Category Archives: The List

Blade Runner


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Note From The Future: Hahahahahahahaaaa!!  I was going to watch this a couple of days ago, and when other things came up and I couldn’t (namely, Game 4 of the NLDS, and then Game 5 of the NLDS, and also other things), I deleted the pertinent-to-that-day-only intro I had come up with and put that Note To Self in brackets that you see there now. And tonight, when I came back to it, I decided to keep it. Because that’s how I roll.

So, welcome back to my movie blog! All of my blogs are now being neglected! Is there such a thing as routine neglect?

ANYWAY. Blade Runner was, I thought, one of my Dad’s favorite movies. But a couple of weeks ago, in advance of Blade Runner 2049‘s release, we had this conversation:

Me: Hey Dad, do you have Blade Runner on DVD?
Dad: No, but I think I have it on VHS somewhere. Do you have a VCR?
Me: Yeah, but I haven’t used it in forever. Don’t worry about it, I can request it from the library.
Dad: It’s a good movie. It’s kind of a film noir.
Me: Ooh, I love film noir!
Dad: Good, because it’s … it’s hard to understand.
Me: Oh, well —
Dad: Like, it’s really dense, Alaina. I have no idea what’s going on.
Me: Well that’s a ringing endorsement, Dad.

Don’t get me wrong, Dad definitely wants to see Blade Runner 2049, and even suggested he’d go see it by himself, so … lackluster endorsement aside, I think Dad still has a positive memory of Blade Runner, at least. And I’m not going to let my Dad go to a movie by himself, so … I’m going to cross it off my List and also be prepared to see the sequel.

And then last week, My Dear Friend Sarah and Dear Twitter Friend Heather both stated that they didn’t like the film either. Aaaaaaand I’m usually 10 for 10 on sharing film opinions with MDF Sarah. So while I am trying very hard to keep these outside opinions from coloring my perception of Blade Runner (because regardless of how I feel about it, I will still take Dad to 2049, he and I sat through Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer [though we did not spend a single red cent, between free tickets and free popcorn rewards] and I’ve sat through the fucking Revenant, I can now watch anything, really), I can’t promise I won’t shit all over this one.

(Sorry, My Dear Friend Britney who liked what she saw of Blade Runner when she watched it in college. Also, Mom, if I don’t like the movie, don’t make Dad read this, okay? Thanks!)

Here’s what I know about Blade Runner before hitting play:

  • It stars Harrison Ford.
  • It takes place in ~~the future~~ (or a very stylized version of the future, circa 1982)
  • There are robots. Or replicants. Or some other robot-type thing that pretends to be human.
  • Replicants are outlawed, maybe?
  • Harrison Ford’s character might be a replicant, maybe?
  • I’m no longer sure if I’m spelling “replicant” correctly.
  • I do not care how I spell “replicant”.
  • Also, the whole thing is based on a Philip K. Dick novel that I have not read, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Maybe the whole thing’s about some idiot who keeps running with scissors, I don’t know.

The summary, courtesy of

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

OOOH! One of the replicants that Harrison Ford has to catch is himself, as Han Solo! Right? Am I right? Maybe?

P.S. Before I hit Play: I have borrowed this from my local library – I am not paying money to rent it off of Amazon or anything like that, and no one I know owns a copy. Having said that, I am watching the Director’s Cut. After perusing imdb. a couple of times, it appears there are multiple versions of Blade Runner – a theatrical edition, at least two Director’s Cuts, a Final Cut … whatever. So before you diehards start giving me shit about not watching “the right one”, fuck you and the unicorn you rode in on.

Rutger Hauer’s in this?! WAIT, I think I knew that. Is this the movie with the tears in the rain thing? Wasn’t that Rutger Hauer? Or am I thinking of some other movie? Either way, I hope he’s a replicant, because I want him to just keep adding to his list of fantastical roles: vampire master; fairy godfather; evil king; … hobo with a shotgun.





Well. I hope y’all are happy, and I hope y’all enjoy me writing in the style of Al Swearengen, because that’s a thing that’s going to fucking happen every fucking time that cocksucker E.B. shows up on screen.

What other surprises does the cast list have in store?

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(seriously – I’m still on the opening credits. This is going to take forever.)

JOANNA CASSIDY?! … goddammit, this is an embarrassment of riches. Dolores from Who Framed Roger Rabbit is in this, along with E.B. Farnum, the Hobo, and Indiana Jones?


Early in the 21st Century, THE TYRELL CORPORATION advanced Robot evolution into the NEXUS phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a Replicant.

The NEXUS 6 Replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them.

Replicants were used Off-world as slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets.

After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6 combat team in an Off-world colony, Replicants were declared illegal on earth – under penalty of death.

Special police squads – BLADE RUNNER UNITS – had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicant.

This was not called execution.

It was called retirement.

(I cheated; I paused a couple of times. Sue me.)

A few things. 1) The Tyrell Corporation? Please tell me Diana Rigg also shows up. 2) If this movie does not answer my question, “But why are they called Blade Runners?”, I am going to be very upset. 3) Yes, I will be making multiple jokes about a Replicant being only two weeks from retirement.

This movie takes place in Los Angeles, November, 2019. Fires and explosions are erupting throughout the skyline as flying cars fly by, and with the exception of the flying cars, I’d say it’s a fairly accurate representation of what Los Angeles will look like in two years, what with the apocalypse a’comin’ and all.

There are a couple of pyramid type buildings, and they almost look like a spaceport. One is full of cubicles, and some dude is smoking in a cubicle. A subject is brought in, and there’s this weird machine thing on the desk. The subject takes a seat, and the smoking guy sits down. The back of his chair is emblazoned with “Tyrell Corp.” Subject dude tries to make conversation, but Smoking Dude basically says (more eloquently) siddown and shuddup. Smoking Dude’s voice sounds super familiar.

Smoking Dude gives Subject Dude a test about walking through the desert, and Subject Dude (whose name is Leon) all of a sudden reminds me of a dude I work with who needs to ask questions about every fucking thing. “You are walking in a desert, and –” “What desert?” “What do you mean, ‘what desert’? A desert. Any desert.” “Well, how’d I get there?” “You just — who gives a shit, it’s hypothetical.” “Look, I just want to make sure I know what’s happening.” “OH MY GOD It’s the Gobi Desert. Does that help? Does that help you, John? DOES IT”

It’s, uh … it’s been a rough week at work, you guys.

So Smoking Dude (whose name is Hadley, or something – oh, Holden), tells Leon he sees a tortoise (“a turtle, same thing”) flipped over, and Leon doesn’t help the tortoise to flip it back on its feet. Leon gets a little worked up about the test, and Holden says it’s just a test designed to elicit an emotional response. Holden moves to another question, and asks Leon to describe (I think in short, one-word answers or something) his mother. Leon asks, “my mother?”

And then either something explodes or gets shot, I don’t know what it is or what caused the explosion, but Leon is now standing up brandishing a gun and shooting Holden, the force of which pushes him through the wall.

Then we’re watching a police flying car fly through Downtown while a geisha eats sushi on a commercial projected on the side of a building. A disembodied voice tells people that a whole new world awaits for them in the Colonies.  The police car lands, and people are walking through Chinatown carrying umbrellas with lightsaber handles, and then Harrison Ford is reading a paper under an awning, watching a commercial ship advertise the Off-world Colonies.

Harrison Ford steps up to the Food Truck across the way and asks for four of whatever he’s selling, with noodles. As the food is served, two police badges walk up behind Harrison, speaking — look, I’m going to hope Chinese? I don’t want to stereotype, but, this movie was also made in the early 80s so I’m probably safe to assume the racism is a skosh correct?

*sigh* SPEAKING OF RACISM AND OPPORTUNITIES IN HOLLYWOOD, one of the cops – speaking only Chinese* (I’m just going to call it Chinese* because calling it Asian feels even worse), mind you – is played by Edward James Olmos. That is … that is terrible. I mean, on the one hand, good for Edward James Olmos, but on the other, the only character actors of Asian descent working in the 80s were being used on kung-fu films. Here’s where I’d make a joke about Matt Damon not being available for the role, but I’ve been writing this for thirty minutes and I’m only like, seven minutes into the movie.

The food truck guy translates for Harrison Ford, telling him that the cops say he’s under arrest. Harrison Ford shovels in some noodles and proclaims that they’ve got the wrong guy. Food Truck Guy accuses Mr. Deckard of being a Blade Runner. But then the cops get back in — oh, okay, I guess Harrison Deckard goes with them. For a minute it looked like Edward James Olmos just … got in his flying cop car and went back to base, but there’s Harrison Deckard in the passenger seat, still eating his noodles. Hey, at least they let you take your food.

It’s that train station that Sydney Bristow would always go to in the first season of Alias! Apparently it’s the police station now. Harrison Deckard goes into the office ruled by M. Emmet Walsh, who I not-so-lovingly remember from Fletch (and also, like, every single TV show in the 90s. But seriously, if you haven’t watched Fletch in your life, no matter how you feel about Chevy Chase now, watch Fletch. It’s a fantastic comedy that I have not watched in forever, and that should definitely be remedied). Anyway, M. Emmet Walsh made up Harrison Deckard’s “arrest” because Deckard wouldn’t have come otherwise.

Apparently four “skin-jobs” are walking the streets. I’m assuming that means “replicants.” M. Emmet Walsh pours some whiskey, and now I like him. Walsh asks Deckard to be a Blade Runner again because the four skin-jobs have murdered people, and he doesn’t want the news to give out. Deckard says he doesn’t work here anymore – fired, quit, or “retired”, I ask? – and says to give the job to Holden. Holden can’t do it, because “he still breathes okay, so long as no one unplugs him.” So … he’s not doing great.

“I was quit when I came in here, Bryan,” Deckard says. “I’m twice as quit now.” That’s … that’s actually a really good line. Very noir, to Dad’s point from a couple of weeks ago. M. Emmet Walsh (according to the imdb., his character name is actually “Bryant”, not “Bryan”, what have I told people about enunciating?) says Deckard doesn’t have a choice. Meanwhile, Edward James Olmos has made a tiny origami crane. I hope that doesn’t turn out to be a Chekhov’s Crane.

Bryant takes Deckard to watch the film of Leon’s test. Bryant tells Deckard that there were 6 Replicants that killed 23 people when they arrived on Earth. Three are male, three are female. They tried to break into the Tyrell Corporation, and Tyrell was able to catch Leon – yeah! Leon’s a Replicant! So – one down? Oh, no, he escaped. Crap.

Bryant goes through the other Replicant info they’ve got, including incept dates. Bryant shows a picture of Roy Batty, who he presumes is the leader of the rogue Replicants. (Roy Batty is played by Rutger Hauer.) Roy Batty looks a lot like the guy who played Shaw in From Russia With Love. Bryant sends Decker over to the Tyrell Corporation to “put the machine on one of ’em”. The machine is part of the test that Holden was running on Leon. It records the test but also focuses on the test subject’s eyes.

Deckard goes to I think its the Tyrell Corporation, where he runs into Rachael, who shows him a fake owl. Rachael asks if Deckard ever accidentally “retired” a human, and he says no. Then Dr. Tyrell shows up, and he wants to watch Deckard give Rachael the Replicant Test; he wants to see the test performed on a human first.

Rachael gets through it, and then Dr. Tyrell dismisses her. Deckard announces she’s a Replicant, but Tyrell is proud that it took Deckard over 100 questions of the Replicant Test to come to that conclusion. Deckard says that Rachael doesn’t know she’s a Replicant, which is an interesting idea. Apparently Rachael is the next iteration of Replicant, one that can reproduce human emotions, but only by having human memories implanted into their brain centers, I think?

Then Deckard’s visiting the address of the hotel where Leon said he was staying during his own Replicant Test. There’s some weird green shit in the shower that Deckard picks up. Edward James Olmos – apparently Deckard’s chauffeur in all of this – is now making an origami stick figure while he waits for Deckard to finish up.

As Deckard finds a bunch of photographs — which, I’d like to point out, are rare to see now in 2017, and this takes place almost two years in the future – Leon meets up with Rutger Hauer / Roy Batty. Batty asks Leon if he got his “precious photos”; Leon shakes his head no because a man was there. Batty asks, a police man? Leon nods. They walk off into Chinatown.

They find an Asian man doing something with an eyeball in a frozen chamber of some sort. The Asian man is some sort of biochemist (lord I hope he’s a biochemist). Leon takes the insulated parka off the Asian man as Batty asks about morphology, longevity, a couple of other things; the Asian man proclaims that he only does “eyes”. But Tyrell comes around to the frozen lab every once in a while. There’s also a dude named Sebastian that the Asian man knows.

Deckard goes home and gets into his voice-controlled elevator. He yawns on his way up to his 97th floor apartment, then suddenly pulls his gun or blaster or whatever and points it in the corner – at Rachael! Deckard invites Rachael into his apartment, where she asks if Deckard thinks she’s a Replicant. Deckard doesn’t answer her. She shows him a picture of herself and her mother, but Deckard doesn’t believe her. He points out that the memories of her childhood are implanted from Tyrell. Rachael starts to cry, and Deckard apologizes, tells her that she’s not a Replicant, and offers to make her a drink. He goes to pour her a drink and I guess she leaves? But she leaves her picture behind.

Deckard pours himself a drink and he flips through Leon’s photos. Then he wraps himself in a bathrobe and walks out to the balcony and watches the Los Angeles streetlife go by. A blonde woman walks past the apartment – clearly a streetwalker, based on her fishnets and garters – and covers herself in newspapers and trash and tries to go to sleep. A garbageman or someone comes out of nowhere and startles her, and she runs off, right into the garbage truck. Then she takes a minute to breathe, and the guy says he won’t hurt her, and also she forgot her bag. She’s lost; she’s Pris, who we saw on Bryant’s movie about the four Replicants. The garbageman is —

He’s not a garbageman at all! It’s Sebastian, but most importantly, it’s William Sanderson, known to all as E.B. Farnum from Deadwood! Yay! I get to make Deadwood references! E.B. invites Pris in because she doesn’t have a home and she’s hungry. He’s got stuff inside for food. Oh god, he doesn’t have Richardson in there, does he?

E.B. lives in an abandoned, dilapidated apartment building by himself. So, just like in Deadwood. When he and Pris finally get into his apartment, he’s greeted by … midgets? Oh god, it’s worse than Richardson! E.B. tells Pris that they’re his friends, and that he made them. Yup. Definitely worse than Richardson.

Meanwhile, Deckard has gotten drunk and is sitting at a piano. He goes over to his TV and is analyzing a photo – maybe he scanned some of Leon’s photos? The TV works like a 1982-version of a computer Jack Bauer would have used in 24, wherein Deckard verbally tells the computer to enhance, move over, track to a different angle, stop, repeat, etc. He prints out an image of a woman lying on a couch, and then compares that to a piece of something he found in Leon’s bathtub.

I have no idea what’s going on.

Deckard goes back to Chinatown – y’know, I wonder if it’s not actually Chinatown, I wonder if this is supposed to show a futuristic idea that all of America / California would be “overtaken” by Asian immigrants, thereby forcing the whites to the Off-world colonies? Am I reading too much into it?

Anyway, Deckard goes back to Chinatown and someone analyzes the chip of whatever it was he found in Leon’s bathtub. He thinks it’s a fishscale, but:

Chinese Lady: Not fish. Snake scale.
Deckard: Snake?
Alaina: SNAKE?!

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GUYS. Y’ALL ARE SUPPOSED TO WARN ME ABOUT SNAKES IN MOVIES. I’m going to keep going with this, but seriously, please take a look at my List and if y’all have seen these movies (which, based on conversations I’ve had with a lot of you, y’all have), PLEASE GIVE ME A HEADS-UP AS TO WHERE I CAN EXPECT MORE SNAKES. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

So, even worse than the fact that Indy Deckard found a snakeskin scale in a Replicant’s bathtub, apparently the snakeskin was manufactured. So … it’s not a real snake. Someone in the future decided the Earth doesn’t have enough snakes, so some weird ass dude decided, “I can make that.” Who is this guy, fucking Kreiger, but with snakes instead of pigs?

Deckard walks through a weird menagerie – like, there are ostriches there – and finds a dude behind a snake cage, wearing a snake for a scarf. Oh god. Okay. Here I go. Yeah, that thing’s moving, and so is the one in the cage, I have no idea what’s going on between Deckard and the snake dude, all I can see is the snake slithering up the side of the cage and dear lord I hate it.

Deckard goes to some weird party, thankfully leaving the snakes behind. He finds some dude named Laffy or Taffy or who knows what and confirms that Taffy’s bought snakes from the Egyptian. He shows Taffy the picture from his computer and Taffy doesn’t know her. Then Taffy tells the bartender to give Deckard something on the house.

Deckard gets a little shitty (like, what day is it? Is this the same evening after Deckard gave Rachael the Replicant Test?) and calls Rachael (using the phone number Rachael handily wrote on the back of the photo of herself and her mother she dropped, a of all, was that on purpose? Is that what Tyrell told her works as a calling card?) and asks her to come down to where he is. She turns him down, and he goes back to the bar.

There’s an announcement for entertainment: Miss Heleny and … the Snake. Oh, great.

Deckard hangs back until the entertainment is over and meets up with Miss Heleny (or whatever her name is). She’s carrying – she’s carrying a real boa constrictor, and I do not like this movie.

Anyway, Deckard affects this high-pitched, bureaucratic voice and claims to be from a union of artists or something – he wants to know if the management has been taking liberties, or if she’s been exploited or asked to perform lewd acts – what the hell, is Taffy Harvey Weinstein or something? Heleny goes to take a shower and Deckard pokes around the room.

Heleny, by the way, is played by Joanna Cassidy. So my childhood is ruined, in that Dolores from Who Framed Roger Rabbit plays with snakes, and also, I’ve seen her tits.

Heleny comes out of the shower as Deckard asks if the snake is real. “Of course it’s not, do you think I’d be in a place like this if I could afford a real snake?” is her response. I don’t — why. Why snakes? AND WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THERE’D BE SNAKES

Jesus Christ Deckard is actually touching the snake while it hisses and my Indiana Jones-lovin’ heart is REALLY conflicted right now

Heleny gets close enough to Decker – “So, if someone were trying to exploit me, who do I call?” “You call me.” “Oh, nice” – AND THEN SHE PUNCHES HIM. She pushes him into the corner and tries to strangle him with his tie, but then another showgirl comes in and Heleny zooms off. She’s running through this section of LA wearing a gladiator costume and a clear plastic raincoat. Oookay.

Deckard picks himself up and tries to go after her, following her through taxis, buses and the crowd. He sees her at one point and pulls out his gun, but she moves out of the way. He finds her in the corner of a bus station and then chases her through a mall. He shoots; he manages to hit her a couple of times. She crashes through many plate glass windows, eventually falling. Deckard finds her, and he doesn’t notice that Leon is standing there, watching the whole thing. Deckard identifies himself to the cops that gather, and apparently Heleny was the woman in the picture from Leon’s apartment, but also she’s a Replicant.

And she was only two weeks away from retirement!

Deckard tries to get some more food, but Edward James Olmos finds him and brings him to see Bryant. Bryant compliments Deckard on killing Heleny/Dolores, then says “Four to go.” Deckard rejoinds, “Three.” But no – apparently Rachael has been added to the list.

Bryant heads back to HQ, but Deckard runs right into Leon. Leon wants to know how old Leon is. He was “born” (incepted) on April 10, 2017, and wants to know how long he’s going to live. “Four years,” says Deckard. Leon says, “Longer than you.” Oh look, Replicants can make jokes! Leon’s got Deckard where he really can’t escape, but then Leon gets shot – by Rachael, from behind! Another one so close to retirement!

Deckard takes Rachael back to his apartment so he can pour them more drinks and wash his face. Rachael asks Deckard if he’d come after her and hunt her if she decided to run away to the north. He says no, because he owed her one. “But someone would.” Rachael asks Deckard if he’d ever taken the Replicant Test himself, but he’s fallen asleep on the couch.

Rachael goes over to Deckard’s piano and looks at the old photographs he keeps on the music stand. Then she takes off her jacket and begins to play. She also takes down her hair; instead of the 1940s-esque bouffant, it’s now parted straight down the middle and out and wavy.

Deckard wakes up and goes to find her, still at the piano. He dreamed of music; Rachel wasn’t sure if she could actually play; she remembered music lessons, but wasn’t sure if it was her or Tyrell’s niece. Deckard kisses her; Rachael gets up to leave. Deckard stops her from leaving and pushes her against the window. He tells her to say, “Kiss me.” She does; he kisses her. He tells her to say, “I want you.” She does; he moves in. I am —


It was made in the 1980s, Alaina. It’s supposed to evoke the 1940s pulp fiction. We’re not going to talk about how Rachael is a robot and therefore, isn’t human, and all of the weird horrible ethics that come from this narrative. We’re going to move on and let other people talk about it. (Good news! Other people have talked about it.)

We then return to Pris and Sebastian. Pris has airbrushed a raccoon mask onto her face, and she cartwheels into E.B. Sebastian’s room of horrors. Sebastian says he’s 25. WHAAAAAT?! OH FUCK OFF. He claims he has Methuselah Syndrome, in that he ages faster. Oh, okay, that make slightly more sense. Pris has called Roy Batty somehow and brought him to meet E.B. E.B. goes off to rouse Richardson to make breakfast, and Batty tells Pris that they’re the last two.

Later, E.B. is teaching Batty how to play chess, but E.B. can’t stop staring at Batty. “I can’t help it, you’re too perfect.” Ugh, god. Fuckin’ E.B. Batty unfortunately does not retort, “What’s the matter, taken by a vision?” E.B. asks Batty what generation he is. Batty’s not a Gen Xer; he’s a Nexus 6. “I knew it! I was a geneticist on that project! You’ve got a little bit of me in you!”

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Fuckin’ hell, E.B.

Batty and Pris are dealing with the same problem as E.B.: “advanced decrepitude!” They’re both nearing the end of their four-year lifespan, and Batty wants to meet with Tyrell to get more years. Preying on E.B.’s need for appreciation from older, better people, they are able to convince him to take them to meet Tyrell in the pyramids of Tyrell Corporation.

Tyrell’s in bed when E.B. and Batty announce their presence, and through intercom they continue playing their chess game. E.B. checks Tyrell, and Tyrell tells Sebastian to come upstairs. Batty wants more life from Tyrell. Tyrell tells him that it can’t be done; the expiration date is coded in the Replicants’ DNA. Recombinant DNA wont work; neither will a protein inhibitor. “A light that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” There’s more to the speech but I don’t care anymore. Batty reaches in and kisses Tyrell, and then instead of romantically caressing Tyrell’s face, he JAMS HIS THUMBS IN TYRELL’S EYES and there we go with the eye shit again.

Deckard is called to the Tyrell tower after the body is discovered. According to the phone conversation Bryant has with Deckard over the phone in the car, the body of Sebastian was also found at the scene. Aw, man! I don’t even get to see Batty kill E.B.?! *sigh* so much disappointment with this movie.

Deckard drives up to Sebastian’s apartment building and goes up. Meanwhile, there are shots of Pris wearing a veil, so who the fuck knows what’s going on. After about twenty minutes of Deckard climbing stairs, he enters Sebastian’s apartment and dear Christ, it’s full of so many creepy dolls and shit.

Pris has apparently tried to hide in plain sight, dressing herself up as a doll and all, but Deckard’s too smart for that. When he gets close, Pris kicks him in the ‘nads and then does some gymnastic flips and tries to strangle Deckard with her thighs. Deckard breaks free, and she tries another running jump and Deckard blasts her. She thrashes and screams a lot.

Then Batty shows up and kisses Pris goodbye and starts monologuing at Deckard: I can’t believe a good man would shoot at an unarmed opponent, show me what you’re made of, et cetera. Batty grabs Deckard’s hand through a rotted wall and breaks two of Deckard’s fingers – one for Zhora (Joanna Cassidy / Dolores / Snake Lady) and one for Pris. Then Batty gives Deckard a head start while he mourns Pris a little bit more.

Deckard eludes Batty and Batty’s taunts for another twenty hours or so until Deckard manages to frickin’ climb up to the roof of the abandoned apartment building – in the rain, with two broken, unset fingers.

yeah okay sure

Batty finds him on the roof, and then Deckard runs and jumps to another building but almost misses – he’s stuck hugging an iron girder when Batty comes up to him. And somehow, from somewhere, Batty is holding onto a white dove – what the fuck?! Where the hell did that come from!? Batty jumps the gorge, dove in hand, and actually grabs Deckard when Deckard loses his grip and starts to fall. So now they’re both on the roof, Batty still has his fucking dove, and Batty starts monologuing again.


So – Batty just – powers down? and then the dove flies off when his grip loosens? Fuck offfffff.

And then Edward James Olmos shows up and tosses Deckard his blaster back. What the fuck. “Guess you’re done?” Olmos asks. “Finished,” responds Deckard. Olmos returns to the police car, but then says, “It’s too bad she won’t live; but then again, who does?” what…?

Deckard goes back to his apartment, blaster out, asking for Rachael. She’s asleep in his bed. He wakes her up, and asks her if she loves him. “I love you.” “Do you trust me?” “I trust you.” He leads her out of his apartment, but on the way out, her shoe kicks a tiny origami unicorn. She waits in the elevator while Deckard picks it up, and we hear again Edward James Olmos’s line about it being too bad she won’t live.

And then the movie ends.


What the fuck.

What just happened.

What the shit.

Okay. So. Based on the movie I just watched – over three days, by the way: it took me three days to watch this. I could only watch half an hour at a time before I’d get distracted about something or needed to go to bed or take a nap, so – I don’t know if that’s commentary on my sleep cycle or the movie or my need to practically transcribe shit that happens, but whatever. Based on the movie I watched, I must agree with My Dear Friend Sarah in that I think Blade Runner is overrated.

I have a lot of problems with the film and the storyline – though, I don’t know how many of those problems can be attributed to the multiple versions of the story that are out there, or Ridley Scott as a director, or whatever. The “relationship” between Deckard and Rachael is very worrisome, to say the least – especially in light of recent, Weinstein-ey events. (Not that the Weinstein storm is related to Blade Runner; it’s just very bad timing.) Stylistically, the film is pretty, but again, I don’t know what to make of it all. There’s a lot of eye imagery, and it was a bit anvilicious about the eyes being the window to the soul and being able to tell if people were Replicants or vice versa. But if there was a concept in the movie about Deckard coming to terms with what humanity and “being human” means in terms of relating to Replicants … it was totally lost on me.

There are also rumors – well, not rumors, but according to the imdb., there was confusion between Ridley Scott (the director) and Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer over whether Deckard was a Replicant. Ridley wanted Deckard to be a Replicant; Ford and Hauer both did not. The version I watched, I’m not sure how anyone could think that Deckard was a Replicant. I wish there was more made of the conflict between Deckard and the attraction Deckard felt for Rachael, but I also realize I can’t have nice things.

So – yeah. This was … this was great. Also, the movie never explained why Replicant-catchers were called “blade runners” and so I’m forever disappointed.

If you’ve seen Blade Runner 2049, please report back the following as soon as possible:

  • Are there snakes in the movie?
  • Does 2049 answer my “blade runner” question?

Thank you.

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Posted by on October 15, 2017 in The List



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


Psycho (part II)

So FUNNY STORY, as I was driving to work this morning, a state trooper came up on my ass from outta nowhere, and all I could think was that if he did pull me over (which he did NOT, booyah to me!), I would have no choice but to ask him, “Hey, so I watched Psycho last night, and if you came across a parked car on the side of the road and a woman was sleeping in it and when you went to make sure she was okay, she asked if it looked like she was doing anything wrong, what would your reaction be?”

Yes, I totally realize that I would be arrested after saying “Hey, so I watched Psycho last night.”

OKAY, so, what was going when we left off last night? (Oh no I’M GETTING DISTRACTED JAKE PERALTA’S FATHER IS BRADLEY WHITFORD ON BROOKLYN NINE-NINE I really didn’t think I could love this show more [maybe if Hugh Dancy or Mads Mikkleson guest-starred…])

(UPDATE: I have to turn off Brooklyn Nine-Nine because I can’t stop laughing at Terry Crews covered in donut hole powder. I HAVE TO GO.)

No really – what happened last night?

Okay, so Marion’s face down on the linoleum, and then the camera pans over to the newspaper filled with money, and then out to the house, where Norman shrieks, “Oh Mother, what — the blood!” Norman runs into Cabin #1 and is horrified by the sight he sees, but he steels himself to his task. He closes the window and the door, and turns all of the lights off. He comes out of the office carrying – oh, okay. It looked like he was carrying a giant poking device, and I was all TRUST ME SHE’S DEAD, but it’s actually just a really tall mop.

He drags Marion’s body outside and onto the shower curtain, then he washes his hands and starts cleaning the bathroom of all the arterial spray. Oh the 1960s, where no one knew about Luminol and basic crime scene investigative procedures. I mean, he’s not even using bleach!

Norman pulls Marion’s car directly up to the cabin door and pops the trunk. Then he gently places the corpse in the trunk, and goes back into the cabin for her belongings. He manages to grab everything except the $40,000 rolled up in the newspaper, which is still on the nightstand.

And just like in the pilot episode of Bates Motel, just as Norman’s dragging the mop and the suitcase outside, a car drives by! Only this time, the car doesn’t stop. One more trip into the cabin, and this time Norman grabs the newspaper. Thinking it’s only a newspaper, he tosses it in the trunk on top of the corpse.

He drives like, around the block, right into a swamp. And then manages to push the heavy car into it, where it sinks, like a dinosaur being covered by a tar pit. It’s only a minute before the car is swallowed whole, every trace of it gone.

The next day – possibly – Marion’s sister Lila shows up at Sam’s hardware store in Fairville or wherever the heck Sam lives, and Lila demands to see Marion. Apparently it is after the weekend, because Lila references her shopping trip in Tucson, and she just wants Marion to tell her this whole mess is none of her business. There’s a familiar-looking dude watching the scene from outside the door, and while this next bit of business proceeds, I’m gonna look the dude up on imdb.

Oh, whoever this guy is ends up playing O.J. in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

Okay, back to the plot. Lila’s about to cause a scene, and Sam tries to get the jackass shopboy out of the background. O.J. is playing private detective Arbogast, and he’s also looking for Marion. Well, that’s not quite right – he’s actually looking for the $40,000 that Marion stole from the office. Everyone agrees that Marion’s probably in town, and Arbogast is determined to find her. The good news is that no one wants to prosecute, they just want the money back.

Finally, Arbogast drives up to the Bates Motel, to find Norman reading a magazine or something and munching on kettle corn. Arbogast, very friendly-like, manages to get Norman to crack rather quickly – Norman says that he hasn’t seen anyone for almost three weeks, but five seconds later he says something about how a couple stopped by and thought the motel was empty last week. Arbogast pushes the point and asks to see the registry, and HOW DID NORMAN FORGET TO DUMMY THE REGISTRY?! God, he’s such an amateur! You know who wouldn’t let something like the registry go forgotten? HANNIBAL.

There’s a moment where Norman’s looking at either the registry, or matching the handwriting sample Arbogast has to Marion’s fake signature on the registry, that’s shot at an interesting angle. It’s about chest-high, so Norman has to bend down to look, and his neck extends out, and he’s chewing on kettle corn the entire time, so his Adam’s apple keeps bobbing, and it’s such a bird-like expression – OH LOOK THEY HAVE A GIF OF IT NOW

bird neck psycho


Anyway, all of a sudden, Norman remembers that Marion showed up and stayed the night Saturday night, and she went right to bed without making any phone calls. After he made her a sandwich. And she said she was going to drive all the way back to Phoenix the next morning. NORMAN, GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT, YOU’VE HAD A WEEK TO COME UP WITH A COVER! GOD, he’s such an amateur!

Y’know, the more I talk about Norman Bates’s amateurism, the more it sounds like I’m a professional, and I just want to say that I have never killed anyone. I just watch a hell of a lot of crime shows. Crime shows and Hannibal.

Norman insinuates that his mother met Marion, and that gets Arbogast’s knickers in a twist. He’s determined to meet Mrs. Bates. Arbogast calls Lila and gives her the skinny, then returns to the Motel. Norman’s still changing the linens in the cabins, and ducks out of sight when he sees Arbogast’s car drive up. Arbogast goes directly into the office, but can’t find Norman. He does, however, find all of Norman’s creepy assed birds. And an open safe with no money in it. IT’S NEVER THAT EASY, ARBOGAST, BELIEVE ME.

Arbogast takes this opportunity to approach the old bird (HEY I MADE A JOKE AND POSSIBLY ALSO AN INFERENCE) living in Bates Manor. And look, can I just say, What-the-Fuckery aspect aside, the production guys at Bates Motel did a stellar job in recreating that place.

Wait, I think I know what happens next, and my window decides to take this moment to make some weird noises, so I’m gonna pause momentarily to ensure that the noise I heard was the house settling after one of the first warmer days of the year, and not a gigantic bird and/or bug-type thing trying to come inside where it’s warm. Be right back.

Good news! House was just settling. Now pardon me while I turn the volume down slightly and see what happens here and if my faulty memory is correct.

Arbogast just waltzes in, hat in hand. No one makes a sound, and he doesn’t exactly announce his presence. He starts walking up the stairs, hoping to meet Mrs. Bates, when a door opens on the second floor. The EEE EEE EEE EEE EEE starts up again as Mrs. Bates storms out of the open door and stabs Arbogast in the chest. Thanks to the chocolate sauce effect, it almost looks as if Arbogast was stabbed in the face, but the Hays Code wouldn’t allow that. He falls down the stairs (in one of the worst green-screen effects I’ve ever seen – and look, I know they weren’t going to throw an actor down a set of stairs, but having the green-screen move as if Arbogast was falling down the stairs but having Arbogast tap-dance backwards to make it look as if he’s falling maybe wasn’t the brightest idea in the house, Hitch.)

Lila and Sam are waiting for Arbogast at the hardware store – because remember, Arbogast said he’d meet with Lila in an hour. It’s been three, and now Lila’s getting antsy. Jeez, how much longer is this movie? *checks imdb* another thirty minutes? uuggggghhhh… why did I watch Last Week Tonight first?

Sam now shows up at Bates Motel, yelling for Arbogast. Norman is standing in the swamp, thinking. But he’s nowhere near where he dumped Marion’s car, so at least there’s that. Sam goes back to Lila at the hardware store, and he suggests they go meet Deputy Sheriff Chambers. WHOA. That guy looks like an angry Skipper from Gilligan’s Island. He’s no Sheriff Romero, that’s for fucking sure.

Anyway, the Marion Family Players catch the Sheriff up with the situation, and they want the sheriff to investigate because something feels hinky. The sheriff doesn’t think anything’s going on besides Arbogast took off on a lead from Marion and lied to Lila. At Lila’s insistence, the sheriff calls up the Bates Motel, and Norman tells the sheriff that yeah, Arbogast was there, but then he left. Well, at least his storytelling’s getting better.

Lila insists that Arbogast was going to talk to Norman’s mother. At which point the sheriff drops a truth-bomb: Mrs. Bates has been dead for ten years. HEY, SPOILER ALERT FOR BATES MOTEL, SHEESH. Anyway, apparently Mrs. Bates poisoned some dude she was seeing and then killed herself in remorse. Mrs. Sheriff even helped to pick out the dress she was buried in.

So … if Mrs. Bates is dead … who did Marion hear? … Oh come off it, Alaina, you’re not fooling anybody. WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

While Sam and Lila are emphatic that Mrs. Bates is a real person, the sheriff begins to wonder who’s buried in Greenlawn Cemetery. At the same time, Norman has an argument with his mother – he wants her to hide in the fruit cellar for a few days until the heat dies down.

The next morning, Sam and Lila corner the sheriff and when he refuses to do anything, they get it into their pretty little heads to play detective theirownselves. Sam drives Lila over and asks her what the play is. She says, “We’re going to check in as man and wife.” Now, if I were writing this screenplay, I’d have that be the denoument – that Lila arranged to have her sister killed, so she could get her hands on her sister’s boyfriend. How great a twist would that be?

Sam and Lila peek into the office, and we see Norman peer out of one of the windows of Bates Manor. I – aw, man, Anthony Perkins is wearing a crisp, white shirt, with the top button unbuttoned. Dammit, my sexual kryptonite! Did anyone else realize that Anthony Perkins was kind of a babe? Ugh – so many conflicting feelings I need to discuss with some food.

Norman runs into the office and gives the couple Cabin #10. Sam makes a point of not only signing the register, but also asking for a receipt. Sam makes a snide remark about how he’s never been in a motel where they didn’t make a couple without bags pay in advance. Speaking from experience, Sammy Baby? Lila, clearly just now getting the type of relations Sam and her sister got up into, announces that she’s going to go on ahead. As Sam’s signing something, Lila checks the doorknob to Cabin #1, and sure enough, it’s unlocked. WHAT THE WHAT?! NORMAN, I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU

The happy couple books it into Cabin #10, and decide they need to search Cabin #1. Lila’s gotten it into her head that Norman killed Marion for the $40,000, and maaaaaaan, if she knew what actually happened to the $40,000, she’d shit a brick. Sam and Lila then go and search Cabin #1. Five minutes after signing the register. In broad daylight.

Sam: If he sees us, we’re just taking the air.
Alaina: Jesus Christ, I’m surrounded by amateurs.

AND THEN SAM CALLS FOR BATES BUT DOESN’T GET AN ANSWER. Look, dude, if you’re gonna go snooping, don’t call for the person you’re trying to avoid! Especially creepy dudes who have a fondness for staring at swamplands!

Sam and Lila end up in the bathroom. Sam comments on the weird fact that there’s no shower curtain in the bathroom. Lila finds a scrap of the paper Marion used for her calculations, and takes it into her head as proof that Norman knew about the $40,000. Sam and Lila split up, Sam to speak to Bates, and Lila to get something out of the mother. Sam finds Norman in the office, getting Lila free to walk up the tumbleweedy hill to Bates Manor.

THE DOOR IS UNLOCKED. COME ON, NORMAN! Anyway, Lila storms in and actually remembers to close the door behind her, so thank goodness for small miracles. As Sam talks to Norman and asks him if he’s tried to get away, Lila manages to break into Mrs. Bates’s bedroom. She finds it, all things considered, rather opulent – tons of figurines and jewelry, and a wardrobe full of really ugly dresses. Then she notices the very defined body divet in the mattress.

psycho body divet

I mean – that is disgusting. For someone who changes the linens in the cabins every week, Norman, your regular house-cleaning skills have slagged off a bit, don’t ya think?

Sam asks if Norman would do anything to get away, and he is adamant that he would never think to leave. Bates Manor and the motel are his entire world, and he had a perfect childhood. PULL THE OTHER ONE. Sam pushes Norman too far, and he clonks Sam over the head with a vase or something, and sprints into the Manor. Lila sees him coming and hides in the basement staircase, and when she sees the door, she moves down into the fruit cellar.

And there, she finds Mother Bates. Who, as we should all know by now, is nothing more than a well-preserved corpse. And as Lila screams, Norman runs downstairs, wearing the wig and one of the ugly dresses from his mother’s wardrobe, brandishing the butcher knife. But he pauses in the doorway for effect just long enough for Sam to find Lila by her screaming, and Sam’s able to overpower Norman and disarm him.

Later that night at the courthouse, a psychiatrist comes out and gives us the story: Norman suffers from split personalities, and now his mother’s personality has taken over. Norman had been disturbed since his father died, and his mother was a clinging, demanding woman. The two of them lived as if they were the only two people in the world, until Mrs. Bates took a lover. Norman got jealous, and killed both his mother and her lover, and made it look like a murder-suicide. He stole her corpse, and then incorporated her personality into his own so she could stay alive.

And if Norman felt a strong attraction to any woman, “Mrs. Bates” would take over and eliminate the threat.

The final shot, after the Poirot-esque explanation on the part of the psychiatrist, is a shot of Marion’s car being pulled out of the swamp.

Well. That certainly sets up Bates Motel very nicely. I’m glad that I knew so much of the plot even after not having seen anything past the shower scene. I can’t wait to prove that I know everything about Vertigo without having seen any part of it!

(it’s about crippling dizziness in San Francisco, right?)

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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in The List


Psycho (part I)

All right. I said I was going to get back into this, and dammit, I’m going to get back into this. Tonight seems to be a wonderful, crazy random happenstance. First off, I finished mainlining Bates Motel a couple of weekends ago. You want to talk about a suspenseful show with a good amount of cheese, scenery-chewing, and what-the-fuckery, you guys: Bates Motel is AMAZING in that respect.

If you haven’t heard, Bates Motel tells the story of how Norman and his mother – Norma (“fathers name their sons after themselves all the time, why can’t a mother?” <– actual paraphrase) – come to own the Bates Motel. Apparently the town in which the motel resides runs on illegal pot money, as well as formerly on an Asian sex ring. Norma’s big battle? Trying to kill a proposed bypass that would ensure tourists would never drive past her motel. Norman gets involved with multiple women, including his Language Arts teacher, who he later kills. I’m sure there are other stupid things that happened, but I can’t remember important events. Just be aware that the what-the-fuckery aspect? I wouldn’t lie to you about that.

So I sped through the second season of Bates Motel once it was released on Netflix. The third season starts tomorrow night (9/8 central, on A&E!). And Turner Classic Movies showed Psycho yesterday, and I had juuust enough room on Jeremy the TiVo: Episode IV: A New Hope to record it.

And then I reviewed my list and saw that Psycho was indeed on it, and since I slept almost ten hours last night, it’s not like I’ll fall asleep any time before midnight tonight. And if I happen to miss this amazeballs timing, I’m going to be mad at myself.

(Also – if I watch it tonight, I’ll be able to delete it tonight.)

Now having said all that, I have seen key scenes from Psycho. I know I’ve seen the beginning, the scene in the office, the shower scene, and the scene where Norman puts Janet Leigh in the trunk of the car and then sinks it into the swamp. (Look, if y’all wanted me to not mention spoilers, you wouldn’t be reading my live-blog about a movie I’ve never seen.) I may have even seen the scene where the detective goes into the foyer and a wheelchair falls down the stairs, though that may be a different movie. I’m not one-hundred percent sure.

But I do know one thing – I’ve never seen it all the way through. And therefore, it goes on the list.


A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Oh, imdb. You sweet, summer child; still thinking after all these years that people don’t know what the real plot is.

Dammit – I said I was going to watch an episode of Scandal while I wrote the preamble to this entry, and apparently I really can block Scandal out while writing because I totally finished the preamble before Olivia was able to fix this situation. Guess I’ll just finish this huge metaphor for Ferguson, Missouri writ large – I mean, “last week’s episode” – first.

(Seriously, Shonda – and trust me, I love you,  I’m with you, and I stand with Ferguson, but while this wasn’t nearly as heavy-handed as Aaron Sorkin’s shark-jumping “Isaac and Ishmael,” there is a fine, fine line between “metaphor” and “wish-fulfillment history rewrite.”)

Okay, this movie is just about an hour and a half long. I should finish this before midnight. Right?

According to Ben Mankiewicz, the second-most important person working on this film was Bernard Herrmann, the composer. GEE, I WONDER WHY

I feel like I should turn some lights off, but I’m keeping them on because I feel like I should turn some lights off. (I hate horror, you guys. Even horror I’ve seen pieces of.)

Fancy credit sequence. Why don’t more movies nowadays go in for fancy credit sequences? (answer: too many people work on a movie nowadays for the credits to fit within the time required for a fancy credit sequence.)

Afternoon falls on Phoenix, Arizona, on apparently Friday, December 11th, at 2:43 p.m. The camera zooms into a cheap hotel where Marion Crane is enjoying her lunch hour with her gentleman lover. My first thought is: that bra really looks uncomfortable. My second thought is: Well, that’s definitely the best way to eat out at lunch.



Apparently, Marion’s gentleman caller is divorced, but Marion wants to marry him in spite of his alimony payments. But if he won’t marry her, she’s going to call the whole thing off. Despairing of having nowhere to eat lunch in the future (I SAID I WASN’T SORRY), he agrees to think about it. I think. I was too busy searching for that Jon Stewart .gif up there.

Marion returns to the office and learns that her sister will be out of town for the weekend, and then her boss’s client comes in with the boss, after their own lunch meeting. They must have gone to a place that served Italian sausage. (I’M NEVER SORRY) Anyway, the client starts waving around $40,000 in cash, because he’s going to buy his daughter a house for her wedding present. He’s buying his unhappiness away, and basically, Marion begins to look at him with dollar signs in her eyes.

The Other Secretary In the Office: Well, I declare.
The Client: I don’t. That’s how I get to keep it.


The boss wants Marion to deposit the cash in the safety deposit box over the weekend, because he doesn’t believe cash is legal tender, or something. Marion gives him some paperwork then asks to go right home after the bank, as she has a headache. The client gives her permission, and even suggests she head to Las Vegas for some reason. Marion goes back out into the office, and she tells the Other Secretary that she’s going home to spend the rest of the weekend in bed. I BET SHE WILL.

We then cut to her changing her clothes. We know that she’s turned evil – even before we see the pile of money she most certainly did NOT deposit in the bank – because her lingerie is now black, whereas in the motel room, they were white. And everyone knows that bad girls don’t wear white underwear. She finishes packing, including some important-looking paperwork, and then leaves her apartment behind, ostensibly forever.

She then drives out of town, but not before seeing her boss cross the street in front of her. She drives all through the night, eventually parking off to the side of the road to catch a nap. The next morning, a police officer drives up behind her, to find her sleeping on the front seat of the car. Man, cars were huge back then. No bucket seats or anything, plenty of room to sprawl out.

Marion Crane has apparently never learned how to be cool in front of cops. NOT THAT THAT’S A SKILL I’VE EMPLOYED, but as soon as the cop knocks on the window she attempts to skeedaddle. He wants to know what happened, and she explains that she almost got in accident last night while driving, so she just pulled over. THEN SHE ASKS, “Am I acting like I’ve done something wrong?” And the cop and I both yell, ‘YES.’ Seriously, lady, why don’t you just casually drop the envelope full of money you stole out the window? If you know you’re guilty, you just have to try and not act guilty. Put on the “stupid blonde woman” routine (this works even if you’re not a blonde, by the way. As long as you’re a woman, you can get away with this, because men are dumb) (HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EVERYONE, and hey all women, how do you like your day devoted entirely to you be one hour shorter than literally all other days in the year?)

Anyway, after much flop sweat, Marion gets to drive away. But not without the cop following her for a few good miles. When the cop pulls off to go to Gordon (wherever that is), Marion’s shoulders relax and we can all feel her relief.

In the above scene, Hitchcock does something great with camera blocking: he films it using one-shots, so the film is cutting between Marion’s POV and the cop’s POV. We never see the two of them in the same shot, until Marion goes to get her driver’s license out of her glove compartment. But during the interrogation, whenever we see Marion (cop’s POV), the focus from the lens is off-center, but whenever we see the cop (Marion’s POV), the cop is centered in frame. It puts the viewer into Marion’s head, looking directly at the cop, and we feel claustrophobic and nervous because of it.

This would be a good time for me to break out my phone and take pictures of some of these angles, with which I could better illustrate, but my phone’s battery is dying and it’s late, so here’s the MS Paint Reenactment:

Psycho Direction

(Marion’s POV on the left; the cop’s POV on the right. The frames are the car windows. I am not an artist.)

(PS you know who else used this technique? Jonathan Demme in The Silence of the Lambs. HANNIBAL RETURNS JUNE 4TH YOU GUYS, AND IN THIS CASE I DO APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE)

Marion pulls into a used car garage and looks to make a trade. She spies a newspaper bucket and buys one, and while she’s checking to see if news of her theft had made the morning edition, the cop pulls up and sets up a post across the street. The salesman comes out and wants to sweet-talk her, but she cuts him off, wanting to trade her car in for another model, and quick-like. The more she badgers him into showing that she’s decisive and isn’t going to change her mind, the more California Charlie (his real name, swear to god) gets suspicious. AND GOOD REASON TOO, considering she keeps looking over her shoulder at the cop and pretty much accuses Charlie of accusing her of having stolen her car. They go into the office to hash out paperwork and the cop pulls into the parking lot. She almost drives off without her luggage, and leaves the men in her dust. GIVING THE COP A GOOD LOOK AT HER NEW LICENSE PLATE, MARION.

Marion drives off, and imagines all sorts of conversations between the players we’ve met up to this point: California Charlie and the cop; her boss and the Other Secretary; the boss and the client. As the conversations continue, getting more frantic and panicked, Marion’s face becomes twisted and horrific. I wish my phone weren’t dead so you can see this, and I don’t have time to do another MS Paint Reenactment, so instead I’ll tell you that the best facial expressions are about 27 minutes in (so far), and when you watch this movie, you’ll see what I mean.

Basically, I can see how the first audiences for this movie could have thought that Janet Leigh was supposed to be the title character. But oh, what a MacGuffin that turned out to be.

Marion drives right into a driving rain, and then comes across the infamous Bates Motel. Of course, it hasn’t become infamous yet. Regardless, she jumps out of the car and runs into the office, but there’s no one there. She sees someone walking around in the big scary house on the hill, and when she honks the horn, a pleasant looking man jumps down and runs down the stairs to let her in.

She asks if he has a vacancy, and says:
“We have twelve vacancies. Twelve cabins, twelve vacancies. They moved away the highway.”



Marion signs the register as Marie Samuels from Los Angeles – Los Angeles was where she bought the car, and Sam was the name of her gentleman lover.

Norman shows her around Cabin #1, pointing out the bathroom and opening the window. He invites her up to the house for dinner – just sandwiches and milk – and she agrees. While he goes upstairs to get things ready, Marion hides her cash in the newspaper she bought at the car dealership. The rain slows down, and now she can hear a very pained conversation between Norman and his mother. His mother emphatically refuses to allow Norman let a strange woman into her house, so he pulls together some bread and milk and brings it down to the motel for Marion.

She invites Norman into her cabin to eat dinner, and he almost acquiesces, but at the last moment, asks her to eat in the office. She follows him, and over bread and butter, Norman tells her about his taxidermy hobby, how he fills his time, and that a boy’s best friend should be his mother.

The next conversation, in which Norman rationalizes how he lets his mother speak to him in the way that Marion overheard (and wow, the acoustics around that motel are fantastic – is it in Red Rocks or something?), Norman leans back in his chair, and overpowering the frame from the upper-left is a giant stuffed owl, wings outstretched, staring at Norman, ready to strike on its prey. Now that is a beautifully-formed visual metaphor.

norman owl

Marion suggests that Norman leave his mother, but he refuses, because if he leaves, the fire in his mother would go out. “You don’t understand, I don’t hate her; I hate what she’s become.” But when Marion suggests his mother be put “someplace,” Norman’s demeanor completely changes, knowing that Marion means “madhouse.”

While realizing the type of private trap in which Norman has been living, Marion decides that tomorrow morning, instead of continuing on to Fairville (to reconnect with her gentleman lover, and how far does he have to drive for his lunch takeout?), she’s going to return to Phoenix and rectify the private trap she put herself in. Norman is surprised, but offers to bring her breakfast at dawn. When he says goodnight, he says, “Goodnight, Ms. … uh…” and Marion supplies “Crane.” BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU PUT ON THE REGISTER, MARIE

Has anyone ever mentioned how similar Anthony Perkins looks to Nestor Carbonell? I mean it’s really kind of uncanny.

anthony perkinsnestor carbonell

Norman takes a picture off the wall and watches Marion undress in the cabin next door through the peephole he carved out of the wall. THAT’S WHY HE GAVE YOU CABIN ONE, MARION.

#ProTipForLadies: NEVER accept Cabin #1.

Actually, in some light, Anthony Perkins looks like James D’Arcy.

anthony perkinsjames d'arcy

All right, here’s where I’m going to turn the volume down slightly on my TV, because I don’t want my landlady to hear it and get weirded out at — oh shit, it’s already midnight? DAMMIT, I have to work tomorrow. Shit.

Okay, here’s what’s gonna happen, and since I’ve already written about 2500 words, I feel good about hitting pause. I MEAN NOT RIGHT NOW, IN ABOUT THREE MINUTES, JUST LET ME FINISH THIS THOUGHT FOR A SECOND. So look, I’ll get through ~THE SCENE~, close up shop for the night, and then pick it up back in the aftermath first thing tomorrow after work. Before dinner, even. Deal? Deal.

Okay, so Marion’s doing some fancy math to make sure she can pay her boss back what she took, then tears up the calculations and flushes them down the toilet. (FUN FACT!: This is, apparently, the first film to show a toilet flushing on screen.) Then she takes off her bathrobe and starts the shower. She unwraps the soap, and turns the water on.

Oh shit, I just remembered I wanted to take a shower tonight. Shit.

Then we see someone open the door, and loom up behind her, and then —

Well — you know.

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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in The List



Me: Do you have Netflix?
Brad: No, but I think I’m gonna sign up for it again.
Me: When you do, you need to watch a movie.  Ready?
Brad: Oh god.
Me: FDR: American Badass.
Brad: Is … is it a documentary?
Me: … … … yes.
Brad: Is it?
Me: Okay, no.  But it’s AWESOME.  Barry Bostwick plays FDR, and Ray Wise –
Brad: Robin’s dad?
Me: Robin’s second dad, yes, he plays Douglas MacArthur, or as he’s known in the film, “Dougie Mack.”
Brad: NO.
Me: OH YEAH.  And Kevin Sorbo plays Abraham Lincoln.
Brad: Kevin Sorbo of Hercules fame?
Me: The very same! And FDR gets bit by a werewolf, which carries the polio –
Brad: Oh god.
Me: And they get into World War II because Hitler and Mussolini are werewolves, and FDR is a badass.
Brad: Jesus Christ, Alaina.
Me: Last weekend, I went to Jen’s for her birthday, and I said, “I’m making you a cake, but your other present is I’m making you watch FDR: American Badass.” She said it was the best present she’d ever received.
Brad: So let me get this straight: you’ve watched this … cinematic masterpiece twice, but you haven’t watched all of Shawshank?
Me: Tell you what – if you watch FDR: American Badass, I’ll watch Shawshank.
Brad: Really?
Me: Hand to god.
Brad: Fine. I’ll get Netflix just for that.
Me: Good, you do that.
Brad: I’ll watch that piece of shit for that.
Me: Oh, you’re gonna eat those words.



Dead Poets Society

Holy crap, TV starts coming back next week?  That seems way too early.  Good news for you guys, however: that means you’re getting some more Movies Alaina’s Never Seen.

I couldn’t decide what to watch, so I broke out Ye Olde Martini Shaker of Choosing with new slips (since the last time I used the Shaker, I had to delete, like, 90% of them.  So instead of twenty, I’ve got seven to choose from.  I probably didn’t need the martini shaker, but, y’know: tradition).  And apparently, the Martini Shaker of Choosing thought that it’s been a while since I did a movie that was actually on The List:

2014-01-03 23.00.46

Oh hey, pajama pants – I forgot those would show up on the Internets. 

Oh, Dead Poets Society.  So much grief – although, not nearly as much as with the Goddamned Shawshank Redemption.  And yes, that is how I will be referring to it from now on, and no, I will not be italicizing it, either.

If y’all have ever wondered what Friend Brad sounds like when he’s astonished at a movie I’ve never seen, let’s pull back the curtain on an actual conversation we had (via email) wherein he learns that I’d never seen Dead Poets Society:

Brad: … Makes you think.  Carpe diem.  I know it’s a cliché, but anytime I can reference DPS, I feel it needs to be said.
Me: You’re gonna hafta help me out with something … “reference DPS”?  What does DPS stand for?
Brad: OMG and WTF … DPS is Dead Poets Society, one of Brad’s Top 10 movies of all time!  Seriously??

IN MY DEFENSE, when I took a non-scientific survey on Facebook, no one else ever refers to it as DPS.  Apparently, DPS is for lazy typists and those with carpal tunnel syndrome.  To which I said: ‘seems legit.’

dead poets society

So here’s what I know about Dead Poets Society before I start:

It stars Robin Williams as an English teacher at a boys’ academy.  Young Josh Charles (Will from The Good Wife, or my forever favorite, Dan Rydell from Sports Night) and Young Dr. Wilson from House, Robert Sean Leonard are some of his students.  Robin Williams is a crazy teacher, and asks them to stand on their desks at some point.  He also teaches them the importance of seizing the day (carpeing the diem), and the poem “O Captain, My Captain.”  The students form a society that worships dead poets.   There’s a tragedy, and at the end of the movie, Robin Williams either dies, or he’s fired, and the class recites “O Captain, My Captain,” and Brad cries.

So … that’s what I’ve got.  And I know I’m on the right path, because Friend Britney confirmed that I was right about a good amount the movie.  I also believe that I won’t be snarking much about the movie – it’s supposed to be fabulous.  Did you notice how I didn’t make a joke about how the movie’s about a group of students that are haunted by a society of dead poets?  I didn’t make it because I go into this movie with a modicum of respect for it!  I don’t think that’s happened bef—oh no, I totally did that with the original Star Wars trilogy and The Court Jester.  So anyway – not much snark tonight, methinks. 

But just in case I’m wrong, I’ve got vodka.

English teacher John Keating inspires his students to a love of poetry and to seize the day.

Isn’t – isn’t that what I just said?  Damn, imdb.; sometimes you suck.

OO!  This was rated TV-MA on TCM!  Yay language!!  (Yeah, this was on Turner Classic Movies.  That’s kind of awesome and sad in a way, much in the same way I feel when I hear Nirvana on Dad’s classic rock station.)

We open on a dude taking out his bagpipes – that’s not a euphemism, by the way.  There are actual fucking bagpipes.  (heh – I just made a How I Met Your Mother reference and only a few people will get that.)  The bagpiper leads a procession of boys into a church, and my first gut instinct is to make a joke, but I promised myself I’d be good.  They’re lighting the light of knowledge, so this is clearly a chapel for the boarding school.  This takes place in 1959, and the chaplain or whoever asks the boys to recite the Four Pillars, which are Tradition, Discipline, Excellence, and … something I forgot that I’m not going to rewind for.  I have a feeling they’ll repeat it.

We see a glimpse of Robin Williams as John Keating, and it’s hard to reconcile his floppy haired “sober” persona with the crazy guy he’s been playing on The Crazy Ones this season.  (PS, that is one of my new favorite shows.  Robin Williams as Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s father?  Fantastic!)

Holy crap, Dr. Wilson’s father is Eric Foreman’s father.  Mind blown.

The boys are gathering in Wilson’s dorm room, and he’s rooming with Ethan Hawke.  They’re all acting like Gryffindors before the Prisoner of Azkaban escapes when Mr. Foreman comes in and tells Wilson that he can’t be the editor of the academy paper because he’s taking too many extracurriculars.  But because this is 1959, he doesn’t exactly tell his dad to eat it.  Instead, they decide to actually have a study group, and I’ve clearly watched too much Community because my instinct is to wonder what crazy hijinks they’re going to get into.

We see a montage of stuffy asshole teachers – not turning in homework will result in points taken off final grades, three labs due in two weeks, etc.  And then we meet John Keating.  He’s whistling behind a door as the students file in for English.  As soon as they take their seat and prepare for yet more homework and syllabi, Keating walks out the door.  He pops his head back in and says, “Come on,” then heads back out.  Stunned, the boys get up and follow him, taking their books.  Oh, boys – you don’t always have to take your books!

Keating has some of the students recite verses of poems.  Pitts recites the one that starts “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,” and then we hear the importance of carpe diem.  Keating has brought the students out to the hallway to show them the faces of previous students, most of whom are now apparently dead.  Keating tries to tell them that the dead students are the same as they are, and the message they’re giving to the current students is to seize the day to ensure they become extraordinary.

I echo one of those students’ thoughts in that the lesson was illuminating, yet extremely creepy, what with Keating leaning behind the other students and creepily muttering.

While Dan Rydell has dinner with some muckety-mucks, the rest of the Gryffindors are studying.  And I am still shocked that most of them are actually studying.  It’s like they’re all male versions of Hermione Granger.

The next day, Keating asks Wilson to read the introduction to their poetry book.  Even before I get to the (what I assume to be a) classic line, I’m calling shenanigans on 1950s poetry teachings.  Whoever that doctor that wrote it is trying to tell the students that you can plot poetry on an x-y axis.  What?  No, you – and then Robin Williams steps in and says “Excrement,” because as a teacher you can’t say “bullshit” in front of susceptible students.

He then tells them to not only rip out the math page from their poetry book, but the entire introduction.  I have a feeling Robin Williams is going to get in trouble for this.

Meanwhile, I think I’m going to love this movie, because Robin Williams is saying something I’ve been feeling for a very long time: “You will learn to savor words and language.  No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”  How many times have I railed against language being used badly?  How many times have my fingers itched for a red pen?  How many times have I choked up at reading a series of words put together in a sequence that made my heart flutter? 

I am 27 minutes into this movie, according to my DVR, and I want to know why we never watched this movie in school.  I also want to know if I’m going to end up loving this movie for different reasons than some other people.

Anyway.  Keating can tell that one of his students is suspicious of this crazy behavior.  After all, he’s going to be a doctor – what does he need of poetry? 

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.  What will your verse be?

Oh, shit.  I’m hooked.  I’m going to put my netbook down and watch this for a while.  Carry on.

Okay, so Keating’s told them what the Dead Poets Society actually is, and a gang of students goes to recreate it, and I just have to mention that this movie was totally made in the 80s.  The scene where they’re running out to the cave in the fog?  I mean, seriously, I thought Bonnie Tyler was gonna show up and sing about total eclipses of the heart.

Aw, crew!  And … fencing!  Man, boys prep schools in the 50s had all sorts of opportunities for mayhem.

Speaking of mayhem, poetry has inspired Wilson to audition for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and he gets the part of Puck.  Now he has to forge letters from his father and the headmaster to give himself permission.  O, 1950s, when forging was way easier than it is now. 

Wilson’s writing his poem while bagpipes are playing.  Insert How I Met Your Mother reference here.

And now the students are reciting the poems they wrote, and all I want is for someone to start by saying, “I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair.”

But then Ethan Hawke stands up, and Ethan Hawke has been painfully shy.  He doesn’t want to recite his poem in front of the class, especially after the way the rest of the boys have laughed at everyone else.  But Keating won’t let it go, so he almost bullies Ethan into making up a poem on the spot, inspired by Walt Whitman.  It is brilliant, and – that asshole from Scrooged is back in my apartment chopping onions!  How does he keep getting in here?

On the night that Dan Rydell goes to a party, one of the other Dead Poets brings two girls to the Society meeting.  First of all, that 17-year-old grabbed two girls?  Dude’s got balls.  Secondly, he turned the meeting of the Dead Poets Society into a meeting of the Little Rascals’ “No Girls Allowed” club. 

But then the same student gets an article published in the school newspaper and signs it from the Dead Poets Society and shit comes downhill from the headmaster.  And then the kid gets paddled?  Damn!  I mean, I knew corporal punishment was a thing for a very long time, but on 17-year-olds?  Chalk that up to a thing I didn’t know.

Okay, so, a lot of things have happened.  Wilson’s Dad found out about the play and orders Wilson to drop it the night before the performance.  Holy shitsnacks, you guys – that is bullshit, and I’ve only seen that happen once before, and that was when the kid playing Macduff in our high school production of Macbeth collapsed after curtain call because he was ill with double pneumonia and his parents said he couldn’t act in the next two shows.  We finally got Macduff’s mom to compromise down to changing the final fight so it wasn’t so physically intense, but for an entire school day we were looking at recasting not only Macduff, but … oh shit, Duncan’s son, whatever his name was, and the Thane of Ross. 

Seriously, if you’ve never acted in a production of Macbeth, I beg you, don’t do it.  The curse is realer than real.  The aforementioned Thane of Ross?  The girl who played her had a minor cardiac incident two weeks before opening.  She was eighteen.

Anyway.  Back to the movie.  Dan Rydell is still trying to woo the girl he loves whose fiancé beat him up over her.  Oh, Dan.  Wilson blatantly lies to Robin Williams about talking to his father, makes up some bullshit about how his dad is in Chicago and he thinks he’ll be able to stay with acting, and it is such total bullshit that if I had smell-o-vision I could smell it.

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where a man plays Puck.  OH SHIT AND THEN WILSON’S DAD SHOWED UP I TOLD YOU THAT WAS BULLSHIT

Meanwhile, I give this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream a B.  But it’s very refreshing to see a sold-out show of a high school production of Shakespeare.

Wilson’s Dad is not mellowed by Robin Goodfellow’s speech, and I have a sad feeling that Wilson is in for a world of hurt.

Twenty minutes later

Twenty minutes after that …
So now I’m not sure how I can talk about the movie without discussing the big spoiler, because I didn’t know what was going to happen.  I had a feeling something like that was going to happen, but I would have pinned my money on somebody else.

I guess, the only thing I can really say about it is:

– I liked this movie a lot.  I found it very easy to get caught up in the action, almost in spite of some of the slower scenes.
– Having now seen the entirety of the movie, I can now understand why we never watched this in high school.  That is entirely too bad, because before you get to the tragic ending, it is a very inspiring movie.  And when I say ‘inspiring,’ I mean regarding the importance of English, language, poetry, and the written word.  And being able to think for yourself.  I mean, that prep school was just churning out lawyers, businessmen, and doctors – I’m sure that, without Keating’s influence, almost all of them would have ended up being huge sticks-in-the-mud.  But using poetry to remind those kids that passion and thinking for oneself is going to make your life more meaningful – I mean, that’s just such an important concept to me.

So that’s Dead Poets Society, I guess.  I’m not sure what the Martini Shaker of Choosing will choose next, but it’s always a good feeling to cross something as awesome as this off my list.

Sarah: Alaina!  You should watch Troll 2!
Me: …. Goddammit, Sarah.


Posted by on January 5, 2014 in The List


The Court Jester: Part Deux


Seriously, you guys: Hannibal is my new crack.  I can’t even.  Seriously, I can’t even.  I mean, tonight’s episode wasn’t even that gory and I still screamed out loud at least twice!  And I just want someone to take Will to a real doctor!  Don’t normal people seek out second opinions if they’re having periods of blackouts and that normal person knows he’s not an alcoholic?  I mean — let’s say I was an alcoholic and I start losing time and waking up on planes without remembering how I got onto them, let alone buying the ticket.  Knowing I had alcoholic tendencies, I might shrug and go, “Eh, whatever.  Flight Attendress?  How about finding some more Hurricanes for me?”  But if I weren’t an alcoholic, but instead was an empathetic psychiatrist-type person who made a living investigating super-violent crimes for the FBI, and all of a sudden I started having blackouts and high fevers and the aforementioned waking up on strange planes, and I went to my psychiatrist named Dr. Hannibal Lecter, even if I didn’t know Hannibal was Dr. Hannibal Lecter and that my chicken soup was actually full of people, I’d STILL go see a second doctor, because NO ONE should take a diagnosis of “not fever, you crazy” without getting a second opinion. 


So now that that’s nowhere near out of my system, let’s see what The Court Jester‘s been up to in the past week.

When we last left our intrepid heroes, Hawkins had snuck into the King’s Court by being Giacomo (or Jackamole; I haven’t quite decided whether I want to kill that joke yet), the King of Jesters and Jester of Kings.  He is looking for the key to the secret passage that will allow the Black Fox and his team of Merry Men to sneak into the castle and overthrow the King.  Captain Jean has been proscribed wow, I kept using that word and it did not mean what I thought it meant.  Captain Jean has been pretty much kidnapped and thrown into a new career, rife with endless possibilities: wenchdom.  Finally, Princess Gwendolyn has fallen in immediate love with GiHawkimo, no thanks to Witch Griselda’s manipulations.

All caught up?

Play: "The Giacomo"


Captain Jean has not yet been given her first task as Wench, but here she is, sneaking into the King’s chamber.  But he’s out doing, I don’t know; kingly things, and she’s just after the Magic Key.  The King apparently needs to work on his hiding spaces, because Jean is able to find the key in a box on a table that is probably marked “SECRET PASSAGEWAY KEY INSIDE BOX.”

She sneaks back out and runs into GiHawkimo, who — did I mention that Griselda hypnotized him?  Shit, I’m a bad narrator.  Anyway, he’s hypnotized to find Gwendolyn and doesn’t recognize Jean.  She gives him the key anyway, and just as she’s trying to tell him about the change in plan, the King shows up, and praises GiHawkimo on his prompt pimping.  GiHawkimo pimps away and Jean is carted off to be gowned and jeweled so she can sit next to the King at the banquet.  Honey, don’t struggle — I’m at the point in my life where if a guy wants to give me pretty dresses and jewelry just so I can literally sit pretty next to him while he eats?  Job well done.  Wenchin’ can be a good gig.

GiHawkimo finds a Tarzan vine and swings right into Princess Gwendolyn’s chamber.  What is she, Rapunzel?  Doesn’t she have a door?

There’s a lot of wordplay and kissing and wooing and wittiness and *yawn*  NO DON’T YAWN ALAINA KEEP WATCHING OR SARAH WILL MAKE YOU WATCH HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN AGAIN  Anyway, in the midst of all this wooing and whatnot, Gwendolyn finds out that GiHawkimo has the Magic Key.  They agree to run away together at midnight, because remember, GiHawkimo is hypnotized and doesn’t know what he’s doing.  INFORMED CONSENT, GIHAWKIMO! 

And then the King shows up.  GiHawkimo wants to fight, and Gwen’s trying to hide him, and when she says that if King-Dad finds them their lives won’t be worth *that,* she snaps, and GiHawkimo is once again Hawkins in a Jackamole costume.  So he’s cowering behind the curtain while Gwen lies to her father.  (Happy Father’s Day, everyone!)

And then there’s a lot of snapping while Dad and Daughter fight.  GiHawkimo snaps between the persona and his real self in one of the oldest bits since vaudeville, but it’s done well and I’m really not complaining, honest.  While Daddy is shaking his daughter out of love, the Magic Key falls from where she had hidden it in her bosom, and while it’s not exactly like finding a twenty in your bra the day after a rager (and then you think to yourself, ‘Yay I can buy hangover food!’), the King snatches it up as if it were really made of gold.  He parts with a final snap (alluding to snapping his daughter’s lovely neck — Happy Father’s Day, everyone), ensuring that GiHawkimo is back to his hypnotized self.

Gwen and GiHawkimo agree to run off together after the banquet.  She warns him, “Do be cautious, sweet Giacomo!”  He replies, “Caution is for Poppinjays and Cockatoos!” AND THEN this MOTHERFUCKING BIRD CAWS, from a perch near the window.  WAS THAT BIRD IN HERE THE WHOLE TIME?!

He Tarzan-Vines out of Gwen’s room and into … oh shit.  (*goes back to previous entry because my mind is made of gin and tonic right now I’M NOT REALLY AN ALCOHOLIC SHUT UP IT WAS A POORLY-FORMED METAPHOR) Ravenhurst is telling his associate that if Jackamole says he’ll be here within the hour, he’ll be here [GiHawkimo Tarzan-Vines in through the window] … within the hour. 

Anyway, Ravenhurst tells GiHawkimo to kill three attendees of the King or whatever.  If he can’t do that, then he’s to kidnap Gwen and get her out of the castle before midnight.  GiHawkimo asks if the attendees are married.  “Yes.”  “Send flowers to the widows.  Got it?”  Whoa.  I, uh … that’s a good line. 

Griselda releases GiHawkimo from his hypnotized trance, and when he awakes, he will remember nothing.  But we’ll all have some fantastic shenanigans, I’m sure!

Cap’n Jean is being beautified, and when she hears the Magic Whistle she throws her ladies-in-waiting away from her so she can go talk to the Ostler.  She tells the Ostler to take the baby to the Jester, and he’s trying to tell Jean that GiHawkimo was hypnotized, but she’s too busy and important to talk to a mere ostler.  She runs back into the chamber to finish her toilette.

Cut to just before the banquet.  GiHawkimo wakes up and he’s dazed and confused.  He knows he was supposed to meet up with Ravenhurst but obviously can’t remember that he already did.  When Cap’n Jean comes out with her ladies-in-waiting to meet the King, Hawkins is stunned by her beauty.  He doesn’t catch the frantic eye-catching she tries to do with him when she sees that the King has somehow taken control of the Magic Key again.  And he’s still stunned when the Ostler hands him the basket with the baby.  Still stunned when Ravenhurst reminds him of the three he’s supposed to kill.  And he barely recognizes Princess Gwen when she tells him to meet her at the North Gate at midnight.

They all go into the banquet hall, although Hawkins has to be pushed because he really just wants to run and hide at this moment.  He’s still carrying the basket, and when the King asks what’s in it, he tries to cover it up with a song, but Hawkins, he’s not that great at improv-ing music, and finally he just has to put the baby down and commit to the act.

He sings an excellent song about being a jester, and just as Jean is able to hide the baby, GiHawkimo proposes a toast to the King.  Griselda poisoned the three dudes Ravenhurst wanted dead, and unbeknownst to GiHawkimo, the toast causes the three dudes to keel over dead.  As the King half-heartedly investigates, Griswold drives up in his Family Truckster and the King announces that he and Gwen will be married.  Gwen, like the loud-mouthed result of suffrage that she is, announces that no, she loves GiHawkimo and will marry him instead.  The King sends GiHawkimo to the stocks and Gwen to her room.  Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

Ravenhurst’s lackey comes in and Ravenhurst is super proud of GiHawkimo.  The Lackey bursts everyone’s bubble by telling him that that ain’t Giacomo, that guy’s some imposter.  Ravenhurst wonders why a nobody would want to help him, and then he puts two and two together and totally gets about negative one, because he thinks that Hawkins is the Black Fox.  Then he comes up with an equally master plan: get King Roderick to knight him so that Hawkins can fight Griswold in a tournament for Gwen’s hand in marriage.  King Roderick thinks this is a splendid idea, except that it takes 3 years to knight someone.  Not if they do it Lightning Round-style!

I am SO GOOD at lightning rounds!!

The guards all help him ace the tests.  It’s like they’re physical manifestations of Cliff’s Notes.  Like, the candidate must capture a wild boar with his bare hands.  Enter: a teacup pig.  The candidate passes!

Meanwhile, Cap’n Jean waltzes into the King’s Chamber.  She manages to insinuate she’s looking for a little Afternoon Delight, and the King sends the pages away.  While she’s brushing his hair (weird kink he has), she manages to swoop down and steal the Magic Key without him noticing.  When she tries to escape, he tries to put the moves on her.  She creates this amazing story of Breckenridge’s Scourge, a disease that killed her father, uncles, cousins, brothers and aunts.  When asked who Breckenridge is, she replies: “My father.”  Brilliant.  The King runs away and she follows without touching.  No touching!

Jean gives the Magic Key to the Ostler, who takes it to his carrier pigeon to give to the Black Fox.  Meanwhile, the knights bring forth another knight who’s going through the ritual, and the King wants to speed things up a bit.  Jean goes to find Hawkins and get him to run away to save his life.  Valuing his life, he does run away — right into his own entourage, who bring him back to the banquet hall and speed-march him through the knighting ritual.  Congrats, Sir GiHawkimo – ya done good.

True to form, Griswold challenges GiHawkimo to a tournament for Gwen’s hand.  Jean helps Hawkins up because Griswold is a fucking brute, and tells him that she’ll get the Black Fox to come and fight in his stead.  The Black Fox and his minions are trying to take care of the Secret Passage, but the whole thing’s caved in.  There’s only a space big enough for a child to crawl through.  Or maybe … maybe something small like a child … like … like a very athletic child?  I’m not sure where the Fox is going with this …

Back at the lists, Cap’n Jean is comforting Hawkins, who is most certainly facing death.  But Griselda swoops up like most witches do and reassures him that he’s not going to die, because she’s up to her ol’ poisoning tricks again.  And this scene is apparently the one with the other tongue twister, about how the pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle, but the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.  In other words, don’t drink the poison, Hawkins!

As Hawkins is trying to remember the tongue twister that even I just got (and I’m drunk), a rogue bolt of lightning hits Hawkins’s armor.  I was kidding about the Lightning Round!

"Ooooh, that's interesting!"

Meanwhile, Griselda comes up to Hawkins to let him know that some asshat dropped the chalice from the palace, and now they’re using a flagon with a dragon on it.  Except that she really changed the game, and now the pellet with the poison is in the flagon with the dragon, and the vessel with the pestle now has the brew that is true.  Seriously?  Why does the good cup breaking mean you have to switch vessels?  Griselda, I don’t think you’re that great a witch.

Having an even worse time is our friend Hawkins, who in studying this new tongue twister, is kind of letting the secret spill all over the lists.  Yeah, duh — Hawkins, don’t keep saying ‘poison’ out in public.  People will catch on and listen and before you know it, you’re on the No Fly List.  Or so I presume.  Anyway, Griswold’s lackey lets him know about the plot, and while Griswold may appear to be a meathead, he can at least memorize tongue twisters quicker than our intrepid hero.

Oh PS, Hawkins’s suit of armor is now magnetized.  This will end well, I’m sure.

And after ALL OF THAT, there is NO FUCKING TOAST.

(Hahaha as I re-read that sentence, it sounds like I’m pissed because they were not served grilled bread.  And now I have to take a moment and watch a very important piece of my college years: Foamy’s List of Do’s and Don’ts.  [Aw man, I was making toast.  It’s all ruined now!]

Hawkins is lifted onto his horse, only to have the horse run out from under him.  Once they finally get him mounted and the tournament begins, it almost appears that Hawkins gets beheaded by Griswold, but actually he turtles himself into the suit of armor.  When Griswold’s mace sticks to Hawkins’s suit, Griswold gets pulled off his horse and to the ground, and everyone knows (?) that that means Hawkins wins.  Instead of running Griswold through with his sword, Hawkins spares Griswold his life.  Because he’s just a simple jester, after all; he ain’t never killed nobody.

As King Roderick is choking on his announcement of Hawkins’s and Gwen’s impending marriage, Ravenhurst slinks up and announces that Hawkins is actually the Black Fox.  So off the entire party of royals goes to the banquet hall, only now it’s turning into The People’s Court, and I don’t think it’s going to end well.

HOLY SHIT I FORGOT ABOUT THE MIDGETS!  Black Fox, knowing the space constraints, has enlisted Hawkins’s band of midgets and is sneaking them through the Secret Passageway.  Excellent!  I can’t believe I forgot about Hermine’s Midgets!

Hawkins and Cap’n Jean are literally standing at trial.  Ravenhurst brings out the baby in the basket (flagon in the dragon?), but as he’s proselytizing, Hawkins notices his loyal band of midgets has infiltrated the castle.  A melee ensues, and — holy shit, that’s a lot of midgets.  Like, were there always that many?

(PS, I know that ‘midgets’ isn’t the most politically correct term.  However, since they’re billed as such in the credits, that’s what I’m calling them.  Okay?  Okay.)

(I would also like to take a moment and point out that Danny Kaye is all of a sudden hot, what with his white shirt that has no buttons.  Like, remember John Smith in Disney’s Pocahontas after he’s captured by the Native Americans (YES I’LL BE PC ABOUT THAT SHUT UP) but before we all realized how batshit crazy Mel Gibson was in real life that it totally colors your perception of that movie for the rest of eternity?  Or Daniel Craig after Le Chiffre almost kills him that time [AND I’LL NEVER WATCH THAT MOVIE THE SAME WAY AGAIN, THANKS, HANNIBAL]?  Or Ian Somerhalder in any unbuttoned shirt?  I think I have a thing for that.  HEY MOM DON’T BOTHER READING THAT LAST PARAGRAPH OKAY?)

Griselda hypnotizes Hawkins into being the best swordsman so that he can kill Ravenhurst.  Okay, I’ll go with it.  Hey, Griselda, can you hypnotize me so I’m, I don’t know, less of a bitch around people so I’ll be liked?  Thanks.

Meanwhile, I think Griselda needs to find a new trigger for the in-and-outs of hypnosis; a snap of the fingers appears to be too easy for that shit.

Wait, the midgets were just sitting around, waiting for something to happen?  Guys, go fight people!  Seriously?

Ravenhurst gets catapulted off the castle walls, Griswold is almost going to kill all of the Black Fox’s team, but then Cap’n Jean is flyed down with two midgets, holding the Royal Baby.  Hawkins shows everyone the baby’s butt to see the Purple Pimpernel, and you guys, who did that baby turn into when he grew up?  Does he know that his ass was shown to a lot of people?  How much therapy do you think he got?

King Roderick rescinds his title, they put the baby on the throne, they reprise “Life Could Not Better Be,” but HOW THE FUCK DOES A BABY RULE ENGLAND?!  Shouldn’t they have a regent or something until he can, y’know, fucking talk!?

All in all, I enjoyed the movie.  I don’t really grade movies anymore, because they’re arbitrary and I’m arbitrary and no grade I give it would be good enough for some people.  But let me leave you with this:

If The Court Jester is on TV, I’ll watch it.  I may even sing along, once I know more of the words.  I may switch channels a couple of times, but not out of spite.  And given the choice of this or Hobo With a Shotgun … well, that’s a stupid choice, because I’d watch Pocahontas over Hobo With a Shotgun, and you guys, I had a sad crush on John Smith as a ten-year-old, and thirty-year-old Alaina can’t quite deal with the voice of her crush being a crazy-go-nuts asshole now.

Maybe I should start seeing a psychiatrist … hey Hannibal, are you accepting new patients?

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Posted by on June 15, 2013 in The Court Jester


The Court Jester: Part I

Note from the Future: I wrote this two nights ago, and I was planning on finishing this tonight, but … shit happens.  Enjoy Part I of The Court Jester below.

So, this will be the most literal interpretation of Insomniac Theatre to date.

See, for the past couple of months, I’ve been closing pretty much every shift at my store.  Normally, I’m all for sleeping in as much as possible.  However, what’s happened is that my sleep cycle has been thrown all out of whack.  I can’t remember the last night that I was asleep before 4 a.m.  Frankly, I’m a little surprised that more people haven’t died lately, what with all the sunrises I’ve seen.

(I can’t even remember where it started, but I know I was a freshman at FPC – it was probably the fire drill with the dryer fire, and I was super pissed because I was sleeping and the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night due to another freshman doing his laundry on the other side of the dorm at two in the morning.  I do not think this was the fire drill where I stupidly got out and evacuated with the rest of the normal people while my two best friends decided to continue to play Mario Kart.  But anyway, Sarah saw me getting frustrated and stabbity, and somehow the idea was born that if Alaina watched the sun come up, someone was going to die.  Hence, the shock at the lack of death lately.)

The other reason I’m returning to Insomniac Theatre is because I’ve also gotten addicted to NBC’s Hannibal.  YOU GUYS.  IT IS THE BEST SHOW ON TELEVISION RIGHT NOW.  There is violence, and psychological drama, and Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, and I keep expecting Daniel Craig to show up and also I’ll never be able to watch the warehouse-naked-Daniel-Craig-chair scene the same way ever again and I’m okay with that, but also, it’s gory and there are things I can’t believe I am seeing on the National Broadcasting Channel and not Home Box Office, and did I mention Gina Torres guest-starred and also Eddie Izzard played a homicidal maniac, and there is food that is also people, and guys?  GUYS?  NO SERIOUSLY COME BACK IT’S AMAZING

So thanks, tonight’s episode of Hannibal, because now I have an image of a dead guy with his TONGUE jutting out from his THROAT embedded in my mind.  As in, the killer REMOVED THE TONGUE and ATTACHED it TO HIS THROAT.  THAT IS NOT WHERE A TONGUE BELONGS.

So let’s watch something with a little more humor, shall we?


Ah, The Court Jester.  Number 86 on my List of Movies.  This title was given to me by Sarah and also Allen.  I am not sure which of them saw it first, but they will mention it at least once every New Year’s Eve.  This year, when I was sitting in the corner just concentrating on getting my body to keep breathing air in and out and not expelling massive amounts of vodka upon exhale (Thing I Learned This Year #1: Hangovers do actually get worse the older you get.  This is not an urban legend.  Thing I Learned This Year #2: I’m old.)  (When your only New Year’s Resolution is to not get shitfaced at the next New Year’s Eve party, then you might actually have a problem.), Allen and Sarah were singing along to apparently the first song in the musical.  Luckily for me, I was too drunk at the time to mention that I had not seen the movie, thus sparing me both mental and physical anguish.  Y’know, in addition to the hell I was in already.

Seriously, kids: if you’re going to drink five Pear Weevils (Pear Vodka + Cranberry Juice, named after my nickname because reasons) in less than two hours with no food, you will get hungover.

So then one fateful night, The Court Jester appeared on TCM.  And I taped it, after having a conversation on Twitter with Allen and Sarah that went approximately like this*:

*I actually tried to find the tweets, but it was so long ago my phone won’t scroll back that far.

Me: Hey, The Court Jester’s on.  That’s a thing I should watch, right?
Allen: Yes.
Me: Angela Lansbury and the mom from Mary Poppins is in this?!  Why didn’t I know this?!
Sarah: Other people’s kids.  YES.
Me: Hey, don’t get mad at me.  All I knew was that this was an amazing movie; your tweets never included a cast list.

Anyway, I started to watch it back in January, but because back then I had a more normal sleep schedule, I … fell asleep halfway through.  But I saved it, and said I’d watch it later and blog it proper.

And, well … after tonight’s Hannibal, I kind of need to watch something that isn’t so … murderey.  (Cue Emily yelling at me to finish watching Arrested Development Season 4 already.)

Without further ado … The Court Jester.

Ooh!  Even Robert Osborne believes that The Court Jester is the best movie Danny Kaye ever made.  That’s … a fairly good endorsement.  I mean, Robert Osborne pretty much loves every movie TCM shows ever, so maybe grain of salt?

Basil Rathbone?  Sherlock Holmes is in this?  I’d probably be a bit more … I dunno, excited, but the only Sherlocks I’ve seen are Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and the mouse from The Great Mouse Detective.  PS, if you haven’t seen BBC’s Sherlock, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR IT’S ALSO FANTASTIC AND NOT NEARLY AS GORY AS HANNIBAL

We open on Danny Kaye in a classic Harlequin costume, singing about how Life Could Not Better Be.  I know from conversations and tweets that this song that plays over the credits supposedly tells the entire plot of the movie.  This was back before spoiler alerts, I guess.

HERMINE’S MIDGETS?  There is something called Hermine’s Midgets?!!?  Oh my god — you guys, I am making ALL THE SPEW JOKES in the WORLD right now.  Like, do we know they’re Hermine’s because she made them hats?  Were they so affronted by her gall to free them that they stole the ‘o’ out of her name?  DOES DOBBY SURVIVE

Also, there is something called the American Legion Zouaves from Jackson, Michigan.  I do not know what those are, but hope to recognize them when I see them?

Well, I don’t know about detailing the plot, so much.  The process of writing and casting a movie, maybe.  But at least I know we’ve got a happy ending, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

“This is the story of how the destiny of a nation was changed by a birthmark.”  Really?  Was the birthmark the entirety of the Magna Carta?

We meet Roderick the Tyrant, who became king by murdering the entirety of the royal family.  I feel that there’s probably a Red Wedding/Game of Thrones joke that I could make here, but I’m sadly unfamiliar with that source material to make sure it comes off effectively, so I’ll just let that stand on its own and move on.  Anyway, he’s coming home, probably after a big crusade or something.  One of his guards gets killed by the Black Fox, who is a copyright-free edition of Robin Hood.  The Black Fox is also supposedly caring for the only infant to escape Roderick’s massacre, the aforementioned infant with the ass-mark.  I like this retelling of the Anastasia myth!

Roderick is pissed that his lackeys may have missed a baby.  Hey, at least his minions haven’t been searching cradles for sixteen years like some other evil tyrants I know.  He’s looking for allies to help fight the rabble.  His minions suggest he ally himself with Griswold.  Y’know, I’m no court intrigue, but I’m not sure I’d invite Clark Griswold to the party, Rod.  I mean, he’s kind of an … oh, there’s another dude named Griswold.  Okay; carry on.  This whole moment sounds like a funnier, less nude version of Game of Thrones.  I assume.  Because, again, I’ve never read or watched those.

It gets really Thrones-ey when Roderick decides to offer Griswold his daughter, Gwendolyn, in exchange for an alliance.  However, Gwendolyn is the awesome Angela Lansbury, and she refuses, because she — like all princesses who don’t actually want power — wants to marry for love.  Dad thinks the witch, Griselda, has poisoned his daughter’s mind, and orders her burned at the stake (as you do with witches).  Angela Lansbury threatens suicide by falling should the witch actually burn.  Just as Roderick’s trying to decide what to threaten next, a spy for the king comes barreling in and confirms that the Royal Infant lives, because he’s spying on the Black Fox, and he’s seen the Royal Birthmark: a Purple Pimpernel.  On the baby’s bottom.  Ooookay.  Apparently a Scarlet Pimpernel was copyrighted, and also, gross as a birthmark.

As Roderick’s team goes to horse and to the woods, we see The Black Fox laughing maniacally at a wanted poster of himself, as heroes do.  We also hear music, so we know a song’s coming up.  The song is appropriately titled “Outfox the Fox,” and the song is full of wordplay and rhymes and MIDGETS HOLY SHIT MIDGETS YES

Uh, anyway.  Great song, shows that the Fox uses doubles as his way of escaping the Sheriff of Rottingham (as one does), and then the real Black Fox shows up as Danny Kaye is standing on a pyramid of midgets (as one does).  Apparently Danny Kaye’s name is Hawkins, and he’s a mere circus performer with a penchant for wearing other people’s clothes.  Hawkins wants to fight, but his official job title is Troupe Entertainer, and I guess that position is needed in every rebel army?  Except in space, of course; I can’t really see Chewie as Entertainer.  3PO, maybe, but also, unbeknownst to 3PO.  And isn’t that the funniest option?

The captain of the Black Fox is a girl, played by Glynis Johns, which proves that all that suffragette work paid off.  Glass ceiling?  What glass ceiling?  There’s no glass ceiling in medieval Britain!

Anyway, another of the Fox’s army warns them that Roderick knows about the infant.  It’s up to Captain Jean to hide the infant, and she needs Hawkins’s acting abilities to make the whole thing work.  They get a big cart of wine, and I want to go to there.  They hide the infant in an empty cask, and right as rain, they get stopped by the King’s Men.  There’s a lot of back and forth and postulating to throw the King’s Men off their trail, and they manage to get away.  There’s a thunderclap, and Captain Jean tells them that they’ll spend the night in the Woodman’s Cottage.  Oh yes, the only Woodman in Britain; his cottage.

As Captain Jean sets up the cottage for the night, Danny Kaye sings the Pimpernel Prince a lullaby, and it’s all very sweet.  I should mention here while there’s a lull, that I know my writing sometimes comes off as sarcastic, but that’s not the case here; I’m enjoying this movie.  Honest.

The Woodman’s Cottage has a very convenient leak, causing Hawkins and Capt. Jean to sleep together on the same small pallet of hay.  Their pillow talk consists of Capt. Jean telling Hawkins about her father, who taught her how to fight injustice, wage war, handle weapons, and as Hawkins is kissing her, she realizes her father may have wanted her to be a boy.  So, Captain Jean is Robin Scherbatsky’s long-lost sister?

Anyway, she doesn’t want to get involved with Hawkins until Roderick the Tyrant has been overthrown and the infant is on the throne.  Uh, dudes?  Maybe don’t put a baby on a throne?  It’s too high, for one; he could fall off and break his crown.  Maybe that’s where that comes from, though?  But also, decision-making isn’t really a baby’s strong suit.  But they don’t have this discussion; instead, they discuss a secret plan to overthrow the tyrant because there’s a passage from the forest to the castle, but the passage is locked from the inside, so they need someone in the king’s court to get into the king’s chambers and steal the key to unlock the passage so they can storm the castle.

ENTER: the Jester.

No, seriously, Jackamole the Court Jester comes into the Woodman’s Cottage looking for shelter.  Wait, I feel that I should correct this spelling before I get made fun of.  Oh, wow, I was waaaay wrong.  *ahem*  Giacomo the Court Jester gets beaned upside the head by Capt. Jean when he announces he’s on the way to the King’s Court, and no, no one has ever met him before, why do you ask?  Thanks to Hawkins’s established need to wear other people’s clothes, he dresses up as the Court Jester and is off to the palace, while Capt. Jean takes the Pimpernel Prince to the Abbey.

Meanwhile, back at the Palace, Roderick is PISSED that the baby is still alive.  Can I be the voice of reason here for just a second?  I mean, I realize that it would make for a shorter movie, but what if Roddy just adopted the baby and decided to not tell it that it was prince?  Because guess what?  BABIES CAN’T BE KINGS, GUYS.  You could rule until you died, and then made little Pimply your next in line, and then everybody wins!  Right?  (Don’t correct me if I’m wrong, I just don’t like the idea of a guy wanting to kill a baby.)

Anyway, there’s a funny moment where Gwendolyn is playing her harp and Roderick wants her to shut up, so he tells her to ‘stop picking at that thing.’  Heh heh heh, also, that’s what she said.  Roderick is putting plans for the tournament in motion: Jackamole the Jester will be entertainer (SORRY, SARAH & ALLEN, but you have to admit it’s kinda funny, right?), Griswold will marry Gwendolyn and bring her to a castle far, far up north, there will be wenches, and fighting, and food, and other things, and as Roderick goes to bed, Ravenhurst hangs back and mentions that Jackamole is also a skillful assassin.  Oh shit, that wasn’t on the resume Jackamole kept in his pockets.

Oh, man!  They actually spelled it on the side of Giacomo’s carriage.  Dangit!  Ruined my joke.  Anyway, Capt. Jean is brought to the palace in the King’s raid for wenches.  GiHawkimo is escorted to the palace by the King’s Guard, where it is revealed that Roderick also enlisted Giacomo’s assassination skills for Ravenhurst et. al.  Meanwhile, Gwendolyn’s threatening suicide again, and honey, here’s a pamphlet; I think you need a better life helper than Griselda.  Anyway, speaking of Griselda, she’s showing Gwendolyn the countenance of fair Giacomo, and tells her that he will be her lover.  Oh, jeebus.

GiHawkimo enters the court whistling the secret code for “I Am a Member of the Black Fox’s Army, Come Help Me” when the blacksmith or whatever who is actually the secret spy for the Black Fox whistles back.  Except GiHawkimo is too busy looking around at other things, and just as the blacksmith or whatever whistles back, Ravenhurst comes out of the palace, so GiHawkimo thinks he is the Whistler, and gives the signal of “yes, we shall soon do nefarious deeds,” which, GiHawkimo thinks he’s talking about getting the key, whereas Ravenhurst thinks he’s talking about killing the king, and dear Lord, that’s a lot of mistaken identities going on.

THEN King Roderick comes in, and there’s the famous tongue twister about the Duchess and the Doge and the Duke in the Italian Court, and what did they all do with their daggers and dirks and … d’other things.  Don’t ask me to retype it, because I think I may have to turn this into a Court Jester, Parte Dos.  Aside from Danny Kaye’s masterful tongue (uhhhhh… sorry.), all I take away from this is that King Roderick LOVES him some wenches (uhhhhh … sorry).

Apparently, “Jester” in Ye Olde English was code for “Pimp.”  Well, if the cape fits … It is now GiHawkimo’s job to find the King his wench.  That resume of unknown talents is getting longer and longer, eh, Hawkins?

GiHawkimo is making sure he has his song memorized when the blacksmith or whatever sneaks in through the balcony.  He tries to tell GiHawkimo that he is the friend of the Fox, not Ravenhurst, but GiHawkimo doesn’t believe him.  The blacksmith or whatever is also the Ostler, and I’m still not sure what an ostler is, and apparently, neither does Microsoft Word.  But you recognize Chewbacca as a real word, MSOffice?  Really?  I know ostlers were real things at one point!  *shakes head*

And then Griselda shows up, and she hypnotizes GiHawkimo to do whatever she says when she snaps her fingers.  She can also literally snap him out of the trance.  (I am 90% sure I used literally correct in that sentence.  As much as you’d like to, please don’t correct me, as it is nearly 4 in the morning, and advancing ever closer to my new normal bedtime.)

Griselda orders GiHawkimo to go and make love to the Princess.  Uh … does that work?  Just … hypnotize a guy and snap your fingers?  *picks up legal pad*  Is there a class I can take to make that happen, or does that go against the whole ‘informed consent’ aspect?

(Oh god, I just realized my mother sometimes reads this stuff.  Just keep reading, Mom!  Nothing to see here in this little paragraph except evidence of my insomnia!  *snaps fingers*  You will not remember this paragraph when next we speak.)

GiHawkimo is heading out the door full bore, off to bore the princess.  As in … oh, you guys probably know what I’m talking about.  Never mind.

And now, I’m going to take a break until Sunday night, and because I’m a nice person, I’ll leave us with the Ostler’s FML face as he realizes just what he’s gotten himself into.

"The fate of Britain rests in this guy's hands?  We're *screwed.*"

You’re welcome.


Posted by on June 8, 2013 in The Court Jester


The Shawshank Redemption: The Alaina Version (+ Theories)

Not sure how many people know this, but …. I can be kinda psychic sometimes.  I regularly check out Robin’s Zodiac Zone, making sure that I’m wearing the appropriate color for the day.  I have a deck of tarot cards and I will … contact?  Interpret?  Oh shit, I had something for this.  I use my tarot cards semi-regularly for advice, and I have been known to go to actual tarot card readers when I feel that I need a second opinion on something.  I find meaning in many different things.  (Let NO ONE start me on the whole Eddie Vedder / “Better Man” thing…)

What I’m trying to say is that I am no stranger to signs.  And when I feel that the Universe is trying to tell me something that I don’t want to hear, I can … at times, overreact.

Like Community, beloved Show of My Heart (now that I’m having serious issues with The Vampire Diaries — issues that belong on a whole ‘nother blog, full of capslock, vitriol, and feminist issues that never happened before with TVD).  Last week, Community homaged — I’m sorry, “paid homage” — to The Shawshank Redemption.  I’ve decided to take that as a sign that I should just fucking rip that asshole Band-Aid off once and for all and move on.

So go ahead, Universe: Read me the signs!  Tell me my FORTUNE! You’re so useful, sitting there with all of your books!  You’re really a lot of help!  So I quit!  I resign, I’m fired; I’ll just get this over with, okay?  Because I am twenty-nine years old, Giles; I don’t wanna deal with Shawshank anymore!

Because I’m done!  I think I’ve said that I have seen 2/3 of the movie on AMC two summers ago, so I know the plot.  Hell, I knew the plot before I watched it two years ago: Tim Robbins (ANDY DUFRESNE, YES I KNOW) is arrested for killing his wife and her lover and thrown into Shawshank Prison in good ol’ Thomaston, Maine (because guys, it was written by Stephen King, and everything takes place in Maine).  It is left up to the viewer* to decide whether Andy’s guilty or not.  While there, he befriends Morgan Freeman.  Andy finds a place for himself in prison, but never stops dreaming of the outside world.  Meanwhile — and this is the part I’ve seen, so I can attest to its veracity, AMC-editing be-damned — there is this whole ideological debate/showing thing (look, I’m fighting a cold, and my head’s all messed up.  I’m sorry I’m not speaking English good over here.) about how Red and other prisoners have become so institutionalized, that when parole comes along and they’re free, the outside world is too scary and they contemplate either going back to prison or suicide.  Anyway — in the midst of this, Andy manages to escape Shawshank and runs away, never to be found again.  Except he leaves Red a postcard or a clue or something I WASN’T REALLY PAYING ATTENTION giving him a treasure map to follow so they can live out the rest of their lives together on the Pacific Coast in this little unpronounceable town in Mexico.

*Because I’ve seen the last two-thirds, guys, not the first third.  I’m assuming it’s left up to the viewer to decide Andy’s innocence?  Or maybe he protests his innocence even though he’s guilty as fuck?  I dunno – I’ve got about forty minutes I’ve missed.

SO.  I apparently know a lot about Shawshank, huh?  Why is it such a big deal for me to watch it?  Because APPARENTLY, to some of my friends (AND MY FATHER, WHAT THE HECK?), watching the last two-thirds does not count as “watching it.”  Also, I’d like to test a theory.

‘Cuz here’s the thing: I have friends of both genders who have seen Shawshank or at least, parts of Shawshank.  And I am seeing a clear divide when I ask the following questions:

1) Are you the type of individual that tends to watch movies over and over again?
2) Have you seen The Shawshank Redemption?
3) Did you like The Shawshank Redemption?4) Did you like The Shawshank Redemption enough to warrant watching it until the end every time you find it on television?

Obviously, if you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, the survey ended.  But — again, informally — my findings were that men answered ‘yes’ to all four questions, whereas women that had seen Shawshank and liked it, didn’t like it enough to watch it to the end every damn time they find it on TV.

So my main question – because I have seen the end! – is, will seeing the whole entire movie unedited for television and language and situations change my perception of Shawshank?  Because right now, I am okay with saying that it is a good movie, and I can see how some people might find it better than good, but I DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND. how it has pervaded our culture so that not only Community pays homage to it, but Jon Stewart and Liam Fucking Neeson can wax rhapsodic during an interview on The Daily Show.

I just don’t get it.  I hope to get it?  But I’m not sure I will.  I’m seriously wondering if there’s something on the Y chromosome that makes it better …


Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

I came up with a brilliant plan the other night.  It involved finally watching another movie this Friday as someone’s birthday present (long story, will explain it later), but in order to do that I felt that I really needed to get Return of the Jedi out of the way, because this is getting ridiculous.  I mean, seriously – I’ve moved this Netflix disc.  MOVED IT.  FROM ONE APARTMENT TO ANOTHER.  And paid for it six times.  WHAT THE FUCK, PATTERSON.

Anyway.  In order to get my Brilliant PlanTM out of the way, I am going to attempt to watch Return of the Jedi tonight.  Now, there’s going to be an added layer of difficulty regarding this: the last time I watched a movie on DVD, I was at the Old Apartment (sorry for the earworm), and the Old Apartment had a DVD player and a remote.  In my New Apartment, I have a TV/DVD combination TV, and … the remote doesn’t really work.  I mean, it’ll select things on the menu, and I can turn the volume up and down, and when I’m using the cable and Jeremy the TiVo, Episode IV: A New Hope, everything’s hunky-dory.  But pausing the DVD and / or returning to the menu?  Cannot be done.  I can only pause by getting up and pausing it from the button on the TV itself.  And as for returning to the menu whilst in the middle of an episode or movie?  My TV says ‘Fuck that shit,’ which is how I watched the beginning of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang four times when it started using subtitles randomly and I couldn’t shut them off.

So … expect a lot of cussing.  I may have to name the TV (because so far, the TV is nameless.  Only the TiVo’s have been named in the past).

Oh right.  The bikini.  Almost forgot about that.

Before I hit play, I believe that when we last left our Intrepid Heroes, they were either dis-handed, starting up a rock band with the robots as backup, or frozen in carbonite.  Darth Vader was playing with his dolls in victorious glee, and Leia was on her way to join the white slave trade.  Does that sound right?

I was just going to ask a stupid question about what was Chewbacca doing in all of this, when I realized: duh.  He plays drums for Lando and the Droids.  Because if Lando Calrissian = Dr. Teeth, C-3P0 must = Scooter, R2D2 = Floyd, and Chewbacca = Animal.

Holy shit that is a thing that has to happen RIGHT NOW.

[play is pressed.]  I am already hating that I can’t pause.


Jesus, that music’s loud.


Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tattoine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the cluthes of the vile gnagster Jabba the Hutt..

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful tha the first draeaded Death satar.


We see the same big battleship scene from the first Star Wars, only this time a couple of ships get shat out of it.  They’re flying out to Death Star II, and there’s this line of Storm Troopers sitting at a console, and I can’t help it — I yell out, “Look at all those Assholes!”

The guy who announces that Lord Vader’s shell — shell?  What?  — has arrived looks like a young Matt Damon.  Just me?

Lord Vader is apparently all out of lollipops, because he’s whooping that Commander’s ass all over the Death Star II.  Apparently the progress with the new Death Star is not proceeding as fast as Palpatine would like.

It’s the Droids!  Lando abandoned them?  But — that is my most favorite fantasy! C-3PO fucking knocks on this big ass-door, hoping to speak with Jabba the Hutt.  R2-D2 strolls in, and all I can think of is ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY WALK INTO JABBA’S HUTT.

They run into Jabba’s … lackey?  I’m sorry, I’m totally calling him the Jabba-Wocky.  Anyway, he’s the dude with the icky flesh tail that curls around the neck, and I have no idea who he is, but there’s totally a green pig man that looks like one of Maleficent’s lackeys made flesh, and anyway, they end up in Jabba’s Pleasure Palace, like he’s Hedonism-Bot from Futurama.  R2 plays his in-flight feature of Luke Skywalker offering the Droids to Jabba as collateral in exchange for a negotiation for Captain Solo, who is still a wall hanging out of carbonite.

Jabba’s Slave Leader thinks R2-D2 is a feisty one.  You don’t know the half of it, Slave Leader.  Boba Fett’s upstairs watching one of the slave girls dance.  Oh.  Er, uh, two slave girls dance.  Uh, two slave girls dance, and then one gets incinerated or eaten or something.  And then Chewbacca comes in, and Jabba wants C-3PO is asked to translate the bounty for Chewie, and the guy who somehow managed to capture Chewbacca (What is that guy, Jonathan from Buffy?  He’s like, three feet tall!  How’d he overpower Chewie?), anyway, he wants to get more money out of Jabba through the powers of persuasion found only in a thermal detonator, but he somehow capitulates.  And Lando’s hiding in plain sight, watching everything!  LANDO!  YOU NEED TO GET THE BAND BACK TOGETHER!

OH WAIT I REMEMBER – the little guy who ‘overpowered’ Chewie is actually Leia in disguise, right?  Isn’t that how that worked?  Because we never see the dude’s face, and they’re wicked short.  And he unfreezes Han!  And I was totally right, it was totally Leia!  And THAT’S how she becomes the slave!  One of my questions finally answered!

Meanwhile, Han is recovering from the hibernation sickness, and he’s blind, and all I can think of is Rochester from Jane Eyre?  Luckily, he gets thrown into the same cell as Chewie, so those hetero life partners are together.

Luke walks into Jabba’s palace, and THERE’S the bikini.  Anyway, Luke wants Han and His Friends (dudes, Lando and the Droids is a WAY better name), and he’s studiously ignoring his crush just sitting there in a bit of twisted metal and half a curtain.  Jabba tosses him into the pit, which apparently holds a giant, big, drooly sand crab type thing, and Luke does the ol’ Stick a Toothpick In The Crab’s Mouth So It Can’t Eat Him trick.

Doesn’t work.  In that the toothpick gets broken like a … well, like a toothpick.  But then Luke throws a rock at the garage door opener and it closes right down onto the Sand Crab’s head, killing it.  Huzzah!  And so much for using the Force, eh, Luke?  In the confusion, Lando runs away.  LANDO?!

Team!Jabba boards a pleasure cruise out to the Pits of Despair in the middle of Tatooine.  Anyway, there’s this big fight scene where R2 totally had Luke’s lightsaber in a pocket the entire time, so he goes about slicing the entire mini-boat’s crew while Leia chokes the shit out of Jabba the Hutt.  Big fight, yada yada, and then Luke jungle-vine-swings he and Leia onto the mini-boat while the big boat blows up, and he tells Lando, “Don’t forget the droids.”

No, Lando — never forget the Droids.

[Seriously, this is my new favorite head-canon.  J.J. Abrams, I am *begging* you: I don’t care what other plots you bring up, but PLEASE: make Lando a lead guitarist with R2 and 3PO playing backup.]

Luke and R2-D2 head to the Dagobah system, to visit Yoda!  Who is totally Zoot, by the way.  Meanwhile, Emperor Palpatine lands on Death Star II — or, wherever Lord Vader happens to be.  Vader wants to find Skywalker, but Palpatine tells Vader to hold his horses, because Skywalker’s going to show up anyway, and then they’ll turn him to the Dark Side.  Because apparently Palpatine’s cookies are the best cookies?

YODA!  Still feisty.  I love that Muppet.  The only way for Luke to become a Jedi is to confront Darth Vader.  Luke wants to know if Darth Vader is his father, and Yoda very cutely tries to ignore the question.  But Luke’s having none of it, and finally Yoda confesses.  And there’s a lot of mumbling and have I mentioned my remote sucks ass so I can’t rewind to figure out what Yoda’s saying, but it doesn’t matter in the end because YOU GUYS — YODA DIES?!  NO ONE TOLD ME YODA DIES!!  LANDO NEEDS HIS SAX PLAYER!!

And then Luke has a vision of Obi-Wan Kenobi who explains the myth of Anakin.  And can I just take a moment and say that I can TOTALLY see a resemblance between Alec Guiness and Ewan McGregor?  Seriously!  That is crazy.  And one of the only good things to come out of the prequel trilogy.  Obi-Wan also points Luke in the direction of Leia being his sister.

Han, Leia, and Lando and the Droids are discussing the plan to drop down onto Endor and dismantle the shield that is protecting the Death Star II.  Han lets Lando pilot the Millennium Falcon, and he’s totally heartbroken.  Oh man.  I guess I forgot or never realized that the primary ‘ship in Star Wars is Han/Millennium Falcon?  Much like how on Firefly it’s Mal/Serenity?

OO!  That’s eerily prescient!  Because I have disc one of Firefly as my second Netflix disc!  I am like, totally awesome up in here!

“Fly casual”?  Dear Lord, Han Solo is the best.  The team manages to get past the Death Star II and lands on Endor.  And here’s where we find out how much Alaina falls under the Ewok Line Theory.

They try and sneak up on a couple of Storm Troopers, but Han has extremely large feet and tips them off.  So now Leia and Luke overtake some Hover-Jet-Skis (like Jet-Skis, but on air) and how come Disney World never made a ride out of that?  This whole thing is like the chariot race from Ben-Hur meets Marty McFly.

Luke meets up with Han and the gang, and Han almost blows a gasket when he learns that Leia’s missing.  Leia wakes up and tries to make nice with an Ewok.  And … yeah, it’s pretty cute.  Guess I’m 29!  There’s tons of whistling going on while Leia is explaining the intricacies of a hat, and I totally expect to hear the Mockingjay noise from The Hunger Games.  Rue!  But instead she gets captured by Storm Troopers.  Wait, strike that — not captured at all, because Ewoks are awesome!

Sidebar: I am ecstatic and extremely impressed that I have not needed to pause this movie.  Not once.

Vader tells Palpatine that he knows his son is on Endor.  Palpatine swirls around in his Voice judging chair and tells Vader that Luke will come to him, and then Vader can bring Luke to Palpatine.  Looks like you’ve got everything all figured out there, Great Wrinkly.

Meanwhile, back on Endor, Han is super worried because there’s no trace of Leia.  And then Chewie finds the decoy Ewok which puts them in a net trap, at which point R2 chainsaws them out, they fall, and then they get captured by Ewoks.

… Who worship C-3PO?  Oh jeebus, that won’t end well, will it?

Baby Ewok!  And also, they’re going to eat Han Solo.  Ha ha.

Oh my God, 3PO’s such an ass.  How did he get so far without realizing when to shut up and do what Luke says?  Jesus H., dude!

Also, with her hair down, Leia looks the spitting image of a woodland princess.  I don’t like it.  She needs to be more kickass.

That night, 3PO gets the audience caught up with The Story Thus Far, only this time, it’s in Ewok.  Luke sneaks out of the group hug atmosphere, and Leia follows him.  After some jibberish about the Force, Luke tells Leia that he’s going to go up against Vader, and oh yeah, she’s his sister.  They share what appears to be a sibling-esque kiss and then Luke runs off to find Vader, just as Han comes out and rears his jealous but wonderfully-tousled head.

Luke walks right into Vader’s clutches, and he is determined to find the ‘good’ in what used to be Anakin Skywalker.  And there’s a very funny moment where Darth Vader literally shakes his fist at Luke when he tells him to never speak Anakin’s name.

Oh no … it’s 2:45 a.m., and I’m falling asleep, and there are still 40 minutes remaining.  Oh shit.

THERE IT IS — THE ADMIRAL ACKBAR “IT’S A TRAP”!  Totally just woke up for that.  The Emperor makes Luke watch the reaming of General Calrissian, and keeps taunting Luke into turning to the dark side.

Okay … I tried really, really hard to stay awake, and look, unlike when I watched Phantom Menace, this is not the fault of shoddy writing and directing.  This is a direct result of me being tired, and it being 3 a.m.  I actually saved this post, and then kept watching, expecting to wake up in the … er, later today and find the scene where I was and take over from there, but something funny happened and I wanted to write it down because I know I’d forget.  And now I’m awake again.  I’m going to finish it!

So anyway, Luke is trying really really extra hard to not be overtaken by the Dark Side, and when he’s fighting Vader he kinda somersaults up to the catwalk above him, and he is relentless at calling Vader “Father” in an effort to try and return Anakin to the Good Side, and all I can think in my head is Vader being really pissed at him and going, “Get DOWN from there, you little shit!”

Oh, and also: I paused once.  That’s a pretty damn good record if I do say so my damned self.

Han Solo plays a funny trick on the Assholes at the Shield Station, manages to lure them out and into a trap, and meanwhile, Vader riles Luke up about potentially turning Leia into a Dark Side Magnet that Luke goes apeshit and CUTS OFF VADER’S HAND, WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH YOU AND HANDS, LUCAS?!

Oh hey — Luke Skywalker?  George … Lucas?  There’s no way I’m the first person to get that, right?

The Emperor tries to kill Luke when he won’t join the Dark Side with the power of electricity.  And Vader looks on, comfused.

And what happened then?  Well, in Endor they say, that Lord Vader’s small heart grew three sizes that day.  Because he picks up the Emperor with his one good hand and tosses him off the starship, saving his son.

As the ship goes down, Lucas does his first horrible thing in the series and turns Darth Vader into a scrawny white dude with no hair.  Because he fell into a pit of lava and managed to survive.

As the remnants of the Death Star II explode across the sky, Leia finally tells Han that she is Luke’s sister, meaning all the “I love you’s” and “I know’s” are really and truly for Han.

That night, the Ewoks fulfill their destiny of burning a human, as Luke sends Anakin’s spirit to the sky.  Or something equally poetic.  I dunno.  Tired, you guys.  After Luke’s Funeral for One, there’s a lot of dancing with the annoying Ewok song (sorry, that is annoying.  The Ewoks themselves are kind of cute, but this song … oy).  Luke says goodbye to Obi-Wan, Yoda, and the First Anakin Skywalker, because I’m watching the original version on the bonus disc of the latest special edition that came out, so I don’t have to deal with any stupid-ass hologram of an older Hayden Christianson, because NO ONE should have to see that.


Does this mean I can watch this and not be ironic about it anymore?

Here are my big takeaways from this endeavor:

1)      Dear George Lucas.  These movies were WAY BETTER when you limited yourself to helping out with the script and directing here and there.  Lawrence Kasdan was your friend.  Episodes IV, V, and VI were a frillion times better than I, II, and III, and that’s because you weren’t the one solely responsible for the final product.  Look, dude, you are not the Coen Brothers.  Let other people take — oh, wait, you are.  Cool.

2)      Dear J.J. Abrams.  Don’t lose sight of the endgame halfway through Episode VII, okay?  I have been with you since Alias, and what tends to happen with you is you have a great start to something, but your follow-through has been lacking.  (Because yes, I am still pissed at you for Lauren Reed.  Who isn’t?  NO ONE.  THAT’S WHO.  LAUREN REED WAS AWFUL.)  Keep on track, and maybe Episode VII won’t suck.

3)      I do not have any idea who would win in a fight, Han Solo or Indiana Jones.  Both bring guns to knife fights.  Both have snarky rejoinders.  One has a whip; the other has a Wookiee.  I don’t know; that is way too close to call for me.

4)      Leia, however, would kick Marion Ravenwood’s ass.  And I say that as someone who still wants to be Marion Ravenwood when I grow up.

5)      I think what I need to do at some point is just sit and have a Trilogy Time of my own.  Now that I’ve watched them once (and have crossed them off my list!), I just need to power through all three as one big storytelling endeavor.

So.  That’s done.  Tune in Saturday morning (because I’m not going to get started until at least 10 p.m.) for when I give my friend possibly one of the greatest birthday presents I could ever think to give him: crossing his favorite movie off my list.

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Star Wars