Sunday, September 1, 2013

Because I need a URL for this picture

Just ignore me.

But I do look pretty cute.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Preamble to a Very Long List Indeed

"Dearest Nicholas" was an attempt to list out great films that a friend of mine should watch since he would be heading off to college in another state, and we wouldn't get to have film nights anymore.  Like most things in my life, it quickly spun out of control, became ridiculously long, and is, in fact, still not finished.  So I figured, hell, time to slap it on the internet.  I realize that there are so many films missing on this list; tough titties.  I ain't tryin' to write no Film Encyclopedia.  However, back-talk is welcome.  Enjoy, and realize this is just part one of QUESTION MARK.

Dearest Nicholas,

As you set off into the great wide yonder over there, I set before you a task. There’s no hurry, and I would never judge you for not completing it. However, if this task should never be started or end up in the garbage, OH I WILL JUDGE YOU SO HARD.
Here is your task: This is a list, a nice long list, a check list if you will. Something to be sure that you get your cinematic education as well as your for realz education. Have fun with it, do it out of order, find your favorites, and tell me that some of these are utter crap (ha, you won’t).

Yours in eternal servitude,


CLASSICS (through 1950)

The General (1926)


Directed by Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton. Buster Keaton.
A hilarious love story of a man, his gal, and his train in the midst of the Civil War. The most impressive thing (among a huge litany of impressive things) is that Keaton did his own (extremely dangerous) stunts. On a moving train. Man, those guys back in the day were pretty lucky to make it out of a movie alive, huh?

Animal Crackers (1930)

Ladies, ladies, ladies!  Ankles!

The Marx Brothers.
Worship at the altar of the Marx Brothers, the thinking man’s Three Stooges. This film involves an African explorer’s missing painting, but that’s really a moot point to the hilarity. See if you can keep up.

Horse Feathers (1932)
That grin leads me to believe you're being a bit insincere, Groucho.

The Marx Brothers.
College life and football, oh the thirties.  Harpo plays the harp (sidenote: Harpo as a child learned how to play on an ill-tuned harp and always would.  However, his playing is EXQUISITE).

Duck Soup (1933)

Marx Brothers, the height of fashion.

The Marx Brothers.
The last Marx Brothers’ film to feature Zeppo, and despite initially being a box-office flop and stricken with contract disputes, is now considered their best film. Ambassadors, fake countries, and despots, oh my!

I’m No Angel (1933) 

"Eyes up here, buddy."

Directed by Wesley Ruggles.  Mae West, Cary Grant.
Mae West’s boobs and dirty mouth usher in the Production Code for American film.
Also, this gem:
Jack Clayton: You were wonderful tonight.
Tira: Yeah, I'm always wonderful at night.
Jack Clayton: Tonight, you were especially good.
Tira: Well... When I'm good, I'm very good. But, when I'm bad...
[winks at Jack]
Tira: I'm better.

Modern Times (1936)

Brushing my teeth with corn just doesn't seem as effective as a toothbrush.
Charlie Chaplin.
Classic Chaplin as his classic character “The Tramp” caught in the cogs of modernization and the Great Depression. Despite this film being made well after "talkies" had taken over, Chaplin decided to keep the film mostly silent to maintain the integrity of the Tramp character as well as avoiding alienating his global audience that didn't speak English.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Grant's just sore 'cause the leopard got to sit in that cozy-as-hell pram.

Directed by Howard Hawks. Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn.
Cary Grant is an uptight paleontologist harassed by a nutty Katharine Hepburn with a pet leopard (named Baby) getting him into wacky situations (wacky I say!).

Also, Cary Grant in this sexy little number.

The Women (1939)

Everyone in this scene: [thinking] "BITCH."

Directed by George Cukor. Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell.
The entire cast, like the title suggests, is all ladies! Also, Joan Crawford is in fine form as the conniving bitchy perfume counter girl who’s trying to steal Shearer’s husband. Hussy!

Ninotchka (1939)

"Is this the part where I am amused?"

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Greta Garbo.
Garbo’s second to last film before she quit the industry at 36, this film is noted as being one of the earliest satires of Stalin’s communist Russia, as well as being released shortly after the Nazis invaded Poland. Garbo was known for her icy and solemn demeanor in films, so the fact that she laughs onscreen was well-advertised. Communism vs. Capitalism! Ice Princess vs. Parisian Lothario! Allegedly sexy for the time?

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

::GASP!::  Who let her in here?

Directed by George Cukor. Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart.
Oh my god, this is one of my favorite films of all time, ever, ever. Each actor is absolutely on fire, not to mention that I could die happy in the middle of a Cary Grant/Jimmy Stewart sandwich. Just…just watch it, ‘kay? No, for reals.

Maltese Falcon (1941)

Priceless artifact or elaborate cigarette lighter?

Directed by John Huston. Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre.
Classic Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade (note to self: when becoming a private dick, pick a name that's alliterative) dealing with shady characters all after a jewel-encrusted statue of a falcon. Noir as hell!


Casablanca (1942)

Much more than a hill of beans here.

Directed by Michael Curtiz. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains.
You don’t get much more classic than this. Bogart and Bergman are former lovers caught in France during WWII and trenchcoats are firmly in style.  Your heart will break with every one of Bergman's tears, and you'll walk around for weeks telling your cat to "Play it again, Sam."


Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

"Now, let's go over this one more time...Precisely HOW many bodies are in the cellar?"

Directed by Frank Capra. Cary Grant.
Yes, I have a total lady boner for Cary Grant, he is one of the best. Grant and a couple of sweet, doddering, murderous old aunts who are killing off their boarders for social security checks; hilarious!

Double Indemnity (1944)


Directed by Billy Wilder. Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson.
Another noir film, it’s a great tour of early 20th century Los Angeles. You know, before it became full of dicks (hah, nah, it’s always been full of dicks). Interesting to note, all three actors played against type in the film, in some of the best performances of their careers.
“This seminal tale, told in the past tense (in voice-over), involves two major characters with ‘an unholy love and an almost perfect crime.’ Both are duplicitous and callous lovers - a beautiful, shrewd, predatory and dissatisfied femme fatale housewife (with blonde bangs and an enticing gold anklet) and a likeable insurance salesman. Their calculated, cold-blooded scheme to brutally murder her husband for purposes of lustful desire and financial gain, because of a double indemnity clause in his accident policy, ultimately fails. Their fraudulent, almost perfect crime leads to guilt, suspicion, betrayal, duplicity, and thrilling intrigue in a film with numerous swatches of sharp and nasty dialogue.”
 (Thanks Wikipedia!)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)


Directed by Frank Capra. Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore.
I’m not sure how this became a Christmas staple except that the final scenes happen to take place at Christmas. It's the story of a man who, after putting his dreams on the backburner all his life in order to do what's right for his family and town only to be shat on by local town overlord, loses all hope.  Only through Clarence the angel's guidance that he sees how precious and beautiful his life actually is.  It’s a great, self-affirming film starring the inimitable Jimmy Stewart, and it’s now one of my favorite Christmas films.

 "My pants are so hiiiiiiiiiiiigh!"

The Third Man (1949)

"Whoa, where the heck am I?"

Directed by Carol Reed. Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, Orson Welles.
British noir, the “third man” refers to an unaccounted-for extra man seen carrying Welles’ dead body from the street. Is that guy even really dead? Who the hell knows?

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Bill O'Reilly reports, "CLASS WAR!"

Directed by Robert Hamer. Alec Guiness, Alec Guiness, Alec Guiness, some other dicks, Alec Guiness.
The grandson of an elite family that disinherits him and his mother vows revenge and systematically bumps off the surviving members standing between him and dukedom. The D'Ascoynes are all played in increasingly hilarious fashion by Alec Guiness.

I'm sure you've always wanted to see Sir Alec in drag.

Harvey (1950)

"You talking to me or the large rabbit to my right?"
Directed by Henry Koster. Jimmy Stewart.
Stewart’s favorite film in his career, he plays Elwood P. Dowd, a middle-aged bachelor with an invisible seven foot tall rabbit named Harvey as his best friend. Incidentally, his sister tries to have him committed.  Sweet, hilarious, feel-good when you’re feeling down.

 Quite dashing, don't you think?

All About Eve (1950)

"Mmm, yes, how amusing."

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Bette Davis, Anne Baxter.
Young fan Baxter insinuates herself into aging stage star Davis’s life with the ultimate goal of supplanting her. Besides the fact that Davis was as much of a razor-tongued badass in the films as she was in real life, you should watch at least one Davis film to know why there’s a song called “Bette Davis Eyes” (by Kim Carnes).

More and more and more to come.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I guess we'll keep doing this 'til I get sick of it (never) or you get sick of it (more plausible)

Though I am covered in mosquito bites and itching like mad, I am trying to corral my attention long enough to bring you more of my favorite characters from some of my favorite movies. Though honestly, I could use a beer. And a lot of calamine lotion. Oh, how I suffer for my "art."

Allison Janney as "Loretta" in Drop Dead Gorgeous

Amber Atkins: Loretta, never have kids.
Loretta: Oh, honey, God bless ya for thinking I still could.

Can we all go ahead and agree that Allison Janney, with very few exceptions (if any), is fantastic in everything? She was what I wish real press secretaries were in West Wing, and it's not fair that we can't just make her the honorary press secretary for life. But in Drop Dead Gorgeous she really shines, even though her role is a small supporting character and she's teased out like every trailer trashy lush you've ever seen.

Besides the fact that the movie itself is hilarious and everyone is perfectly cast (even Kirsten Dunst, can you believe it???) and it was filmed before Kirstie Alley had all her weight problems, it's a great addition to the mockumentary genre. A documentary crew follows the contestants of a local midwestern teen beauty pageant where the girls competing are "mysteriously" bumped off or maimed or sabotaged during the weeks before and during the competition. Janney plays Loretta, the boozed up whore with a heart of gold that is Ellen Barkin's best friend and like a second mother to Kirsten Dunst in their trailer park paradise. You'll love Janney, if for no other reason than watching her hit on every guy that walks by (with some success) and smoke and drink and apply eyeshadow all at the same time.

Val Kilmer as "Gay Perry" in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Perry: [to the audience] Thanks for coming, please stay for the end credits, if you're wondering who the best boy is, it's somebody's nephew, um, don't forget to validate your parking, and to all you good people in the Midwest, sorry we said "fuck" so much.

Unfortunately, I lost this movie in the great breakup dividing of the stuff, and I lament every day that I didn't watch it more frequently. This movie is another example of how the Oscars are total bullshit: the script, the acting, the storyline, everything about this movie is laced with cocaine and awesomeness. Fresh out of rehab, this was one of the first films to really breathe life back into Robert Downey Jr.'s career, and to say he takes the bull by it's horns and makes it his bitch would be an understatement. However, some people may have overlooked the fact that this movie was made at a time where everyone had forgotten about Val Kilmer because he was doing a bunch of unpublicized (i.e. crappy) movies and had gotten chubby. He's still pretty chubby, and that makes me sad, but it doesn't change the fact that the man can act. He went to Julliard's school for drama, man!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a noir mystery amped up about forty notches, and chugging along is chunky Val Kilmer as "Gay Perry" (to distinguish him from some other Perry). A lot of you are familiar with Downey Jr.'s talent for fast-paced and snarky dialogue; well, not only does Kilmer keep pace, but his character actually gets quite a few zingers in over Downey's.

And yes, that's a tiny gun that Gay Perry keeps hidden by his balls. You know. Just for situations like the one up in that picture.

Dustin Hoffman as "The Conscience" in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

The Conscience: Who are you to even think that you can know the difference between good and evil?

Of all the movies that have been made about Joan of Arc, I personally think that this is one of, if not the, best. Besides the breathtaking cinematography and creative editing and oh. my. lawd. the hairdo's, Milla Jovavich is perfectly cast as the saintly soldier who might have just been a crazy peasant girl. While imprisoned at the end of the film, this possibility and her own understanding of God and her mission are explored with the introduction of Dustin Hoffman in a black cloak and his very reasonable voice.

Can we get this guy to do books on tape, like, forever?

Ben Whishaw as "Jean-Baptiste Grenouille" in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Narrator: In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. Naturally, the stench was foulest in Paris, for Paris was the largest city in Europe. And nowhere in Paris was that stench more profoundly repugnant than in the city's fish-market. It was here then, on the most putrid spot in the whole kingdom, that Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born on the 17th of July, 1738. It was his mothers fifth birth, she delivered them all here under her fish-stand, and all had been stillbirths or semi-stillbirths. And by evening the whole mess had been shoveled away with the fish-guts into the river. It would be much the same today, but then... Jean-Baptiste chose differently.

This is a slight change; as you can see, I chose a quote from the narrator instead of the character because, well, he doesn't actually have a whole lot of lines. Yet through Whishaw's body language, he creates a character, a murderer, that is all at once creepy and obsessive and heartbreakingly sympathetic. Gifted with an olfactory sense beyond anyone's in history, yet cursed with no scent of his own and the lowest of the low social statuses in 1700's France, Grenouille becomes obsessed with capturing and preserving the scent of beauty (or beautiful women's souls or summat, it's a little fuzzy on that point), which unfortunately means murdering ladies and soaking their dead bodies in vats of oils.

And instigating a city-wide orgy.

I will warn you ahead of time, the accents in this movie are pretty much bullshit. It's supposed to take place in France, but these are British actors and then you have Dustin Hoffman trying to do an Italian accent. The Hoff can do many things, but apparently an Italian accent is not one of them. But if you can make yourself not care, everything else about this movie is achingly beautiful and haunting. This is especially true of Whishaw's performance (though it is a difficult name to get used to saying out loud. "WHI-shaw" "Whi-SHAW" "WHISH-aw" Just weird).

Though I have yet to see Bright Star where Whishaw plays poet John Keats in the story of his love affair with seamstress Fanny Brawne before he tragically died of pneumonia at 25 (bring the kerchiefs, ladies), I have no doubt that Whishaw is a man to keep an eye on.

Sexy poses included.

Mickey Rourke as "Marv" in Sin City

Cardinal Roark: Will that bring you satisfaction, my son? Killing a helpless, old, fart?
Marv: Killing? No. No satisfaction. Everything up until the killing, will be a gas.

I probably love this movie way more than I should. There's a lot to object to, no doubt. All the women are unrealistic, gorgeous waifs that embody the virginal whore stereotype. Gratuitous use of violence and nut squeezings. Not getting to see all of Rosario Dawson's breasts.

But, there's a lot to love about this movie, and one of my personal favorites is Marv. He's so fucking crazy, but with a noble purpose and lots of medical tape. Even though Mickey's got a big mouth and a face that's been beaten more times than my grandmother's welcome mat, he's a pretty danged good actor, especially in the "tough-guy" genre. Man, in "The Expendables," when he started to cry, I started to cry. But seeing him kill the everliving hell out of a bunch of bad guys is pretty awesome too.

Dudes, I was working on this all weekend while dogsitting for my boss, and then totally forgot to finish and post it, like a goddamned spaz. Ah, me.

More stuff, shuttling down the pike, at the speed of a greased up sloth.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In which I talk about my feelings.

Personal time: I broke up with my boyfriend of 6 years roughly two years ago. It was a good decision, and though it sucked pretty hardcore at the time (especially since we still lived together), we were good enough friends that we moved past it and are still really close. After all, we've seen each other naked.

So after we broke up, I was all, "Cool, it's just going to be raining dicks now, right? I'm going to make up for all that time I was in a monogamous relationship, and really LIVING life like those wonderful skags on Sex and the City, right?"


Sure, there was a story or two to titter over with the girls, but nothing that led to anything more extreme than some heavy petting. That's what the old folks call it, right? Heavy petting? Is that over the clothes or under the clothes?


I forgot to mention the six-month on-and-off game of cat and mouse with an emotionally retarded asshole that I used to see back in the day, a game which I ultimately lost, but that's probably because I've tried block it out and pretend it never happened.

I wish this was the reason it didn't end well.

In order to "get back out there," back into the dating game, which, incidentally, I never really played, I joined a dating website. At first, I was all, "Oh man, look at all these cute dudes living in my town, they've got jobs and hobbies and like the same movies I do!" But as each cautious attempt to connect with these guys was met with silence, or worse, awkward meetings where I did all the talking, I have become more and more cynical about actually meeting someone who I respect and don't find pretentious or boring. Or who isn't in a relationship already. Or married. Or has a kid. Can you be simultaneously desperate and picky?

I'm usually so decisive...

What I've come to realize is that, much to my own chagrin, I'm going to have to be okay with myself, by myself, for a while. Ugh. What a prospect.

This is going to be a ridiculously difficult project; life already has me pretty pissed off, what with the traffic ticket and getting fired from one of my jobs, two things that were simultaneously my fault and did not have to be taken to that extreme conclusion. These incidents have left me feeling a lot of moral outrage, but have also nearly crippled my sense of self-worth, the little that I had left after graduating with a useless degree and $15,000 of debt. It's a mean little voice that asks why I can't seem to handle real-life situations without doing it wrong and also cruelly implies that I will never get off my parents' couch.

I had so many dreams...

I'm just shy of accepting the impending spinsterhood, and have already planned on which shelters I'm going to adopt my eight cats and three dogs from. My only hope?

Or it would be if the dude Terry McMillan wrote about didn't divorce her and claim to be gay.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dudes! and Dudettes!

I'm down to one job again, so maybe I'll have more time for content on this alleged blog? I'm going to try! And maybe sell some ad space? If I can get enough traffic? I don't know, guess this a "wait and see" kind of thing. But! Thanks for sticking with me as much as you've been able considering my broken promises and post lapses. I miss blogging, and I can see that in everyday life my grasp on the English language is deteriorating faster than a wet sandwich in the sun.

So here's hoping!

Hugs and punches,


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Forgive me if this post is a little wiggy, I'm kind of punchy from lack of food. But more fun-filled characters from your favorite films and mine.

"M-O" in WALL-E

WALL-E: [M-O has finished cleaning a severely damaged WALL-E, who strains to give a handshake] WALL-E.
M-O: [M-O scrubs WALL-E's hand, then shakes it] M-O.
[M-O reverts to his box form]
WALL-E: [pause] M-O?
M-O: M-O.
WALL-E: [another pause] M-O.

M-O, the disgruntled, obsessive-compulsive neat-freak bot whose diminutive size barely contains his bubbling rage at everyone dirtying up his freshly cleaned floors. But he is tiny, and things are cuter in miniature. Go ahead, try it. Tiny elephant? Itty bitty furniture? Teensy weensy George Clooney? You see that I'm right.

"Officer Slater" (Bill Hader) and "Officer Michaels" (Seth Rogen) in Superbad

Fogell: What's it like to have a gun?
Officer Michaels: It's like having two cocks. If one of your cocks could kill someone.

We the public have a love/hate relationship with cops. Their service to a perilous, under-rewarded job is appreciated when say, the meth lab down the street goes tits up and there are strung-out psychos in the yard waving razor blades. But when that one dick cop pulls you over and gives you a $160 ticket for rolling through a stop sign at a deserted intersection at three in the morning, well. It's this odd dichotomy of reverence, authority, and dickitude that lends itself to hilarious hijinks in one of my favorite movies, Superbad. In a wild last hurrah for two high school buddies and a McLovin', these two officers make it the night of a lifetime. You should watch this movie, if for no other reason than to watch them all unloading shotguns and grenades into their totaled police cruiser.

Nick Frost as "PC Danny Butterman" in Hot Fuzz

Danny Butterman: So what made you want to become a policeman?
Nicholas Angel: Officer.
Danny Butterman: What made you want to become a policeman-officer?

Everyone has that one friend, the lovable, goofy dumbass. If you don't, you need to quickly go out and get one. He's loyal, always down for a pint or twelve after work, and has a fantastic collection of buddy-cop movies. He may not always be able to follow everything you say, but he'll nod and be incredibly supportive. Besides, who else would you want to fire your gun into the air with and go "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH"?

Julie Brown as "Candy" in Earth Girls Are Easy

[from the song "'Cause I'm A Blonde"]
Candy: I just want to say that being chosen as this month's Miss August is like a compliment I'll remember for as long as I can. Right now I'm a freshman in my fourth year at UCLA, but my goal is to become a veterinarian, because I love children.

This was a hard choice between Julie and Michael McKean's "Woody," but she just so trashy fabulous, and the writer/singer of most of the fantastically Valley girl musical numbers, I couldn't deny her a spot. Yes, there's a weirdly sexy rubbery Jim Carey from his days on In Living Color and Jeff Goldblum at the height of his hotness, but Julie Brown's bubbly tits and canned margaritas MAKE that movie. And make me wish I was a nail specialist with themed outfits that matched my nails living it up in the Valley in 1988.

And a fantastic rack.

Dang, kids, that was a post I guess! Hang in there for the next set!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why? I dunno, nothing better to do?

A while back Patton Oswalt, funny-man and hobbit, had a list of his hundred favorite movie moments. Of course, there are lots of obscure film-lovers kind of films on there, but the idea was intriguing. I tried to make my own list, and realized I was a consummate failure at all things planned and organized, so I thought maybe I'd take a different horse track altogether (but not really).

Instead of favorite movie moments, I thought I'd go with favorite movie characters, something I'm sure others have done, but I haven't, so put on some popcorn and take a walk down filmatic memory lane with me.

Peter Falk's "Grandpa" in The Princess Bride

The Grandson: A book?
Grandpa: That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you.
The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?
The Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
The Grandson: Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.
The Grandpa: Oh, well, thank you very much, very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.

Picking a favorite character from this movie is nearly impossible, because, let's face it, it's the perfect movie. I don't think I have yet to meet a person who's all, "Meh, I guess it was alright, you know, it's no Chronicles of Riddick," and if I did meet that person I would probably later be arrested for manslaughter.

But to choose one character out of all the fantastic, close-to-everyone's-heart, characters may be doing a disservice to the movie, BUT. I have always loved and been comforted by the Grandpa, the narrator of the story. He is how everyone wishes their grandpa was: salt and pepper moustache, fedora, tweed jacket, glasses. It would only have been maybe slightly more perfect if he'd been puffing on a pipe. His voice is soothing, sort of rumbly, softening the ending syllables like a kitten landing on a carpet. He gives the love story a certain sincerity that even the most cynical of us can't deny; it's his belief in the impossible tale of Wesley and Buttercup that gives their story credence.

Rik Mayall as "Drop Dead Fred" in Drop Dead Fred

Fred: You see when something's not working right, the best thing to do is tear it apart to make it better.

Thank god for Daniel Tosh for throwing out a Drop Dead Fred reference randomly on his show, and reminding me of one of my favorite movies of all time. This is probably where my secret love affair with gingers started, and the only reason why it also doesn't hold the genesis of my love of a British accent is because David Bowie got there first.

Why I love this character: This is how clever gross-out comedies SHOULD be done, but more often than not, aren't. TAKE A GODDAMN HINT, FARRELLY BROTHERS. A girl's childhood imaginary friend who loves snot and poo is locked up in a jack-in-the-box until she accidentally releases him years later as a neurotic, timid, low self-esteemed adult with a domineering mother and cheating husband. WACKY ANTICS ENSUE (including the sinking of a houseboat!). The silliness and grossness of Fred perfectly encapsulates how silly and gross we were as kids; I like to think I still uphold the tradition.

Also, this:

Natalie Dee knows what's up with this movie.

More to come, stick with me if you can. Also, comments, suggestions, bring 'em on.