The Last Picture Show (1971)



((mini-SPOILER Alert))

This is one of the most realistic movies I've seen in a long time. It's artfully done without beating you over the head with cinematic techniques, and I can imagine everything that happens in the film actually happening in real life. A sort of American Graffiti meets The Graduate set in Texas, The Last Picture Show provided insight into a lifestyle of which I am completely unfamiliar without the puke-inducing shots of nostalgia that movies often bombard you with (October Sky, anyone?). I thoroughly enjoyed this and was kept wanting more until the very last minute. I can totally see why it won Oscars, especially for Cloris Leachman's performance (who, up until I watched this, I had only seen in comedic roles like Young Frankenstein). 

The fact that it was in black and white was a bit annoying at first, and as it opened I thought, "Oh fuck, here's another movie set in BW to symbolize the fifties. Big whoop." As it kept going, however, I realized that the tone and content of the film wouldn't fit in color. The fact that the story is about a dying town with deteriorating and old-style values that no one is fighting to keep clicked in my head as I watched the film in a format that is now only used for artistic choices. The minute I realized that the film format was used to make us want to cling on to the last bit of youth and naivety present at the beginning of the movie (as evidenced by Sonny wanting to see a picture show and drive around with Duane before he leaves for the army), I was in awe. It made me think that if there was ever a sequel to this movie, it would be in color, since the last picture show finished along with the spirit and nostalgia of the town. That thought alone blew my sometimes idiotically slow mind. 

Another thing I loved about this film was the characters. I was so psyched to see a super young Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd, both of which had fantastic performances as the stereotyped deadbeat and town belle. I think that the reason the characters worked so well is because they represented archetypes of characters you would see in any small town- Ben Johnson as the man who runs everything, Ellen Burstyn as the woman living vicariously through her daughter, etc.- but the characters run so much deeper and are played as complex enough that you have to actually look closely to see the prototypes, rather than have to examine the characters to see beneath the surface. The combination of great writing and great actors created this typical Texas small town without actually being typical. 

My one criticism of the film is the obscenely large plot hole involving the coach. The storyline involving Sonny and Ruth was fascinating and kept me on my toes, and yet at one point Sonny turns to Lois and says, "Does everyone know about it?" to which she replies yes. So my question is, where the fuck is the coach in all this if Ruth is convinced he'll come home with his rifle? Did I miss something here? If someone could please tell me if a line was uttered that made reference to this fact, please let me know, although I'm pretty sure that if shit were to go down, it would have been a much bigger impact in the plot. Instead, the coach disappears after introducing them. It was as if his purpose was served so we no longer needed him. Peace out, Coach Popper! Enjoy your life outside the movie. 

Other than that, I found this film to be both thought provoking and realistically entertaining. The drama was interplaced throughout the film in such a way that wasn't overbearing, so that rather than reaching the end of the film and proclaiming, "Well, that's an Oscar-winning film for you," you reach the end and say, "Well, that's life." 


The Movie Mistress


100th Post Extravaganza!!

So I just realized that my previous post was #100. That was exciting, even though it wasn't a particularly enigmatic one since I didn't really like the movie. Annnnyway, I decided I'm going to actually follow through on one of my promises on an earlier post and help you celebrate. So, without further ado....

THE TWILIGHT/NEW MOON DRINKING GAME (trust me- it will work with either movie) 

1. Every time Bella changes her emotion
2. Every time Bella stutters
3. Every time Bella looks high
4. Every time there is a cutaway to forest scenery
5. Every time slow motion effects are used
6. Every time anyone says the words "I can't live without you"
7. Every time you a vampire starts sparkling
8. Every time Jacob says a joke that isn't funny
9. Every time Charlie mentions the fact that he's a bachelor to Bella (which, btw, is kind of creepy)

and, if you REALLY want to get fucked up, 

10. Every time Edward looks like a creepy sex offender/stalker

If you want to take it for a test drive, here are the trailers for both:

Enjoyy nrow or psack up and sabve for latrr. 




Mulholland Dr. (2001)



I stopped taking this movie seriously the minute I saw Billy Ray Cyrus enter the frame. Actually, I stopped long before that, but I kept hoping that maybe if I kept on watching, some ounce of credibility would be bestowed on it eventually. It didn’t happen.

Within the first ten minutes, I felt like I had turned on the Lifetime Channel because of how terrible the acting was. Then, I did some research. Apparently, this movie started out as a pilot for ABC. You know, the channel owned by fucking Disney. So that made sense. As I kept watching, though, I realized that it wasn’t really the acting, since I had seen a lot of these people before, save for Billy Ray. It was the script. It was so entirely ridiculous that there was no way for it to be salvaged. Not even the actors knew how to turn it into something not laughable. I get that it’s supposed to be stylized film noir, but there’s a difference between over-the-top and non-realistic.

I decided to make a list of questions, then, for David Lynch, the writer/director of this film. Starting from the top:

Why would you ever name a 30-something woman in 2001 Betty? Any aspiring actress with a lick of sense would have dropped the nickname synonymous with eighty year old women and opted for something modern, like Liz, or Beth.

Why has it been twenty minutes and nothing has actually happened?

What is up with all the close-ups on the eyes?

Why does there have to be a psychic woman living next door? I feel like that cliché has been overused so many times that it has lost its value of moving the plot forward.

Why is the subplot/comical relief of Adam getting dumped even in there?

Why is the landlady’s business who stays with Betty? Is she not allowed to have friends?

What kind of audition is this? Why are they all so accomadating, and why is it acceptable to have a make-out session?

Why has it been an hour and ten minutes and I still feel like nothing has happened?

…More eye close ups?

Why is everyone in this movie so hostile toward one another?

Why make a big deal about changing what Rita looks like if all it means is putting on a wig? With the whole, "Let me do it" spiel I thought at least she'd get a radical haircut and makeup change. What was really implied was "Here, let me put this wig on you because you apparently can't do it yourself."

Why do both women just happen to sleep naked? I mean, I get that it’s a lesbian romance, but I don’t know many people who sleep naked on a regular basis. I also don’t know anyone who actually dreams with their eyes open.

…I think you get the idea. I think had everything been faster, it might have been able to hold my attention. As it was, I struggled to not just shut off the television. It was one of those movies where I could get up, walk away for a few minutes to get something to drink without pausing and be confident that I would know exactly what was going on when I came back.  It was just… so…. slow.

Because I don’t want to bore you anymore, I’m going to stop now. To keep asking stupid questions, I’d have to go through the entire movie, and who wants to do that? I mean, I gave it a 4/10 because I wanted to stop watching an hour in.


The Movie Mistress


Manhattan (1979)


Rating: 7/10

I guess I'm not a purist, but I really prefer Woody Allen's darker side. I have a weird obsession with Match Point, and while I appreciate movies like Annie Hall and Manhattan, they just don't do it for me. Nevertheless, I found this movie to be enjoyable and realistic while still maintaining a sense of grandeur that can only come from a movie about life in New York City. 

One of the best things I enjoyed about this movie was the continuing shots. You'd see Tracy and Isaac in the living room together and after they left that room to go to the kitchen the shot would stay the same. You were forced to pay attention to what was being said rather than having to rely on facial expressions and gestures, which we often take for granted when watching movies. I also loved that it was in black and white. It added a sophistication to the film that contrasted with the very ordinary lifestyles of the characters. Here we are, watching the dynamics of human relationships and adult fuck-ups through the style of an old movie with a glamorous soundtrack, and yet the cinematography felt like a documentary. It was kind of fascinating to watch. 

My one criticism of this movie is the pace. It took a while to get into, and the only thing that saved it was the fact that you already knew the gist of Woody Allen's character, so you could jump in without having to build much of a background on him because his character is pretty much the same in every one of his movies. The movie itself just kind of exists without purpose for a while, and you don't understand what you're suppose to find out until the last two minutes. I suppose that's the point, however, and if you look at the overall making of the film and style, it more than compensates for the painfully slow pacing. 

"You just have to learn to have a little faith in people." If that doesn't sum up the entire plot of Woody Allen's crazy antics, I don't know what does. I can't get over how great that line is to end a movie. There are a lot of wonderful movies that have pretty shitty ending lines, but this is now going at the top of my list of the greats (among Kramer v. Kramer and Marie Antoinette). 

I think that had the movie focused less on the details of everyday life in New York and more about the overall plot and where it was going, it would have been far more effective. As it was, however, it focused on every single thing that happened to the characters every day of their lives and how it affected every other character two minutes later. It takes a while to get used to, but by the end of the movie you appreciate the way the story went, although I was a bit surprised when suddenly Isaac professes that it's been months since the film started. I have to admit I was like, "What... how....? When was that time shown? I thought everything happened three days ago." Still, if you ignore the discrepancies and appreciate the artistry of the film instead, it can be immensely amusing. 


The Movie Mistress


Double Feature Friday- So Offbeat You're Not Sure What to Do...

Everyone loves a good movie that makes you think... and nothing else. I've seen some pretty bizarre movies recently, so I decided to make today's Double Feature dedicated to all the films out there that are neither comedies, nor dramas, nor suspense movies, but kind of just... exist. I'm a huge fan of the whole Harold and Maude- esque genre that leaves you with a feeling in your stomach that you're not sure what to do with except think about the state of the world today. Here we go:

Cold Souls (2009)

Paul Giamatti plays an actor named.... Paul Giamatti. I know this film was not rated very well, but I really liked it. I thought a lot of really interesting choices were made, especially regarding the fact that half the movie took place in Russia. There were no subtitles during any of the scenes shot in Russian, making you not only identify with the isolation of the main character and helpless confusion about who the fuck actually has his soul, but also cements my own personal belief that you don't always need spoken dialogue to understand a story. The movie was about an actor who has his soul extracted in order to get through playing Uncle Vanya, and surprisingly, it's a totally believable premise. You'd think that something like "soul trafficking" seems stupid and ridiculous, but I found myself watching the film without hesitation. It raises a lot of interesting questions about the body and its capabilities, and also what makes someone who they are. Can you really be yourself with someone else's soul in you? An offbeat, quirky, and entertaining non-genre-specific film, I'd say go watch it in an instant. 

Happiness (1998) 

Am I supposed to laugh in this movie? Feel sad? How about I'll just be an outsider, looking in at the goings-on of a dysfunctional family that's not mine. There are so many fucked up things that happen in this movie- rape, murder, incestuous thoughts, creepy phone calls, that it's hard to be shocked by the time you're twenty minutes in. At the same time, however, you want to applaud the crimes committed while feeling immensely sad and sorry for the characters that society and real life would tell you to ordinarily detest. It's that reason alone that makes this movie fascinating. It doesn't exactly fit into any categories other than the multiple connection and storyline aspect of it, but it still keeps you watching the entire time. I detested Lara Flynn Boyle's character, who was meant to be the only functional and successful character, and yet sympathized with Dylan Baker, the alleged rapist. It's funny how movies can shift how you look at other people (remember how you wanted to give the sex offender from Little Children a hug?). This is a fantastic movie, however offbeat and strange it may seem at times and no matter how much you want to hate yourself for liking the wrong people. 


The Movie Mistress


Golden Globes Cheat Sheet


So... Can I just say that I am so fucking happy that Avatar won Best Motion Picture? I saw it twice (once in a regular theatre and then again in 3-D) and I have to say that I think it deserved recognition. James Cameron's little sci-fi that could went far, and no matter the mixed reviews, you have to admit that it's pretty fucking awesome. No one really expected it to reach the mass appeal that it did, and yet the box office sales are close to passing Titanic. Anyway, if you missed the awards, the Movie Mistress is here to point out the night's highlights so that you can have even more savvy knowledge of popular culture over your peers. So, without further ado, The Golden Globe goes to...

1.) Mo'Nique- Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Well deserved, and the first award to start off the evening. It was actually legitimately exciting to watch her win because you could tell she genuinely cared and was totally grateful. Plus, Precious is a fantastic movie. 

2.) John Lithgow- Best Supporting Actor in a Television Show 

If you haven't ever seen Dexter, John Lithgow is a creepy mother fucker. He completely sold us on the role of the Trinity Killer and props to him for winning. 

3.) Chloe Sevigny- Best Supporting Actress in a TV Show 

I watch Big Love regularly, and last season, Chloe Sevigny totally stepped up to the plate in terms of character. Hers is one of the most interesting and complex characters I've seen on television in a while, and I was so happy that she won. 

4.) Glee- Best Television Show (Comedy or Musical)

Doesn't it just make you want to start singing? 

5.) Christoph Waltz- Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture 

Best villain ever. Haven't seen Inglorious Basterds? Well, all I can say is, that is NOT a BINGO. 

...Aaand, of course, there's Meryl Streep competing against herself... and winning. I was really glad she won for Julie and Julia, since she was the best part of that movie and pretty much made my viewing experience worthwhile. 

Oh, and Ricky Gervais. I don't think there has been a host who has overused the self promotion card the amount of times that he did at the Globes. The weird thing was that it just got funnier each time, most likely because he had already set the precedent of not being PC at all so it didn't end up looking pathetic. The best moment was when he nearly lost it and actually professed that he most likely would not be asked back. Which is probably true, since I don't think Americans are as open as the British in terms of telling penis jokes on public television without masking them with clever jargon. Anyway, he had everyone in the room in stitches, and was definitely something to watch. 

Now, I wouldn't be the Movie Mistress if I didn't also discuss the Low Points of this year's awards, or, as you can cleverly say to all your friends and coworkers, the What The Fuck Was That Garbage About?!? Awards. First Up...

1.) The Hangover- Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

I'm sorry, but as much as I enjoyed this movie... no. It isn't deserving of a Golden Globe. It's entertaining, but it's a ridiculous frat boy comedy with cheap laughs. Give it to It's Complicated or something more original.

2.) Up- Best Animated Motion Picture

I knew this was going to win, but I was still sad when I compared it to what it was up against. Well, ok, maybe not The Princess and the Frog, but The Fantastic Mr. Fox? Coraline? Waaay better than Up. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, but I'm pretty particular on my animation preferences. 

3.) Sandra Bullock- Best Actress in a Motion Picture (for The Blind Side)

Should have gone to Gabourney Sidibe for Precious. Not even going to go any further in explanation. 

So there you go. Now you can be on top of all the post Awards gossip. Unfortunately, for all us movie buffs, however, Hollywood never sleeps. On to the Oscars!


The Movie Mistress



So... I've heard a lot of hype about this movie. Like, a ton. Two of my favorite magazines have featured interviews with Paul Bettany, and I keep seeing mini trailers in the movie theatres- you know the type, the ones that flash a bunch of clips but don't actually tell you what the fuck the movie is about so you're just confused. From those, it looked kind of exciting. So I decided I would look up the actual trailer on the internet. Being a generally R-rated person, I watched the R-rated trailer, and this is what I saw:

Am I the only one that thinks this just looks fucking stupid? Seriously. It's the fucking apocalypse! There's so much you can do with that! An endless row of fucking brilliant possibilities, and they have to highlight a badly CGI'd old woman on the ceiling and a not-at-all scary ice cream truck freak reminiscent of Amy Adams ala Smallville.

Look familiar?

I've decided to make a list to organize all my thoughts about my very disappointing viewing experience.

What Not to Do When Making A Trailer:
1) Make it fucking FIVE MINUTES LONG
2) Include all the dialogue scenes when it's an action movie
3) Show us every special effect so that we know exactly what we're going to watch, and
4) Don't say what the movie is about until a minute into the trailer. The point of a trailer is to get your attention, not lose it within the first ten seconds.

It makes me sad to see trailers like this because here you have an exciting story and potential (I mean, what's better than the Biblical Apocalypse?) ruined by shitty planning. Who the fuck thought that a demonic ice cream man would be cool? I mean, I get that it's hard to make CGI look realistic. If that's the case, just don't animate! Good old fashioned make-up and costuming works just as well, if not better. Can you imagine the faun from Pan's Labyrinth being animated? I thought so. And is the old woman supposed to be funny? Because I fucking laughed my ass off when she climbed up the wall. It didn't seem like a time when you're supposed to laugh, and all I could think was, "this is fucking stupid." 

Am I alone in thinking the creators of this highly anticipated movie could have done better? You know something's bad when it isn't even out yet and you're already debating whether to rent or not. Which, I think I will. Because it doesn't seem worth it to me to see in the theatres. I will see it to try and prove myself wrong. But I can wait a while to do so. 


The Movie Mistress


The Top Ten Biopics


With Amelia, Coco Before Chanel and Bright Star surfacing this year after we've just put away I'm Not There and Public Enemies, the Movie Mistress has decided to make a tribute to Biographical Pictures, or, as we in the era of shortening everything like to call them, biopics. Because there's nothing more exciting than watching an actor reinterpret someone else's life to make them more human. I apologize that I didn’t really include any earlier biopics, like The Three Faces of Eve (one of my favorites) or Amadeus, but there are so fucking many that the ones I picked are just my favorites, even though I might have more favorites not on the list (and I mean A LOT more). So before you turn to HBO and watch Claire Danes as Temple Grandin, think back to these ten in no particular order:

1. La Vie En Rose (2007)

One of my favorites. I have never seen an actor capture someone's life in a biopic better than Marion Cottiard did with Edith Piaf. It astounded me when I found out that all of her singing was dubbed by recordings of Piaf herself! She embodies the character so well that you can't tell she's faking. That is talent. I also love the jumping around, even though it took me about three times of watching to figure out what parts of her life go where. But isn't that how we remember things anyway? I'd think that if I was dying, I would not remember my entire life in order, and I would save the worst memories for last. 

2. Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story (2001)

Okay, so I know this was an ABC made-for-TV movie, but if you've ever seen it, the little six year old that plays Shirley Temple is so close to the actual actress it's creepy. Shirley Temple Black had to make the final approval of who would play herself in the movie, and it definitely paid off. This movie is super realistic for a movie musical, highlighting both the fact that Black never really made a comeback and also the loneliness that came along with being a child star. I honestly have seen this movie a bunch of times and it never gets old. Seriously.

3. Mommie Dearest (1981)

This movie may have been called campy, overdone, and ridiculous, but it holds a pretty special place in my heart in terms of biopics. I am in awe of the child actor who played Joan Crawford's daughter. That kind of acting in a film has got to cause some psychological problems later on, however small. Watching her take being screamed at in the bathroom was almost as bad as Mo'Nique shoving her granddaughter off of her lap in Precious. I am a pretty big John Waters fan, and in my book, this one is one of his best. It paints a realistic picture of abuse before Child Services, and demonstrates the way that parental control pretty much stays with you for your entire life whether you want it to leave or not. 

4. Walk the Line (2005)

I didn't know anything about Johnny Cash before I watched this film, and now because of I've found out that he led a pretty remarkable life, both as a musician and a civilian. I know the movie mainly just focused on his issues with cocaine, but I kind of wish that it had spanned his entire life, or at least started at the end and flashed back to the beginning. I only say this because he kept playing and writing music for his entire life, and to say that he had a “heyday” isn’t entirely true. Example: It would have been interesting to watch him cover "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails and then flash back from there. Nevertheless, the acting was wonderful, and the soundtrack was great for a biopic about rock and roll.

5. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Color! Con-artists! di Caprio! The 1960s have never looked better. This star-studded (I mean, Tom Hanks, Leonardo di Caprio, Amy Adams, AND Christopher Walken?!? Granted, it was AA before she became famous) cast directed by Steven Spielberg is the closest to perfect a biopic can be (and I’m pretty harsh on films normally). It focuses on Tom Hank’s obsession so well that rather than have the movie be about Frank Abagnale or Carl Hanratty, it starts to be about the thrill of the chase, which is way more interesting. And yet you still find out more than you ever wanted to know about our main characters! I am in fucking awe.

6. Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Okay, so it never says specifically that this is David Bowie and Iggy Pop, but… it’s totally David Bowie and Iggy Pop. I’m counting this as a biopic. I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and this movie is no exception. He and Ewan McGregor make a great pair, and the two of them combined with sexuality, drugs, and awesome musical numbers make this a sweet ride. I love the video designed after "Satellite of Love."

7. Julie and Julia (2009)

This isn’t a biopic, per say, but Meryl Streep as Julia Child can’t be ignored. I enjoyed her scenes waaay more than Amy Adams’ cooking woes. If I get anything out of this movie, it’s that Julia Child was a badass. Who knew that cooking used to be a man’s profession? Or that there was no way for American women to easily cook French recipes (well, looking at the French, that’s totally believable)? I loved watching her struggle her way to the top, and, when Julie Powell says in the movie, “Julia Child hates me!” My immediate response was, “Good.”

8. Milk (2008)

“I know you’re angry! I’m angry.” There is no line more powerful in a biopic. Even though you know exactly what is going to happen at the end of the movie (One, because this person existed, and two, they told you during the opening credits), this movie is riveting nonetheless. My one gripe about it is that James Franco was totally robbed of Best Supporting. I know people think his part was pretty forgettable, but to me, watching him cry was totally worth it.

9.  A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Classic biopic, starting with a strange 17-year-old Russell Crowe (because, really, nothing important happens before you go to college), and ending with a seventy-something Russell Crowe, this movie manages to tell a simple story of one man’s life with plot twists, suspense, and excitement. Who would have thought that the life of a bat-shit crazy mathmatician could be this interesting? Really! And I absolutely adore Jennifer Connelly as his wife. Their relationship is loving, yet maintains a strained realism that is apparent through every stage of their marriage. It’s hard to say exactly what the movie is about without giving away the twist (although, by now I think most people already know), so I’ll just end with “it’s a really fucking good biopic.”

10. The Aviator (2004)

I’m not sure if it was this movie or Catch Me If You Can that got Leonardo di Caprio out of the Titanic slump, but either way, this was the first movie I saw him in as a real actor. I know that sounds terrible, but you know it’s true. In Romeo + Juliet, he was “that kid from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and in for a while after Titanic, you couldn't look at a picture of him without getting Celine Dion blasting in your head. But in the Aviator, he was Howard Hughes. I mean, how the fuck can you forget him bashing his head over and over against the mirror with jars of piss lined up all over the place? This is not cute little Jack Dawson. Admit it- how many people saw this movie and then looked up everything else he had done? I know I did. The Basketball Diaries probably got a surge of requests at Blockbuster back in 2004 (too bad it didn’t help and they’re still obsolete). Which reminds me that there’s yet another biopic that didn’t make it onto the list.



The Movie Mistress


The Twilight Saga: New Moon


A philosophical study on the nature of human emotion and integrity in the face of dust and doom, I found this film to be stocked with symbolism as well as an intelligent commentary on the youth in America.

Fuck it, I can't lie. I laughed my ass off the entire two hours and three minutes of this ridiculous movie. Because I like to give every movie a fighting chance to redeem itself, I sat through the entire thing, but I have to tell you, it was pretty hard. Quoting one of my friends sitting next to me, "I was way too sober for this movie." I used Dakota Fanning as the image above because she was the only one in the entire movie who actually gave the impression that she could act. Not only was the acting horrendous, but the special effects were awful. They creators paid no attention to detail whatsoever- I laughed whenever Edward sparkled because only his face was glittering and the rest of his body stayed the same. Even the chest hair. I mean, if I were a vampire, I'd at least want my chest hair to glisten. 

And don't even talk to me about the wolves. The CGI was so cracked out that when the wolves were fighting, they looked like squirrels during a mating ritual. What was supposed to be a tense fight scene turned into balls of fluff rolling around in the grass. Plus, after the first, oh, fifteen minutes I got bored of the slow-mo. Every single fight scene turned into the fucking Matrix. The whole point of watching vampires fight werewolves is to see how fast they can go, not how much editing can be done in post. An example: 

I'm sorry you had to suffer through that. Please wash your eyes accordingly. However, imagine two fucking hours of it. I actually wanted someone to die just so that the dumbass fighting would end and I could leave. I mean, you can't honestly tell me that you just watched that clip and didn't bust out laughing. If you did, I'd call you a fucking liar, or I'd call you this girl: 

I really hope for sanity's sake you didn't watch that entire video.

So here's my diagnosis: Rent it. Rent it when it comes out on DVD for fifty cents. Or put it in your Netflix queue- even better. Rent it and then become incredibly non-sober. I don't care how- that's your personal preference. But when it comes out on video, rest assured, I will post a Twilight Marathon Drinking Game Guide. It's become my mission to help any movie-goer get through this movie. Because I know what you're thinking- it's out, I should see it, I need to give every movie a chance. I know. I have the same philosophy. But sometimes you just need a little bit of support to get through a crisis.


The Movie Mistress


Double Feature Friday- Bring in 2010!!

It sort of goes without saying that today's Double Feature should be movies about New Year's Eve (or Jan. 1st) or ones that have big, dramatic moments around this time period. So I searched the massive collection of films swimming around in my head for my favorites, and for some reason both of them are chick flicks. "That's odd," I said (yes, I talk to myself sometimes- I mean, I do have a blog), and thought about why this would happen. I decided it's because of the whole sharing-New-Years'-with-someone-special bullshit. That's fine, though- if Hollywood accepts it, then I will too. So without further ado...

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Oh, look, she's all alone on Dec. 31st. Oh wait... she realizes... aww, he does too! And now they're running towards one another.... Best New Years' scene ever. As far as rom-coms go, this one is pretty tolerable. It's unique in that the story is formulaic, but not cliched. When making movies about the differences between men and women, it's hard to get the comedy across without being offensive, and this movie does it perfectly. Meg Ryan proving that a woman can successfully fake an orgasm is hilarious and yet still gets portrays her as a strong, smart woman without making him look like a complete ass. Take that, The Ugly Truth! I don't want any of your chauvinistic bullshit. Aaanyway, I'll just put this here instead so I don't end up belittling more movies through my praise of this one.

The Holiday (2006)

There is no other way to describe this movie except "nice." It has two storylines that both keep you equally entertained, and tries its best to come up with an original plot for once. The two women are strong without being “manish,” as Hollywood likes to portray women having trouble finding men, and the men are neither perfect nor terribly wrong. One of the biggest surprises of this movie is that Jack Black convincingly played a romantic character while still keeping his ridiculous comedy in (because, honestly, if he didn’t, it wouldn’t be Jack Black). The Holiday is special because it doesn’t try. None of the characters are forced on you or overdone, and in that way you get to love them all. The story coasts along so smoothly, and even though you know what will happen in the end, you can’t help but be wrapped up in the conflicts in the middle because you’re already hooked in the current. I would put this as one of the top 5 feel-good movies EVER, because by the time all of them are celebrating the New Year together, you just sigh and smile. It can’t be helped. 

Happy New Year! 

The Movie Mistress

Marnie (1964)




I have a question for Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock, if you've come back from the dead and are reading my blog, were we supposed to just ignore the fact that in the middle of Marnie, Sean Connery fucking RAPES HER? I might be just a tad too forward thinking to enjoy this movie, but I'm pretty sure that even in 1964, rape wasn't really acceptable. It might have been overlooked, or underprosecuted, but I don't think it was accepted. Can anyone who was alive during this time tell me if I'm wrong? I'd really like to know, because it really bothered me that Marnie was raped and attempted to kill herself, and then later Rutland still was seen as her hero. WHAT THE FUCK, Alfred Hitchcock? What the fuck? This is how I summed up the after-effects of that ridiculously terrifying scene:

"Dear, what on earth are you doing?" [insert Scottish accent here]
"Oh, just going for a bout of suicide. It's your fault, you know. You know I hate to be touched."
"Well, don't die for too long. I have to psychoanalyze you later."

Seriously. I think her exact words were, "I was trying to kill myself, not feed the damn fish." And then the events on the Honeymoon were never brought up again!! It was like it was all a dream. That is, if you dream about rape and suicide. No big deal. Just two of the most intense traumatic things that could ever happen in a person's life. Why put them in if they're never going to be talked about again? What's the point? Besides making Sean Connery look like a dick, which, apparently was not the point of this movie.

Now this is what gets to me: I thought that normally in movies, the creep (you cannot deny that a man who says he wants to collect a woman as a trophy because he's caught a wild animal is a creep) is normally exposed or put in jail at the end. Even in Hitchcock movies, the villain normally gets vanquished. But not this time! Oh no, Rutland is seen as her savior, and she actually wants to stay with him at the end! The girl has some serious psychological issues that can't be solved by one night of remembering what happened. You know why? Because HE IS NOT A DOCTOR. He's just a creeper who's obsessed with her and wants to "fix her" so that she'll actually agree to have sex with him. That raping thing is just too damn strenuous. It strains the eyes. 

You can tell that I really did not like this movie. In rating it, I tried to be objective, but even then, I found myself thinking that even the cinematography is not as good as Hitchcock's other films. I think anyone who watches can agree that it's not his best, but the story really set me over the edge. The feminist in me finds it repulsive, and the filmmaker in me isn't impressed enough to override my original disgust. The greenscreens shots were cringingly apparent, and when Marnie flew off of her horse, I actually laughed at the blatant not-keeping-with-momentum special effect. Alfred Hitchcock was fucking loaded at this point- it wouldn't have taken much to hire a physicist to say, "People don't fly that far or straight when they're thrown off of a horse." Done. The only reason it gets a 3 is because of the one brilliant scene with Marnie taking the cash and the janitor making her way towards her on the other side of the partition. That shot alone salvages this movie, and I'm sure Hitchcock has used it before, but to be nice I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. 


The Movie Mistress