Monday, September 15, 2014

Kurt Russell is an Alien and other mysteries solved from watching "The Thing"


I finally watched The Thing. Not the new one, the 1982 one directed by John Carpenter. It's pretty shameful that I've just seen it. Spoilers ahead, guys. Fair warning. The movie did come out over 30 years ago, so.

I love the color and lighting of older John Carpenter movies. He does such a wonderful job setting the mood (or does someone else do that on sets, I have no idea how that stuff works). It's very simple things, such as subtle blue and red lighting that really make a difference.

But, yeah. I had no idea The Thing was about aliens. I've heard of it my whole life and I always assumed that it was up there with The Blob so I never bothered to watch it. It's not even close to The Blob (I don't actually know if it's like The Blob at all because I've never seen it). The Master of Horror himself (Mr. Carpenter calls himself that) directed it for crying out loud!


While over all the movie was pretty great, there were many little things which made it hard for me to suspend my disbelief. First of all, Antarctica. I know they needed it to take place in Antarctica for the frozen alien ship thing. However, Kurt Russell was walking around without a hat on for most of the movie. This wasn't even taking place in summer Antarctica, where it is warmer (but still cold as shit), this was taking place in winter Antarctica. I'm pretty sure it's too cold to go outside in the winter there (it is, I looked it up). I'm no expert, but you definitely can't continuously run around outside with no hat on. I'm looking at you, Kurt.

Also, still with Antarctica, I have no idea what these people were doing down there. There was one doctor and one guy who was maybe a scientist? Or something? Then a cook, a helicopter pilot and a guy who was in charge of the refrigerator keys? What the hell are these people doing in Antarctica? It's for scientists and stuff, getting grants and doing defined research. Probably even in the 80s. Not for people with no purpose to run around without hats on in the freezing temps.

Kurt! Put a hat on!
The people in the camp did start to suspect Kurt Russell of being an alien at several points in the plot, but I think they weren't taking into consideration his serious ability to survive freezing temperatures. Anyone who can run around in -40ยบ with no hat and not freeze to death needs to be looked at with suspicion. I don't care how hot you are (young Kurt, I heart you).

The real alien, Kurt Russel
In conclusion, if you are a serious horror fan, like myself, and you have not watched The Thing (the original not the 2011 remake, which I will be watching just because I can't get enough horror but I'm sure it's a monstrosity. And yes, I plan to watch every single remake of Planet of the Apes they ever make because, it's Planet of the Apes, how can I miss that?!) you should watch it. And check out how Kurt is an alien who can survive extreme temps. That's the real mystery to this movie.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

In Defense of Catey Shaw's 'Brooklyn Girls'

If you haven't seen or heard yet, the above video is a song called, "Brooklyn Girls" by Catey Shaw. I love the song. I think it's great, it's super catchy and Shaw is adorable. Not to mention her smokey voice is beautiful.

In the song, she crones about "Brooklyn Girls," and this has pissed a bunch of people off. I get it, if you're living in Park Slope or Bay Ridge or Flushing, this song isn't talking about you even though you're in Brooklyn. But, as someone from somewhere else who recently moved to North Brooklyn (what Shaw actually means when she claims Brooklyn), this song makes sense.

Where I live in Brooklyn is exactly what Shaw portrays in her music video, except I live in Greenpoint and there is less graffiti and everything is cleaner. But there are just as many people with colored hair (I'm one of them) and tattoos (again me) and weird piercings and skateboarding and all of the other cliques that are shown. Shaw's Brooklyn girl is me, I'm an outsider who came to New York to pursue art and writing, and all that, and found an affordable cool place to live with other people who are a lot like me. Is that so wrong? Everything I thought about living in Brooklyn is what it's like to live in Brooklyn. And everything I thought about living in Brooklyn is in this video. '


Gawker's Jordan Sargent says, "Shaw's worst crime is not making a statement about Brooklyn, it's being corny. She was in essence, pilloried for speaking the wrong language." And I totally agree, but unlike him and many others, I love that it's so corny. This video is a parody of North Brooklyn, but North Brooklyn is a parody of Brooklyn. That's why this song and video are so much fun. And I don't think that "Brooklyn Girls" is an aggressively poppy pop song meant to capture the zeitgeist of the borough" as New York Mag put it. It's just fun. It's meant to be fun. Shaw isn't making a comment on society as a whole, she's just a young 22-year-old trying to make it and have some fun.

So, everyone, chill out. Time.com said it best, "Catey Shaw isn't actually singing about Brooklyn the place. She's singing about Brooklyn the adjective...The whole this about a Brooklyn girl is you don't have to be from Brooklyn." Let's all just get over ourselves a little and stop taking everything so damn seriously. Most of us aren't from here anyway. And we can always, always one more catchy pop song in our lives.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Drag Me to Hell was weird: A Kind of Horror Movie Review


After working a half day on Saturday and binging on funnel cake from a street fair (I didn't eat sugar all week and forgot as soon as I saw the funnel cake sign), I was feeling a little run down. Chico and I had had a busy day with trains running on the wrong tracks, 5 hours in the office and a random, pop up street fair. What a better way to wind down than watch Drag Me To Hell (2009), which I've been saving on my Amazon Prime watch list (I love that thing, but I really wish there were more free movies).


I read about this movie on a few horror lists and was excited to watch it. It was weird, ya'll. I watched the trailer before paying $2.99 and decided it was worth the money. Unfortunately, the entire movie was explained in said trailer. Also, it wasn't scary. There were a couple of times I jumped a bit, but I knew it was coming.

The character development was laughable, especially the boyfriend, played by Justin Long. He was all over the place and apparently $10,000 is nothing to this dude (you'll understand what I mean if you watch it. If you don't want to watch it, don't worry about it). The main character, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman, who I loooooove), was raised on a farm and there was some issue there and her mom was an alcoholic and she used to be fat, apparently? None of these facts turned out to have anything to do with anything. They were just thrown at the viewer (me) to show some kind of emotional strife and then forgotten. Seemed liked she had it pretty normal to me. Distress with family sometimes, check. Childhood things to over come, check. Trying to assert herself in a male dominated field, check. Omg, Christine and I are the same person!

"Humor"
There's also a bunch of "humor." It felt like the director was trying to wink at the camera during these scenes. It was done poorly. Cabin in the Woods did it right. Drag Me to Hell made it weird. At times, I felt like I was watching a comic book, but it isn't.

In conclusion, I'm not sure if I like or dislike this movie. I have feelings about it. It wasn't terrible and it wasn't great but it wasn't not great and it wasn't not terrible. There you are. If you want to watch it, it's $2.99 to rent on Amazon Prime. I'd say watch it. It is in it's own sub-genre, that's for sure.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Horror Movie Review: Jug Face



Going into watching Jug Face, I assumed my experience was going to be awesome or terrible. Watching random Netflix horror movies is always crapshoot, but I remembering hearing about this movie and knew that it had some kind of following.  While it didn't inspire awe, it was very far from terrible.



The movie is about a group of backwoods, religious, mountain people. As Roger Ebert eloquently put it, they are "backwater residents that make the  "Deliverance" hillbillies look like Hamptonites." The community worships and fears a mud pit, referred to as "The Pit." The Pit keeps the community safe from sickness, but it requires a human sacrifice from a community member. A Pit appointed potter goes into a trance and the pit directs him (patriarchal society) while he sculpts the face of a jug. Whosever face is on the jug is the next human sacrifice. Our story focuses on Ada, played brilliantly by Lauren Ashley Carter, a pregnant teen who tried to avoid being sacrificed. 

Jug Face is pretty low budget with pretty dumb CGI (it might not even be CGI, it looks like someone with a low level knowledge of After Effects drew some swirls over a "ghost"), but the story doesn't need all of that any way. Honestly, the movie can stand up without any special effects, they're completely unnecessary. 


I found Jug Face riveting. I'm not sure if I've ever seen anything quite like it and the story was amazing. The humanity and emotion coming through the characters is raw and true. It kind of moved me. 

Also, Lauren Ashley Carter is beautiful. I'm kind of obsessed with her now. She's an excellent actress and her accent was spot on. Her is compelling to watch and I can't wait to see more from her in the future.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Damn the Man! Save the Empire!


Over the weekend I watched Empire Records with Derp. It was her first time. I don't know if I was more excited about watching the movie or about her watching the movie.

I haven't sat down just to watch Empire Records in several years (and not as background noise or with commercial interruptions). Last year, I tried to get boyfriend to watch it, but he just fell asleep and ruined the experience. Derp was so excited to see it that it upped my excitement (Dear Boyfriend, you're missing out).


In high school, when things weren't going to well, I'd play the movie and fall into Rex Manning Day at the coolest record store to ever happen to this world. While watching this weekend, I experienced a nostalgic walk through 10-12th grade me. The clothes, the music (Can you feel it, Sugar High!), the hair, the one liners (What's with today, today?). I feel like that's what makes the movie so memorable for me and my friends. The party scene at the end is the kind of night I always wanted to have. People united in a cause and having a wonderful, magical experience. I chased that kind of night and rarely (if ever) got one. But pushing Empire Records into the VCR and taking 90 minutes to immerse myself in their world made me feel like I'd had the night of my life.


I also have a thing for 90's music and their angsty lyrics (a boy with a bun recently said to me, "The 90's are so hot right now"). Empire Records speaks to teenage me. A time for endless possibility and fun. Where anyone can follow the girl of his dreams to Boston to go to art school without any college experience; where no one gets fired or goes to jail; where a store owner will take a plastic barrel of money as payment for the store. And it always smells like summer.