Boy Band Babes Breaking Onto The Big Screen

If you’re wondering where Harry Styles has been since One Direction began their indefinite hiatus in December, he’s been (maybe) dating Kendall Jenner, tweeting about burgers and moved to Hollywood in an attempt to start an acting career. Luckily for him and for all of us, he is kicking it off with a legit movie. Harry recently got cast in Christopher Nolan’s World War II action thriller called Dunkirk, which is about “the British military evacuation of the French city of Dunkirk in 1940.” It also stars no-names like Tom Hardy, Sir Kenneth Branagh and recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance, so, NBD. There hasn’t been much detail on what Harry’s role is, but I’m assuming it’s a soldier of some sort, and he could either be on the same level of Matt Damon in Saving Private Ryan or Jimmy Fallon in Band of Brothers. EXACTLY.

But obviously this is nothing new. Harry isn’t the first boy band hunk to break into acting. There have been many in our generation alone, so let’s revisit some of their great and no so greatest hits in film and TV.

Justin Timberlake {‘N Sync}

Arguably one of the best boy band alums to have the most success as an actor, JT has won four Emmys, been nominated for a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and in a movie that was nominated for 8 Oscars (The Love Guru haha jk). Among my personal faves are Inside Llewyn Davis and his first big TV movie in DCOM Model Behavior (<-that is the full version!), as seen above. Classic, just a classic. But we all know he excels the most in comedy, thanks to every single one of his Saturday Night Live episodes. Remember when he hosted for the first time and you were like, ‘Oh shit. He’s really funny and talented and a natural’? It was magic. Even Lorne Michaels has said he would hire JT if being a comedian was his number one priority. I wouldn’t be mad at that.

Jesse McCartney {Dream Street}

Technically Jesse began acting before he was in Dream Street since he was in All My Children, earning those young actor trophies soap opera awards shows are wont to dole out. But he became a teen idol with one-hit wonder Dream Street and the huge, mega popular, number one song all around the world, It Happens Everytime. Jesse was smart by using the group as a platform for solo work and it’s the reason we’ve been #Blessed with songs like Leavin’ and Bleeding Love. Anyways, he’s consistently worked on either music or acting ever since, starring in shows like Greek, Army Wives, Young & Hungry and of course, a “Fresh New Summerland” with future hunkasaurus Zac Efron. In full disclosure, I am a legit Jesse McCartney fan – like the kind that has paid money to meet and greet him fan. As a result of this, I have voluntarily seen a handful of movie’s he’s been in JUST because he’s in it. Like teen drama Keith and Lifetime original movie Expecting Amish, which was so ridiculous and good as any Lifetime movie usually is that I’m surprised I didn’t write a live blog about it. But you know where he’s really getting the cash money from? All FOUR of the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies.

Nick Lachey {98 Degrees}

After 98 Degrees, Nick mainly transitioned into a successful TV host, serving as the emcee for shows like The Sing-Off, Big Morning Buzz Live and The Winner Is, and if we’re not counting acting on Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, he’s also appeared on Charmed, One Tree Hill, and Hawaii Five-O. Least we forget his unforgettable film, Rise: Blood Hunter, a horror film starring Lucy Liu, Matt Saracen, Marilyn Manson and Tawny from Even Stevens. Yeah.

Joey McIntyre {New Kids on the Block}

If there’s any boy band who has a high ratio of successful actors, it’s New Kids on the Block. Joey’s done TV (Boston Public, The McCarthys), film (The Heat), and theatre (Wicked, The Fantasticks). He’s obviously typecast as a dudeked from Boston with a super thick accent, but hey, don’t fix what ain’t broke, yanno?

Donnie Wahlberg {New Kids on the Block}

Let’s face it, Donnie Wahlberg is a more successful actor than Justin Timberlake. He may have been doing it longer, but he’s also had steady acting jobs and won acclaim for his roles over the years. He’s been on a steady CBS drama, Blue Bloods, for the past six seasons, and also starred in Boomtown and Band of Brothers. Not to mention his movie roles in Saw II through IV, and of course, The Sixth Sense, a role which I think collectively blew every viewer’s mind after realizing the dude in the bathroom was the bad boy in NKOTB. PS: the clip above is horribly dubbed en espanol but it is still so good.

Joey Fatone {‘N Sync}

As a Backstreet Boys fan, I was allergic to anything ‘N Sync. But I guess one day I decided to screw it and watch On the Line, a romantic comedy featuring Lance Bass and Joey Fatone and I genuinely loved the movie a lot. It was a classic 1990s teen romcom that most people probably thought sucked, which is why I loved it. Then Joey showed off his comedic chops in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (and the sequel) and perhaps we all realized he was much better as a funny TV personality and comedic actor than a boy band heartthrob. Speaking of which, he, along with fellow 90s boy banders Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Chris Kirkpatrick, most of O-Town and more are starring in a zombie western, Dead 7, which premieres on SyFy on Friday. Guys. I hate zombies. I hate westerns, but I am HERE for my boys. And I will be presenting a full recap on Monday.

Questions, Comments, Concerns: Curly Sue

Curly Sue is having a MOMENT. Alisan Porter is back on TV, the movie is streaming on Amazon Prime, and believe it or not, the 90s sets and outfits look surprisingly fresh. All of that meant that we were due for a rewatch – but don’t worry, we have some comments, questions, and concerns about the whole thing.

Concern: It’s been so long since I’ve seen this movie, it almost feels like it should be a Pop Culture Blind Spots post.

Curly Sue was a mainstay of early 90s HBO, and I used to watch it constantly. But that was 25 years ago, and I was a little kid. What I remember: a shyster pals around with a little girl, cooking up schemes. Was her name even Sue? Can’t remember. It was like a John Hughes-y take on Paper Moon, but set in 1991.

Comment: Curly Sue is now a contestant on The Voice.

Alisan Porter, AKA Curly Sue, wasn’t just another talented tot – she’s a talented adult, too. Of course, if you watched Curly Sue on regular rotation in the early 90s, you won’t be surprised.

Comment: Orphans from the late 80s/early 90s had all the best swag.

Like. I’m glad I have parents, but otherwise I’m pretty jealous of that sweet orphan swag

Curly Sue has this awesome bag covered in pins and ribbons, Punky Brewster had mismatched shoes and the coolest bedroom ever.

Comment: Somewhere in my brain, the instrumental Curly Sue theme has been lying dormant just waiting for me to rewatch.

Question: Is the opening sequence ever going to end?

We inventory Curly Sue’s bag for fully 3 minutes, which is longer than I spend packing for a cross-country trip.

Comment: Law offices were so steely during this era.

I spy: mahogony, modern art, shoulder pads, hairspray. Shards of rubble (?) on the windowsill, artistic empty vessels, UFO lamps, recessed canister lighting.

It looks like how someone from 1991 would decorate an office from “the year 2000.”

Concern: I mentally refer to James Belushi’s hair as a “nice mullet,” then I catch myself.

As mullets go, ok? As mullets go: nice.

Not sure if that’s my low standards for early 90s fashion, but it’s surprisingly non-ratty for a mullet. It looks freshly shampooed and brushed. He nurtures it.

Concern: “However much you love me, that’s how hard you hit me. However hard you hit me, that’s how much you love me.”

This is Belushi instructing Curly Sue to knock him upside the head but ALSO a primer into the psychology of abuse so IDK about you but I’m having a great time.

Question: Were there security cameras in 1991?

Curly Sue and Belushi stage a fake car/pedestrian collision in a parking garage (that’s why Curly Sue had to hit him), but I think in ’91 a closed circuit camera would have cleared that up. Weren’t we all into hidden camera shows during this era? There was no internet; America’s Funniest Home Videos and Candid Camera were our internet.

Concern: Steve Carell is a vampire

Steve Carell, impervious to the forces of time and age, plays a fancy restaurateur. Someone please hunt down Carell’s Civil War daguerreotype?

Comment: 1991 was the fanciest year ever.

Look at these people in their money-colored music hall dressed like they’re definitely at a benefit concert for some sort of Country Day School.

Comment: Calling it: the icy blonde lady who got scammed is going to marry Belushi and be Curly Sue’s new mom.

I think this because Belushi told C.S. that’s who she should hope for as a mom, and because the icy blonde lady looks pensive while she thinks about C.S. at the money-colored music hall.

Concern: a crappy man steals Curly Sue’s ring at the homeless shelter and pawns it.

I just kind of feel like if it was worth money, Belushi (AKA Bill Dancer) should have sold that before making Sue beat a grown man to score a free dinner. Is all.

Comment: THE FIRST CELL PHONE JOKE IN CINEMA HISTORY, maybe.

Remember when cell phones themselves were a punch line, and the joke was that the person who owned it was a Mr. Burns-style mega-millionaire? A phone rings in a restaurant, everybody instantly grabs their giant Zach Morris phones and raises them to their ears. It goes without saying, the restaurant is fancy… 1991-fancy.

Comment: How you know you’re rich and important in movies: an assistant runs alongside you telling you calls and appointments that came in for you.
Question: You know what movie this isn’t?

Different movie entirely.

Answer: Life with Mikey.  (It turns out all of the scenes I thought I remembered from this movie were from Life With Mikey.)

Comment: I will never be rich enough to have a 1991-Rich bathroom.

I love the unnecessary floor lamp and the child-sized house plant.

Question: Did the trailer say this was a movie about going “from rags to riches – and back again!”?

Because that seemed like a really popular trailer tagline for a while there.

Comment: OF F’ING COURSE THE ICY BLOND WOMAN’S NAME IS GRAY.

“Mrs Gray?”, Curly Sue asks.

“No, just Gray” the Icy Blond Woman answers.

Of. Freaking. Course.

Concern: This creepy-ass child’s bedroom.

Curly Sue asks – in the style of a Newsie or a background orphan from Annie – why Gray doesn’t have children because she “has enough dough for lots of them.”

More importantly, why doesn’t Gray have children when she has a fully decorated LITTLE GIRL’S BEDROOM off of her bedroom?

(Also, Gray doesn’t have children because like the sterile modern art in her chilly law practice, she is an empty vessel.)

Comment: You better sing, Curly Susan.

Comment: the makeup department is having a blast doing the egg on Belushi’s head; I can tell.

Really going for it.

Question: Why is Gray’s boyfriend trying to go to sleep in the Haunted Little Girl Bedroom in the middle of the night, anyway?
Comment: Gray’s kitchen really holds up because 1991 is so fancy that its kitchens are from the future.

Some Chip & Joanna shit right there.

Subway tile, glass-front cupboards, stainless steel, minimalist hardware. Is that a copper farmhouse sink?

Comment: This looks fun!

“I’m human cereal, suckers!”

Question: Do you know who I love?

Gray’s surly housekeeper, who dresses like a youth from Sister Act 2. “I don’t usually smoke cigars. My friend had a baby.”

Concern: Curly Sue can’t spell.

Curly Sue spelled asphyxiate as a stunt, but can’t spell the word cat, and thus can’t read/write. Alisan Porter plays this scene so well – no hammy child actor stuff, just really natural.

Comment: Belushi isn’t Sue’s dad, but he “got her from a one night stand.”

I don’t know about you all, but I’m going to need way more info.

Question: Is Gray the Miss Honey of this movie?

She makes a pitch to Curly Sue that somebody’s going to have to tell Sue about girl stuff or whatever, and Gray would make a great fake mom, I think.

Question: How long do you have to go to school to be a lawyer?

The surly housekeeper says lawyers go to school for 20 years, which I guess is true if you’re counting preschool? IDK I’m a juris doctor, not a math doctor.

Comment: I want to go shopping at a nice store in 1991.

See also.

I know, you know: 1991 was fancy. But more importantly, Gray has a saleswoman present her with different things she might like, which Gray then approves or vetoes. Then they box everything up for her in neat parcels. Maybe I just need to go to better stores.

(When I was about 4, I loved to read a story from the 1950s about a little boy whose mom has a shopgirl at the department store find him new summer clothes – red and blue sandals, plus a red and a blue “nice, cool playsuit” – and has them wrapped in paper and tied with string. It all sounded so tidy. Before we had words for the concept, that was 100% my aesthetic)

Comment: Gray has a nice blowout.
Comment: It’s GrEy, with an E.

Like Grey Poupon, the nice mustard that was fashionable at the time. I’m not going back to change it.

Question: How much fabric is in this wedding veil?

You could prevent zika in 3 brazilian villages with this veil

Needless to say, the bride’s name is Tiffany.

Concern: Grey is getting involved in Belushi & Sue’s cons very quickly for a chilly attorney made of stainless steel and shoulder pads.
Concern: What if this is all a long con on Grey? I’ve grown to really like her and I’d never forgive Belushi.

I’d forgive Sue but only because she’s so freaking cute. Also, I’m not feeling any chemistry between Grey and Bill Dancer, like any at all, and I usually ship everything. Their relationship feels exactly like what it is, a shyster staying with a lawyer for a bit because she hit him with her car.

Comment: Maybe every movie I love is just a variation on Annie.
Question: If Belushi is so good at piano, and Sue’s such a good singer, why don’t they busk? Or get jobs?

I know it’s garbage to ask why homeless people don’t “just get jobs” but these are fictional people and I do wonder.

Comment: Grey’s boyfriend (?) calls in an abuse and neglect complaint on Belushi and I gasp “no!” out loud.

John Hughes always made you care about his characters, who were often really, really terrible parents/legal guardians.

Comment: Grey’s giant scrunchie was such a  status-symbol.
Concern: I’m very distressed about Sue getting seized by CPS, but also, on paper Belushi is an unfit parent.
Comment: Very sure temporary foster care wouldn’t be allowed to just randomly cut Curly Sue’s hair like that.

Ward Of The State hair.

Question: Was a person from the future involved in this production?

When Grey (and Bill?) become Sue’s legal guardian, and Grey wears her school drop-off casual look, she’s wearing the same olive-green jacket that every girl has now.

 

Spring Memes Make Me Feel Fine: Sad Ben Affleck

Were you one of the millions of people who saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice over the weekend? Were you also one of the millions of people who didn’t like it that much (I didn’t see it, I have no idea if it’s good or not)? Or were you one of the millions who read the early negative reviews and decided to go anyways, because SUPERHERO MOVIE?? Well despite the criticism (and 29% on Rotten Tomatoes), it managed to get over $424 million in the global box office, so it’s technically a success for everyone involved in the movie.

However, in a recent interview with Yahoo! before the movie came out, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill were forced to endure a reporter reading them bad reviews of the film, and judging by Ben’s face, he didn’t take it lightly.

In full disclosure, I couldn’t get myself to watch the video because I cannot handle second-hand embarrassment. What I can handle and relish in is a good meme. Because we live in a *what a time to be alive* era, the Internet people naturally decided to take Ben’s sad face and turn it into memes for all to enjoy (much like Sad Keanu before him). While I don’t necessarily enjoy seeing Ben Affleck sad, it’s fine knowing he’s rolling in the $$$ and there are worse things in life than getting bad reviews on a movie in which you play Batman. Here are some of the best Sad Ben Affleck memes the Interwebs have to offer.

Hello darkness, my old friend

Don’t worry bro, Green Latern got 26% on Rotten Tomatoes

THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO WIN

I’m sure Heath is proud

Extra sad points for Robin Williams cameo 😦

ALL THE MEMES
Good old classic

 

Make Your Own Dyngus Day!

For those of you who fall into a post-Easter slump this Monday (part sugar coma, part basket-hiding fatigue), there’s an antidote to your ennui: Dyngus Day! The day after Easter, people of Slavic backgrounds, especially Polish and Ukrainian, celebrate the holiday by hitting each other with pussy willows and throwing water. Not Polish? No problem! Everybody is Polish on Dyngus Day.

Let’s backtrack a bit. I grew up hearing my Slavic grandma talk about Dyngus Day, but never experienced it myself until I moved to Buffalo, NY. Buffalo throws an enormous Dyngus Day celebration every year; you can also celebrate in Cleveland, Ohio and South Bend, Indiana. If you can’t make it to any of those cities, we have a little guide to throw your own Dyngus Day party and break through those after-Easter blahs.

Know Your History, Ya Dyngus

First of all, Dyngus sounds like an insult from the 1930s, right? But it actually means … the eggs that are owed. Or “ransom.” You guessed it: the origins of the holiday, and the word, are fairly obscure. Suffice to say, Dyngus day originated sometime around the Middle Ages in the western Slav countries. One story claims that the holiday celebrates the baptism of Mieszko I, who unified Poland in the 10th century. By the 20th century, Dyngus Day was celebrated in Polish and Ukrainian immigrant communities worldwide. The largest party is in Buffalo, and the celebration as it exists today began in the 1960s. There are parties across the city, a parade, and as much polka as you can handle (or more, depending on your polka threshold).

Just A Good Old-Fashioned Fertility Festival

There’s a theory that Dyngus Day began as one of those pre-Christian Spring fertility rituals, and when you look at the elements of a traditional Dyngus celebration, it seriously adds up. For the essential part of any Dyngus Day, you must have the following:

  • Boys throwing water on girls. The more attractive you are, the more water will be thrown at you.
  • Girls paying off the boys to stop. With EGGS. Hey, symbolism.
  • Boys also hit girls with pussy willows, so there’s that.

Now, how does this play out in modern times? A free-for-all water fight, basically. Everyone hits everyone with pussy willows. It’s fun! It also sounds 100% like a holiday that Dwight Schrute would celebrate.

Ready Your Traditional Polish Easter Foods

I’ve never been anywhere where Easter was a bigger deal than in Buffalo, and the traditional Polish Easter food is a huge part of it. (I feel like Buffalo should capitalize on both that, and also that they are almost indisputably the Mustache Capitol of America).

Obviously, all of these items are still popular the day after Easter. You can expect to find:

  • Butter lambs
  • Lamb cakes
  • Pirogi
  • Kielbasa
  • Kouign, a ring-shaped filled pastry which isn’t the same as kouign-amann, and isn’t the same as kuchen, and doesn’t seem to exist on the internet … but I’ve already had it twice this Easter season and it’s only Monday morning.
  • Kapusta, which is like if sauerkraut grew up and became more than just a garnish.
  • Placek AKA Easter Cake AKA begin your spring workout regimen tomorrow
  • Golabki, the Polish take on the burrito, which is probably destined to become a low-carb, low-gluten trend because it’s wrapped in cabbage.
  • Chalka (yep, obviously related to Challah), a braided bread with eggs in it. It’s pretty.
  • This red cabbage thing that I never tried.

Polka? I Don’t Even Know Her

Polka is to music as dad jokes are to jokes, so that heading was appropriate. While I can’t deny that polka music is peppy, and that the musicians are very skilled, I do have to say that it’s not for everyone. I grew up on Irish folk music, and it’s similar in a way: some people love it, others find that it sounds like those children’s albums they put out about, like, why it’s good to brush your teeth. But at least this one day every year, you should be ready to listen to all the accordion music your ears can take. And lest you think it all sounds the same, at least one young Cleveland polka DJ is calling attention to the different forms of polka.

If you really hate Polka, there are also Polish-American rappers – and bonus! This video was filmed in the Ruff Buff on Dyngus Day:

Red And White or GTFO

Just like crowds on St. Patrick’s Day are decked out in green, everyone wears red and white on Dyngus Day. And since everyone is Polish on Dyngus Day, it doesn’t matter if those aren’t really your colors.

Shoutout To The Children In Traditional Garb

 If red isn’t your color, how about some beautifully embroidered traditional outfits, instead? There’s nothing cuter than a child dressed as one of those Madame Alexander Children Of The World dolls, right?

Take Monday Off. And Maybe Tuesday.

Above all, Dyngus Day is a huge party – so big that festivities take place throughout the day in Buffalo, so you may as well take the day off. It’s also possibly as big a drinking day as St. Patrick’s Day, so maybe you’ll want to take Tuesday off as well. Happy Dyngus Day!

ICYMI: I Could Write A Sonnet About Your Easter Bonnet

Happy Easter to all those who celebrate it! If you need a respite from your family or friends right now, go seclude yourself in a room with a TV because odds are one of these movies is on.

Easter Movies, From Godspell to The 10 Commandments To Mallrats

For me, one of the biggest signs that Easter is still primarily a religious holiday is the dearth of Easter movies. There are hundreds of Christmas movies that never mention the birth of Jesus, but there are only a handful of Easter movies – and most of them basically stick to the book. What I’m saying is, some of these Easter movies are a stretch, but I’m working with what I’ve got. Happy(?) Holy Thursday, if that applies to you, and have a good Easter, too!

Godspell

This is what I’m talking about when I talk about Easter movies! Godspell is my personal favorite Jesus musical, an admittedly small genre. You ever notice that some people are Godspell people, and some are Jesus Christ Superstar people, and then everyone else is like “what are you even talking about?” Godspell is cheerful pseudo-hippie 1970s, whereas JCS is glam rock-y 70s, but both tell the story of Jesus as a (cheesy?) musical that I love.  Godspell is based on the Gospel of Matthew and focuses on Jesus’ parables and his more peace-and-love type teachings. I’m going to go all-caps for a second, okay? VICTOR “MR. ANDREWS” GARBER AS JESUS. Okay? I am just warning you, this movie may leave you with a weird crush on both Victor Garber and Jesus.

*(Aside: I absolutely love movies filmed in 1970s-1990s New York, maybe because it looks like the New York I remember as a kid in the 90s, so that’s a bonus.)

Jesus Christ Superstar

While this is mostly an unranked list, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar probably are my top two Easter movies. While I like the stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the movie is a bit less visually appealing to me (read: set in the desert). Also, it focuses on the Jesus/Judas relationship. I love a frenemy situation in musical theater (Hamilton! right?), but it also makes it feel a little darker and less uplifting than Godspell. Nevertheless, my corny musical-loving self is always here for an Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice collab.

My advice, if you can find it: watch the 2001 Great Performances version with Glenn Carter and Renee Castle instead of the 1973 film. We watched it in a high school theatre class and it’s when I really started to like Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Passion Of The Christ

I worked in a movie theater during this movie’s 2004 release, and I can honestly say that the worst customers I encountered were some of the church groups who came in en masse to the early morning shows. Also I worked at the concession stand at the time, and it sort of felt like a weird movie to nosh on Skittles and popcorn during, but what do I know. Customers aside, the hype was deserved and … it pains me a bit to say … Mel Gibson did a great job telling the story of the crucifixion in a fresh way. It was also graphically violent and isn’t a movie I’ve ever felt the need to rewatch.

The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments is usually on TV on Easter, even if it’s not technically an Easter Movie. It’s a Cecil B. DeMille Technicolor classic from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner, The 10 Commandments focuses on the story of Moses and will set you back almost four hours, including intermission. I guess it’s televised at Easter because the Moses story is kind of the lead-up to the New Testament, or maybe because it’s the only religious movie that was really in the game for a while there.

Plus, Easter and Passover are both in early Spring, and it illustrates the Passover beautifully.


 

Now that you’ve got your movie fill, how about finishing off that Easter outfit with a sensible and not at all tacky Easter bonnet?

Let’s Make Easter Bonnets The New Christmas Sweater

Easter may be the “most important” Christian religious holiday, but it’s no Christmas. Sure, we have some Easter traditions – egg hunts, making children sit on top of a man dressed like a rabbit (and also making a man wear a rabbit suit made of low-pile carpeting), dipping hard-boiled eggs in vinegar-laced food coloring – but as a season of festive joy and anticipation, Christmas clearly wins. Not only do we have fewer Easter traditions, they’re also all geared towards children. And arguably furries.

NOPE.

There’s kind of a reason for this. The Christmas story is fairly cute and approachable – it involves a baby, barnyard animals and a magical star. Easter is sort of unpleasant in comparison, and it takes a bit more work to get kids to understand it. For instance, last Easter my nephew Henry announced “Zurg died on the cross.” If you didn’t know: Zurg is the bad guy from Toy Story. I asked who put Zurg there, because I’m not responsible for this kid; I just get to “yes, and” him. “Jesus did,” he answered. Huh. Yeah, I sort of understand why we’re just like “Don’t worry about the whole Easter thing, just go sit on this man-rabbit and eat some candy.”

He died so we may live.

 

A few weeks ago, Henry – now four years old – started asking weird questions again. First: “What’s an orphan?” and then “Well, how would I get my mommy one?” Aunts of the world: just keep “yes, and” -ing that shit. It all started to come together a few days later, when he asked me “Aunt Molly, what’s an Easter bon?” That’s when I realized that (1) he was asking about an Easter bonnet, and (2) these questions were coming from the lyrics to Peter Cottontail, which means, rather reassuringly, (3) It was an orchid for your mommy; and my nephew is not trying to procure a parentless child for his mother. Phew.

Luckily, I didn’t have to try to explain what an Easter bonnet was – that was less a job for Aunt Molly and more a job for Aunt Google Image Search. And holy cow, guys! I thought they were just dumb hats that old ladies wear to church, or little girls’ straw hats with itchy elastic straps under the chin. But no, there is a whole world of wacky Easter Bonnets out there.

That’s when it all came together. We need a fun, stupid Easter activity for grown-ups. Something to get you in the holiday spirit, something that looks entirely ridiculous when you look at it just a month later. Something like EASTER BONNETS. Hear me out for a second. Chances are, you’ve attended an Ugly Holiday Sweater party in the past few years. Holidays make adults want to act like goofy kids again, and ugly sweaters help you do just that. There’s no real Easter equivalent unless you’re a seven-year-old girl or one of those church ladies who wears an Aretha hat. Unless- unless! – we start decorating bonnets in a party atmosphere. There are so many possibilities – just look:

Now, most of these pictures are from the UK, which makes me think that our UK readers are reading this saying “yeah, Easter bonnets. Easter eggs. Everybody knows this.” But no! They really aren’t as big a thing in the U.S., except in the Easter Parade, and I don’t know anybody who has actually gone to that. Oh, also our Easter Eggs are actual EGGS here, not the giant chocolate affairs you can buy overseas. We’re really struggling with the whole Easter thing in the States. So I say next year, we all throw Ugly Easter Bonnet parties, and everyone gussies up their fanciest bonnet. Whoever makes the tackiest one wins! Then we can all go celebrate Jesus’s victory over Emperor Zurg – the real reason for the season.

Saturday Spotlight: The One Where Sam And Diane Finally Kiss

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  • It’s the moment our whole blog lives have been leading up to for 7 months – okay, our whole LIVES have been leading up to for 7 months: we finally reached the Cheers episode where Sam and Diane kiss! Check out our thoughts in this month’s Cheers Chats.
THERE

Cheers Chats #3: Showdown Part, 2

Hey there chums! Welcome to the third part of our Cheers Chats series, where we breakdown 12 of the best episodes over the course of Cheers’ 11 seasons. Today we’re at the home stretch of the first season, and delving into the second part of the two part season one finale. Things are really heating up in the bar, so let’s check in with our current favorite TV Bostonians and see what the haps is as we wrap season one.

(BTW, we’re going by this list from AV Club if you’re wondering what our plan of attack is).

Episode 1.22: Showdown, Part 2

Originally aired: March 31, 1983

Netflix synopsis: Sam’s brother, whom he feels inferior to, shows up at the bar and sweeps Diane off her feet. Sam doesn’t have the guts to admit he wants Diane.

Previously, on Cheers

(Brief synopsis of what happened prior to this episode)

T: Boy oh boy was Part One of the finale great. Sam’s brother Derek is in town (face not seen for some artistic reason I guess?) which Sam is not happy about. Derek ends up hitting on Diane and Sam is totally jealous. At one point, Carla points out that ever since Diane walked into the bar, Sam hasn’t been as much of a ladies man like he used to be, which is also something I noticed over the past few episodes, and I appreciate that it’s been a slow realization of his affinity towards Diane instead of all at once. Anyways, Derek invites Diane to jet off to Martha’s Vineyard with him, but she’s torn because she knows in her heart Sam feels the same way she feels about him, and it results in one of my favorite scenes to date:

Sam: Whatever you and my brother Derek want to do is OK with me. I don’t care.

Diane: Fine.

Sam: (under his breath) Please don’t go.

Diane: What? What did you say?

Sam: I said I have no feelings about this.

Diane: No, after that. You said something. It sounded like ”Please don’t go.”

Sam: Please don’t go? Are you crazy? You gotta get over this egotism of yours. Go, with my blessings. Have a good time, really. (under his breath) Please stay here.

Diane: Wait a minute. What was that? There at the end you said something.

Sam: You’re hallucinating. Get outta here and have a good time. Go on.

Diane: OK, l’m glad you understand.

Sam: (under his breath) If you go, l’ll die.

Diane: What? l heard you say something.

Sam: You’re coming unglued. Please go. Have fun.

Diane: OK, l’ll go. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go freshen up. (under her breath) I’d rather stay with you.

Sam: What? What did you say?

Diane: I didn’t hear anything.

Carla’s My Boo

T: I’m pretty sure this is the first time it’s happened, but in a voiceover, Carla (not Rhea Perlman – Carla the character) recaps what happened in the previous episode. She says: “Last week on Cheers – is Diane about to fall for Sam’s brother? Will Sam’s heart be broken? Will Norm find happiness in his new job? (Norm got fired and hired somewhere else) Will Coach return to coaching in Venezuela? (he got an offer to coach for a baseball team there) Will Carl Yastremski please call Cheers and ask for ‘The Spitfire’?” This whole thing is odd but endearing because Carla says it?

M: It is so weird to hear a “previously on” for Cheers. Especially since I just watched 5 episodes in a row. (BTW, the full previously segment was just reasons Sam and Diane should do it already.)

M: Carla calls Diane Lady Di Job. STOP IT CARLA. Stop it, my boo. You’re too much.

T: Carla’s so so preggo. I researched it and Rhea Pearlman was also so so preggo with her first kid, daughter Lucy, who is also an actress.

M: Several episodes ago, Carla went from zero to very, very pregnant in, like, a minute. But as Carla said in part one of this episode, she always falls for “the wrong man, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, with the wrong birth control device.”

By the way, like Sam, Carla has a sister who “got everything” (read: she’s 5’2. And a beautician.)

Shut Up, Diane

(We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)

T: Diane’s in the bar on her day off and she’s bummed bc Derek is flying off to Paris and she doesn’t know what to do.

M: How about Sam?

M: Sam refers to Diane as Carla’s “skinny coworker,” so I guess we were still going with skinny being an insult in the early ‘80s.

T: “Well, l, Diane Chambers, bred and educated to walk with kings, once offered a full scholarship at the Sorbonne, have become attracted to a six-foot-three-inch bubble-gum card.”

M: WHO WROTE THIS CHARACTER. Also, finally.

T: At one point during her fight with Sam, she goes into his office with a blackboard and scrapes her nails on it and I legit said out loud “OH NO. OH NO NO NO NO NO.”
Photo Mar 23, 10 58 13 PM

M: Know who’s got a lot in common with nails on a blackboard? DIANE.

(On the serious, I am somewhat warming to Diane, am v much a Diane/Sam shipper, but just have some problems with how the character is written.)

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

T: The tension between Sam and Diane that has been building up the entire season explodes in this episode, so a lot of the plot centers around these two maybe lovebirds. Diane ended up going to the Vineyard with Derek and when she comes back a week later, Diane tells Sam that Derek also asked her to go to Paris with him so she’s saying goodbye. His solution to this is to fire her and tells her good riddance. Obviously. Carla is happy about this.

M: As I brought up in our Gilbert Blythe post, if you hate somebody, it’s not because you secretly love him. This is a harmful trope that makes people think someone who antagonizes them does it because they really like them. But in the case of Sam and Diane, sorry, they clearly hate each other because they secretly love each other.

T: But before Diane bids adieu to Sam, she basically attempts to make him jealous (read: secretly get him to stop her from going).

“We’ll be Diane and Derek Malone. We’ll buy a spread somewhere and call it the Double-D. It’ll make a nice brand.”

T: In full disclosure, they are really stretching this out and it’s killing me. Just get together already. However, I will commend them for making the entire scene between Sam and Diane feel like a Sorkin-esque scene or a really good tennis match. It’s such great writing and acting on their part. For example, instead of just going in for the smooch, they’re talking through their first kiss and fighting on how it should happen, which makes so much sense for their characters and potential relationship. In another line, Sam says this whole thing might be a mistake. They’re breaking up and they literally haven’t even started dating.

M: Do not Dawson and Joey this, Cheers. Do NOT. (To be clear, I’m Pacey/Joey all the way, but the way they set up the audience to want Dawson/Joey to happen, then broke them up after a few episodes, was low).

T: The phrases “phoniest fruitcake”, “shut your fat mouth”, and “I always wanted to pop you one (possibly domestic violence inspired?)” are all said during this heated exchange. (Diane also threatens Sam that he’s going to be “walking funny tomorrow”). Finally it happens.

Sam: You disgust me.

Diane: I hate you.

Sam: Are you as turned on as I am?

Diane: More.

*they go in for a kiss. pause. then kiss.*

::Roll credits::

Sam: I’m gonna nibble on your ear.

Diane: Don’t tell me.

M: They have such good chemistry, and they go back and forth like they work in a newspaper office in a 1930s detective movie.

T: I get why it’s one of the most memorable first kisses in TV history. Because of James Burrows tribute last month, Entertainment Weekly did a article about the kiss in a recent issue, and I was v excited to see some behind-the-scenes secrets from a show that was on 33 years ago.

Pour It Up, Pour It Up

(Drinks at the bar)

T: There are two ladies who Carla waits on who can’t make up their damn minds. They legit start with orders of hot tea and sherry, and it goes to white wine then beer then a shot of whiskey then boilermakers (which is apparently a glass of beer AND a shot of whiskey) featuring Wild Turkey and a Budweiser. It’s taxing.

M: Those women are like two Dianes in 20 years.

The Luke Danes of 1980s Boston

(In which we gush over dreamy yet often grumpy bartender Sam Malone)

T: Cold open Sam has his leg up on the counter in such a precarious way it’s distracting. 

Photo Mar 23, 10 45 49 PM

M: You ever notice how in older shows (70s – 90s) men used to always sit weird ways and act casual about it? See: A.C. Slater, always backwards on his chair.

T: It’s also worth noting that I just noticed you can see the lights at the top of the photo, as seen in the screenshot above. Apparently this is a thing that happens often with shows not made in the past few years (you can see lights, etc. in the Netflix versions of the early seasons of Gilmore Girls) because the show was originally shot in (get ready nerds) an aspect ratio of 4:3, but when transferred to streaming services like Netflix, they use 16:9 – basically means a larger version that was meant to be cropped out when originally aired. Nerd time over.

how it aired on the teevee

M: Sam apologizes to a woman for “shrieking the wrong name.” With God as my witness, that name better have been Diane.

LLOL

(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

THE ENTIRE BAR AT THE DOOR LISTENING TO SAM AND DIANE FIGHT IN HIS OFFICE. THAT IS TV GOLD

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

  • Sam: It took my mind off my brother and your skinny co-worker. I don’t even care where they are any more… Where are they? Carla: Well Bobby and Susie saw them at the drive-in sharing a Cherry Coke and fries.
  • Norm: Those are rich people cheating on taxes. And who has to foot the bill? Honest folks. Like me and you, and all you nice people at the bar that l’ve listed as my dependents.
  • Coach: “It’s a damn sure bet that if he’s not expressing himself to you, he’s nuts about you… Or he couldn’t care less.”

Cheers Queries

T: Am I the only one who doesn’t care for Coach? I don’t really care for his character. I mean he’s sweet and all, but some/all of the jokes they write for him aren’t that funny.

M: Like when Coach says “crazy, Carla?! Crazy like a doorknob.” What is the joke? I assume it’s just that doorknobs aren’t crazy but I wonder if it was culturally relevant at the time, maybe?

To your point, I sort of feel like Coach is the character they keep around in case they need something poignant to happen to someone. Like, if someone has to get cancer or lose their house, it’ll be Coach.

T: James Burrows won a directing Emmy for this ep but there were a few weird zoom-ins that felt weird to me, did it feel that way to you?

M: There were a lot more times where I watched it and went “oh, Cheers is definitely trying something here.” Even the opening shot of the street outside the bar looked different. But ultimately Sam and Diane are finally doing it and that’s a little ditty I’ll always be about.

T: Speaking of James Burrows, he directed 243 of the 270 episodes of Cheers, including the pilot. One of the reasons why James is such a successful director is because he’s directed a ton of classic sitcoms, including more than 60 pilots of TV shows. And he’s def rolling in the dough because if a director helms a pilot and that pilot gets picked up to series, the director will get royalties on every episodes that airs thereafter, even if they never direct another episode again. For example, he lucked out when he directed only the pilot of The Big Bang Theory, but maybe not so much with the pilot of S#!t My Dad Says.

Barfly Fashion

T: Diane’s pale pink suit seems like a more mature? look for her? Or more upscale librarian? And  also is her hair is straighter?

T: Carla’s plaid shirt that reminds me of an azn woman selling fish at an outdoor market in Thailand.

M: You’ll also notice that Carla has started wearing her hair in a ponytail with some barrettes. Barrettes were huge in the ’80s. I feel like either she’s growing it out or can’t perm it during pregnancy.

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss Season two, episode 4, Homicidal Ham.

Easter Movies, From Godspell to The 10 Commandments To Mallrats

For me, one of the biggest signs that Easter is still primarily a religious holiday is the dearth of Easter movies. There are hundreds of Christmas movies that never mention the birth of Jesus, but there are only a handful of Easter movies – and most of them basically stick to the book. What I’m saying is, some of these Easter movies are a stretch, but I’m working with what I’ve got. Happy(?) Holy Thursday, if that applies to you, and have a good Easter, too!

Godspell

This is what I’m talking about when I talk about Easter movies! Godspell is my personal favorite Jesus musical, an admittedly small genre. You ever notice that some people are Godspell people, and some are Jesus Christ Superstar people, and then everyone else is like “what are you even talking about?” Godspell is cheerful pseudo-hippie 1970s, whereas JCS is glam rock-y 70s, but both tell the story of Jesus as a (cheesy?) musical that I love.  Godspell is based on the Gospel of Matthew and focuses on Jesus’ parables and his more peace-and-love type teachings. I’m going to go all-caps for a second, okay? VICTOR “MR. ANDREWS” GARBER AS JESUS. Okay? I am just warning you, this movie may leave you with a weird crush on both Victor Garber and Jesus.

*(Aside: I absolutely love movies filmed in 1970s-1990s New York, maybe because it looks like the New York I remember as a kid in the 90s, so that’s a bonus.)

Jesus Christ Superstar

While this is mostly an unranked list, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar probably are my top two Easter movies. While I like the stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the movie is a bit less visually appealing to me (read: set in the desert). Also, it focuses on the Jesus/Judas relationship. I love a frenemy situation in musical theater (Hamilton! right?), but it also makes it feel a little darker and less uplifting than Godspell. Nevertheless, my corny musical-loving self is always here for an Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice collab.

My advice, if you can find it: watch the 2001 Great Performances version with Glenn Carter and Renee Castle instead of the 1973 film. We watched it in a high school theatre class and it’s when I really started to like Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Passion Of The Christ

I worked in a movie theater during this movie’s 2004 release, and I can honestly say that the worst customers I encountered were some of the church groups who came in en masse to the early morning shows. Also I worked at the concession stand at the time, and it sort of felt like a weird movie to nosh on Skittles and popcorn during, but what do I know. Customers aside, the hype was deserved and … it pains me a bit to say … Mel Gibson did a great job telling the story of the crucifixion in a fresh way. It was also graphically violent and isn’t a movie I’ve ever felt the need to rewatch.

The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments is usually on TV on Easter, even if it’s not technically an Easter Movie. It’s a Cecil B. DeMille Technicolor classic from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner, The 10 Commandments focuses on the story of Moses and will set you back almost four hours, including intermission. I guess it’s televised at Easter because the Moses story is kind of the lead-up to the New Testament, or maybe because it’s the only religious movie that was really in the game for a while there.

Plus, Easter and Passover are both in early Spring, and it illustrates the Passover beautifully.

Ben-Hur

This should be one of our Pop Culture Blind Spots, because I’ve never seen it. As best I can tell, it’s about non-Bible characters who live at the same time as Jesus, participate in a chariot race, then witness the crucifixion. Not only have I not seen the movie, I didn’t read the book, either. Charlton Heston is in it, of course, and it’s a beloved classic, so I should really get on this.

Assorted Jesus Films And TV Miniseries

A note: there are plenty of other movies about the life of Jesus, some better than others. There’s The Last Temptation Of Christ, a Scorsese drama that caused a fair bit of controversy when it was released, and Jesus, a 1999 tv-movie staring Jeremy Sisto as Jesus and Debra Messing as Mary Magdelene (it was the height of the Will and Grace era). There are scores of others, too, so basically pick your favorite if that’s what you feel like watching. I haven’t seen any that seemed better than the others, necessarily, so maybe watch one of the more recent ones if dated costumes and sets will pull you out of it.

Assorted Children’s Specials

You won’t want to watch any of these unless you are trying to entertain a child, probably. I vividly remember The Greatest Adventure, an Easter cartoon about a child who goes back in time to witness the crucifixion. If you were in Catholic school, that passed for a really good Friday afternoon if your teacher rolled out the TV cart and played that bad boy.

Believe it or not, popular cartoons had Easter specials, too: the Smurfs, Rugrats, even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There are a few Easter Bunny specials that probably air on whatever ABC Family goes by these days: Here Comes Peter Cottontail, that kind of thing. Compared to Christmas, the pickings are VERY slim. There’s always Veggie Tales, if that’s something your kids like!

Hop

Now for an entirely different movie: Hop, a 2011 cartoon/live-action hybrid featuring the voices of Russell Brand and Hugh Laurie. I watched this with some nieces and nephews a few years ago, and I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. Bottom line: if you really want an Easter-y children’s movie,this isn’t a bad choice. The kids liked it, anyway.

The Sound Of Music

Definitely not an Easter movie, but The Sound Of Music always used to be on TV at Easter, maybe because networks look for movies that the whole family can enjoy when they’re together. Some of the scenery is sort of spring-y, plus the overall vibe of The Sound Of Music just feels like it fits with Easter and springtime. Okay: maybe I’m just up for any excuse to watch The Sound Of Music.

My first year of law school, a final paper for a class was due the day after Easter. I worked on it for weeks, finished it on Easter night just before The Sound Of Music began, and I swear, sitting down to watch The Sound Of Music felt like almost as refreshing as a beach vacation.

Miss Potter

Now things get tenuous. Beatrix Potter wrote about rabbits, and we think about rabbits at Easter, and this is a movie about Beatrix Potter. But honestly, there is all of this spring-y Lake District scenery, all of this rain and these farm animals, and it really does feel like Easter. Plus, Beatrix Potter-inspired cartoons always used to be on TV near Easter, so I still associate it with Easter.

The Secret Garden

One thing I love about Easter-time (at least here in the Northeast) is seeing life slowly spring back – watching crocuses start to erupt, and then tulips, and – if my garden is any indication – then a whole bunch of weeds, somehow, even though it’s still cold out. A whole sequence of The Secret Garden is about watching the garden come back to life, and that feels very Easter to me.

There are a few adaptations to choose from. Margaret O’Brien was great, but I sort of grew up on the 1993 version.

Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn was a little bit of 1940s marketing genius. First of all, it stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Second, it’s literally set (mostly) in an inn where many holidays are celebrated. It manages to be a Christmas movie (White Christmas), Lincoln’s Birthday (the less said the better: blackface), Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and, of course, Easter(Easter Parade). Basically, you could pull this movie out at any time of the year, and it would be seasonally appropriate (and a little racist. It’s fine to skip that part).

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Not an Easter movie, but there’s a memorable Easter scene. Christos Anesti!

Mallrats

I told you there weren’t a lot of Easter movies, but who could forget the Easter Bunny scene from Mallrats? That’s enough to make the whole thing an Easter movie, in my book.

Life Of Brian

I wasn’t into Monty Python in high school, because I wasn’t in marching band and I didn’t run lights for the plays, and it seemed like everyone who did those activities loved Monty Python and everyone who loved Monty Python did those activities. But Life Of Brian is funny no matter WHAT extracurriculars you did 15 years ago! It’s about a man, Brian, who lived a life parallel to Jesus, except he was just Brian, a guy.

Pop Culture Blind Spots: The Quiet Man

Just last week I wrote this post about things Irish-Americans will understand, but the truth is I’ve been missing a big part of the typical experience. Friends, I’ve never seen The Quiet Man. Pop Culture Blind Spots are all about getting acquainted with the classics and cult favorites that we’ve somehow missed out on, and it doesn’t get much more classic than John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. It’s still Irish-American Heritage Month, and this pop culture blind spot is FULL of Ireland, America (John Wayne, hello!) and a healthy heaping of heritage.

  • What I know about The Quiet Man: John Wayne is an American (I hope, because he’s not great with accents) who goes to Ireland and falls in love with Maureen O’Hara before dragging her across a meadow on Christmas. Maybe he’s trying to be a cowboy in Ireland? Maybe Ireland doesn’t need cowboys. But maybe Maureen O’Hara needs a cowboy.

Based on this poster: a lot’s going on.

  • Also, I’ve been present when The Quiet Man was on – my dad has it on TV at some point every Christmas – but I’ve never actually watched it.
  • Huge props to whomever first put credits AFTER the movie instead of before. Like most old movies, this one begins with a solid few minutes of people’s names.
  • They segregate Irish cast members under a heading The Irish Players and for some reason that cracks me up.
  • John Wayne meets a priest whose whole purpose is to give exposition about him and his parents.
  • Okay, so Sean (John Wayne) was born in Ireland, and now is returning, but he was in America long enough to sound like John Wayne, the voice that comes out of the eagle on a $1 bill.
  • Wow, Ireland has a normal amount of trees. Background: I have relatives who maintain that “the English” cut all the trees down in Ireland and that’s why there … aren’t trees there? First of all, sounds fake. Second of all, if Ireland had a climate where trees grow, wouldn’t trees eventually come back? According to the cinematography of The Quiet Man, yes.
  • No lie, this is filmed in BEAUTIFUL technicolor.
  • This lush countryside with the sheep, collie, and Maureen O’Hara in it is 100% how Americans stereotype Ireland. Just need a thatched cottage (forthcoming, I’m assuming) and a leprechaun (probably not) or family with many children (maybe).

  • Thatched roofs appear by the 10-minute mark, don’t worry.
  • Maureen O’Hara has my natural hair type, and I’d really like those poofy 40s hairdos to come back.

Lit’rally my stupid hair.

  • Speaking of 1940s hairdos, when is this set? Is it mid-century, or is it, like, 1880? So far the modes of transportation are bicycle, horse, and train, so that doesn’t help. I got up to let my dog in during the first minute of the movie so this may have been addressed already. Widow Tillane is showing kind of a lot of ankle if it’s set in olden days, no offense.
  • Wow, everyone sure is wrapped in a lot of tweed in this movie.
  • Mr. Danaher (Victor McLaglen) tries to have an Irish accent some of the time (not all of the time).
  • Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara) and the other Danahers live in a spacious cottage with a hutch full of fancy china, so at least they aren’t going for the thing where everyone in Ireland is poor.
  • Is this a drinking game? Cool, drink for family with many kids (Mary Kate has an indeterminate number of brothers, unless they’re just house guests).
  • Unrelated: a teen walking a pit bull just let it poop in my front lawn then walked away. SO RUDE, wow. I was going to go bang on my window but I was afraid of spite poop from now til eternity.
  • Drink for people singing folk songs in a pub.
  • I like how there’s a stock character of Old Ethnic White Man With Long Beard who looks completely the same for every ethnicity. Whether you’re Russian, Irish, German or French, eventually you’ll look like this guy:

Far left.

  • Drink again for people singing folk songs in a pub.
  • I don’t know when the title is going to make sense, but as of a half hour in, John Wayne talks a normal amount at a regular volume.
  • OK, I’ll bite. I’ve heard in/een added to girl names before to make it a nickname, but never guy names. Michaeleen, Seanin… I guess it’s a thing! That’s fun.

Sean: So you can talk.

Mary Kate: Yes I can, I will, and I do.

…Maybe he’s only quiet compared to her then.

  • Now Sean and Mary Kate are in love because they looked at each other at mass, which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to go to mass more.
  • A (Protestant) Reverend and his wife visit Sean. They’re mostly made of tweed.
  • Over 60 years later, The Quiet Man still looks like a product of Ireland’s travel bureau.
  • My favorite thing about Mary Kate is she’s always wearing a blanket cape like me in the winter watching Netflix.
  • Mary Kate will only get married if her property goes with her. Married women could own property in the UK after the 1880s (assuming this is pre-independence?).I’m not sure yet when TQM is set. The costuming and set design are vague and woolen.
  • I had to look it up, because it was driving me crazy. Released in 1952, set in the 1920s. Some of the folksy dresses are probably fine because it’s a rural area, but I think Mary Kate’s hair is a bit anachronistic. Probably because it’s my hair, scalped off of my head and placed on Maureen O’Hara’s.
  • They’re at the races, and nobody started singing “ev’ry duke and earl and peer is here,” so I did.
  • No offense but this isn’t going to be a great jockey:

    I can’t find a photo of him in his racing silks, but trust me, hilarious.

  • “Two women in the house, and one of them a redhead.” File under: should be offended, but that’s actually fair.
  • Man. Everyone is very pissed that Mary Kate (MK, I call her) isn’t putting her bonnet on a pole, which is culturally relevant somehow.
  • Call me crazy, but I’m starting to really like the name Mary Kate. Too Olsen Twins? Maybe it could be short for Mary Katherine. Too Molly Shannon? Just putting it out there.
  • IF there were such a thing as drag racing horses, that’s what happens.
  • Well, I’ve thought Mary Kate’s brother was her dad for the past hour. Let it be known that MK has a giant brother who is approximately 40 years older than her.
  • MK has a “fearful temper” which in the 1920s just meant opinions, sometimes.
  • Sean and MK steal a bicycle built for two after they get engaged, but as far as I’m concerned the only crime they’re committing is being too darn adorable (plus petty theft I suppose).
  • Everyone folk-sings “I’m sorry I never got married” at Sean and MK’s wedding. Fun party.
  • BRB overdubbing this whole wedding scene with Helpless/Satisfied from Hamilton.
  • MK’s Old Brother announces that he’s marrying Widow Whatever-aher at Sean and MK’s reception. Talk about thunder-stealing. Also he didn’t clear it with Widow first, which isn’t great. All of these people are like 2 generations apart and it’s very confusing.
  • Sean flashes back to boxing, punching a guy out, and accidentally killing him. WOAH PLOT TWIST. Genuinely did not say that coming.
  • Saddest moment in the movie: MK says “ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having my own things about me.” Her lifelong dream was to be allowed to own stuff. What does her old brother care anyway? He’s probably almost dead or about to marry into all that sweet Widow Talooley money or whatever.
  • OH OK. MK is going to go Lysistrata until she gets her dowry.
  • MK gets her furniture, and it looks GREAT. But no money because her brother’s a dick.
  • MK talks Irish to the priest, who is fishing and wearing some tweed, but not like a Protestant amount.
  • How about from now on I just tell you if there’s a pub scene that doesn’t end in singing?
  • Meanwhile in the protestant minister’s house, you can tell that he’s a protestant minister by the wife and the giant globs of silver on the mantle. He and Sean have a tete-a-tete about the deadly boxing max and the Danaher dowry.
  • Not to make too much of the cinematography, but I feel like I should be paying more than my monthly Netflix membership to watch this, it’s so pretty.
  • Basically all of the male minor characters are Alfred P. Doolittle from My Fair Lady.
  • Know whose butts looked good in those saggy woolen pants they used to wear? Nobody’s butts. Not a single butt.
  • OK, help me with this. Sean pulls MK off a train and drags her by the arm through the town. A flock of Irish Players trail behind them. A guy at the pub announces that he’s “walking her back, the whole way.” The crowd grows, and Sean grows increasingly yank-y and rough. MK looses a shoe. She falls, he drags her anyway, then yanks her up and pushes her down a hill. Sean then drags MK by her coat collar. A woman hands Sean “a good stick to beat the lovely lady.”
  • You know how sometimes with old movies, it’s hard to understand how the original audiences found them at all surprising or riveting? I am every bit as befuddled as the 1952 audiences were. WHAT IS GOING ON. WHY CAN’T SHE WALK REGULAR. SINCE WHEN IS SEAN A WIFE-BEATER. WAS THIS COMEDY IN THE ’50s. IS THIS A SCHEME? IS THE WHOLE TOWN IN ON IT, BECAUSE IF NOT THEY ARE VERY VERY CHILL ABOUT ALL OF THIS WIFE-DRAGGING.
  • Here, just watch it actually:

  • Danaher won’t fork over the dowry money. Sean throws MK back at her bro, because no dowry/no wife. Old Brother Danaher throws the money at Sean. He and MK burn it. She was in on this, right? I still think he was unnecessarily rough. MK says she’ll have dinner ready for him, then leaves Sean to beat up her brother.
  • What follows is a ten-minute long fight sequence involving:
    • indiscriminate punches thrown by all of the villagers
    • … in a pile of hay
    • a shot fired by Michaeleen to call attention for the rules of the fight
    • Widow Tooraloora watching through an opera glass
    • Old Brother Danaher landing in a river
    • Bookies
    • A deathbed scene for the Bearded Ethnic White Man, interrupted when he pops up to watch the fight
    • Buckets of water thrown on Danaher
    • A priest rubbing his hands with glee
    • Other buckets of water thrown on everyone else
    • A BREAK FOR A PINT TOGETHER AT THE PUB
    • A sub-fight about who is buying the drinks
    • A door breaking into smithereens, a word I don’t use nearly enough
    • A singalong
    • Sean and Old Brother Danaher showing up, drunk and woozy, for dinner at MK’s on her great furniture she owns.
  • Time passes. A crowd is told to cheer like Protestants, which apparently is the word “hooray!” Old Man Danaher and Widow Talooraeay get married! Sean and MK scamper back to their cottage, married and adorable.
  • Well, it’s official. This movie has nothing to do with Christmas. Or, now that I think about it, a man who’s particularly quiet.

 

Questions, Comments, Concerns: The Passion

It’s time for another live TV production for everyone on the Internet to comment on! We’ve previously covered The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz, Grease: Live! and now we’re giving our thoughts on everyone’s favorite musical, The Passion. Although it’s technically not a musical, but more of a story with music.

What even is The Passion? It’s basically the story of the final days of Jesus’ life. This passion play has been done for years around the world, but this specific show is derived from a British TV production, where celebrities paraphrase certain Bible passages which tell the story of Easter, and in between, they sing live performances of pop songs relevant to the story. Meanwhile, a group of people carry a huge cross towards the main stage in the center square where all the action takes place.

The Passion has been huge in The Netherlands over the past few years, and each year it takes place in a different city. In the American version, Tyler Perry’s The Passion took place in New Orleans on Sunday, which was Palm Sunday aka the Sunday before Easter. Whether you’re a believer or not, there’s still a lot to talk about regarding the actual show, so here are some questions, comments, and concerns that came up while watching this musical event for the first time.

Question: What is this stage?

It looks like it could double as Justin Bieber’s latest tour stage.

Concern: This is not a play

Apparently this show is more of a presentation than a theatrical play. I thought it was more along the lines of telling the Easter story with music, but according to Tyler Perry, it’s not. He is the emcee/host/storyteller/narrator of this show, and I also didn’t realize he was going to be doing an opening monologue and continuously explain what’s happening or what’s about to happen. He starts on the Bieber stage in the middle of New Orleans’ Woldenberg Park, and at one point, he’s trying to get through his speech but people start cheering and he pauses to let them continue cheering. It’s… weird? He also says, “…As New Orleans becomes our Jersusalem” there are more cheers from the crowd, who are v excited to see their city turned into the big JC’s hometown.

Comment: Yolanda Adams is serving Jesus chic in this dress

Gospel singer Yolanda Adams sings the first song of the night, When Love Takes Over, originally by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. I guess it works.

Comment: I’m thrown by the pre-taped packages

Tyler Perry throws to the huge video screens which show Jesus (Jencarlos Canela) rolling with his crew aka the disciples featuring Prince Royce (Peter), Chris Daughtry (Judas) and Christian singer Michael W. Smith (misc. disciple) singing Celine Dion’s Love Can Move Mountains. They’re initially on a famous New Orleans trolley and make their way to some large park and it’s clear this was one of the pre-taped segments for the show. I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around what’s happening. Like there are these folks on the trolley who I think are acting as if Jencarlos is Jesus, but the folks near Tyler Perry are regular audience members. So I guess the Bieber stage is present day and everywhere else is “Jerusalem”? Does it even matter that I have to delineate which one is which?

Question: Is Tyler Perry going to keep telling us what’s about to happen?

Is it necessary to give a character breakdown of all the people in this show? Tyler Perry gives a brief description of the main players in JC’s crucifixion story, but I feel like we can figure it out? But I guess if no one’s saying lines describing what happened in makes sense? And I get that if people are tuning in and not familiar with the Bible/this story and have no idea who the “characters” involved in this story are, you have to explain it… but why are they watching anyways?

Comment: I see you Pontious Pilate

 You talkin’ to no one, Seal.

Comment: Tricia Yearwood is still a solid singer

Trisha is playing the role of JC’s mom Mary. By “playing” I mean Tyler Perry tells me she’s Mary and Trisha sings a song describing how Mary felt towards her son Jesus. On the bright side, I will say it’s hard to cover a Whitney song and be good at it but Trisha’s doing My Love Is Your Love justice.

Concern: All of the disciples’ scenes are possibly pre-taped

We cut to JC and his disciples in a coffee shop and JC is all, ‘Yo Peter, you gonna be the main man to build this whole Christianity thang’ and Peter’s all… ‘Imma dip out byeeeeee’.

Comment: This is giving me Left Behind vibes

Right now, I feel like I’m watching a Christian movie and Kirk Cameron is going to pop up at any second.

Concern: Jesus is… offputting

Is it horrible that I do not care for the way Jencarlos is playing Jesus right now? It feels forced and he has a hint of cockiness to how he’s playing it, and I don’t like it one bit.

Comment: Cross bearers are part of a glorified news report

Throughout the show, a giant illuminated cross is being carried through the city with more and more people joining the group as they go along the route. Joining them is Nischelle Turner, who is a reporter on Entertainment Tonight – I only know this because I have to watch ET every day but they didn’t mention it during the show. She’s basically like the man on the ground with the cross bearers and talking with some of them as they go. So that’s a thing we didn’t see in Grease: Live!

Comment: “Celebrity” cameos are happening

Jesus goes up to a food truck and asks for loaves and fishes (see: parable). Top Chef alum and The Chew host Carla Hall works on the Fish & Bread (???) truck and happily gives it to him, but did we need a cameo from a familiar face in this?

Comment: No one likes Creed

this is a real angelfire site

Jesus is singing Creed’s With Arms Wide Open during The Last Supper but I think JC would still be on the side of most people by saying Creed isn’t the best.

Concern: Time is going slowly

Trisha Yearwood is currently singing contemporary pop hit Hands by Jewel and legit I feel like I’ve been watching this for 2 hours but it’s only been 30 minutes.

Comment: The cross just went down Bourbon Street

The illuminated cross was brought down New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street, which if you don’t know is home to a bunch of bars and a lot of Mardi Gras celebrations. So that’s a first. Nischelle interviewed a man who is in the military and also a woman whose teenage son was killed due to violence, so in addition to the Christian story they’re telling, they’re also incorporating social issues. Tyler Perry made a few (horrible) jokes too. I’m just so confused as to what this whole thing is.

Question: Why is Judas singing Evanescence in an empty factory

Judas is having some internal struggles while he battles betraying Jesus, so he decides to since Bring Me To Life by Evanescence in a dark, empty, creepy factory building. I find it impressive yet unnerving due to the location, but Tyler Perry has a different response, saying of the (pre-taped) scene, “Wow, I believe he’s in turmoil.”

Comment: The audience is feelin it

 A lot of the audience members are really feeling the show and are getting emotional. It looks like it could be a scene from Jesus Camp. But then there are some who are the folks who constantly are aware they’re on TV and wave every chance they get.

Comment: Jesus Christ: The Unauthorized Musical

I just realized the best way to describe this show – an unauthorized musical about the final days of Jesus’ life. Remember how a couple of producers in LA have made the Unauthorized Cruel Intentions musical and the Unauthorized The O.C. musical (which I pitched songs for) and the upcoming Unauthorized Friday Night Lights musical? This is what that is. Retelling a story with the characters singing “modern” pop songs is exactly what The Passion is and I wish I truly understood that before I watched this.

Question: Why is it taking so long for Judas to kiss Jesus

Honestly, there’s no time for singing. He needs to betray him immediately. I will say that this is a powerful scene with the police taking Jesus away while the other disciples fight back and an eerie reminder this is what’s happening in America and not just fictionalized Jerusalem.

Comment: Lil Wayne tho

This commercial featuring Lil Wayne just aired and I am dying. He’s actually really funny! And maybe the most entertaining part of this show!

Question: Where is Hoobastank?

Because they’re still getting royalties off The Reason 12 years later and honestly, good for them. But was I missing Hoobastank in my life? No.

Concern: How heavy is this cross tho?

Photo Mar 22, 12 20 03 AM

I know a bunch of folks are carrying the cross and the weight is distributed evenly, but still, it can’t be easy to carry a large illuminated cross for 2 miles.

Comment: A real musical in a faux musical

Trisha’s singing You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel and I’d honestly rather watch Carousel right now.

Comment: Seal as Pontius Pilate

Jesus is in custody and brought to the Bieber stage for the first time since the show started an hour and a half ago. Seal also shows up as Pontius Pilate and I’ve always thought that if Seal played a villain it wouldn’t be a stretch. Also, they’re singing a song I’ve never heard before called We Don’t Need Another Hero, which is apparently by Tina Turner for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Comment: I think I’m biased against Seal

Remember last week when I said Kiss From a Rose was overplayed and I ended up hating it because of its heavy rotation? I think that has made me subconsciously dislike Seal and throughout his entire rendition of Mad World, I tuned out.

Question: Is Lifehouse a Christian band?

Trisha Yearwood is singing Lifehouse’s Broken, which is not only a song I’ve never heard of but, seamlessly fits as a song Mary sings as she says goodbye to her son. It’s such a good match that I’m wondering if Lifehouse made a foray into Christian music.

Comment: Tyler Perry has confidence

The way pastor Tyler Perry is talking and saying how “amazing” the show is makes it seem like he’s overly confident like he is well aware all of America is watching and tweeting about this show right now. Update: 6.61 million people tuned in to see The Passion, which is way down from when Fox did Grease: Live in January. To put it in perspective, more people watched Steve Harvey’s new kid talent show Little Big Shots than The Passion.

Question: Is Jesus about to pull a Michael Scott?

After the crucifixion (that Tyler Perry described to us instead of it being acted out), Jesus rises from the dead and Jencarlos shows up on the roof of a building overlooking the Bieber stage and the reveal of his location is legit like Michael Scott going on roof of Dunder Mifflin and threatening to jump. Also, it’s really windy which is a bit concerning.

Comment: I guess that was ok

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I think the main problem is that although I knew what the idea of the show was, I still thought it was going to be more like Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar. Not to say it was horrible. You know who probably really liked this show? My parents. My parents who are super in the big JC and are probably talking about it like we talk about the last episode of Scandal. So, glad they finally have a TV program to chat about.