TV I’ve Been Watching: Breaking Bad

I am now halfway through Season 2 on Breaking Bad.  I have watched thirteen episodes and am fifteen minutes into my fourteenth.  I had to stop watching it temporarily because there was this scene, where Jesse was talking to Walt about “handling the business,” and the whole situation was so ludicrous (as was his explanation of what happened), that I ended up laughing myself into hysterics.  Like, you guys, I can’t emphasize enough: legit hysteria.  I could not stop laughing.  And I know it was legit hysteria because I didn’t know why I was laughing, or what I was laughing at.

To be honest, there was a brief moment where I was afraid there may have been a possibility where I could cross that magical line from ‘laughing hysterics’ to ‘crying hysterics,’ but I was able to dial it back in time before I began bawling onto my laptop.  If I had passed into ‘crying hysterics,’ I would at least be able to explain it away through work-stress, exhaustion, whatever — it wouldn’t have been Breaking Bad‘s fault, and this post wouldn’t have been written, and all would be right with the world.

But as it stands, I had legitimate laughing hysteria over nothing for three minutes.  It was not brought on by stress, I am not exhausted, and I have no idea why I continue to watch Breaking Bad.

A few nights ago, I had this twitter conversation with Sarah (you know Sarah – she was the one who so wonderfully recommended that I watch Hobo With a Shotgun that one time.  But no, seriously, she’s one of my best friends, and for all the bitching, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.  Look at all the bitching I’m able to do now because of it!):

@Me: Just spent 2 hrs watching #BreakingBad instead of sleeping.  Why do I think I’m going to end up getting caught up before the final ssn? #Help
@Sarah: So, should I go back and try #BreakingBad again?

Oh, right — Sarah’s tried, what, at least a couple of times? To ‘get into’ Breaking Bad.  Friends told her to watch it because it’s supposedly awesome and the best show ever, and … she hated it.  Or she just wasn’t interested in it.  I can’t attest to whether hatred was involved.  But whatever; she gave up before the end of the first season, because she didn’t see any reason to continue.  And that is totally and completely okay.

Anyway, I responded to her question about whether she should try it again:

@Me: No, I just think I’m incapable of not watching a show. & I’m not obsessed with it; just curious to see how it ends up.
@Sarah: Ah, I see.  And I’m so glad you can maintain objectivity in the face of everyone going ‘BEST SHOW EVAH!!’ hahaha

And that last tweet of Sarah’s got me thinking.  Unfortunately for me, the thinking was at 5:30 a.m. and I had to work that day, so, hooray for insomnia!  But I scrawled out a page of notes so I could remember them and finally was able to crash for about four hours.

So my thoughts all came back to the same concept that is confusing me (boiled down to the “objectivity” that Sarah mentioned, which was the catalyst for this whole damn thing): I am not in love with this show, and yet I keep watching it.  WHY?

Why don’t I love the show?  What is keeping me from loving this?  Is there something wrong with me?  Why am I still watching it if I’m not one hundred percent loving it?  (oh wow i just found a super-long arm hair and that’s all i can concentrate on right now, has that happened to anyone else? OH LOOK I’M ALMOST DEMONSTRATING MY POINT brb)

I would like to say before I really dig into this, that I want to apologize in advance: six a.m. notes be damned, I do not have an outline for this, I suppose you’d call it an essay.  I’m really trying to figure some things out, so this may get rambly and incomprehensible.  Preemptive apologies all around.

I guess it comes down to two things: curiosity, and how I interact with media.  Because to answer the question about why I keep watching Breaking Bad, I guess I have to first answer why I started watching it in the first place.

I think I’ve mentioned before: I consider myself a pop culture glutton.  Despite the apparently huge amount of things I haven’t seen, there are still a lot of TV and movies that I have.  And even the ones I haven’t seen, I still know a lot about them, or can connect other movies with them, or some such nonsense.  But I am … not driven, I guess, but at least determined to ‘catch up’ on a lot of critically acclaimed or popular titles.

And Breaking Bad has been on my list of Things To Catch Up On.  Along with Firefly, Sports Night, Freaks & Geeks, Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Big Love, The Wire … and there are more.  Mad Men had been on that list for a very long time.  But two years ago I got the series on Netflix and blew threw the first four seasons in a month.  I had been keeping up with True Blood until things got crazy last year, but as soon as I finish Firefly off, the last two seasons on DVD of that campy vampire show will be coming and I’ll get caught up.

I guess we should all be very thankful that I don’t have a blog called TV Alaina’s Never Seen; you’d never shut me up.

Regardless: I knew Breaking Bad was entering its final season, and it was on my list.  It was on my list because it had been so critically acclaimed – how many magazines or webzines or blogs had put it in its Top Ten list of TV Shows Ever Produced in the History of Ever?  So I considered it had this… clout, this aura of importance, and if I didn’t watch it, then I’d be missing out.

So I started watching it from the beginning (THANKS, DODGE NETFLIX!).  And I didn’t fall in love with it immediately.  And look, sometimes that happens.  I have given a lot of shows the benefit of the Three Episode Rule: I’m going to watch you for three episodes, and if I am not completely in love with you, then I’m turning you off.  It happened to Beauty and the Beast this year; poor Revolution didn’t even have that long.  The Vampire Diaries almost fell victim to that rule, but luckily Damon Salvatore swanned into Mystic Falls and started with the ~feels, and that was my latest obsession (before Hannibal, of course).

What surprised me about Breaking Bad was that I recognized that I wasn’t in love with it, and I kept watching it anyway.  Why?  Why am I still watching it?

And the answer is: curiosity.  I am curious to see how everything ends up.  And the worst part?  Is that I know how everything ends up, which just adds to my confusion.

Everything I’ve read about Breaking Bad details the fact that Walter White (Bryan Cranston) doesn’t start out as a drug dealer.  He is a humdrum, boring, mild-mannered chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and a son.  He is diagnosed with cancer, and then he turns to a life of cooking meth to make money to support his family.  Somewhere along the way, he becomes this uncontrollable villain, and the interesting thing that the articles and the actors and creators and everyone who has ever talked about this show is that the audience finds itself rooting for Walter – we are made to sympathize with the villain and hope that he is able to continue to build his drug empire.

So I shouldn’t be curious at all – I know what’s going to happen.  Unlike when I started watching The X-Files after the Season 4 finale, when it appeared that Mulder had killed himself.  (And I still have a sense memory of that night, watching the finale in my dark attic room, watching Scully stand up at the desk and report that Fox Mulder had shot himself with his service pistol, then watching blood drip from her nose.  I don’t remember a lot of shit, but that I remember?)  Or when I started watching Buffy from season 1, but in 2003, so I knew about “The Gift” and “Once More, With Feeling.”  Is it just plot that is making me continue to watch this show?

Because here’s the other thing: I don’t have any empathy for any of the characters.  None.  You will not see me photoshopping flower crowns onto Walt’s bald head.  I will not be able to defend Skyler (although I almost want to).  I want to punch Marie right in her whiny, shoplifty face (although her rant about El Paso was hilarious, but only because the aforementioned Sarah lives in El Paso, and I have reason to believe that Vince Gilligan may have plagiarized my friend).  The only characters that I even kind of like are Jesse and Hank, and that is because they are clearly meant to be comic relief.  (Although I did find myself gasping when it looked like Hank may be getting shot, because he is my favorite and I don’t want him to get hurt.  ALTHOUGH I KNOW HE DOES EVENTUALLY because I can read, and also, it’s because I can’t have nice things because SOMEBODY SHOOTS THEM.)

So if I don’t like the majority of the characters, and I know what happens, why am I still curious?  Why do I care?  Why am I still watching?  I’m not watching it because I feel I have to; regardless of My List, I don’t feel that critics and friends and whoever are forcing me to watch it.  I don’t feel like I have one opportunity to watch it — unlike Lost, where I felt a crippling need to rewatch the first five seasons before the final season started, I’m not tuning in to Breaking Bad now because I feel I have to.  I’m not emotionally connected to any of the characters, so unlike with Hannibal or even Vampire Diaries (or Lost, or Alias, or whatever), I am not compelled (heh – that’s funny because I mentioned vampires) to follow the arc of a character because I need to know s/he will be okay at the end.  I’m just …

I had to sit back and really, actually, think for a few minutes.  And I think I keep watching because I’m waiting for the a-ha moment.  That moment where it will suck me in, where the show will grab me, where I will start to connect with someone, where I will start rooting for someone, where I will start caring about what’s going to happen.  The moment where Xander goes to save Jesse because he’s his friend, even though he’s a vampire, and then he gets sad because Jesse, Man tries to kill him.  The moment where Hannibal serves Will people!sausage and I laugh because Will thinks it’s delicious.  The moment where a spark of Damon’s humanity shows through, and I think, deep down, he wants to be saved from himself.

The moment where Walt’s success at drug lord-ia becomes more important than keeping his family safe.

The moment where all the acclaim and frothing at the mouth about how great this show is is given credibility and value.

So I guess my curiosity doesn’t stem from the plot or the characters of the show; it’s curiosity about how I interact with the show, and how I find an emotional connection with it.

I hope I end up liking it.  And I want to be very clear here, because after nearly two thousand words, I’m afraid I may not have been as crystal (heh again) as I could be: I don’t hate the show.  I really don’t.  If I hated the show, it wouldn’t have survived the Three Episode Rule.  You’d be reading an entirely different essay if I hated it.  Giving credit where credit is due: the writing is very strong.  The acting – especially Bryan Cranston’s — is superb.  If I ever complained about him winning awards, I take it all back.  He is fabulous in this role and deserved every shiny thing he has ever won.  Aaron Paul, too (although you don’t have to over-enunciate all the time.  Sometimes your pronunciation is weird, but I’m going to overlook it, you crazy bastard).  I don’t hate Skyler — in fact (and some people may hate me for saying this), but as of Season 2, Episode 7, I’ve actually sided with her on a couple of things in her fight with Walt.  (Smoking while pregnant is NOT one of the things I’ve sided with her on, however; fear not.  Some things are Just Not Done.)

The direction, the cinematography – everything about the show is well-done.  I am not deriding the quality of the show in any way.

I don’t hate it.  I just don’t love it.

So.  That’s that, I guess.  And now that it’s three a.m., I’ll hit post, finish watching this episode, and maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to post an addendum that THIS was the episode that grabbed me, and everything will be coming up flower crowns from now on.


But I doubt it.

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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in TV I've Been Watching


TV I’ve Been Watching: Firefly, Orphan Black, and Breaking Bad

I know I’ve been (relatively) quiet lately.  While it may be bad news that I haven’t yet watched Shawshank, or Pulp Fiction, or any of the frillion titles I’ve taped off of TCM for Insomniac Theatre (plus a bunch more that will be coming this month, thanks, Summer Under the Stars!), the good news is that I’m catching up on TV that isn’t Hannibal.  Because I think if I mentioned Hannibal to one more person, they would somehow contact Dr. Lecter and tell him I’ve been rude, and then he’d have to give me a Columbian Necktie of my very own, just to shut me up.


So the TV I’ve been powering through is an a show I should have watched a long ass-time ago, a new show that EVERYBODY NEEDS TO WATCH, and a show that I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, and in fact I want to write out some thinky thoughts I have about it, and this is pretty much the only venue I have for it.

So.  Let’s begin with this Western that takes place in space for some reason.

you can't take the sky from me

I am seriously kicking myself for not watching Firefly sooner.  But again, it’s a case of “I knew a lot about this subject before watching it, so I’m not terribly surprised at the plot or who the characters are” (see Star Wars: A New Hope).  I knew Nathan Fillion (Pretend Boyfriend #5A [for those times when Joel McHale is unavailable], and now I feel okay calling him Captain Tightpants because I know which episode that’s from now) played Captain Mal Reynolds, and Gina Torres played Zoe Washburn, and no matter how much I love Zoe, or love Gina as Bella on Hannibal, and all the other roles she’s played in which she has been awesome, Gina Torres will always and forever be Anna Espinosa to me.  And if you haven’t watched Alias yet, then, get on that, would ya?

And there are other people who went on to be famous people: Summer Glau playing River, Alan Tudyk playing Zoe’s husband Wash, and Adam Baldwin playing Jayne years before I fell in love with him as John Casey — though at this moment, I am pretty sure I prefer Jayne to Casey.  And the whole team is awesome – from Kaylee who can speak to engines, to Inara the paid companion who slowly becomes part of their ragtag team of reprobates, and even Simon Tam, who comes up with the idea of storming Ariel’s castle in an Ocean’s Eleven-esque caper that nearly goes bad.

The show is funny with a lot of heart and tons of emotion – “Out of Gas” is a fantastic episode from a storytelling point of view, as well as an origin story for the team before the Tams join them.

I don’t know why I’m trying to recommend Firefly to everyone; I’m certain I’m one of the last nerds in the ‘verse that hadn’t seen it up till now.  I guess I’m typing these paragraphs as a way to say, “Look, I finally saw this, and now I get all those jokes & references I’ve been seeing for nigh on to ten years, and do you think Fox will still accept my letter asking them to put it back on the air?  No?  Oh, there’s a movie?  Okay, I’ll check that out.”

(Although I heard that [SPOILER] dies in it, because guns don’t kill people, Joss Whedon kills people, so maybe I’ll just let my happy little Western in space end where it does.]

Next up: Orphan Black.

orphan black

If you pay attention to the Emmy nominations, first of all, allow me to offer my sympathy, along with a swift kick to the ass, because there is no bigger farce in the ‘verse than the Primetime Emmy Awards.  But anyway, if you pay attention to the nominations, you may have heard a slight rumbling on the interwebs about the lack of nomination for Tatiana Maslany, the lead actress in Orphan Black.  I also saw a couple of people talking about the show and raving about it, and then My Friend Sarah was told to watch it by her sister, and I checked to see if I could still watch it, and God Bless BBC America for having entire seasons available OnDemand, because I watched the entire first season in three days and lo, it was AWESOME.

Here’s the premise: Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah Manning, a no-good punk who’s trying to get home one night when she watches a woman jump in front of a train.  Except that the woman has her face.  So Sarah takes the woman’s purse and breaks into her house, and then starts impersonating her to get $75,000 so she can take her foster brother, Felix, and her daughter, Kira, out of Toronto and start a new life.

Except this woman she’s impersonating, Beth Childs?  She’s a cop.  A cop that’s being investigated for accidentally shooting a woman.  And being blackmailed by her partner.  So in order to get the money, she has to pretend to remember a shooting that she didn’t do.

And then a mysterious phone rings, and it’s a woman asking her if she’s met the German yet.  And then the German shows up, and it’s another woman with her face.

And essentially, Orphan Black is about a bunch of women who start to realize that they are clones.  And Tatiana Maslany plays all of them.

EVERYONE GIVE HER ALL OF THE AWARDS, because she is brilliant.  I have watched a lot of sci-fi over the years (and I’m only now either realizing it or admitting it, but still), and there have been numerous episodes where actors have played clones, and I cannot remember a single instance where one actor has been able to play multiple roles so fluently.  I honestly forget at times that these different women — vastly different women, ranging from soccer mom to biologist to schizophrenic maniac — are all played by the same person.  It’s crazy and uncanny, and I want her to win all the things.


Speaking of winning all the things, Breaking Bad had never really been a title I’d been horribly interested in.  I knew Bryan Cranston’s won a lot of shiny things for his portrayal of Walter White, and I knew that this was the last season for it.  Apparently it was a big deal or something — I watch a lot of Conan, and whenever he has one of the actors on his show, he can’t say enough good things about Breaking Bad.  Apparently, Breaking Bad is Conan O’Brien’s Hannibal.

And since I am still firmly With Coco (plus, I really try to own my Pop Culture Glutton status by watching Very Important Things), I started watching it a few nights ago on Netflix.

I … I don’t know.

It’s interesting, I’ll give it that.  I know the overarching premise is to show the arc of how Walter White, an ordinary, humdrum, Lester Burnham-esque suburban chemistry teacher devolves into a criminal mastermind, and I know that the creator Vince Gilligan has talked about how every individual has the ability to fall onto the wrong side of that line between good and evil, and he wanted to explore how someone who’s always been on the right side turns to the wrong side.  There was also discussion of creating a show where the audience has sympathy for the villain and ends up rooting for the villain, I believe.

Anyway.  I just finished watching the first season, and I’m … I don’t know.  I don’t know how to feel about Breaking Bad.  I applaud the actors for giving excellent performances.  I recognize the premise and can say that, within those first seven episodes I’ve seen, it’s executed well.  I am curious to see the progression of the series, and will most likely continue watching it, but honestly, I also feel like I could walk away and be done with it.  I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it with all my heart, either.  I don’t want to say I’m ambivalent, because I don’t think I am; I just don’t know how to feel about it.

I will say, I thought I saw the epitome of grossness with Dr. Gideon’s Columbian Necktie (I can’t link to that .gif again, you guys; I just can’t).  And then I saw the acid-eaten remains of a dead body fall through a second floor bathroom.  Thanks, Breaking Bad; I totally can’t un-see that image.

I keep wanting to compare it to Mad Men, but I don’t think that’s completely fair.  I approached Mad Men with the same sensibility: “a lot of people like this, it’s critically acclaimed; maybe I should watch it.”  And with Mad Men, I became curious as to how it would end, but I didn’t feel (until this season) that I was involved emotionally with the series.  (Blame this season on Pete Campbell and his excellent sideburns-ey delivery of “Not great, Bob!!”  And also the following .gif.  Because I would watch an entire hour of that.)


I keep coming back to it’s interesting, and I don’t hate it.  That’s not exactly high praise, I know, but it’s the best I can muster at this point.  Which I feel awful about, because Vince Gilligan wrote my all-time favorite hour of television!  And no, I’m not talking about the Pete Campbell Falling Down Stairs Hour, or even “Savoreaux,” the finale of Hannibal.

I’m talking about “Bad Blood.”


The best episode of The X-Files and my all-time favorite 42 minutes of television, EVER.  EVAR.  I have watched “Bad Blood” so many times I can recite entire sections of it without needing to have the show on in the background.  This page on tumblr only scrapes the iceberg of how much I love it.  Luke Wilson as the Sheriff!  The heightened personalities the agents take on in each other’s stories!  Large Marge, who’s going to read a lot of Gertrude Stein!  The autopsy scenes!  Drugged!Mulder singing “Shaft,” people!

So anyway.  I want to like Breaking Bad more than I feel right now.  But I’m just … meh.

And there’s a joke about “meh” being one letter away from “meth” in there somehow, but I’m too bored to find it right now.

I’ll return to my irregular non-schedule for Insomniac Theatre in the near future.  Until then, if you haven’t watched “Bad Blood,” go do it.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in TV I've Been Watching


Regrets & Bad Decisions: A Good Day to Die Hard

You ever have those days, where you’re hanging out with a person that’s very close to you, and then this person ditches you twice in the middle of conversations to go say hi to a thing that you don’t have, and then when you discuss this occurrence with a person that’s very close to the person that’s very close to you, the second person tells you that both of those people have kindof given up on you ever having that thing that you don’t have, and it just hits you right in the uterus?  No?  Just me?

Glad I could vague it up a bit for you, Xander.  Sheesh.

Well, the other day, that completely vague thing happened to me, and on my way home I said, “Goddammit, I need to watch something where shit blows up.”

And Redbox had this:

I mean, look at those guns!  Shit's gonna blow!

And I was excited.

Because guys — guys — I love Die Hard.  Die Hard is like, my spirit animal.  You may yell at me for all the movies I haven’t seen, including Pulp Fiction, Shawshank, The Godfather … but you canNOT yell at me for never seeing Die Hard.  It’s my most favoritest Christmas movie ever – even more so than A Christmas Story, although that may be a fun coronary for my mother.  “Hey Mom, guess what!  Instead of 24 hours of A Christmas Story this year, how about 24 hours of Die Hard?  Mom?  Mom, where are you going?”

I should hope by now y’all know that I also love How I Met Your Mother.  You should also know that I have purchased nearly every single book Mr. Stinson has published.  And in his first tome of epicness, The Bro Code, I learn that I was never wrong:


I’m not kidding, either.  EVERY. DAMN. TIME. I find it on TV, I don’t care how late it is, what channel it’s on, how close it is to the end or how many swears they edit out.  I will watch it to the end EVERY TIME it’s on TV.

(I would like to point out that I wasn’t talking about the corollaries.  I follow the main article, so PLEASE SHUT UP ALL OF YOU.)

But seriously, I am at the point where I can pretty much recite the entire ending of Hans Gruber.  Oh, Hans!  I almost forgot about Hans!  If there is a better villain out there than Hans Gruber, I will buy a hat and eat it.  Don’t say Darth Vader, guys, because in the end he gets all sentimental and saves Luke for the good of everything.  (People forget that underneath it all, Darth Vader was just a softie with a Napoleonic complex.)  Okay, maybe Belloq, but also remember, guys, that Belloq was really just an antagonist for Indy that was working for the man, and that man was Hitler, and Hitler was a real person and therefore not part of this argument.

And before you guys get me started on how I should have known this movie would suck, I mean, look at the last movie that came out, I must shout at you Blasphemy!  Live Free or Die Hard was, while not an instant!Classic in the vein of Die Hard 1.0, it was solid in its own right!  Guys, I’m not sure if you saw, but McClane killed a chopper!  With a cop car!  A COP CAR, YOU GUYS!  Because he was out of bullets!!! Plus, there was the whole generational-gap that happened when Justin Long’s character bitched about McClane listening to CCR, and kid, seriously?  Do you know who’s driving you?  That dude has killed TONS OF DUDES WITH LESS THAN A CAR and he could snap your neck with his pinkie.  Also, driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole.

So when I learned that they were making a fifth Die Hard?  And it was going to be in RUSSIA?  Dogs could not hear the sound I was making, I was so excited.  To go after his son, who we haven’t seen since Lucy pushed him out of the way to answer the phone back when the reporters were asking about what’s going on in the Nakatomi Plaza?  I was all, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

But then shit happened and I didn’t go to the movies at all.  Like, seriously — you want to know the films I’ve seen in theaters this year?  Gangster Squad – which was another regret, unless you’re addicted to Archer and enjoy .gifs of Ryan Gosling bringing bear claws to a party – , Iron Man 3, Iron Man 3 again, and The Hangover Part III.  That’s it.  That’s all I’ve seen.  Right?  (thinks again … )  Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s it.

But luckily, A Good Day to Die Hard zoomed into Redbox, and for a buck fiddy, I brought it home.

You guys … you guys.  I am … so disappointed, I can barely talk about it.  Like, almost not at all.

(deep breath)

I didn’t even finish the movie.

I know, right?  Even Jafar's a little worried about me.

It was just … awful.  From the get-go.  There were too many Russians, too many subtitles, and not enough John McClane being awesome.

From what I saw, John’s son Jack hasn’t been heard from for a couple of years.  One of McClane’s cop buddies finds a lead on him — presumably because John still doesn’t know how to use a computer — and finds him in a Russian jail.  So John gets on a plane to, I dunno — rescue Jack, I guess?

Here’s point number one (that may have been cleared up in Die Hard II: Die Harder or even Die Hard: With A Vengeance, because close viewers of my blog may have noticed that I have skipped watching Parts Deux and Trois in the Die Hard franchise because I’VE BEEN BUSY, OKAY): Since when is McClane okay taking a plane ride to Russia?  THE FUCKING FIRST TIME WE SEE MCCLANE, he’s freaking out during the plane’s landing in LAX when he visits Holly.  Random Dude comments on how he doesn’t like flying and tells him to make fists with his toes when he gets back on land.  Maybe he’s taken some intense flight therapy since then, a la Marge Simpson —

"Let me off!  Let me off!  Let me off!"

— but McClane doesn’t seem the type to parlay with therapy.  So, where did that bit of characterization go?

Also, it felt very very stupid for McClane to head off to Russia to find his son.  And here’s where I truly felt, where I didn’t with Live Free or Die Hard, that they are just looking for ways to continue to pay Bruce Willis.

In the first Die Hard, McClane is truly in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He has no idea that Gruber and his team have planned to take over Nakatomi Plaza and hold all the partygoers hostage in an attempt to steal $600 million dollars worth of stocks and bonds.  But when his wife — and other innocents — are threatened, McClane takes the opportunity and wages a one-man war against the Germans.  He basically MacGuyvers himself into a superhero using his resources and his wits.  He saw a desk chair and a Santa hat, a piece of paper and a Sharpie, and decided to taunt the guys to let him know that, not only has he killed Marco, but now he has a machine gun — ho, ho, ho.

But in Good Day to Die Hard, McClane seeks out the trouble.  And apparently he had no idea that Jack was a member of a covert CIA ops group (OH MY GOD HE BELONGS TO APO WHERE IS MY DIE HARD/ALIAS CROSSOVER NOW) (no seriously, some day I will write a crossover of epic proportions where McClane is, like, on a field trip and accidentally bumps into Jack Bristow and it will be GLORIOUS), so when he arrives in Russia, he has no idea that his son is in the middle of an op, and it’s totally awkward and unnecessary.

Also unnecessary?  The five minute scene where McClane’s Russian cabbie serenades him in broken English.  I mean, seriously?  How about showing the scene where McClane figures out where to find his son?  How about the scene where McClane gets off the plane and then realizes he’s in fucking Russia?  With no idea how to speak the language aside from do svidaniya and niet and anything Raskolnikov says in Crime and Punishment (not that McClane’s ever read Tolstoy; no, I think Boris et Natasha are more his speed).

And look, guys — McClane is awesome.  He is smart, and savvy, and USED PACKING TAPE to secure a SECOND GUN TO HIS BACK so he’d have it, and did you hear the dialogue between him and Hans?


Oh hello, Pretend Boyfriend #5.  How you doin'?

uh, sorry.

Gruber: This time, John Wayne does not walk off into the sunset with Grace Kelly.
McClane: That was Gary Cooper, asshole.

I think what caused Good Day to Die Hard to suck so badly was that they took away how McClane was awesome in the first film, and decided to just go with big explosions and set pieces.  There was no emotional pull to McClane tagging along with Jack (what little I saw); there was no sense of urgency to get the problem solved.  He was just … there.  Following his son, and acting like a grumpy old goat when he didn’t get his way.  And while in Live Free he was kind of collateral damage, acting as the Mac guy’s chauffeur to make sure terrorism was foiled, it wasn’t until Lucy was kidnapped by Timothy Olyphant that the stakes were raised on a personal level for McClane.  In this movie — again, what little I saw — there was nothing at stake emotionally.  You pretty much knew that everyone was going to get out alive (did they?  I didn’t see the ending), whereas in Live Free, there may have been a moment where I thought that Lucy might actually get hurt (which would cause a rant of a different color, but luckily, you’re saved from that tonight).

I don’t know, you guys.  I had such high hopes for this, because Die Hard is such a fantastic movie and I’ve liked every installment that I’ve seen so far (shut up, all of you who saw my list), and you guys, it takes a lot of shit for me to not like something that I loved wholeheartedly before.  It wasn’t until I saw the episode of South Park that proclaimed that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas raped Indiana Jones that I truly saw Crystal Skull for what it was: crap.  And while it’s not as great as the original, I still loved Boondock Saints: All Saints Day enough to see it three times in theaters AND buy the DVD.  And I liked Live Free or Die Hard!  I liked it, you guys!  I really liked it!

*sigh*  If Anchorman 2 is horrible, I think I may cry.  Don’t let me down, Burgandy – you’re my only hope.

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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Regrets & Bad Decisions


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


Insomniac Theatre: “The Gay Falcon”

Wow, it’s been a while, huh?  Let’s do one of these.  It’ll be fun.

Now, this is an episode of Insomniac Theatre.  Some of you — probably not many, but possibly a couple out there — have hopefully noticed that this is not me watching The Shawshank Redemption.  Truth be told, I’m still not ready to watch it.  Although, based on the fact that the one episode of Family Guy I decided to tune to being the episode where they lambast Stephen King novels, including yes, Shawshank, I’m just going to have to dig in one of these nights and get it done.  Because before I know it, Once Upon a Time will be introducing a stylized version of Andy Dufresne, and he’ll kill off Captain Hook, and you guys, I think that would kill me.

Oh hey!  Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s on Chiller!  HOLY SHIT and it’s not season seven!  It’s “Nightmares”!  Season One and the Master, yo!   OH MY GOD if I’m still up at 2 a.m. I am TOTALLY watching “Prophecy Girl”!  (I’ve only quoted it about a frillion times in the past few months.)

Anyway.  Someday when I don’t feel pushed to watch Shawshank — because the more pushed I feel, the more likely it is that I will be completely biased and angry at the movie — I will watch it.  But right now I’m all “LEAVE ME ALONE SHAWSHANK OR I’LL … oh shit, I had something for this.”

So, long story short — TOO LATE — let’s do an Insomniac Theatre.  Tonight’s episode: The Gay Falcon.

Uh, there's no falcon on that poster.

Guys.  GUYS.  That’s George Sanders.  You may remember him from such roles as Shere Khan in The Jungle Book, or Max Favell from Hitchcock’s first Hollywood feature film, Rebecca (which is a fantastic movie, and book, and you should totally watch the movie and read the book.  No seriously, DO IT), but here’s where you should know him from: as Addison DeWitt, the phenomenal theatre critic and one of the narrators of one of the other best movies in the universe, All About Eve.  In short, he is one of my favorite actors and honestly, he’s the only reason I taped this off of TCM.

The first in the ‘Falcon’ series finds the amateur detetive and ladies’ man on the trail of jewel thieves.

Amateur detective?  Ladies’ man?!  JEWEL THEIVES!!?  SIGN ME UP.  This sounds like a kick-ass, black and white version of Ocean’s Eleven, minus ten.  Actually, with ‘jewel thieves,’ it could also be a kick-ass, black and white version of The Great Muppet Caper, minus Muppets.

Oh please let someone say “I’m gonna catch those thieves red-handed” … I’ve been ever so good.

And PS – this movie is only an hour and fifteen minutes long.  So let’s get going!

A charming woman with a hat gets off an elevator and goes into the office for Gay Laurence.  So WAIT — ‘Gay’ is his first name?  Are you serious?  Are you sure it’s not Guy Laurence?  Who names their son ‘Gay’?  Even back when ‘gay’ meant ‘happy’ more often than ‘homosexual’?

So I had this moment where I was going to call his character ‘Gay Larry,’ because I’m also the asshat who calls him Pope Frankie, but then I remembered that Buffy actually had a ‘Gay Larry,’ and Gay Larry was amazeballs, so instead, I’m just going to be easy on myself and call him Addison.  Because unless he’s playing Favell or a tiger, George Sanders will always be Addison DeWitt to me.

Addison is sitting and staring out his office window at a woman who’s undressing in the next apartment.  His visitor charmingly berates him as Addison whistles?  Addison whistles?!  He’s smiling and not being evil about it?  This is a very different edition of Addison DeWitt.  I’m not sure I like it.

Anyway.  The visitor is Addison’s girlfriend, and she gets understandably upset when she catches him spying on the lingerie lady across the way.  She says something to the effect of she thought he’d be busy breaking stocks or whatever it is that stockbrokers do, but instead he’s ogling.  She exacts a promise out of him: she’ll marry him if, by September, he’s able to quit women and something called “Crime Solutions.”   Crime Solutions?  Sounds like a wacky diet trend.  Maybe I should try that …

At 4:43, Addison and his administrative assistant, “Goldie,” who is a former criminal, take off for the day, seventeen minutes early.  They go to … I don’t know, somewhere where Addison asks for a spinach juice, which, ick, and he is waited on by a very racist depiction of a waiter who happens to be of Asian descent.  And that is all I am going to say about that, because there is no WAY I am going to comment on the offensive portrayal of that character because sadly, it clearly wasn’t offensive back in 1941.

Anyway.  While Addison and Goldie wait for his spinach juice, they find a pretty woman snooping around in Addison’s study.  *ahem*  SHE’S TOO SHORT FOR THAT GESTURE.  It went out with Minnie Fiske.  Addison asks her what she’s looking for — too politely for Mr. DeWitt — and she jumps up, excited to meet Mr. Laurence, “the Falcon,” who apparently was the Sherlock Holmes of his day?  If that’s the case, why haven’t I heard about this Falcon before now?  Goldie swans in and sits down, telling her that Addison’s pledged “no more crimes and no more dames.”  I realize that this is the first of the Falcon movies, but was there a source material that I’m just completely missing?  I feel like I want to know more about these crimes and why it’s so important that he’s giving them up.  Did he get himself into trouble in one of those cases?

The woman gasps at Goldie’s entrance, and says, “That must be your Dr. Watson!  Your faithful and loyal colleague!  All characters like you have a kind of a, a stooge, don’t they?”  DOCTOR WATSON WASN’T A STOOGE.  Don’t you read?  Or at least watch Sherlock?  No, seriously, watch Sherlock, it’s AMAZING.

I feel like I’m promoting everything but the movie I’m actually watching.  And also, Shawshank.

So anyway, at this point, Addison introduces Goldie as his associate, “Doctor Jonathan Locke.”

Wait.  WAIT.  Goldie’s name is … John Locke?  (I don’t care if it’s spelled without the ‘e’ on the end.)  Are you serious?  ARE YOU SERIOUS?!  You guys, I am sorry in advance.  Because now I get a legitimate chance to make ALL THE LOST JOKES.  BEST. Insomniac Theatre.  EVER.

The woman finally introduces herself as the secretary to Maxine Wood, who happens to be throwing the party that Addison’s girlfriend wanted to go to that night.  (Oh yeah, that’s why Addison’s girlfriend visited him – they were invited to Maxine Wood’s party and she wanted to go, but he convinced her to stay home instead.)  Apparently, every time Maxine Wood throws a party, some jewelry gets stolen.

(DUDES.  Does Maxine have a brother?  I’ll bet it’s her brother, Nicky Wood.  Nicky, the derelict no-goodnik brother of Lady Holiday who tried to steal the Fabulous Baseball Diamond from the National Gallery?  Yeah, it’s totally that guy.)

And now I feel the need to make a joke that myself and maybe Amelia will get, but I’m going to do it anyway.  Sorry in advance.  See, when I was at the University of Southern Maine, two of the dorm towers were named Dickey-Wood.  I don’t know why, probably after famous people or something.  (I really wish now it was named Dicky-Seamus.  That would make this story so much better.)

Thanks, Benoit.  Balls.

Anyway, the Dickey-Wood towers were the crappiest place to live on-campus (excepting Upton-Hastings, the freshman dorm).  (For my FPC gang, the equivalent would be … a rotting version of Edgewood, I guess?)  (For other readers, make your own equivalent).  And some of the letters were falling off the towers.  So maybe everyone called the towers Icky-Woo.

So now you know why I’ll be calling the fictitious brother who stole the jewelry Icky Woo.  (Also, Nicky Holiday, you guys.  How is that NOT the best Muppet movie?)

Oh shit, Addison’s on the phone.  The secretary’s gone because Locke pushed the woman out a window eight flights up of the room, emphatic that they’re out of the crime-solving racket.  Back to Addison’s phone call.  He’s calling his girlfriend, whose name is Eleanor.  He’s changed his mind about not going to the party; now he wants to go.  Locke stands there, shaking his head, and saying “Here we go again.”  Addison looks up at him and says, “DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN’T DO.”

Okay, maybe he didn’t.

Addison and Eleanor arrive at Maxine Wood’s party.  They start dancing when the over-excitable secretary shows up and pretty much makes Eleanor think that Addison is not only cheating but also solving crimes again.  I’m not sure which one she considers to be worse.  The secretary whisks him away on the dance floor, and at some point he’s traded off to this old woman who kind of looks like Miss Inch from the original Parent Trap, and she gives him her diamond ring to protect it from being stolen.  She is apparently Mrs. Gardner.  Addison goes back to Eleanor, who’s been dancing with her friend Manuel, and for a second I thought his last name was Tunt because I couldn’t really hear but oh my god that would MAKE MY LIFE, but according to the imdb. his last name is Retana, and not only have I been spelling Elinor incorrectly, but also now I’m sad I can’t make more Archer jokes.

Locke tries to get in to the party, and because this was filmed during WWII, there are raffle tickets up for sale, and there’s a bit where Locke tries to buy a dozen for a dollar and then he learns that it’s actually $100 each, and he runs away quicker than Lost!Locke doing anything ever on Craphole Island.  Because Locke couldn’t run.  Because he was crippled.  OH MY GOD LOCKE WAS RAY!

Oh look!  Locke is trying to crash the party by climbing up the fire escape!  Sneaky!

Addison is dancing with Maxine Wood, and damn, her voice sounds familiar.  *imdb. search*  HOLY SHIT IT’S MRS. ‘IGGINS FROM My Fair Lady!  Anyway, Addison can barely hear Mrs. Higgins talk, and as he’s bribing the band conductor to play something slower and softer, a shot rings out!  Oh shit, son!

Double Oh-Shit!  It’s Mrs. Gardner, the old lady with the ring!  She’s dead now!  And because that was the room that Locke was climbing into, they think Locke killed her!  Look, unless she died by a plane falling on her, I think Locke’s in the clear.  I can’t speak for the Man in Black, though.  Anyway, Locke gets framed and Addison puts the diamond ring on one of the fast-talkin’ detective’s cigars and sticks the cigar back into the detective’s pocket, and I’m not sure why that’s happening.  Then Addison goes to tell Elinor that he has to go to police headquarters because he got mixed up in crime again, and there’s this hilarious little moment where she completely overreacts as she says her line: “WHY do I put up with this?  Why?!”  Like, there’s a little head-shake in there, and wide eyes, and she’s playing to the balcony, folks, but she doesn’t realize that on film, there is no balcony.

Addison tricks the stereotyped Irish cop into letting Locke out of jail in hopes of using Locke as unwitting bait for the real murderer.  As Locke’s being released from prison — oh shit, I had something for that — something about a hatch — Addison takes back the detective’s cigar and removes the diamond ring.  Apparently, Addison used the detective as a means of smuggling the ring from out of the party!  That’s my Addison.

Now there’s this sequence where there’s this snarky sketch artist, and he’s trying to get Locke to describe the murderer, but Locke doesn’t understand sketching terms.  I get the feeling that, were I to continue to watch the Falcon series of films, this gag would be repeated in every episode.  Much like Archer saying “Oh shit, I had something for this” in almost every episode of Archer.

Also, apparently Locke was describing the Irish chief of detectives.  Oh, you guys are funny.

The secretary meets Addison and Locke outside of the police station and offers them a ride, which they’re both happy to accept.  Until Locke realizes that they’ve got people following them.  IT’S THE OTHERS.  Addison explains the whole “bait” concept to Locke, who responds, “Oh, in that case I don’t mind a couple of dicks around.”  Except that I didn’t hear the setup to that line, I just heard the word “dicks” and went to the twelve-year-old space in my head.  Heh heh couple o’ dicks.  Hee.

Addison, Locke, and the secretary — whose first name is Helen, apparently OH SHIT LOCKE AND HELEN?! — lose the tail and Addison and Helen go somewhere, leaving Locke alone in the car.  Stay in the car, Locke.  He only thinks DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN’T DO at Addison, and then gets out of the car to go play pinball somewhere.  Addison and Helen go up to an apartment somewhere — I’m not sure if it’s Addison’s apartment or someone else’s.  As Locke plays pinball, a gangster comes up behind him and walks him out of the pinball store.  That can’t be good.

Back at Addison’s apartment, Helen has brought over Mrs. Higgins and they’re discussing the case.  Mrs. Higgins asks Helen to bring sugar for tea, and there’s this cute little moment where Helen keeps trying to talk over Mrs. Higgins, so excited she is to participate in the conversation.  What’s really cute is when Helen comes back with the sugar and no one wants any.  She has this little tiny pout moment, and it’s cute.

Addison suggests that Mrs. Gardner was involved in insurance fraud – she thought he was the jewel thief she needed to hand her diamond ring to, and then she could file a claim on her insurance for her lost diamond ring.  She assumed Addison was the jewel thief because his boutonniere was a silver carnation, and that may have been the signal for “JEWEL THIEF.”  His fiancée Elinor gave him the carnation, which she took from — *gasp* — Manuel Tunt!  (Yes, I am calling him that, shut up.)

Addison wants to know more about Manuel.  He’s apparently much in the swing of the social circle.  And as Helen says, “Oh, he’s wealthy and respectable.  He owns diamond mines in South Africa!”  Well that settles that, then!  No one is more above-board than a South African diamond mine owner!

Mrs. Higgins asks Addison to take the case, and there’s no arm-twisting whatsoever.  They agree to meet for lunch, and then they agree to call each other by their first names, which infuriates Helen with jealousy.  As Addison walks Helen back to the car, she gives him shade about all the women friends he has that allow him to call them by their first names, and why doesn’t he just go back to calling her Miss Reed, when all of a sudden she asks, “Hey, where’s the Doctor?”  Because Locke is not in the car when they asked him to stay in the car, Chuck, because whenever someone asks someone to stay in the car, Chuck, they NEVER stay in the car, Chuck, and also, it’s not like they locked Locke into the car — it’s a fucking convertible!

Instead of going to look for Locke, Addison takes Helen back to his apartment because he doesn’t have time to drop her off at her own place.  She is entirely too excited for all the wrong reasons for going to Addison’s apartment: he is not going to ravage you, Helen; he is going to lock you in a room so you don’t bug him anymore.  Jeez, it’s like Eve being able to take a nap before going on in Footsteps on the Ceiling.

Meanwhile, the goon brings Locke up to this apartment and tells him to phone Addison, tell him to mail Locke the ring ‘general delivery’ (I don’t know what that means — this postal service is all antiquated terms to me now.  What’s a stamp?) so that the goon’ll receive it tomorrow, and maybe he won’t kill Locke.  Well, while Locke’s dialing the phone, someone pokes a gun through a window and shoots the goon, and all that needed was a film projector and some laughing weasels, because that was nearly the exact same scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when Judge Doom murdered R.K. Maroon.  Locke tries to escape, but the boarding house lady didn’t like him making phone calls to sex workers who turn out to be ex-girlfriends, the cops show up VERY QUICKLY for what I assume to be New York City, and recognize Locke enough to take him downtown.  Maybe I should start calling Locke Sawyer.

Addison is able to get a parking spot directly in front of his apartment building, because this is clearly a movie and not real life.  When he and Helen get upstairs, the Detective Chief or whatever and his assistant are waiting for him, sitting with the Jovial Butler of Asian Persuasion.  They inform him that Locke is again behind bars, and they’d like Addison to come downtown again.  Addison embraces Helen, asks her to faint, and as she does he passes her body off to the Chief or Whatever, and then he escapes through a hidden passageway in his closet.

This will be the only time I do this: too many Gay jokes, not enough time.

Elinor is madly brushing her curls before going to bed when she finds Addison on her balcony.  She screams at him for leaving her at the party with no explanation, but when he tells her he’s hiding from the fuzz because he’s wanted for murder, all of a sudden she’s peaches and cream again.  Hm.  That … sounded less dirty in my head.  Anyway.  Also, Elinor — “wanted for murder” isn’t a trait I’d like to see in a fiancé.  Maybe you should reexamine your priorities?  The phone rings, and it’s Helen, trying to figure out if Addison made it safely.  He tells her he did, pretending he’s talking to Jerry, which is apparently the name of the Jovial Butler of Asian Persuasion?  There’s another racist joke in there somewhere, but my laptop only has an hour and a half left of juice and I’m entirely too lazy to go get the plug.  Addison thinks he’s in the clear until he reaffirms one too many times that he’s talking to “Jerry.”  Elinor swipes the phone out of Addison’s hand and hears Helen talk about being kissed by her ‘Darling,’ and before you know it, Addison’s running out of the apartment only inches ahead of a vase of flowers being thrown at him.  Seriously, Addison?  You have way more class than that.  Miss Caswell never got pissed at you for working so closely with Eve.

The next morning, Addison comes up to Elinor on the street, and he’s dressed like a bum.  She tells him to clear off because she’s dating Manuel Tunt again.  He tries to tell her that Manuel is dynamite, but she doesn’t listen.  He gets shoved off by a policeman who doesn’t recognize him, and then he goes to a pay phone (because this is back when New York actually had pay phones), calls his apartment, and is stunned to learn that Helen is still there, waiting for him.  Uh, dude – she’s smitten.  You’ve got your hands full with that one.  There ain’t no frightened rabbits you can push her onto.  In fact, she wants to be Addison’s assistant, because Locke is stuck in the hatch, entering the Numbers over and over again still in jail because no one’s bothered to bail him out.

She meets him in a café that night, and she’s wearing practically the same outfit Dolores was wearing when she went to tell Eddie that she had the tickets to Catalina.  (Who Framed Roger Rabbit again.  Sorry, this movie is making me make entirely too many references!)  Addison wants to find out where Manuel Tunt lives so he can break in, and Helen is practically quivering with excitement as she asks, “You want to break in?”

Addison replies, “In a manner of speaking.  Tonight is my night for backdoors.”

*ahem.* Too many Gay jokes; not enough time.

They are sneaking to Manuel’s apartment like a couple of vaudeville players.  Which wouldn’t be out of place on a vaudeville stage, but in an apartment complex it looks as ludicrous as you can probably imagine.  They manage to pick the lock with ease, because there’s no such thing as burglar alarms in the 1940s.  They search the apartment, and Helen is as bad at it as you’d think she would be.  She keeps tripping over phone cords and dropping books and basically, all she has to do is tap-dance on the coffee table and she’d still be more subtle than she’s being now.  Addison tries to think about where a clever man might hide something precious when he hears Manuel come home.

Addison quickly tosses some mail out of the desk to make it look like a break-in and then he and Helen rush to the balcony.  Apparently Manuel’s a really dumb Tunt and doesn’t go out to the balcony to check when he sees the mail everywhere.  I mean, they were making a shit-ton of noise.  If I was coming home, heard noise in my apartment, but didn’t see anyone leave through the only door, you know where I’d look?  The balcony!  If I had one, that is.

Manuel makes a phone call to someone, hides something behind a hidden panel, and then leaves to pick up Elinor.  Addison sneaks back into the apartment and takes the thing, which turns out to be a gun.  Lame.  He and Helen escape via the fire escape, and fire escapes sure are getting a lot of play in this movie.

Addison makes Helen take him to the city morgue.  He tricks the mortician into looking at the dead body that Locke supposedly killed while Helen actually does what she’s supposed to and stay in the car, Chuck.  Except she gets to talking to a cop and tells a tale about her brother hoping that a dead girl is their sister.  Anyway, Addison looks at the body, but we don’t see that scene because  of the Hayes Code, and he goes back to meet with Helen.  The mortician picks up the paper to continue reading Marmaduke when the front page falls out of the pile, and there’s Addison’s face, with the byline “FALCON EVADES POLICE: Playboy criminologist sought in mystery slaying.

‘Playboy Criminologist.’  I would like that on my business cards, please.  Right underneath ‘Obtainer of Rare Antiquities.’

There’s a small scene where Helen waltzes into the police station while the entire force is interrogating Locke, and she attempts to confess to the murder of the goon when the real Chief of Whatever pokes all the holes into her story.  When they prove that the gun he has is the one that killed the goon, she spills that it’s the gun that belongs to Manuel Tunt, and he’s dining at the Swan Club, and he’s dining with a woman, so go ahead and break up that relationship so she and Addison can start dating, all right?  That’s pretty much her thought process, and it’s kind of odd that that’s her only way of thinking.

Addison’s on the phone.  Goodness, he spends a lot of time on the phone in this movie.  If it was remade today, it’d be half an hour long, what with all the texting he could be doing instead of waiting for ringing phones to be answered.

Addison’s calling Elinor, telling her to pretend that her aunt is sick so she’ll be safe when Tunt gets arrested.  She refuses, because she thinks that he’s just jealous.  Meanwhile, Helen meets up with Addison at the diner and apparently it’s okay that she blabbed to the cops because the gun checked out as the murder weapon.  Addison excuses himself to change clothes and meet up with Elinor, giving Helen a couple of bucks and telling her to get a soda and take in a movie.  He practically calls her a kid.  Stop calling her a kid.  And then – THEN! – when he leaves, Helen looks to a waiter, and with very big eyes and overdramatics, she bellows, “I HATE MEN.”

“Bill’s 32.  He looks 32.  He looked it five years ago, he’ll look it twenty years from now.  I hate men.”  God, I love that line.

Oh no!  The Jovial Butler of Asian Persuasion is tied up!  Oh, Manuel Tunt tied him up and he’s waiting for Addison.  Tunt ends up monologuing, but when he hears Helen sneaking up on Tunt, he shoots the door she’s hiding behind and Addison thinks Tunt’s shot her, but she only just fainted again.  Addison leaves her with the Jovial Butler of Asian Persuasion and he goes to change clothes and meanwhile, Elinor shows up at the police station because she’s under arrest.  She calls Addison but gets Helen instead, which just sets her off again.  The Stereotypical Irish Cop agrees to meet up with Addison, and sends Elinor off to jail to keep her out of harm’s way.  Irish Cop asks Locke if he wants to come with, but Locke decides to stay put on the beach and lead from that location.

Irish Cop and Addison arrive at Mrs. Higgins’s apartment.  Apparently Mrs. Higgins’s life was threatened by someone, and she’s frightened.  Addison brings the Irish Cop into Mrs. Higgins’s apartment to help keep watch while she sleeps.  Mrs. Higgins is getting into bed, and as soon as she turns off the light, Tunt clumsily enters the bedroom through the balcony.  After Addison and the Irish Cop take their damned sweet time rescuing Mrs. Higgins from her murderer, Tunt keels over dead.  Mrs. Higgins is relieved, but Addison finds a syringe on the floor and watches Mrs. Higgins attempt to crush it with her slipper.  OH ‘ELL NO, MRS. ‘IGGINS!  YOU’RE THE BAD GUY?!  But — but Miss Doolittle!

Apparently, the goon that was killed was Mrs. Higgins’s husband.  Damn.  I had all my money on brother.  But here’s my question: if Mrs. Higgins was the brains behind the operation, why the FUCK did she ask him to take the case in the first place?!  Oh, wait, they were trying to frame Tunt.  Dammit.  Never mind.  Welcome to Insomniac Theatre, where your narrator sucks.

Addison rescues Elinor from the clink.  Or, tries to.  But she’s still pissed at him, so she says something along the lines of she’d gladly rot if she could just throttle him for a minute.  At which point, Addison replies: “I think I could get you off if you’d promise to marry me.”

Too many jokes, not enough time.

There’s another two minutes of dénouement, but I’m going to end my recap here because that line is just perfect.  Also, there is a distinct lack of falconry in this movie.

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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Insomniac Theatre


And now, a word from your pop culture deficient. Again.

So yeah.  Still procrastinating on Shawshank.  It’s not my fault, you guys!  I just … I’m not sure how to feel about that movie!

Anyway.  Last month I turned 30, and I’ve been tossing some ideas around on how to … not improve, but maybe change things up around here?  Don’t get me wrong, I love doing this, and won’t stop, no matter how many people think this is a stupid idea.  I STAND BY MY STUPID IDEAS.

But is Insomniac Theatre something that only amuses me?  Should I just focus on the list of movies, or are the random entries worth reading?  Should I branch out into Television Alaina’s Never Seen?  Or how about a rewatch of everyone’s favorite dysfunctional family, in prep for when Arrested Development returns?  Or Veronica Mars, you guys!  The marshmallows are getting a movie!  WEEVIL’S GETTING A MOVIE HOW EXCITED AM I?

So … I created a survey.  Yay!  Because I’m open to feedback, and this seems to be the best way to solicit it.

So if you love me — and even if you only feel some fairly strong platonic feelings — hell, even if you hate me but don’t quite wish me dead, I’d greatly appreciate your feedback.  It doesn’t mean I’ll follow the advice (I’m quite like Alice in Wonderland in that regard), but it’ll make me think critically about the choices I make.

Plus, some of the answers to the questions are HILARIOUS.  You don’t want to miss out on that.

So … Please take my Feedback survey!

Thanks!  And in thanks, I leave you with the latest:

Brad: Yeah, I’ve got basketball tickets.  I won’t make it to trivia night.
Alaina: No worries, everyone else bailed.  Maybe I’ll go see Jurassic Park.
Brad: In 3-D?
Alaina: Yeah!  I mean, I’ve never seen it, so why not?
Brad: YOU’VE NEVER SEEN — why am I yelling?  Why am I even surprised?
Alaina: Seriously, dude.  Why are you surprised?

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Posted by on April 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


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 …


Running Commentary to the 85th Annual Academy Awards: By Alaina

On another, more private blog, I used to write commentaries on the Oscar ceremonies.  Nowadays, I believe the term would be ‘live-blogging,’ but honestly, this is just a string of time-stamped comments I make about what I see on-screen.  Sometimes I’m funny, sometimes I’m not; but this is what happens in the moment when I watch the Oscars.  It’s tradition; now it’s tradition here.

Read it, don’t read it; the decision is entirely up to you.  I only leave you with this: ARGO FUCK YOURSELF.  \o/

It’s 8:21 and I am awaiting tonight’s ceremony with what can only be described as dread. I can only stand Family Guy about half the time; I’m not sure I could stand him for what is most likely going to be four hours of hell. Good thing I didn’t kill myself doing the Oscar!Watch this year, huh?

Aw, man! Iron Man 2 is on FX. I could be watching that instead!

8:30: All right, this is going to — wow, he, just goes right into the monologue? Seriously, no big number? Actually, that’s a point in your favor.
—– Hey, Robert Downey Jr!

—– Also, Seth MacFarlane: did you just utter Ron Jeremy’s name in your monologue? Not sure if that’s a sign of uphill or downhill movement on your part.

8:34: And here’s the moment where Seth starts to realize that this is not his crowd.

8:35: At least Seth is sort of aware that he’s way too controversial for this.


8:38: … This is almost too meta for me.

8:39: And nine minutes in. That’s a new record for me to hit the mute button. And actually, this is a PERFECT opportunity for me to bitch about why I am so ambivalent about Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy, and everything else. You know what would have made this “We Saw Your Boobs” joke slightly better for me? YOU ONLY NEED ONE CHORUS FOR THE PUNCHLINE. You really don’t need to list off every damn tit you’ve seen in the past forever. When the chorus of dudes came out and backed Seth up, I was all, MUTE BUTTON. Because you’re going to keep singing about boobs, and the JOKE. IS. OVER. MOVE ALONG.

8:42: Here’s my favorite part of this so far. In the Camera Three shot, you can clearly see Gary Busey laughing his head off, and Helen Hunt and Samuel L. Jackson are in the front row, and neither of them are amused. It looks like Helen hasn’t smiled since she was forced to on Mad About You.

8:44: It’s too bad that Seth can be such a dick sometimes. He has a very nice voice. And DAMN! Who knew that Rita from Arrested Development could dance!?

8:45: Actually, I would have totally watched Flight done with sock puppets. Honestly, there are TONS of movies I’d watch if it was redone with sock puppets. HEY – THAT’S HOW I’D WATCH SHAWSHANK.
—– See? Even Helen Hunt’s laughing at the sock puppets!

8:47: Harry Potter’s so short! Poor kid.


8:52: Holy shit, that was quick. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR. My guess it goes to either De Niro or Tommy Lee Jones. (Although I love the idea of Alan Arkin winning. ARGO FUCK YOURSELF!)

8:55: WHOA, SERIOUSLY? Christoph Waltz won that out from under De Niro! I don’t think ANYONE was expecting that!
—– I’m … strangely okay with it? Because I love hearing his voice? But I was shocked.

9:01: Melissa McCarthy, WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?!

9:02: I have watched a ton of Oscar ceremonies. This is the first one that I absolutely hate.

9:03: BEST ANIMATED SHORT goes to “Paperman.” Yay! I totally teared up when I saw it in at Wreck-It Ralph.

—– Anyway, what I was saying was, I swear they should just name it the Pixar Awards. And I don’t even want to get into the whole frouferah about the different directors and shit.

9:08: Life of Pi, man. I just keep thinking, “Fuck! I keep forgetting about the goddamned tiger!”

9:11: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
—– Seriously, it’s this and the James Bond retrospective that is keeping me tuned in.

9:12: BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY. If Skyfall doesn’t win this, I’m going to go kill someone.
—– SON OF A BITCH. SKYFALL WAS MY FAVORITE MOVIE LAST YEAR. Who the fuck is that stoned Gandalf-wannabe taking the award for Life of Pi? I mean, he seriously looks like he just got off the bus from HippieVille. He must REEK of pot.

9:15: This is such a shitshow. Holy shit, such a shitshow. I love how RDJ is all, “Screw it, let’s just get it done.” I love these men, but this show is awful.
—– Samuel L. Jackson: “I’m a superhero and I can’t get the damned envelope open.” LOVE HIM.
—– BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: What the fuck, Life of Pi, did you bribe people!? IT WAS THE AVENGER’S ONE AWARD.

—– Keith Urban is embarrassed on your behalf.

9:20: Shit, I keep forgetting, I paused a bunch of times — I can fast-forward through the commercials!

9:23: BEST COSTUME DESIGN: The Hoop Skirt Rule continues with Anna Karenina.

9:24: BEST MAKEUP: When did they start looping “hairstyling” in with this category?
—– I would HOPE Les Miserables would win. I mean, look what they did to Anne Hathaway?

—– WAIT. You’re honoring James Bond — AND DANIEL CRAIG ISN’T THERE!?!?!?!?! WHAT THE FUCK, ACADEMY?!

—– You guys don’t understand! Goldfinger was my favorite movie for the longest time! I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Goldfinger and the song. This is amazing.
—- Also, Shirley Bassey’s still got it.

9:33: I am just going to end that by saying that I am TOTALLY watching Skyfall before I go to bed tonight, because what the fuck — WHY DON’T YOU ACTUALLY HAVE JAMES BOND THERE?!

9:36: Seeing Kerry Washington on stage just makes me want the next episode of Scandal RIGHT NOW. I’m not sure how or when I got completely addicted to that show, but honest-to-god, sometimes I find myself watching that before Vampire Diaries. It is good and HOT, TOO.

9:41: It’s hysterical to me that Liam Neeson is considered a ‘Modern American Superhero’ when he’s IRISH.
—– ARGO FUCK YOURSELF!! <– What I will be saying EVERY TIME someone mentions Argo.
—– “When the Levee Breaks.” One of the best songs in the rock and roll canon. Used brilliantly in the film, and I fucking love that song anyway.

9:42: Wait a sec — Joseph Gordon Levitt was in Lincoln?

9:46: Every time Seth MacFarlane’s on stage, I just get more and more awkward.
—– Ben. You could have come up with a better comeback than that.
—– Oh good, my beer’s still cold. Thank god for small miracles!

9:47: Lana? Lana. Lana?



9:53: Wow, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain present the BEST FOREIGN FILM award? That’s a step in the right direction! (I mean, Jennifer/Sydney Bristow’s been EVERYWHERE.)
—– Well DUH Amour is going to win Best Foreign Language Film. I mean, come on.

9:56: John Travolta?! He’s not dead?

9:58: TRAVOLTA: You do NOT pronounce the “les” in “Miserables.” It’s “LAY MIZ ER AHB.” Oy.

10:00: You gotta give it to her: Catherine Zeta-Jones could *maybe* give Bebe Neuwirth a run for her money. Maybe. Though probably Bebe would be able to take her in a brawl.

10:01: Dreamgirls. Or as it’s known in my house: Twitter break.

10:03: Damn. That didn’t take as long as I’d thought.

10:05: Look, I was never a big Les Miserables fanatic. I knew the story, I knew it was a big hit, but when I saw the movie, I had no idea that “Suddenly” wasn’t part of the original play.
—– And I didn’t think Russell Crowe was all that bad! Give him some slack everyone!

10:10: Oh man — I was hoping Seth MacFarlane would be saying “Benedict Cumberbatch” as one of the stars of Star Trek. SHERLOCK FOREVER

10:11: Oh, shit. They brought out a digital bear. Jesus Christ.
—– Boston Accents represent! o/
—– “I’m really good at sex. I can bring sodas and snacks and soap, and stuff! Please?” That should be my pick-up line from now on. And I can do the Boston accent, too!

10:14: … I just want Skyfall to win something, you guys! Honestly, I’m a little nervous about the song. Not about its awesomeness (it grows on you, especially after you’ve seen the movie and seen just what the song is about) — but I’m nervous that the Academy is just going to be a fucktard and fuck the movie over somehow. Like giving it to “Suddenly” from Les Miserables. And giving Best Picture to Les Miserables because they suck. Things like that.

10:17: WHOA. THERE’S A TIE AT THE OSCARS?! I mean, a statistical tie, not a bowtie … you know, forget it.

10:18: Who’s that dude in the audience?! He looked like Sean Connery from thirty years ago!

—– Sorry. I have an unqualified attachment to that damn car.

10:21: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA You are NOT pulling the “Where did the Von Trapp Family Singers Go” prank on Christopher Plummer, are you? He’s going to kneecap you so hard … But very excellent attempt at being able to make that joke. Kudos.
—– Re: the only compliment you’ll get from me tonight: Your own words, actually.

10:23: What did I tell you, MacFarlane? YOU DON’T MESS WITH CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER.
—– And now, we come to the Anne Hathaway Teary and Attempting to be Funny Joke Speech. MOAR BEER.
—– I think she did okay. Humble enough with just a touch of pride: “It came true!” That’s the new “You like me, you really like me!”


10:30: President’s Speech. Bored now.

10:32: Sandra Bullock just shooed Seth MacFarlane off the stage. Can we keep her?
—– BEST EDITING. If Argo doesn’t win this award, there’s an issue with the system. Seriously. That movie was tight.


10:39: Seriously. I know there was some flack when it was initially released, but once you’ve seen the movie, you recognize just how perfect “Skyfall” is for the movie.

10:43: Nicole Kidman: you look AMAZING.

10:47: Harry Potter and Bella Swan together? FANDOMS ARE EXPLODING
—– Also, Kristen Stewart looks like she just climbed off of the Snow White and the Huntsman director, took a hit of *something,* and then said “Oh shit I’m supposed to present like right now!”

10:50: Normally you’d be correct, Seth MacFarlane, but in the past, they’ve used Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and/or Selma Hayak to present the Foreign Film Award. But since you gave that to Garner and Chastain … looks like it’s the Governor’s Award.

10:53: I’m doing a quick tally in my head. The writing awards, acting awards, director, and picture — that’s all that’s left, right? Plus the death reel? OH JESUS AND I’M BACK ON LIVE TV This isn’t going to end until midnight, is it?

10:57: Wait a sec — they gave the Death Reel to the Cloonster? They’re not going to have someone singing over it? OH THANK GOD!!!
—– … I almost thought Ernest Borgnine was Emperor Palpatine. I feel like a jackass now.
—– NORA EPHRON. DEAR GOD, I didn’t forget, but it hit me again.

—– Insight Into Alaina: I do not associate this song with the movie. I associate this song with Gilda Radner and a worn-out recording of her standup my mother used to watch when I was little. She played this song on the piano and sang along. The performance was a goodbye to comedy, as she was undergoing treatment for cancer at the time. So while Babs is singing about Marvin Hamlisch, I’m sitting here crying more tears for genuinely funny lady Gilda Radner.

11:04: Also — and maybe this is the female comic writer in me — but I would have liked to see a little more tribute to Madame Ephron.

11:09: Is Renee Zellweger filming another Bridget Jones movie? Because she looks absolutely fantastic.
—– BEST FILM SCORE. I honestly don’t know. I mean, give it to Skyfall, because it’s the best movie, but y’know … whatever.
—– How many Chicago cast members does it take to open up an envelope? (It went to Life of Pi. Again, whatever.)

11:11: Make a wish! I WISH FOR THIS THING TO SPEED THE FUCK UP. Because I just realized that we haven’t even given the Best Song award yet! OH WAIT HERE IT IS
—– If this doesn’t go to “Skyfall,” I’m going to flip the table. Not even joking.

—– And the winner for best speech goes to: Adele.

11:18: Seth just said that the Acting awards and the Best Picture awards are coming up. It’s like they don’t even want to award Best Director.

11:23: Writing Awards. This is the latest these have been presented, yes?
—– BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY. I hope this goes to Argo, but who knows?
—– ARGO FUCK YOURSELF!!! That’s amazing!! I am getting better hopes!
—– Awwww!! Good Will Hunting shout-out!

11:26: BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. Hmm… what was the — oh man, they’re not going to give it to Tarantino, are they? That would make him insufferable.
—– Dammit. Now I’m going to *have* to watch Pulp Fiction, aren’t I?
—– I love that Tarantino is basically saying “I’M AWESOME” in his speech, isn’t he?
—– HE WALKED AWAY, AND THEN CAME BACK. I have to give Tarantino something – he’s got balls.

11:32: Also: Tarantino played McKenas Cole on Alias. Jennifer Garner was in Alias. So was Bradley Cooper. Jennifer Garner is married to Ben Affleck, who cast Victor Garber in Argo. Victor Garber was also on Alias. What I’m saying is, ALIAS WAS THE BEST FUCKING SHOW OF ALL TIME.

11:33: Best Director. Does anyone give a fuck? I mean, honestly.
—– This had better be like Brokeback Mountain/Crash again, okay? ARGO HAS TO WIN BEST PICTURE.

11:40: BEST ACTRESS. I … I don’t know, honestly. But the 9-year old (I’m not going to attempt to spell her name) is freaking adorable.
—– Oh! Bonus!Liev Schrieber!

11:44: Jennifer Lawrence, Classy Broad: She just wished Emmanuelle a happy birthday. I mean, come on. That’s fantastic. Katniss Everdeen for the win!

11:48: I love Meryl Streep’s glasses.
—– Wait, did she even open the envelope? I mean, I’m not contesting, but I never saw her open the damn thing.
—– Congratulations, Daniel Day-Lewis! Someday I’ll watch one of your movies. You seem to be a funny guy.

11:51: Daniel, I like Bradley Cooper. But I don’t think he’s better than you. I mean, I went to see The A-Team. In theatres. I paid actual money to see that.
—– I know that this isn’t that, but I seem to be getting some strange Eve Harrington vibes from Daniel Day Lewis’s speech. I mean, he’s just praising everyone with a brief paragraph, just like Eve did when she won her Sarah Siddons Award.

11:53: JACK NICHOLSON!! That’s what the Oscars have been missing for years!
—– Wait — Michelle Obama’s presenting Best Picture!? SHUT UP!

11:55: Okay, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish writing this paragraph, and then I’m putting my laptop on the table to avoid dropping it. I’m rooting for Argo, and if it wins, I’m going to go fucking insane. If it loses, I may throw something. So … Caroline’s going to a safe place until the winner is announced.

12:02: I am so happy right now. I love that the Academy didn’t fuck Ben Affleck. I never thought I’d be so proud of Ben fucking Affleck. He won proudly, with emotion, clearly did not have a speech fully prepared, and was gracious. I just want to hug him.
—– And I did kind of want him to drop the Oscar and yell ARGO FUCK YOURSELF, but what are you gonna do.

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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Oscar!Watch!


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