being blown out of a cannon at a million miles per hour, but that’s about it.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Besides the incredible costuming and period setting, this movie was a whole lot of nothing. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are two gigantic brawny dudes who can barely fit into human man clothing, some shit blows up, and there’s a girl involved. Oh, and spy shit. I think.
  • Steve Jobs. Eh.

THE CONFUSINGLY HORRENDOUS;

  • Tomorrowland. Jesus, this is still disappointing to me. I followed the development of this flick for actual years. YEARS, Lindelof. Brad Bird, apparently some kind of nerd god, was supposed to make this into THE MOVIE. That one we’ve all been waiting for! And he’s got the writers from LOST too! Instead, it was just a steaming pile. I’ve got some more ranting about this movie for another post to come soon..
  • While We’re Young. Oh god, no. OK. This movie was presented as a hip 40something married couple living an interesting/eclectic life in NYC, and they meet younger friends. Suddenly friends their age had a baby and they wonder “wait, do we need to do that too??” (actual answer: NO). The main characters have a shaky marriage at best. Their friends yammer on about how fulfilling it all is or whatever as a baby shrieks, so they begin to question themselves and go on one of those intolerable hipster finding themselves journeys for rich people and befriend some 20somethings (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) who are totally delightful but Quirky(TM). And they’re totally cool being an awesome couple without kids, TIL THE END WHEN THEY ADOPT A BABY BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO FIX THEIR MARRIAGE AND HOW CAN WE ENJOY LIFE WITHOUT CHILDREN. NO. NOOOOOOOO. Burn it to the ground. Nope.
  • Jurassic World. U G H this pile. Where do I even begin? The main characters are garbage, the made up new dinosaur is a mess, the regurgitated bits and pieces of the original amazing Jurassic Park were just annoying, and the excessively violent death that happens to Fake Jessica Chastain’s assistant for no reason was just too damn much. The kid from Iron Man 3 is charming enough, though. It seems that re-booting a franchise in the present day means taking absolutely nothing about what made the original movies worth watching/movie magic in the first place and just jamming surface level things like the musical cues and logos on stuff. It’s a poorly written mess where you don’t give a damn about any of the characters in the least. BOOOOO.
  • Spectre. Good god, what in the fresh hell happened here? This movie has some powerful moments but is pretty unpleasant overall. The performances are good and the stunt work is incredible, and I know better than go into a James Bond flick expecting anything ~super deep~ but Spectre is an all around letdown. I really wanted this to be good, Skyfall set a high bar. Instead, they were like “let’s take all the cool bits of Thunderball/You Only Live Twice, add a terrible whiny Sam Smith song, criminally under-use Christoph Waltz, jam it all under the hydraulic press, and VOILA!” Mess. At least it wasn’t anywhere near as fucking boring as Quantum of Solace, so it’s got that going for it.

Anyhoo, that’s my schpiele. Thanks, 2015! I’m working on something about Midnight Special right now, so expect that in the next few days.

Sorry, Ghostbusters; nope.

Not to be a buzzkill, and I understand that pretty much everyone I know is popping boners for the new lady Ghostbusters movie trailer that just dropped, but as a whole it honestly does nothing for me. I’m actually a little repelled. Why is that exactly?

Nostalgia doesn’t do a hell of a lot for me, truth be told. Never has. The re-hashing of Ghostbusters seems to have lost what made the original so great; that movie had heart, subtle humour, and a good core science fiction story. It seems like they missed what made that first movie great; the same phenomenon happened with Jurassic World.

I know this is just a trailer, but comedy today has really lost something with this current generation of writers and comedians. I feel as if I no longer understand the path they’re choosing with comedy specifically.

Get off my lawn.

Modern comedy seems to have devolved into some sort of smug neo-SNL ‘THAT’S THE JOKE’ pointedly awkward mess. I haven’t genuinely enjoyed a comedy in years, and that’s really a shame. Sometimes the comedy aspect will work for a good chunk of the movie, but completely fall the fuck apart in the second or third act.

Trainwreck was on its way to being an enjoyable feminist fairytale of a foul-mouthed party girl who has it all; the career, the apartment, a shameless proud sex life, and perhaps a guy who could share it all with her if she so desired. I was on board, I was into it!

And then they sent it straight to hell towards the end of the second act where the protagonist has an emotional breakdown because, basically, women aren’t “supposed” to be that way, and she has to Settle Down(TM) like her bland-ass sister and OH MY GOD IT TURNS OUT THAT’S WHAT SHE’S BEEN YEARNING FOR ALL THIS TIME BUT FELT TOO UNDESERVING OF IT AND HAS LOW SELF ESTEEM AND THAT’S WHY SHE’S THAT WAY IN THE FIRST PLACE. Woof.

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File footage of me in the theatre when that happened. image courtesy of Reddit

And I get it, I really do. People change, people move forward with their lives, that’s how shit works; but you don’t have to denounce what you were doing in the past or who you once were to get there. For Christ’s sake, own that shit; it makes you who you are.

Am I totally mortified at the nonsense I used to do and say? Abso-fucking-lutely. But I would not be who I am today if I was not that vague garbageperson yesterday.

Can’t she just be her damn self and be different and embrace it? I identified heavily with her character in the first half of the movie, truth be told. I was really rooting for Trainwreck to be about how you can be a different and unironic woman, still enjoy yourself in ways that feel true to you, and actually find someone to share that with who won’t think you’re a shell of a person because you’re not The Norm. Too bad it blew up into Romantical Garbage territory and immediately caught on fire. Why does the fact that this lady is different automatically make her Bad?

I look back on the comedies of yore, and I guess the difference is that they’re consistently written well, they’re simple, and have heart. Ace Ventura isn’t trying to serve some greater idea of people-dom, it’s simply a well put together story about a passionate maniac who loves animals, yelling, and solving mysteries. Uncle Buck offers some great insight into being proud of where you come from, and that being different or weird isn’t bad, you need to own it. Tommy Boy tells the story of a goodhearted (though dumb) character who has been told all his life that he’ll only ever be the funny fat party guy, but it turns out he can really accomplish things and defy the odds if he set his mind to it.

The fact that the protagonists of these movies are all men isn’t lost on me either, by the way. To me, the point of those comedies is universal. They didn’t have to be women in order to really speak to me.

Somewhere along the line, I guess that idea got lost. The times are changing, and I’m in no way saying that’s a bad thing; I think we aren’t quite there writing-wise yet. They’re still searching for ways to make female characters who are different have some sort of ~tragic backstory~ or some shit to explain why they are that way instead of just .. being themselves as characters, like they fucking write men. It’s especially confusing when the writers of some of these female characters are women. How the hell does that happen?

I agree that the representation of women in film is extremely important, and it’s always great to see ladies kicking ass, but I disagree that these more recent movies should be seen as AUTO-FANTASTIC because of #women. Mad Max: Fury Road is a good example of that. Sort of a misfire plot-wise, but everyone collectively shit their pants because WOMEN. When I tried to look a little deeper at that movie, I came up empty-handed and sort of confused at the Tumblr fanaticism surrounding it. I agree that it’s incredibly well-crafted and envisioned, but it fell flat to me.

There’s so many other, better places to find female characters who aren’t awful.

Bridesmaids was, for all intents and purposes, intolerable. It exemplified everything I can’t stand about comedy today; pointing at a joke that was just made to make sure the audience got it, gratuitous gross-out stuff, try-hard writing crystallized into catchphrases specifically for t-shirts and memes.. the list goes on. Yet everyone lauded this movie for its’ fresh take and all female cast! MESS. I felt like I was taking fucking crazy pills.

Mean Girls, on the other hand, works perfectly. Good storytelling with emphasis on being yourself, and what that means as a teenage girl. It’s not tryhard or over the top, it’s actually funny, and has a good message. Alright.

Kill Bill is an example of a fantastic female character. (..though not necessarily a comedy depending on how you look at Tarantino..) Beatrix Kiddo has agency. She’s wild, strong, and kicks several asses, but she has a softer side as well; and she’s not ashamed of who she is. Her journey as a character is relatable, even though she’s an assassin.

The core reason that the Ghostbusters trailer/idea doesn’t speak to me is that I grew up in a house where there were no limits as to what I could be or wanted to do. I was never told “no” to something because I was a lady.

Yeah yeah, I know some of you are gonna shriek PRIVILEGE here, but that’s my truth. I feel really lucky and #blessed to have grown up that way. My mother was an extremely positive role model for me, and she always encouraged me to follow my dreams and be completely unashamed of who I am no matter what other people said. Feminism wasn’t something that we ever spoke about explicitly, it was just understood. It was/is life.

The first time I distinctly remember my mom changing my life, I was 7. I was having some issues with a friend being a jerk to me, and was truly upset about it and felt badly about myself as a result.

My mom’s response? “Eh, to hell with her.” She spoke to me as a peer. Totally changed my perspective on the issue at hand, and she reinforced that so long as I wasn’t being hurtful, I was a good person and should always be proud of who I am. There will always be people who don’t dig you, but focus on the ones who do. Truth bombs.

On the other hand, I completely understand why this movie needs to exist. There are so many women of all ages who didn’t grow up the way that I did, and look to pop culture for female role models. So that’s definitely positive. I’ve done the same at times, and I can’t hate on that. Admittedly I am still searching for a female character I can entirely relate to, without the plot twist of that lady being a deeply unhappy garbageperson with low self esteem who needs to change in order to be ‘acceptable’. Fuck that shit.

I gotta say though.. all these fuckboys wailing about the lady Ghostbusters are giving me a little bit of life. Fragile Man Feelings(TM) are the silver lining here.