Thursday, January 28, 2021

Top 6 best moments of 2020 (songs)

Why not. I'd like to start posting here again. Let this be the year of Reclaiming Myself, or some mess like that.

Hit songs only, or I'd be here all day.

1. "Ooh!" Miley Cyrus, Midnight Sky

2. "Oh, no!" Dua Lipa, Break My Heart

3. "As long as I'm here, no one can hurt you" Billie Eilish, Everything I Wanted

4. "Hey! Hey! Hey! *SYNTHBOMB*" The Weeknd, Blinding Lights

5. "la la la la I'm a lonely bitch" - Benee, Supalonely

6. "I don't need to be loved... by... YOU" - Midnight Sky again. That was totally my jam of 2020.

New Weezer album tomorrow! The first single slaps. I'm... cautiously stoked.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Bye, Twitter.

 Something happened last week that shouldn't have bothered me. I mean, it tweaked me a bit in the moment but I thought I'd get over it. A week later, I'm still thinking about it. Because it's a problem with social media and the way we engage with each other now that's way, way bigger than I am. 

I was blocked by someone I have never interacted with, someone who seems to champion, of all things, women in country music - you know, that thing I talk about and support constantly?? (In my own small way.) This isn't about me, personally, getting blocked and being "offended." This is about the bigger picture. That someone I seem to be on the same side with, on the same issue, would just immediately discard someone who doesn't fall LOCK. STEP. into their own narrow world view is everything that's wrong right now. 

I completely understand blocking someone who posts offensive content, even if it's not blatantly so. But immediately going NOPE to anyone who just says "I disagree on this one thing" is kind of insane? I didn't even say "I'm right and you're wrong," I just was like, "this is my own experience." But I guess that kind of discourse can't happen anymore. It's 100% or nothing, baby! No wonder we're in this giant horrible mess as a society. Also, again: I never even interacted directly with this person. They blocked me, I'm guessing, because I said something in favour of someone I felt was wrongly accused. Like I wasn't even shit-talking anyone, the freaking opposite!

I'm one of the least aggressive people out there, I'm very opinionated when it comes to movies and music, but I rarely make anything personal. So if this shit can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. That's how widespread it is. It's very bizarre that the only person I know to have blocked me is, likely, on the same "side." I'm progressive/leftist/whatever because I'm so strongly in favour of fair, equal rights for all people. But this "you must fall in lockstep or be banished, I won't even listen to you, lalala I can't hear you!" mindset is something the left needs to address. It alienates allies, and makes anyone who thinks for themselves just want to say BYE. Twitter reminds me of how insane and broken the world is, and that is not a thing I want to be reminded of. 

We don't talk to each other like people anymore, we're all just ideologies and identities and sides. No thank you, I'm turning off the noise and going back to my treehouse.

(And of course I'll still be on Letterboxd :))

Ooh maybe Letterboxd IS my treehouse!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The last one of these 2020 music things, probably?

A few more thoughts on the year that was, and will hopefully never be again. 

Looking at the charts and... Lemonade, Watermelon Sugar, One Margarita, Blueberry Faygo, WAP? Damn, y'all were thirsty this year! 😂 Oh also Ice Cream, which would maybe quench your thirst. Pour one out for the summer that never was, yet somehow had the summeriest soundtrack in years.

AJR - Why do I, and so many music youtubers, have such a viscerally negative reaction to these guys? They're not cruel, or misogynistic, or tough guy posturing or really harmful in any way, and yet? They are so deliriously punchable on such a primal level I'm not sure I can find the words. I don't even want to punch them, I want them to like, endlessly punch each other. They're not even lazy exactly, they try real, real, REAL hard, but they're maybe... accidentally lazy? Like they're trying to make this big statement but it's just "ugh taxes" and adulting and the sort of clueless privileged white guy crap, like they're approaching a bunch of us ordinary schlubs like, "what's up, fellow ordinary people?" Yeah, I guess they stink of privilege. I guess that's it. They're like twenty one pilots left out in the sun too long, like TOP are clever and subtle enough to get away with corny lines like "I'll take the latter/ladder" but if AJR did it there'd be a giant wink and a slide whistle going off or something. It's all just noise, literal white noise, made by the kind of aggressively white people we're all sick of. And I say that as a white person.

Green Day - In a year that pop punk made a comeback, Green Day laid a giant egg. A giant green egg... and ham? Anywayy this whole thing feels like a troll, but who are they trolling? The music industry, us fans, themselves... Sweden?? What a waste. "Graffitia" slaps though.

I can't process how bad that "Party Girl" song is. It's so bad it makes me miss "Party Rock Anthem," which at least sounded like a party. Also the lyric "don't be scared to party" in the one year you ACTUALLY HAVE TO BE SCARED TO PARTY is just, worst timing ever? This song is so bad it gives people coronavirus, is what I'm saying. Even if they're not partying and are just alone in their house.

2020 Miley Cyrus is the new 2017 Kesha; an artist I thought had very little merit just blowing the hell up. (In a good way.) I'm so sorry I ever disparaged Miley's low register, it's actually badass just... not suited to pop music. Rock n roll will save your soul. 🤘

Gabby Barrett, "I Hope" - I said in a previous entry I didn't think this was too bad other than the ear-bleedy production. Then I listened to it a little more and... this song is hilarious. Like, that punch lands the first time - "I hope you meet the girl of your dreams and have a wonderful magical night full of rainbows and unicorns and you fall more in love every day and then I hope she CHEATS, cause you cheated on me motherfucker!" Totally fair. 

But... then she punches again. "I hope you get back together AFTER she cheats and you buy her a ring and blah blah blah and then I hope she cheats AGAIN" and it just doesn't hit the same, y'know? Like how far are we gonna take this? "I hope you celebrate 50 golden years together and then BOOM! she cheats with some guy in the nursing home! Take that!" "I hope she's there for you on your deathbed, holding your hand as you draw your last breath but then I hope she CHEATS and that's the last thing you see!" "I hope she cries at your funeral as she says her last goodbye and then I hope she CHEATS as you're being lowered into the ground! Dumb dead motherfucker." I'm seeing a lifetime of this guy getting pwned and never learning his lesson like he's cursed by some shady carnival fortuneteller and I'm kinda here for it, honestly.

Also: remixes in 2020 - I remember when a remix like, served a purpose other than cheating a song up the charts. They were usually done by djs as dance mixes for clubs; they had their place and didn't chart because that's not what they were for. They were for getting drunk and sweaty and making poor life choices, and I'm fine with that. Now there are all these shoehorned-in remixes (probably the most egregious being "I Hope" with Charlie Puth as it makes the song NOT MAKE SENSE), and they're like the straight-to-DVD sequels of the original song. They're technically canon, but they add nothing. Imagine a world without cheap cash grabs. We can do it if we try.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Stop engaging with shitty people.

Don't give them clicks. Don't give them ratings. The algorithm doesn't care if you click/watch because you like it or hate it, and the algorithm rules. Instead of clicking on something you know is going to be bad, engage with something you find worthy. Whether it's a candidate, a movement, a charity, a business, a dog, whatever! - only click on the things you want to see MORE of.

Sometimes we have to read about negative things (pandemic, plane crash, earthquake, etc.) to stay informed, and that's fine. Engaging with those things won't make more of them. It won't empower planes to crash more often or the earthquake knock down more buildings for attention. But if "being informed" about something is not only going to make you dumber, but encourage bad faith through engagement - resist. Please.

This is something literally everyone can do to help prevent what's been going on in the U.S. the last several years from happening again. Don't encourage it, even with your hate. This cycle has to end.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Let's finish this bitch.

And now my final year end music tradition, reacting to songs I saw on other people's lists because I don't really listen to popular music anymore, and expanding on a few songs I already mentioned. Might add to this. 

 I'm just gonna go through Todd's worst list song by song cause oh lordy. 

 10. Lonely - Justin Bieber 
I think I mentioned all of Bieber's other songs on my worst list, but not this one. Because it's great? No, because I hadn't heard it. He yodels about being lonely. He is literally the lonely goatherd. 
 9. Blackpink and Selena Gomez - Ice Cream 
I don't care about k-pop or Selena Gomez, but even I can tell this is obnoxiously bad for both of them. 
8. One Margarita - Luke Bryan 
It's still a Luke Bryan song. 
7. Falling - Trevor Daniel 
Boring, whiny, pretentious dreck. Like when Post Malone was bad and nobody liked him but without even what made him interesting.
6. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani 
Yup, sounds just like what two people who used to make interesting music and are now on a singing show would make. 
5. Popstar - Drake 
Meh. Toosie Slide annoys me more. 
4. Two dudes whose names I'll never remember - Mood 
Some people don't like this and like "Roxanne." Some people like this and not "Roxanne." I am left baffled because they sound like the exact same song to me. 
3. Party Girl - lil trap rapper of the week 
The epitome of LTRotW. There was a time when "music" meant a pleasing sound. 
2. Savage Love - Jason Derulo 
Bad, but just kind of wallpaper to me. Sounds like the music they'd play at a minor league soccer game when someone scores a goal and a few people half-heartedly stand up and clap. 
HMs - Ok I take it back, Lil Baby is the epitome of LTRotW. Really need these mumbling mushmouths to be over. 
The bleating ginger sheep also needs to be over. I remember when singers had to be able to... sing. Or at least write good songs. 
Yup, Intentions is real bad. 
 I Love My Country - a song by a band that does nothing but hate crimes against country, with backhanded patriotism in one of the worst years in US history. 335,000 deaths and counting. Yeehaw, let's jump in the truck and fire up the ol barbecue and support our troops and booze and huntin' hounds and muddin and bler de blerp derp AS GOD INTENDED! My least favourite song of the year. 
Lovin on You - Luke Combs - Ok this sounds fine to me, not getting the hate. 
Someone called Russ? No idea. 
I try not to judge people by their appearance, but I just can't look at Russell Dickerson and want to listen to him. Sounds boring as shit anyway. 
I don't hate Maroon5. 
Stuck with You - I repeat: Eat, and I cannot stress this enough, the rich. 
1. obviously it's Yummy. 

 Okay, what else. Oh a country list had someone called Niko Moon on it and I was like ok, at least his name isn't Chase or Brock or Rock or Edge or one of those soap opera things, maybe it's at least something diff... oh God. Oh no. I think he's trying to do an Old Town Road type thing but Old Town Road worked because it wasn't made by yet another white frat douche. This is more like Sam Hunt. barf. 

 In case this comes off as the "I hate hip hop" blog, I mean I'm sorry, I don't like mumble rap or sex offenders. But I listened to everything on the year end hot 100 so I could be fair and I liked these songs! 
 "Come and Go" and "Wishing Well," Juice Wrld - Once an emo, always an emo I guess. RIP. 
 "Ballin," Mustard and Roddy Rich- this is just really catchy with a good beat 
"Laugh Now Cry Later," Drake - horns good 
Also that "Lemonade" song is pretty smooth and refreshing. No idea why it's a thing in the middle of winter. 
I still can't believe "Moneybagg Yo" is a real rapper. Surprise, he's bad! And not Michael Jackson bad.

Electronic music isn't my thing either but I weirdly like "Roses?" I think it's that moment when the beat drops out then comes back in, that just HITS. On the bad side, "ILY" by... Surf Mesa? Surf table? Sounds like a non-functional Ikea product, and the song in fact sounds like a half-assembled Ikea table. Pretty sure songs are supposed to come fully put together guys! 

 I want to say a little more about "If the World Was Ending," a song I think a lot of people don't really "get?" I mean, I think it's more symbolic than literal - if the world was ending, if none of the "wordly" crap mattered anymore, if all the baggage and reasons why a relationship might not work in practice even if, in theory, you still have feelings for each other went away - you'd be together, right? I take it as a plea for emotion over practicality, which I'm down with tbh. Unfortunately, while I like the concept it's sung by two of the least passionate, most uncharismatic singers I've ever heard so it falls completely flat. A 2.5 earthquake of a song. 

"la la la la I'm a lonely bitch" is a good lyric for 2020.

I hate "Hard to Forget" because yes, I hate Sam Hunt on principle but I'm <i>not</i> opposed to using classic country songs in modern ones. See Little Big Town's interpolation of the "Fishin' Hole" song in "Boondocks."It sounds great. Sam Hunt's chopped up garbage sounds like a crime.

 That's it for now, might pop in with more later! But in case I don't, I wanna say again how great "Blinding Lights" and "Midnight Sky" are and how they deserved a funner year to be hits in. At least they helped make a shit year funner.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Ok, I guess I have one more thing to add about WAP

It's the line "certified freak, 7 days a week." Yes, that's the issue I have with this song called "wet ass pussy." Not how "ass pussy" sounds like a mad science experiment gone horribly wrong (do mad science experiments ever go right?), but that one line. As a woman and not a conservative old man with his monocle falling on the floor, that's what sounds wrong to me. Cause look, no matter how freaky I am I still need a damn day OFF. Do my nails, check twitter, maybe practice some light witchcraft - you know, me time! So you can just wait and get your Mack truck serviced tomorrow, I need to run some errands (probably towel shopping).

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

I guess I should make a 2020 music post.

What can I say about this year? We all just want it to be over. I don't know about music-wise, but I think 2021 will be an absolute banger. Vaccines are coming, the orange shit demon is leaving and it'll probably be REAL undignified and we can point and laugh, and OMG, people are gonna be here to enjoy things like never before. So much fun will be had! It sucks that it had to happen this way, but I think having a renewed appreciation for life - like, just the simple aspects of it - will at least be a good thing. 

And, forgive me a non-music aside, but for all the ghouls saying the regime change in the US isn't really change at all and wake up sheeple!🙄, are you fucking kidding me??? Yeah, I get the democrats kinda suck. They suck because they refuse to go the extra mile, or even a foot. They'd rather politely sniff farts. The two party system super sucks. It's like the difference between a clean toilet and a dirty toilet. The clean toilet is at least functional and won't give you a disease, but it's still a toilet. I GET IT. I'm still happy that A LITERAL CARTOONISH 80S MOVIE VILLAIN has been vanquished, even if it's by mediocrity. At least I won't have to install a "Biden blocker" on my computer. At least I won't have to do gymnastics to avoid the daily antics of an idiot who FOR SOME REASON even cool people I follow see fit to shit all over my timeline, like "look how bad he is!" I fucking know, you know you didn't have to follow him for the last 4 years, right??? Anywayyy... let people have some hope, we've earned it.

 Okay, music time! 


 All my faves in one handy list: 

 Top 11 fave NON-HIT songs: 

1. Napalm Girls - Creeper 
2. War - Waxahatchee 
3. My Own Soul's Warning - The Killers 
4. Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus - The Strokes 
5. End of the World - Worriers 
6. Poisoned Heart - Creeper 
7. Graceland Too - Phoebe Bridgers 
8. Falling Thunder - Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
 9. Neon Cross - Jaime Wyatt 
10. Death By Rock and Roll - The Pretty Reckless
11. Out of Sight - The Beths 

 In a nice world, those would be hits instead of Lil Trap Rapper of the Week and that awful bleating ginger sheep. But, there were some good hits and here they are! 

1. Blinding Lights - The Weeknd 
2. Midnight Sky - Miley Cyrus 
3. Everything I Wanted - Billie Eilish 
4. Starting Over - Chris Stapleton 
5. One Night Standards - Ashley McBryde
 6. Therefore I Am - Billie Eilish 
7. Bluebird - Miranda Lambert 
8. I Hope You're Happy Now - Carly Pearce and Lee Brice 
9. Break My Heart - Dua Lipa 
10. No Time to Die - Billie Eilish 

Now, listen to "Blinding Lights," "Midnight Sky," and "My Own Soul's Warning" all in a row. The first two were hits, the third was shamefully ignored even though it has the retro 80s synth thing and is by a well-known, mainstream band. The anti-rock bias is RIDICULOUS. This needs to change. Let's rock in 2021! 🤘

EDIT: I should add, I also liked Maddie and Tae's "Die From a Broken Heart" and Ingrid Andress' "More Hearts than Mine" - yay for country women! - I just didn't return to them as much as the songs I listed, which is the metric I typically use.


1. Creeper - Sex, Death and the Infinite Void 
2. Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud 
3. The Killers - Imploding the Mirage
 4. The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers 
5. Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher 
6. Beach Bunny - Honeymoon 
7. Probably would have been Van Weezer, but at least that's something to look forward to next year!


Okay I haven't heard all the "hits" obviously, I don't listen to Lil Trap Rapper of the Week. I don't know my "NLE Choppa" from my "Moneybagg Yo." Wait, is "Moneybagg Yo" a real rapper? Cause it sounds like a fake rapper from a bad sketch show. Anyway here's what I heard that I thought was utter shit, enjoy! 

1. Yummy - Justin Bieber 
Yup, this is a real song. 
2. Hard to Forget - Sam Hunt 
I'd like to report a crime. 
3. I Love My Country - FGL
 Gosh, I can't imagine why a back-handed patriotic song didn't go over well this year! Also this works on no level at all because FGL isn't country. 
4. Hot Girl Bummer - Blackbear 
"a emo chick that's broken" 
5. Toosie Slide - Drake 
The song 2020 deserved, but we didn't. 
6. Bang - AJR 
This band is like the word "adulting" gained sentience. Bleccch. 
7. Stuck With U - Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande 
Eat, and I cannot stress this enough, the rich. 
8. I Hope - Gabby Barrett 
Song fine, production ear-bleedy 
9. Before You Go - Lewis Capaldi 
Speaking of ear-bleedy, we let the bleating ginger sheep have another hit. WHY??? 
10. Intentions - Justin Bieber 
"heart full of equity, you're an asset" Oh yeah baby, do my taxes! I love when you talk financial to me! 
11. Holy - Justin Bieber 
OMG, wasn't this schtick cringy and blasphemous enough when FGL did it?? Go away Bieber, you suck. 
12. Russell Dickerson, the person 
I've never heard any of his songs, I just hate the shape of his head and his dumb cartoon hair 
13. Dan + Shay, all 
It's all the same song and it's all boring as shit, like being trapped in an endless wedding toast
14. If the World Was Ending - some guy and that awful "Issues" chick 
Well it's not, go home. 
15. One of Them Girls - Lee Brice 
"you're one of them girls who ain't trying to meet nobody" Then go away and leave her alone?? Maybe Meghan Trainer's "No" wasn't so bad after all.
16. One Margarita - Luke Bryan 
It's a Luke Bryan song. 

 Not mentioned: WAP. I am a White Ass Person and I don't really have a take on this song. It's not for me, but do your thing girls? Well, I guess I have one take: why are songs glorifying misogyny, some by actual abusers and sex offenders, given a pass like "yup this seems normal" while a song about women enjoying sex brings ALL the controversy? I guess I'm glad it exists just to show the hypocrisy. It's not like I have to listen to it. 

 Finally, the "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" award, which was inauguarated last year with "Baby" by Lil Baby and DaBaby, goes to...
Please know that whenever you are reading this, I am still sitting here blinking at my screen trying to make sense of that. 

BYE 2020! I'm glad there was at least some great music I'm gonna carry into 2021 like a fireman saving it from a burning building. I WON'T LEAVE YOU BEHIND, WAXAHATCHEE! *flames whoomf up in background* *heroic dive into snow* I've got you, Creeper. It's all gonna be ok.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Favourite Music of 2019!

Here's the playlist of my top 25 favourite songs of the year:

If I had to pick a top favourite it would probably be "Forest Lawn" by Better Oblivion Community Center, or at least that's the one I listened to most. But it could easily be "Crowbar" or "Everyday" or "Elephants" or "Born Cold." Also Patty Griffin's "Ruby's Arms" is one of my favourite covers ever. Weezer's rockin' "End of the Game" has me actually excited for their next album, and Creeper just announced they're dropping theirs on MY FREAKIN' BIRTHDAY! What a time to be alive.

On to albums! Somehow, my fave this year happens to be a critical darling and I'm not sure how to handle that?? I'm not a Pitchfork-reading hipster, I just like what I like. And this year, I loved the lush, gorgeous 70s singer-songwriter style album by Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising! Last year my fave was a mainstream country album, a few years ago it was a Letters to Cleo EP. You just never know! (And more on LTC later...) Yeah, this album hit the exact vibe that I, and I guess many others, were craving this year. It's like a time machine that's also a UFO. I love it so much. Fave songs - Everyday, Andromeda, Picture Me Better, Something to Believe

My second-fave is of course, the new New Pornographers In the Morse Code of Brake Lights. A band that has never made a bad album, and this is almost up with Brill Bruisers for me. Another collection of perfect, catchy power pop songs. I don't know how they keep doing it! Fave songs - Leather on the Seat, Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile, Colossus of Rhodes

And the rest of the albums I enjoyed, in no particular order: (This is so much less stressful than when I made ranked lists and wrote freakin' paragraphs about each album!)

Diva Sweetly, In the Living Room - Sure, let's start with a pretty obscure one I just lucked into by chance! If you were a 120 Minutes devotee in the 90s like I was, you might dig this. Quirky, 90sesque alt rock. Fave Songs - Detox Island, The Floor Caved In, Comfort Food

Better Oblivion Community Center - A chill, low-key catchy folk-pop album I played all year. Fave songs - Forest Lawn, Little Trouble, Chesapeake

Bleached, Don't You Think You've Had Enough? - And my theme of the year, "retro girly rock." Fave songs - Hard to Kill, Somebody Dial 911, Daydream

Ex Hex, It's Real - More retro girly rock! Fave songs - Cosmic Cave, Radiate, Another Dimension

The Regrettes, How Do You Love? - MORE retro girly rock? You're spoiling me, 2019! Fave songs - I Dare You, Fog, California Friends

Randy Houser, Magnolia - And my traditional-leaning mainstream country album of the year! Randy is back in form, big time. Hope he keeps this up. Fave songs - What Whiskey Does, No Stone Unturned, Evangeline

Karly Driftwood, Too Mean to Die - A fun, super catchy and even kinda horror-themed country debut! I love when it feels like an album was made just for me! Fave songs - Dodged a Bullet, Bake You a Cake, Too Mean to Die

Alice Wallace, Into the Blue - California canyon country that feels both 70sesque and fresh! Fave songs - Elephants, Top of the World, The Lonely Talking

Jenny Lewis, On the Line - More on the pop side, but some of that California country feel at times. Jenny Lewis has been with me my whole life, first as a child in that iconic Toys r Us jingle I used to sing constantly and annoy my parents, then with Rilo Kiley, a band that got me through some rough times, and now with this beautiful album. She kinda feels like my sister I never met at this point. Fave songs - Wasted Youth, Red Bull and Hennessey, Hollywood Lawn

Jetty Bones, - (yes, the album is called "-") This is only 6 songs so I guess it's technically an EP, but it feels like a complete album to me. Paramore fans, check this out! Fave songs - "better," The Rest of Them., To Know You...

Women Sing Waits - Some beautiful voices sing some of my favourite Tom Waits songs! Fave songs - Ruby's Arms, Downtown Train, Time

Sturgill Simpson, Sound and Fury - This one took a little getting used to. I dug the songs, but wasn't sure I could vibe with the vocal production. Then I realized it was supposed to sound like a cowboy transmitting from space. Then I realized that's AWESOME. Fave songs - Mercury in Retrograde, Make Art Not Friends, Remember to Breathe


Sunflower Bean, King of the Dudes - Oh, MORE retro girly rock you say? Fave songs - King of the Dudes, Fear City, Come for Me
Ghost, Seven Inches of Satanic Panic - This is only two songs, but they both rock.
Charlie Marie - Wow, super promising country vocalist from... Rhode Island? Yeehaw! Fave songs - Rodeo, Rhinestones, Countryside
Letters to Cleo, OK Christmas - What better way to end the year than with a Christmas album I actually like! Leave it to LTC, of course. My fave band at the end of the 90s, still my fave at the end of the 2010s.

It was a really good year! I listened to a lot of music between the 450+ movies I watched, and while some of it was disappointing (*cough Black Album cough*), a lot of it will be with me for a long, long time. Let's see what my first fave of the new decade will be! Creeper in May, or something before then? I'm excited for the journey!

I'll also make a favourite albums of the decade post... sometime this decade. ;)

Thursday, December 05, 2019

A brief look at 2019 popular music (from someone who didn't listen to it)

So this was the year I finally admitted defeat and stopped following popular music. I survived "Body Like a Backroad," that Mo Bamba thing, I even survived BABY FREAKIN SHARK, but this is what did me in:

... I give up. I'm out. I no longer understand pop culture, the World Has Turned and Left Me Here for good.

However, I still went to bars, malls and football games, so I heard some of what the year had to offer. And honestly, it's not as bad as the last few years, at least with what rose to the top. It still kinda sounds like popular music has been... stepped on though, you know? Flattened out. Especially hip hop and country. Like I imagine the process it takes to make poi, and it's kinda like that. And if you've ever had poi, you know it's flavourless mush. 2016-2019: the era of Poi Music. Long may we leave it behind.


Billie Eilish - 2019 will always be the year of Billie Eilish for me. I listened to "Bury a Friend" and "Bad Guy" as much as any of my "you probably haven't heard of it" shit. I can't believe something so weird and interesting got popular. I can't believe I'm with the zeitgeist for once. When's the last time that happened, when MCR was in the Hot 100?? This is why you're never "too old" to keep up with popular music - this then-17 year old made music that resonates with me.

Sunflower - I will never be a Post Malone fan, but damn this is smooth and easy to listen to. Kind of this year's "God's Plan" in that it's specifically designed to not get tired of it. It just washes right over me, and I mean that as a compliment. Definitely the best of Post Malone's 27 hits this year - seriously, I think there were 27 in the top 10 at one point.

Walk Me Home - A Pink song with some energy and feeling! It's been too long.

As I'm only covering the "hits" here, the rest of my favourites will be in the next entry!


Old Town Road - Have I avoided my blog since April because I didn't want to offer a spicy hot take on Old Town Road? Maybe! Yeah, I'm a country fan but I'm so far removed from what they play on the radio now it almost feels disingenuous saying that. But having that space also makes me unemotional about Old Town Road. Maybe 5 years ago, before "country" became synonymous with white guys rapping and snap beats, I'd have been outraged! this would even be considered as country. It's not, obviously, but neither is Sam Hunt and I don't care anymore.

I get this song. It's about freedom, something literally anyone of any demographic - country, hip hop, rock, idk, flamenco?? - can relate to. Normally I hate the fucking monogenre, but this song brought people together and that's why. It strikes a chord, and it's also ridiculously catchy, which is something that's missing in most "trap" music. Because the trap elements still leave me cold, and no one over 6 - okay, no one ever - should say the word "boobies," this just gets an okay. But you know what, you take that horse to that old town road, and you ride til you can't no more. Godspeed, my friend.

Memories - This Maroon 5 song is fine. Maybe even good, in that it does exactly what it's supposed to do. Give me a few drunken nights over Christmas and New Year's and this might move up to "good" by next year. I still miss old Maroon 5, but this is a pretty big improvement over their last 27 hits!

ME-HE-HEE! - Sounds like a lamaze class, I'll pass.

God's Country - A little too bombastic for me. I can see why some rock fans like it; it reminds me of "Take Me to Church" which was also too bombastic for me.

I also miss old Panic! at the Disco. But why couldn't "Say Amen" have been the big hit from this comeback album? It would be kind of funny if a song called "Hey Look Ma, I Made It" was their/his last hit. Ironic in a way the old Panic might have appreciated.


I talked about "Mo Bamba" already last year ( Still literally the worst popular song I've ever heard. He sounds like a garbage truck backing up, just add beeping sounds and maybe he'll come haul your old couch away.

Ariana Grande - Wow. After three absolute pop classics in 2018 (No Tears Left to Cry, Breathin', Thank U, Next), we get three absolute turds this year. A movie theme no one asked for from a movie no one asked for, 7 Rings, and *sigh* Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored. Why not "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Horny?" At least that would be honest. "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I Like You?" At least that's flattering. "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, She's on Meth?" Yeah, that's a problem. But "I'm bored" flatters nobody, neither the singer nor the subject, and if that's the point I like my pop songs a little less nihilistic, thanks.

7 Rings is a special kind of bad. Yeah, it's got that awful staccato-y trap beat that sounds like getting constantly poked with a finger, but it's the lyrics that really put me off. "Whoever said money can't solve their problems, must have not had enough money to solve them." Really, Arianananana?? Look, pop music doesn't have to - and probably shouldn't be - political (hi, Taylor Swift), but that line is REALLY fucking tone deaf in today's climate. Yeah, I guess you really dunked on all those people who can't afford their diabetes medicine or cancer treatments and died. SWISH! 🙄

Baby Fucking Shark - I wrote here about a year ago how therapeutic it can be to sing your old camp songs when you're depressed, but I DIDN'T MEAN TURN ONE INTO A HIT SONG! What's next, the Weenie Man?

Eww, why is Chase Rice squatting in the year end hot 100? I haven't heard the song, Chase Rice just reflexively makes me go "ewww." At least there's no Sam Hunt?

Someone You Loved - Gawd, why is there one of these adult contemporary "love" ballads every single year? They all suck and this is the worst one yet. I'd rather listen to nothing but trap songs than this bleating idiot. He sounds like Ed Sheeran left out in the sun too long. He sounds like a rusty nail dissolving in a pool of acid. This hit #1! Do better, music! Bring back Old Town Road for another week! And why is it that rock must die, at least in the mainstream, but these awful adult contemporary ballads NEVER do??! Every year we get dreck like this (also "Be Alright," "You Say") but rock is outdated? Fuck, man.

And yup, I continue to not understand trap. Most boring shit I've heard outside of an elevator and it all sounds the same to me. I guess this is that generational tipping point, or maybe it just sucks. Here's my impression of every single trap song ever by L'il Flash in the Pan: *DJ Hot Shit on tha muthafuggin BEAT* "YAH! Duh da duh da da duh da, UNGH, Duh da duh da da duh da, AY, Duh da duh da da duh da, SKRT!, Duh da duh da da duh da, PBBBT." Yah! :(

Favourite songs and albums of 2019 up next, and then a couple favourites of the decade lists! Yay!

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Spring playlist

Between the crushing bleakness of winter and the blinding brightness of summer, lies the brief hopefulness of spring. A green time full of wistfulness; looking forward while looking back. In other words, it's a great time to listen to some indie shit past and present!

Music to Frolic Through Meadows To or w/e!

Spotlight movie: I Don't Feel At Home in this World Anymore

So, I kinda loved this? This might be a "me" movie, idk, cause I sure do seem to love quirky revenge capers and ordinary people riding around solving crimes/doing crimes for great justice. (She probably shouldn't have stolen the lawn tiger, but there is a certain satisfaction in stealing some rich asshole's lawn tiger, mainly in that he had a damn lawn tiger.) I've seen several of these quirky sorta-thrillers lately and yeah, I guess this is my thing. (Blue Ruin, Gemini, Cold Weather, A Simple Favor. This was directed by the star of Blue Ruin, but it's much lighter.)

I didn't even recognize Elijah Wood at first, and that's a compliment. He was really fun as this dude who thinks he's more of a badass than he is but actually is sort of a badass? The computer scene cracked me up so hard, if you've seen any of those old "hacker" thrillers it was pretty spot-on. This was funny, and also pretty exciting! I laughed kinda hard when someone got hit by a bus, which might say more about me than it does about the movie, but it was just like - WHAM! It was funny.

I like superheroes, I loved Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman but sometimes there's something so satisfying about an ordinary, pissed off person kicking some ass. Melanie Lynskey was awesome as Ruth. She remained a real, sympathetic person through some pretty absurd shit. I found her super relatable cause seriously, why can't people just stop being assholes?? AND it has the "two lost souls finding each other" thing that gets me every time if it's done even half well. And a great soundtrack!

The carousel horse with the "not a real horse" sign is now one of my favourite movie characters.


Now that it's finally spring I won't be watching 50 movies a month, but I still have a little catchup to do.

Frailty - "I sure love peas!" - obvious future serial killer

Damn, "Supernatural" has a weirder origin story than I thought.

Nothing good could possibly come from a place called Meat, Texas.

Bill Paxton was awesome. This would make a good double feature with The Clovehitch Killer.

Mistress America - "In L.A., I qualify as well-read."

lol I really had no idea there were adorable tabbycats in this movie, I just saw Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke and went "yup." These kind of imperfect characters are so fun to watch. You never quite love them or hate them, but you always kind of like them in spite of themselves.

Dead of Night - This anthology is hard to rate in 2019, when I've seen more haunted mirrors, kid ghosts, and evil ventriloquist dummies than I know what to do with, but that's not this film's fault. This felt like a real landmark of horror, and while only that penultimate nightmare scene (wow, 1945!) actually scared me, this was very well done. I was happy it didn't have the stiff performances of the last couple old horrors I watched; these characters really came to life both in the vignettes and the wraparound story.

I wish I could have seen this in 1945, but I still enjoyed it. And that ventriloquist movie MST3K did was totally based on one of the vignettes, the dummy was even named Hugo! It was done better here, but unfortunately MST has warped me forever and I kept thinking, "You think he likes ham? Wait'll you see me like ham!"

Krisha - Like being a fly on the wall at the most awkward Thanksgiving ever, if that's your thing. (That is my thing.) That turkey scene was more tense than most horror films, damn.

This movie teaches an important life lesson which is if you're trying to stay sober, spending Thanksgiving with your family ain't it.

Child's Play - So I was gonna bite the bullet and finally watch Leprechaun. I've never seen any of the Leprechaun films - for some reason this makes me feel like I have "standards" (I don't). But I decided if I wanna watch a wee homicidal dude, it's gonna be Chucky. So Happy St. Patrick's Day, I guess?

I hadn't seen this since the mid 90s I think! It was on a ratty VHS for sure! First thing 2019 me zoomed in on was the BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS in the opening toy store scene, giving me immediate nostalgia for that brief moment in time when Barbie wanted to be Jem. I also enjoy any character that's like, Detective Skeptical but Checks Out the Crazy Shit Anyway Just in Case! They make me feel like the world is in good hands, and this movie has a great one played by Chris Sarandon.

You had to say it, didn't you lady? You had to say the killer's dead, thus ensuring his immortality. Oh well. I'm gonna rewatch part 2, but I remember not being into the series past that. Like, I don't mind a goofy horror movie, but when a series starts out genuinely good I hate to see it decline into silliness, y'know? This movie is really fun, and even a little scary at times. Chucky himself is one of the most iconic horror villains, and I'm totally on board for the remake with Aubrey Plaza.

Her - Hike your pants up, the movie! Seriously, that was an odd style choice if it wasn't meant to be distracting.

I'm not sure how I felt about this one. It made me feel a little weird as a woman? Maybe it would have made me feel even weirder as a man, idk! It was well made and Joaquin Phoenix gave a great performance, it's just... I like some cringe, but I think this hit my cringe threshold. I think this is it. And this is probably hopelessly shallow but I kinda feel like he might have had fewer ladytroubles if he lost the high pants and weird 70s 'stache? Like I'm all about seeing the person inside blah blah but you gotta at least try a little, right? I think I missed the point of this movie lol. This was an interesting experience, it just wasn't really for me! Sorry all the people who love this. xx

P.S. - Oh yeah, there's something to be written about how visionary James Nguyen was for coming up with this years before with Julie and Jack. I'll let you know if I think of what it is.

Child's Play 2 - On rewatch, I think I might like this sequel even more than the original! It starts out a little silly, you've got Exposition Business Suit Guys telling us what happened to Andy and his mother since the last movie. Rewatches are funny; 17-year old me would have never been like OMG EXPOSITION, but now I'm a more sophisticated viewer... watching Child's Play 2... whatever. So it's pretty good, there's a weird pink and blue pastel house that looks like a giant dollhouse, Christine Elise from 90210 is in it and I was kinda obsessed with Emily Valentine, like I'd record all her episodes and watch them over and over, so that's a big plus.

Then we get the finale at the toy factory, and I'm not exaggerating when I say this is one of my favourite scenes of all time, not just horror. Non-stop fun from start to finish, one of the most memorable kills ever, Andy and Kyle running up ramps and down chutes and across conveyer belts all while Chucky parts are flying all over the place. It's a visual delight. Whoever came up with that idea deserves an award, sadly they do not give out Oscars for Best Kill or Best Scene Featuring a Homicidal Doll Chasing Kids Through a Spooky Toy Factory. Their loss.

For now I will choose to end the Child's Play series here, because how could you possibly top that??

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Last one for today

The Sentinel - Another old horror movie that's been on my list forever, and this was an unexpected treat. Law and Order credits font! *chng chng* And Jerry Orbach is in it?? Well now you're just trolling... from the past... somehow. Aww, baby Christopher Walken. And JESSABELLE! In her little party hat! 😻🎉

I'm pretty sure if someone starts masturbating in front of you you're allowed to excuse yourself, you don't have to sit there politely like she's showing you pictures of her grandchildren. I mean, just a tip, in case that's useful.

So I think this somewhat inspired American Horror Story: Hotel, and this was everything I wanted that to be - really creepy! It could have been ruined by bloat, but it's a nice 90 minutes and has that 70s pacing I like, a little slow burn with a BIG payoff. There was some creepy stuff leading up to it, like the neighbours that weren't there and the building itself with the vines growing all over it. Love! And I thought the end was pretty spectacularly disturbing and DON'T YOU DARE KILL THAT CAT! even if it is a demon maybe? They don't. Whew. Run free little Jessabelle, you darling little hell kitty you.

This was a real hidden 70s gem for me, like The Legacy, and I'd definitely recommend (not just because they both have cats, but it helps).

Gemini - If you open with moody shots of palm trees, you have my attention.

Oh my GOD Aaron Katz, I think I love you?? I raved about Cold Weather for being an engaging and beautifully-shot low-budget film, and if you thought that was pretty you'll really wanna hold onto your socks for this one.

Your enjoyment of this might depend on how interesting you find L.A. There are lots of gorgeous shots to set the mood. For me, this was a more concise and enjoyable Neon Demon. It isn't horror, it's kind of a noir-mystery, but it has actual interesting characters. I loved following Lola Kirke around the city, I could probably watch a whole day's footage of just that tbh. (God I miss L.A. here on day 755 of winter.) I got involved in the story too, and I found the ending satisfying as it left you with one question that was better not answered. I like when filmmakers give you just enough to chew on but don't overexplain.

This is the second thing I've seen Zoe Kravitz in this past week (also Big Little Lies) and yes, more please. She, Lola Kirke, John Cho, and really everyone was good here. I think this might be a "me" movie, but it's a nice mix of style and substance and I super recommend it if this sounds interesting.

Ouija: Origin of Evil - Okay, this time I watched this when I was awake, good for me. This was a "because it's on Netflix" movie. Like when I'm on my deathbed am I gonna I think "damn, why did I spend an hour and forty minutes of my life watching Ouija: Origin of Evil?" But that's never stopped me before, and, y'know, Netflix! I didn't see the first Ouija because I only watch old bad horror movies. They're interesting. New bad horror movies are just boring with lame CGI.

But this is the good ouija movie? (Actually I'd say that's Witchboard, but whatever.) So part of me is like, "I already saw The Exorcist twice, thanks tho," but I kinda liked this anyway. Was not a fan of the weird faces and the CG in general and the pretty unoriginal horror elements but - I liked these characters. I liked the performances. I liked how it was shot, the beautiful vintage tones that were dark but never drab. Once again, I liked the life Mike Flanagan breathed into standard mainstream horror. He's a talented director and I'm looking forward to watching The Haunting of Hill House. I liked how dark it got at the end, which was at least a good payoff to a film that felt long and slow in parts.

A Simple Favor - "Well, that was extra."

OMG, this was so much fun! This is the same guy who did that clunky Ghostbusters movie? How??

If you've ever wanted to see a movie about the kind of person who owns a helium tank and listens to the Brady Bunch in the car getting mixed up in crimes, you're in luck. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively burn this barn down and I love it. Usually I say anything over 90 minutes is too long (with a few obvious exceptions), but this sucker was 115 and I was here for all of them. "Mommy needs a drink" is my motto too (I don't have kids).

I would totally buy Anna Kendrick's rap album.

Pumpkin - What an odd movie, and I'm not saying that because of its subversive subject matter, which is handled about as well as can be expected. It seems to be a satirical dark comedy most of the way through, but a low-key one. As weird as it is, it's still grounded in reality. Then a car drives off a cliff in a massive explosion and the driver somehow survives and I'm like okay, we're not in Pasadena anymore, we're in a Toonces the Driving Cat sketch. I cannot tell you how tonally weird this was compared to the rest of the movie, which was weird but in a different way.

Why did I rewatch this, of all things? I Love Christina Ricci and I hadn't seen her in anything for a while. I was gonna put on Buffalo '66 but then I saw this and was hit with a weird wave of nostalgia. The kind you get when you see something you forgot even existed and it takes you right back. I can't say this gave me more clarity on rewatch, but I do have a few positives. The guy who played Pumpkin did a great job. He was really sweet and you rooted for him. Ricci did as well as she could with some uneven writing, and she's just someone I always enjoy watching.

Unlike many college/high school movies of the late 90s/early 2000s, this doesn't rely on crude humour. I'm definitely not gonna call it "tasteful," but I'd still rather watch this than cheap sex jokes (a dude said the word vagina! And he's HIGH! OMG hilarious!! 🙄🙄 you know the type). And finally, the soundtrack to this thing!! Like Garden State, if you were into indie music in the early 2000s this will be a total nostalgia bomb. I might even recommend it just for the "Stars of Track and Field" sequence tbh.

Unrateable, but 5 stars for Belle and Sebastian.

The Imposter - 1. Watch this and Abducted in Plain Sight back to back.
2. Take a drink every time you say "what the fuck?!"
3. Try not to die.

I need more of these batshit documentaries in my life.

The Uninvited - This isn't scary, but it wouldn't be a bad ghost story if not for the overwhelming old-timey corniness. The dialogue is stilted and everyone talks like they're in a play which doesn't help. And that weird accent, the one that distracts me in so many old movies. Like an American trying to sound British or a Brit trying to sound American? Where are we?? I'm so confused! This is also the kind of old film where a man tells a woman to "calm down!" when she is perfectly calm. Tell it to yourself, chuckles. (Though that might have been intentional since the lead male is pretty corny? Hard to tell in the 40s.)

The seaside and house are lovely and well shot, so it's here if you want that aesthetic. If I had discovered this late at night on cable growing up, I probably would have been delighted. It's that kind of movie, so if you wanna recreate that vibe, go for it. There's not much other reason to stream this when like, every other movie is available. The poster is the spookiest thing about it.

Oh! - there is an adorable floofy CAT! I swear I don't always seek them out, they just come to me. :) 2.5 stars, but an extra half star meow meow meow.

Lady in White - "I wish I was as weird as you." - Anyone who said that to me would probably be my bff!

Is this movie tonally weird? Sure. Does a story about child murder really need a Comic Relief Smoking Grandpa? No, probably not! But you know what else is tonally weird? Childhood. Kids face things they don't understand on a daily basis and their minds fill in with whatever makes sense at the time. Our own memories are disjointed; it's hard to know what's real and what we created out of half-remembered truths and lies. This movie feels like that to me. It isn't really "good" but I kinda respect it for being as weird as childhood itself.

My mom took me to see this in the theatre in 1988, and I hadn't seen it since. This was right when I was starting to get into horror, mostly through Stephen King books. One thing kid me and now me have in common - all it really takes is a creepy cemetery, an abandoned farmhouse, some Halloween decorations and a fog machine to make me happy. (In fact, the cemetery is really all I remembered about this. Good to see my priorities haven't changed.) I still enjoyed those elements, as well as the nostalgic small-town setting, even if the movie overall didn't hold up.

This is way too long, the effects are wonky, many things are telegraphed, the narrative is inconsistent and I'll never watch it again, but I am glad I experienced it as an adult. There are elements for a good, dark story about childhood here, it just didn't quite hit the mark.

more more movies keep em coming

Don't Look Now - Oh, I hate when this happens. Everyone else likes this, so why don't I?

I see the artsiness. The shot at the beginning of the little girl in her raincoat reflected in the water was so innocent yet so ominous, and I was like yes, this is gonna be great!! Then... nothing happened. Then some more nothing happened. Then I fell asleep, woke up, and thought a cat had stepped on something that took me to porn. 70s porn, no less. But no, this 110 minute movie has a random, uncomfortably long sex scene and I'm not a prude but 1) nobody wants to see 70s people having sex and 2) if they do, porn exists. And most importantly, 3) this movie was too darn long already!!

I like a slower-paced 70s horror/thriller if it steadily builds tension, but this had very little tension for me til the last... 30? 20? minutes. I got interested when his wife was seemingly in two places at once, finally some intrigue! And then the final scene was... interesting, but not satisfying enough to justify all the 70s-hued fucking around (sometimes literally) I just sat through. I liked the artistic shots, the use of colour and juxtaposition and all that, but this just meandered too much to grip me, and I'm SAD about it.

EDIT: oh oh! There was one awesome thing about this movie which is that I learned Venice has HEARSE BOATS!

Captain Marvel - KITTYYYYYYYY 😻🐈😻🐈😻

So I love how half the internet is all "my GOD, a LADY superhero??" *monocle pops out* and the other half is like "yeah deal with it" and I'm just over here like "you know there's a CAT in this, right?" I can't really judge this movie objectively, but I did like the parts without the cat in them so that's something, right??

I thought they did a good job with Sam Jackson honestly, slap a moustache on him and he's Jules again! On that note, Tarantino totally stopped by and wrote the glowing cube in the Fonzie lunchbox thing, right? It's ok, you can tell me.

I will never complain about one of my cats' epic hairballs again, I had no idea.

Goose is totally gonna save the world and I CAN'T WAITTTT

The Spiral Staircase - Yeah, this wasn't really it for me. Loved the big spooky house, but I've seen more interesting things happen in big spooky houses. On spiral staircases, even (watch The Haunting instead).

Yelling "TRY TO TALK!" at a mute person = SCIENCE! I'm sure she hadn't thought of that one, Dr. Smugman. And what did you think giving a mute woman a phone number was going to accomplish? Pretty much wanted to give that doctor one long smack through the whole movie.

2.5, but the extra half star is for the world's most adorable bulldog what a good boy THAT'S A GOOD BOY

Edge of Seventeen - Aw man, all I ever wanted in high school was an Erwin. I never yearned for popularity, for the jock or the cool guy in a band, I just wanted someone to like, talk to. I like how this movie recognizes that you can actually be yourself and be happy, that there's a better chance of finding happiness that way than trying to be something you're not.

I mean, that never happened for me in high school, but I'm really glad it did in this movie cause I think it's inspiring. I also got major Cute Asian Guy flashbacks to one of my first crushes, the kid in Earth Angel, and it occurs to me how much the 1990 tv movie Earth Angel might have influenced my life. Scary. Anyway. If you think someone is nice or cool or whatever, even if they aren't "popular," they probably are cool and you should hang with them because high school doesn't last forever. (This also applies to adults because in some ways, high school does last forever.)

That has been my advice for today, you're welcome, and also watch this movie because it's really good. I didn't necessarily relate to Nadine, well I did because she's awkward but she's the "talk too much when she's nervous" kind and I'm the super quiet kind, so I related to her except the exact opposite. Yeah. Also, everyone in this movie acts like a jerk sometimes (except sweet Erwin) but you don't hate anyone, it's just how people are.

A Monster Calls - A sweet fairytale with heart and some gorgeous visuals. I loved the design of the tree monster and the animation in the story segments. I'm so glad to see they're still making imaginative films like this! It reminds me of one of those trippy kids' films I might have watched in the 80s, but with better effects. I really enjoyed this as an adult, both for the fantasy elements and the deeper elements that kids might miss (but possibly intuit?), like when the tree monster first shows up and what that means to Conor. That's the whole turning point of the movie, and it really comes together at the end. I don't want to spoil the emotional impact so I'll leave it at that. This is a sad movie, but also hopeful.

I thought this was really well done on every level - visuals, storytelling, and great performances.

Paddleton - "Oh God, small talk" pretty much sums up my entire world view, thank you.

I'm not usually into tearjerker dramas but it's Mark Duplass so, here we go. Bless you for making a cancer diagnosis scene wonderfully awkward. Bless you for knowing that abandoned drive-in theatres are some of my favourite places in the world. Bless you for understanding that small talk is awful and makes us stupid. And bless you for the most sincere portrait of male friendship I've seen since They Look Like People.

Ray Romano is great here, has he always been great? I don't know, I don't watch sitcoms! But this was like, an award-calibre performance. I'll say the same thing I said about Blue Jay, which was also written by Duplass and directed by Alexandre Lehmann. I love films about lost souls finding each other, whether it's romantic or friendship. Even if they end up losing each other, they're with each other forever because that changes a person. That's the only kind of dramatic story that really interests me, and this was a good one. 3.75 stars.

(The last two films I've watched have been about terminal illness, so idk what I'm watching next but it won't be that.)

Oculus -
I'm watching some of Mike Flanagan's films before I start my long overdue plunge into The Haunting of Hill House. Hush was really good, Before I Wake was decent, and I think this might be my favourite so far. This isn't super original; it's pretty standard mainstream modern horror. But I like modern horror when it's stylish and feels somewhat fresh, and this is upper mid-tier. (Not up with classics like Hereditary or the Conjuring films, but way above like, The Bye Bye Man. I mean, I've never seen The Bye Bye man, but y'know.) And it's about an eeeevil antique so it kinda feels like watching a movie-length episode of Friday the 13th: The Series, which I am totally down for.

The parts of this film I would mostly call "serviceable," but the sum of those parts makes for a compelling watch. I'm gonna credit Flanagan with that, as the mix of flashbacks and present day is done well and never feels overlong. You know what's gonna happen in the flashback sequences but they're still engaging (and horrific in a couple moments!), and I had NO IDEA what was gonna happen in the present day. Would they defeat the evil mirror? Would they run away like the smart (and adorable) dog? Would it kill one or both of them? Most importantly, was it the same evil mirror from Mirror Mirror?? The payoff here is pretty good, though I missed goth Rainbow Harvest.

more more movie catchup

Black Sabbath - Ahh, time for another classic horror I've never seen. This takes us back to the days when a horror legend (here, Boris Karloff) put on their best spooky black suit just to introduce a movie. Things were classy then, unlike now, scoffs the woman wearing Hello Kitty pjs and drinking wine from a Spiderman cup while watching horror movies. Anyway, Black Sabbath. It's good. The stars of this movie are the lighting and set design, and that's not to disparage the performances or anything, it's just that beautiful. This thing is all colour and texture and ornate gold bedposts. I don't know why the abandoned crypt is bathed in a purple and green glow, but I'm not gonna complain about it! This movie is pretty much what my pinterest page would look like.

Blue and pink-drenched gothic mansion filled with cats = retirement goals! Oh, dead lady in a bed. Never mind I guess. *sadly unpacks* The first segment managed to make dripping water really damn creepy because it's that kind of old movie where every second just oozes dread and I love that. The star of the second segment was this super mod looking red and black rotary phone, and I'm far from a rotary phone expert but I've never seen a snazzy two-tone one like that and I kind of want one, even if it is haunted.

The third segment features the ghoulish spectre of Boris Karloff riding a horse through a fog-shrouded forest of gnarled trees, and if you need more out of life than that I'm not sure I can help you. This one also featured the abandoned crypt, and the whole setting looked similar to Black Sunday. Between this and that film, I definitely need to check out more Mario Bava.

I started watching this last night and fell asleep, not because it was boring but because it lulled me into that cosy sleepiness only old horror movies can do. (Also, I watched this on tubitv so my gothic vibes were periodically interrupted by overly cheerful air travel ads. Not sure I'd recommend this method, but it was free.)

The Neon Demon - "Nicolas Winding Refn," what a name. Sounds like a riddle you must solve to complete a great quest, or possibly a small town in Pennsylvania.

Okay. This is a beautiful-looking movie about beautiful people I never wanna meet and beautiful places I never wanna go. I grew up in a small town in the L.A. area, and this felt about as alien to me as watching the life cycle of a rock on Mars. You can choose a vapid and shallow lifestyle, or nah, and I don't have a whole lot of empathy for people who do. And it's hard to connect to a two-hour film without empathy. A fun 90-minute slasher or found footage, maybe, but this was looong and maybe trying to Say Something, and it didn't say anything that hasn't been said before.

You can do a fresh take on "vapid L.A. culture;" Ingrid Goes West proved that. But that worked because not every character was shallow and one-dimensional. The shallow characters need substance to play off of, or it all just feels shallow. Once our protagonist here (who was literally just "small-town girl comes to L.A.") dumped the one sympathetic character and got lost up her own butt like everyone else, there was no one left to care about. (If you ever cared at all.) So when the horror elements finally kick in (and it takes a while), while they are horrific and visually effective, they don't resonate deeply because any feeling you had was already gone.

Like Velvet Buzzsaw, maybe that's the point, and this is a better film than that one. More stylish, more effective horror, some sharper writing. But it left me feeling the same - empty, sad, maybe a little hungry for an In-N-Out Burger. I guess I'm just not interested in the fashion or art worlds. Superficial people are boring, who knew?? As you would expect from something called The Neon Demon, the use of colour is AMAZING and there are some spectacular shots, so it is worth watching for that if you can stand 115 minutes of ugly-acting people lit prettily.

Big Little Lies (tv series) - I'm so glad all my children are cats

Life After Beth - If you see someone enjoying smooth jazz shoot them right in the head, that's just good common sense and it might save the world!
~The More You Know~

This didn't knock my socks off or anything but I had a consistently good time with it, and I can safely say I love Aubrey Plaza after only seeing her in two things.

The Spectacular Now - This little indie drama has a big cast, including Captain Marvel, no big deal. (I am so excited for this weekend and I don't even care how good it is because CAT and I am totally buying a t-shirt! 😻) Anywayy, this was a sweet but flawed movie that's really carried by its performances. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are great, playing teens that could have been tropes but weren't. Sutter seems like kind of a modern Ferris Bueller at first, and Aimee is more reserved but open to experience.

The biggest standout for me was Kyle Chandler as Sutter's alcoholic deadbeat dad. He plays what could have been a cliche character in such a naturalistic way you get angry at him all over again, like damn you really are a shithead! It's great, and you feel for Sutter here. He's not sympathetic all the way through, but these moments help flesh him out beyond "slacker teen who drinks too much."

Woodley really shines here but damn, her character was way too nice and forgiving! I wanted to hug her but maybe also shake some sense into her! What keeps me from rating this a little higher is how Teller's character treated her at times, and how she never stood up for herself. I expected this would culminate in a confrontation (or possibly a fiery car crash with all the drinking) but she's just like "oh, ok." I get what they were going for, but for me it dehumanized her character to humanize his, and there needed to be more balance. I still enjoyed this though, and it's absolutely worth watching for the performances if you like these slice of life indie dramas.

more movie catchup

Oh boy, look who's fallen behind again. SHOCKER.

Sinister - This was well overdue for a rewatch. I remember it freaking me right out the first time I saw it and yup, it's still freaky!

I forgot about Sheriff Crusty T. Exposition at the beginning and his "we don't like your kind round these parts" speech. That was kind of funny. Luckily, what comes next isn't quite so cliche because what comes next is supernatural super 8 snuff films. They're really disturbing and I love that this happened in a mainstream horror film with Ethan Hawke. Speaking of Ethan Hawke, he looked cosy and adorbs in his Writer Sweater. Love that for him.

This would easily be 4 stars for me, but I wanted more payoff with Bughuul at the end than just the cliche BLARGH! jumpscare then credits. I found him more menacing than the standard issue Creepy Kids that looked like they came from the Creepy Kid Factory. I kept waiting for them to break into one of those "la la la" spooooooky lullabies. I liked that Bughuul was a shadowy presence, and too much screen time could have ruined his impact, but it felt a little lacking.

I think my favourite part was imagining Bughuul labeling the film canisters with punny titles like "just hanging around!" and "pool party" with his eeeevil sharpie and giggling a lil.

Blue Ruin - Everything I said a couple days ago about Cold Weather being low-budget filmmaking at its best also applies to Blue Ruin. Feeling pretty lucky to have encountered two of these gems in as many days.

This kind of broke my heart. Our protagonist, who is weirdly named Dwight Evans (well it's weird if you're a Red Sox fan), is on a quest for revenge against the man he thinks killed his parents. Dwight is Very Much an Average Person and Not John Wick. Therefore, this is more of a slow burn but I was engaged the whole time. It's such a simple, compelling story. It reminded me in tone of Sun Don't Shine, but with more action and a lot more blood.

He arrives at the family home of the killer, who had just been released from prison. There's this heartbreakingly crude "Welcome Home" sign hung up and you have a weird moment of "aww, redneck killers' families love them too." I don't know if you were supposed to feel that but I think you were, because then Dwight goes through one of their photo albums and there's a photo of an ADORABLE TABBY CAT and the camera lingers on it too, so you just know they wanted all the cat ladies to be like "these people can't be all bad!!" And it worked. That zinged me through the heart. Cause they're probably not all bad, but they're a threat and it's complicated and I don't wanna spoil anything but yeah, this movie kinda broke my heart. Just idk, don't kill anyone? That's my life advice for today. Oh, adopt a cat and also don't kill anyone.

Blue Jay - Omygosh this was lovely, Sarah Paulson is wonderful, and I'm sort of in love with Mark Duplass, so. I don't usually like romantic comedies or dramas. They're trite, nobody acts like a person, and I 'm just waiting for someone to start stabbing people already, I'm boooored.

What I DO LIKE are movies about lost souls making a connection, whether it's romance or friendship. Normal moviegoers are like "kiss!" and I'm like "talk more about your shared existential crises!" This movie has plenty of deep conversation, it's shot in beautiful black and white, but there is nothing pretentious or "art house" here, this is pure human relatability and compassion. The characters love animals, which is how you can tell the true heart of a movie imo. (I know most romantic comedies have dogs, but this was like, heartfelt conversation about rescuing, not just a cute dog used as a prop.)

There are only three people in this movie, Mark and Sarah and a kindly shopkeep played by, randomly and wonderfully, MST3K's own "we're on Clu Gulager alert!" This is the kind of town that still has a kindly shopkeep, and I love when movies take place in small towns. I am so tired of New York City (which I always say in that Pace picante sauce accent.) Anywayyy, Mark and Sarah were high school sweethearts who haven't seen each other in 20 years and they start talking about the Gin Blossoms and I'm sold. I'm like, why did these guys ever break up, they're so great together? Then shit gets real, and it's sad, and I want nothing more in my whole life than these two people to be happy again.

Then they kinda are, and it's expressed in a weird way that I totally relate to (I'm being vague because I don't wanna spoil this, it's on Netflix and literally every human should watch it). We don't know where their lives will go after "the winds of change are fucking blowing tonight," and it's perfect. I don't need the big happily ever after kiss, a little part of me likes wistful yearning, and this thing pulsates with wistful yearning. But the bigger part of me hopes these two are running a greyhound rescue somewhere, right now. ❤️

Before I Wake - The regular butterflies looked kinda wonky but man, those glowing Christmas tree butterflies were a delight. I liked that more than any of the horror elements. They really nailed the dreamlike imagery there. This was a mixed bag and I was 2.5ing it pretty hard most of the way, but then the ending happened and I was like, "huh. Well, that's different" and I had to bump it up for creativity!

Watching this after Blue Jay was a mistaaaake. If the leads here had been Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson, mmm, now that would have been a movie. But this is a dodgy CGI and jumpscare fest, so nah. I just didn't find the characters or performances here especially compelling. The most interesting thing about them is they were watching House on Haunted Hill one night, but they didn't seem like the sort of people who would watch old horror movies, it was so random. I found Kate Bosworth kind of flat and emotionless, try as she might. But once she got her investigation on she reminded me a little of Naomi Watts in The Ring so that was cool, and she was good in the end scene. That made me tear up a little.

I think I would have loved this as a kid, and it's appropriate for older kids to watch so that's something. If you're me and watching this late at night with your cats, it's a serviceable modern horror with a great idea let down by some flat writing and CGI. If you have a kid that's getting interested in horror, make up a big bowl of popcorn and put this on. It's a decent movie with heart.

Also, an actor named Dash Mihok I have never seen in anything else shows up briefly and gives kind of a banger performance? Idk if it's because everyone else seemed to be sleepwalking through this and he had all kinds of facial expressions, but boy I enjoyed him!

Let Me In - This is a hard film for me to rate, so I'm not going to. I watched Let the Right One In the first time a couple months ago, and of course loved it. If you really wanna see the story take place in America, or don't watch foreign language films at all, check this one out. If you love the original, you might not get a lot out of this. Not because it's bad, it just doesn't really add much?

I grew up in the 80s, and the cultural references (Rubik's cube, Pac-Man, Now & Later, the great soundtrack!) were On Point, as were the clothes, hairstyles, cars, etc. I enjoyed that. The child actors, including young Chloe Grace Moretz as Abby (Eli) and Dylan Minette as a bully (!), do a great job. The setting is perfect and the cinematography is lovely. It doesn't feel slick and Americanized, it actually keeps the bleakness of the Swedish film, which was a nice surprise. I have nothing bad to say about this, it just didn't wow me because I felt like I'd already seen it. But that might be a compliment?? This is too confusing to review, I'm going out for a smoke. (I don't smoke.)

Lady Bird - "Do I look like I'm from Sacramento?" is possibly my favourite opening line in a movie ever.

So, I loved this? I just need to devote my life to watching all the A24 films, I guess. (NOTE - yes, I've been working on just this! Not ALL of them of course.)

Garden State - Legit can't figure out if I really like this movie or just love that song. I do know this makes me really nostalgic, and there's no arguing with nostalgia so I guess I like it.

On a related note, I probably have to rewatch Ghost World and Napoleon Dynamite now too.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Getting there...

Sisters - God I love these 70s horror-thrillers.

That opening game show. Oh my GOD, the 70s. What was wrong with you? But I love it! And the prize was a box of knives. LOL FORESHADOWING. I love it though. The twist is so obvious I can't even call it a twist - was it obvious to 1972 audiences, or have we just seen too many horror movies? - but I still found this somewhat suspenseful. I loved the Intrepid Girl Reporter with the Unfortunate Mullet. I loved the split screen that looks like the world's most stylish security cam footage. I loved the very 70s can of Tab in the fridge! That's the kind of quality I look for.

Some might call this sleazy or derivative, and they wouldn't be wrong, but that's kind of its charm? If you've ever wanted to see a tabloid story come to life, this does the job. If you're gonna be sleazy, at least do it with style! I did enjoy Margot Kidder's performance. I'm not sure why they made her French when she is Not French, but otherwise I loved her. (She's a very naturalistic actress, which I love, but having to put on an accent kinda takes her out of that at times? She still shines through though.) Between this, Black Christmas, and The Amityville Horror, she's pretty much a horror icon. And Charles Durning was born to play a salty, dedicated P.I. Not the best de Palma film, but a cool time capsule of a developing talent. And that Hitchcockian score is on point.

(Since I recently knocked out some horror classics I'd never seen - Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hellraiser, An American Werewolf in London - I think Sisters held the distinction of being the longest-standing film on my watchlist. My old, pre-Letterboxd watchlist that was scratched out on notebook paper and titled "List of Doom." Idk why it took me so long, but I'm glad I finally got to it.)

Social Animals - This was just ok but it did bring a charming little song called "Shit Makes the Flowers Grow" into my life, so.

The Lodgers - When I die, please let it be any way but underwater and surrounded by my naked incestuous ancestors. This is all I ask. Thank you.

(My curse seems to be watching random things on Netflix, and that is probably how I'll die.)

Martin - This was a fascinating watch.

I'm not rating it because I'm not sure I "liked" it, exactly? But I'm glad I watched it, and if you've been sleeping on it definitely check it out. I've never seen a movie quite like this before. You have the typical 70s sleaze and ugly brown-ness and it's all especially sleazy and ugly here in this dying little town. I'm not sure how we made it out of the 70s at all, but this murky town of old people and old churches probably isn't gonna live to see the neon 80s.

I'd compare this in tone and feel to Alice Sweet Alice, but I liked this more and it didn't leave me feeling quite as depressed. What set this apart for me were the black and white sequences. Were they Martin's fantasies, or memories? Probably the former, but we're never told for sure and I liked that. One thing that points to Martin actually being a vampire - he looked 20 and that ancient guy was his cousin? Whaaaa? Unless he was his cousin once removed, twice baked, whatever, that doesn't make any sense. So maybe the old guy was right! Either way, this dorky kid with dimestore Dracula teeth was more unsettling than any shiny Hollywood vampire.

This was a weird psychological story directed by George Romero, once again creating something out of a nothing budget. It's not a "fun" watch, but it will make you think. (And you might have a little fun with it if you dig late 70s sleaze.) My favourite part was Romero as a priest who said he saw The Exorcist and thought it was "great." lol

Cold Weather - I LOVED this! I loved it for what it is and what it represents - low-budget filmmaking at its best. I enjoy some big Hollywood movies, but after the 17th Marvel/DC/SW blockbuster of the year, they start running together and you might even start taking them for granted. Cold Weather is a film you can't take for granted. To watch it is to appreciate it. There's a scene of two people standing on a bridge by a waterfall that slowly pans in and it's so gorgeous and I'm like, "yup, this is pretty much why I watch movies."

The look and direction are pretty perfect, but the real focus is the characters. I wasn't sure what to expect from a "mumblecore mystery" but it was better than I could have imagined. The mystery element is interesting and has a great payoff scene, but it mainly works because I was so invested in these characters. Charming, entertaining, and thoroughly likeable, this leaves you feeling happy and hopeful at the end. I think it's about getting your life back from whatever's holding you down, even if it's your own mind.

If you like indie film at all, rent this! I kinda wanna shout this one from the rooftops.

Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil - Between this and Cold Weather, I had a good movie night. Note - be sure to switch this to the original Basque on Netflix, because it really adds to the feel.

I love these horror-fantasy films based on folklore! This, The Ritual, Krampus (the good one not all the knockoffs), Rare Exports. Can we get more of these from all around the world, like an "every country has a monster" film tour? This was beautifully made, with some really stunning shots, set design and effects. I loved the whole design of the smithy and the fortress element surrounding it. Wonderfully detailed and intricate. This was also surprisingly touching at times. The comedic elements seemed weird to me at first, and made me wonder if it was a translation thing - is the demon supposed to be a bit goofy? - but as it goes on you see it's part of the story and get used to it.

If you dig dark fairy tales, unique lore, spooky woods and some fantastic imagery, check this out. This isn't really "scary," I don't think there were any jump scares, it's more of a fun ride with some creepy atmosphere, which I am all about.

Spotlight review ~ Mr. Roosevelt

This movie is named after a cat. 17 STARS! Umm the cat dies, but offscreen and not violently because it's not a damn horror movie, so I wasn't triggered or anything. I found this on Netflix while searching for another movie that wasn't on Netflix, and this was probably better than whatever I was searching for in the first place. I see the ironic Goodwill t-shirts are still a thing, at least in 2017. Out of the loop status: confirmed.

Bless this woman for caring about cats as much as I do. And fuck people who sit at a dinner table talking about meditation and the foods they can't eat and expect you to give a fuck. This is why social anxiety exists. I'm maybe projecting a lil because I also had to go to a horrible dinner party the day after I lost my cat. And I know the "perfect" gf had a vulnerable moment at the end but she still kinda passive aggressively hijacked a cat's ashes, so. (She also had something passive aggressively dry cleaned, which I didn't even know was possible.) But everyone seemed to be better at the end, so okay.

^^^Totally my face if I found out someone hijacked my cat's ashes

This movie was good.
Hellraiser - I'm a liiiittle sad my first viewing of Hellraiser was on a computer in 2019 and not rocking giant hair and acid wash watching a raggedy VHS in 1988, AS GOD INTENDED. But holyshit those effects were awesome! Those effects will always be awesome, long after our poodle perms have grown out and the last Blockbuster has closed down.

Long live the 80s. I know, they're still making these, but for me it might as well be 1988 and the glow of new video discovery, for I have embarked upon a journey (that means I'll be watching part 2 SOON)! And seriously, the gore effects are so awesome they might even distract you from how 80s Sitcom Dad and Lady with Great Cheekbones and Shoulderpads but Unfortunate Mullet are somehow married despite clearly loathing each other. I mean, were we supposed to root for half-rotted corpse guy? At least they had some chemistry.

Don't Breathe - Can "urban decay" just become a subgenre? Maybe it has already? This, It Follows, Lost River, what else? People living in some purgatory town that refuses to admit it's dead and become a ghost town. The neighbourhood here pretty much was a ghost town, except for this one creepy creeper in his creepy creephouse, and it was AMAZING. I loved this, it was almost like a haunted house movie with no haunts, it was all real, guys like this could be all over abandoned neighbourhoods and that's why they're so fascinating to me. It's a naturally occurring unknown; maybe the closest most of us will get to seeing a ghost. I had this feeling all the way through I was watching something that actually happened, or actually could happen.

This movie was just good too, the performances and the tension and everything, but that setting elevated it to a classic status it would not have if it took place in an ordinary house on an ordinary street.

Crush the Skull - Well, this was certainly the best serial-killer-heist-horror-comedy I've ever seen! That it's the only one I've ever seen only makes it more deserving of praise. This is a great example of what you can do with a low budget; a good idea and script can go a long way. I think fans of the Creep movies will enjoy this, as it does a lot with a little in a similar way. This was funny and suspenseful, with a crew of super good-hearted if clumsy thieves trying to break out of the serial killer's lair they've broken into. Kinda like a comedic Don't Breathe, and it is 100% coincidence I just watched that movie last night. The universe is ~mysterious.~

This was made by a largely Asian-American cast and crew, and I'd love to see more from these guys. It's a unique film that plays with standard formulas to great success. It even provides a useful life lesson - you do NOT leave that killer lying there intact no matter HOW dead you think he is. Shoot him, stab him, crush him in the damn skull! Just in case.

Funny Ha Ha - I dressed just like this movie in 2002. Those ironic boys' t-shirts from Goodwill featuring dinosaurs or sports teams you never played for? Yeah. (This just reminded me of how uncool 2019 me is. I only wear t-shirts of sports teams I actually follow and places I've actually been.)

Hmm. I kinda feel like going on a "mumblecore" kick, possibly interspersed with 70s/80s horror I haven't seen so I don't get sick of either. I think I like these movies because they understand that socializing is 99% awkward cringiness and maybe like, one moment of clarity?

Baghead - This was kind of adorable honestly, like a baby Creep. It's not really scary, but it's a fun, quirky take on found footage. I like quirky. I only wish Mark Duplass had been onscreen, but the actors here do a good job. Stay away from this if you can't stand cringe, or if you want a really horror-y horror movie, but I had a good time with it for what it is. (Also one of the actors is the non-psychic guy from Another Evil, a really fun film I compared in tone to Creep, so it's like all interconnected! I love making those little connections in movies because I'm a dork.)

I think I'm just gonna add everything involving the Duplasses and/or Greta Gerwig to my watchlist.

John Wick: Chapter 2 - So after two mumblecore movies, I of course watched John Wick Chapter 2. 🤷 Well it made sense to me, and this was my "date night" movie. This was every bit as good as the first one, highlights being the museum mirror shootout, when he got back to NY and literally everyone started trying to kill him the minute he landed, and of course every scene with his dog.

Now we can go see part 3 in the theatre!

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - ADORBSSSSSS *heart*

What a beautiful end to the trilogy. My first trip to the cinema in 2019 and I cried tears of emotional cuteness 👍

A Horrible Way to Die - Amy Seimetz, the director of The Guest, AND the girl from Birdemic? I'm there!!

This movie raises some interesting questions. How do you go on after finding out you're dating a serial killer? How do you trust anyone again? I mean, we all have secrets but that's a pretty big one! Also, how the hell do alcoholics handle awkward first dates?? I honestly never thought of that. I don't think I'd leave my house if I couldn't drink tbh.

So, what a cool idea for a movie. It's done gritty, realistic "mumblecore" style and takes what could have been Lifetime fare (Don't miss Sleeping with a Stranger, Wednesday at 8 after Supermarket Sweep) and makes it bloody, yet strangely mature and sober. I like how these movies just feel like life playing out, almost like a documentary.

The performances are good, especially Amy Seimetz and AJ Bowen as the biggest teddy bear of a serial killer you'll ever meet! Pretty chilling honestly. And Seimetz is sooo believable, it felt like watching a real person. And the ending was pretty banger, like this definitely has a payoff. So if I liked the story and acting so much, why only 2.5 stars??

This movie was really hard to watch, not gonna lie. I watched the whole thing because I was engrossed, but the camera work was making me sick! I had to close my eyes several times! This guy went on to do The Guest?? I guess he had to start somewhere but who could have possibly thought constant blurry, shaky zoom-ins were a good idea? It added nothing to the film. Maybe do it in one scene for effect or something but it kept happening and I was over it. Really a shame, because I liked this quite a lot and would easily give it a 3, maybe 3.25. Let's call it a 2.75 I guess.

Also, the title. It has nothing to do with the story. Yeah, being a serial killer victim is a horrible way to die but that's not what the movie was about. It was about Amy Seimetz's character. Well I guess they couldn't call it I Married an Axe Murderer, and they weren't actually married and he didn't use an axe, so. Idk. Sleeping with a Stranger is actually a better title but a lot of grandmothers would be all WTF is this?? if it got accidentally put on Lifetime.

And Whitney Moore was hardly in it, dammit. I like Whitney Moore.

Tiny Furniture - I fully believe that these people exist, but I'm not happy about it.

Eh, this wasn't that bad, but it's not gonna stick with me. One positive: for something that's basically "White Privilege: the Movie," there is a nice bit of representation. How often do we see average size women in movies? We see Small Women, who are represented as being the average, and we see Large Women, whose main personality trait is usually that they are Large. But the average woman is rarely represented which is really weird considering we're the average, right?? So sure, this might be a vanity project for the director/star, who I know nothing about personally and have only "heard things," but it's still body positivity to me and I'll take it.

(And yes I'm just sitting here popping movies like tic tacs because WINTER NEEDS TO DIE ALREADY. I'm not sick of these mumblecore movies yet but when I am I'm gonna watch something by Brian de Palma, so that should be fun.)

Hannah Takes the Stairs - "Well, I quit my job, and now I don't have a job." - every mumblecore movie

I kinda just wanted to watch Greta Gerwig and Mark Duplass dive for buried treasure for 80 minutes.

Thursday, March 07, 2019


Okay, last one of these for the day. Oh there are more, but I'll do them later. I've also been listening to some great music this year and want to make a post about that, so look for that around... July I guess? 🤷

Intruders - I don't usually watch "humans being brutal to each other" movies. If I wanted to see that I'd watch the news, which I don't. Horror is my escape. Give me witches, ghosties, demons, even mindless slashers, but toxic d-bags? No ty. So I don't watch "torture porn" or The Purge or home invasion movies or any of that stuff really. But this was on Shudder and it was short, so why not. You never know what might grab you.

I'm not rating this because it isn't really my thing. But I did find it entertaining and there was only one scene I couldn't stand watching, so if home invasion with a twist is your thing I'd check this out. It didn't knock my socks off like Better Watch Out, but it's a decent fast watch. And the house is really cool! Which is pretty much the whole reason I like The Amityville Horror, so. *shrug* I should make a "the house is the real star" list.

Demons - An 80s horror set in a red and blue neon-drenched cinema? Oh yeah, now this is my jam! Great setting, awesome bloody effects, killer soundtrack, and this thing is so 80s the demons drool neon green slime. Did they turn into monsters, or did they just drink too much ecto cooler? This movie is fun, the movie within the movie is fun, and oh boy do I wanna explore that old crypt. That would be my day at Disneyland, only without the delightful pirate restaurant.

That motorcycle was obviously gonna be used for badassery, but you don't even know how badass it gets. (Well you probably do, I think I'm the only person who hadn't seen this movie.) Theatre horror is just a good time. Well ok, we won't discuss Movie House Massacre, but this is right up with personal fave Popcorn. It doesn't quite reach the level of the theatre scene in Messiah of Evil, but what does?

Hush - Movie: Adorable floofy cat!
Me: FUCK this is a horror movie
*sighs* *pauses* *checks*
CAT SURVIVES! 🙌 *exhales* *resumes* *pets cat*

Stop doing that to me movies. Seriously.

So yeah, I watched another of these home invasion movies. Maybe I'm like, steeling myself? Trying to prove they don't bother me? Because, I actually enjoyed this! "Person with issue like deafness or agoraphobia inexplicably beats the baddies at their own game" seems to be a thing now, and there is something satisfying about it.

I don't know how many of these I could watch. I don't enjoy seeing ordinary people terrorizing each other. Slashers are fine, but this was like, a schlubby guy in a beanie you might see at the bank. You're not gonna see Jason Voorhees at the bank. Idk. There's so much Real Scary Shit in the world, I like Fake Scary Shit. This was really good and tense though. I can't deny this. And the lead actress gives a great performance despite never speaking out loud.

Also, I'm not a gun person - like at all - but a deaf person living alone in the woods should super have a gun and know how to use it. I know, then there would be no movie. That's more for the benefit of any deaf people living alone in the woods who might be reading this.

Madhouse - OMG, this opens with a Creepy Trailer Version™ of "Rock a Bye Baby." That was a thing in 1981?? I thought that was just an emo chick singer thing but nope, here it's a dude and it's SO BAD but it's funny. So we're off to a good start.

If you like Devil Dog: Hound of Hell or Happy Birthday to Me... watch those movies instead because they're actually good. Man, I wanted to like this. I like a lot of cheesy movies from this era and this seemed to have the ingredients. But that's what it was, a collection of ingredients more than an engaging or coherent film on its own. It didn't feel like anything I hadn't seen before; not even the bad characters and overacting were exceptional enough to be entertaining. (This came out around the same time as Happy Birthday so it wasn't a ripoff, I just didn't enjoy it as much.)

The tone is so weird. The lead actress, her boyfriend, and her friend play it straight, the kind of characters and acting you'd see in a standard late 70s/early 80s horror. Then you have these ridiculous overacting side characters, including a Japanese man that made me cringe, Father McCreepyPriest, and an over-southerning* lady named AMANDA BEAUREGARD. That's not a person, that's a bad SNL character! It was like two sets of characters from two different movies. The "evil twin" also overacted in a way that I didn't find scary, I just wanted her to shut the hell up. Same with Father McObviousForeshadowing. Sometimes less is more, people.

*thanks MST3K.

I kept falling asleep in the middle AND I had to skip forward whenever I saw the cat because I couldn't get a straight answer from the internet if it died or not. You let me down this time, The dog does die, but it's a puppet and it's evil so I didn't find it triggering, but I'm a cat person.

I can see how someone would enjoy this if the camp hits them right, but for me it was both too campy and not campy enough, I guess? The story wasn't interesting enough and the nursery rhyme singing priest was so obviously and ridiculously evil I was just yelling at the dumb main character for not seeing it and also yelling at whoever wrote such a hammy character. My throat is sore, is my point.

Then it ends with a quote from G.B. Shaw: "Life differs from the play only in this... it has no plot, all is vague, desultory, unconnected til the curtain drops with the mystery unsolved..." and I'm like, did the movie just riff itself?? I guess we're done here.

Dead and Buried - "Two murders in a town no bigger than a postage stamp!"

Now here's an underrated early 80s gem. One of the most original zombie movies I've seen, with great atmosphere and a mystery element. My favourite! People are being killed, their bodies disappearing and then reappearing, but they're not dead and all messed up. They look like nothing ever happened, pumping gas, going to the store, I'm dead but it's no big deal, I've got shit to do!

Something's fishy (hee!) in this small seaside New England town, and there's a Stephen King quality here imo. Not just the Pepperidge Farm Remembers accents, but the creepiness, creativity and general tone. I love this movie. I don't do frequent rewatches; I'll usually wait 5+ years to see a film again. I saw this for the first time about two years ago and was already keen to see it again. Like, that "Sentimental Journeys" song playing while the guy lovingly details restoring dead bodies, that's the kind of hair-standing-on-end quality I look for.

(Funny this was co-written by Dan O'Bannon, who went on to write and direct one of the best horror comedies ever Return of the Living Dead, because this is not comedic at all.)

Cropsey - The most shocking part of this was that Geraldo Rivera used to be a real journalist.

This was a fascinating documentary, at times creepy and just sad. What raised this for me were all the atmospheric shots of the abandoned asylum, because abandoned asylums are my favourite things ever pretty much, but even just as a true crime doc this was pretty meaty. I highly recommend spending an hour with Cropsey if you have any interest in urban legends, true crime, or abandoned places! Like I immediately googled all these people and places because I wanted to know more.

EDIT: So apparently there's a longer version of this?? Why did Netflix cut it, I wanna see the whole thing! :(

The Reaping - Yup, this sure is from 2007.

With this cast, location and plot, this could have been a real sock knocker. Sadly, it's just lukewarm tea in a pretty cup. I didn't dislike this movie. All the "I"m an atheist!" "Well I'M a religious person!" stuff was heavy handed and got old fast, but I'm a sucker for swamps and kudzu. Abandoned mausoleum ruins?? Well, now you're just spoiling me!

This is a "because it's on Netflix" movie. Why did I watch it? "It was there." Hilary Swank, Idris Elba, and Stephen Rea give fine performances, because of course they do, but only "fine." While this had atmosphere for days, it unfortunately didn't have any scares. The river of blood was creepy enough, but all the CGI shit just didn't resonate. What else is new. I'm more mad about what this could have been than what it is. Pedestrian, but I'll give it an A for atmosphere.

SPOILER: Screw you movie for killing Idris Elba.