Oscar!Watch 2017: My Predictions

Poor, neglected Movie Blog.


I’m going to try and get this posted as quickly as possible – not because the Oscars are going to start in about three hours (because they are), but because my landlady is going to be visiting me at some point tonight for a friendly chat (that sounds ominous – my landlady and I are friends, so there’s no animosity or anything), but that’s going to take at least ninety minutes out of my evening, so. Without further ado:

Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Hell or High WaterLa La LandThe LobsterManchester By the Sea20th Century Women

Of the above list, I did not get a chance to see either 20th Century Women or The Lobster, though a DVD of the latter is currently sitting on my floor, unwatched. But at the end of the day, there are only three choices here, and two don’t count. Even though I (and a whole host of other people on the interwebs) have a host of problems with La La Land, this category isn’t really a contest. Hollywood will reward a musical about Hollywood problems in spite of all the Hollywood problems the musical has with its plot, so. La La Land will definitely pick this award up.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: ArrivalFencesHidden FiguresLionMoonlight

Hey, I’ve seen all these! And so I can say definitively that Moonlight should win here. Unlike last year, I did not “level up” and attempt to read all of the source material for the adapted screenplays; this winter has been weird, you guys, and I haven’t finished reading a book since the beginning of January. I’m all messed up. But anyway, I don’t really have a way to say which film was the best film version of its source. But I thought Moonlight was a beautiful film. And since Hollywood won’t give it Best Picture, it should at least reward it here.

Best Director
Nominees: Denis Villeneuve, Arrival; Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge; Damien Chazelle, La La Land; Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

First of all, allow me to make clear how I feel about Hacksaw Ridge:

In a perfect world, every nomination given to fuckin’ Hacksaw Ridge would be transferred to Deadpool. I’m not even kidding. This fuckin’ movie. The good news is that it won’t win a single Oscar. Maybe some of the special effects ones. But nowhere within this post is Hacksaw Ridge going to be given even the slightest of edges. Fucking Hollywood, man.

Anyway. Having got that off my chest, tonight’s winner again will be Damien Chazelle for La La Land, although if there were justice in this world, it would go to Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.

Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Viola Davis, Fences; Naomie Harris, Moonlight; Nicole Kidman, Lion; Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures; Michelle Williams, Manchester By the Sea

If Viola Davis does not win for Fences, it will be a horrific oversight. Unless Naomie Harris wins for Moonlight, in which case I’d be grumbly, but okay with it in the end.

(Remind me to tell y’all how I’d recast All About Eve with Viola Davis playing the great Margo Channing.)

Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight; Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water; Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea; Dev Patel, Lion; Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Does Jeff Bridges only take rusty old cowboy law enforcement type roles now? I mean, for fuck’s sake, Hell or High Water was like, the fourth role of his like this I’ve seen recently. I’m getting bored and also worried about him.

Having said that, I predict and hope that the award goes to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight: his role was only in the first third of the movie, but his character’s influence is felt throughout. I am slightly surprised that Dev Patel wasn’t nominated for Best Actor for his role in Lion; I’m not sure if it was because the structure of the film only had him in the back half, or what. Or maybe the Weinsteins decided that pushing for Best Supporting Actor would be a better chance of him winning (see last year’s similar strategy with Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl). Either way, if Dev Patel wins I’ll also be very happy. If Jeff Bridges wins, then there’s even more idiots in Hollywood than I originally thought.

Best Actress
Nominees: Isabelle Huppert, Elle; Ruth Negga, Loving; Natalie Portman, Jackie; Emma Stone, La La Land; Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Now, Florence Foster Jenkins is the other DVD currently laying on my floor, unwatched. Mainly because I know Meryl Streep is not going to win her next Oscar for this role. She was only nominated after her Cecil B. DeMille speech at the Golden Globes this year. I love Meryl Streep, and I think she’s an amazing woman and deserves everything she ever gets, but she will not win here.

I have not seen Loving, so I can’t comment on Ruth Negga’s chances. I liked Natalie Portman in Jackie: it made me want to pick up a biography of Jackie Kennedy so I could learn more. But I don’t think she’s going to win here.

This category comes down to two women: Isabelle Huppert for Elle, and Emma Stone for La La Land. And I think Emma Stone will win for La La Land, even though I don’t think she deserves it (for this role). But Hollywood loves rewarding young white ingenues (please recall that Jennifer Lawrence won her Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook in her role of manic pixie dream girl), not foreign career actresses that no one in Hollywood’s ever heard of, even though I think it’s the stronger performance.


Best Actor
Nominees: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Ryan Gosling, La La Land; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; Denzel Washington, Fences

Well, I know it’s not going to be Andrew Garfield. I enjoyed Captain Fantastic, but I don’t think Viggo Mortensen has enough momentum to steal from someone here. Ryan Gosling won’t win for this. I’m sorry, ladies, but he won’t. I like him, but – nope.

So that leaves us with Casey Affleck, who, as stated by John Mulaney and Nick Kroll in their opening speech at yesterday’s Independent Spirit Awards, “plays a young man from Boston living in the shadow of his older brother – what a reach!”

And look, maybe I’d be a bit more forgiving and encouraging of Casey Affleck, if it wasn’t for a series of unfortunate events that caused me to be unable to connect with his character emotionally. Long story short, Casey Affleck’s character makes a tragic mistake, and while the film shows us what that mistake was, it’s playing some music in the background. And as I’m watching this, I’m going crazy, because all I can think is, “I’ve heard this before. Where is this from?” And I’m actually writing down in my notebook (because yes, I bring a notebook to the movie theatre for Oscar!Watch, I have witnesses), “What is the song used in the fire?” when all of a sudden, it hits me, and I nearly shout out in the middle of a movie theatre, “BOB’S TURKEY BASTER!”

That sounds really weird. But then, you have probably never watched the classic episode of Bob’s Burgers entitled “Dawn of the Peck,” wherein the entire Belcher clan (save Bob) goes out to do things on Thanksgiving, leaving Bob to not cook Thanksgiving dinner. Bob stays home, puts on his lazy pants, and day drinks to Donna Summer albums. And as he goes into the kitchen to find a bottle opener, he runs into an old friend:

If I ever decide to get back into acting, I am going to perform this as my audition monologue. It hits all the emotional high points. It’s a miracle.

But it also took me completely out of Manchester By The Sea. And while I realize that’s not really Casey Affleck’s fault, I’m still going to side with the Screen Actor’s Guild awards and give Denzel Washington the pick here for Fences, because you don’t want to argue against Denzel Washington, man.

Best Picture
Nominees: ArrivalFencesHacksaw RidgeHell or High WaterHidden FiguresLa La LandLionManchester by the SeaMoonlight

I’m going to knock most of the nominees out without discussion. The only three in contention are La La LandHidden Figures, and Moonlight.

Hidden Figures is a great movie. It tells the story of three women out of about thirty that worked for NASA in the 1960s. These African-American women broke down racial barriers, becoming the women to help push John Glenn into orbit and land Neil Armstrong on the moon. The movie is an ensemble piece, though I would push to say that Taraji P. Henson was robbed of a nomination. There is humor and drama throughout the film, and out of all the films I saw this month, it was the one that made me feel the best when I left.

Moonlight is also a great movie, telling us about young Chiron navigating the perils of growing up black and gay in a society riddled not only with toxic masculinity, but I also think this movie finally brings to light for some people how terrible society has been in providing opportunities for black people. This sounds really trite and insincere coming out of my white mouth, and I recognize that; but I saw Moonlight in a small theater in Freeport, Maine, surrounded by white people. And I heard more than a few of them commenting on the way out, “I didn’t know what to expect, but certainly not that.” This was probably the first time these entitled top-bracket earners had ever learned that, when black kids get in trouble, they get sent to jail, and when they get out of jail, their options are limited. Chiron’s only option is to start selling drugs, just like his mentor Juan. It’s terrible. But through that terribleness, Moonlight also showed that there is hope running through every character.

And then there’s La La Land, which proposes Ryan Gosling as the savior of Jazz.

Look, if I had my way, Best Picture would go to either Hidden Figures or Moonlight. If I could rig it, I’d give it to Moonlight, because it was such a good movie; an important movie, and a film that would start to open the eyes up of other people. Hidden Figures almost does the same thing, but from a different perspective. It’s also the more marketable film, so you could argue that Hidden Figures is the more accessible of the two, and therefore should win. Which is bullshit, but what do I know.

I do know that, in spite of everything, in spite of biting opening monologues and queens of the cinema railing against injustice and claiming they have voices and exposing the world to the plights of the oppressed man, the Best Picture Oscar is still going to go fucking La La Land, because there’s nothing Hollywood likes more than a story about how hard it is to be in Hollywood. Especially when it’s set to music.

To recap:

Best Original ScreenplayLa La Land
Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land (but it should go to Barry Jenkins for Moonlight)
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (but it can also go to Dev Patel for Lion and I’d be happy)
Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land (but it should go to Isabelle Huppert for Elle; or maybe a whole bunch of write-in votes for Taraji P. Henson for Hidden Figures, but whatever)
Best Actor: Denzel Washington, Fences
Best Picture: La La Land (but it should go, in descending order, to Moonlight or Hidden Figures)

Good luck tonight, and don’t forget to find something to around 10:30 tonight to avoid watching the longest Death Reel of our lives.

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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Uncategorized



Me: So, do you want to see the new Ghostbusters this week, or next week?
Dad: Doesn’t matter; I mean, you’ll see it again, right?
Me: Of course!

Ten minutes later
Me: I suppose I should see the first one first, though, right Dad?

Thirty minutes after that
Dad: Do you have a copy of Ghostbusters?
Me: Yeah, I stole your DVD a couple of years ago.
Dad: And you haven’t watched it yet?!
Me: Hannibal was on!


Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

That is adorable. “Unique ghost removal service”? That’s almost, like — pre-hipster.

So here’s what Alaina Knows About Ghostbusters Prior to Watching Ghostbusters:

  • there are ghosts.
  • they get busted.
  • we are to call Ghostbusters when there is something strange ocurring in our neighborhood.
  • also, Rick Moranis is there.
  • There is no Dana, only Zuul.
  • There’s slime? Or is that the second one?
  • S’mores will never be the same after the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Also, this happened last year:

[Me and My Dear Friend Sarah make a plan for brunch prior to her show]
Me: That is an excellent plan!
My Dear Friend Sarah: I’m excited to be a part of it!
Me: What is that from? It sounds familiar.
My Dear Friend Sarah: It’s from Ghostbusters.
Me: Oh … oh, yeah.
My Dear Friend Sarah: [squints eyes knowingly] You’ve seen Ghostbusters, haven’t you?
Me: Look a seagull!
My Dear Friend Sarah: Get out.

And that’s how I ended up abandoned on the side of the road near Plymouth Rock.

Finally, this happened this year:

Pub Trivia Guy at Grittys: This is the name of Sigourney Weaver’s baby that ends up possessed by a god in Ghostbusters.
Me: Zuul!  It’s Zuul!
Friend Brad: Yeah!
[At the end of the round]
Pub Trivia Guy at Grittys: And the name of the baby, who was not possessed by Zuul —
Me: Oh no.
Pub Trivia Guy at Grittys: — was Oscar.
Me: Dammit! I misheard the question. Why didn’t you say something?
Friend Brad: You were so confident! And I couldn’t think of it! I followed you!
Me: Never follow me when I haven’t seen the movie!
Me: I got the Shawshank one right.

So before I hit play on this sucker, I would like to point out that I was going to watch this eventually, the timing worked out well, and regardless of how I feel at the end of the movie, there is no fucking chance in hell that the new, female-led Ghostbusters is going to ruin the original for all the pissy whiny boy twats out there with their cheeky panties in a wet, shit-rinsed bunch. Grow up, you scummy idiots.

Okay. Let’s see how this goes.

The movie opens in the New York Public Library, and a middle-aged librarian wheels a cart of dusty books into the basement. As she reshelves a couple of volumes, some other volumes float from one shelf to another across the hallway, behind her back.

Holy shit, a card catalogue! That’s a relic! Card catalog drawers open up and makes the book cards rain down as if Pacman Jones took up shop in the Non-fiction section. She screams when she notices, and then we segueway straight into —


We transition to King’s College Columbia University, where Dr. Venkman has been told to burn in Hell, according to the graffiti on the office door he shares with Dr. Ray Stantz and Dr. Egon Spengler. Professor Bill Murray of the Parapsychology Department is testing two subjects on reading cards. I mean, he holds up a big card with an image on one side where the student can’t see the image, and the student has to see the image in their mind. The dude, a right dweeb, is very gung-ho about it, but misses the star and the square. When he misses, he gets an electric shock. Bill Murray also turns the card around to show the dude, so he knows he’s wrong.

The girl, however – feathered blond, spitting image of Heather Locklear with the breathy voice of any one of those dumb blonde types found in 1980s cinema – guesses incorrectly as well, and not as valiantly as her male counterpart. But she manages to get every one right, according to Bill. Not that Bill shows her the card, or anything. (He doesn’t. Ever. He doesn’t ever turn the card around for her to see. Because this is all a ploy for Professor Bill to hit on students.)

Miraculously, the dude gets one right: three squiggly lines on a card. (Alaina: “It’s bacon! Hot air out of a hand dryer in the rest room! A hand dryer bacon dispenser!”) And Bill Murray continues to lie to and electrically shock the kid. The kid gets verklempt: “I’m getting a little tired of this!” Bill Murray responds, “You volunteered, didn’t you?”

The student storms off after he loses his fifth card (out of 80), hoping he’s helped prove Bill Murray (Dr. Venkman, apparently)’s theory on the effect of negative reinforcement on ESP ability.

Venkman’s putting the moves on Blondie when Dan Ackroyd (oh god, I never know if I’ve spelled his name right – nope. Close, though) Aykroyd barrels in, telling Venkman he’s got to accompany him and Spengler at the New York Public Library to investigate … a vaporition? I don’t know, there’s a lot of words happening right now. Venkman finalizes his move on Blondie, and they reschedule for 8 o’clock.

What – I – Look, I get that this was filmed in the 80s, but Jesus, Venkman’s a fungdark, isn’t he?

On the steps of the New York Public Library, we learn that Venkman is the skeptic out of the group – for being a professor of parapsychology, apparently he doesn’t believe in paranormal activity? Are we going to learn throughout the movie that Venkman got into this job because he’s a scam artist?

(Oh hey, I turned out to be slightly right about that.)

Anyway, Venkman and Aykroyd — Stantz — meet up with Egon Spengler at the library, and the team goes down into the bowels of the Library and see an actual ghost, and Venkman does not shit all over it like I thought he would. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he tries to pin the vaporition or whatever on the old librarian’s period, and he doesn’t smile once or even really encourage his colleagues, but he does actually secure the sample of ectoplasm for Spengler. And when faced with the apparition, they realize they don’t have a plan aside from proving the sight of the apparition, so they send Venkman out to talk to her. When that doesn’t work – the ghost shhh’shes Venkman, because they’re in a library – Stantz decides the new plan consists of “get her.”

Yes, an excellent, well-thought-out plan. On their way back to their office, Spengler says that he has a chance that he could develop a way to capture and hold ghosts indefinitely.

I have a feeling that will be important later.

When they actually get back to their office, it is their office no longer: the dean has evicted them from the building, the program, and the university altogether. And as the boys try to protest, the dean slaps them all down — most of all Venkman, who is “no scientist,” as he “seems to regard science as some kind of dodge or hustle.” THAT’S WHAT I SAID!

Venkman convinces Stantz to put a third mortgage on his parents’ house so they can go into business for themselves. They look at a dilapidated firehouse: Venkman and Spengler think the place should be killed with fire. Stantz, on the other hand – he is in love with the fireman’s pole, so obviously they take it.

We then meet Dana Barrett, played by Sigourney Weaver. She’s bringing groceries home, and she’s almost through with the gauntlet that is her hallway when Louis comes out of his apartment and pounces.

Now, look, it’s True Confessions Time: tonight’s viewing of Ghostbusters is my third (AND GODDAMMIT, FINAL) attempt to finish Ghostbusters, so this is the second? third? time I’ve seen this scene? But only now, for some reason, do I realize who Louis is in real life.

And no, I’m not talking about Rick Moranis. I fucking know who Rick Moranis is, okay? What I’m trying to say is that I worked with Real!Life!Louis at Beans for years.

RL!Louis is short, with glasses, who will not! stop! talking! He waits for you to come out of your cubicle and down to the floor, and he is just relentless about his own shit! He has no idea how he comes off to other people – the face that Dana Barrett is making right there? Where she’s rolling her eyes while Louis is talking about how he thought the drugstore was making a vitamin delivery (bullshit!) and all she wants to do is put her groceries in the fridge? That would be my patented RL!Louis Eyeroll, if she hadn’t trademarked it first.

I don’t even think about RL!Louis anymore, but Friend Brad mentioned him last week, and man, I’ve been gone from Beans for four years, but RL!Louis has not changed at all. Still hanging around the break room looking for extra food, still wanting to know all about your business because he’s a worse gossip than my landlady —

There are a number of people I miss with fond feelings from that place. RL!Louis is not one of them.

ANYWAY. Thanks for allowing me this digression (on my own blog), and I hope to god I remember to tell Friend Brad this the next time I see him. Because a), it will prove that I’ve actually watched Ghostbusters, and b), hopefully he’s never made the connection between Louis and RL!Louis, and it will blow his mind.

[Also a thing that will blow his mind? Rihanna playing Marion Crane in Bates Motel next season.]

give it to me NOW

ANYWAY, Louis is telling Dana Barrett all about his workout routine, and is it wrong of me to admit that we are 17 minutes in, and this is my first belly laugh:

Louis: I was just exercising. I taped a 20-minute workout and played it back at high speed on my machine so it only took ten minutes. I got a great workout.

Oh, my god.

So apparently Dana’s TV has been on all day, and when she finally escapes Louis, she’s seeing a commercial for … The Ghosbusters. It’s exactly as local commercial as you’d expect. She brings her groceries to the kitchen, and as she’s putting dry goods in her cabinets (not a euphemism, guys), the eggs she left on the counter start to explode. And fry. On the counter. She hears a growling coming from her fridge, and instead of moldy containers of leftovers (which is what I would see if I heard growling coming from my fridge), she sees a demon dog growling ZUUUUUUUL.

Meanwhile, the Ghostbusters have fixed the firehouse up, and Stantz has purchased a very old car and I’m calling it the Ghostmobile. I think its official term is “Ecto-Mobile,” or “ECTO-1” as its license plate proclaims, but I’m old-school. And lazy. They’ve also hired a secretary, Janine, played by Annie Potts. She spends her days reading magazines, so it sounds like an excellent job. She also clearly has a thing for Egon, who is completely oblivious. That oughtta be good.

Dana Barrett walks into the office and Venkman pretty much jumps over the partition between his office and Janine’s desk, and she explains her sighting to the three of them. Spengler’s going to check out the “usual literature,” and Stantz decides to check the blueprints of her building. Venkman, however, decides to bring Miss Barrett back to her apartment to check her out. He means, check out her apartment. Smooth move, Ex-Lax.


When he gets there — oh, boy. Okay. So, he basically swaggers around the living room, waving a wand and pretending to look for stuff. He opens a door, and Dana says:

Dana: That’s the bedroom, but nothing ever happened in there.
Venkman: What a crime.

Okay. So — Venkman’s an asshole. Like, a really awful asshole. And yeah, it’s slightly funny, and yeah, it was written thirty-ish years ago and the early 80s was a different time and I get that, I do. But Jesus — I just want to take that sniffer thing he’s waving around and beat him over the head with it a few frillion times.

Dana shows more restraint than I would, merely comparing him to a game show host instead of a scientist. He attempts to actually do his job, but when there’s nothing in the fridge, Dana realizes that maybe she’s crazy.

While Venkman does tell her that he doesn’t think she’s crazy, he then launches into a speech about how, when he saw that she lived alone, and that she comes home from work and all she has is her work, that he felt a kinship with her because he’s like that, he goes home after work and all he has is work, and maybe, they could find companionship together, and then, he jumps right into being madly in love with her, and holy shit, dude, lies are spewing from your mouth like lava from a volcano. You have known her one hour, tops. You just want to sleep with her, and you think that telling her you’re in love with her will work your magic.


Venkman returns to the firehouse, resolved to prove to Dana that he’s an okay guy. The boys enjoy their last bit of petty cash in the form of a Chinese takeout, when Janine takes a call. They’ve got a live one! Er, live customer; most likely, the ghost is dead.

They suit up and roll out to the Sedgwick Hotel, where disturbances have been reported on the twelfth floor. The concierge hopes the Ghostbusters can handle the situation quietly. Thanks, Freddie Foreshadowing – now I know what’s going to happen.

They split up when they get to 12, and after mistaking a housekeeping cart and blasting the shit out of it, they split up in search of the ghost. Now just a doggone minute, I call fucking shenanigans. This scene is clearly taking place at night – Janine leaving as the phone rings, the dinner scene being dark, it being nighttime when they enter the hotel – WHY IS THERE HOUSEKEEPING AFTER DARK?! Housekeeping only happens in the early morning, people! Usually when I’m trying to sleep in! SHENANIGANS.

Stantz finds Slimer (because duh, it’s Slimer, guys; he may not have had a name until the cartoon show, but every late 80s-early 90s kid grew up knowing who Slimer was, regardless of whether they saw the original movie), but scares him away. He then runs into Venkman, who calls Stantz on their walkie-talkie, and —

Okay. Look. Here’s a thing that bugs the fucking shit out of me. I can’t remember where I first saw it — fuck, IT WAS DIE HARD


But anyway – when you use walkie-talkies? YOU CAN’T HAVE A REGULAR CONVERSATION


Here, watch this:

YOU. CAN’T. INTERRUPT. SOMEONE. ON. A. WALKIE. TALKIE. You push the button, you talk; YOUR CORRESPONDENT CAN ONLY LISTEN!!! They can’t talk back, because YOU’RE USING THE CHANNEL! When you RELEASE the button, THEN the other person can talk! And you can’t talk until they’re done talking, by RELEASING THEIR BUTTON!

So to see Venkman and Stantz using walkie talkies and no one’s releasing any buttons, and there’s no pause in their conversation while waiting for the channel to open up – I LOSE MY MIND.

This has been an episode of Alaina’s Nitpicks. Tune in next week for: “What Day Is This Supposed To Be?! and Other Chronological Inconsistencies.”

Okay, so anyway, by the time Stantz comes upon Venkman in the hallway, Slimer has passed right through Venkman and Venkman is covered in slime. Which is great, apparently.

Slimer has ended up in the main ballroom, so the boys converge on it and attempt to catch it with their proton packs, but end up killing the chandelier. That’s when Egon gives the immortal advice, “Don’t cross the streams.” So they triangulate around Slimer, and eventually manage to get it into the trap that Egon has designed.

They successfully capture Slimer, and only manage to completely destroy the main ballroom in the process. But they get five thousand bucks out of the hotel, so — all’s well that ends well, I guess.

Venkman: We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!

Their business takes off and they make the cover of Time and the National Enquirer. Plus, Stantz gets a spectral visit from a succubus.

They end up with so much business they have to hire a fourth man – enter Winston Zeddmore, played by Ernie Hudson. Basically, he’ll do anything for a steady paycheck. Wow, I had no idea the early 80s were that bad financially!

Then Venkman reaches out to Dana Barrett to let her know that in the midst of busting all those ghosts, he’s found one reference to Zuul, and they should talk about it. This Thursday, at 9:00. And if anyone wanted more proof that this movie was written by a bunch of men, look no further than Dana agreeing to the date. DANA. HE’S AN ASS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

While Stantz is showing Winston how to empty the traps into the storage system, Venkman is getting a visit from a dude from the EPA. EPA Guy (who, Fun Fact!, also played the reporter that Holly Gennaro McClane punches out at the end of Die Hard) wants to see this storage facility. Venkman won’t let him, because duh.

Meanwhile, Egon is getting worried about the containment unit. Apparently, the ghosts and shit they’ve all caught are now the size of a 35-foot-long, 600-lb. Twinkie. They could be looking at a cross-generational gap of epic proportions, or something. I don’t know, Stantz says a lot of words.


Dana comes home and almost makes it past Louis’s apartment, but he comes out of the party he’s having at his apartment to say hi and make sure she’s coming. Wait, is this the same party Louis was talking about earlier? The one he was having for his accounting clients? How much time has passed!?

Dana’s mom calls her, and Dana confirms that she has a date tonight. I just … written by dudes. NOT ALL WOMEN ARE TAKEN BY BILL MURRAY’S CHARMS. Or maybe I’m still just residually mad about Lost in Translation. Anyway, when she hangs up, her kitchen’s on fire, and also, demon hands break out of her chair and clamp down on her, and wheel her into her on-fire kitchen, where a demon dogargoyle is lying in wait.

We have a relatively funny scene at Louis’s accountant client party (HOW MUCH TIME HAS PASSED FROM THE HOTEL JOB TO NOW!), which according to the trivia, was almost 100% improvised by Rick Moranis. I believe it. I also still 100% believe that RL!Louis based his life off of this character, because I have heard RL!Louis give the same speech about saving money on a pie he brought to a Christmas Party that had been in his freezer for about four years, but it was still good, and the price of the pie went up by about four bucks since he bought it, so that was a good buy. Holy shit, I have got to call Brad tomorrow about this.

Anyway, Ted and Annette Fleming show up and Louis takes their coats and tosses them in his room, where another demon dog is living. Louis returns to the living room and asks if anyone wants to play Parcheesi, when a large series of growls comes from the bedroom. Just as Louis asks who brought their dog, the dog bursts through the bedroom and heads right to Louis.

Venkman rolls up to the apartment building, and walks past Louis’s demolished apartment. He knocks on Dana’s door; she answers, and she’s wearing an off-the-shoulder, copper orange drape, and damn, Sigourney Weaver looks great. She asks if Venkman’s the Keymaster, and when he says “no,” she slams the door in his face. GOOD GIRL, SIGOURNEY. Venkman knocks again, and when Dana again asks if he’s the Keymaster, this time he says yes.

That’s going to be important later.

Anyway, Venkman figures out something’s going on when he asks her name and she says “Zuul.” Also, the ectoplasm covering her entire apartment is a big clue. Zuul tells Venkman that they must prepare for the coming of Gozer, the Destructor. Preparation includes sleeping with Zuul, and look, I’m going to give Venkman some credit here: he recognizes that she’s possessed and that sleeping with her is a bad idea in this state. So, good on you, Venkman.

Side note: Sigourney Weaver’s makeup in this scene makes her look like Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter. Just me? Okay, I’ll shut up.

Venkman: I want to talk to Dana. Dana? It’s Peter.
Dana: There is no Dana; there is only Zuul.

When Zuul won’t let Dana out to talk to Peter, Dana levitates off the bed. So; that’s bad.

Louis is picked up by a couple of police officers after he goes around asking people if they’re the Gatekeeper. The police officers drop him off at the Ghostbusters station, where Egon and Janine listen to the gobbeldygook he’s spouting. Luckily, Venkman chooses that moment to call in and tell Egon that he found the Gatekeeper in the form of Dana, whom … he knocked out with Thorazine?!

Y’know, I’m gonna skip over the idea of drugging a possessed woman because yes, in this instance, it was for her own safety. Instead, I’m going to wonder WHO THE FUCK IS CARRYING THORAZINE AROUND AND WHY. It’s an antipsychotic, used to treat schizophrenia! Does Venkman keep it on his person? Does he have a prescription? Is it Dana’s? WHAT THE FUCK, GUYS, I get it was the 80s, BUT FOR FUCK’S SAKE

Winston and Ray are on a call out in Brooklyn somewhere, discussing Revelations 7:12 and Judgment Day. Winston hypothesizes that the Ghostbusters have been so busy lately because the dead are rising from their graves. Huh – Ray has not considered that.

It must have been a late night – early morning call, because Ray and Winston drive the Ecto-1 over the Manhattan Overpass Bridge (which I have officially napped under), and then at 8 a.m. (because, speaking from experience, government officials never do anything prior to 8 a.m.) the EPA rolls up on the Ghostbusters station, and ask Egon to turn off the machines. Louis, still as Keymaster, is shadowing Egon, down to his every hand movement. Rick Moranis is a national treasure, people; and he’s only on loan from Canada!

The EPA shuts the system off, and the entire storage system fucking explodes. Everyone runs out of the station, and as the spectral matter releases back into the atmosphere in a stream of burning hot lava, Dana wakes up from her Thorazine nap, and watches all the spirits return from whence they came – until her apartment building blows a wall out.

Meanwhile, the EPA was successful in arresting the Ghostbusters, and they’re holding court — well, minus a rather skeptical Winston — discussing the structure of Dana’s apartment building. Apparently it was built by some guy in the 1920s who worshiped Gozer, and there were rituals to bring about the end of the world.


Anyway, Reginald VelJohnson plays another cop, and this one tells the Ghostbusters that the Mayor wants to see them because the whole island’s going crazy. Well, that’s what happens when the EPA unleashes a shit-ton of spirits that have, according to the chronology I can figure, been captured by Ghostbusters IN THE SPAN OF FOUR DAYS. GODDAMMIT, CHRONOLOGY.

The Keymaster and the Gatekeeper meet up, finally. They kiss, and then turn to go up a staircase.

The Ghostbusters have their audience with the Mayor, along with Peck, the EPA guy. The Mayor calls a cardinal or something, who basically tells them to pray. Whatever. But then, Winston moves in and tells the Mayor that he’s only been working with the Ghostbusters a couple of weeks, and THANK YOU, WINSTON, FOR ANSWERING PART OF MY QUESTION. Based on the fact that they hired Winston two weeks ago, and the hotel job with Slimer happened the same night as when Venkman first met with Dana, maybe an entire month has passed? Six weeks? At least I know this hasn’t happened all in one week.

I’m just saying some chyrons would be mighty appreciated.

The Mayor is warned that they are looking at — well:

Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor; real wrath of God type stuff.
Venkman: Exactly.
Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes —
Winston: The dead rising from the grave!
Venkman: Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

At the thought of dogs and cats living together, the Mayor allows the Ghostbusters a chance to fix the issue — especially when Venkman points out that if the Ghostbusters succeeds, then the Mayor will have been directly responsible for saving the lives of millions of registered voters.

The Ecto-1 rolls out with a police escort, heading straight to Dana’s apartment building, which now has huge black clouds smoking out of it. After being swallowed by the road in front of the building (momentarily), they make their way to Dana’s suite, which has been blasted to shit. They find Dana and Louis in their positions of Keymaster and Gatekeeper, and then they form a triangle of lightning. The forces open a section of the building and Gozer arrives – in the form of a woman, which the Ghostbusters were not really expecting.

Stantz tries to peaceably evict Gozer from the top of the tower, but instead of following his orders, she asks:

Gozer: Are you a god?
Stantz: No.
Gozer: Then – die!!
[Gozer lightning blasts the entire team and almost pushes them off the building.]
Winston: Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES!

Huh. I always thought that was Venkman’s line.

They attempt a couple of times to catch Gozer, but to no avail. Finally — and incorporeally — she instructs them to choose and perish. Venkman tells the team to empty their minds of all thoughts but Ray — sweet, sweet Ray — has something just pop in there.

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

[Oh my god, Dan Aykroyd’s reading of that line is a glorious thing.]

Ray just wanted to think of something that wouldn’t hurt anyone. Until Mr. Stay Puft starts stepping on cars and shit. They attempt to “roast” him, but it just makes him angry. And flamey. Egon and Ray decide that they should reverse the particle flow through the gate by crossing the streams.

Venkman: I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it!

[Hey, Sarah? Thank you for not slapping my face every time we had this conversation.]

Winston mentions that this is not worth 11-5 a year. WAIT A MINUTE. *does the math*
They are only paying Winston $5.50 an hour?! Christ almighty.

They cross their streams and blow up the gate. Rocks fall, and then EPA guy gets 75 lbs of marshmallow topping dumped on him. The Ghostbusters are a bit marshmallow-covered, but okay. And they claw through one of the statues to rescue Dana, and Louis is also okay.

Then all of a sudden it’s morning and everyone’s fine and the theme song starts up and the credits take off.

Huh. Okay. So.

That’s it?
That’s what men are crying about?
The fact that this has been rebooted with four (fantastic) female leads will have effectively ruined the childhood of millions of people?

Go fuck yourself. This movie’s not that great.

Venkman’s an asshole, the characters were cardboard, and people clearly didn’t care about the proper usage of thorazine, clearly-marked chronology, or how to fucking use a walkie-talkie. Rick Moranis (and Sigourney Weaver’s cheekbones) was the highlight for me.

I literally do not understand what the fuss is about. To be honest, I feel the same way when Brad tells me he watches Shawshank to the end every goddamn time it’s on TV. Why? You know how it ends, and it’s not that great a movie?! Is it a thing on the Y chromosome that makes you all (yes, all men) feel that way about your favorite movies? I mean, goddammit, I love Die Hard with every ounce of my cold, dead heart, but I still find things that irk me about it. And yeah, the walkie-talkie thing is just the tip of the iceberg.

If news came out of San Diego Comic Con that someone was going to reboot Die Hard, but this time cast a female as Joan McClane?



Cry me a fucking river. Get over it. Go fuck yourselves.

I’m going to bed.


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Posted by on July 24, 2016 in The List


Project X: episodes 2.01-2.07

Welcome to Season 2, and almost to Year 2 of Project X! The good news is that at the rate I’m going, we have at least 8 more years of fun ahead of us?

[The bad news is that if I took pictures during the watching of these episodes, they have been lost to the interwebs. They’re not on my phone, nor are they on my new laptop or my portable hard drive. So, if there were visual aids at some point, they no longer exist. Apologies.]

Episode 2.01: “Little Green Men”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder travels to Puerto Rico in advance of a beret team out to destroy evidence of an extra terrestrial encounter.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A shadowy Senator sends Mulder to Puerto Rico to verify Voyager made contact with aliens, even though the X-Files are kaput. I give them three episodes before the X-Files are back up and running,though.

MOTW / Mytharc
Mytharc, most definitely. After Skinner (BABY) disbanded the X-Files, Mulder got sent off to conduct stakeouts and Scully’s back at Quantico, instructing newbies on autopsies. This episode will also add to the idea of shadowy government overlords when it comes to the alien shit.

First Meetings
Senator Matheson, one of Mulder’s allies. Matheson is the one who sends Mulder to Puerto Rico.

Mulder, You Precious Angel
We begin the episode with a science presentation and Mulder’s poetic yet completely over-dramatic narration.

Flashback To
Samantha’s abduction.

Dammit! My Sexual Kryptonite!
Mulder, sweaty after his flashback nightmare, still wearing his white Oxford shirt, unbuttoned.

Ships Ahoy!
There’s Mulder’s whole speech to Scully on the tape [[note: I can’t remember what the speech said, nor can I remember which tape this is — it may be the tape of his report he makes her that she listens to in her office late at night, or it may be a tape that was created in the Puerto Rico lab — I can’t remember. Ugh, I don’t want to have to rewatch these for more context!]]. But most importantly, even Skinner (BABY) know that, when Mulder ran off to Puerto Rico without telling anyone and Scully got worried about him, that if Scully knew where Mulder was, she wouldn’t be so worried about him. SKINNER KNOWS, MULDER

I also have a note that reads, “The Hand Touch! ‘I still have you.'”, which I assume fits under this category, but again – without context, I have no idea.

Fuck Yeah, Skinner!
When Mulder tells Skinner about the illegal wiretap he found on his phone, and Skinner knows that since he didn’t order it, then it has to be the work of Cigarette Smoking Man, and then he tells CSM to get the hell out of his office! FUCK YEAH, SKINNER!

Watch or Skip?
Most definitely watch.

Episode 2.02: “The Host”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder pursues a humanoid, parasitic organism that uses sewage systems as its home.

Alaina’s Synopsis
……….. eeeewwwwwww.  Why does it have to be sewage?

MOTW / Mytharc?
It’s described as a “humanoid parasitic organism that [lives in] sewage systems.” THIS IS DEFINITELY A MONSTER.

Note From the Future
I make the worst fucking decisions. This episode is so gross.

Thing I Yelled At the TV
[[On the black and white image of a freighter that starts the episode]]
If this is an homage to Battleship Potemkin, I’m out.

Thing I Also Yelled At the TV
What the fuck, the sailors are Russian?! I’M OUT, I’m not watching Potemkin again!

Scully’s Hair
[[ No image found. ]]
But seriously: flat. Listless. Unstyled. Pregnancy Hair. Gillian Anderson knew she was going out for a few episodes, so it’s like they stopped caring what she looked like. Poor Gillian – you deserved so much better.

Ships Ahoy!
(When Scully suggests Mulder transfer to Quantico to get out of stakeout transcriptions)
Mulder: They don’t want us working together, Scully. And right now, that’s the only reason I can think of to stay.

Also: their faces when Scully comments that one of their conversations feels like old times. Oh, my heart.

Special Guest Star

Classic Quote
Skinner: We all take our orders from somewhere, Agent Mulder.

Everything Is Hannibal And Everything Hurts
For a second I thought Scully was reading the Daily Tattler, but I was wrong. And sad.

Watch or Skip?
Since I didn’t write it down, I’m gonna go ahead and say skip it.

Episode 2.03: “Blood”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully investigate a series of violent killings committed by seemingly normal residents of a small town.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Something is causing machines – elevators, ATMs – to instruct people in this small Pennsylvania town to murder people. Turns out it’s insecticide laced with LSD, so – thanks, government!

MOTW / Mytharc
Starts off as a possible Monster, but ends up in Shadowy Government Doing Icky Things territory.

Special Guest Star
William Sanderson plays one of the first people afflicted by the insectiumurdercide. You may remember William Sanderson as E.B. Farnham, the first mayor of Deadwood! (He most recently played Sheriff Bud Dearborne in True Blood, if that’s more your speed.) This makes the third Deadwood-ian to grace our hallowed X-Files halls, and this episode marks one of the few times I haven’t spent a good five minutes cursing out E.B.’s general jackassery.

Fun Fact!
Mulder – who has been transferred from stakeouts to the Behavioral Sciences Unit – used to play right field.

All About Alaina
The climax of the episode occurs at Franklin College, and I’m going to assume that they really meant it to be Franklin Pierce College, even though that’s in New Hampshire and the episode takes place in Pennsylvania, but seriously, it’s an ode to me.

Mulder, You Precious Angel
Mulder reaches out to shake someone’s hand, but he’s wearing latex gloves: “Pardon my rubber.”

He later trades Scully’s phone number for Frohike’s night vision goggles.

Lone Gunmen!
They’re in this one! And they’ve found nuclear bees! Or possibly tracker jackers.

Classic Quote
Byers: That is a Eurasian cluster fly.
Alaina: That is not how I thought that sentence would end.

Ships Ahoy!
Mulder emails Scully his reports as he tries to build his profile, because he wants her opinion! And she reads them alone in her Quantico office at night! It’s all so romantic!

Funny In Hindsight
Scully is very glad to prove that Mulder isn’t going to turn into the next Charles Manson. It’s funny because of Aquarius, starring David Duchovny. It’s not funny because somehow Aquarius got renewed for a second season but Hannibal got canceled.

Watch or Skip?
I feel like this episode has a fair amount of good parts – E.B., Lone Gunmen, etc. – but overall, probably it’s okay to skip this one.

Episode 2.04: “Sleepless”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder searches for a Vietnam vet who can project his consciousness into other peoples’ minds.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A Vietnam vet who underwent a sleep eradication study is now able to make people believe they’re on fire, or getting shot. It’s a revenge rampage, y’all! And also we meet Alex Krycek.

MOTW / Mytharc?
Mytharc in that it introduces two key characters and the villain of the piece is a government science experiment.

First Meetings
Hey, remember when I said we were going to see Nicholas Lea again in Episode 1.14? That day is today, so let’s give Alex Krycek a warm, Project X welcome! Krycek is a young whippersnapper of an agent that gets partnered with Mulder on this case.

We also meet Mr. X, the successor to Deep Throat’s legacy of providing just enough information to put Mulder on the right track, byt not enough to allow him to figure out anything on his own.

Classic Quotes
Krycek, introducing himself: Krycek. Alex Krycek.  #preciousbby

Mr. X, also introducing himself (of sorts): I’m not here to do your thinking, Agent Mulder.

Freddy Foreshadowing
Krycek is connected to the Cigarette Smoking Man, and says that Scully is a bigger problem than what was originally described. YOU LEAVE SCULLY ALONE.

Watch or Skip?
Watch for Krycek, but the plot is meh.

Episode 2.05: “Duane Barry”

Netflix Synopsis
A former FBI agent who claims he was abducted by aliens takes several people hostage.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Mulder gets called in to deflate a hostage situation – Duane Barry, former FBI agent, believes he has been abducted but no one believes him. Mulder believes him, and then finds a chip or something that was removed. Scully wants to investigate the piece of metal, but gets thrown into harm’s way.

MOTW / Mytharc?

Special Guest Star
CCH Pounder! Dudes, she’s been in everything, I’m not going to list all of her credits; that’s what imdb. is for. However, most notably (to me), she portrayed the Secretary of HUD on the classic West Wing episode, “Celestial Navigation.” If you’ve heard about CJ’s root canal in Foggy Bottom and Josh Lyman inventing a secret plan to fight inflation, then you’ve heard of the best episode of The West Wing.

Thing I Can’t Even
Apparently, when Mulder doesn’t run for exercise, he swims laps. In red Speedos. Bless you, Fox. And also, bless you, Fox Mulder.

Duane Barry somehow figures out where Scully lives, and the episode ends with Scully leaving the sounds of her kidnapping on Mulder’s answering machine.

Watch or Skip?
Watch, are you kidding me?

Episode 2.06: “Ascension”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder attempts to rescue Scully is abducted by a deranged man who believe in UFOs.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Mulder and Krycek go after Duane Barry (with Krycek attempting to stop Mulder at all costs, because separating Mulder from Scully would be the best thing for Krycek and the Cigarette Smoking Man), but it’s too late – Scully has disappeared. And then, Duane Barry dies, cutting off all leads.

This two-parter was created to allow Gillian Anderson time off for the birth of her first child. So that’s why most of Scully’s shots are in the trunk of Duane Barry’s car.

MOTW / Mytharc?

First Meeting
Skyland Mountain! The location of Duane Barry’s abduction, and now Scully’s. We will see this fucking guy a few more times over the next decade.

O Skinner
This is the first episode where Skinner truly shows Mulder that he’s on Mulder’s side. He listens to Mulder, and most importantly, he believes Mulder. And then – he reopens the X-Files.

Skinner Ships It!
He sends Mulder home to get some sleep, and he promises to call Mulder if he can help. He knows how Mulder feels about Scully.

Classic Quote
Skinner: There’s only one thing I can do, Agent Mulder. As of right now, I’m reopening the X-Files. That’s what they fear the most.

Vintage Pretend Boyfriend = Walter S. Skinner. ❤

Watch or Skip?
Seriously, you have to watch this one. It’s soooo important.

Episode 2.07: “3”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder links a series of grisly deaths to a group of modern-day vampires.

Thing I Yelled At the TV:
Vampires?! OH HELL YEAH

Note From the Future
I came to regret that outburst.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Lost without Scully, Mulder dips his toes into Southern California vampire culture and it does not end well.

MOTW / Mytharc?
Monster of the Week. That desperately needed to be staked.

Thing I Can’t Even
These pre-Buffy vampires. Oh my god. So horrible. They go to a club called “Club Tepes.” Really? Who do you think you’re fooling, baby goths? Also, isn’t that the same club that Ford took his friends when they wanted to be turned into vampires in “Lie to Me” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Freddie Foreshadowing
Someone mentioned porphyria! Now, please someone mentioned xeroderma pigmentosum. Actually, just wake me up when “Bad Blood” comes on.

Full Disclosure Moment
I totally fell asleep for a good chunk of this episode.

Ships Ahoy!

Fox Mulder: Human Disaster
Uuuggggghhhh … so, Mulder sleeps with the vampire lady WHILE WEARING SCULLY’S CROSS, FUCK YOU MULDER, and this is my least favorite episode so far. YES, EVEN WORSE THAN “SPACE.” I get that this is supposed to show Mulder making really bad choices because Scully’s missing and he doesn’t know what to do or how to act without her, but … ugggghhhh.

Dammit! My Sexual Kryptonite!
Mulder, button those buttons on your white shirt! I am mad at you and do not want to be turned on right now!

Watch or Skip?
Skip, unless you’re the type of shipper who enjoys watching when one member of your OTP is missing and the other member is completely lost without him or her. Otherwise, this episode is just painful all around.

Next time, on Project X: “One Breath,” “Firewalker,” “Red Museum,” “Excelsis Dei,” “Aubrey,” “Irresistible,” and “Die Hand Die Verletzt.” Scully comes back, we meet another one of Alaina’s Vintage Pretend Boyfriends, and some weird shit ensues.

Hopefully, “next time” will occur before 2017.

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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Project X


Oscar!Watch 2016: My Predictions

Two completely true statements:

  1. I am going to post this before Chris Rock takes the stage on Sunday evening .
  2. I will not bitch about The Revenant any more than I already have.

Two of those statements are a complete falsehood.


Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight, Straight Outta Compton

Of this group, I was unable to see Straight Outta Compton. But that’s okay, because it’s not like it’s going to win, right? #OscarsSoWhite, amirite?

Of the four remaining, I feel Spotlight is the clear front-runner. Bridge of Spies was okay, but it was full of long spots and the dialogue was a bit preachy at times — although that could just be the tried-and-true combination of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Inside Out was cute, but cute doesn’t win awards (or so I’ve been told). That leaves Ex Machina, which was interesting, but probably a little too out-there, sci-fi-ey for a majority of Oscar voters to pick it.

I’m going to talk about Spotlight some more coming up, but regarding its screenplay: it is tight. The dialogue is natural, the characters are clearly defined, and there is not a single sour note throughout. Unless a miracle happens (more on that later), this may be Spotlight‘s only win.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: The Big Short, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, Room

I gave myself an extra challenge this year – because I’m a masochist, and apparently, a bit of an asshole?: I wanted to read the books that the adapted screenplays were adapted from. I don’t know why I wanted to do that this year as opposed to other years — maybe because this year the nominees were all books first, and they were all available at my library too? I dunno. But I managed to see all the films nominated in this category, AND I read all the books except Carol, because the only Patricia Highsmith novels my library has are a couple of lesser Ripley novels. Come on, Yarmouth Library!

Anyway. I’ll go more into each book as I review them over on That’s What She Read — and when I do, I’ll link the reviews back to here, but let’s face it, those reviews probably won’t be published until April, at the rate I’m going.

In comparison to the films, however, I feel The Big Short is the standout. The Big Short was written by Michael Lewis, who comes from the Wall Street world. The book was … well, it was as easy to read as something that deals with such heavy, cumbersome, hard-to-understand-for-the-average-layman concepts as it does. The character pieces were great – the character Steve Carell plays in the movie was fascinating, even in book form. I guess the best thing I can say about the book is: I brought it to the gym with me, and when my elliptical workout ended, I was surprised, because I had been engrossed in the story.

But what the film does that the book can’t, is focus the story truly on the people who went after the big banks, and also find ways to visually explain the concepts being talked about. And they were able to do that while being funny. And not, like, making the tragedy of the housing market crash funny; but they brought humor into it, which made the story that much more relatable.

I mean, we all lived through that shit time, right?

As a bonus: if The Big Short does in fact win, that means that Anchorman will have been retroactively written by an Oscar winner. And if that just doesn’t fill my tiny heart up with joy.  ❤

Best Director
Nominees: Adam McKay, The Big Short; George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road; Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant; Lenny Abrahamson, Room; Tom McCarthy, Spotlight


Okay, so, here’s the thing: y’all know how I feel about The fucking Revenant. I do not want Alejandro G. Iñárritu to win this. He doesn’t deserve to win for this. It’s a shit show. He’s a jackass auteur who is so proud of being “arty” that he holds his audience hostage while he … well, actually, I’ll let Jack Hamilton of Slate tell you:

Iñárritu makes films for the movie-going equivalent of what Gob, the magician brother from Arrested Development, refers to as “how’d-he-do-dat”s: people impressed by trickery who don’t bother to notice that said trickery isn’t performed in service of any ideas. Birdman was shot in a flamboyant, faux-single-take style that was impressive in a showy, obvious way, but to what ends? The technique added nothing to the film’s thematic cohesion or narrative invention; it merely distracted from how little of either the movie contained. Similarly, The Revenant’s visual inventiveness is spectacular but pointless; it’s a movie that’s only interesting when no humans are speaking or even on screen.

But seriously, folks: if you want to read an excellent article that encapsulates some of my rage about the fucking Revenant, read the full thing: “The Revenant is terrible“. You will not be disappointed.

Unfortunately, because the Oscars are so far up both Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio’s asses — seriously, the Academy is practically the double-headed dildo Iñárritu and DiCaprio use to fuck themselves raw while they’re both rewatching the scene where Leo cuts into the horse like a Tauntaun — Iñárritu will most likely take home his second award for The Revenant. But literally anyone else on that list should get it. I would love to give this to Tom McCarthy for Spotlight, because again, that movie was amazing. My top choice for best director would be George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road, because that movie was a fucking spectacle of awesomeness (visually, conceptually).

None of those stunts were CGI, people. I mean, come on!

Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight: Rooney Mara, Carol; Rachel McAdams, Spotlight; Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl; Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs.

I did not get to see Steve Jobs; nor did I want to. Kate Winslet got nominated because she’s Kate Winslet, and with the exception of The Holiday, she gets a nomination for everything she does. While I adore Rachel McAdams, her character in Spotlight wasn’t strong enough to win here; and I want to point out, that is through no fault of McAdams. Jennifer Jason Leigh was very much touted at the beginning of awards season to pick this award up, but the shine has fallen off of The Hateful Eight — another movie I didn’t get to see.

That leaves the award to go between Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander. Before seeing The Danish Girl, I was thinking it should go to Mara, because while her performance is amazing, I would also like to point out that Rooney Mara’s character has more screen-time than Cate Blanchett, who is playing the title character, and was nominated for Best Actress. God, I fucking hate the Oscars sometimes.

And while I liked Ms. Mara’s performance (Carol was good, but not transcendent), in the end I’m leaning towards Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl. The love she had for her husband, even as he transitioned into Lili, never wavered, and I thought her character was just … full, if that means anything? Ms. Vikander’s character, Gerda, was allowed to have wants, and needs, separate and above from what her husband could provide for her, and she worked to achieve those goals. She should have also been submitted in the Best Actress category, is what I’m saying, because again, she was the female character with the most screen time in that film, and her role was not merely to support Eddie Redmayne.

Ugggh, Oscars; being #sowhite is NOT your only problem.

Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Christian Bale, The Big Short; Tom Hardy, The Revenant; Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight; Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies; Sylvester Stallone, Creed.

This is the only time I will say anything positive about The Revenant (aside from the cinematography, which, while not a category I perform Oscar!Watch for, I do believe The Revenant should win for that):

Tom Hardy should win Best Supporting Actor.

No, wait, hear me out! He was, aside from the aforementioned cinematography, the best damned thing about that accursed movie. His character actually had dialogue! His character had goals he wanted to achieve that were not merely revenge! His character had agency, and purpose! He had a fucking character to portray, is what I’m fucking saying.

But because the fucking Academy loves rewarding old people who don’t deserve jackshit, Sylvester Stallone will win this. AND YET PETER O’TOOLE ONLY GOT AN HONORARY AWARD. Fuck, Stallone won an Oscar for Rocky! Does he really fucking need one for goddamn acting?!

No, you know what? Fuck him. I’m going to enbolden Tom Hardy‘s name here and say he should win, because he fucking should win, goddammit. Don’t nominate the one white guy in Creed and then give that same fucking white guy the Oscar to ameliorate your sins, Academy. Why don’t you do the right thing for fucking once and reward an actual goddamned performance in a film and not just throw gold away in the name of nostalgia?

Goddammit, I have a lot of feelings this year.

Best Actress
Nominees: Cate Blanchett, Carol; Brie Larson, Room; Jennifer Lawrence, Joy; Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years; Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn.

Brie Larson has won every award she can leading into the Oscars; this is no longer a contest. She has won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors’ Guild, and BAFTA. She will win for Room here as well, and deservedly so.

(If you have not read Room, I highly recommend you do so. You should also watch the movie, after you read the book.)

Best Actor
Nominees: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant.

I mean, does it even fucking matter?

But here, read this article, “Why Leo winning an Oscar would be bad for acting,” and then after you go see Room, let’s you and I talk separately about how Jacob Tremblay is the TRUE Best Actor this season:

During the course of the film—which we’ve repeatedly been told was shot under very difficult weather conditions and in harsh terrain; filmmaker suffering is part of this narrative now, too—Leo wades and swims in icy water, crawls across hard tundra while dragging an injured leg behind him, eats raw bison liver, sucks the marrow out of the vertebrae of an animal skeleton, etc., in the name of survival, but also in the name of Art. “Just about every awards body has drunk the ‘Revenant’ Kool-Aid, buying into DiCaprio’s endless boasting about how super-hard the movie was to make,” wrote Matt Prigge, who agrees with me that Leo should not get an Oscar because it would reinforce poor messages.

Best Picture
Nominees: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight

I have, for once, watched every single one of these movies. Let’s knock some out first.

Room and Brooklyn, while definitely worth watching (Brooklyn was so sweet! I did not realize I was going to like it so much when I went to see it, and I’m so glad I did. Seriously, pick it up from Redbox when you get a chance, it’s lovely), will not win. Bridge of Spies was nominated only to make sure Steven Spielberg didn’t feel ignored; we do not want to goad him into making a fifth Indiana Jones movie.

Now, for Mad Max: Fury Road. I liked it; I really did. I did not like it as much as My Dear Friend Sarah, and I’m not sure why that is. I guess I’m trying to figure out why, even though I liked it, I don’t think it’s worthy of Best Picture.


Mad Max has a great story. It metaphor’s a lot of attitudes that are prevalent in the world today. It stars Charlize Theron as a kickass, amazing soldier, who takes no prisoners, yet masterfully shows both wartime strategy and empathy for others at the same time. It is gloriously feminist, stuck in a horrible, misogynist world. The visuals are phenomenal; the stunt work is mind-blowing.

Do I think this won’t win because it’s so, for lack of a better phrase, “genre”? It’s not really science-fiction, but it feels like it’s the Academy’s bone-throwing nominee — much like District 9 back in 2009. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see this for the first time in a theater; I Redboxed it. Maybe that lack of overwhelming scope limited my reaction? Would I feel different about the film if I had seen it on the big screen? Maybe. If it manages to win Best Picture  I’ll be totally okay with that choice, even though I want another film to win more.

That leaves The Big Short, Spotlight, The Martian, and The Revenant. All of these movies have won a Big Award leading up to the Oscars; The Martian picked up Best Comedy at the Golden Globes, but its momentum has slipped. As much as I want it to win, I don’t think it’s going to make it. But man, do I want it to! Here’s the thing with The Martian: you feel so good after watching it. It’s heartwarming, and uplifting, and — and just goddamned wonderful. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s at Redbox now – go get it.

Spotlight won Best Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, which is the SAG’s equivalent of Best Picture. **This is what comes from getting distracted: Just hours ago, Spotlight also won Best Picture at the Independent Spirit Awards. That’s two, baby! And again, Spotlight was fantastic. I bought it on DVD today because I wanted to watch that back to back with The Martian because I’m not sure which one I liked more. Like with The Martian, we’ve got a team of professionals who care so much about their job. They want to do it right. Unlike The Martian, the story Spotlight tells is true. And it’s scary; in case you don’t know, it’s the story of the Boston Globe‘s uncovering of the Catholic priest abuse scandal in Boston. And the story wasn’t limited to Boston; it uncovered the scandal on a global level, and I’m not making a pun because the name of the paper is the Globe — the scandal stretched back to the Vatican. Similar scandals were uncovered in Portland, a city I’m currently fifteen minutes from.

But it reminded me of what journalism should be. When I first went to college, I wanted to be a journalist. Well, I wanted to be an on-air newsreader, actually, but in order to do that you had to graduate with a degree in journalism or television communications. And TV communications was still a relatively new degree back in 2001 when I started college.

Oh shit. It’s my fifteenth high school reunion this year. Jesus Christ.

Uhhh, anyway. Ten days into my freshman year, two planes hit the Twin Towers, and the face of journalism — especially the face of on-air news journalism — changed forever. While that was not directly the impetus for my decision to leave Franklin Pierce College and change my major, watching Spotlight reminded me that, at one point, I did have the desire to pursue journalism, and Spotlight showed me that, at one time, journalism was a revered career with wide-reaching potential for change. And as once-reputable news sources now scramble over each other to find the people who yell the loudest and sound bites are taken as the word of God, I just have to wonder if we’ll ever see a return to investigative journalism as demonstrated in Spotlight.

I think I may have talked myself into believing Spotlight is my choice for Best Picture, but I’ve got one more point to make.

The Big Short. While I enjoyed it, I did not like it as much as Spotlight, but don’t think that’s a detriment; it’s a different animal. In Spotlight, a team of people band together to reveal corruption to the world in hopes of changing things for the better. In The Big Short, a team of people band together to reveal corruption to the world … in hopes of proving those corrupt people stupid and, therefore, making a lot of money. And while The Big Short has an underlying feeling of joyous disbelief (“I can’t believe this is happening; I can’t believe we’re getting away with this”), it doesn’t exactly leave you with a feeling of hope, whereas I did get that feeling from Spotlight.

But what The Big Short has going for it is: it won the Producer’s Guild Award for Best Picture.

The winner of the Producer’s Guild Award has gone on to win Best Picture for the past nine years straight.

The last time the Producer’s Guild and the Best Picture Oscar split was in 2006, when the PGA went to Little Miss Sunshine, and the Best Picture went home with Martin Scorsese of The Departed, which also … which also …

Which also starred Leonardo DiCaprio.



To recap:

Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant (but it should go to George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road)
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Best Supporting Actor: Tom Hardy, The Revenant (but it will probably go to Sylvester Stallone for Creed)
Best Actress: Brie Larson, Room
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (if it doesn’t go to Leo? We’re all doomed.)
Best Picture: The Revenant (but it should go to Spotlight, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu should just go straight to hell.)

Good luck, and may God save us all from The fucking Revenant.

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Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Oscar!Watch!


Alaina Rants On: The Revenant

So yes, I’m doing Oscar!Watch again this year. And The Revenant – along with The Hateful Eight — was a film I really didn’t want to go see. For many reasons. Number one, I’m not a huge fan of Leonardo DiCaprio. Second, the idea of watching a man stumble through a Canadian wilderness for two and a half hours in a pageant of violence really doesn’t appeal to me. Third, Leonardo apparently got raped by a bear – ain’t no one wants to sit through that, no matter how inaccurate that statement actually is!

When it comes down to it, the biggest problem I had with not wanting to see this movie was the Leo Factor. I don’t have anything against Leo; I’m just not a fan girl. After the hype wore off, the second time I went to see Titanic, I was the jackass in the back rooting for the iceberg. I didn’t watch Romeo + Juliet until I was well into my twenties – also, I know how that play ends, and it’s not romantic in any sense of the word. The next thing I saw him in was Catch Me If You Can, where he actually played a human being.

But over the past couple of years – mostly beginning with Inception, probably – something in Leo has forced him to only choose movies where he thinks he’s going to be nominated for something. And with The Revenant, his decision-making process has officially crossed the line from “merely tedious” to “fucking insufferable.”

The entire time I was watching The Revenant, I felt like I was being held hostage. I felt that Leo’s performance – if one can call it that, and I’ll get to that in a second – was him screaming without language, “LOOK AT ME ACT THIS IS ACTING I’M EATING A RAW BISON LIVER THAT BEAR RAPED ME THIS IS ACTING CAN I HAZ OSCAR NOW PLZ”

Fucking insufferable. Yeah, Leo, you acted cold. Guess what? It was cold where you were! Good job pretending to be cold while you were actually cold! Oh, and you were wet, too! Forgot about that river scene. Good job pretending to be wet and cold while both things were actually happening to you!

Because look, the character of Hugh Glass wasn’t really a character. Or, rather, he was a character in a movie; that doesn’t mean he had characterization. He was a role. He was a body. He grunted and occasionally said words, mostly in pain. So thank you, Leo, for impressing the audience with your ability to remember when to vocalize pain!

I actually have a lot of the same opinions as A.A. Dowd over at The AV Club – you can read the whole review here, but I do want to quote this bit:

His ageless baby face concealed behind a bushy Grizzly Adams beard, DiCaprio has been hired to endure endless Method-actor torments, to crawl screaming through the mud, to bloodily reenact the tauntaun scene from The Empire Strikes Back. What he hasn’t been hired to do is play much of a character; though The Revenant supplies Glass with plenty of wordless dreams, spiritual visions, and flashbacks to his dead loved ones, his family life remains as abstract as his psychology. He’s more macho concept than man.

Because yes, there was nothing there behind the beard. I maintain that this role wasn’t made up of acting; sure, he wore a costume and had makeup and facial hair, and he was where it was cold and he fucking crawled at one point(*), but it’s not like he brought a personality to life. He was showing us the personification of survival-in-order-to-achieve-revenge, that’s it. Unlike his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street – there, true, he was portraying another person found in history, but Jordan Belfort had a goddamned personality. For better or for worse, like him or lump him, Leo actually had to act in that movie.

“Is he really going to crawl the rest of the fucking way? Oh my god, he actually is. He is literally crawling on his hands and knees in hopes of winning his Oscar. F you, Leo.”

I maintain that he probably should have won for The Wolf of Wall Street; it was just Leo’s bad luck that Dallas Buyers Club came out at the same time, and the Academy decided to reward McConaughey for losing a ton of weight. Apparently, Leo didn’t take that in the same stride that a normal person would, and he decided to go all out: “I’m going to find the worst situations to emote in and FINALLY SHOW EVERYONE I’M NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE.” That’s when The Revenant came along, and the rest is history. Fucking insufferable history.

Congratulations, Leo, you succeeded. You held numerous audiences hostage with your “acting,” and look, at this point? Dear Academy, for the love of all that’s holy, please give him the Oscar. Give him his ransom. I don’t think he deserves it, mind you, but maybe if he finally wins the fucking thing, then he can go back to his models and his environment-conscious shit and leave us the fuck alone. Who knows? Maybe he’ll make a comedy next, now that he doesn’t have to try for that stupid gold statue?

“I hope Leo finally wins his goddamned Oscar for this – he needs to stop acting in these kinds of films. What’s wrong, Leo? Can’t be funny until you bear-rape your way to an Oscar?”

I should stop using the term “bear rape.” But I can’t. I know that’s not what happened, and I know it implies that Leo is victimizing himself in order to win his Oscar. But – well, I guess I’m done talking about that scene and Leo, so I’ll move on and stop talking about it.

The other thing I needed to rant about with this movie: why I didn’t like it. Yeah, Leo was a big part of it, but there was more than that. And I need to talk to a couple of people about why it’s okay that I don’t like it, and dear Those People? It’s not because I’m a girl.

When I heard The Revenant was coming out and the whole situation around the film – Leo’s “performance,” which I maintain isn’t really a performance, just a struggle to survive against nature – it’s a metaphor, not a performance! – I gritted my teeth and groaned, because I knew I was probably going to have to sit through it for Oscar!Watch. Then I heard that the director, Alejandro G. Innaritu, and his cinematographer made the decision that they were only going to film using natural light.

That naturally brought up (heh – “natural” — sorry, everyone) one of my favorite plotlines from Arrested Development, wherein Gob wanted to write a letter and Michael was going to give him the touch lamp, but then Gob fucked Kitty and didn’t get the information Michael wanted, so

Michael: Great. Good, good, good, Gob. Well, you just lost the touch lamp.
Gob: What? No! Mike, come on!
Michael: Yeah, the deal’s off, forget it. I’m gonna use the touch lamp to set the mood in the conjugal trailer —
Gob: DON’T
Michael: — when DAD’S NAILING MOM.
Gob: NO! DON’T, MICHAEL – you are FILTHY.

And then later, Gob is able to write his letter, but because he didn’t have the touch lamp, he had to write his strongly-worded letter lit by nothing but natural light.

Ever since hearing about the cinematography decision, all I could think of was Gob and his selfishness. Innaritu wanted to do something different for his next movie – because one-shot takes are so Birdman, let’s switch things up a bit. Basically, Innaritu decided to make this movie in the most fucking difficult way possible – shooting on location, lit by nothing but natural light. Do you know what that means? It means the shoot was excruciatingly long, because they could only film for about an hour each day – that’s a lot of wasted hours at a remote location. Why would you do that to yourself, to your actors, to your crew, unless you were a severe dick? To me, that is the ultimate in “suffering for art,” but it becomes so fucking insufferable that it circles right around to “martyring for art.”

I mean, you can’t spell “martyr” without “art,” I guess?

Regardless of my selfish need to find a pun between “art” and “martyr,” I can’t think of another way that that shoot could have been more fucked up for such a stupid reason – you can’t tell me that there aren’t other ways to achieve that level of lighting. Basically, they were arting for art’s sake, and while I can appreciate art, to me, that decision just seems dickish. I can’t explain it any other way; it’s just dickish.

So between the filmmaking aspect and Leo’s hostage situation, by the time The Revenant was released, the entire film had a distinct masturbatory sheen to it. Instead of Vaseline, the lens was covered in jizz – the jizz of both Innaritu and Leonardo DiCaprio, all being able to exorcise their demons in a vanity project jack-off for the ages.

Y’know, that actually brings up a good point that I’ll digress from where my tirade’s going for a moment, because this touches upon the big “controversy” within the Academy. I put finger-quotes around controversy up there because that’s the word some outlets are using, but it’s not a controversy; it’s a goddamned systemic problem that needs to be addressed, and that problem is representation. Much was made over the fact that all of the acting nominees were white. I agree that there is a problem when Michael B. Jordan doesn’t get nominated for Creed, but Sylvester Stallone does. (NB: I have not yet seen Creed, but I’ve seen The Expendables. Sylvester Stallone doesn’t deserve an acting Oscar, you fucks.) It’s great that Innaritu was nominated for Best Director, but where are the other Latino nominees? Oh, there aren’t any, because studios don’t really fund or buy films from minorities. What about the women? Where are the women writers, the women directors?

“This whole thing is a vanity project. So was Angelina Jolie’s Beyond the Sea (or whatever it was called). Why is this being rewarded where Beyond the Sea was panned as vain, indulgent, and not good?

Because Angelina Jolie is a woman.”

I had read this article in Rolling Stone, and the article attempts to get to the bottom of why Angelina Jolie-Pitt, a proven filmmaker, is not finding the respect she deserves for her film. Is it because for the first time, she is directing herself? Is it because it also stars her husband, Brad Pitt? Is it because she’s going outside of the studio system and making a movie she wants to make? Is it because she was first labeled as an actress, and now she’s trying to be a director?

Here’s what the author of that article, David Ehrlich, had to say about “vanity projects”:

For example, rather than describing this personal project as “a movie for which Angelina Jolie-Pitt courted embarrassment by exercising the artistic freedom with which our ticket dollars have empowered her over a 20-year span of consciously supporting her career,” you can just say “By the Sea is a vanity project.” How convenient is that?

Using that logic, The Revenant should also be called a vanity project. But it’s not. Vanity projects, when released, are almost always now panned and vilified. But aren’t all films, in some ways, vanity projects? So why does Angelina Jolie-Pitt’s movie, which she directed and starred in, making editorial and cinematic decisions and overall succeeded in manifesting her artistic vision, automatically get put under the title of “vanity project” whereas Innaritu’s movie, which he wrote and directed, made editorial and cinematic decisions and overall succeeded in manifesting his artistic vision, get nominated for awards?

Dicks. That’s why; dicks.

And since we’re talking about gender equality, can I take a moment to talk about one of the lines in the script? So, the plot of The Revenant goes like this: group of fur traders get ambushed by Native Americans (the Ree, but the Pawnee also play a role in the trade relations; and let me tell you, every time I saw Pawnee I expected Leslie Knope to show up and I am severely disappointed); a group of like 10 men manage to get away. While this group is hiking to a fort, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) gets mauled by a bear. The gang try to carry Glass, but it’s the 1830s, there’s no such thing as airlifting. One of the men, Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy, who, as of right now, is my personal front-runner for Best Supporting Actor), offers to stay behind with Glass to ensure he gets a proper burial, because there’s no way Glass is going to survive. Also staying behind is Bridger and Glass’s half-Pawnee son, Hawk. Bridger is off getting water and Fitzgerald is getting tired of waiting for Glass to die, so he waits for Glass to blink and then he tries to suffocate him (it’s a whole big thing, I’m not getting into it). Hawk comes upon them and tries to stop Fitzgerald, and Fitzgerald kills Hawk in front of Glass.

Fitzgerald then tells Bridger a yarn about the Ree approaching, so they leave Glass to die, burying him alive. Glass survives, and then treks (according to things I’ve read) like, 200 miles to reach the fort in order to get revenge on Fitzgerald for Hawk’s death.

When Glass and Fitzgerald are in their final battle, Glass explains why he wants revenge:

Glass: You killed my boy.
Fitzgerald: Or maybe you should’a raised a man … instead of some girly little bitch.

And Glass goes beserk and starts chopping Fitzgerald with an axe.

WHY THE FUCK IS THAT LINE IN THERE. There was no previous characterization of Hawk to indicate that he was any more feminine than the rest of the men in the camp. He was younger, and he was “other” in that he was the result of a white-Native American union, but he wasn’t feminine. What was that line trying to show – insensitivity of the 1830s man to different displays of manhood? I just – GOD, that line pissed me off! In short, that line is indicative of such a larger problem society has that I guess I hoped for better in an Oscar-nominated movie? I don’t know, I’m just angry at it.

Speaking of being angry; I don’t have a better segue-way for this, but it needs to be said.

I didn’t want to see The Revenant almost as soon as it got noticed, mostly for the reasons enumerated above. My Dear Friend Sarah saw the movie last weekend, and described it as “a protracted fucking misery.” That only served to reinforce my original opinions, because as we’ve come to see, Sarah’s usually spot-on with movie recommendations. If she thinks something’s a protracted fucking misery, chances are I’m not going to enjoy it either.

But guys, I’m a masochist and a completist. If a movie has been nominated for an Oscar, I am going to make every attempt to go see it, even if I think (or know) I’m not going to like it. I’ve sat through Boyhood, 127 Hours, The Tree of Life, and I wasn’t looking forward to any of those. But I did it. Hell, I paid actual night-time show money to see 127 Hours in the theatre, and I can’t stand James Franco’s choices almost as much as I can’t Leonardo DiCaprio’s choices.

So I was glad that Sarah’s opinion reinforced my own, but it wasn’t going to stop me from seeing it.

And then, I talked to a male friend of mine last Monday. He had also seen The Revenant, but he thought it was very good.

Dude: I thought you were going to the movies.
Me: Yeah, I was going to go see The Revenant, but then I decided not to.
Dude: Oh, it’s really good!
Me: I know, you said. I’m torn, because I trust your opinion, but my friend Sarah, she saw it this weekend, and she hated it, and I trust her opinion as well.
Dude: Well – I don’t want to say this, but –  y’know, you’re girls… and … it’s kind of violent.

And I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to that remark at the time — mainly because I was tired. But now that I’m awake, I’m woke as fuck.

How DARE you insult my — and Sarah’s — intelligence by saying that we probably didn’t like The Revenant because we’re girls. You having the magic ‘Y’ chromosome does not give you access to a higher understanding of film and experiences, and the fact that you fucking went there is now retroactively pissing me off.

Because my ovaries and uterine lining have absolutely fuck-all to do with my dislike of the film. The level of violence had no fucking effect on me. You know why? If I didn’t want to see something, I fucking looked away; while Leo was holding us hostage with his “performance,” it’s not like he was sitting behind me holding a gun to my head to force me to watch every blessed second of his screentime. And to be honest? Watching the CGI bear rip Leo to shreds, or watching Leo tear into raw bison liver, or Leo and Tom Hardy fighting to the death by the river at the end of the movie – sure, those were all violent, gory scenes. You know what they didn’t hold a candle to?




And what the fuck is a “guy movie,” anyway? Die Hard? Oh look, that’s one of my favorite movies. Same with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Same with The Usual Suspects. Look, movies that star only men and deal with great gobs of violence are, at times, my jam. But you know what makes me like them? The storytelling. The arc of the hero versus the villain, whether that villain is nature or an exceptional thief who is moving up to kidnapping or the fucking Nazis – that’s what gets me to like a movie.

Get me involved in the story; make me root for someone. Give the hero some spark of life or personality or, god-fucking-dammit, anything. I got fuck-all from The Revenant in that department.

That’s why I didn’t like The Revenant. That’s why I wrote in my notebook two hours in, “Please God, make it stop. Just end this. Please get me out of here.”

I didn’t like The Revenant because it was boring. I didn’t like The Revenant because it had an aura that reeked of “trying too hard to be arty.” I didn’t like The Revenant because no one had any fun on that movie at any time; judging by the tone, I’ll bet there wasn’t even joking off-screen. There wasn’t a single spot of hope or joy or anything positive in that movie, and that WILL affect my opinion.

So FUCK YOU, DUDE. I can’t wait to see you in person so I can demand an apology from you, because seriously, the only effect my being a girl had on my experience of watching The Revenant was that I could wipe the haze of testosterone from the film and see it for what it actually is: a fucking jizzporium of awfulness.

In conclusion: please, give Leo the Oscar. Free the hostages. Let our people go. Just — make it stop.

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Posted by on January 24, 2016 in Alaina Rants On, Oscar!Watch!


Project X: episodes 1.22-1.24

If 2016 is going to have one motto, it’s going to be NO APOLOGIES FOR THINGS I’M NOT SORRY FOR. If 2016 can have two mottos, the second one will be DON’T FEEL SORRY FOR THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE THAT BIG AN IMPACT.

The third motto for 2016 should be STOP FUCKING DYING, ACTORS I LOVE

Episode 1.22: “Born Again”

Netflix Synopsis
An 8-year old girl is the prime suspect in a series of bizarre, seemingly unrelated deaths.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A creepy young girl chock full of Thorazine turns out to be the reincarnated spirit of a dead cop. And now, she wants justice. Also, there’s origami.

I feel that there should be a third category for Weird Shit That Isn’t Technically Monsters. I’m gonna make that a thing. This is Weird Shit That Isn’t Technically Monsters.

Special Guest Star
Maggie Wheeler, playing a cop! Who’s Maggie Wheeler, you ask?


That’s right – JANICE. And look, it’s not my fault that I kept hearing “Mulder and Janice’s Day of Fun!!” playing in my head throughout this episode; really, it’s not.

Fun Fact!
David Duchovny and Maggie Wheeler were apparently dating while filming this episode.


Yeah, Janice — I really don’t know how I feel about that.

Fashion Statements
We have reached Full “Hide Gillian Anderson’s Real-Life Pregnancy” Mode. Very rarely given a wide shot, and so many oversized trenchcoats it’s really not funny at all.

Mulder, You Precious Angel
His super slo-mo, dramatic turn to look at the Creepy Girl who’s watching the proceedings from the second story. I took a video, but apparently I can’t upload it because I’m not really paying for WordPress. And I’m sorry, but my commitment to completion falls short of paying money for an upgrade. But trust me – it was awesome.

First Meetings
I believe this is the first episode where the episode ends with Mulder voice-over-ing his report. I say I think this is the first episode because guys, it’s been actual months since I’ve watched this show, and I haven’t really been paying great attention.

Watch or Skip?
Eh … you can skip it.

Episode 1.23: “Roland”

Netflix Synopsis
When scientists at an aeronautics lab die under mysterious circumstances, the agents suspect a mentally challenged janitor may be the culprit.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A dead physicist is able to control his secret twin into killing people for him.

Weird Shit That Isn’t Technically  Monsters.

Here’s The Thing
I get really uncomfortable when I see portrayals of mental illness, especially in genre shows like this, and especially when their portrayals are made to put them in the villain’s seat. I get that in the story, Roland (the mentally-challenged janitor) is not actually responsible for his murderous tendencies, but – he’s played by Zeljko Ivanek (so, not actually mentally handicapped in real life), and it’s just … no matter how well I think he may act as he should in this role, I’m still uncomfortable with the whole situation.

If I may digress for one more second: the best portrayal of a handicapped person has to be Jewel on Deadwood. Portrayed by Geri Jewell who has Cerebral Palsy in real life, her character is real, vivid, and is not written with a sheen of pity — which was slightly apparent with Roland in this episode of The X-Files. The best part about Jewel? The so-very-apparent affection Al Swearengen has for Jewel.

OH GOD HOW OLD IS IAN MCSHANE HE’S BRITISH, RIGHT? Oh, thank god, he’s 74 already.


Things I Yelled At the TV
When one of the Lab Coats isn’t nice to Roland: “I HOPE YOU DIE A FIERY DEATH”

Classic Quote
Lab Coat #2: If you want to go down in flames together, fine. You go ahead. I’m going to do the math.

Special Guest Star
The aforementioned Zeljko Ivanek, who you may know from 24, and — WAIT, he was in Hannibal!? Oh, the movie, not the TV show. I was gonna say, I’m pretty sure I’d recognize him …

Chekhov’s Whatever

(It’s a wind turbine. Remember, from up above? This is an aeronautical lab.)

Thing I Can’t Even
At one point, Mulder name-drops Beakman’s World. That is a blast from the past, my friends. I had completely forgotten that show.

First Meetings
Well, Scully mentions that she has two brothers – an older one, and a younger one. We met Bill in “Beyond the Sea,” and we know about Melissa, her sister (or we will – sorry, spoiler alert!), but – is there really a second brother?

A Final Thing I Yelled At the TV
“Oh look, someone brought a gun to a turbine fight.”

Watch or Skip?

Episode 1.24: “The Erlenmeyer Flask”

Netflix Synopsis
Deep Throat tips Mulder to a critically important case involving a missing fugitive and the cloning of extraterrestrial viruses.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Deep Throat leads Mulder to gather as much evidence as possible before the government shuts the alien project down. In his quest for evidence, Mulder comes across people who bleed green, monkeys that are really fucking mean, and bodies suspended in solution in a shadowy warehouse. Mulder gets kidnapped by one of the shadowy government agents, and as ransom, Scully breaks into the Pentagon and removes –


— well, that. But in the end, it’s not enough: sure, they release Mulder, but they shoot Deep Throat in front of their eyes. Two weeks later, Skinner (BABY) shuts The X-Files down.


Last Appearance
Deep Throat, we hardly knew ye.

Everything is Hannibal and Everything Hurts
Law Enforcement Guy: I don’t know if you’re aware, but there were three different law enforcement agencies out here last night.
Mulder: Hunting a man on a moving violation?
Law Enforcement Guy: Well, it’s not Silence of the Lambs, but it’s what we do.

Scully is a Badass, Haters to the Left
Scully drove the car! With Mulder in the passenger seat! I mean, it’s her car because she’s driving him to where he left his, BUT STILL

Classic Quote
Deep Throat: Trust … trust no one. [dies.]

Watch or Skip?

Next Time on Project X: Season Two, bitches!! Just in time for Season 10 to air!
But seriously: “Little Green Men,” “The Host,” “Blood,” “Sleepless,” “Duane Barry,” “Ascension,” and “3.” 

Guys. Important things are gonna happen next time.

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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Project X


Project X: Week 3, episodes 1.15 – 1.21

Just getting right into this and hoping to be caught up … someday.

Episode 1.15: “Lazarus”

Netflix Synopsis
The consciousness of a dangerous criminal possesses an FBI agent who is also Scully’s ex-boyfriend.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Scully’s Ex-Boyfriend Jack and a bank robber switch bodies when they’re both shot and die at the same time, only Scully doesn’t know until Scully’s Ex-Boyfriend Jack kidnaps her and handcuffs her to a radiator.

MOTW, although it’s not really a monster …

Unexplainable Phenomena
The FBI is actually doing FBI-like things, like foiling a bank robbery!

Have I ever told any of you my FBI bank robber story?

All About Alaina
So, when I was a second-year freshman at the University of Southern Maine (after transferring from Franklin Pierce College), I had to take this “Introduction to Accounting” class – it only met for like, six or eight weeks, once a week. It was a one-credit class, and for the most part, it was bullshit. But one thing they’d do is bring in people from different agencies with accounting backgrounds, in an effort to show how “cool” accounting was.

Also, this was right after the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals, so they were also trying to show us the legitimate ways to be accountants. And there were a bunch of boring people, but one night, this guy from the local branch of the FBI was there.

Now, I had actually chosen Accounting as my major because I wanted to join the FBI, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting was the easiest way to get in. You know why I wanted to be an FBI agent? DANA SCULLY, Y’ALL.

But then I learned that I can’t run, and all agents have to go through the obstacle course at Quantico. So … I worked in retail for 10 years!

BUT ANYWAY. The people at that seminar would take questions and answers, and one of the questions for the FBI guy was, “What is a typical day in the life for you?”

And I’ve never forgotten what he said:

“It never fails; you try and plan your day, and someone robs a bank.”

I keep saying I’m going to cross-stitch that into a sampler, but I haven’t yet. But seriously, that is a good line.

First Meetings
– First time Scully kills someone! After the bank robber shoots Jack, Scully drops him like he’s … hot?

I’m sorry.

– Also, Scully’s first ex-boyfriend who isn’t Donal Logue!
– Also-also, the bank robber has a tattoo that shows up on Jack’s body, so — evil tattoos!

Unbelievable Shit
That Scully dated someone who has the same birthday as her. I don’t know if I’d ever date someone who has the same birthday as me; I’d be scared that we’d be too alike. Oh no! No one would ever clean out the fridge.

Fun Fact!
Scully’s birthday is February 23.

Ships Ahoy!
Mulder, in talking with Jack/Bank Robber’s ransom demand: “Now you listen to me – you lay one hand on Scully, I swear to God –”
And when he’s leading the team who’s going to search and rescue Scully: “For those of you who don’t know already, this one’s important to me, so … let’s do it right.”

(It’s so weird to see Mulder actually working professionally with other FBI agents.)

Watch or Skip?
Feel free to skip this one.

Episode 1.16: “Young At Heart”

Netflix Synopsis
A criminal believed to have died in prison years earlier wages a vendetta against Mulder.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A prisoner with Benjamin Button disease escapes and leaves love notes for Mulder everywhere and also, he breaks into Scully’s apartment.

A hybrid of the two, because it turns out that the escaped prisoner is working with the Shadow Government. Also, Cigarette Smoking Man was there!

Fashion Statements
Scully’s mint triple-breasted suit with matching Oxford stripe blouse:


Mulder, You Precious Angel
He shouts “I’ll get you, you son of a bitch” in broad daylight.

Thing I Can’t Even
Scully Doogie-Howsering at home with a cup of tea, and a lit candelabra. And what sounds like Carmina Burana in the score, under Mark Snow’s eerie violins:


This is so 1994, I can’t even.

First Meetings
– First time Scully is shot! SPOILER ALERT: she was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Watch or Skip
I mean, I think you’ve got the jist just from this, so — skip.

Episode 1.17: “E.B.E.”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully become the focus of a misinformation campaign when they attempt to trace the government’s secret transport of an alien life form.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Mulder and Scully road trip across America, following a tractor trailer truck possibly carrying a dead alien.

Definitely Mytharc.

First Meetings
I’m going to need you to open this in a new tab and please play it on repeat throughout this section: let’s get ready to look good!

In this episode, we meet …. THE LONE GUNMEN!


John_Fitzgerald_ByersSO AND SO

Melvin_FrohikeTHE UGLY ONE

(you guys – when I realized I could introduce these guys a la Teen Girl Squad, I was SO FREAKING HAPPY)

The Lone Gunmen – Langley (“Cheerleader”), Frohike (“The Ugly One”), and Byers (“So-and-So”) – are Mulder’s occasional accomplices. They run a magazine called “The Lone Gunmen,” and Mulder sometimes asks them for help. In another classic quote (that didn’t make the Classic Quote section below), Byers says of Mulder, “That’s what we like about you, Mulder; your ideas are weirder than ours.”

Also, Frohike quickly develops a crush on Scully.

Other, Less Important First Meetings
– Mulder’s apartment!- The manner in which Mulder signals to Deep Throat from his apartment!
– Scully actually drives the car with Mulder in the passenger seat!

Unbelievable Shit
That Mulder and Deep Throat had enough time together to actually plan out these elaborate, secretive communication gambits.

Classic Conversation
Scully: Those were the most paranoid people I have ever met. I don’t know how you could think that what they say is even remotely plausible.
Mulder: I think it’s remotely plausible that someone might think you’re hot.


Fashion Statements
Mulder, your tie:

What even is that?!

Ships Ahoy
At one point, Mulder leaves the office, grabbing Scully’s shoulder on his way out. It’s practically a caress.

Classic Quote
Deep Throat: Mulder, the truth is out there – but so are lies.

Horrible Irony
Mulder and Deep Throat meet at the shark tank to discuss the fact that Deep Throat gave Mulder a fake photo. You guys know about sharks, right? How they never stop swimming or they’ll die?

Deep Throat: “Mulder, if a shark stops swimming, he will die. Don’t stop swimming.”

HAND TO GOD, I wrote my note before Deep Throat had his line. Also:

I am IN LOVE with the idea that Mulder is Marlin. Holy shit, Mulder, the look on your faaaaace.

Watch or Skip

Episode 1.18: “Miracle Man”

Netflix Synopsis
The agents investigate a ministry led by a man whose son possesses the power to heal – and to kill – with a touch of his hand.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A preacher’s adopted son seems to perform miracles. In addition, he also makes Mulder see visions of his abducted sister, Samantha.

Full Disclosure Moment
When I read the Netflix synopsis, I was reminded that there is an episode – in a much later season – about a preacher who preaches using the power of snakes. And I should tell y’all right now – there is NO WAY IN HELL that I am rewatching that episode. I would just tell you to skip it anyway, because nothing important happens there. FUCK SNAKES, MAN. FUCK ‘EM.

MOTW, with a side of Samantha.

First Meetings
– Scully’s first autopsy!

Mulder, You Precious Angel
The preacher’s son who can heal by laying on hands basically John Edward’s Mulder about Samantha.

Watch or Skip
Since the above is literally all I have to say about this episode? SKIP.

Episode 1.19: “Shapes”

Netflix Synopsis
The agents track a wolf-like creature linked to Native American Legend.

Alaina’s Synopsis
… see above.


Special Guest Stars
Michael Horse! Basically, if anyone needed a sheriff of Native American heritage, they hired this guy. He played Tommy Hill on Twin Peaks (which no, I haven’t watched yet), but fellow 90s kids will recognize his voice as belonging to Elisa Maza’s father on Gargoyles! (He also voice-acted on Liberty’s Kids, but I couldn’t find out which character. Wait, he was in “The Turtle”? THAT’S THE EPISODE WHERE SARAH SAYS “GIVE US BLACK DICK AND WE’LL FEAR NOTHING”


Classic Conversation
Dude: It gave me the creeps.
Scully: … the “creeps”?
Dude: Yeah, the creeps. Don’t you ever get the creeps?

Oh, and while we’re talking about Spaceballs, I’m gonna put this here so I can easily retrieve it later, for when I send some taxpayers their forgotten passwords:

Watch or Skip
Skip, guys. I totally had this on as background noise.

Episode 1.20: “Darkness Falls”

Netflix Synopsis
A group of loggers working in a remote forest unearths thousands of deadly insect-like creatures that paralyze – and then cocoon – their victims.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Commercial Wood Harvesters find scary bugs that are afraid of the light.

Special Guest Star
Titus Welliver! You may know him as the Man in Black from the last few episodes of Lost (*shakes fist about that show, still*), but others may know him as Silas Adams from Deadwood! Yay!
(Also, he has hair here – it’s kind of weird.)
(Did Timothy Olyphant ever guest-star on The X-Files? or Ian McShane? Oh man — I can’t fucking wait)

Fashion Statement
Holy shit, Scully. Where did you get that jacket. Oh my god.


Also, later in the episode, she wears this:


(In real life – and in her defense – Gillian Anderson was pregnant with her first child at this time, and obviously, they couldn’t have Scully get knocked up, so … tried and true methods of really bad blousy tops!)

Classic Quote
Dude: The only crime to investigate here is the death of that tree.

Fun Fact!
The Mt. St. Helens eruption that Mulder discusses in this episode? Happened on May 18, 1980, which is the day after my parents married.     You’re welcome?

Watch or Skip
Only watch if you’re a die-hard Titus Welliver fan.

Episode 1.21: “Tooms”

Netflix Synopsis
Eugene Tooms, a supernatural killer whom Mulder helped incarcerate, is released on parole.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Creepy Squeezy Guy gets out on parole, eats his therapist, and then Mulder kills him in an amazing way. But in a way, it doesn’t even matte, because Skinner is trying to get Scully to get Mulder to return to the fundamentals of investigation.

Technically MOTW, I guess? I mean, it’s our first sequel of sorts. But we also see the Cigarette Smoking Man, so there are hints of Mytharc about.

First Meetings


[WK.Pilleggi X Files.0311.] Caption: WK.Pileggi XFiles. Mitch Pilleggi as Skinner credit Michael Lavine/Fox Mandatory Credit: SEE CAPTION/HANDOUT Photographer: SEE CAPTION Title: HANDOUT Country: USA Date: 19980311 Object Name: WK.Pilleggi X Files.0311. Category: WK Supplemental Category 1: OC

I promised y’all an ode, didn’t I?
(thank god odes don’t have to rhyme)

by Alaina

O Skinner,
Protector, bureaucrat;
Assistant director to my heart.
Your honesty is a beacon through the shadowy darkness,
Much like light bouncing off your perfectly-shaven head.
Your feelings towards Mulder are the epitome of
An equal mixture of amusement and frustration.
Your spectacles shine like justice,
And your voice is dark, like tinted glass
You are fast, thorough, and sharp as a tack.
You tour the facility, and you pick up the slack.
You want the girl with the short skirt and the loooooooooong …. jacket.

… I realize that devolved into Cake’s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.” I have no regrets.

YES, this is the first appearance of one Walter S. Skinner, Assistant Director of the FBI. Section Chief Blevins (who I don’t think we’ve seen since the pilot, to be honest) falls under his purview, and therefore, so do Mulder and Scully.

And look, if your only opinion of Skinner is formed off of this episode, PLEASE WAIT. Because I did not remember that Skinner was an absolute DICK in this episode. But he was. And also almost so far in the Cigarette Smoking Man’s pocket that he’s that loose dime that always gets stuck in the corner.

Just you wait – this man will become AWESOME.

Special Guest Star
Paul Ben-Victor, playing Tooms’s lawyer or doctor or whatever. Who’s this guy? Well, he was best-known to me as Stan from In Plain Sight, that show about U.S. Marshals that was on USA for five seasons. But if y’all had listened to me a couple of years ago and watched FDR: American Badass like I told you, y’all would realize that you’re currently looking at a much younger, less werewolfy Mussolini.

Scully’s Hair
Has become flatter and rounder.

Ships Ahoy!
This entire scene:
Mulder: They’re out to put an end to the X-Files, Scully. I don’t know why, but any excuse will do. I don’t really care about my record, but you’d be in trouble just sitting in this car. I’d hate to see you carry an official reprimand in your file because of me.
Scully: Fox …
Mulder: (sheepish) I … I even made my parents call me Mulder.
Scully: Mulder, I wouldn’t put myself on the line for anybody but you.
Mulder: If there’s an iced tea in that bag, it could be love.
Scully: Must be fate, Mulder: root beer.

Thing I Yelled At The TV
When Mulder traps Tooms under the escalator:
“Tooms had better fear and respect that escalator.”

Thing I Also Yelled At The TV
as Tooms gets caught in the escalator and dies horribly

Watch or Skip
Watch this one. WATCH IT.

Next time on Project X: The end of Season 1! “Born Again,” “Roland,” and “The Erlenmeyer Flask.”

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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in Project X