Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

25 July 2015

Julie and I Watch J.Lo's Boy Next Door

Aaron: I am here!
Julie: Wooo!
Aaron: What are you drinking? Corona?
Julie: Corona Light. But please note that I've already had tequila and rosé. You?
Aaron: Rosé. The vinho verde is on sale. It is good, too.
Julie: Lovely.
Aaron: Oh my god this movie. I am so excited.
Julie: Can I tell you two things:
1) I love J.Lo. I'm not gonna lie. She's great.
2) I'm already sad that this is only 91 minutes long.
Aaron: I think that bodes well for the movie.
Julie: She is already acting.
Aaron: She is so sexy. For real.
Aaron: I cannot believe KChenoweth is in this!
Julie: Now we know why Justin watched this: dramaturgical research for working with her on On the Twentieth, amirite?
Aaron: Haha. Look at this shot of the butcher knife.
Julie: Ominous. I want this to be actually scary.
Aaron: All of the camera angles are slightly lower too. Like Mommie Dearest. By which I mean a horror movie.
Julie: Well, yes, it is a horror movie, no?

Aaron: This thing is moving right along. I mean, my goodness.
Julie: That garage door is going to come down on her just like in Scream. And the abs have entered the scene!
Aaron: This is a nice homoerotic moment. But, like, the 19-year-old boy clearly has no relationship with this old man. Oh my god exposition.
Julie: We ♥ exposition.

Aaron: Isn't it interesting how these two pretty people are clearly adults but are supposed to be highschoolers, but this little teenager is also supposed to be a highschooler?
Julie: Is it interesting, though?
Aaron: Just typical, I guess.
Julie: That score. Who wrote this? Nathan Barr and Randy Edelman.
Aaron: Together?
Julie: Those are the fools in charge of the sound we are hearing.
Aaron: J.Lo is adorable, though.
Julie: If I was a 19 year old boy, I'd stalk J.Lo too. Let's make a note.
Aaron: Totally.
Julie: She is 46 and hot as fuck. Sexy librarian glasses!
Aaron: If I was that old man I would stalk J.Lo.
Julie: HAHA.

Aaron: I am loving how homoerotic this is. This little boy loves his new hot friend. The camera also loves him.
Julie: I love how the camera fetishizes him but not her.
Aaron: So far.
Julie: Well, right. We'll see.
Aaron: The history of cinema teaches us it's bound to happen.
Julie: You don't know! Rob Cohen might be different!

Aaron: We are talking about the plot of the Iliad right now?
Julie: Why are we talking about the Iliad? This movie is not going to pretend to be smart. For the love, just embrace your stupidity!
Aaron: Oh my god I love KChenoweth right now. That line "oh, poets" was gold.
Julie: He is going to give her a first edition of the Iliad! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Aaron: The first edition! Hahaha. It's so good.
Julie: OK, Let's be honest, we were waiting for this moment. So good.
Aaron: I have to look up this actual edition.

Julie: There's the booty. You're right. (I can't believe I just typed “booty”.)
Aaron: (Neither can I.) Oh but now we are seeing his ass! Amazing. The forbidden fruit!
Julie: Mmmmm. So good. I can't believe KC just said “give him head”. I hope she was paid well for this.
Aaron: Oh my god. What a terrible date.
Julie: If my options were this old douchebag or the hot boy next door… I mean. Y'know the answer.
Aaron: Imagine insulting a girl on the first date! Firecracker!?? This is some racist bullshit.
Julie: This is like every date I've ever been on. A living nightmare.
Aaron: Oh my god. I would die. Is dating really like this?
Julie: Harry Potter reference!
Aaron: "J.K. Rowling. Billionaire. Classics major."
Julie: BOOM.

Aaron: J.Lo's glass of wine is as big as mine.
Julie: Drink that wine, girl. I need another beer.
Aaron: Don't leave while they are having sex!
Julie: Haha, I'm back just in time.
Aaron: Why is she saying "this is wrong"? Like, why is it wrong?
Julie: Because he is basically a child. Her son's friend.
Aaron: Whatever.
Julie: This is terrible. It is totally saying that women really mean yes when they say no. J.Lo, I am disappointed in you.
Aaron: It totally is.
Julie: What is this mess rated?
Aaron: This is definitely saying that. She keeps saying no and she most certainly does not mean no.
Julie: Yeah, it's really disturbing. Shit, this is R.
Aaron: I don't know, but you were not kidding about fetishizing his body. This film is obsessed with this dude's body.
Julie: I better see some side penis.
Aaron: Ok, but like, why is this weird music happening? Is she enjoying the sex? I don't get it.
Julie: Yes, apparently. But they want us to know she is going to be punished for enjoying it. This movie hates women.
Aaron: The music makes it seem like a really traumatizing event instead of a pleasurable one. No she did not fall asleep naked on the sofa!!
Julie: She is now shamed. See. So hateful of women having sex and enjoying it.
Aaron: Oh shit. He's already lost his mind!
Julie: Good. I'm tired of this movie hating her. It's time to dislike him.
Aaron: We are 25 minutes into this movie and he is already losing his shit?
Julie: This is how these types of movies work, A-ron. They beat you over the head with the crazy. It's played for the lowest common denominator.
Aaron: This is bad. This movie makes her into a complete idiot. How can any person be this dumb?
Julie: Why is she being all panicky and crazy? This sucks. "It got pretty wet here." Eww.
Aaron: Hahaha.
Julie: "I love your mother's cookies." Seriously?
Aaron: It's something a teenager would say at least.

Julie: Yes, please blame your cheating on her. Please.
Aaron: "Don't be a bitch about me cheating on you."
Aaron: NO fucking WAY. This woman hates women.
Julie: I can't. I fucking can't.
Aaron: You can. This is the world in which we live.
Julie: This is her only writing credit. Obviously. Hateful hack.
Aaron: Thankfully there are great women filmmakers in the world.

Aaron: He is quoting the Iliad! Hahaha. This movie pretends that the Iliad was written in English.
Julie: Haha. It pretends a lot of things, Aaron. That is the least of our problems.
Aaron: Like he can just quote the "book".
Julie: Her home office is beautiful. I would like the set designer to do that for my apartment, thank you.
Aaron: Me too! Maybe I will do that in Orlando. This movie is actually so boring.
Julie: Yes! Hire Lisa Son! A woman involved in this crap that actually does good work!
Aaron: I want it to be more exciting, Julie.
Julie: It is boring. I can't drink fast enough to enjoy it.
Aaron: There are books all over this house! I like it. They're really pretty.
Julie: I'd like to live there. Without the creepy kid next door.

Julie: You know what this boxing means: the son is totally going to save the day with the boxing moves he's learning. I guarantee it.
Mr. Richardson
Aaron: I hope so. This little boy looks like Andy Richardson, the boy who played Crutchie in Newsies. Oh yeah this child is like allergic to shit. I forgot.
Julie: He is!
Aaron: I forgot about that.
Julie: What the fuck is he allergic to in this scene?
Aaron: Plot point! The teenager will be welcomed back into J.Lo's good graces.
Julie: Also, are we supposed to like creep-o because he saved this kid?
Aaron: He saved the life of the son. No. We aren't supposed to like him; she is.
Julie: Well, if I'm confused, you know the director doesn't actually have a p.o.v.
Aaron: I like KChenoweth in this. She is funny.
Julie: She is, for sure. Are you drunk? I feel like there's no alcohol in these beers.
Aaron: I am not drunk enough for this movie. No one went to this, right?
Julie: No one is drunk enough for this movie.

Julie: Why is the camera looking down on him and up to her? Awkward.
Aaron: I have no idea. How weird. Wait, is this girl like scared of the psycho boy? Is that what's happening? Did he threaten her into going on that date?
Julie: No, I didn't get that feeling. By the way, is that a purple car?
Aaron: No, that is the bad cinematography. This film hates sex. And women. Sex = violence and death.
Julie: It only hates women having sex. Aaron, that is a classic horror movie trope. You didn't think The Boy Next Door would re-invent the wheel, did you?
Aaron: I don't watch this stuff. That's your thing.
Julie: Horror movies punish anyone who has sex. Especially women.

Aaron: Wait, the film is in his head now? This is a huge switch.
Julie: This movie doesn't know whose movie it wants it to be.
Aaron: Does a horror film normally do that?
Julie: He just called her a whore. And she didn't even flinch. WTF.
Aaron: I have no idea.
Julie: Before she was panicky, and now she's all, “no big deal”.
Aaron: I need more rosé.

Julie: These skateboarders are not going to end well. There we go. Oh SHIT. Motherfucker pushed KC.
Aaron: This boy needs to go to jail right now.
Julie: This movie is also OK with domestic violence. Yay.
Aaron: No it isn't. It at least stops there.
Julie: You sure?
Aaron: What the fuck! How can this movie actually do what it is doing? Like, the only thing anyone had to say about this movie was the Iliad? Who left this movie thinking about the Iliad?
Julie: Yep.
Aaron: I mean, if you are J.Lo and you teach at a school, people are going to pretend that they had sex with you and want to have sex with you, right?
Julie: Yes. Absolutely.
Aaron: But this movie enjoys watching this man commit sexual violence on her. And thinks it is fun to punish her for having sex with an adult.
Julie: Yeah. It's really uncomfortable.
Aaron: It's fucking offensive.
Julie: Well, she was having sex with a kid who goes to the school she teaches at. Which is super-inapro. So we can see this girl's tits? Awesome.
Aaron: But like, she didn't know that. He's nineteen. And now he is expelled, so it's not an issue.
Julie: He's a pretty industrious little fucker, isn't he? Is she seriously going to be caught in this shit right now?
Aaron: With lots of time on his hands. He has time to have sex with that woman and break into the classroom?
Julie: An early riser apparently.
Ian Nelson is not terrible in this.

Julie: Haha. I love the slo-mo key shot.
Aaron: It's very phallic. Did we ever figure out what his allergic reaction was in the gymnasium? Oh my god that car really is purple.
Julie: No, because it makes no sense. Is it??? Oh, it is.
Aaron: This boy is like acting.
Julie: Why is everyone in this movie becoming a crazy person? Ahaha, I love the voice break. Nice touch, young man. That is a middle-age crisis car, for real.
Aaron: His acting is kinda good. I am proud of this actor.
Julie: Mid-life, rather. Maybe I'm drunker than I thought.
Aaron: Hahaha.
Julie: I love the random slo-mo. It's making my life right now.
Aaron: This woman needs to put a restraining order on this man next door. Not that I trust the police to handle shit.
Julie: Right? This kid is gonna grow up to be a cop. Pee break.
Aaron: You are missing the physical and sexual harassment that is happening here. And how can she be the only one who thinks this boy is cray?
Julie: KC thinks he's crazy. But she's a woman, so no one cares/believes her.
Aaron: True. But this film thinks female friendship is annoying, right? J.Lo told KC to mind her own business.
Julie: Yes. When they're together, women only talk about men.
Aaron: So instead of them having a supportive helpful relationship that actually keeps other women safe they just cut each other down and compete with one another.
Julie: Yeah, it's playing on the stereotype. Charming. Wait, there's a video?
Aaron: Why would she lose her son? I don't understand this.
Julie: How did I miss that?
Aaron: Oh yes. You were peeing.
Julie: Haha. I miss all the vital info due to tiny bladder syndrome.
Aaron: There's video. We haven't seen it though. It might be a lie.
Julie: Oh, it's a lie. Obvs.
Aaron: Notice that the uncle with whom he is living has totally disappeared.
Julie: That's because he killed him.
Aaron: HA.
Julie: C'mon, Aaron. Horror movie. Haha.
Aaron: Also, someone this crazy gets caught by other people for sure. He can't terrorize only J.Lo. Like, he would get arrested and shit.
Julie: You know this is oddly similar to J.Lo's other horrible film, Enough. But she got really badass at the end of that one, so I'm hoping she (wo)mans up.

Aaron: She is looking for a video behind a clock? Oh the camera. Haha. Find the video, girl. Fuck the camera.
Julie: She is going to find the uncle's body. For reals.
Aaron: She totally is!
Julie: Or a giant poster of herself.
Aaron: Remember when this film was about Homer?
Julie: It was so much classier then.
Aaron: Hahaha. No it wasn't. "She smells like chocolate chip cookies."
Julie: Haha. oh yeah. I'm drunk. He's alive!!!!! With some impressive eyebrows, I might add. All those knives on the wall! Did you see that? Who has that many kitchen knives?!
Aaron: So. Many. Knives. Also, call the police. Don't just "run". Call the cops.

Julie: That was so cheap. And bad.
Aaron: So Steven Spielberg.
Julie: Ouch. That's a low blow, A-ron!
Aaron: Nevertheless.
Julie: Stevie is great. Be nice. Wait, who was in his car? I don't get it.
Aaron: Minivans do not explode. His parents.
Julie: He has parents?
Aaron: He killed them apparently.
Julie: How much did I miss when I was in the bathroom?! Haha.
Aaron: They died. The uncle told us that when we first met the child.
Julie: This movie has 20 min left. So the question is: Do I need another beer?
Aaron: Why would a cop be telling a high school teacher all of this info? You do, girl. We all do.
Julie: How many wines have you had? Don't pressure me unless you're doing it too.
Aaron: Most of a bottle.
Julie: Ugh, I'm so full though. I think I'm going to muscle through.
Aaron: No more beer. Save yourself.

KC and J.Lo
Julie: Is he talking to a body?!
Aaron: This film is terribly directed. Now we are watching him and this is a comic moment.
Julie: Yes. KC.
Aaron: The film thinks this is fun.
Julie: Oh! She's still alive!
Aaron: She is alive.
Julie: This film is trying to be a horror movie but doesn't know how. It is terrible. It is more terrible than terrible horror movies.
Aaron: This lighting. I cannot deal with it. This is trying to be a thriller. Not a horror movie. A thriller. And I am not thrilled.
Julie: No, that "who's he talking to in this scene?" was a total horror-movie move. But so badly done.
Aaron: She goes into the house. Even though there is no power. You're right. This is a wannabe horror movie. KC's house is identical to J.Lo's? They look exactly the same.
Julie: OH MAN. I TOLD YOU. Horror movie!
Aaron: Definitely.
Aaron: But, like: Call. The. Police.
Aaron: Obviously.
Julie: Oh. He was outside the car. Haha. Mommy issues. Oh my god, he calls every woman in this movie a whore.
Aaron: Not his mom. He loves his mom.
Julie: Gross.
Aaron: Oh wait. Madonna/whore. Oldest trope in the book. This is awful.

Julie: This is turning into torture porn. This is like Hostel, J.Lo style. Also, I'm feeling a little Witness-like. Are we in a barn?
Aaron: Torture porn? I think that is excessive. WITNESS?!?! HAHAHA. We are in a barn indeed.
Julie: Well, yes, of course it is. But that is what this scene is alluding to.
Aaron: OMG J.Lo. Good call. She got smart.
Julie: Where did this barn come from, though? Aren't they in LA?
Aaron: They totally are. I have no idea. Maybe they're out in San Bernardino?
Julie: Ok, let's say that. I am embarrassed for everyone in this film.
Aaron: I like the costume designer. Did the barn burn down in Witness? Oh my god, now that you brought that up I can't let it go.
Julie: Hmm… maybe? I need to re-visit it. Witness is so good.You shouldn't let it go.
Aaron: It is! I hope there is boxing now.
Julie: I am not sure what his striped sweater is saying about him right now. OH SHIT. So that just happened.
Aaron: Oh my god. She stabbed him in the eye!
Julie: This is the best part of the film. It is finally horror!
Aaron: That shot with the eye! This is totally torture porn now.
Julie: It's getting closer, at least. I want more eye-stabbing.
Aaron: She stuck her thumb in his eye! After she stabbed him.
Julie: So good! I would too!
Aaron: And there was a close-up.
Julie: You're so funny. We need to watch actual horror movies together. You will die.
Aaron: I don't think we should.
Julie: But they're so delightful!
Aaron: I will treat all of them like this one.

Julie: That's it?? WTF.
Aaron: This ended terribly.
Julie: Barbara Curry, you are the worst screenwriter in the history of screenwriters.

Aaron: She really is! I like this song over the end credits, though.
Julie: I have to say, though, that would've been intolerable without chatting with you. A pleasure, as always.
Aaron: So everyone who made this movie was a woman. All of the producers.
Julie: No. Director was a man.
Aaron: Oh true. A gay man?
Julie: Surely, yes? Because he didn't care about any of the female bodies.
Aaron: He's straight, apparently.
Julie: Do we have any closing remarks for this gem?
Aaron: I have nothing to say about this. I wish we had gotten distracted and talked about something important. Like, well anything.
Julie: We did! We talked about feminism! And how this movie was the opposite of feminist.
Aaron: We did. That's true. Who is J.Lo married to now?
Julie: Isn't she still married to what's-his-face? The singer?
Aaron: Is she? What is his name?
Aaron: Oh my god.
Aaron: NO way.
Aaron: Hahahaha. Happy birthday, girl. You look fabulous. And you tried. You really did. It isn't your fault this movie was bad. You did your best.
Julie: She tried so hard!
Ojani Noa (m. 1997–98)
Cris Judd (m. 2001–03)
Marc Anthony (m. 2004–14)
No longer married.
Aaron: Marc Anthony. Yeah. Oh, I am sorry they divorced. But she was so much more talented than him.
Julie: That is not a good track record. She needs a good man.
Aaron: That is what this film thinks too, Julie.
Julie: That is the truth. They were married a decade though! That is a long time in my world.
Aaron: In mine too. I can't keep a man longer than like 2 months.

Aaron: Let's watch them. I have more wine. Oh the barn. I remember. KChen lives on a farm, apparently. That was in the first act. 
Julie: Haha, ok, you drink the wine and watch them. You just made that up. Ain't no way KC lives on a farm.
Aaron: She does. It's in act one. Remember?
Julie: I clearly do not, A-ron. I don't know why you ask.
Aaron: This deleted scene was important. It should not have been deleted.
Julie: What happened?
Aaron: There are 3 deleted scenes. The first one is girl bonding with KChen and J.Lo. And she buys her those shoes.
Julie: Ah. Thrilling.
Aaron: The other deleted scene is terrible. Like the rest of the movie. Who is this Ryan Guzman man? Is he on the television?
Julie: First of all, he is only 28. Child.
Aaron: Playing 19.
Julie: Secondly, he is in one of the Step Up movies, and that's basically the highlight of his career.
Aaron: Ah. Does he... dance?

Julie: AHAHAHA. I thought the Step Up movies were supposed to be fun. This looks boring.
Aaron: Hahahaha. Everyone likes a love story, Julie. Especially the psychopath in this movie. There are actually 5 deleted scenes. I am only watching the first 3. The others will have to stay deleted.
Julie: Ugh, I'm missing all the good stuff.
Aaron: There is also a commentary with director Rob Cohen.
Julie: I miss Anonymous.
Aaron: What if the director said "I only hate women as much as Homer did."
Julie: HAHA. He's never read Homer. You give him way too much credit. Ain't no one on that set who has read Homer. Maybe KC.
Aaron: Women in ancient Greece always said no when they meant yes. Which is why their husbands kept them locked up in their houses. I am drunk.
Julie: But then there was Lysistrata. Why the fuck are we talking about the Greeks?

Julie: What is our takeaway here? Mine is that J.Lo is awesome and needs to choose better movies that don't hate her for being a woman.
Aaron: Honestly, I don't know.
Julie: Also: If I want to watch a horror movie, I'll watch a real fucking horror movie. Lesson learned.
Aaron: Ok. Mine is: Only have sex with a 19-year-old if you're sure he's not gonna be in your class next term. But also, don't have sex with a 19-year-old, unless he is actually 28.
Julie: And you're certain he isn't a misogynistic stalker. Even 28-year-olds are pushing it. Let's be real.
Aaron: Oof. True. You took us out on a sad note, Julie.
Julie: Sorry. But I've gotta speak my truth.
Aaron: Ok. This was fun/terrible.
Julie: It was all the things.
Aaron: I am gonna finish this bottle of wine now.
Julie: Enjoy the rosé.
Aaron: Obviously. XO.
Aaron: LOL.
Julie: Byeeeeeee.

19 July 2015

Чёрное Mо́рe

Kevin Macdonald's Black Sea is a submarine movie, which is a definite plus to my mind. I love me a good submarine flick.

But... Black Sea is not a good submarine flick. Instead, screenwriter Dennis Kelly shows his hand about a million times. The whole thing feels like a stage play, one in which we are always getting information far later than we ought to get it, one in which the screenwriter can do or say basically anything he wants, and we are asked simply to be ok with that.

Macdonald tries his best with the weak material, and so does the photographer Christopher Ross. Jude Law is great, of course. He's a superb actor, and he gives his all to this role, even though the role itself is not very exciting.

Black Sea, however, fills itself with twists and turns, as well as absurd emotional "payoffs" that don't actually work at all. This is not a character study like Dom Hemingway, this is an action-suspense movie. Except that the suspense is basically non-existent and the action is consistently predictable.

I was bored.

10 July 2015

Things I Liked about Jurassic World

So Jurassic World is apparently making money hand over fist and people are flocking to the theatre. I am not really sure I can pinpoint why. My friend Walter and I have gone around and around about this, and I keep coming back to But man, there's dinosaurs! Walter (accurately) reminds me that The Lost World and Jurassic Park III did not do nearly this well and they, too, were about dinosaurs. It is truly a puzzle because this is an awful movie for many, many reasons. Its misogyny, which is its most marked characteristic, is chief among these, of course. (The men in Jurassic World, while not in the least nuanced, are at least different from one another – even in terms of nationality and color! But every woman in the movie is basically identical to every other woman in the movie – white, teary-eyed, vaguely shrill.)

To be honest, though, I didn't hate the movie. I found it sort of fun: a kind of pleasure for which I felt extremely guilty. And so on that note, I will bypass all of the bad things about the movie and try to be positive about this terrible film that I didn't hate. Some things I enjoyed about Jurassic World:

1. Irrfan Khan. I love seeing him onscreen whenever he's in anything, and although he is terribly underused in this movie, and although the director completely undercuts his coolest scene (in the helicopter) by spoiling the reveal, he is still cool in the movie. And his character is the mouthpiece for whatever dumb philosophy the movie contains (about the smallness of mankind, the ethics of genetic testing, a critique of Bryce Dallas Howard's tendency to work too much and refuse to have any fun). And in a world where the costume designers basically have no idea what they're doing, his costume (an obviously expensive suit) was nearly the only one that made any sense.

2. Nick Robinson! I love this young actor. He was amazing in The Kings of Summer, which I've talked about at length on here. So I am glad he is getting bigtime work. He is solid in this too. It would have been easy, for example, for him to overplay the negative side of his character at the beginning of the movie, but he opts instead for a nuanced characterization that sees the role as making a minor shift rather than a big clunky emotional shift from terrible brother to great brother. Instead he's slightly disaffected and shifts into caretaker mode without getting too sappy.

3. The new dino. I felt like I didn't see nearly enough of the new Misogynist Rex or whatever it was called, but it was so cool! It can regulate its body temperature? It can camouflage itself? It can run super fast and it kills for sport? I love this thing! It was very sad to me that (like the latest Godzilla flick), director Colin Trevorrow never really let the camera linger on the giant evil dinosaur, but she was still really, really neat. This is a PG-13 thing, too, I expect. I mean, I guess we're not really allowed to watch a giant lizard rip through the flesh of another giant lizard, but it would have been cool.

4. The Mososaurus. Apparently the movie-version actually looks nothing like what the historical Mososaurus probably looked like, but this animal is the coolest thing in the whole picture. Also – and I am not sure if this is intentional – but Jurassic World borrows one of its sequences wholesale from Disney's 1940 film Fantasia. The quality is terrible because this video is obviously illegal, but skip ahead to 3:15 and then consider the following:

This is copied directly in the sequence where the Pteranodons pick up the boys' nanny and play with her only to have both predator and prey get eaten by the Mososaurus. This was a particularly egregious sequence of misogyny, by the way, but I did get some pleasure out of watching the Fantasia tribute/cribbing.

5. Hmm. I think that's it actually. Everything else is standard fare, except that it's really stupid on top of being really standard. Queer villains. Corrupt military figure. Vague environmentalism. Half-baked love plot. Anti-intellectualism. Terrible direction. Terrible editing. Really bad acting. Abysmally bad script. It's a good thing there were dinosaurs.

[Edit: 6. Ashley reminded me that Bryce Dallas Howard ran around the entirety of that island in heels. She didn't do hardly anything that was badass, but all of that running in heels definitely qualifies.]