Category Archives: Fangirling

The Girl Who Loved Johnny Depp

OR
How
Fangirling Turns a Much Bigger Problem into a Petty Image Crisis

Disclaimer: Spousal abuse is not cool. I do not nor would I ever endorse or encourage it. I don’t really think I need to state these things, but sometimes I’m pretty facetious. 

Obviously recent, disturbing, events have been on my mind, and I feel that this is the only real outlet for me to express my thoughts, so if you don’t care, whatever, no one’s making you click my links. But for anyone who knows me, it should be pretty clear that I’m a Johnny Depp fan (he’s the icon on my wordpress even) – I have been for over 10 years of my relatively short life. This obsession has ebbed over the years, but I still love seeing his movies (and yes, there are plenty of terrible ones). Either way, that’s a long time for an obsession over anything, let alone someone you’ve never met. Someone who doesn’t even know you exist, for that matter.

When I read that someone I admire and look up to would hurt someone they love, I was pretty upset. Granted, I’ve never really cared about his or any other celebrity’s personal life – I’m just in for the showbiz. (Kevin Spacey knows what’s up.) In fact, the only time I’ve cared was if filming was delayed or anything like that. But this is messed up. I really don’t want to restate the facts – you can find those trending somewhere.

So I’ve always been, or try to be, the type to separate art from creator, especially in the film world. Additionally, there are plenty of creatives whom I admire who I know have done less than favorable things in the past. I mean, it’s not something to be proud of, but oftentimes the art overshadows the person.

But to someone like me (and I know I can’t be alone here) who really hones in on artwork and the artist, where do we draw the line? It’s not something to think about often, because frankly, it’s not a nice thing to think about. Another thing to consider is that characters are far more connectable than the actor/actress, so it’s easier to draw inspiration and admiration from a performance – the obsession over a celebrity is more of a byproduct.

So I guess what it comes down to is if Mr Depp is ever prosecuted and convicted, will I stop seeing his movies? Honestly, it depends if the movie itself seems interesting, and that’s all there is to it. I just don’t want to be crucified for sporting merch. I’m also not going to tear down my posters or burn my dvds. I love movies. I love stories. I love characters. It’s an escape.

 

 

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Welcome to the Cortez

Holy guacamole. What. Did. I. Just. Watch.

Well, let me tell you – if you haven’t watched the latest season of American Horror Story, go away for now. I also wrote about the other seasons here. Meanwhile, I’ll be here jotting down my thoughts and musings on this last season.

Now, I find hotels as eerie as the next occasional traveler, so I thought the concept of AHS: Hotel was interesting on a very base level. Add some real-world creepy inspirations? Great! Old Hollywood? Even better! Vampires? Well…they hadn’t really tackled them yet, so okay…

I’ll be frank. This season’s a hot mess. It’s a Jackson Pollock of concepts and casting, marred with copious amounts of sex and bloodshed. Not all of it was terrible – for instance, we were given a new hero, Liz Taylor (Dennis O’Hare).

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In Liz we trust.

Pros
Liz is awesome. She’s an ideal role model for the modern audience – confident, intelligent, and fierce as hell. However, everything was fine until for some reason, they decided to throw in a completely asinine romance angle with the Countess’ (Gaga) flame, Tristan (Finn Wittrock).

Now, I’m not man-hating for the fun of it, but what I’m upset about is that this angle came from absolutely NOWHERE. The only time we get any idea that there was any sort of chemistry is after we see Liz and Tristan in bed together – no buildup, no conversation, not even any eye-contact, for all I know. I suppose the heart wants what the heart wants, I guess. I’m just glad she got the happy(ish) ending she deserved.

Another character I loved? James Patrick March.

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This guy.

Honestly I never gave Evan Peters a second glance until Hotel. Finally, after four seasons of moping, we get someone charismatic, cartoony, and impossible to ignore. Think of James P. March as Gomez Addams and H.H. Holmes on coke.

Hotel was an incredibly divisive season, an odd combination of cartoony and violent – in some cases cartoonishly violent. It seemed as if the creators didn’t know where to draw the line in terms of disturbing content – or which direction this show was going, for that matter. I think the idea was to bridge the gap with the “Ten Commandments” story…or maybe the vampires? Jeezus.

The Ten Commandments
Admittedly, this was a very cool, bold way to start the season. Granted, it is a total Se7en ripoff – that, and hearing the phrase “Ten Commandments” over and over again is clunky and exhausting.

matt-bomer-cheyenne-jackson-max-greenfield-wes-bentley-finn-wittrock

Almost as exhausting as trying to tell this cast apart.

And when we learn the truth about our protagonist, John (Wes Bentley), I’m not sure if it was more unexpected or annoying. Much like Liz/Tristan, we had no leads of any sort – it just seemed so poorly thrown together. On the other hand, when John accepted his identity, that was a nice change of pace.

There seems to be a string of shrugging off events when things get too weird – for instance, when we are introduced to Countess’ erm, child, it goes on a wacky’s “Baby’s Day Out”-style adventure. As if that wasn’t stupid/annoying enough, there is literally a scene where John’s daughter, Scarlett, is very upset and crying, and then less than a minute later we see her chilling on the couch with some popcorn. What kind of poorly written bullshit is going on here?

Okay okay, that’s a little nit-picky, especially considering some bigger problems…

The Addiction Demon and Hypodermic Sally

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…Who was this? Why was this? What purpose does this serve? Other than disturbing for disturbing’s sake.

Speaking of which, it was never really explained why Sally (Sarah Paulson) was sewing folks into mattresses. It made a nice eyecatch I suppose, but again, ultimately pointless. Like that Human Centipede-esque nonsense later.

On the topic of nonsense, last but not least –

The Vampires
To be fair, they never really call these creatures “vampires” – but for the sake of simplicity, that’s what I’m going with. I honestly enjoyed how this season played with this vampirism disease, especially when combined with other diseases. Though they did hit us over the head with the-ever-so-topical vaccination “debate.”

Upon the announcement that Lady Gaga was to be involved with this season of AHS, I honestly didn’t really care – I guess I was more looking forward to the sheer spectacle she would surely provide – and thusly delivered. I was more annoyed by the irrelevance of her vampire clan and their terrible hair-dos.

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I’m talking about you, Holden.

The Countess represented the glamour as well as the menace that LA has to offer (throughout time, so it seems) – an ideal seductress. Apart from that, we have a concept that’s terribly drawn out and ultimately uninteresting.

In A Nutshell
I’m sorry, I took some time writing this because I often found myself getting ranty and all over the place. Kind of like this season. Simply put, there were way too many ideas going on here at once; near the end, it was painfully obvious that they needed to tie these stories up. Yet, despite my complaints, I still enjoyed this season. It doesn’t hold a candle to Murder House, but at least it’s better than Coven.

 

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“I couldn’t pick my butthole out of a lineup.” – Academy Award-winner, Kathy Bates

 

 

 

Of Freaks and Monsters: American Horror Story

If you didn’t notice, I haven’t posted much in a while. Perhaps it’s due to distraction or laziness, but also because like any red-blooded American twenty-something, I’ve been mooching off of my parents’ various cable subscriptions and marathoning old HBO shows. (Seriously, I think Oz changed my life. I’ll have to write about that one sometime.) …That and I renewed my WOW subscription. Anywhoo, I’ve been fortunate enough to stay active with the newest installment of everyone’s favorite Freudian fanfare, American Horror Story: Freakshow.

I’ve been a fan of this series since the get-go, and yes, I accept it’s flaws as much as I bitch about them with friends and co-workers and anyone else who will listen. If anything, I always follow each season ’til the end, even Coven. So I decided to write a bit about each – the good, the bad, the freaky, and the just plain awful. Spoilers ahoy! (Mostly pertaining to Freak Show!) I’m not gonna give any real plot synopsis, but overall if you haven’t seen it, watch it dammit – all but the latest seasons are on Netflix.

Murder House

American Horror Story: making families shift uncomfortably in their seats since 2011. This was the beginning of something new and exciting, with an opening that dares you not to look away (not at all unlike that of Se7en‘s).

"Bring out the gimp."

“Bring out the gimp.”

Granted, I haven’t seen this since it’s airing (or any of the other seasons), but needless to say, some things just stick with you. Being that this was a season of firsts, Murder House took some serious balls – we’re talking rape, S&M nightmares, school shootings, and straight-up child abuse. And this is on cable.

Love you.

Love you.

Now, it’s one thing to have shock factor, but fortunately we have a pretty gripping story to go along with.

That, and a new generation has fallen for Our Lady of Perpetual Ferocity, Jessica Lange.

I believe it was Entertainment Weekly that described Lange’s portrayal of Constance Langdon as “Southern Comfort with a hint of venom.” Lange would later prove that she can keep this balance consistent throughout the seasons, weighing each outrage with vulnerability.

In retrospect, Murder House was probably the most solid of the seasons, and one of my favorites. Next to Asylum.

Asylum

Though Asylum polarized audiences, I believe this one is my favorite: it has a cohesive plot, exciting characters and just enough weirdness and camp. That, and I think that Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto) was probably, arguably, the scariest AHS villain to date (which I will happily defend).

I only have three gripes: lame zombie reveal (though Nazi experiments is a new angle), disappointing deaths of not one, but two amazing characters (granted, they were heavily linked), and the serial killer’s name was “Bloody Face.”

Yeah, I've got nothing.

Yeah, I’ve got nothing.

Some people hated the aliens, but I really didn’t mind them. I was just glad to see something different. Oh, and bravo James Cromwell – in only one scene, you destroyed my childhood memories of the kindly farmer who sang to a pig. Thank you.

MmmmmMcShane. (Insert obligatory naughty Santa pun here.)

MmmmmMcShane.
(Insert obligatory naughty Santa pun here.)

I also have some soft spots for asylums and Ed Gein types – that kind of horror feels, I dunno, nostalgic? Yeah, that’s the best way to describe it. So I guess that’s another perk of following AHS – if you don’t like one kind of scary, another’s just around the corner!

By Asylum, I caught on to some tropes, reoccuring cast members aside:

  • Horrible monster (key villain)
  • Murderous rape-baby
  • Holiday episode
  • Religion
  • Gratuitous sex
  • Butts (because why not?)
  • Mommy issues
  • Something horrible to watch (or potential triggers)
  • A historical figure

Now that I think of it, this series might as well have been called Mommy Issues: Seriously, Call Your Mom. When it came to Asylum, I’m not sure which was more scarring: watching Sarah Paulson’s DIY abortion, or the fact that Lana Winters’ exposé on Briarcliff was practically a recreation of one of the most abhorring and infamous scandals in the history of Staten Island.

Coven

I wanted Coven to be good, sincerely.

It had so many chances to do something well, but it went wrong at every turn:

  • Predominantly female cast?
    Better make them fight all the time about stupid things! At least they look good doing it, right?
  • Delightfully unnerving new monster?
    Better have an amazing actress awkwardly try to bang it and then never talk about it again.
  • Learn they have a certain type of power (like X-Men)?
    Let’s not show how they learn new magic – that’d be too much like Harry Potter.
  • Show how they can do really awesome magics stuff?
    Whoops, gotta kill them off – guess they forgot how to witch.
Make sure your leading character has the personality and mental acuity of a goldfish.

Also make sure your leading character has the personality and mental acuity of a goldfish.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I think Buzzfeed also made a nice list of everything wrong. (Also I stand corrected on one of my tropes – I think the murderous rape-baby stops here.)

Also is it weird that there was more racism in Coven (presumably modern day, mind you) than there was during the 1950s (i.e. Freak Show)? Speaking of which, moving on-

Freak Show

This is my favorite opening. Maybe I just like toy pianos.

Sideshows/freak shows have also always appealed to me. Again, just one of those weird things. Plus this season was filled with ’50’s kitsch and David Bowie – pretty much everything I love right there. Not to mention numerous references to Tod Browning’s Freaks, one of my favorites, but we’ll get to that later. Oh, and awesome job with that Elephant Man theme near the end!

Love it love it love it.

Love it love it love it.

On the whole, I enjoyed this season a lot. Even though there wasn’t really an overarching storyline, I felt that it worked well as a character study/spectacle piece. Though, honestly, I still find it troublesome that there was so much focus on the music videos (at least until it was realized that the show needed to progress).

At first, it made sense: it was Elsa’s show and she’s a singer. That’s obvious. Now the twins come in and they need to be special – they better sing too. And now we’ve got Jimmy all angsty so he’s headlining with Nirvana? I mean, I know they’re pushing for more Evan Peters (especially because he mostly just got drunk and sulked all the time halfway through), but that was really, really pointless.

You tease.

You tease.

Oh and speaking of pointless, what was the point of talking about Stanley’s big wiener if they’re never going to do anything with it? I’m sorry, but I was at least hoping it would be chopped off and put on display at that Morbidity Museum – which would be wonderfully ironic – of course, not that they’d show it, but it’s the principle of the damn thing.

Needless to say, I feel that Stanley’s demise (a là Freaks) was satisfying, but the end of the show was so rushed, they never brought him up again or did anything with him – kind of like how they never mentioned if the Lizard Girl’s dad even survived the tar-and-feathering (or if there were repercussions). I guess someone remembered that we couldn’t just be distracted by jingle keys any longer and the show actually had to be finished.

This brings me to Dandy.

Dandy-Mott

Oh Dandy. Dandy, Dandy, Dandy.

If ever there was a character you could love to hate, it was this kid. I could seriously not look away. This was the epitome of villainy: a spoiled, rich brat who makes Kanye West look humble. He also progressed the most throughout this show, which made his ending so…disappointing. Especially after seeing what they did to Stanley – why not make Dandy’s death ironic, at the very least? The water trap was too easy. Easy and boring. There, I said it.

I really wanted to see them doing more stuff, you know?

I really wanted to see them doing more stuff, you know?

There was still plenty to enjoy: Sarah Paulson does a fantastic job as Bette and Dot Tattler, and they brought back Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett – plus we now have TV debuts of the likes of Mat Fraser, Erika Ervin and Rose Siggins. Like I mentioned before, Freak Show mostly served as a spectacle of characters, which was still fun to watch.

For now, it is still up in the air as to whether or not this was  Jessica Lange’s last season. At first it was believed to be, but since that rumor, creator Ryan Murphy has been begging her to stay. Believing that Freak Show was her last, it makes the last episode, rather her last performance (more Bowie – yay!), to be particularly heartbreaking. Not as heartbreaking as “Orphans” though. That was like…jeeze.

Personally, I hope she stays.

Why I’m Stoked for ‘Tusk’ (and you should be too)!

Aw yeah

Aw yeah

Oh man, I haven’t been this geeked out over a movie since my prime fangirl days in 2007. Now why, of all the splendorous upcoming titles, am I so excited about Justin Long and his hideous mustache turning into a walrus? Well, I guess this starts to roughly a year ago, and my introduction to podcasts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known about podcasts and all of their RSS glory, but it wasn’t until I found myself in a boring office until I had the need to give them a try. Naturally, it did not take long for Kevin Smith and the barrage of SmodCo shows to hit my radar. And like that, it was love at first listen.

Oh the memories, from the first time I heard Smith’s bic lighter, to the last utterance of the phrase “tickle your ear pussy.” Together on SModcast, Smith and producer pal Scott Mosier regale listeners with tales of the past past, chat about weird news, or just shoot the shit through weed-tinted glasses. More recently, they’re all over weird Canadian news, but we’ll get back to that.

These guys.

These guys.

On June 25, 2013, SModcast’s world was rocked upon the discovery of one strange roommate request on Gumtree (aka Brit Craigslist). Together Smith and Mosier built a world around this story, and it is goddamn funny. No really, listen to it, please. Here’s the link, you have no excuse.

What’s so magical about this episode is you can hear those little cogs starting to turn in Smith’s head, and that passion is totally there – that twentysomething who was like “Yeah, I’m going to shoot a movie about my friends” – he’s still in there! The best part, he did it.

He actually did it.

Yes, I am pumped. Not only because I love freakin weird stuff, but I feel a sort of connection with this movie – I was there to witness its conception, so to speak, and now the baby is on its way. Given this newfound enthusiasm as well as love of Canada, two more projects are on the way, given us a weird Canada trilogy – Yoga Hosers and Moose Jaws.

Sure, many medias spout yarns about audience/consumer connectivity, but this is so damn palpable – this is what we need. Kevin Smith asked if we, his audience, wanted a walrus movie, and we responded. Granted, I heard this before I had the Twitter to vote #WalrusYes, but since then I have been active with the hashtags (admittedly a couple days late). Nevertheless I think this is a great way for immediate response in the film community. (Well if not any – gee, who knew Twitter could actually be used for connecting people!?)

Though it is fantastic that this kind of exchange can occur between artists and their audiences, I just wish this trend could be set forth with more kinds of media – and I’m not just talking about American Idol. Alas, until DC execs will accept input about grit versus realism, I will happily accept the way of the independents and bask in their strange splendor.

Clerks for the new generation.

Clerks for the new generation.

And speaking of strange, I just am loving all over the Tusk cast – have you seen the IMDB page? They got the Epic Meal Time guy in there! Awesome. And welcome back Haley Joel Osment! What is most charming about this cast is the addition of Harley Quinn Smith and her bff Lily-Rose Melody Depp – who originally were simply cast as cameos, but Kev Smith is planning on having them star in the second film in this Tales of Canada trilogy, Yoga Hosers – you guessed it, based on another episode of SModcast.

How sweet is that? A daddy-daughter project of weird Canadian delights! And yes, Johnny Depp is in on it too. Feel the love!

God I hope it’s good. My hopes are high, but yeh know, all things considered, I think I’ll be enjoying the ride. If this much passion and humor is going into this feature, I’m sure it’ll be a hell of a thing.

See it September 19th!