Monthly Archives: June 2012

Insomniac Theatre: “The Virgin Queen”

This feels weird.  I’m writing an Insomniac Theatre post at … 4:17 p.m.  This is, like, the opposite of “Insomniac.”  But the fact remains that I have a shit-ton of movies stored on Jeremy the TiVo, and I have approximately forty days in which to eliminate them.  So prepare to be spammed with random TCM jewels, dear readers.  (And when you get back from England, Sarah, is when I’ll watch Rubber.  Because by that time, I’ll have had enough with black and white movies and will need a decidedly weird and gory break.)

On the last Insomniac Theatre, I watched The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.  Which y’all probably realize, as it’s the post directly underneath this one.  Well, the night it originally aired on TCM, they did a double feature of Times Bette Davis Played Elizabeth I.  I figured, “Hey, why not?” and ended up taping both.  So … here’s the second one!


Seeing as how the last movie I watched had similar plot points (I’m guessing — I haven’t exactly hit ‘play’ yet), I’m just going to jump right into the live-blog-recap.  So, without further ado, the synopsis according to the imdb.:

Sir Walter Raleigh overcomes court intrigue to win favor with the Queen in order to get financing for a proposed voyage to the New World.

But … hm.  I hope Richard Todd does a good job, because for the past couple of weeks I’ve been associating Sir Walter Raleigh with Sir Vincent Price.  What kind of favor are we talking about, here?  Because all I can think now is that it’s going to be creepy.

According to Robert Osbourne, this is the performance Bette Davis preferred when she played Queen Elizabeth, but we have to decide for ourselves which is our favorite.  *shrugs*  Okay, Osbourne, whatever you say.

The credits roll over a rich blue tapestry and a sword in a scabbard.  It brings to mind the opening credits to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, another movie I haven’t watched in quite a while.  That right there is one of my all-time favorite movies from childhood.  Speaking of, have you guys seen the stills of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent?  GOD I cannot wait for that movie.  Maleficent is one of my favorite villains.  I want to be her when I grow up.  I mean, she has minions, and she can turn into a dragon, and she has an over-developed sense of vengeance, and — oh, she dies in the end?  Yeah, but she dies with a SWORD thrown into her HEART.  Talk about a way to go.

Man.  I should really watch Sleeping Beauty again … maybe I’ll create a category for Movies Alaina’s Seen a Lot?  Because dudes, if I did that?  The inaugural post would be on Spaceballs, which is apparently 25 years old today. 

Oh shit the movie’s actually starting now.

In 1581 all the roads of England led to London — for better or worse

And there’s a coach and four driving rapidly through a rainstorm on a muddy road, and it doesn’t quite look like a British landscape, but what do I know, I’ve never been to England.  The wheels of the coach get stuck in some mud, and a dude jumps out of the coach to assess the situation.

“Tis but a pothole, Ned!  Whip them on!”  Okay, a) of all: I’m not sure that whatever those types of sinkholes where, they were called ‘potholes’ — I’m pretty sure that word came about later than 1581.  Of course, I don’t have an Oxford English Dictionary on hand, so I can neither confirm nor deny that assumption.  And secondly — in my head, I just went “Tis but a scratch!” and then proceeded to recite the remainder of the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  And that’s another movie I haven’t seen in a long time.

Everybody associated with the coach jumps out and proceeds to this big house about five hundred yards away.  When they get to the house, it appears to be either a tavern or an inn or possibly an inn with a tavern in it, because there are a lot of people drinking at tables in there, and also two couples macking on each other in the back.  Apparently one of the guys in the coach is a Lord, because everyone calls him Milord. 

What the fuck?  Some dude who’s been macking on a girl in the dark corner of this tavern-inn, when he hears the Lord announce that he’s on the Queen’s business he leaves the girl and asks the tavern-innkeeper why he’s not sending help to get the Lord’s coach out of the mud.  And the tavern-innkeeper says something about how he hates the court and they can all go fuck themselves (I’m paraphrasing), and then he punches the guy in the nose with his sword.  AND THEN THEY START SWORD FIGHTING. 

DUDES THE GUY IS SWORD FIGHTING A GUY WITH AN EYE PATCH.  There’s a joke in here about pirates with bad depth perception, but I think I’m not tired enough to find it.

The guy disarms the tavern-innkeeper — oh, he’s saying something about the Irish Wars, which tells me that this movie is supposed to take place after the events of Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex?  WHICH DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, because according to the timestamp in that movie, the events there took place in 1596!  SHENANIGANS

Apparently the sword-fighter was Walter Raleigh.  Anyway, he gets all the innkeeper people to get the coach out of the mud.  The Milord recognizes Raleigh and says that he can visit him at Whitehall in three days.  Raleigh’s friend tries to get more gold out of Milord, but Raleigh pushes the friend into the mud to shut him up.  Nice friend.

Raleigh goes to see Milord, and asks to see the Queen.  Milord warns Raleigh of wanting that, because the Queen is felicitous and flighty.  Or, rather, something about having whims and wisdom.  But Raleigh is determined to make his way in the world, so Milord sends him to a tailor to get better clothes.  Raleigh wants a pretty cloak to wear to the Queen, and is able to talk the tailor into giving him the French Ambassador’s cloak.

The next day, Raleigh strolls into Court as if he owns the place.  Geez, Raleigh’s kind of a pretentious bastard, ain’t he?  Anyway, the French Ambassador is there with his minions (AGAIN WITH THE MINIONS) and sends one of them to go ask Raleigh where he got his cloak.  The Minion asks where Raleigh got his cloak, and Raleigh responds that he took it off a guy he stabbed to death.  OH MAN THAT’S — that could have been a way better retort.  It’s good for a 1950s-era period drama, but if I was making that movie today?  The response would be I GOT IT FROM YOUR MOTHER AFTER I SLEPT WITH HER LAST NIGHT.

Because in my head, Sir Walter Raleigh is actually Sean Connery on Celebrity Jeopardy! in disguise.

Hold on — I need to YouTube that shit right now.

Twenty minutes later…
Oh right, I was watching a movie.

Forty minutes after that —
Sorry, guys.  I had to deal with a crisis that my STUPID FUCKING PHONE put me into.  Y’know, Phone?  When I say “SEND EMAIL,” that means SEND THE FUCKING EMAIL, not SAVE AS A DRAFT.  Also, I finally settled on a name for my phone: SMORON.  Because that’s what it is: a Smoron. 

ANYWAY.  So, Raleigh walks into Court, and then Joan Collins comes up in a breathy whisper of a voice, and starts asking him about why he’s at Court, and why he wants to meet the Queen, and then she starts listing stuff about the Queen as if she’s counting a rosary of pearls, and then the string of pearls breaks, AND THEN BETTE DAVIS ENTERS.

She asks if Raleigh is Joan Collins’s new pig, because she has strewn pearls before him.  OH MAN THAT’S ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD.  Maybe, instead of face-slapping, this movie has good put-downs?  Bette has a more nasal version of her Margo Channing voice, and I don’t like it.  The Queen takes a liking to Raleigh’s jib, and she invites him to dinner.

On their way to dinner or to inspect armor or something (I’m not really paying attention, I’m half-inclined to send another text to a friend apologizing for the first which, to be honest, wasn’t really that bitchy in the first place) and there’s a puddle in the courtyard.  Raleigh takes off the cloak and lays it across the puddle so the Queen can cross it without getting her slippers or her dress muddy.  He’s going to leave the clock in the puddle, but she tells him to pick it up.  She then says: “I’m not sure if you please me or not, but I must admit you have some qualities the rest of the Court lacks.”  Raleigh is a man of many rare qualities.  His loyalty, efficiency, devotion, warmth, and affection, and so young!  So young and so fair!

Raleigh is having a private wine and cheese party with the Queen later that evening.  The Queen dismisses her guards.  And now there is a discussion that is riddled with innuendo: the Queen asks what Raleigh’s new campaign is, and he says it’s her.  Intrigued, she starts using citadels as metaphors for vaginas and is sorely disappointed when she learns he doesn’t want to sleep with her and instead only wants ships to go to the New World.  She’s so disappointed that he’s not trying to storm her citadel that she tosses her goblet of wine on him. 

When he’s done filling her wine goblet (not a euphemism) and exits the Queen’s chamber, there is one hell of a walk of shame as he strolls through the entire Court, who practically jump to avoid being seen with their ears to a glass on the door.

Joan Collins strolls up to Raleigh and gives him his cloak back.  There’s some talk about her pursuing Raleigh for herself.  Meanwhile, the Queen makes Raleigh the Captain of her Guard, which he didn’t want.  The next day, he’s inspecting his troops (again, not a euphemism) and Joan Collins teases him about being a Captain without a cloak.  Oh good, this movie’s only 90 minutes long.  I was worried, because I’m getting totally bored and it’s only been half an hour.

Queen Elizabeth is holding court around a rectangular table and then just BITCHES out the French Ambassador for a lot of stupid little reasons but damn, it’s good to see Bette Davis verbally bitch-slapping little men.  Sir Christopher, who’s kind of a rat bastard, implies that Raleigh’s friend Sir Derry is actually an Irish rogue who wants to murder the Queen.  The Queen orders Raleigh to send Derry to the Tower, but he refuses and storms out, after making a speech about wanting to live with ships captains and discovering new worlds and such.  The Queen feels faint, and so she leaves with Rat Bastard Christopher.

Raleigh goes back to his in to prepare escaping the Queen’s wrath when Joan Collins arrives and professes her love for him.  They kiss.  A town crier announces that it is 9 p.m. and all is supposedly well.  Raleigh is sitting at the window seat with Joan Collins in his lap, and I am appalled that there are no Dynasty-esque hijinks ensuing.  Joan Collins must serve the Queen for five years, as she is the Queen’s ward.  And there’s the possibility that the Queen could marry her off, should she choose.  And so, in a fit of spontaneity, Raleigh calls up the innkeeper and a serving wench and he marries Joan Collins.  They’re preparing to escape when the Queen’s guard comes along and arrests Raleigh.

The Queen is pretending to be ill so the French Ambassador can go tell the French Queen that she’s dying.  When the Ambassador leaves, the Queen sits up and is as lively as Bette Davis in the Theater Fight scene (you know the one — all playwrights should be dead for three hundred years!).  She calls for Raleigh to come to her and she tricks him into getting knighted by giving him a sword, and then she agrees to give him not the three ships he’s asked for, but one ship.

He leaves the Queen’s chambers and is announced as Sir Walter Raleigh.  He strolls through the Court — and look, I get that she’s a Queen, but does the Court have nothing else to do but hang around her bedroom?  Raleigh goes to find Joan Collins.  Joan Collins gets all bitchy on Raleigh for not standing up to the Queen and telling Her Majesty that he secretly married her.  Raleigh storms out after Joan kicks him out and runs into Christopher.  WHO SLAPS RALEIGH IN THE FACE!  YES!  Now, if only the Queen can get some face-slaps in.

There’s a prayer session just before Raleigh sails off to Plymouth.  The Bishop is as long-winded as the Holy Brother who tells King Arthur that he must count to three, no more, no less, when using the Holy Hand Grenade.  Eventually, the Queen tugs on the Bishop’s robes to get him to shut the hell up and cut the proselytizing short. 

In Plymouth, Raleigh is working on altering the ship he got to make it lighter and quicker.  Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, the Queen has laid a plot that will bring Raleigh back to the castle, and also, she’s shipping her ladies in waiting off to serve Catherine de Medici.  In Paris.  For two years.  Joan Collins looks pale, and there are insinuations that Joan Collins is pregnant with Raleigh’s child, of which the Queen is unaware.

Raleigh races back to see Joan Collins, who is indeed preggers.  She doesn’t want to return to the Queen’s court, so Raleigh comes upon the idea of having Joan Collins sail aboard his ship to the New World, avoiding the return to London.  She agrees to go with him.  But seriously, for having a lot of seamen in his history (heh), he doesn’t know that it’s bad luck to have a woman on board a ship.  I mean, seriously! 

Sir Christopher the Rat tells the Queen that Raleigh has a super-awesome bed in his cabin on board, and insinuates that Raleigh is going to sail away from England with his wife, Joan Collins.  But Sir Christopher the Rat goes to Plymouth to bring Raleigh back and when he refuses, he SPITS IN RALEIGH’S FACE!!  What the shit, Sir Christopher?  And now he’s trying to kill Raleigh, but apparently they’re both pretty good fighters, although this looks more funny than violent.  Especially with Sir Christopher jumping on Raleigh after he punched him onto the bed.

But in the end, the Queen’s guard captures Raleigh and brings him back to London.  And the Queen’s Guard goes chasing after Derry and Joan Collins, whom they find riding along the road to Plymouth.  They capture Joan Collins, and then a dude stabs Derry in the back while he’s swordfighting another guy.  And as he’s dying, he’s saying some shit about “not dying on a Friday, because it’s bad luck.”  Uh, Derry?  Any day you die is an unlucky day.

They bring Joan Collins back to the castle, and they call her the “Throckmorton Minx.”  Now THAT’s a name I’d love to have.  In fact, that would be my superhero name, if I had any say.  “Look, up in the sky — it’s the Throckmorton Minx!”  She escapes the guard as they, I kid you not, attempt to light a candle.  She steals into the Queen’s bedroom, which is especially brazen.  She tries to plead his case, and then she tries to plead her case on behalf of her unborn babe.  Instead, the Queen shows Joan Collins her lack of hair and also tells her that she was told at the age of eighteen that she could never have children.  I — really?  Was medicine that advanced back in the mid-1500s?  I mean, Jesus — I look at my country right now and weep for its lack of medical knowledge.

Anyway, the Queen visits Raleigh in the Tower, and after they have a fight at which I did not pay attention, she agrees that only Raleigh should sail the ship to the New World.  So she doesn’t exactly pardon him, but she does let him out of the Tower.  When the ship finally sails away from London, Raleigh is on board with Joan Collins — and the Queen says the same thing I’m thinking: Who would bring a pregnant woman on board a rocking ship? — but Raleigh’s also flying the Queen’s flag.

So.  That’s how the movie ends.  With very little resolution to what is a very sad attempt at a love triangle.  Oh, Bette — I had such high hopes.  Seriously, I’m going to have to watch All About Eve again to get the taste of this out of my mouth.

Grade for The Virgin Queen: Yay! It’s Over!

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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Insomniac Theatre


Insomniac Theatre: “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex”

So I said I had a bunch of movies on Jeremy the TiVo — oh, shit, I seriously almost typed Jeremy Lin, thanks, SNL repeat that I have to tape now because it’s the Maya Rudolph repeat, and I need to rewatch the skit where Hader, Wiig, and Rudolph can’t get through the scene because they’re laughing too damn hard.  I’m certainly not enjoying this stupid Jeremy Lin sketch again.

Anyway.  I have about ten films on the TiVo, and I really need to watch some of these before I — OW WHAT THE FUCK IS —

Okay, apparently?  The love seat I’m sitting on had a freaking FEATHER poking out of the cushion, STEM FIRST.  I thought I was sitting on a needle.  Jesus Christ, that fucking hurt.


I think I taped this a few months ago, pre-Movies Alaina’s Never Seen, but couldn’t get through it.  Well, I’m going to try it once more, Insomniac Theatre-style.  The imdb. describes it thusly:

A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

Oo, love/hate relationship?  PLEASE LET THERE BE FACE-SLAPPING.  EVERYTHING is better with face-slapping.

Ooh, this version has an introduction by Robert Osbourne!  And according to Robert Osbourne, there was a lot of behind-the-scenes fighting about what to call the movie, because everyone wanted to have top billing or make their role sound more important than it really was, and — wait, Vincent Price is in this?!  Sweet!

London, 1596.  After defeating the Spanish forces at Cadiz, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, marches in triumph toward Whitehall Palace where Queen Elizabeth awaits him.

Yeah, I’ll bet she does.  Jeez, the set looks like they turned It’s A Small World into late Renaissance-England.  The colors are super-bright and there are tons of flags and also, music playing.  Up on some balcony, a bunch of ladies-in-waiting are tittering about Essex’s victory in Cadiz, and one lady badmouths the Queen out of her earshot, and another lady shushes her and pretty much insinuates that the Queen is going to behead her for talking smack.  My only question is, is the smack-talking Lady in Waiting played by Olivia De Havilland?  Because if it is, I’m not sure I know what to do – Miss Melly don’t have a mean bone in her body!

Some dude-in-waiting is having a conversation with Queen Elizabeth as she dresses to receive Essex.  (Yeah, she does.)  Throughout the entire conversation, the Queen is behind a screen and we can’t see her face.  As much as I love Bette Davis and her face, how cool would that movie be?  Only seeing a character from the back or in shadow?  Has that ever been done before?  Because I am unsure.

What I am sure of is that Bette Davis wears Queen Elizabeth’s renowned ugliness well.  Holy Hannah, that’s a high forehead and her eyes are … weird, to say the least.

Elizabeth is pissed at Essex because she thinks he acted in Cadiz on his own behalf and not on the behalf of England.  In spite, she promotes Raleigh to commander of the Navy, and some other dude she promotes to something else.  Pissed, Essex tries to hightail it out of the Great Hall or whatever, but Elizabeth calls him back and – FACE-SLAP!  SHE JUST FACE-SLAPPED ESSEX!  WHAT HAVE I BEEN SAYING ABOUT FACE-SLAPPING AND HOW AWESOME IT IS!


So Elizabeth is writing letters or to-do-lists or, possibly, to-behead lists (I wasn’t completely paying attention — sorry), and there’s this Random … I was going to call him a courtier, but he’s not courting Elizabeth.  Let’s call him … Random Jackass, because he’s trying to jackass Essex out of Elizabeth’s favor in order to promote himself.  Oh, right, because Elizabeth isn’t really pissed at Essex; she admits that she was too harsh on him.  Dearest Bette, you know I adore you and all of your roles, but — you FACE SLAPPED HIM IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE COURT.  Of course he’s pissed!

Ha!  Elizabeth just called the Random Jackass a slimy toad!  SLAP HIM YOUR MAJESTY RULE HIM WITH YOUR IRON PALM

Elizabeth goes to sit in one of her thrones, and briefly soliloquizes that she’s not sure who she hates more: Essex for making her love him, or herself for needing him.  Uh, little from Column A, little from Column B, perhaps?

Wanstead — Essex’s ancestral home, northeast of London.

Wanstead?  That’s — that’s a place?  I’m … not sure how that sounds.

Okay, I have just been distracted by a) an email from a former co-worker that I, sadly, can’t answer right now, and b) the next movie Sarah’s “forcing” me to watch (no arm-twisting this time; with a synopsis like that, I have to watch it!).  So, when I last looked at the screen, Essex was talking to a friend about how much he loves to hate Elizabeth too.  Or something.  Whatever.  NEEDS MORE FACE-SLAPPING.

And scene.  Glad I paid attention to that.

Someone’s riding their steed off to London like crazy, and Olivia de Havilland is playing chess with Queen Elizabeth.  This is the fastest game of chess I’ve ever seen.  What is this, speed chess?  DOES THE BOARD BLOW UP IF THEY SLOW THE GAME DOWN?  Olivia taunts that she put the Queen into check, and Queen Elizabeth retaliates by FLIPPING THE TABLE or, at least, sweeping all the pieces off the table, but how awesome would this movie be if there was not only face-slapping, but also flipping of tables?


Oh god, is there going to be singing?  Oh god, there’ssinging.  Apparently Olivia de Havilland is using the magical power of song to be bitchy to the Queen about Essex.  Wow, Miss Melly is being a bitch in this movie!  I … seriously, has Olivia de Havilland ever played a bad person?  I do not know what to do with her!

Apparently the song is about an older woman loving a younger man.  I assume this is the case because Elizabeth examines her reflection and does the same thing Margo Channing does when she suspects Eve of stealing Bill from her – looks at her eyes and the crow’s feet and hates men for looking young.  AND THEN SHE SMASHES HER MIRROR.  YES!  SMASHING OF THINGS!

Elizabeth calls Penelope a wench and a spoiled hussy!  YES.  She goes completely batshit insane and breaks ALL THE MIRRORS in her chambers!  Holy shit this movie is fantastic!

Elizabeth gives Miss Margaret some love advice, but I wasn’t really listening.  Then she calls for Francis Bacon, whom she calls Master Bacon, and hi, can I have some Master Bacon?  I love Master Bacon.  I’m a Master Baconator.  Seriously, bacon’s the best thing in the world.  There are a lot of things I would die for; my right to eat bacon is one of them.  Even if I were raised Jewish, I’d be the worst Jew in the world because my love for bacon resides deep in my bones.  I have a bone for bacon.


SO ANYWAY Elizabeth is asking Sir Francis Bacon (not bacon the food) how she can get Essex back to the palace without seeming weak, when a random person — oh, it’s the guy riding the steed! — breaks into the room and faints.  When he revives, he tells Bacon and Elizabeth that a war has broken out in Ireland.  Bacon and Elizabeth use the war as the PERFET EXCUSE to get Essex back to London without having to lie!  Instead, they’re going to create some stupid role and title to get him back so he can monitor the troops in Ireland from there in London, and oh whatever.  But also, sadly, the person that Mistress Margaret loved is now dead. 


Wait, I have to take a picture of this:

SERIOUSLY.  WHAT IS THAT?!  I think — though I could be wrong? — that that is a falcon with a hat.  A FALCON.  With a HAT.  (Sidenote: Falcon With a Hat would be an excellent name for a band, yes?)

Oh my God, Essex and his peeps are falconing!  He’s got a falcon of his own with a random feather on its head!  He’s falconing with Master Bacon, and I’m sorry, but that is a That’s What She Said.  Anyway, Queen Elizabeth has dressed Sir Walter Raleigh up in a silver suit of armor, and Vincent Price is Sir Walter Raleigh so that makes it even more creepy, but anyway, Elizabeth is using Raleigh to make Essex jealous, and he returns to the palace in London, as we knew he would.

Raleigh is wearing this ridiculous suit of armor, and apparently, to piss him off, and to exude his own manliness or whatever, Essex commissioned an entire army’s worth of silver armor?  WHAT?  This movie, all of a sudden, has a very Project Runway-esque vibe to it.  I half expected Essex to go all Michael Kors on me and talk about the distracting yellow feathered headdress that tops Raleigh’s helmet.  (And again, That’s What She Said.)

Uh oh, it looks like Penelope/Olivia de Havilland is trying to steal Essex away from the Queen for herself.  I mean, I know why this is happening — de Havilland and Flynn had played lovers / were lovers? multiple times, including in the famed Robin Hood movie that made Errol Flynn famous. 

OMIGOD THIS SCENE So Penelope kisses Essex briefly — the briefest of brief pecks — JUST as Elizabeth walks in.  Penelope quickly runs out of the room to give her queen privacy, and Elizabeth walks over to a table and starts munching on, what is that, a pretzel?  Did they have pretzels back then?  WHATEVER.  Anyway, Elizabeth accuses Essex of loving Penelope, and Essex dismisses Penelope by calling her a child.

DUDES.  FIRST of all, Elizabeth has the same gleam in her eye that Margo Channing had in her eye when she asked Eve if she wanted a milkshake.  Plus, the walking around the room eating bon-bons.  PLUS Essex dismissing Eve Penelope by calling her a child.  “STOP CALLING HER A KID.”  OMIGOD THIS SCENE.

… But, unlike that classic fight scene, the two end up having a great big laugh over Raleigh’s silver armor.  They appear to be all hunky-dory, but oh wait a sec, they’re fighting again.  Nope, wait, the fight’s over, and now they’re embracing again.  Hey, yo-yos, cut it out: pick a side and commit!  Do you love each other, or do you hate each other?  FIGURE IT OUT, I’m getting BORED.

Nope, now she’s trying to get him to love another woman?  WHY?  Elizabeth, you’re just going to get mad and ask him to love you again.  What is with this movie?  So much awesome: face-slapping, mirror-shattering,All About Eve-homaging, but then I’m also so very, very confused.

AND NOW SHE’S TOSSING PLAYING CARDS IN ESSEX’S FACE?!  YES?  And accusing him of conspiring to depose her?  And now they’re laughing again?  THIS MOVIE IS DAMNED SCHIZOPHRENIC.

There’s a war council, and Essex is sent to Ireland to fight.  Elizabeth and Essex are both conflicted, but Essex eventually (after ten minutes of talking about it) goes off to Ireland.  Elizabeth gives him one of her rings as a favor to remember her by.

Ireland — For Essex and his army, a nightmare of suffering, disease and death.  Apparently abandoned by their Queen, the English forces push hopelessly on in pursuit of an elusive enemy.

Abandoned?  Elizabeth — you’re not supposed to abandon your lover when he’s at war! 

Oh shit, I’m falling asleep.  Apparently Essex gets a letter from the Queen, in which she tells him he needs to give himself up and return to London.  He goes off the paranoid wagon and starts wondering if the Queen is in league with the Irish enemy.  Meanwhile, back at the London ranch, the Queen is ranting and raving about something and the letters they write to and from each other are statistically sappy and about nothing I’d want read at my wedding.  Elizabeth dismisses the dude who was here so she can go mope about missing Essex. I may be wrong about that whole last paragraph, by the way.  Because yeah, I’m  falling asleep.

The English army is surrounded — trapped, to quote the Irish general, and now I’m just sad nobody said “It’s a trap!!”  Surely there’s an Admiral Akbar in the English army?

Confession time!: I totally fell asleep.  The last two paragraphs?  I’m not sure if they even match the plot of the movie.  I am now writing the remainder of this entry at 11 a.m. the following morning, refreshed after an eight-hour nap.  I even rewound back to the Ireland leadline.

Apparently, the Queen has forgotten the English army and they are lacking supplies and morale.  Essex is pissed because the Queen is ignoring his requests for more troops, food, and arms.  I think he’s actually pissed because the Queen isn’t including any love letters in her missives.  When the latest tells him to return to London, he gets super-pissed and decides to do one final battle with Ireland.

Meanwhile, what I missed last night — Vincent Price and his silver armor manipulated Lady Miss Melanie and her love for Essex to keep letters to Essex from getting to the Queen and vice versa.  Why Vincent Price, you shrewd bastard!

Sir Francis Master Bacon knows why the letters aren’t getting to where they need to go, and he’s telling the Queen in an oblique way so as to avoid being beheaded.  Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth is acting like a college freshman.  “Oh, he wrote you but didn’t write to me?  Why doesn’t he respond to my letters when I tell him I love him?  Is he dead?  But if he was dead, someone would have –”

Uh, oh shit.  I just had a stunning realization about something going in my own life.  Wow.  Okay, moving on. 

Although now that I think about it, I think my thing is more that I communicate via text (emails, text messages), and the other person communicates verbally, and I’m sorry, Troy, but even though I was born in the 80s, I don’t really use my phone as a phone.  Much.

Anyway, back to the movie – the Queen dismisses Sir Francis Master Bacon, and takes a nap.  Then we are thrust onto the Irish battlefield, and there’s cannons and bugles and dust and it kind of looks like the same set where Dorothy and her friends were picked up by the Flying Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.  England calls a cease-fire with Ireland.

General Tyrone of Ireland calls to Essex and tells him that, unless England surrenders, then Ireland’s going to cut off England’s supplies and arms.  I’m very pleased – that is the best cease-fire I’ve ever seen.  Tyrone pretty much convinces Essex of what he already knew: that he needs to surrender in order to live to fight another day.  He ceases fire, and he and his army returns to England to march on the Queen. 

After a pompous walk to her throne, Elizabeth asks somebody about the latest play that Shakespeare wrote, about the deposement of a king, and she mocks that her people are going to storm on the castle based on what they see in “the theatre.”  First off, yay more homages to All About Eve!  But mostly, which play is it?  It must be MacBeth.  Hooray, I love MacBeth!

Hoo boy, Essex and Elizabeth just realized that they never received each other’s letters.  Elizabeth is PISSED.  I hope there’s more face-slapping.

Oh, Jesus, Elizabeth’s sitting in her throne and Essex is lounging on the floor with his head in her lap.  Shouldn’t that seating arrangement be reversed?  I mean, I know she’s the Queen, but I don’t usually see men supplicant to women in movies.  While I like the idea, I’m not sure I like seeing a powerful man subverting himself for a woman.  I don’t know; I am a huge fan of powerful men and women maintaining their power while in a relationship, not having one party lose some power to maintain the relationship.  *sigh*  This type of thinking is too heavy for Insomniac Theatre.  It’s too heavy for The Morning After Insomniac Theatre.

Elizabeth: Take me, my life, my world, my present and future in your hands.  Stand behind my throne, and together we shall build up England, to make the old world one.
Alaina: Uh, that’s what she said?

Oh good, Essex wants to be king.  So he wants to maintain his power and be equal with Elizabeth.  Yay, power equality!  Oh, Essex convinces Elizabeth to share her role and power with him without making him king, and he disbands his army.  Huh.  Poor lovestruck kid.  Hm.  Because with her tone of voice and her posture, it appears that Elizabeth is leading him on, and she’s going to send him to the Tower of London.  Seriously, she had the same look in her eye she had before warning her party that it was going to be a bumpy night.

Ha I was right!  She sends Essex off to the Tower.  Dude, seriously – you can’t love a Queen and ask for equal power unless you are married to the woman before she is made Queen.  I repeat: poor lovestruck kid.

Kittens!  There are kittens … playing near the executioner’s grindstone?!  THAT’S HORRIBLE. 

Meanwhile, Lady Miss Melanie is pleading for Essex’s life.  Miss Melly is telling the Queen that he loved her, not Melanie, and that she was jealous of the Queen because of Essex’s love.  The Queen is not giving pardon whatsoever.  And y’know, I’m okay with that decision.  Because as Queen, she must retain her power over possible usurpers. 

Oh, maybe she is relenting a little bit.  Dangit, Elizabeth!  Rule with your iron palm, not your heart!  She calls him back from the Tower, and they have an argument about if they love each other.  Good Lord, I am bored.  QUICK NEEDS MORE FACE-SLAPPING

Essex goes off to his execution, not willing to submit to Elizabeth’s demands.  Good on you, Essex.  He is brought down through this SECRET TRAP DOOR to go to his execution, and he’s wearing a puffy shirt!  Y’know, I get why Seinfeld hated his puffy shirt, but can I tell ya, Errol Flynn makes it look damn awesome.  He kisses the ring Elizabeth gave him, then says he’s ready.

And then the movie ends!  There was entirely too little face-slapping.  There could have been way more in the last half.

Oh, what does Robert Osbourne have to say at the end?  Eh, nothing I didn’t read in the trivia section on imdb yesterday.

Grade for The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex: Meh.

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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Insomniac Theatre


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Alaina Version

Sarah has blessedly given me permission to take a break from watching bad movies for a while.  In addition, the Roommate and I are going to stop playing Netflix Roulette.  The last time we played (after the atrocity that was Two Girls, a Guy, and an Abortion Hotel Room), we landed on something called Across the Moon, a movie starring Christina Applegate and some other person, plus Peter Berg.  We ended up breaking the rules of Netflix Roulette to go out and buy a copy of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead instead, but I’m going to save the plot summary, because I have a feeling I’m going to come back to it after I watch a few “good” movies.  When you see the plot summary, you’ll understand why I wrote down the name of the movie for later.

I wish I could say this is my actual watch of The Empire Strikes Back, but honestly, I wanted to write down my version of events because I think after I watch the movie, I’ll be both amused and horrified.  And while it may not be the next next thing I watch, I can say it will be at least within the next five.  (I have ten movies stored on Jeremy the TiVo at this moment.  I’m watching The Big Sleep right now, but since I’ve already seen that one and this is a rewatch, I technically don’t have to review it.  Short and sweet: I liked it, I sought it out to watch it again, but the book is better.) 

And so, I’m typing up this prewatch edition while listening to Bogey and Bacall bicker about what to do with Bacall’s younger sister and what, exactly happened to Rusty Regan.

I fully admit that I have not seen all of The Empire Strikes Back; I am missing not only key scenes, but entire thirds of the plot.  There are holes in my interpretation of the plot big enough for an AT-AT walker to stroll through.  It won’t be pretty, and I’m sure I’m going to make some of my dear friends’ heads explode.  For that, I’m sorry.  But hey, if you find yourself laughing sadly, at least you’re laughing?

Once more: these versions of the plot?  I don’t look anything up on Wikipedia, or imdb. beforehand.  These are the thoughts that come directly from my mind, and again, feel free to either laugh or cry; I don’t care.

I assume the plot picks up after the end of A New Hope.  I also assume that the team of Luke, Leia and Han have split up in order to best attack the Empire.  Leia is running the show from some planet, while Luke and Han are hanging around on THE REBEL BASE IS ON HOTH I just remembered!  Maybe they’re all on Hoth, and Luke and Han are working on maneuvers or something.  There are AT-AT walkers, those big tall things that look like camels without humps but made of metal. 

And then there’s a battle, with TIE-fighters blowing shit up and stuff, and somehow Luke and Han get separated from the rest of the army and have to sleep inside the belly of a dead Taunton in order to stay alive.   

At some point, I think Luke ends up in Dagobah (I spelled that right, didn’t I?  I checked my Star Wars Monopoly board) and starts his Jedi training with Yoda.  Is it after his spaceship crashes?  I seem to remember him being fished out of a swamp.  I hope this isn’t Return of the Jedi I’m misremembering.  Anyway, I believe it is in this movie that Yoda instructs young Master Skywalker: “Do or Do Not.  There is no Try.”

Oh shit, here comes some geek baggage I forgot about.  HERE’S THE THING.  I have never seen that scene.  I may have heard sound clips of the line, or hey, maybe (in complete contradictory fashion), I have seen that scene online or in other media, or WHATEVER.  I KNOW HOW THE LINE GOES, and it goes “Do or Do Not; there is no Try.” 

Dear Former District Manager at my Former Place of Employment: THE LINE ISN’T “DO; THERE IS NO TRY.”  IF YOU’RE GOING TO QUOTE YODA, QUOTE HIM CORRECTLY YOU MUST.  Knowing geek lines backwards and forwards, regardless of actually having seen said scenes, is something that is bred in geeks.  We wear our knowledge of pop culture and transcendent lines of dialogue like badges of honor.  Some of us have more Star Wars badges; some of us wear the Whedon badges with pride.  If you get the quote wrong, you will be outed as a pretend nerd from here to eternity.

Another thing about geeks: geeks never forget.  Hence, me still being offended by something that happened more than six months ago.

ANYWAY.  Somehow Lando Calrissian gets involved — I believe he’s a former friend of Han, and Han doesn’t want anything to do with him, and also, he’s working for the Empire?  It’s in this movie that Leia calls Han a scruffy nerf herder, and also, Chewie was there.

Meanwhile, Boba Fett is a bounty hunter put on Han’s trail by Jabba the Hut, the portly icky person mentioned by Greedo in A New Hope.  Han, the wonderful smuggler, apparently dumped some precious cargo and Jabba demands satisfaction.  So there’s this whole thing where Boba is working for Darth Vader in order to a) capture Han to collect his bounty, and also b) to help cripple the Rebel Alliance.

In the end (Yeah, I’m missing things; congratulations, you got me, I’VE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE), Han gets frozen in carbonite after the following heartfelt exchange:
Leia: I love you.
Han: I know.

Luke is fighting Darth Vader in the new Death Star or something, and they’re on the balcony, and then Darth has this awesome move which causes Luke to fall off the balcony and grab onto the support pole or whatever, and Darth Vader asks him what Obi Wan Kenobi told him about his father, and Luke says that Vader killed his father, at which point Darth intones the fateful line, “No, Luke; I am your father.”  But I think the line isn’t actually “Luke, I am your father” but some other maneuvering of the words.  And then Darth Vader cuts off Luke’s hand and runs away to fight again another day.

And speaking of running away to fight another day, Luke reconnoiters with Leia and C-3P0 and R2-D2 and now Lando Calrissian is on their side, and Luke’s getting a new robotic arm put on and he tells Leia that he’s her brother and she’s his sister and they both remember the romantic kiss they shared before they realized they were siblings and agree to never talk about that again, and they vow to band together to rescue Han and cripple the Empire once and for all.

In pop culture news, I know that The Empire Strikes Back set the tone for trilogies to come.  It is now standard operating procedure that the second movie in a trilogy is going to be the darkest.  Look at the statistics: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  Okay, Indy may not be as defeated as the Rebel Alliance at the end of Empire, but I think we can all agree that it was the worst movie in the series (until Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came along, and frankly, I choose to believe that that doesn’t exist). 

Back to the Future, Part II. Talk about the darkest timeline.  Marty and the Doc go into the future to save Marty’s future family, only Marty finds a sports almanac that he wants to bring back to 1985.  Old Biff overhears and then steals the time machine to go back to 1955 Biff to set him up for life with that same almanac.  When Marty and Doc return to 1985, it’s not the same 1985; it’s a dark timeline where Biff runs everything and — it’s like a less violent version of the town that the Hobo With a Shotgun was from.  (Resolved: The Drake is 1985-B Biff Tannen, but with more bloodlust.  DISCUSS.)  And then, once Marty has managed to go back to 1955 and fix both timelines, Doc disappears, leaving him stranded in 1955.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest!  It ends with Jack Sparrow being swallowed by the Kraaken, and the team (THE REBEL ALLIANCE) all sad at the fact that he’s gone, and then Barbossa comes out of FUCKING NOWHERE and says he has a way to win the fight against … the dude who ruins Norrington.  That dude.  I want to call him Evil!Coulson, but I know that’s not right.  Oh shit, what’s his name? 


Leonard, we’re going to be rich.

There was something else I was going to talk about here, but I’ll be damned if I can remember it now.  Somehow I was going to loop in a discussion about Don Draper and Joan Harris into some form of comparison with Han Solo and Leia, but apparently, the thread of that conversation has been lost over the past two weeks, so … if there was going to be an amazing insight about that, I apologize, for it is lost forever.

So there’s that.  At some point in the near future, I’ll watch what is supposedly one of the top ten movies of all time, according to a number of lists I’ve read on the subject.  But I also have nearly a dozen old movies I’ve taped off of TCM to watch, and if the looks I’ve been given by my Roommate over the past couple of days are any indication, I may have to go through a couple of rounds of Insomniac Theatre before I can watch the greatest sequel ever.

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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Star Wars


Alaina’s Friend Sarah Recommends: “Hobo With a Shotgun”

Sarah, this one’s for you.  As such, expect to be quoted.  A LOT.

Sarah and I have a history, in that she pushes me to read and/or watch things that she KNOWS is bad, all because she wants to hear my reactions.  Usually — I think I’m right in this, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong — because Sarah and I think the same things about the same things.

I think the first thing she made me read and/or watch was — well, technically, it was The Boondock Saints, but I’m not going to count that because a) of all, I would have ended up watching it on my own, but most importantly b) of all, that movie is fucking fantastic and easily on my Top Ten List.  So really, the first thing was DecadentI believe the —

Uh, hold up.  I realize I need to take a momentary digression.

Dear People I Used To Work With Who May Read This Blog But Probably Don’t Follow My Book Blog (Especially the Male Friends): Yeah, I read erotica.  Deal with it.  Hey, go ahead and read the review – you’ll laugh your fucking ass off.  Which, once you read either the next paragraph or that review, you’ll realize that I may have just saved your life. 

Oh, and just so we’re clear, Aforementioned Friends and Everyone Else: the ONLY way I will EVER read Fifty Shades of Gray is if Ian Somerhalder is cast as the dude in the movie.  That is an iron-clad dealbreaker (heh – iron-clad, BDSM — I get it).  I won’t ever read it otherwise, so don’t even try to make me.

ANYWAY.   I had just finished reading another book by Shayla Black, and Sarah messaged me, and I believe the conversation went: You HAVE to read Decadent.  There’s a line in it, swear to God, that says: “Fucking her ass, saving her life.”  And I went, “No WAY is it THAT bad.”

But lo, it was.  Thanks, Sarah.

So in the midst of this project known as Movies Alaina’s Never Seen, Sarah and the rest of the H2 crowd have been pinging me with movies I need to watch that aren’t necessarily on Empire’s Top 500 List.  (And I’ll be talking about that at a later date.)  So forthwith, the conversations between me and Sarah getting me to this point tonight:

Last night, while the Roommate and I were watching Two Guys, a Girl, and an Abortion Clinic –
Sarah: DUDE!  HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN!  WATCH HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN!  I want to read what you write about that film!
Alaina: READ MY CAPSLOCK WE’LL WATCH IT TOMORROW We can’t get out of this Romanian film – we need to know how it ends!
Sarah: Dude … once you watch Hobo with a Shotgun, you are going to regret not taking my advice tonight.  Just sayin’.
Oh, I have plenty of alcohol.  I’ll get liquored up right tomorrow.

My sister on Facebook: why … WHY WOULD YOU CONSIDER WATCHING HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN!!?!?!?!?!?! Don’t do it — for your own well-being, I’ve seen the trailer – just walk away!
Alaina: It’s a social experiment.  My pain is funny to other people.  Sarah is making me.  Because of the name.  For science!
My sister: well then for the name of sanity, get a bottle of tequila.
Alaina: Please.

Sarah: We’re watching Hobo With a Shotgun again so my roommate’s BF can watch it.  I want to hear your reactions!
Alaina: I’m finishing my recap of Great Expectations for the book blog but will be watching it before bed.  Promise.
Sarah: Dude.  History has thousands of assessments of Great Expectations and none whatsoever of Hobo with a Shotgun.
Sarah: You’re basically Batman right now.  The world needs you and your reviews.
Sarah: I’m going to stay up until you’ve finished this movie.  I need to hear your thoughts and impulses and rage hahahaha

So I could be incredibly mean and see if Sarah meant that she literally would stay up until I watched the movie and then wait a week, but I love my friends and it’s well-established that I’m a masochist.  So I’ve poured myself a Weevil (my name for Pear Vodka and Cranberry Juice, because no, Brad, it’s not a Fogcutter, and since you’re wrong and haven’t named it yet, it falls to me to name it, and I’m naming it after myself and my Veronica Mars counterpart because we are both awesome) and tweeted Sarah to alert her that it’s beginning.

I have NO IDEA what this movie is about, by the way.  But I presume it involves a hobo and, possibly, a shotgun?

Sarah: Hobo Drinking game: anytime someone swears, any instance of gratuitous violence, any instance of “WTF?!” dialogue
Sarah: I dare you to play the drinking gane AND not black out
Alaina: Challenge accepted!

Okay … let’s do this.

A bum rolls into town hoping to start over, only to find his adopted city saturated in violence and ruled by a vicious crime lord known as the Drake.

The Drake … like, from Darkwing Duck?  Does the Hobo fight a duck?  PLEASE LET THE HOBO FIGHT A DUCK

Okay … Sarah, you’re kidding me with this, right?  It’s Canadian?  From Nova Scotia!?  There are too many jokes, not enough time for this, and I’m three seconds in.  Do I go the “Canada, you ruined this” route, much like Barney Stinson every time Robin says something particularly Canadian?  Or do I reference the New Scotlander Revolutionary front from that episode of Archer?  (“IS THAT BABOU?!  HE REMEMBERS ME!”)

So Rutger Hauer – which is a name I should be able to place in another, less obscure movie, but can’t for the life of me – is a hobo pushing a shopping cart through apparently the worst neighborhood in all of Nova Scotia.  He sees someone break into a person’s car, and guys, what kind of idiot parks their car in Hobo Alley?  As he continues to push his cart and mumble about spare change, he comes upon a bumfight.

A BUMFIGHT.  BEING VIDEOTAPED BY AN ASSHOLE who wants Rutger Hauer to join in for a measly ten dollars.  That’s Canadian dollars, by the way.  And all I can think of is: Logan Echolls!  How the mighty have fallen!  And also, LOOK WHAT I DID THERE I’ve already come full circle with the Veronica Mars reference and I’m only three minutes in.  I think that deserves a drink.


Alaina: How did that idiot get his face stuck in a manhole?! #heheheh #thatswhatshesaid

And then this little guy who’s like the Canadian Joe Pesci in a white suit shows up and puts Manhole Guy in a manhole and apparently Manhole Guy’s name is LOGAN WHAT THE HELL VERONICA MARS and talks some shit about how nobody messes with The Drake, and apparently the Drake is not a duck?  Fuck.  ANYWAY, they put a barbed wire noose around Logan, and then Drake’s punk nephew Ivan drives off in his truck with the noose attached to it and WHAT THE FUCK THEY JUST RIPPED THE GUY’S HEAD OFF but worst of all this random chick in a white bikini and a fur coat fucking DANCES IN THE RAIN OF BLOOD THAT IS SPEWING FROM LOGAN’S NECKHOLE


Apparently Rutger Hauer really wants a lawn mower?  Why does he need a lawn mower?!  HE DOESN’T HAVE A LAWN

Uh oh – some punkass just spit on Rutger Hauer’s Lawn Mower Sign.  Will the Shit start to go down now?

Oh my god that old guy looks like Leonard from Community!  I love Leonard!  Unlike Jeff, but — HOLY SHIT THEY JUST SMASHED LEONARD’S HEAD IN BETWEEN TWO BUMPER CARS WHAT THE FUCK And then Ivan’s beating up on some kid who reminds me of Fat Neil, also from Community, and this blonde chick comes up and tells Ivan to let it slide.

Ivan: The only thing I’m going to let slide — [extreme dramatic pause]
Alaina: “Is my dick”?  He’s going to mention his dick.
Ivan: Is my dick, into your pussy.
Alaina: CALLED IT.

And then Ivan and his other dick brother or whatever puts their sunglasses on in this wicked dark arcade, and then there’s a fucking cocaine orgy.

The blonde chick turns out to be a hooker — of course.  And when she and the Ivan brother start making out, it is even more awkward than a Decadent sex scene.  And that’s saying something.

The hobo comes out of hiding and tells the Ivan brother to take his filthy paws off her, you damned dirty ape! Ivan-brother says no, Hobo hits him in the head with his Hobo-Cane and says something about writing welfare checks on the Ivan-brother’s skin.  Ivan-Brother makes a crack about writing a check to Mother Theresa, at which point the Hobo says:

Sorry — the vodka’s kicking in. *like a See and Say* [Brrrp] The Hobo Says:
“Mother Theresa was a goddamned saint!”

And Alaina laughs her ass off.

OH MY GOD “WELCOME TO FUCKTOWN”!!??!?  So the Hobo goes to the police station and tries to talk reason to a cop, and then the cop asks if the Hobo’d been welcomed to their quaint little town, and when the answer was no, the cop stands up, points his gun in the Hobo’s face and screams “Welcome to Fucktown!!” All I can hear is Gob leaning over Stan Sitwell in Arrested Development while trying to sell the idea of a housing development called Fuck City.

“You’re living in Fuck City…”  You are indeed, Hobo.

THE PRINCES OF FUCKTOWN?!  Well, with the 1980s hair, members only jackets, and the sunglasses at night, they do resemble Prince a tiny bit.  And then the Drake sons of bitches STAB THE HOBO AND TOSS HIM IN A DUMPSTER.

And then he goes home with Abby the Hooker and she takes care of him and he heals enough to be able to be back on the street the next day, where he fights in enough bumfights (WHICH INCLUDES EATING GLASS, WHAT THE FUCK) to make enough money to buy the titular shotgun.  Wait, is he buying the lawn mower instead?  I would assume not, because otherwise the name of the movie would be Hobo With a Lawn Mower, right?

And then, of course, the one pawn shop the Hobo decides to frequent gets robbed.

Do it …. DOOO IT, HOBO!  KILL THE GUYS WITH THE LAWN MOWER!  I see you looking at it — oh, no, there’s the shotgun.  That works too.

So he buys the shotgun, and then goes on a Rampage.  But the worst part is that they missed the opportunity for the Hobo to go running through Fucktown yelling RAAAAAAAAAAAMPPAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!!!  Also, when the Hobo uses his shotgun, all I can see in my head, for some reason, is the dog from Duck Hunt. 

Actual Dialogue: “I’m Slick!  No one’s supposed to fuck with me either!”
Alaina: Uhhhhh…. ?

DID THAT DUDE JUST KILL A GUY BY FUCKING TOSSING A HOCKEY SKATE INTO THAT DUDE’S CHEST?!  WHAT THE FUCK?!  (You know you’re watching a Canadian crime film when a hockey skate is a viable weapon.)

Um, what happened to the cop the Hobo shot?  Because it looks like when Judge Doom got rolled over by the steamroller in Who Framed Roger Rabbit – deflated, like the bullet popped him like a balloon?

Oh my god, I’m exhausted, and not even a little bit drunk (because NO, I KNOW I said Challenge Accepted, but I think staying up long enough to actually watch this movie is Challenge Enough).

So now, the Hobo and Abby the Hooker are going to skip town and start a lawn mowing company!?  Jesus CHRIST.  HOW IS THERE STILL HALF AN HOUR OF THIS LEFT

I mean, look, I watch a lot of shit, okay?  I rented One For the Money willingly.  But friends of mine: could you please hold off on the Forcing Alaina to Watch Bad Movies for a while?  I’ve still got The Empire Strikes Back to tackle.

… and then I fell asleep.  I saw Abby and the Hobo take Abby to the hospital, and I saw the Hobo scaring the infants when he was talking about the next generation, and then I think this was the climactic fight and Abby’s almost dead and so is the Drake, and then the Hobo kills the Drake and then the evil townspeople kill the Hobo, and in the background, Abby the Hooker screams “nooooooo!!!” and it sounds like a farm animal squealing in pain, and then this song that sounds like … like if Huey Lewis and the News was a girl band, and CREDITS.

Sarah.  You know I love you dearly and would do anything for you.  But please, I beg you: give me a break before finding the next Netflix Roulette you want me to watch.  I swear, I have the need to watch something extremely intelligent or twisty or thought-provoking.  Like, The Prestige or, Chinatown, or maybe Kiss Kiss Bang Bang again.

And in spite of this, I feel that I’m missing a seminal hobo joke.  But I’m too tired to find it right now.  (I need a lawn mower.)

Grade for Hobo With a Shotgun: WHAT the FUCK was THAT!?


Netflix Roulette: “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days”

So I came home tonight and my roommate was already drinking.  She never drinks more than me — I am known for being the lush in the household.  In fact, it has been proven that I shouldn’t drink in public, because when I do to the point of needing a designated driver, they always get pulled over.  I am bad luck drunk.  True story.

What was I saying?  Oh right.  So the roommate was inebriated and we both wanted to watch something, but nothing on Jeremy the TiVo intrigued, and we watched a couple of episodes of Supernatural and got bored with that.

Roommate: What’d you decide?
Alaina: Uh … I haven’t.  Ooo, let’s play Netflix Recommendations.  That’s always fun!
Roommate: Especially since we’re basically sharing an account and you and I watch different things.
Alaina: Ooo, Phineas and Ferb!

So we watched about four seconds of Phineas and Ferb, agreed that Perry the Platypus is best, but we really need to be drunker to watch it, and went through all the new releases, until finally …

Alaina: New game!  Netflix Roulette!
Roommate: And how do you play that?
Alaina: I’ll hit ‘Search,’ close my eyes, hit random letters, and whatever shows up, we watch.
Roommate: Deal!

Here’s where we end up:

In the last days of Communist Romania, college student Gabita wants to end her unplanned pregnancy.  With help from best friend and fellow student Otilia, Gabita seeks an abortion — which is illegal under the oppressive Ceausescu regime.

Alaina: Well … now we have to watch it.

Note from the Future: Uh, I should disclaim this movie.  There is some serious subject matter all up in here, and while I’ve now watched the entire movie and writing this paragraph before writing the grade paragraph, I’m realizing now that maybe this isn’t the best movie I should be watching.  Or, at least, blogging about.  Abortion is a provocative subject at all times, not just now, and not just because I’m watching a movie about it.  So please, to those who may have abortion sensitivities: I am talking about the movie and not about the political issues.  I am talking about the choices the director and the writer of this film made in order to progress the story along.  Please let it be known that I do not want to discuss the political and/or health issues raised herein in any way, shape or form.  I am here to make fun of this movie, not the subject matter.  I am here to belittle the writing choices, not any choices the inspirations for these characters may have made twenty years ago (the movie takes place in Communist 1987).  I am hoping that my drunken rants amuse you, the reader, and that they do not offend because I do not want to talk about politics.  

So.  Caveat Lector.  If you feel the need to comment about the subject matter of this film and try to get me to talk about Abortion: The Issue, please note I will react in one of two ways: 1) I will ignore your comment(s), or 2) I will post the most inane That’s What She Said jokes in response to your comments in order to annoy you the most and get you to stop.  This blog is for movies, not politics, and that is all I am going to say on the matter.

Thus ends the Note From the Future.

The first ten minutes was all subtitled, and why are they taking the tablecloth off the table, and she’s — is she making meth?  (Roommate: “She’d better be making meth.”)  No wait, she’s heating up wax because she’s waxing her legs?  And then the blonde roommate is going into the showers to ask for money for Kent cigarettes, and all I can think is, is this movie taking place in a Women’s Romanian Prison? 

Roommate: It’s too nice for Romanian prison.
Alaina: Romanian Minimum Security Prison?

The friend meets her boyfriend and pretty much says “no, honey, I can’t go to your mom’s birthday party.  Oh, she’s making a meringue pie for me?  That’s nice, but no, really, I can’t go.  I can’t tell you, I just have to do this, because … because I have to!  Hey, do you have any cigarettes?  I just scored some Marlboros off this dude in my hall, but I really want some Kants.”

Alaina: Why did I just turn the TV up?  The movie’s fucking subtitled.  Turning it up isn’t going to make this movie any easier to understand.

The blonde friend goes to a hotel room and gets the hotel room for three days, and then meets the dude who is going to give her friend the abortion, and they all meet in the hotel room and discuss terms.

Roommate: This is the weirdest fucking movie ever.  What’s it called, “Four Guys, Three Girls, Two Abortions?”
Alaina: Uh, that’s what we’re calling it now.  It’s like Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place.  Only the Pizza Place is an abortion clinic.
Roommate: Not even – a skanky Romanian hotel room.
Alaina: Is the guy even a doctor?
Roommate: I don’t think so.

Our suspicions were confirmed when, instead of money, he requests sex from the non-pregnant friend as payment.

Alaina: Hey, uh, so, just so you know … you know I’ll do a lot of things for my friends…
Roommate: Yeah, but I’m not fucking some dude who may or may not be a doctor so you can have an abortion.
Alaina: Oh good, we’re both on the same page with that one.

And then, after fucking the not-doctor so her friend can get an abortion, she leaves her friend as she’s whatevering in the hotel room to go to her boyfriend’s mother’s birthday party.  There’s some discussion between the friends about why did the pregnant one choose this not-doctor over another not-doctor, and apparently the friend had thought, and that was a bad idea or something?  Anyway, her friend leaves the pregnant one in the hotel with a tube coming out of her whatever and heads across town.

There’s this super awkward family dinner party where there’s toasting and clearly, the friend just wants to get back to the friend in the hotel but she can’t, and seriously, how is this movie still going?

Alaina: It’s filmed in real time.

So we did a bad thing: we fast-forwarded a little bit.  The awkward family dinner party was going on FOREVER and we were falling asleep on our couches.  There was a fun part where, while fast-forwarding, we read aloud the random lines of dialogue that showed up.  It’s like, “She put potatoes in the polenta!” “Do you know who I met at Easter last weekend?”  “Do you know why priests are so busy? Confessions!”  (That last one was real.)

And now she’s arguing with her boyfriend about what would happen if she got pregnant.  Not that she is, but what happens if she did get pregnant?  Would he pay for an abortion?  Would he marry her?  It’s the old “Why are you mad at me for how you would react in a situation we haven’t experienced” problem.

So the not-pregnant friend is trying to call the friend back at the hotel room and there’s no answer.  So she’s ditched the douchbag boyfriend’s house and heading back to the hotel on foot in the dark … what?  Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t do that in Portland, and you’re doing it in fucking Communist Romania?

While she returns to her friend, let me just take a moment and note that this movie was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and won the Palme d’Or in Cannes the year it came out.  HOW.  HOW DID THIS WIN ANYTHING!?

Roommate: Dude, I’ve been asleep for the last fifteen minutes.  I’m going to bed.
Alaina: I’m going to power through, because ten bucks says the friend died.

She heads upstairs, bypassing the Communist dicks at the desk who ask to see her ID.  She yells at her friend for not answering the phone, and her response is, “I got rid of it.  It’s in the bathroom.”

Alaina: The not-doctor told her not to move!  Why did she put the phone in the — oh.
Roommate: YEAH.
Alaina: Oh GOD.

So there’s this shot of the friend staring down at … it …, and the phone rings, and then —

Roommate: Oh, come on, Romania!

Two minutes later…
Alaina: I think the movie would have been more powerful if they hadn’t shown that.
Roommate: I think the movie is still pretty damned fucked up.
Alaina: Oh, no question there.

We quickly fast-forward, because, come on, Romania! And the friend has gathered up the … the thing, and is looking for a rooftop to toss it off of, or a bus to leave it on, or a place to bury it where it won’t get eaten by dogs (there was a section of dialogue the not-doctor said earlier about how to dispose of  … it, once it’s been … disposed of, and specifically said to avoid burying it in a place where dogs can dig it up), but all she can find is a dumpster, and she’s about to toss it in the dumpster when DOGS SHOW UP WHAT THE FUCK, ROMANIA?

She finally finds a building with a rubbish chute and disposes of the .. the thing, and then she cries a bit because really, the whole day has just been fucked up from the get-go.  She returns to the hotel and pounds on the door to the room, but there’s no answer.  The nice concierge tells her that her friend is in the restaurant.  The friend asks the friend what the fuck she’s doing in the restaurant because she didn’t know where she was, and the answer is that she was starving.



Grade for 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days: What the FUCK was THAT!?

And now, to watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother.  Because Marshall having dinner with Harold Lee over Kobe Lobster will get the taste of Romanian fetus out of my mouth.

Oh and PS – tomorrow night we’ll be watching something suggested by my dear friend Sarah: Hobo With a Shotgun.  Dear Sarah: if this ends up being like when you told me to read Decadent, I’m going to hurt you.

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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Netflix Roulette