Consumables #148 Watching: Bridge of Spies

I had all kind of plans for my President’s Day to get some crap done that is so past needing doing, and I was excited. CHECKLISTS, START YER ENGINES. I was going to have a Close Encounter of the Erranding Kind. Then I walked out of my front door and there was sideways wind and swirling icy rain and now I totally understand what Matt Damon felt like in The Martian so I canned that shizz pronto. I guess that’s one reason I could never be an astronaut. I went to “eh, forget it” in about twenty minutes. ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR EH FORGET IT

A bunch of friends texted me for brunch, which I did go out for (I will make one giant leap for pancakes) and then I got mineself into my house and stayed there. I didn’t think about the Presidents once.

I did, however, watch Bridge of Spies (I just accidentally typed Bridget of Spies which would def be a Bridget Jones movie I would watch the shit out of). I don’t know if it was the sleepy mood of my day or the fact that I was puttering around the house while I watched it but I can say two things about it: I liked it. Also, I can’t think of one thing to say about it. Tom Hanks is just the right amount of Tom Hanks. There’s a bridge. There are spies. There is a scene where prisoners are exchanged and it made me want to watch White Nights again, which also had a prisoner exchange and spying. Granted, White Nights had no bridge but I didn’t see Tom Hanks throwing in eleven pirouettes, and really, which would you rather have?

Consumables #146 Watching: Pride & Prejudice

We have now commenced the part of winter in Seattle where I start to wonder if I have been inadvertently cast in A Perfect Storm because I am so thoroughly drenched at all times that I can’t really remember what dryness feels like. (Side note: any mention of anything peripherally related to Mark Wahlberg in my household requires someone to say “COME ON COME ON, FEEL IT FEEL IT” a la the chorus of Good Vibrations, so please join with me in that if you wish). I perked up a little bit when I saw an ad for $80 plane tickets to Vegas yesterday. Of all places in the world, I do not want to go to Vegas, you guys. But SUN. FOR EIGHTY BUCKS. It is a temptation I am fighting.

I had the day off yesterday and I spent a considerable amount of time watching Pride and Prejudice. The Colin Firth version, of course, sucka please. I know that many people are fascinated with this mini-series, but let me tell you my particular fascinations.

  1. Of all the Colin Firths, this is the best one, yes? Well, paired with Bridget Jones Colin Firth, that is. Getting me to look past those mutton chops is not an easy task, but Mr. Darcy can GET IT.
  2. Cotton Empire-waist dresses. Those ladies are basically wearing nighties and making them acceptable.
  3. Little Bo Peep style hats. PEOPLE USED TO WEAR THESE.
  4. “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” OH GIRL MY BREECHES CAN’T BE REPRESSED NEITHER
  5. I can’t figure out how these ladies aren’t falling over dead of boredom. They seem to do nothing but needlepoint and go to dances where they slowly march around in formations. In one scene, Lizzie is hanging out with her homies and local Mean Girl Miss Bingley comes over and asks her to take a walk with her AROUND THE ROOM. “It’s so refreshing!” she says.
  6. Despite social systems that are truly ridiculous, the heroines remain non-ridiculous. Which is what makes the whole thing still relevant, of course.

Lizzie plus Fitzwilliam 4evah



Consumables #145: Insomnia Assistance

No sooner had a little time off work helped me Get My Groove Back, I am now knee-deep in work again, which means my Groove has been Removed. How Stella Got Her Groove Removed is something Angela Bassett would never allow I am sure, and who wants to see that movie?

I finally started watching Making a Murderer on Netflix a couple of nights ago which is really probably a bad idea for someone who is getting their groove removed. I watch a few episodes before bed and then I can’t sleep because I keep thinking about it. When part of getting my work grind on again is re-acclimating to waking up at 5am, that ain’t a smooth move, Ex-Lax.

On top of this, I just read Steve Sheinkin’s The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights. It’s about segregated armed forces in WWII and the unsafe and unfair working conditions that caused 320 servicemen to be killed in California while the remaining survivors were threatened with mutiny charges. Also so compelling and vital to know this history but between this and Making a Murderer it’s basically Horrible Garbage Humans Misusing Power times as I go to sleep (or don’t go to sleep) each night.

As long as we are talking about miscarriages of justice narratives (happy new year, guys!), I just have to plug the documentary Brother’s Keeper. So good. I am here to help you with all your angry-insomnia needs.

If you are a weirdo and would rather your documentary films be inspiring (whatever, but ok) I also recently saw He Named Me Malala. I especially loved the way the film illustrated the normalcy of Malala’s young adult life (homework! looking at pictures of Roger Federer on the internets!) as she navigates the more extraordinary aspects we all know about. She’s still a kid, and seeing that side made the movie all the more inspiring.

Here’s hoping your groove stays with you.

Groove Theory, Tell Me

Consumables #132: Watching Lightning Round

I used to have a friend that would rarely call me back when I called her (shush now, grandma is talking about ye olde times before texting when we talked on the ringer to each other). On the off chance that I did get to talk to her, she would say that she didn’t want to call or email me because time had passed between the last time we had talked (as it tends to do) and she felt overwhelmed with the idea that she would have to catch me up on all of the many, many happenings in her life that had piled up in that time period and the thought would EXHAUST her enough that she would be like “eh, fuck it” and just not do it. There was a part of me that understood that impulse, but the bigger part of me couldn’t help but notice that in addition to this “too overwhelmed to dial the phone” story, this lady seemed to come up with all sorts of reasons to not interact with me. Like, she would come up with every dang excuse in the book (the Excuse Book, by Hunter X. Squeeze-Me). Reams of ideas on how she could not talk to me, like ever. So busy! Phone calling is so overwhelming! Coming to your house is so far! Hosting you at my house- eek, my house is too messy! Meeting up for coffee– oops I have a very important trip to the post office I forgot about. But you’re one of my besties though! Love you, mean it! Yeah, that girl did not like me. I am embarrassed to tell you how long it took for me to figure that out.

ANYWAY. I have been feeling a little bit of the blog back ups (gross) because there are so many things I could tell you about, so many pop cultures I have partooken in, that I don’t even know where to begin when I think about writing something. I promise you that this is because I want to tell you so many things, and not because I am like my ex-friend and I secretly don’t want to talk to you ever again. I would not do that to you. I promise you that if I break up with you I will do it right in your face. I won’t tell you it’s because I have to go to the post office over and over.

Ok, lightning round to catch up!

Obvious Child- Jenny Slate being Jenny-dorable.

Interstellar- the most waterworks astronauts in the galaxy, you guys. I mean, SO MUCH CRYING. Granted, if you launched me into space I would be boo-hooing too. There were many things to like about the movie, but when the only female astronaut tries to save the day and they make her do the old running-running-slip-fall-down-hurt-leg GO ON WITHOUT ME routine I was kind of over it. LADIES CAN’T RUN AND SAVE PEOPLE EVERYONE KNOWS THAT THEY WILL FALL DOWN AND START CRYING. Ugh, shut up Interstellar.

Skeleton Twins: As much as I love that Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader did a serious movie, and as much as I think they totally killed it (I did), the best part of the movie was when they were silly and lip syncing Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.

Game of Thrones: Everyone just be walking around, looking for stuff. Walk walk walk. Look look look.

The Good Wife: You know who is having a good day on The Good Wife? NOBODY

Birdman: Going from being a movie star to an artiste is harrrrrrrd. Also, wives, girlfriends, daughters, critics, and colleagues are all major jerks.

Happy Friday everyone!

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, by Starship

Consumables #131 Reading: The Girl on the Train

After that whiney post from last week (sorry dudes), you will be happy to know that I spent the weekend whipping my shit back into shape. MY SHIT IS NOW IN SHAPE, people. Let’s change the term from “shipshape” to “shitshape” in honor of this feeling. HOW IS EVERYONE DOING? SHITSHAPE, CAP’N.  Consider the phrase coined.

Did you all read and/or see the movie Gone Girl? I did both, and although I can’t say that I disliked either, I wasn’t a goner for them either (see what I did there?). (Don’t worry no spoilers here for those that haven’t read/seen it). There was something about the psychotic stuff that was just too over the top for me. Like, I know it is heightened reality but the height was just a touch too much. It went from cray-cray to cray-cray-cray and that’s one too many crays. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, has gotten lots of comparisons to Gone Girl for good reason: there are crappy, dysfunctional marriages, everyone is worthy of the reader’s suspicion, there is a girl who is gone. However, this one maintained the heightened reality stuff to a degree that I could handle. The main character is a woman who experiences alcoholic blackouts which makes for interesting unreliable narrator bidness, and the pacing is just the right combination of slow/eerie with punches of fast action. There are themes of motherhood and fertility and femininity that play out that were not my cup of tea but if they’re yours, you’ll be in hog heaven.

Consumables #130 Watching: St. Vincent

Listen, you guys, I love Bill Murray too. He learned to love Ned Ryerson. He rides a horse onto Kimmel with a dress on. He crashes parties. But I am sorry to say that I could not get behind St. Vincent. It was not a bad movie, but it was just not the movie for me. Let’s start with the good part first, which is that this is another movie that is built entirely around the concept that we, the audience, want to hang out with Bill. This is not a bad premise for a movie, since, yes, I would totally want to hang out with Bill, and so we have a list of movies that help us fulfill that fantasy. Groundhog Day was basically Andie McDowell getting to hang out with Bill for us. Rushmore was us watching Jason Schwartzman hang out with Bill. Lost in Translation was the most straightforward of this genre, where Scarlett Johansson did literally nothing but hang out with Bill and we were all jealous that she got to. So, trust me, I am not knocking this as a way to structure a movie. This time it’s an adorable little kiddo who gets to hang out with Bill, and sure, ok, I like adorable little kiddos. Sit back, relax, let’s watch some stellar Bill Murray hang out times!

That’s the part that worked for me, and now I’ll tell you two things that did not. One: grumpy misfit man with a heart of gold. OVER IT. We have a proliferation of grumpy misfit men with hearts of gold in movie land, everyone. I like the idea that we should have empathy for misfits, because they are human under there. But on the other hand? Asshole behavior ain’t cute. Even when Bill Murray is being the asshole. I object to the cute-ification of assholery. I think I would change my mind on this if I felt like it would be ok for ladies to be assholes with hearts of gold, but that doesn’t happen that much.

On a related tip, the second thing that didn’t work for me was that the whole thing of it is supposed to revolve around the fact that Vincent is a saint. Like, he is grumpy and crusty and foul and disgusting and mean but under that, he cares about the people he loves and therefore: saint. Like, they actually use the word saint. That would be ok if poor Melissa McCarthy wasn’t standing there, off to the side, being the hardworking, steadfast, giving, strong, funny mom to the kiddo in this movie. Like, she was kind of an actual saint, no assholery anywhere. Just straight up. So when the little kid makes the big speech at the end about how saintly crankface Bill Murray is, I wanted someone to be like EX-SQUEEZE ME WHAT ABOUT THAT PARENT RIGHT THERE WORKING HER CABOOSE OFF THIS ENTIRE TIME YOU LITTLE INGRATE. Like, the injustice of it. Ladies are just expected to be saints, I guess. Dudes can be terrible a lot of the time, but if they care somewhat, they get a medal.

So, nope. Still love you, Bill.

Digital Witness, St. Vincent

Consumables #128 Watching: Ocean’s Eleven

A thing I did the weekend after we went to the Bellagio was come home and give Ocean’s Eleven a re-watch. Ima go out on a limb and say that movie may be my favorite Vegas-based pop culture item. I love a heist, and I love a well-dressed man, so. That’s kind of all there is in that movie, no fillers, no by products.

These are some lessons we can all take away from Danny Ocean and the gang.

1. Tuxedos always look best when the bow tie is undone.

2. “Why are you doing this? And don’t say money.” Criminals who are already hella rich do their heisting for only two reasons. For revenge against other people with money that they hate, or just to challenge their criminal skills. It’s a sort of rarified, artisanal robbery, freshly brewed from the nicest ingredients.

3. When he gets intense, Andy Garcia almost, just almost, walks like George Jefferson.

4. This is the bummer of it all for me: Julia Roberts is the only lady for miles and miles and miles, and she only gets to do girly business like pine for the Cloon-dog, adjust her earrings while looking in mirrors, descend staircases with elegance, and think about nothing except those dang menfolk. Clooney and Garcia basically find 342 ways to say “don’t you worry your pretty head about it, little lady” throughout. Julia! You do not need that shit, girlfriend.

5. A good heist is something I will always sign up for.

6. This is definitely not the Vegas I went to.

Consumables #126 Watching: The Imitation Game

Watching this movie was an exercise in understanding how very truly, perfectly, annoyingly effing predictable I am. Because I really liked this movie, but you know what? It was made up of the same tired jigsaw pieces of story that we have all seen a million, billion trillion times over. Reduce, reuse, recycle, yo!

Here are the pieces that I am apparently willing to buy with my hard earned dolla dolla bills.

1. World War II. HOW MANY STORIES CAN I TAKE IN ABOUT WORLD WAR 2? A lot times a bunch, that’s how many. I love it. But like, can we pick another war to be obsessed over? And don’t say World War I, that’s cheating. How about we make a movie about the War of the Golden Stool? First of all, it has the best name of a war ever created. Second of all, we have not yet heard about that war, like not even once.

2. Code-breaking. You guys, I knew nothing about this movie, and my guy was like “do you want to see the Imitation Game? It has Benedict Cumberbatch and he’s breaking a WW2 code or something” and I was all YESSSSSS. How is this the only information I need for movie watching?

3. Misunderstood, loner genius times. I like it when petulant geniuses get dragged off while screaming “YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND MY WORK!” Maybe I picture this happening to me after I make a particularly spectacular spreadsheet at the library or something. Although I have to say that I was relieved to hear that this was not actually the way Turing was.

4. Branson from Downton Abbey! (Spoiler alert) He got to play a Commie-lover in this one too. Talk about recycling. But I love Branson.

5. Feminism that is, in the grand scheme of things, pretty easy. Keira Knightly gets obnoxiously told, once, that she can’t possibly be smart because she is a lady, but she basically says “no thanks to THAT, fools” and then she’s totes part of the team. Structural sexism- like a faint fart fog that you just have to side step. Easy peasy! Ugh.

6. Tweed. Lots of tweed.

7. World War 2 era wallpaper. SIGN ME UP.

What can I say for myself for being a sucker for all of these things? Not that much. Then again, I have argued that the Steve McQueen “banjos and bells” scene in Love with a Proper Stranger is one of the best movie scenes of all-time, so you know, consider the source.

Comsumables #122 Watching: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

This weekend, three of my mom’s cousins piled in a car and drove down from Vancouver to visit her, and honey, they were fabulous. I mean, in every sense, but mostly in a badass lady sense. One of them had a scarf made entirely from silver sequins. Another one of them was rocking a mixed pattern trend like a boss: zebra print shirt under a leopard print cardy. Like, FAB-OOH-LUSSSSSS. They tumbled into the house and proceeded, along with my mom, to have a gab/giggle/guffaw fest like no other. Why do people think old ladies are feeble? All of the old ladies I know are rowdy. Especially in groups.

After going out for a big family dinner, my dude and I left these ladies with the run of our house, and went over to my brother’s house to spend the night. My nephew is twelve and had never seen PeeWee’s Big Adventure before. Obviously I had to remedy this immediately, as I consider that a pop culture emergency, especially for a 12 year old kid with a silly sense of humor and a love for his bike. This not-12-year-old lady dug it too.

Let’s argue about whether Adam is Snapey

Since Girls is back on the air, my friend over on the Twitters mentioned that she thought that Jessa, had she gone to Hogwarts, would have been in Slytherin. From this comment, I give you the rest of my thoughts on the relationship between Girls and Harry Potter.

Hannah, Moaning Myrtle

Shoshanna, Luna Lovegood

Marnie, some chickie who attends that bullshit French wizard school where Fleur came from

Laird, member of GRYFFINDOR (patronus: turtle)

These are the extent of my thoughts on the subject. You guys, it’s been a tiring week.