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Archive for May, 2010

And I don’t mean lesbian. I mean love. Because hell ya do I love the full length Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World trailer.

If you thought I wasn’t going to post this today, you obviously don’t know me that well.

BAM!

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I have never really cared about Russell Crowe. I liked him okay in LA Confidential, but that was pretty much the only thing I’ve paid any attention to. However when I saw this video, he actually kind of charmed me into liking him.

It’s Russell Crowe and Company singing Sean Kingston!

Well done, Russell. Now just do that a few more times and maybe I’ll give Gladiator* another shot.

*Boy enjoys Russell Crowe and Gladiator and tried to get me to watch them. I believe it took three tries of watching the movie before I could get through to the end without falling asleep. The swords and sandals epics just don’t do it for me.

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Arcade Fire isn’t a new band by any means. They got to be pretty popular so chances are, you’ve heard at least one of their albums. As for myself, I was pretty obsessed with Funeral for a while. I listened to Crown of Love (one of the best bittersweet love songs ever) and Neighbourhood # 1 (Tunnels) (a favourite first thing in the morning for the subway) pretty relentlessly after buying the album.

In any case, I just heard the first single off their upcoming album this morning and I had to share because it’s pretty enjoyable.

The single is officially being released on 6/1 and the album 8/2 or 8/3, depending on your location.

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You know how sometimes when you’re in a couple, you come across ideas that you both find hysterically funny but it’s hard to explain exactly why?

One such idea occurred to Boy and I when we were in San Francisco this past December. We were sitting in Lori’s eating our Cable Car breakfasts and talking about Robert E. Howard’s Conan series because, as I have mentioned before, Boy is a Conan fan. Anyway, I said something about how funny it would be if Conan had to be in the modern world and have an actual job. From this, we jokingly brainstormed about what kind of job Conan might have until we ended up with one of our favourite little jokes ever – Conan the Barbarian as a Fry Cook at a diner.

After a little while, I kind of forgot our little joke, but Boy must have kept it in the back of his mind because this morning I woke up to find that he had drawn two Conan mini strips which I am posting for your pleasure. Check ’em out!

It’s still in the early stages, but I have been told he plans to draw more which I am excited about. There is something about a giant barbarian spreading cooking lard on himself to enhance his skin’s shininess that tickles my funny bone. 

Conan the Fry Cook – Saving the world while serving you hash browns!

*Boy also has a website  and an online store which I highly recommend you check out because they are both filled with awesome stuff!*

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There are a lot of things I do for this blog. I share my silliest secrets, I open myself up to humiliation . . . and I watch horrible, horrible movies.

Now today’s horrible movie revolves around the story of a girl with a dream . . . a dream to be as slutty and as erratic as humanly possible. Oh, and to dance. Dancing is apparently in there too.

May I present to you . . . Showgirls!

 

Just a couple of things up front.

1)      This movie was written by Joe Eszterhaus who was apparently born in Hungary. At first, I thought that the weirdness in the script was because of some language divide, but then I read that Eszterhaus had moved to America when he was six years old. So apparently, it’s not so much a question of his need for ESL classes as it is a question of his sucking as a writer. I guess I should have expected this from a dude who wrote an entire short story about the secret confessions of the president’s penis, but hey, that could have been a fluke right?

2)      This movie was supposed to mark Elizabeth Berkley’s transition from Saturday morning kiddy TV show fare into a more serious adult market. It really did not as the movie bombed with audiences and critics alike*. While Elizabeth Berkley still works, no one seems to take her all that seriously anymore and the most credible/highest profile gig she’s landed in recent years was on CSI: Miami. Yikes.

3)      Just as a disclaimer, there are no X-Rated pictures and I don’t get too graphic with what happens in the movie since I realize some people are reading this through readers and don’t want to have any nasty surprises. However, there will be times when you are reading this recap and you will think to yourself “No, that can’t have happened. Girl is just throwing fake crap in to mess with me because no movie could possibly be THAT ridiculous.” But that will be wrong because everything I am writing here is true. Horribly, horribly true.

Gird your loins, people! We’re going in.

Our story begins with Jessie Spano hitchhiking along the side of a dirty road. Her name in the movie is Nomi, but I will never call her that. Instead I will imagine that this is Jessie Spano leaving Bayside after seriously hit the skids after that caffeine pill incident.


I’m embedding the clip from Saved By The Bell so you can see a little sample of Elizabeth Berkley’s acting style.
Suffice it to say if Mark Paul Gosselar is acting circles around you, you’ve got problems.

Anyway, Jessie gets picked up by a random idiot who loves Garth Brooks. They banter back and forth in a way that is meant to be seen as hip and streetwise but instead sounds ridiculous. The thing about Eszterhaus’ writing is, it’s like he’s an alien who’s never actually heard people talking before and instead is having to piece it together on the fly. It’s kind of amazing. So Garth Brooks Guy seems skeezy but then he gives her ten dollars and she thinks he’s cool. But then he steals her suitcase. What that dude wants with a bunch of hooker clothes, I’ll never know (or maybe I don’t want to know).

Driven to distraction, Jessie works herself up into a tizzy and promptly throws up on a poor black girl. About five seconds after she stops puking, she then tries to flirt with said black girl as though she didn’t just empty the contents of her stomach in front of her. Sexy! Poor black girl a.k.a. Molly somehow takes pity on Jessie and invites her to move in. Because people you just met five minutes ago make the best roommates.

Wouldn't you trust this woman in your apartment?

To get over the loss of her suitcase and to initiate her to the scene, Molly takes Jessie to a Las Vegas review. She watches from the audience and spends the entire time imitating their moves. As far as I can tell, their moves include wearing drag queen looking makeup, getting dressed up in sparkly thongs and doing jazz hands until your wrists hurt.

Before you know it, Trey from Sex And The City shows up. He doesn’t do much of anything yet, but he has horrible floppy emo bangs which make me laugh. He is also hanging out with Gina Gershon. Maybe it’s just me, but Gina Gershon has the weirdest smile ever. It’s like she’s some kind of secret human shark hybrid and has more rows of teeth than the average person.

Gina Gershon: She has so many teeth, she can't even close her mouth!

Gina Gershon’s character’s name is Cristal Connors and she headlines the big show at the Stardust. When Jessie Spano goes over to talk to her (in an explosion of hair glitter, I might add), Gina laughs at her and basically calls her a whore. Jessie Spano naturally takes this badly and bounces herself against a bunch of cars like a pinball. I think this is to show she’s angsty?

Because Jessie is bummed over being rejected by Gina Gershon and her crazy teeth, she and Molly head out to dance instead of deal with crazy things like work. When they hit the club, Jessie is overtaken by the music and smashes around on the dance floor, as graceful as a drunken buffalo. While she’s dancing, a guy comes up to her and basically tells her she looks like a lunatic. In response, she nuts him on the dancefloor and gets carted off to jail. You know, as you do.

An indeterminate amount of time later, the guy from the club (who we learn is named James) bails her out of jail and then hits her up for a date. That must be an expensive pickup tactic. Jessie Spano spouts bumper sticker logic at him for a while (“Shit happens”) before Molly picks her up. Jessie waves goodbye to James while sucking faux-seductively on a Blow Pop.

In case anyone reading didn't catch the oh-so-subtle symbolism, the blow pop equals dude parts. You're welcome.

After her little jail adventure, Jessie heads off to dance at the club that somehow made the mistake of hiring her. However, when we get to the club, it become a little more obvious why she was hired there in the first place. It is incredibly tacky. Not only does it boast a woman with inflatable boobs (it’s like she had one of those airplane life preservers grafted onto her chest), but it is also run but a creepy pockmark faced dude who explains the art of lapdancing to the club’s new Pollyanna like dancer. Pollyanna does not seem thrilled about this.

Later on in the evening, Gina Gershon and Emo Bang Trey show up at the club. Gina Gershon is wearing chainmail and Trey could not look more bored. Gina spots Jessie Spano and immediately selects her as the girl she wants to give Trey a lapdance. What follows is the most painful looking lapdance in the history of cinema. I don’t even have that equipment, but I couldn’t help but cross my legs in defense. It’s like she’s crushing his pelvis! In fact, it’s so horrible and violent looking, I half suspect Trey fakes his satisfaction with it just so he can go home and piece together the remaining shards of his genitals. Gina and Trey limp off into the sunset.

You might remember the girl who just crushed your nuts from Saturday morning TV!

However, someone who has not limped off into the sunset is stupid James from the club. Somehow in the last twenty minutes, he has become overinvested in Jessie Spano’s emotional struggle and talks with her about her “natural talent.” That is the worst line ever, James. Not only is it a blatant lie but why would you even bother, especially when getting her to demonstrate her skill again pretty much insures you’re bound for your own Peanut Buster Parfait? James classes it up some more by talking about “how everyone has AIDS and shit.” Jessie Spano looks mildly intrigued but leaves just the same.

Later that day, Jessie Spano goes on a shopping spree with her friend which involves skipping, buying blingy looking dresses and talking about masturbation. All typical female pastimes! While they are out, Jessie Spano is stopped by a dude who works for one of the hotels. She threatens to cut him, but he finds this spunky and in response, offers her an audition for the hotel’s show. Man, if only I had known that threatening people with bodily harm could give me a leg up when it came to job hunting! I’ll have to remember that one for my next interview!

At the audition, the producer gives the ladies a Full Metal Jacket style pep talk, which just goes to show you there are people who take their jobs way too seriously in every field. But there’s no need to worry because Jessie Spano’s totally getting this. Oh no, wait. What is the opposite of “getting this”? Sucking? Because what with the smarting off and flailing and then running off stage in tears, it’s probably more like that.

In the wake of her horrible audition, Jessie Spano finds comfort in Gina Gershon (who comes to visit her) and James, who lets her get him fired from his job and then rewards her by taking her out for food. The meal is quite a spectacle since Jessie Spano chews scenery as well as her burger. When your lead actress can’t even eat convincingly, your movie has some problems.

After Jessie and James eat, they go back to James’ place where Jessie slams her head around his crotch area while a Prince song plays. Seriously, Prince, you’re better than this!

I mean seriously Prince, aren't you still making royalties off of Purple Rain? Surely you don't need to sink this low!

James tries to convince her to have sex with him but she begs off because she has her period. And she’s not just content to tell him this, but she shows him as well. It’s as though Joe Eszterhaus thought to himself “What do ladies do? Oh yeah – bleed through their hoohas! We should write that in!” Anyway, after a sexy display of menstrual blood, Jessie runs into the street and unconvincingly hails a cab.

Somehow, in the midst of Jessie’s adventures, the hotel guy calls and offers Jessie a part in the show at the Stardust. It’s like her spunk is blinding people into thinking she has talent! Immediately upon hearing she’s going to be working at the hotel, she heads back to pockmark guy and tells him off before picking up her clothes and leaving in a huff. After insulting him, she heads back to James’ place where she discovers ridiculous Pollyanna stripper from the first act has taken up residence – in James’ pants. Disillusioned, she takes off in a huff. You should have known he was lying to you when he told you you were a good dancer, Jessie! That was a pretty obvious tip off right there!

Jessie then goes to meet with the hotel people. She giggles like the dentist slipped her some laughing gas. Everyone tries to overlook the fact that she’s a lunatic and smiles awkwardly. On the way out, Jessie runs into Emo Bang Trey and he compliments her strippery dress. She tells him it is from “Versayce!” and he is nice enough to correct her (Ver-sa-chi) so we don’t have to spend the next hour listening to her mispronounce it.

Before the show, Jessie meets with the hotel’s stereotypically gay choreographer and he tells her how to thrust it. I promise this is not a joke.

The day of her first performance is rife with behind the scenes catfights and general monkey antics. No seriously, there are monkeys involved. But Jessie heads out onto that stage with her head held high . . . and growls. All the way through her big number she growls. Loudly. Listen Jessie, I know Tyra Banks is always extolling the virtues of being fierce, but I think even she would draw the line at making retarded tiger noises while you’re putting on a Vegas show.

See? Even Tyra thinks that's too much!

Yet again, people are far too enthusiastic about Jessie’s crap dancing. When she goes backstage there is even a bunch of flowers waiting for her, sent by Emo Bang Trey. Shouldn’t she have sent him flowers after surgeons had to reconstruct his junk?

As Jessie is leaving, James shows up again and claps to get her attention. He talks about how he doesn’t make money from teaching people to dance (is that what he was doing?) so he should get laid in return. Jessie Spano does the first smart thing she’s done all movie and leaves him and his lame cheating excuse in the dust.

The next day on her way to practice, Jessie is intercepted by Gina Gershon. Gina looks like she’s pretending to be some sort of disco cowboy and convinces Jessie to ditch her much needed dance lesson in favour of going for lunch. Jessie agrees and they head to a restaurant where they talk about how they both used to eat dog food (this is apparently common enough in the Showgirls world that it is never addressed as being weird) and bang their crackers together. For the record, “bang their crackers together” is not a euphemism for anything.

Later on, they head back to the dance studio together to dance. They dance together in a way that someone must have though looked sexy but instead kind of makes me sad since it’s so lame. They end up getting in a fight when Gina Gershon pisses Jessie off. Jessie leaves in a huff and Gina Gershon smirks. Actually, to save time, unless I say otherwise, Gina Gershon is smirking.

Smirk!

In addition to her hotel dancing duties, Jessie Spano is recruited to work at a boat show dancing on boats. The next thing, Jessie Spano knows, her boat show boss is trying to get her to sleep with some random Japanese Business Man. But Jessie Spano don’t play that, so she calls Emo Bang Trey to come save her. Emo Bang Trey does, but the second he’s out of Jessie’s earshot calls her skeezy boss and thanks him for playing along. It was all a setup to get into crazy Jessie’s pants! For shame Emo Bang Trey! What would Charlotte say?

The next night at the hotel show, there is much excitement. In a dastardly show of cunning, one of the chorus girls spills fake diamonds onto the stage and makes another one fall and break her leg. It’s a case of diamondtage (diamondtage = diamonds + sabotage). The girl with the broken leg insists it wasn’t an accident, but Jessie lamely defends Diamondtage Girl and things are left alone.

Rhinestones: They might look harmless on the surface but they can really do some damage as part of a nefarious plot!

After the show, Emo Bang Trey brings Jessie Spano back to his house which features what I’m sure he considers a babe lair – a cheesy swimming pool with neon palm trees! Trey pours champagne over Jessie in a move she is naïve enough to think is sexy and then . . .

Okay this is the part that is meant to be erotic for the watcher as Jessie and Trey have sex, but it is really not. In fact, it’s hard to emphasize in print how ridiculous it looks. I guess the best thing I can say is, if you ever wondered what a dolphin caught in a tuna net having a seizure might look like, this is a fair approximation of that. In fact, if someone who had never had sex before only had this performance to go by, I might even go as far as saying, it could make you vow to be an eternal virgin. Just no, movie. No.

If you find this erotic, please leave my blog immediately.

The following day, auditions are held to find a new understudy for Gina Gershon (I guess that’s who the girl with the broken leg was). Jessie Spano auditions while Emo Bang Trey watches from the audience wearing peach lipgloss. Once Jessie is done dancing, Gina Gershon comes racing up in a Patridge Family style jumpsuit and slams Spano for stealing Trey. I have a moment of disbelief that either of these ladies would be fighting over a dude who wears more product than I do, but then again, maybe I just don’t understand Vegas life. Anyway, Jessie Spano gets the understudy part and everyone is pissed off. Jessie goes off and eats another hamburger while triumphant music plays. Damn, that girl eats a lot of burgers! I think that’s the only thing I’ve seen her eat this whole movie.

After Jessie is done her burger, she heads over to see the show that James has apparently choreographed in between his lady seducing. People in the audience boo because it’s not sexy enough. Also, Jessie discovers that Polyanna stripper is pregnant and James is shotgun marrying her. Jessie Spano thanks her lucky stars she was having her period that day. We know! You showed us, crazy lady!

Somehow, by the time Jessie gets back to the hotel for the next show at the Stardust, she’s lost the part of understudy. The next performance is a very tense biker style dance which involves leather outfits, motorcycles on stage, the dancers doing karate chops to their own crotches and a weird Jets/Sharks jazz hands battle. It’s about as awkward as it sounds.

But soon, Jessie sees her chance! As the ladies are about to get on stage for the next number, Jessie ruthlessly pushes Gina down the stairs. There is much commotion and pretty much everyone saw it happen, but the Diamondtage Girl from earlier says that Jessie didn’t do anything. So everyone takes the word of the girl who was previously accused of sabotage and Jessie gets the lead in the show.

Remember kids, this is who we're supposed to be rooting for.

A side effect of this however is that Jessie’s roommate Molly– who as a seamstress for the show saw the whole thing – doesn’t trust her anymore. Jessie’s gone crazy with fame! Molly confronts Jessie and Jessie talks her back down and convinces Molly that she’s innocent. I’m not sure if it works because Molly is really gullible or because she was hypnotized by Jessie’s horrible eye makeup. I’d say a little bit of both.

To celebrate the change in headliner, the Stardust throws a huge party for Jessie where her name is literally in lights. Jessie attends the classy do dressed in an outfit more befitting a Barbie doll than a real person. Sparkly blue leather motorcycle outfit for the win! Jessie also brings Molly along and introduces her to some sort of lounge singer dude who looks like a cross between Yanni and John Tesh except nowhere near as appealing. Faux Yanni offers to go get Molly a drink with a special ingredient in it – rohipnol – and then squires Molly off to his private quarters.

And this is where the movie gets truly awful, ladies and gentlemen, because Faux Yanni then proceeds to beat and sexually assault poor Molly. The scene comes out of nowhere and is such a weird shift that I almost had to check that I was still watching the same movie. I mean things suddenly go from “All About Eve with pasties” to a toned down version of “I Spit On Your Grave Vegas style”. The scene is completely incongruous considering the schlocky, campy tone of the rest of the movie. Not only that, but it gives you yet another reason to feel sorry for poor Molly. First, she has to be friends with stupid Jessie Spano and then she gets raped for her troubles! Awful!

Remember ladies, if he walks softly and plays a big piano, stay away!

Once Molly is discovered and rushed to the hospital, Jessie gets upset and sets out to inform the police of the situation. But suddenly Emo Bang Trey appears and busts on her for having a fake name/identity. Apparently, Jessie Spano is secretly a former runaway and prostitute with a laundry list of arrests. He tells her not to call the cops or he’ll bust her and end her Vegas dreams for sure! I think it’s safe to say the honeymoon is over, kids.

However, Jessie has a plan. She paints her nails to kung fu music and says “Showtime!” to herself like a crazy person before heading over to Faux Yanni’s hotel room. Wearing a leopard print outfit, she manages to make it into his inner sanctum and distract him with a nipple flash before . . . and get this . . . she beats the ever loving crap out of him with her spastic dance moves! Watching it, it almost seems like all of her dance training has been leading up to this moment,  kind of like if Mr. Miyagi had taught Daniel to crush William Zabka’s ass using a series of high kicks!

I think 1980s Ralph Macchio could have taught 1990s Elizabeth Berkley a thing of two about subtly accessorizing.

After leaving Faux Yanni bruised and bleeding on the floor, she does a quick costume change before heading over to the hospital to tell poor comatose Molly that she succeeded in getting her some justice after all. On the way out, she even stops by Gina Gershon’s room where they share a cheesy lesbian moment before Gina gives her a cowboy hat and sends her off into the sunset . . . where she meets up with the Garth Brooks loving idiot from the first reel. How wacky! Oh movie, will you ever stop?

And then it did and I was never as happy to see end credits in my whole life.

Now I tried to think of what I might have learned from this movie, some sort of redeeming quality I might have taken from it, but the truth was, I couldn’t really come up with one.

The nicest thing I could think about it was that I was thankful that I was not Elizabeth Berkley and was not condemned to be known as “that girl from Showgirls” for the rest of my life. When that woman dies, you know 95 per cent of the Hollywood obits are going to mention it. It’s like a stain that will never wash off, like the biblical mark of Cain or Lady Macbeth’s stained hands. Yes, I realize I just indirectly compared Elizabeth Berkley to Lady Macbeth . . . this movie has messed me up that much.

Because that movie was crap. Pure, stinking to high heaven, crap.

I have Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Running Man and fantasy movie with Jason Statham called In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale at home, but I’m going to need some time to recover before I do another one of these.

As for right now, I have to go have a shower to wash the heebiest of jeebies off my skin. Ugh!

*There is actually an entire chapter about this movie in the book Fiasco: A History of Hollywood’s Iconic Flops by James Robert Parish. If you love movies and schadenfreude, it’s definitely worth a read.

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I am not, by nature, an optimistic person. God knows I try to be, but a lot of the time, my pessimistic side rears its ugly head. There are people who live in “the happy house” part of their brain, but I, on the other hand, frequent “the sarcastic shack” section of my grey matter.

However, as I get older, I find that I am becoming a bit of an emotional cheerleader, especially when it comes to other people. If you are family or friend, I will root for you, encourage you and champion you as much as possible. I won’t take other people slandering you and I definitely won’t take you doing it to yourself.

This was the most normal looking picture of cheerleaders I could find. Holy crap, Google Image Search! That was a virtual tit parade!

This quality is rearing its plucky little head these days as Boy looks for work. The company that he was hoping to land a position with keeps putting out articles that he sees as depressing but I choose to see as encouraging.

“They are 2,000 people applying for jobs with them!” He’ll tell me.

“The majority of those people aren’t qualified like you are,” I’ll respond.

“I haven’t worked on those kinds of projects before!”  He’ll insist.

“But you have a kickass portfolio and three impressive letters of recommendation, extolling your creativity and work ethic!” I’ll remind him.

Whatever he throws at me, I’ll refute. I quote articles, I remind him of his experiences and I generally take the side of positivity in all arguments.

This tactic drives him crazy, and sometimes makes me wonder who has taken control of my mouth, but I can’t stop because stopping equals tacit agreement. It equals defeat and I am not ready to be defeated. I am not ready for him to be defeated.

The strange part of loving people is that sometimes, you’ll find yourself wanting more for them than they want for themselves. 

Perhaps it’s because things are less complicated as an outsider. You can hoot and holler and shout their virtues to the world endlessly and it’s simple because you’re removed from everything. You’re not all bogged down with the frustration and confusion and fear and self loathing they have floating around in their heads, so the optimism comes more naturally to you.

Or, it could be you’re so blinded by how much you love them, you just want them to have everything they should have in life and that makes it easier to be a one-man (or woman) enthusiasm band.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Whatever the case, when the occasion calls for it, I do my best to think happy thoughts and stay focused on the best case scenario situation. I’ve done it for people in scholastic situations, I’ve done it for people in romantic endeavours, and now I’m doing it for my husband while he’s job hunting because he’s awesome and deserves a shot at this.

I don’t know what’s going to happen now. We both work in creative fields and it’s hard to anticipate what is going to happen with them both in the future. But for the time being, I’m going to keep on waving my pompoms.

Because if things work out for him the way I am hoping they will, it will be the sweetest “I told you so” of my life.

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Me: I get off at two today. Did you want to do something this afternoon?
Boy: Kick it in the park and shoot squirrels?
Me: I’m good with the kicking it in the park part.
Boy: Fine. I’ll leave my skinning knife at home.
Me: We don’t live inside Red Dead Redemption*!
Boy: Boo!

*I bought him this game for his birthday recently and it has become a fixture in our lives pretty quickly.

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