Consumables #52

Tis the season for me to want to do nothing but read, watch movies, and take a snooze. Hence, here are some consumabley highlights.

Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt.
I got this at Book Expo before it came out and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since, so I finally picked it up. I had no idea what it was about and had never read any DeWitt before so I had no expectations at all. Well, I am trying to think if I have ever read a weirder book than this. I am sure I have, but this one has a very specific brand of nutty that I have not experienced before. How do I even explain it? It is about a vacuum cleaner salesman who spends his spare time fantasizing about ladies in some sort of glory hole situation. So like, he can see their bottom half, but the top half is somehow not seen, like the lady is leaning out a window or something. STAY WITH ME. He then spins this fantasy into an actual prostitution business for corporate America, whereby business-dudes are provided with glory hole services in their corporate bathrooms as a motivational technique and sexual harrassment deterrent. It is a satire about corporate America, and selling ideas, and sex and gender and heterosexuality and all like that. And sure, the satire works. But still. Wow. I just keep thinking that as an author, one could write about anything. And this author was like: I shall write a scathing satire about corporate America, and the central idea upon which it will all rest? Glory holes. Okey dokey.

Crazy Stupid Love
Before I talk about this movie, let me tell you about The Golden Child. Remember that movie? It’s the one where Eddie Murphy goes to Nepal and rescues a little bald asian kid who has magical powers and Charles Dance is Satan and I am not even kidding you that is really what is going on. It is just a mess. However, Eddie Murphy is charming in it, with his laugh and his funny comebacks and his leather hat. It was the first Eddie Murphy movie that I saw where I was like: no matter what the shitty premise is, somehow Eddie Murphy is still funny and likable. What kind of trick is that? Now, I am not saying that Crazy Stupid Love was as bad as The Golden Child, don’t get me wrong. All I am saying is that the whole thing relied way too heavily on the fact that people like Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone. And Julianne Moore too, I guess. Do people go crazy for Julianne Moore? I don’t know. The point is, I wanted this movie to be worthy of them too, I really did. But I think it worked because they are them. Which is ok I suppose. Pet peeve: dude who is shitty to women all of a sudden becomes the perfect boyfriend when he finds The One. You think you can get away with this because it’s Ryan Gosling, script-people? I see what you’re trying to pull, and it won’t work.

This is not a spoiler because it happens at the very beginning of the movie. It opens up with Eric Bana and his daughter Hanna (Hanna Bana! ok not really since that is his real name and her character name, but I SO WISH), who are spies in hiding. Eric has taught her everything about fighting spying and running around all stealthy because if they are ever to assimilate into society, The Bad Guys will come after her (for reasons that are explained later in the movie). Here’s what I don’t get, and if any of you who have watched this movie get this, please email me and explain it to me or comment or something. If and when Hanna Bana wants to assimilate back into society, she has to activate this electronic box. The box immediately alerts The Bad Guys that she is now officially assimilating back into society. My question is: why did she need to activate that weirdo box? If she wanted to assimilate and disappear and live her life, why doesn’t she go do that? Why does she has to say YOOHOO I AM ASSIMILATING NOW, COME AND KILL ME to her enemies via an alert box? I so totally didn’t get that. Also, on an unrelated note, if Eric Bana taught her to speak in multiple languages and know complex scientific processes and all kinds of other brainy genius stuff, how come he couldn’t tell her what a remote control is? The spy training had major holes in it, is all I am saying.

I am sad that Dancing With the Stars made me like Hope Solo a little less. Not that I even really knew who she was before, other than that she plays soccer and took that nude photo. Still. I don’t like it when I like someone less. Like, I was watching Anderson Cooper’s talk show a little bit. I maybe watched 3 or 4 episodes. And now that is making me like Anderson less. This should not be the result of a tv show, should it? Anyway, Dancing With the Stars. That Kardashian kid over Ricki Lake? Are you joking me?

A Christmas Proposal
Tis the season for made-for-tv holiday movies. The first one I sampled this week did not disappoint. It had all the elements. (1) It starred Nicole Eggert, who no longer wants Charles in charge of her, thank you, and this other guy who looked like Patrick Dempsey, who she did want to have in charge of her. Also, Tom Arnold, who apparently is in 45% of holiday movies these days because he was in that one I watched about Saving Santaville. Let’s see, what are the other elements? (2) People from the big city are horrible, selfish people. (3) Country people are good, kind people, smug in their folksiness. (4) City people can be converted back to love and light if they end up in a small town and somehow get stuck there and can’t leave. (5) Horrible city people, upon conversion, cause it to snow. (6) City ladies in particular are the worst. They are career gals who hate children and kittens. (7) Country ladies wear cozy sweaters and have rosy cheeks, and often bake cookies. (8) There is some sort of Christmas deadline. The town must be saved by Christmas, in this case. There is lots of town-saving in these movies. I shall not do any spoilers by telling you if Nicole Eggert and Poor Man’s Patrick Dempsey fall in love (causing it to snow) or if the town was saved or if any city people were smothered to death by Santa or anything.

Hell on Wheels
The jury is still out on whether I’ll keep watching this. Lordy knows I love dramas that are set in the 1800s. It was all that Little House I watched as a child. Plus it stars Chief O’Brien, and if you don’t know who Chief O’Brien is, then your nerd card is immediately forfeit. However, I think that Deadwood may have set the bar so high on 1800s drama that I am ruined forever.

I feel like that was a particularly grumpy Consumables. Let’s turn it around, shall we? I watched a bunch of short films recently, and my favorite one that I watched was Lost and Found, an animated short. I loved it.


  1. Hanna: I don't think she presses the box to let Them know she is reassimilating back into society, but rather that she WANTS to be "normal" and They have to be killed/destroyed before that can happen; which is to say, she's alerting Them to her presence so she can kill them and then become a normal girl….I guess.But yeah, totally agree about the holes in her spy education. Also the movie is just so pretty!-K

  2. Thanks Kate. I sort of get it. But if the bad guys need to be killed before she can be normal, why doesn't she just go sneak up on them and kill them? Is it because she doesn't know where they are, and so she has to alert them so they come find her first, thus revealing themselves so she can kill them?I am clearly thinking too hard about this, and also turning into the grandma who doesn't understand movies and has to constantly ask questions throughout.

  3. I watched a MFTVCM (made for tv Christmas movie–but I'm sure you got that) the other day that started Caroline in the City as a horrible fancy lawyer who wished for a different life and then she gets it! And then she just wants her husband and her three wonderful kids back and she promises she will never work another day in her life!I thought of you.

  4. OKAY. You don't know me. I've been following your blog for maybe a month or two now because, hey, funny librarians. But now – NOW – I feel I must comment because hell yes, Chief O'Brien! My favorite Everyman!I never watched Deadwood, so I think I'm probably primed for Hell on Wheels.[I'm hoping we can move past the fact that I originally left this comment on the wrong post like some kind of mega-dork]

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