Saturday, September 22, 2012

Real Genius (1985)

The music during the opening credits is weird here (it's some jazz vocal tune).  It makes you think you're about to watch a romantic comedy or something, and it is anything but...

Widescreen is letterboxed here...this film definitely doesn't look as beautiful as the two previous in my list.  The ominousness of the men creating the "weapon" is cheesy, too.  Dr. Hathaway reminds me of Danny Elfman.  He's such a one-dimensional asshole.  That's one thing that I think has improved since the millennium. Even assholes get to have layers these days, which I think makes them more interesting. 

I used to hate Val Kilmer until I saw this movie and now I love him; he reminds me so much of Michael from high school.  He (almost alone) carries this movie.  I have such a crush on Kilmer here.  Mitch is pretty hapless.

"Would you be prepared if gravity reversed itself?"

Hmm, this movie may just be a guilty pleasure for me and not a top ten.  The dialogue is really only great for Kilmer's character and I might simply be charmed by him.  I didn't see this movie in its entirety until Michael and I started dating in 2006, however, I used to watch the last fifteen minutes when the professor's house was filling with popcorn on an old VHS tape my mom had over and over.  She had taped over the first 9/10ths of the movie, but I loved watching that last part and I will forever associate "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" with the image of a house full of popcorn. Man, who wouldn't love swimming through a sea of popcorn?

Really? All Mitch had to do was turn a knob and he fixed the laser?  Riiiiiiiight. Jordan is fabulous.  She reminds me so much of Denna Clymer (you'll see what I mean immediately if you know her). 
Time for the first montage!  This movie has like three full-length songs and it's my second favorite thing about this movie (Kilmer is first, of course).  It seems to be their main plot-advancing device, and I'm okay with that.  They're not scared to rock an entire song while the plot is furthering.  There's nothing hotter than '80s music set to nerds doing science!  I would watch a YouTube channel that was nothing but that!  The first song is The Comsat Angels' "I'm Falling" and I loooooooove it!  I'm just going to shut up and enjoy the montagey goodness now...."not prepared for thisthisthisthiss".
Swimsuits were funny in the '80s.  Ok, I've been a little bored the last fifteen minutes.  I'm going to go ahead and cll the stats halfway through.  I'll readjust, if needed.

dialogue: 4
atmosphere: 7
music: 6
replayability: 6
character average: 6.2
TOTAL: 29.2

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Breakfast Club (1985)

I literally cannot remember a time "The Breakfast Club" didn't exist for me. I watched it on old VHS taped from HBO from a wee thing. John Hughes was more important to me than any Disney film, and this one is my favorite.

I forgot the Simple Minds song is in the opening credits as well as the closing. The architecture of the library is still cool 27 years later. Can you believe 1985 was 27 years ago?!?! OMG.

I may not be able to comment on this movie. It's just so much a part of me...I feel like I was born knowing all the words...I can't accurately assess it with words. I can only worship the nostalgia in silent awe.

Atmosphere: 8
Dialogue: 7
Music: 7
Replayability: 9
Character average: 6.43

TOTAL: 37.43

Carrie (1976)

I love all the brazen pubic hair in the opening locker room scene, though this is obviously a male fantasy. No locker room has EVER been like this. And Carrie is having a pretty erotic shower there, eh? The brutality of '70s films is shocking at first. The gym teacher is pushing everyone and the girls are soooo mean.

Julianne Moore will do a great job at playing Carrie's mom in the remake. I can't wait! Her voice has such a cadence that sticks with you forever. When I first saw this movie I had it checked out from the library and I kept rechecking it for the entire summer (no renewal limits back then?) and showing it, one-by-one, to all of my friends. I think it was 6th or 7th grade. It was my first favorite horror film.

Why do the Jesus' eyes in the statue glow? That's so freakin' creepy. It's so heartbreaking to think that there are some women that might even still grow up with moms like this this or for whatever reason, don't know about their periods before they get them.

Is it really that much of a punishment to force everyone to do a bunch of exercises? That's only going to make them hotter for the prom. I would relish someone forcing me to work out. I never had to do anything in gym class. I kind of wish I would have. Learning coordination and athleticism could only help me. God, I hate John Travolta. I hate him so much that "Carrie" might not make the cut. His character-rating is a 0 simply because he's John Travolta. Every shot in this movie is really good. You can pause it anywhere and the color pops and everything is framed really well.

Sue Snell's hair is still the best hair I've ever seen in a movie. I WANTED her hair then and I WANT this hair now. Why can't you go to prom without a date? That's ludicrous. Tommy is so cute with his curly hair. I think I have to fast forward through the pig slaughter scene. I can't deal with it anymore.

I love that Jesus is this silent, scary overseer of everything in the White household. The only light in the house is Jesus and Carrie's pretty face.

Ugh, can I give Travolta a negative number of points? Ew, trying on lipsticks?! So unsanitary. "I can see your dirty pillows." Mommie dearest has got nothin' on Margaret White! I think all proms should look like the prom in this movie. I was so disappointed that mine wasn't like this. No men wore ruffles and no women went braless at my prom--how boring is that?

Time for the spinning dance scene. I might throw up.

Not even the cutting board is safe!!

I still get chills when the ominous music starts as Tommy and Carrie are walking to the stage. My hair is standing up...I once recorded this part of the movie onto a mixtape so I could listen to it over and over. Now comes the payoff. You messed with the wrong chick! Split-screen. You're trapped, bitches! Telekinesis is so cool. I have goosebumps all over...the fire just started and Carrie is silhouetted in blood with her arms out. This is one of the only truly iconic movies that I discovered on my own. I really have no idea why I even picked it...probably the image of a woman covered in blood. I've always been into that.

Candles on the bed? That's not safe. Michael said, "Only a crazy person could light that many candles." Time for the Orgasmic Death of the Mother. Love the sound of Margaret's arm being pulled off the wall. Each time I showed this movie to a friend I would watch their face with baited breath waiting for that arm to come out of the ground...Michael was distracted this time, so it didn't have the intended effect. Can you believe he hasn't seen this?!?!

Final tally:
*atmosphere: 7
*dialogue: 3
*replayability: 4
*music: 6
*character average: 6.43

TOTAL: 26.43

my top 16 movies...

are as follows (in chronological order):

The Breakfast Club
Real Genius
The Crow
Empire Records
Velvet Goldmine
The Matrix
High Fidelity
Best in Show
Moulin Rouge
Napoleon Dynamite
The Big Lebowski

That's wayy too many movies. I need to narrow it down to a top 10. To do this, I'm going to watch all 16 and rate them on a scale of one to ten on the following five parameters:

1. atmosphere/setting/cinematography
2. characters: this will be achieved by rating each of the main characters on the one to ten scale and then averaging their scores.
3. dialogue
4. music
5. replayability

Each movie has the potential of achieving 50 points. If there's a tie for 10th place, the two movies in question will have to be rewatched/rescored to break the tie. I will blog about each one as I watch it (or take notes and post the blog later, either way). Hopefully, hilarity will ensue and I will be reminded of why these are my favorite movies. If anyone would like to join me, I'll be watching them in the order above. I'm watching "Carrie" tonight, but text/msg/email me if you want to come over for popcorn and join in the movie analysis for any of the films below "Carrie" on the list.

Monday, September 17, 2012

How To Behave When Art Is Being Made Before Your Eyes.

In July, for the first time since my fixation began in 1996, I saw Fiona Apple in concert.  My husband and I had relatively good seats that we paid approximately 25% of our paychecks to obtain.  Fiona was phenomenal, but the crowd was NOT.  As a whole, the audience broke all of the rules below, and I felt separated from the woman I’d desperately wanted to share a room with for sixteen years, the woman I had driven two and a half hours to see perform her art...grr, digress digress.
July 17, 2012 -- Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO.
Her setlist was as follows: Fast As You Can, On the Bound, Shadowboxer, Paper Bag, Anything We Want, Get Gone, Sleep to Dream, Extraordinary Machine, Werewolf, Tymps, Daredevil, I Know, Every Single Night, Not About Love, Carrion, Criminal, and It's Only Make Believe.

Here are five rules of etiquette (I know, I’m no Lady Von Halbach) for all-encompassing enjoyment of a concert (“concert” here defined as any single musical act you have paid more than 10 or 15 bucks to see: i.e., NOT a festival and NOT a typical Friday night at the dive bar downtown):

  1. As an overall mindset, try to remember that there are people in the crowd that really really really want to see the performer, you know, perform.  You will be doing those particular fans a service by being as reserved as possible during the evening’s events.  This is not a time for attention-seeking behaviors.  Your fellow concert-goers didn’t pay to hear or see YOU do anything.
  2. A note on phone usage: Y’all know I am serious about my technology, but when you’re experiencing an in-person event, such as music being created before your very ears, I am very anti-phone.  Don’t take video.  Don’t take pictures.  Put the screens in your purse or pocket for two freaking hours and be in the moment, people!
  3. No one wants to begrudge a concert-goer a beer or two, but please keep your drunkenness to a minimum.  If the booze-habit gets you in and out of the aisles for cup-fills and bladder-empties more than a couple of times, just stay by the bar and let someone else have your seat/standing space.
  4. If there are seats, sit down (especially if you’re in the front).  I’m 5’5” (that’s not short) and the behemoths standing in front of me made it very difficult to see the tiny glorious woman onstage.  For a large portion of the concert, a man’s substantial left ear was covering Ms. Apple’s entire head.  Common sense makes obvious the fact that EVERYONE can see if EVERYONE is sitting down. Conversely, if the venue is set up such that you couldn’t possibly disturb anyone by standing, by all means, dance your cute little butt off!
  5. Keep your clapping/screaming/yelling to an absolute minimum.  You paid for the ticket, the performer already KNOWS how much you love them. Admittedly, this is somewhat of a personal issue (I feel like a baby seal slapping her flippers together when clapping). There’s no reason to clap/yell during a performance unless, ill-advised as it most certainly is, the artist has encouraged some sort of rhythm-bastardizing-group-epileptic-fit (for the record, Fiona would never engage in such tomfoolery--she didn’t even leave the stage before her required encore, bless her no-nonsense heart).  Call me crazy, but I believe all displays of appreciation should be held until the very end of the performance, like at symphonies and operas.

NOW, you can applaud...You’re welcome.  I love you too.

Finally, I shall contradict myself completely and reap the rewards of the assholes that held their phones up during the performance.  Below is a playlist of videos from that night.  They're not well-done, but they're in order and they're for posterity, for me, so I'm placing them here...

// music rut //

Lately, I’ve been uninspired, listening to nothing new, and wandering around with a cloud over my head instead of headphones in or around my ears.  I’ve been phoning it in and not taking the care and thought into choosing what I listen to at every moment of every day or, gasp (!!), listening to nothing at all.  I haven’t even made a mix in weeks!  My dismal music rut has just been punctuated by the death of my favorite headphones (A beautiful pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50’s, if anyone wants to buy me another pair--I would like them in white with the coiled cord, please.) not ten minutes ago.  Oh, woe is me.  From within this deep dark pit of aural despair, I turn to you for guidance.  Yes kittens, it’s time for a survey, so get a writing utensil and fill in the margins, darlings.  I beg of you, help me with my music drought and

Take my survey!
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

places your entire music library could live.

In a post-apocalyptic Joplin, I am of the personal opinion that one cannot have too many places to store their music collection within.  Perhaps I’m a little OVERprepared for disaster in this aspect, but if there’s one thing that I cannot possibly live without, it’s my music, so here are places where mine lives (5 in total, yes, I’m deranged), and perhaps one or two of these options will be useful for a normal human being as well:

  1. COMPUTER-- At the very least, get all of your music ripped onto the hard drive of your computer.  Rip at higher bitrates for better audio quality (check the “preferences” or “settings” or “options” in your computer’s ripping software to tweak this.  I use 320kbps for all my ripping.).  You’ll need a disc drive to upload CDs, a tape deck, some cords, and some compatible software like Audacity to convert cassettes, and likewise a record player, Audacity, and more cords to convert records, though this process is a pain (here’s a good article on how to do this: so only do for things you absolutely can’t get digitally or through CD.  If you need to recover music you lost in the Wretched 2011 Wind, search our illustrious library’s catalog at for CDs you can check out--you can take home 4 at a time and we have a pretty decent selection (Seriously, this one time I got to help pick out a bunch of stuff...that was AWESOME!).
  2. EXTERNAL BACKUP DRIVE-- Once you have all your music stored digitally, this and the following 3 music storage options are available to you.  Having an external hard drive is a good idea to backup your computer in general anyway (I back-up my entire computer every 10 days), and these puppies can be had for less than a hundred bucks at RadioShack and BestBuy (Seagate is well-reviewed and has served me well--survived the year 2011, even!).  If you can, lock your backup-drive away in a weather-proof enclosure for extra paranoid protection.
  3. iPOD CLASSIC or OTHER LARGE CAPACITY MP3 PLAYER-- This option is probably only for the really big music geeks, because this little dream-machine (the iPod classic) costs 250$ for 160GB of storage.  I have all my music, movies, and pictures on my Classic.  I always get a little geek-thrill stomping out of the house with only my iPod the size of a cassette tape shuffling my entire music collection.  Every music-dweeb should have this distinct post-millennium pleasure.
  4. iTUNES MATCH or OTHER CLOUD MUSIC SERVICE: In the event that all of your earthly possessions are obliterated (the iPod, the backup drive, AND the computer) which is, unfortunately, no longer something far-fetched for a lot of us, you’ll need to also have your music backed up in the cloud, which is another way of saying uploaded to the internet.  There are several services that do this: I personally use both Google Music ( and iTunes Match, but there’s also Grooveshark, Amazon, and many other services as well.  They all involve time to upload and can suck the life out of your internet connection (in the case of me uploading my 9,000 songs to Google, it took about three weeks, but it won’t be that time-consuming if you have less music or a better internet connection), but wayyy worth it if your music is the second thing you grabbed last May (I know your animals come first--or children, if you’re into that sort of thing.) before climbing out of the rubble.  Check out the following article for a detailed analysis on all the cloud music storage options out there (

Remember, you don’t have to be as paranoid as me, but if you choose only two of these options, your music will feel snug and safe pending any season’s weather apocalypses.  If you need tech support carrying out any of these options, email me at and I’ll try my best to answer your questions.

Friday, September 14, 2012


In high school my English teacher (you remember: the cute one that is now a principal?) taught a class about pluralism.  Pluralism (as I remember him teaching it then) is this idea that perception is reality and everyone perceives things differently, so can reality be defined/constant?  This is something we've all thought about at one time or another, so I am presenting nothing new, but recently I had to take a hard look at myself.

Remember in Anne Rice's "Queen of the Damned" where spirits were these giant balls of misty energy that spanned hundreds of miles with a concentrated meaty center? After the tornado, I was forced to gather up all of my misty-wide energy and stuff it into the shell of my body.  I then turned that body into a fortress and tried to ignore it.  In the time since that stupid Spring day I've over-indulged in alcohol, food, and darkness.  Any escape I could find, I clutched onto until my fingers bled.  As a result, what was already growing stagnant within me even before last Spring became so still, so unforgivingly rigid, that I couldn't even see that I was frozen.  My father died and I felt as if I was looking through an opaque glass at myself from another realm.  Apathy has been my muse, and I thank her for her service, but I have to break the fucking glass.

Recently, a confrontation/intervention was placed in front of me that I could not ignore.  I have always known who I am, so it was really hard to admit that I didn't know who I had become.  I had become this insular being without ardor.  I had forgotten that what we all are is fluid.  We change and evolve and taking a look at who you are is required of you every day.

The only people that remain sane in this world let go of the perception they believe others have of them.  They don't let themselves be defined by that perception.  Not even the perception that is their own.  I've always known this, but recently I've lost sight of where I sit within it.  I feel SUCH a kinship to those that are being their genuine selves without definition.  What I am now is not who I will be.  What I have been is not what I am.  I always really liked the lyrics to Incubus' "Make Yourself".  The idea of creating your self has always been important to me, but the thing I am grasping now is that you have to do this continuously throughout your existence.  It isn't forever that you are, it's forever that you choose to be.

With one swift primal scream I must let that giant all-encompassing spirit take her space again.  It cannot be contained within my body.  It must pervade everything around me so that I can feel and be felt by others.

We cannot see things as they truly are, or they are what we see and we can't see what anyone else sees. So why construct an image without purpose?  If what you're trying to fit within doesn't feel comfortable, get out!

The celebrities that I find interesting usually have zero control over their personae (Courtney Love, Grimes, and Fiona Apple) and don't care.  They are raw and real and it inspires me tremendously.  I also enjoy when they have TOO much control over their personae (Lady GaGa, Marilyn Manson) because they're taking their art to such an extreme that it becomes an agenda.  Grimes IS art and GaGa forces you to confront your own art and both of these images make you look at yourself.  The video above makes no sense and that was probably Grimes' unintentional point.  She just gathered together people she liked and visual images that intrigued her and she danced.  I cried watching this because her weirdness feels so genuine to me.

My next tattoo is:


and this to me is my zen.  Reminding myself that what I think others think does not matter.  Who I am and that I am confrontationally genuine is what is important to me.  I want to be a Fiona, a Grimes, a Courtney Love.  A brash, bold, ballsy, blunt BITCH.  The witch within is emerging from the gristle she's been hiding amidst.