It’s Not 1912: Let’s All Decorate In A Titanic Theme

If you went through the throes of Titanic Mania, and were a tween or young teen, at some point the thought occurred to you: what if my bedroom looked like a Titanic stateroom?

And while “doomed to a watery grave” isn’t maybe the BEST decorating style, a cottage industry arose from that very dream. On this, the 104th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, let’s all decorate in a Titanic theme.

Titanic Duvet

On one hand, you could decorate with a bed from the Titanic era, which as a 90s child I’m fairly certain is this:

On the other, you could emblazon your bedding with the image of the vessel that carried thousands to their deaths. FUNSIES.

But like the MAIN THING about Titanic is how it sank, right? So let’s up the ante:

You remember the part with the giant sloth right?

Why Not Just Put An Entire Boat In There?

If you’re really serious about your Titanic themed bedroom, you would put an entire boat in there:

This was called a Titanic bedroom even if it does look more pirate-y to me. Also: COOL BEDROOM.

This is a bit closer. Nice waves on the hull there.

Not a boat, but GOOD GOD THE MIRRORED CEILING. Good news, this is a B&B, so you could stay here.

I believe in this scenario, the sleeping child is the iceberg.

Now let’s make it feel like drowning.

As we said, the main thing about Titanic was that it sank. So let’s pull a little “This ship is submerged in water and I’ll never let go” into the setup:

You could stain the concrete so it always look like your basement is under water.

Is the tub overflowing? Anybody’s guess but probably, yeah.

You could buy this lamp to pretend the ship is at full-tilt and all of the lifeboats have already been loaded with women and children.

Portholes Galore

In fairness, the icebergs were RIGHT OUTSIDE THE PORTHOLES if anyone had bothered to look.

This is a laundry chute, if every time you have to do laundry you would rather just throw it into the ocean instead.

If you’d like to imagine yourself on a pre-sunk Titanic.

Based on the hit 1997 film

Perhaps you’d like to bring Kate and Leo into this? Sure, why not!

Very Kates, Much Leo.

Thank you, Ugly House Photos.

The Ever-Popular Stateroom Chic

The easiest (and easiest on the eyes) take on the Titanic room: some brocade, some oak paneling, a few Edwardian antiques.

This is a garden shed and I am honestly very impressed.

Paneling, wallpaper, 4-poster. Read more about the Australian B&B at the link

How They Passed The Time Waiting For The Carpathia

Movie theatre. Where you sit in lifeboats. Surrounded by dry ice?

Hakuna. Matata.

Rose Dawson: The Girl Who Lived

Every year around this time I think about one thing – no, not a rush of panic to do my taxes – but rather a nostalgic pang in my heart for fictional characters who fell in love on a real boat that sunk in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Exactly 104 years ago today, at approximately 11:40pm, the Titanic slammed into an iceberg on its starboard side, causing a massive gash in the steel and allowing the cold ocean waters to flood into the ship. In a world where Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater exist, this was right around the time they had finished Nude Sketch and Chill in an inexplicably steamy car.

Right after Leo won his Oscar in February (REMEMBER WHEN LEO WON AN OSCAR), my friends and I had all the feels and the only way to deal with them was to watch Titanic. Upon re-watching it for the fafillionth time, I noticed something I’ve never took note of before – Titanic is a feminist film. Or, Titanic features a strong female HBIC of 1912.

I’m blaming the fact that I was blinded by Leo’s handsomeness and wrapped up in the “OTP: I Will Go Down With This Ship” of it all when I first saw the movie as a 12 year old, but now, nearly 20 years later, it’s become glaringly apparent to me that Titanic’s not even about Jack + Rose or even about Jack. It’s about Rose. It’s about the girl who stepped onto the ship as a rich socialite preparing to become a wife, and left as a single woman free from the chains keeping her down. She’s The Girl Who Lived.

From the moment we meet young Rose, she doesn’t seem to be the typical Edwardian, demure, soft-spoken woman that are common characters in the early 1900s. Instead, she constantly says statements or small little actions to let you know it just wasn’t typical of a woman to do at this time, which is smack dab in the middle of the women’s era and eight years before females even got the right to vote.

While a lot of women at this time were either playing the role of Wife or factory workhorses, Rose seems to be a smart, learn-ed, modern woman. She can tell the difference between a Monet, Degas and Picasso – all of which are artists whose paintings she owns. She can use a Freud insult in the right way and not apologize for it. She can do fast math when it comes to the ratio of passengers to lifeboats.

For the last five hours of the movie – JK more like four – Rose just does not have any more fucks to give and lets her gut lead her confidence moving forward. She smokes at lunch even though she knows her mother hates it, she talks back to Cal (“I am not a foreman in one of your mills that you can command. I am your fiancee”), she gives the middle finger to Mr. Lovejoy as he attempts to hunt down her and Jack and even pushes the dude in charge of the lift because she needs to go save Jack. Friendly reminder: the year is 1912.

She’s also embracing her strength as a woman by letting this dude she’s known for two days draw her completely naked. But she doesn’t go about it in a demure way, Rose straight up tells him to do it. She’s forceful but strong, a characteristic that was overall not seen by women in this era (did I mention it’s 1912?). “I want you to draw me like one of your French girls. Wearing this. And only this.” “Put your hands on me, Jack.” She is a sexual human being and isn’t afraid to show it.

On top of that, she’s so desperate to break out of her corset and leave the world of decorum that she, with the help of Jack, breaks all the boundaries of both gender norms and class distinction. She wants to learn how to “chew tobacco like a man” and “ride horses like a man” and “spit like a man”, and journeys down to the somewhat forbidden third class deck to drink and dance and go en pointe and smoke some more. I mean, just look at her longing to escape this world.

And of course, there’s the whole reason why she’s on the boat in the first place – she went to England to find a rich husband and become his arm candy, while her mother benefits from the social and financial gains. She found that man in Cal, who just so happens to be a selfish, misogynistic, lying bastard. Her voyage on the Titanic was not only the pathway to a life as a dutiful wife, but one last chance to escape from it all.

Enter Jack. Rose was already feeling helpless when she met him. Remember the whole, “With all due respect, Miss, I’m not the one hanging off the back of a ship here” moment? She wanted more for her life but there was no one to turn to when she needed to be heard. But it was Jack who pushed her to do all those things, because he believed in her and she just needed confirmation, like when he gives her the inner power for that iconic, “I’d rather be his whore than your wife” line. Unlike a lot of female protagonists, she wasn’t swayed to make a life-changing decision based on her lover’s opinion. He could see her potential, and he encouraged her to be more than what she was pretending to be.

Rose: Look, I know what you must be thinking. “Poor little rich girl, what does she know about misery?”

Jack: No! No, that’s not what I was thinking. What I was thinking was, “What could’ve happened to this girl to make her think she had no way out?”

. . .

Jack: Rose… you’re no picnic. All right? You’re a spoiled little brat even. But under that, you’re the most amazingly, astounding wonderful girl woman, that I’ve ever known… They’ve got you trapped, Rose. And you’re gonna die if you don’t break free. Maybe not right away because you’re strong, but sooner or later that fire that I love about you, Rose, that fire is gonna burn out.

Rose: It’s not up to you to save me, Jack.

Jack: You’re right. Only you can do that.

Now get ready for a REAL good analogy – Rose is the Titanic. She hits a metaphorical iceberg meeting Jack, who turns her world upside down. He gives her the jolt of energy she needs to fully realize that she doesn’t have to be what her mom or Cal say she has to be. And all this happens as both her personal world and the physical ship is going down. She feels like she’s drowning and has no idea how to go back up for air. But she holds on for as long as she can until she can’t anymore. And she survives. She fights back. She fights for her life. She becomes The Girl Who Lived.

All The Best Beverly Cleary Names

Beverly Cleary – creator of the most complex and believable child characters, all-around Best Grownup – turned 100 years old yesterday. The Ramona books remain so relatable and fresh that it’s very hard to grasp that the author was born four years after the Titanic sank, before the U.S. entered World War I, with Woodrow Wilson as the president. I absolutely love Ms. Cleary, but we’ll deal with Ramona during a C+S Book Club at a later date. Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite things about Cleary’s books as an adult: my, can that woman name a character. In fact, if I were having kids, I just might look to Beverly Cleary for inspiration.

Beverly

Yes, Beverly. Here’s why. Names cycle in popularity, and there’s a roughly 100-year span before an old name sounds fresh again. Parents don’t tend to use names of their own generation (not so many babies today named Tiffany and Kristen). They also don’t use their parents’ names – these days, those would be Boomer names (see: Barbara, Debbie). Even grandparent names (Shirley, Norma) don’t sound ready to use, at least for less adventurous namers. You have to go to great-grandparents before a name sounds old enough to be ripe for reconsideration. That’s why there are so many 20-40 somethings named things like Emily, Laura and Rebecca: they were popular in the second half of the 19th century. And that’s why today, names like Evelyn, Hazel, Charlotte and Lucy top the girls’ Social Security name rankings.

Beverly Cleary was on the early end of the Beverly trend, so it may fall in the grandma name category and have to sit on the shelf for a few more decades. But Beverly has some things going for it: it’s almost identical to the trendy girl name Everly, it’s a three-syllable surname-name like the popular Delaney and Kennedy, short-and-simple Bev is a lot like the appealing Niamh/Neve/Liv … AND it’s shared by beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary.

Ramona

If you’re looking for a very usable name that nobody’s really using, look no further than Ramona. It was given to 233 baby girls last year, not even landing in the top 1,000 names. Yet it’s familiar, easy to spell and has an awesome namesake in one Ramona Geraldine Quimby. Ramona even has music cred, and would make a more spry choice for a fan of the Ramones than Sheena or Judi. There’s a Dylan song called To Ramona, as well!

Potential drawback: it was used for the name of Kimmy Gibbler’s daughter in Fuller House. That’s not a bad association, and the show is not so popular that people will be like “oh, as in Ramona Gibbler?”. However, it could be the sign of future popularity – but not being in the top 1000, there’s a lot of room to grow before Ramona is a common choice.

Beatrice

Poor, beautifully named Beatrice, destined to a lifetime as Beezus thanks to her little sister. Beatrice is a major recipient of that 100-year trend I discussed above. It’s currently ranked at 601 in the U.S. (OK, hardly an Isabella or Emma situation), but in the early 2000s it was around number 1000. Actually, Beatrice was FAR less popular when the first Ramona book came out, and would have struck early readers as a funny, old-fashioned choice, like Gertrude or Bertha now. (Am I crazy, or is Gertrude a bit cute?) After taking a nap through most of the 20th century, Beatrice is back and ready to go, more of a neglected antique than a moth-eaten relic.

Good things about Beatrice: The great nicknames Bea, Bee, Trixie, and Betsy. Its use by Dante and Shakespeare. It sounds clearly feminine, but not frilly.

Bad things about Beatrice: nothing, really, except maybe that it was used in Divergent and may get more popular; also the unfortunate two-syllable pronunciation you sometimes hear (BEE-triss instead of BEE-a-triss).

Henry

Henry Huggins was the classic swell kid – a well-rounded but occasionally mischievous boy who loved palling around with his rescue dog, Ribsy (before rescue dogs were au courant). It’s exactly that image that has propelled Henry to number 33 on the charts. Henry can be the boy in jeans chasing his dog down the sidewalk just as easily as he can be a thinker (Thoreau), a king (I-VIII), or a ballplayer (Aaron). Henry has never been as ubiquitously popular as, say, Michael, nor as trendy as Aidan or Logan. And like Beatrice, it comes with nicknames: Hal, Harry (Prince Harry is, of course, a Henry), Henny and Hank.

Personal bias: one of my nephews and Favorite Humans I’ve Ever Known is named Henry.  We call him Hank for short.

Willa Jean

One of my coworkers has a little girl named Willa, and when she told me I think I may have swooned. Willa combines the best of new age-y nature name Willow, hipster granny names (Mabel, Harriet, Maisie), and the short-but-delicate girly names (Mila, Lila, Myla, Aria, Luna). User beware, Willa is on a steady climb from being obscure (given to only 30 babies the year we were born) to, if not trendy, at least fashionable (there were over 500 little Willas born in 2014). I can see Willa on a teen or an adult, but thanks to Willa Jean Kemp it’s easy to picture on a zwieback crumb-covered toddler.

Funny thing about the double-barreled name: it is really popular right now in the UK, where I’ve seen it described as an “American” thing. Uh-uh, guys. This is ALL on you: double names aren’t really a big trend in the USA. Jean is still a perennial middle name favorite, though, but if a family were using the name Willa today, they might consider a middle name more like….

Jane

Like Jane! It’s not quite as pervasive as today’s hot middles (Rose, Grace, I’m looking at you), but it’s still incredibly common because it just sounds so nice with so many names. However, Jane has so much substance and character that I’d prefer to see it shine in the first name spot. (As I mentioned in our Olsen twin character names post, it’s near the top of my Hypothetical Names List.) There are oodles of Janes throughout history, but my favorite will always be Miss Austen.

If you continued reading Beverly Cleary books into your later tween years, you’ll remember Jane from Fifteen, a novel about very 1950s teens doing very 1950s things.

Dorothy

Do you remember Ramona and Beezus’s mom’s name? Dorothy! Dorothy is one of those “why isn’t this popular yet” names, because it is right in the era of names that are coming back. Dorothy may remind you of the 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz, but remember, it was based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book. So, instead of picturing Dorothy on grannies who were born in the ’30s, try to see it on a little girl from the turn of the last century with one of those unnecessarily big hair bows and a pinafore. So cute, right? Dorothy’s another good one if you like nicknames: Dot, Dottie, Dora, Dory, Dolly and Thea. I can’t even deal with how cute.

Daisy

Ramona’s World was a little past my time, published in 1999, but it’s on my reading list as I work my way down the Ramona catalog with one of my nephews. In this book, Ramona is nine, she has a baby sis named Roberta, and her new BFFFL is neighborhood girl Daisy Kidd. It doesn’t get much better than Daisy, a flower name with a long history of use. I guess the most common complaint would be that it can sound a bit young, but I grew up with an old-fashioned nickname-name and it hasn’t hurt me a bit. My favorite way to get to Daisy: it’s a traditional nickname for Margaret, Marguerite and Margarita.

Susan

Susan (and Susannah) is right up there with Jane on my list of names I would totally bestow on a child some day. Susan has dignity and gravitas – and in the Ramona books, she also has boing-boing curls that are just begging to be pulled. (Whenever I wear my hair curly and people mess with it, I remember Ramona and the irresistible pull of the boing-boing curls.) Susan is still in the decline of its popularity trajectory, so you’ll have to give it another 30-50 years before it hits peak revival potential.

Susan Kusher was that girl who had her act TOGETHER. The girl in kindergarten whose dress was never messed up, and whose socks didn’t fall down, and who didn’t accidentally cry because the teacher didn’t call on her. I went to college with a Susan, and she had a lot of tidy headbands and sweater sets. If my name were Susan (but NOT Susie or Suzanne or Susannah, those are different), I wouldn’t get toothpaste on my shirt right before leaving the house or have a car full of dog hair. SUSAN, you guys. In terms that didn’t exist when Ramona The Pest came out, Susan is goals AF.

Austine

This is a fun one, isn’t it? It almost sounds almost like a modern trendy name, but Austine was the fun, scrappy friend in the 1951 novel Ellen Tebbits. The boy’s name Austin actually derives as a contraction of Augustin (as in St. Augustine, or Augusten Burroughs, depending on your frame of reference). So, I think the girls name Austine would be sort of a slimmed down version of Augustine/Augustina/Augusta. The –een names still read a bit midcentury (Kathleen, Colleen, Darlene, and so on)… but this is a neat name find, if nothing else.

Otis

It doesn’t get cooler than Otis. It’s got Otis Redding all over it, and is just the kind of vintage-y name everybody is looking for. It looks like it’s poised to enter the top 1000 next year, so while Otis is growing in popularity it is by no means there yet. Personally, I can think of hundreds of girl names I love but not quite as many boy names, simply because a lot of the classics lack character and I’m not at all into the trendy Jaden/Maddox/Landon  sort of thing. But Otis has both history and quirk, making a great match with the other Beverly Cleary names like Willa and Ramona.

Ralph

I think Ralph suffers a bit from midcentury burnout. And maybe also a bit from being a euphemism for “to vomit.” It’s not very popular right now (as in, not in the top 1000). But if you think about Ralph S. Mouse or Ralphie from A Christmas Story, it’s kind of cute, right? Like, if I actually picture Ralph on a small child it’s adorable. Besides, Alphie is all kinds of popular in the U.K., and it’s just a consonant away from Ralphie. You could always use the Rafe pronunciation, but that doesn’t feel easy, at least not in the U.S.

Honorable Mentions:

Picky Picky

Chevrolet

Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Diggs

Hear ye, hear ye! The Hamiltome is finally here! For those non-Hamilfans, that translates into the Hamilton: The Revolution book, which is basically the Hamilton libretto with margin notes from precious cinnamon roll Lin-Manuel Miranda throughout. Ironically (or maybe not ironically), the arrival of the book comes a day before what would have been Thomas Jefferson’s 273rd birthday. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. And while I’m waiting for my copy of the Hamiltome to arrive, I figured we could look back at the legacy left by Thomas Jefferson. And by Thomas Jefferson, I mean Daveed Diggs, because our country’s third president was the definition of “your fave is problematic”.

Quick recap on America’s founding father Thomas Jefferson

  • Primary author of Declaration of Independence.
  • He was an aristocrat who owned 7,500 acres of land in Virginia. Thus he believed owning land was the only real wealth in the country, and that farming was the best job ever. That’d be like of Farmer Chris from The Bachelor became the president and was like, ‘Y’alls teachers and business owners and doctors are scientists are NOTHING compared to me and my tractor.’
  • He was super into Native Americans and was an advocate for assimilation policies and peaceful U.S. – Indian treaty alliances.
  • Abraham Lincoln hated him
  • His face is on Mount Rushmore
  • TJ believed banks were the second coming, a sign of all things evil because of its “scheming” ways.
  • He promised to free the 175 slaves his father owned once pops died, but he only freed five – the ones related to Sally Hemings.
  • PS: Sally Hemings was his infamous mistress, who also happened to be his slave. He father some of her kids, but still unclear.

  • Speaking of which, TJ had hypocritical tendencies with his stances on slavery and equality in general. For example, in the Declaration of Independence, you know the thing that says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”? He owned a total of more than 600 slaves in his lifetime, and considered women especially “profitable”, since they could bang out kids that would in turn become slaves.
  • As seen in Hamilton, Jefferson and James Madison are out to take down A.Ham – “get in the weeds, look for the seeds of Hamilton’s misdeeds.” They find out Alexander’s paying off some dude – James Reynolds aka husband to Maria Reynolds aka Alex’s mistress – and it’s all a little too ironic TJ wants to out Alex’s adultery, because, uh, Sally.

So instead, we’re going to focus on Daveed, the extremely talented man who plays both TJ and Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton. He’s way, way less problematic, unless you couldn’t being a first-class rapper and handsome motherf’ker a problem.

Quick recap on America’s faux founding father Daveed Diggs

  • Born and raised in Oakland, California
  • Half Jewish, half black (hear that AEA casting call people?)
  • His first job was at Pier 1 Imports at the age of 15. He spent most of the day unwrapping individually wrapped wooden fish. He hated it. Hasn’t stepped in that store since.

  • Majored in theatre at Brown University
  • He was a substitute teacher. Speak up kids who had to call this dude Mr. Diggs in that one Algebra class.
  • He also was on the track team, focusing on sprinting and hurdles. Bless this picture.

  • At Brown, Daveed was part of a “rappers supergroup” called Soul Cypher. Can you even imagine going to a party and seeing Daveed and co. freestyling??
  • Since he had the chops, Daveed was recruited by Hamilton director Tommy Kail to join Freestyle Love Supreme, the hip-hop improv/theater group he co-created with Lin-Manuel Miranda.

  • Daveed filled in here and there for FLS, becoming one of the regular reparatory members, along with Chris Jackson (George Washington in Hamilton) and James Monroe Iglehart (Genie in Broadway’s Aladdin). It was during a show in New Orleans for a SportsCenter show that Tommy Kail mentioned Lin was doing a play (a rap musical about Alexander Hamilton) and invited him to a reading. He’s been involved with the show ever since.

The idea when first described to me was laughable. A rap musical about Alexander Hamilton—it didn’t make me jump up and down. Once I read the script and heard the songs, I knew there was something great there. Watching Chris Jackson play George Washington for a week, I left thinking that the dollar bill looked wrong. I walked out of the show with a sense of ownership over American history. Part of it is seeing brown bodies play these people. {x}

  • He’s already won two awards for Hamilton – a Lucille Lortel Award and Theatre World Award, not to mention the Grammy he and his castmates won for Best Musical Theatre Soundtrack.
  • Daveed is also part of a trio called clipping., an experimental hip-hop group which combines Sorkin-esque paced raps with experimental sounds and beats only made from field recordings they create themselves.

  • He also spit some rhymes in this video, and although I’m not quite sure how to process this, you should probably watch it anyways.

So if you don’t know, now you know.

Baseball Movies, A Late 80s/Early 90s Micro-Trend Remembered

Baseball and film go together like, well, peanuts and cracker jacks. The oldest baseball comedy I could track down, Baseball Madness, was released in 1917, so the genre is almost 100 years old. As recently as 2014, Million Dollar Arm and 42 proved that the baseball film isn’t going anywhere. Still, I’d argue that the baseball movie was especially hot during the late 80s and early 90s. Some of these films recycled plot points and key scenes, but they’re still the best way to begin the most wonderful time of the year: MLB season.

Bull Durham

Year: 1998

Catch Phrase: This speech that I hate:

(I forgot how much I hated this speech but I do. I hate it.)

Key points: One of the only baseball rom-coms on this list (or in film, to be honest). Kevin Costner (Crash) mentors pitcher Tim Robbins (Nuke). Susan Sarandon (Annie) loves them both. Basically Annie and Crash both “coach” Nuke and in the process they form this weird enmeshed relationship. Who will she choose? (Spoiler: Crash, after Nuke makes it to the majors.) Also this is where I learned that baseball groupies exist.

Fun facts:

  • Sports Illustrated has named Bull Durham the best sports movie ever made.
  • Writer/director Ron Shelton was a minor leaguer himself, playing for the Rochester Red Wings (incidentally, our hometown team).
  •  Susan Sarandon, at 41, was thought to be too old to play the love interest of Tim Robbins (29) and Kevin Costner (32).
  • Sarandon and Robbins, who were together for over 20 years, met during filming.
  • The wedding extras came from a nearby Pink Floyd concert.

Is Costner In It: Yes

Field Of Dreamszone27s-5-web

Year: 1989

Catch Phrase:

Key points: Kevin Costner again plays a baseball guy (Ray Kinsella) with a significant other named Annie (Amy Madigan). His dead father shows up and tells him to plow a baseball diamond into his cornfield, which he and his wife both think is a reasonable request. Then all these basbeball ghosts from 1919 keep showing up, which again leaves everybody more or less nonplussed. Okay, then it’s time for a road trip, and Ray meets an author and they see ghost stats from the 1920s on a Fenway scoreboard. Spooooky. Except not, because again, nobody is really disturbed by any of this. Right. Well, they meet more baseball ghosts, and then they go back to the farm, and Ray’s dead father comes to play catch. Ray’s daughter Karin chokes on a hotdog, because this is baseball, and a baseball ghost named Moonlight saves her, then walks off into the corn. They all play baseball and people come to the games. This summary has been provided by me watching this movie on cable a lot when I was under the age of 8, and then not seeing it for the past two decades.

Fun facts:

Gaby Hoffman (Now and Then and – more recently – Transparent, Girls and Obvious Child) plays little Karin.

It sounds made up but it isn’t: a young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were extras at Fenway.

James Stewart was offered the role of Moonlight Graham.

A lot of the baseball ghosts were from the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

Is Costner In It: Yes

Major League

Year: 1989

Catch Phrase:

Key points: A showgirl inherits the Cleveland Indians, and tries to trigger an escape clause to move the team to Miami. To do that she needs low attendance, so she hires a ragtag team of really old or really bad baseball players. I think if you’ve ever seen a movie you know where this is going: they pull it together and win. Plus, they beat the Yankees, which as a Mets/ Red Sox blog we really enjoyed.

Fun facts:

  • Charlie Sheen (Ricky Vaughn) almost landed a role in another late 80s/early 90s baseball movie: Bull Durham.
  • Sheen took steroids to prep for the role, even though by now we all realize he isn’t really a person who needed to get hyped up by ‘roid rage.
  • In the original ending, showgirl owner Rachel Phelps actually never planned to move the team to Miami, she just wanted to give the team some motivation. But why did she field such an (on paper) terrible team, then?
  • Pete Vuckovich (Clu) was a real MLB player, and when told to say something to the catcher that a real ball player would say, he asked “how’s your wife and kids.” The sport of gentlemen, my friends.

Is Costner In It: No

A League Of Their Ownleage-own

Year: 1992

Catch Phrase:

Key points: During WWII, with baseball-aged men fighting the war oversees, the All-American Girls League is formed. Among the players: sisters Kit and Dottie, dancer Mae, Southern Belle Ellen Sue, and poor frumpy Marla Hooch. Manager Jimmy Dugan is a total jerk and he’s really mean, but the players are all fantastic and Jimmy can STFU. Kit and Dottie have a Venus and Serena-style sibling faceoff. Then it’s 1988 and the players are all old ladies, and they sing their baseball song, and I cry every single time.

Fun facts:

  • If you think this isn’t one of the best sports movies ever, you’re wrong.
  • If a group of elderly ladies reunited to reminisce about the baseball team of their youth today, they’d be looking back at 1976 (which, by my estimates, means that the “old ladies” at the hall of fame actually aren’t really old; this just came out when I was really young).
  • The director’s cut is four hours long and I want it.
  • The actresses attended baseball training camp before filming. Madonna was not great.
  • Truth > fiction and the real players in the AAGPL were pretty much amazing.

The Sandlotthe-sandlot-moviejpg-e0cddbb30033fc8a

Year: 1993

Catch Phrase: So many! Just a few:

  • You’re killin’ me, Smalls.
  • For-ev-er.
  • Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die, follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.

Key points: If you grew up in the 90s, there’s an excellent chance you watched this dozens of times and still know when to turn away during the carnival scene. It’s a classic “gravelly voiced adult man narrates his nostalgic, sun-tinged childhood” story. Scotty Smalls moves to a new town and starts playing pickup baseball with the neighborhood kids. The sandlot where they play backs up to an old man’s house, which is guarded by a ferocious dog (the beast), so every time they hit a ball over it’s gone forever. Smalls hits his stepfather’s Babe Ruth ball over the fence, so he has to face up to The Beast. In the process he meets Mr. Myrtle, a Negro League player who gives Smalls a ball signed by all of the Yankees as a replacement.

Fun facts:

  • If The Sandlot came out today, the carefree, old-fashioned childhood would have taken place in roughly 1986. Gulp.
  • It was only 56 degrees the day they shot the Wendy Pfeffercorn pool scene.
  • The Beast was a puppet (some of the time, anyway).
  • The Sandlot’s birthday is this week, and Where Are They Nows are popping up all over the place.

Is Costner In It: No

Rookie Of The Year101215rookieoftheyear

Year: 1993

Catch Phrase: The three Rs:

Key points: Henry, a little boy, breaks his arm and it is reset in such a way that he becomes a baseball phenom. He is recruited to the Chicago Cubs. Henry’s mom has a garbage boyfriend who tries to trade Henry to the Yankees, but it doesn’t pan out. Then Henry loses his magical broken arm pitch, and it’s back to Little League – but the Cubs did the World Series thanks to him.

Fun facts:

  • Thomas Ian Nicholas (Henry) has a Cubs jersey with his character’s name on it, which he recently wore to a Cubs game, which is adorable.
  • The official MLB minimum signing age: 16.

Is Costner In It: No

Angels In The Outfield39f87a27-1e5a-476a-ba0d-dc5cc3544862

Year: 1994

Catch Phrase:

Key points: It’s really hard to tell this, Rookie of the Year, and Little Big League apart if you haven’t seen them for 20 years. But this one stars baby Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Roger, a foster kid whose dad tells him they’ll be a family again “when the Angels win the pennant.” So Roger starts praying about it, and THEN Roger and his boy J.P. watch a game and see… well, it’s in the title. They see angels. In the outfield. Roger becomes a kind of good luck charm/consultant since he knows what the angels want. The Angels make it to the championship but I guess angels aren’t allowed in the, ahem, outfield during the postseason, so they have to win it on their own. Which they do. Then Roger and his boy JP get adopted by  the team manager, George, who unlike Roger’s dad isn’t the worst.

Fun facts:

  • Received the college humor treatment, parodying sports doc series 30 for 30:

  • All-star cast: in addition to JGL, the film featured Matthew McConaughey, Adrien Brody, Tony Danza, Danny Glover, Christopher Lloyd and Dermot Mulroney.
  • Angels In The Outfield was a remake of a 1951 film of the same name.

Little Big League

Year: 1994

Catch Phrase: I feel like there weren’t any?

Key points: Rounding out the 1993-1994 “baseball would be even greater if run by little boys” series, Little Big League is about a boy named Billy who has a single mom (so many single moms in baseball movies?). Billy’s grandpa dies and Billy inherits the Minnesota Twins. So Billy has some run-ins with the grownups in the franchise who are just trying to do their jobs, and names himself manager, since he’s a 12 year old white boy (aka the living, breathing heart and soul of baseball according to early 90s films). As it turns out, little boys are bad at running baseball teams so Billy steps down after ruining things. But he’s one of those people who can ruin things and still be totally beloved, like Tim Riggins.

Fun facts:

  • IRL, owners can’t also manage their teams.
  • The early 90s baseball movie boom means there was an early 2010s “where are the people in those early 90s baseball movies now” boom, and Little Big League wasn’t left out.

American Idol, #Nvr4Get

The American Idol series finale was last night, and the country crowned its 15th and final winner La’Porsha Trent Harmon. The show was jam-packed with special performances from former Idol contestants (Tamyra Gray, Katharine McPhee, Chris Daughtry, Jessica Sanchez, Pia Toscano, Kellie Pickler), winners (Ruben, Fantasia, Carrie, Jordin, White Guys With Guitars, Kelly SINGING A MOMENT LIKE THIS), and Brian Dunkleman. It was clearly emotional for all those involved in the show for the past 10+ years, but it full disclosure, it was emotional for me too.

Yeah, 15 seasons is quite a long run and it’s definitely time to go, but you can’t deny how much of an impact this show has had on reality TV, the music industry, and most importantly, the lives of all those involved. For instance, Kelly Clarkson was waiting tables when she auditioned for the show, and was barely getting by. Now she’s become one of the most successful and acclaimed artists not only as an Idol alum but in pop music, and she probably wouldn’t have been able to reach the level of success she’s at without this platform.

But what I’ve realized over the past few days is that I’m not so much “sad” to see the show go – it’s more of the nostalgia I get from the Idol, yearning for the glory of what the show once was. Case in point last night’s finale. Reuniting the Three Divas (Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson & LaToya London), teaming up Justin Guarini & Jordin Sparks, throwing to Sanjaya & his hair in the audience, and that entire Gospel medley. The producers brought all these people back because THEY are what made Idol great. Back in its heyday, circa 2003 to 2009, Idol became the highest-rated TV show in the United States for an unprecedented seven consecutive years. It became bigger than anyone could ever have imagined. There were even people lit’rally making money off of Idol online with dedicated websites (because the Internet was still emerging as a thing) like Rickey.org and MjsBigBlog, and that type of fandom for an unscripted reality competition series had never been seen before.

But back then, everyone was watching it because it was entertaining. People got sucked into voting for their favorites (or their least favorites – Vote for the Worst, anyone?) and it became watercooler fodder the next day. I am not ashamed to admit that I, too, became a crazed fan of Idol. I purchased not only the winners’ albums but the Idol compilation albums. I’ve gone to a few of the Idol summer tours, and if you recall from a previous post, I may have been in the audience in season one holding up a sign that in all honestly, I partly made so I could get on TV. It worked.

LOL HI

Anyway, all this to say that while a lot of people consider the past few seasons of Idol completely moot, a series finale makes you remember why you fell in love with the show in the first place. Over the past 15 seasons, Idol has definitely given us plenty to talk about, and what better time to talk about all those moments than on the day after the show ends? Thanks for all the memories and lasting legacies you’ve left us with. We’ll Nvr4Get.

The Audacity of Season 1

Season one was kind of a shit show, but a good shit show. Production value was lower than Scotty McCreery’s basso profondo and it took a while for people to tune in. As we know, the auditions are sometimes the most entertaining episodes, and season one was no exception. It was the first we’d see of the extremely outspoken, cutthroat, no filter Simon Cowell. It was like he was being rude to all these contestants (who admittedly couldn’t carry one note) and America was like, ‘Yo, who the hell is this British dude?’ It was also telling of the singers who came in to audition – it was jarring to see a handful of people fight back against the judges and Cowell, since we weren’t necessarily used to the harsh talk back on TV. Enter Tamika Bush, who was one of the very first rude singers to grace the show. I personally enjoy her two-glasses style approach. Why keep your prescription sunglasses in your bag when you can just wear it you head?

Forget JHud, Give From Justin to Kelly An Oscar

Ok, you probably didn’t forget this happened but did you even watch it at all? WELL I DID. In the theater. And maybe with Molly? (yes, and I didn’t realize it would be a musical. YEAH.-M) Either way, it wasn’t that good, but it was along the lines of so bad it’s good. Bless these two for having to do this. The downside of fame, y’all.

Simon + Paula = Saula

In the first couple of seasons, viewers noticed there was an odd chemistry between Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. They’d be at odds with each other one second and the next it felt as if we all needed to leave the room so they could have it to themselves. During the season two finale, producers had fun with this and came up with this little sketch that is something you can never unsee.

World Idol Was a Thing

If you didn’t know, American Idol was adapted from the British version called Pop Idol, which was a huge hit in the U.K. Soon after its major success, more versions of the show started popping up around the world, and by late 2003, when we had already crowned our first and only Idol Kelly, producers of Pop Idol decided it would be a good idea to create World Idol. Think of it as Eurovision, but less importance on the song choice. Don’t get that reference, you lousy Americans? It’s like of the Olympics had a singing event and had one representative from each country compete. Kelly repped the U.S. but came in second to Norway’s Kurt Nilsen, who won with U2’s Beautiful Day. Foiled by Bono again.

Beating the System

For season four, a tricky concept called Dial Idol was introduced, and it’s important to know this had no affiliation at all to American Idol itself. Dial Idol was a Windows program and its associated website that tracks voting trends for Idol contestants. Using your PC’s modem, viewers can automatically vote for their faves and the program reports back to the main website. That site, DialIdol.com, kept track of all the voting data, and therefore was usually a good indicator on who was leading week to week. From seasons four through 13, Dial Idol’s prediction on who would take home the crown was only wrong once, and it was for S13 when the data predicted Jena Irene would win over Caleb Johnson (I barely watched that season too). It was controversial for many reasons, but for those betting money on Idol, it proved to be a secret weapon and guide to win that dough.

The Three Divas Debacle

This was an epic moment from season 3, and maybe the best/worst elimination ever? (Watch it above around the 28:23 mark) It was the results show revealing who was going to make the top 6. Ryan divided the remaining contestants into two groups – on the left side of the stage, it was Fantasia, LaToya and JHud. On the right side of the stage, it was Diana DeGarmo, John Stevens and Jasmine Trias. Ryan then told the remaining contestant, George Huff, that he was safe and to go to the group he also thought was safe. He apprehensively approached the groups, with the Three Divas motioning to come to join them. The audience cheered but then Ryan announced the plot twist – he had joined the wrong group. Note: they did this fake out again in S6, but Melinda Doolittle (in the George Huff position) decided to sit in the middle of the stage and didn’t pick a side lololol). Anyways, the result was the shocking elimination of Jennifer Hudson, but I hear she’s been doing fine since then.

Queen of Crying Memes

Ah, crying girl. The most memorable fan to come out of the pits of the CBS studio audience. Crying girl, aka Ashley Ferl, was 13 years old when she was left in hormonal teen tears after Sanjaya seductively moved his hips as he sang You Really Got Me in season six. The camera only panned to her for a few brief moments, but she’s lived on in the Internet forever. She’s now 22 and a college student majoring in liberal studies. And while she may not be a Fanjaya anymore, she’s still an Idol viewer. Wonder what she thought about Sanjaya’s random wig appearances on the finale last night.

American Juniors

After the unprecedented success of the first two seasons of American Idol, producers decided to capitalize on it even more by launching a spin-off show called American Juniors, looking for the best five young talents to create the country’s next big pop group. The format was a little different than Idol Senior, wherein each week one kid would get voted into the group as opposed to being eliminated. The group barely became anything, but the only thing you need to take out of it is that American was introduced to Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars fame. She made it to the group, but now runs from some Big Bad trying to kill her and her friends in designer clothes.

American Idol Experience

In 2009, a theme park attraction called the American Idol Experience, opened at Disney’ World’s Hollywood Studios. It was basically set up to be just like the show, with singers actually auditioning and performing in front of a real audience for a real shot to audition for the real show. There were a handful of Idol finalists from the AI Experience who made it to the show, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that at the grand opening of the attraction, a bunch of Idol alum took the stage, including winners S1 through 7, and that provided for a duet of two of my faves, Carrie and David Cook as seen above. And if you want to go to this attraction, too late. It closed in 2014.

The Best Hollywood Week Groups

Hollywood Week is notoriously difficult, and maybe my favorite part of each season. The contestants are really put to the test, and it always seems like everyone is sleep deprived, hates most people the interact with, and can’t remember the words to well-known songs for the life of them. Tensions run high, people get sick (S11 winner Phillip Phillips even had to be hospitalized during Hollywood Week due to kidney problems) and many are cut from the competition. But every year it’s the group rounds that separate the best from the worst, and in season six, four guys did their damn thing. Three of them even made the semi-finals, with Blake coming in as the runner-up to Jordin. Special shout out to White Chocolate from season eight.

Pants on the Ground

Civil rights activist “General” Larry Platt auditioned with this song in season nine and it became a viral hit. The actual track is meant to protest the practice of guys sagging their trousers, but I have a funny feeling most of the people who bought the single didn’t even realize the real meaning behind it. Either way, it was so memorable he even made a brief appearance on the series finale.

Idol Gives Back

Idol Gives Back was a charity campaign that happened three times throughout the run of the show. The episode featured performances from current and past Idols, celebrities, and music superstars in an effort to get people to donate their money to charity. From the three specials, the campaign raised over $185 million for underserved communities in America and around the world. And also Brad Pitt.

The Scandals

Listen, you can’t have thousands of people across America going to an open call for a hit TV show without meeting a few folks with colorful backgrounds. It began in season two with Corey Clark who was disqualified during the finals (he made it to the top 9) because of an undisclosed criminal record. He later claimed he had an affair with Paula during the show, and that led to her giving him preferential treatment. That went away, but he became a hot mess afterwards. Similarly, Frenchie Davis who I thought was going to be a frontrunner (see: Band of Gold that I still listen to to this day), was disqualified for having previously modelled for an adult website. Other notable controversial contestants include S4’s Mario Vasquez (a frontrunner, left on his own accord citing personal reasons, rumored to be related to lewd conduct with a crew member), S6’s Antonella Barba (racy pix of her surfaced online), S7’s David Hernandez (used to be a stripper), S11’s Jermaine Jones (concealed arrests and outstanding warrants).

Seacrest’s High Five Faux Pas

There is no back story to this besides Ryan can’t read the room.

The Life of Pablo

That time Seacrest used his connections to get Kanye to audition.

“Other Door”

Contestants in the initial rounds had a lot of trouble figuring out which door to leave through, and this montage still gets me cracking up every time. In recent years, they’ve noticeably put an Idol-branded sticker on the door to indicate which one they should go out of.

Bikini Girl

In season eight, a gal called Katrina Darrell showed up to the auditions in only a bikini. It became this whole thing and she even managed to steal a kiss from Ryan. Second-hand embarrassment. She surprisingly made it to Hollywood but got cut in the group rounds. She appeared in the finale alongside judge Kara DioGuardi, who also showed up in her bikini and sang. This show, I swear.

Nicki vs. Mariah

Like what even happened that season? Rumors of their fighting surfaced (maybe that should be in quotes) on TMZ long before the first episodes even aired, and it continued for the whole season. It was annoying. It was even more annoying because the focus turned from the contestants to them, and that’s not fair.

Bigger and Better Than Idol

Listen, not everyone can get it right. And that includes Idol judges. There have been a handful of singers who auditioned for the show, didn’t make it, but eventually became superstars. For instance, Tori Kelly got cut during Hollywood Week, and Simon was not a fan of hers. Cut to 2016 when she got nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy. Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, COlbie Calliat, and Glee’s Amber Riley both didn’t even make it past the preliminary rounds, while The Swon Brothers’ Colton Swon and The Hunger Games star Alan Ritchson also didn’t make the cut.

#YouTried

And finally, here’s an ode to all the finalists who left an impression on me and other Idol fans throughout the 15 seasons. Most of the contestants listed below were underdogs and/or underappreciated, and I feel like they need one more shout out before Idol rides off into the sunset… for now (an actual phrase Seacrest said at the end of the finale, which could mean anything but I don’t need it to come back).

Hamilton Explained: Guns and Ships

With only days to go before the release of Hamiltome (Hamilton: The Revolution if you’re not all up in LMM’s twitter), it feels like time to take a stab at explaining some more Hamilton lyrics before we have all of the answers right in front of us.

If you’re just joining us, you can catch up:

Since Guns and Ships has the fastest, hardest-to-catch raps in the whole show, we think it could use a little explicating. As always, please head over to Genius to check out the annotations there, too. We make an effort not to duplicate their comments but there’s obviously gonna be some overlap.

You know how it goes: lyrics are in italics. Our stuff’s in regular fonts. Ready? Everyone give it up for America’s favorite fighting Frenchman!

Guns And Ships

BURR:
How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower

  • You don’t need us to explain that one: here, we are back to the cadence and rhyme pattern of Alexander Hamilton (How does a bastard, orphan son of a whore…). We even land on a similar rhyme (squalor/scholar vs shower/power).
  • But let’s go back to LMM’s explanation of the opening number: “the thing about Hamilton is he spoke in paragraphs. So the opening sentence of our show is this crazy, run-on sentence.” [Source] When we’re talking about the war, instead of Hamilton himself, the questions get more concise. After all, Burr didn’t mince words. Talk less, smile more.
  • “Ragtag volunteer army” sure does check out. Originally a collection of smaller militias, the Continental Army wasn’t established until a ways into the war. If you remember reading about another European helper, Baron Von Steuben, in high school, the army’s hit-or-miss training and discipline will ring a bell.
  • “In need of a shower”: we’ll let General Washington take this one — “Soap is another article in great demand–the Continental allowance is too small, and dear, as every necessary of life is now got, a soldier’s pay will not enable him to purchase, by which means his consequent dirtiness adds not a little to the disease of the Army.” — George Washington, Letter to the Committee of Congress, July 19, 1777 [source]

Somehow defeat a global superpower?

  • Global superpower: A fun anachronism (if you’re a history nerd, anyway.) “Superpower” describes nations that mastered the seven dimensions of state power (geography, population, economy, resources, military, diplomacy and national identity), and was first used in the WWII era to apply to the United Kingdom, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. [source] Through the lens of modern international relations, the British Empire was a major superpower during the 18th century – with thriving trade, an advantageous geopolitical position, and a lot of colonies. Some of whom hated them.

How do we emerge victorious from the quagmire?
Leave the battlefield waving Betsy Ross’ flag higher?

  • So, there’s quagmire – like a gross swamp – and quagmire, like a snafu. But quagmire is also used frequently to describe international conflicts that were caused by muddling where you shouldn’t. [See, e.g.] The “quagmire theory” explains how the U.S. unintentionally got involved in Vietnam, by a series of bad decisions that lead us further and further into the muck as we tried to negotiate several overlapping dilemmas. LMM’s probably using “quagmire” in the “big old mess” sense, but since we’re using other 20th century warfare terms, Burr could also be alluding to the fact that the US (or Britain??) shouldn’t have ended up in this position in the first place.
  • Ah, Betsy Ross, heroine of so many third grade history fair dioramas. She sewed, and possibly helped design, the American flag, and has a particularly adorable house in Philadelphia. [source]
  • Also also. This is fun:

Yo. Turns out we have a secret weapon!
An immigrant you know and love who’s unafraid to step in!

  • Both Hamilton and Lafayette are referred to as immigrants in Act I. Which, on one hand, of course they are. But it’s interesting because it feels almost like we don’t usually refer to anyone as an “immigrant” during the Colonial era. Yet, there were differences between colonists who were born in the (future) U.S.A. and those who came from abroad – even if only in familiarity with the country and its customs. LMM’s goal was to eliminate the distance between the audience and these historical figures, and a part of that is reminding us that then, as now, immigrants could be counted on to get the job done.

He’s constantly confusin’, confoundin’ the British henchmen

  • To name a few: Battle of Gloucester (thanks to excellent reconnaissance work, he helped uncover British positions and defeated Cornwallis – oh, and his leg was still busted from the Battle of Brandywine); Albany (he recruited the Oneida and dissuaded America from a poorly conceived attack on Quebec); Battle of Barren Hill (the outnumbered Continental Army had to retreat, so Lafayette had soldiers in the woods periodically fire on the British Army to make the colonists seem more prolific).

Ev’ryone give it up for America’s favorite fighting Frenchman!

  • This is true. Lafayette was SUPER POPULAR and beloved. Like, the precursor to the popularity of those French Women Don’t Get Fat and French Kids Eat Their Damn Dinner books that are so trendy now. There’s an entire Wikipedia entry about this time he came back to America to say hey. [source]

COMPANY:
Lafayette!

LAFAYETTE:
I’m takin this horse by the reins makin’
Redcoats redder with bloodstains

  • “Horse by the reins” is a popular expression, but maybe was included because artists LOVED to show Lafayette holding onto a pony:

To be fair, it was a popular pose with 18th century military guys. Like Georgian duck-lips.

  • “Redcoats” – the nickname of the British army, due to their snappy red coats.
  • During this line, I can’t help but think of Jay-Z (I know we’ve mentioned Empire State of Mind before, but whatever, it’s a modern classic): I make a Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can. Lafayette makes a redcoat redder than his red coat can.

COMPANY:
Lafayette!

LAFAYETTE:
And I’m never gonna stop until I make ‘em
Drop and burn ‘em up and scatter their remains, I’m

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda has said that hip hop had to be the language of this musical because it allowed for more syllables per measure than any other genre. [source] This is the fastest verse, at 19 words in 3 seconds, which makes this the hardest one to sing along to but I’m trying; we’re all trying. [source]
  • Oh, look who’s better at English than all of those Englishman (an immigrant, of course!).

COMPANY:
Lafayette!

LAFAYETTE:
Watch me engagin’ em! Escapin’ em!
Enragin’ em! I’m—

  • We covered escapin’ em above (Battle of Barren Hill). How about engagin’ em and enragin’ em? The Yorktown campaign. Lafayette cut Cornwallis’ naval troops off, and again used his fun trick of random attacks by Continental troops to make their forces seem larger.

COMPANY:
Lafayette!

LAFAYETTE:
I go to France for more funds

COMPANY:
Lafayette!

  • Lafayette went to France in 1779, where he tried to persuade France and ally Spain to attack Britain. Also, his son was born that winter – named George Washington Lafayette.

LAFAYETTE:
I come back with more

LAFAYETTE AND ENSEMBLE:
Guns
And ships

  • Yes, but. France got very “the check’s in the mail” with the ships and the fleet took a while to arrive. Also included in the deal: General Rochambeau and 6,000 soldiers.

And so the balance shifts

  • The phrase “turning point of the American Revolution” was probably drilled into your head to describe the Battle of Saratoga at some point during AP US History. It was a pivotal victory, sure. But gaining a tactical ally in France helped tip the balance from “global Superpower” England and the “ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower.” Hundreds of years later, we still debate whether the U.S. could have won the revolution without French aid.

WASHINGTON:
We rendezvous with Rochambeau, consolidate their gifts

  • Rochambeau shows up in the colonies, hangs back for a long time because there aren’t enough forces to really do anything, kind of pulls an Emma Watson and chills at Brown for a while. He marches his guys over to rendezvous with Washington in Mount Kisco NY, home of the Ragtime house which is ALSO Samantha Parkington’s house, who knew. It did not exist in 1781. From there, they marched together to Yorktown. It was quite a trip.

LAFAYETTE:
We can end this war at Yorktown, cut them off at sea, but

  • Lafayette trapped the British by land at Malvern Hill while the French fleet blockaded the British. Yorktown didn’t stand a chance.

For this to succeed, there is someone else we need:

WASHINGTON:
I know

WASHINGTON AND COMPANY:
Hamilton!

  • Also Baron Von Steuben, whose forces Lafayette joined with, but who is not relevant to this musical production.

LAFAYETTE:
Sir, he knows what to do in a trench

 

  • Which maybe doesn’t seem like a Revolutionary War thing, but it is – the scrappy Americans and French dug a trench to help with the cutoff of Cornwallis’ troops. [source]

Ingenuitive and fluent in French, I mean—

  • Before there was spellcheck, there was A.Ham, who proofed Lafayette’s petitions for more supplies. [source]

WASHINGTON AND COMPANY:
Hamilton!

LAFAYETTE:
Sir, you’re gonna have to use him eventually
What’s he gonna do on the bench? I mean—

  • Hamilton was “manning George’s journal” and had to drop some major hints before he was handed a command of Lafayette’s light infantry battalion. [source]

WASHINGTON AND COMPANY:
Hamilton!

LAFAYETTE:
No one has more resilience
Or matches my practical tactical brilliance—

  • Or, as George says in the letter they’re singing about, “I am convinced that no officer can with justice dispute your merit and abilities.” [source]

WASHINGTON AND COMPANY:
Hamilton!

LAFAYETTE:
You wanna fight for your land back?

COMPANY:
Hamilton!

WASHINGTON:
I need my right hand man back!

  • This was a push-and-pull between Washington and Hamilton throughout the war: Washington wanted Hamilton as his “right hand man” while Hamilton wanted field experience.

WOMEN:
Hamilton!

LAFAYETTE:                                                        MEN:
Ah! Uh, get ya right hand man back                        Get your right hand man back!
You know you gotta get ya right hand man back      Your right hand man back!

I mean you gotta put                                           Hamilton!
some thought into the letter                                 Ha—
but the sooner the better                                     Ha—
To get your right hand man back!

  • There was a lot of letter drama in the 1780s. Hamilton delivered one of George’s letters for him, stopped to chit-chat with Lafayette, and Washington got pissy about it. So Hamilton flounced off and quit for like a handful of months until he got the Yorktown commission. [source]
  • “The letter, the sooner the better” – reference either to Please Mister Postman by the Marvelettes, or to the children’s rhyme (deliver the letter, the sooner the better, the later the letter the madder I getter… I think there’s more, I’m so old that I sent letters as a child so you’ll have to bear with me.)

WOMEN, MEN:
Hamilton, Hamilton!
Ha— ha—!

WASHINGTON:
Alexander Hamilton
Troops are waiting in the field for you
If you join us right now, together we can turn the tide
Oh, Alexander Hamilton
I have soldiers that will yield for you
If we manage to get this right
They’ll surrender by early light
The world will never be the same, Alexander…

  • Once again, we return to the style of Alexander Hamilton.
  • Solders that will yield for you – Washington’s hesitation about appointing Hamilton to a command wasn’t that he thought Hamilton wasn’t up to it. It’s that there were other, longer-serving officers who would take it as a slight. Appointing Hamilton required not only regular soldiers to yield, but also an officer to yield his expected promotion. [source]
  • “The world will never be the same” is a motif throughout the show, alluding not just to Hamilton’s desire to make a difference but to be KNOWN for making a difference. After their little falling out, real-life Washington also appealed to Hamilton’s ego.
  • The Battle of Yorktown was an important strategic victory, so the world really was never the same.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Flashdance

Despite being alive in the late 1980s, there are a bunch of movies from this decade that I am totally blind to – Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Top Gun, all of which I’ve since seen. Flashdance is one of them.

This movie was released on April 15, 1983, which makes it nearly 33 years old and three years older than me, so this should be a nice FLASHback to the 80s. Although since we’re deep into Cheers, it shouldn’t be that much of a shock.

Knowledge of this film:

Not Jennifer Grey but rather Jennifer Beals is a dancer and she pours a bucket of water on her person. Also, that What a Feeling song.

Actual IMDb description:

A Pittsburgh woman with two jobs as a welder and an exotic dancer wants to get into ballet school.

SHE’S A STRIPPER?!?!?!?! WHO WANTS TO GET INTO BALLET SCHOOL?? LIT’RALLY NO IDEA.

The title scrolls across the screen like a screensaver from Windows 95. There was a similar title card in The Bodyguard, was this just a thing then??

So Jennifer Beals a legit welder? In the 80s was this a common job for women? Or was it just in Pittsburgh because… steel?

If Irene Cara’s What a Feeling *now I’m dancing for my life* music wasn’t playing throughout these opening credits I would think this is a horror movie with all the shots of coal and people welding in the dark.

Ok, Jennifer Beals is a stripper but have any of her male co-workers been to her strip club because I feel like that would be an awkward conversation the next morning in the locker room.

Ah yes, the iconic water scene. She’s actually a good dancer. Especially since she’s dancing on water. I would’ve broken half my bones at this point.

Oh is she an exotic dancer in who doesn’t strip?

Well the guy who just walked in knows her social security number and tells his pal that she works for him. So there’s that.

Richie, the cook at the bar/strip club, wants to get out of Pittsburgh and move to Los Angeles, but a guy (who I’m assuming is the big boss) tells him, “They don’t let short people into Hollywood.” I CAN BUST THIS MYTH RIGHT NOW.

“This place is so small you have to go outside to change your mind.” – Richie, A short-order cook who’s definitely going to make it as a comic in LA.

Nick looks like a typical “hunk” from the 1980s. Like Tom Selleck or Dustin Diamond.

She’s holding a Pepsi that is an old school metal can and besides the big hair it’s one of the props that makes it obvious it’s the 1980s.

She’s a Maniac is from this movie? What is this weird lunging she’s doing? I’ve obviously seen this running in place move but she’s not even dancing she’s doing weird warm-ups.

Jennifer Beals – do we even know her character’s name yet it’s Alex – enters a dance school where the hallways are lined with leotard and tight-wearing ballet dancers and it’s like Save the Last Dance all over again.

Is this secretary related to Meryl Streep?

Tom Selleck is hitting on Jennifer Beals and just wants to get a snack with her. Get a freaking snack with him Alex.

Alex has a QT old grandma.

She also has a priest she goes to to confess. Gotta get that coveted Catholic demographic in the theater.

Some dude who’s trying to get people to watch the exotic dancers just used the word “cunts”, so he is problematic.

There is a workout montage set to the tune of I Love Rock and Roll and it is the MOST 80s thing I’ve seen.

There are two pop-locking/breakdancing kids (?) in the street and they are my favorites so far.

I realized there have been two dancing scenes sans dialogue (a skating rink and crossing guard) in a row and I think it’s because Alex is attempting to pick up new dance moves from the literal streets? IS THIS NOT SAVE THE LAST DANCE?

Richie is doing his stand-up act at the bar and no one is laughing. BLESS. The joke that makes everyone laugh: “I’m just a cook. This is my big break. If you don’t laugh then I’m gonna put cockroaches in your hamburgers!”

But really, this club is not a strip club no one has gotten naked. Do these clubs still exist? It’s like Chippendales but more clothes (remind me to tell you about my recent experience at Chippendales).

The dude with the offensive language, whose name is apparently Johnny, tries to grab Alex and get her to go with him to “drink wine and smoke some weed” and I hate him. He also beat up Richie, so he’s the worst.

Nick Selleck comes out of the literal shadows to save Alex and instead of getting a ride home from him, she decides to bike home in the dark. Come on Alex, Selleck isn’t going to do anything to you (he drives behind her the whole time for safety).

Alex has a friend named Jeanie who is a competitive ice skater and it makes me yearn for the Olympics/The Cutting Edge movie. JEANIE FELL. SHE FELL AGAIN. THOSE DAMN TRIPLE AXELS. Her dreams are shattered.

Alex and Nick are on a date and she takes him back to her place (an old warehouse?) to eat pizza. BOW CHICKA WOW WOW.

She changed into a sweatshirt and took off her bra in front of him. This is their first date. And it doesn’t matter because they slept together. Their next date is literally walking down a railroad track which leads to a landfill of steel. Guys, just because you work as welders doesn’t mean you have to make your dates themed as such too.

WHAT IN THE FRESH HELL IS THIS I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING IT’S LIKE A 1980S GEISHA DURING A DREAM SEQUENCE OF HOW PEOPLE FROM THE 80S PICTURED THE FUTURE. OMG LITERALLY THIS SONG IS CALLED IMAGINATION AND HAS THE WORDS “FANTASY” IN IT

“Do you know how to do the horizontal mambo” Asshole dude GTFO

Whooaaa Alex just threw stones through Nick’s window in anger but I missed why she is so upset.

Richie is leaving for LA to go for his dreams as a stand-up coming and I am truly sad to see him go but happy he’s

Oh Alex saw Nick with some blonde chick at a dance benefit, who turned out to be his ex-wife.

“I broke your fucking window!… Go fuck your blonde!” I LOVE ALEX

LOL at all the other welders cheering them on from the peanut gallery

Yo Alex is serving in this tuxedo look.

Nick’s ex-wife LOL she looks like a Scandinavian socialite.

What’s happening here? Is it Halloween? It’s Halloween. There’s a free for all on the stage.

Alex applied for an audition to the dance conservatory and she got in!

Alex realizes Nick made a phone call to get her the audition, which she obviously didn’t want because she is a strong, independent lady of the 1980s who doesn’t need any GD help from any man.

Oh finally a strip club with actual stripping. It’s like everyone hates their lives here. Apparently Jeannie ditched being an ice skater and decided to only be a real stripper.

HAHA Alex straight up pulls Jeannie from the stage as she’s stripping. AND Asshole guy comes out of nowhere to tell her to not take Jeannie away and Alex pushes him away. It is great.

“When you give up on a dream, you die.” Nick Selleck says to Alex, and Alex realizing she could end up like Jeannie as a real stripper all at the same time.

Is QT grandma not actually her grandma? Alex is calling her Hanna. OMG SHE DIED. YESTERDAY. NOOOOOO

But NOW I bet Alex is going to use her pain and suffering to follow through on her promise to QT grandma Hanna to get into the dance school.

In full disclosure, I’m getting hungry and there are 20 minutes left of this movie and I can barely pay attention.

But Alex is back in the Priest’s confessional and crying? She’s sinned, obvs.

Alex is back in her black leotard from when she was lunging for this audition, and  I’m really wondering why type of dance she’s qualifying this as. She’s literally gliding by the judges’ table and pointing at each of them hahahaha Yup, she’s incorporating breakdancing in this audition. And apparently she got in because the next scene was see is her running outside to meet Nick and she’s super happy about it.

So that was fine, I guess. I’d say don’t waste your time on it?

Questions, Comments, Concerns: Dead 7

Well folks, it was no April Fools’ Day joke – maybe it was kind of a little? – but on Friday, SyFy premiered Dead 7, a zombie Western featuring 90s boy band members and teen idols and made by the fine folks who blessed the world with all the Sharknadoes.

When I first heard about this movie, I was NOT aware it was supposed to be in the same vein as Sharknado, so finding out my beloved Backstreet Boys members – Nick Carter, AJ McLean and Howie Dorough – were going to be in it, I immediately #SMH in shame. Especially because this is the movie’s description:

A post-apocalyptic Western that follows a group of gunslingers as they look to rid a small town of a zombie plague.

Um. Nope. But if you go into it knowing it’s a parody of sorts, I think you’ll enjoy it more. Or at least not shake your head in as much shame. Or if you really want to forego the entire viewing experience all together, just watch this trailer and keep reading.

Comment: what.

lol the opening credits are already ridiculous and I already know I’m going to hate this “plot” because I don’t care for zombies OR Westerns. But this is what I’m told: “Will they become cattle for the army of the dead or become warriors and fight against the growing darkness?”

Concern: U MadTV

This is the villain of the movie, Apocolypta, who is leading the “cattle”. She was also on MadTV and that’s the only thing I know her from, so will I be able to see past that? She does have an extremely annoying growling voice that isn’t anything like her Whitney Houston on the show.

Question: Dothraki?

Apocolypta is speaking some sort of foreign language, but why? Where is this taking place?

Concern: Ew. Blood.

One of the reasons why I hate zombie movies/shows is because I do not like watching blood and guts and anything of that nature. We’re four minutes in and Apocolypta serves some prisoner a human heart to eat. This is going to be rough.

Comment: MY BBs

Story by Nick Carter. My boo 4 LIFE AJ McLean on a horse. A REMINDER OF WHY I’M WATCHING THIS MOVIE.

Comment: Come on and Heat it up

Chapter 1 (there’s more than one chapter??) takes places in Harper’s Junction, and we meet the first of the Dead 7, Billy aka Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees, who shows up looking like a real dirty All-American hero. He has aged well, considering some of his counterparts. Hey, remember the time Jeff was in the Chippendales? Let me tell you – I just went to Vegas to see the Chippendales for my friend’s bachelorette and no one was quite as famous as Jeff Timmons.

Question: Random killings necessary?

Why is AJ straight up running into Harper’s Junction and shooting people left and right? He’s like the Joker on acid (I answered my own question – he’s working for Apocolypta and killing folks for the zombies to heat. Can you tell I don’t watch The Walking Dead?)

Concern: Visual effects are mediocre at best

Turns out Jeff Timmons is one of the heroes (duh, Traci), and he kills zombies with his guns, in a way that is very reminiscent of the “special effects” seen when Ian Ziering battles sharks in Sharknado. As in, it’s horrible but horrible enough to let you know they’re not serious about this.

Comment: Hey boobs

 Number 2 of 7 is Daisy Jane, a large-breasted blonde played by Carrie Keegan. Don’t know who that is? That’s fine, I only know her because she used to host a live morning show on VH1 I had to cover for work called Big Morning Buzz, which she left in order to focus on acting. Ironically, she was replaced by none other than 98 Degrees’ own Nick Lachey.

Comment: This dialogue

“She took my eye but she took your balls.”

One of the first scenes Chris Kirkpatrick of ‘N Sync fame has is when Apocolypta gouges his eye with her thumb. He has an eye patch. And is the mayor of Desert Springs Jon Secada of Jon Secada has sideburns. GOD BLESS.

Comment: Perfect casting

AJ is an insane villain and no shade, he is so good at being crazy. He’s always been the crazy one of the group so it’s in his wheelhouse, and his performance is getting me through this movie. And it’s only been 13 minutes. Also, we’re on “Chapter II: The Magnificent Dead 7” … how many chapters are there?

Question: Should I know these people?

Because there are so many rando 90s stars in the movie, I honestly can’t tell if some of these folks are celebrities or people from central casting.

Comment: More Joey Fatone

We meet 3 of 7, Whiskey Joe as played by the second best actor in this movie, Joey Fatone of ‘N Sync. He’s beating people up and drinking from his whiskey bottle it is fantastic. Right after this fight, he says, “I gotta go” and he doesn’t mean leave the premises, he’s gotta go number one because WHISKEY.

Concern: Type casting

 Howard Dwaine Dorough of the Backstreet Boys is 4 of 7, a dude named Vaquero. Aka a Latino man with Ray Bans from the actual 1990s. And his accent is… maybe slightly offensive. Maybe also offensive is 5 of 7 Komodo – Erik Estrada of O-Town. Despite also being Latino, he is not type cast but rather playing a sword-wielding ninja cowboy. So Vaquero is way more offensive, I’ve decided.

Question: THERE’S A FOURTH SHARKNADO?

“Sharknado 4 – The 4th Awakens”. This title tho.

Comment: Meta jokes begin

In what I think is the first meta joke of the movie, Gerardo Mejía (the Rico Suave guy) is a store owner? (Who accepts teeth as payment?) Anyways, he says, “Suave! Woo! That’s my boy!” while he’s reading a magazine of sorts. What type of magazine could he possibly be looking at in this zombie world?

Question: What is Nick Carter hiding?

6 of 7 is the one and only Nick Carter of BSB, who plays Jack, Billy/Jeff Timmons’ brother. He’s camped out in a field by himself and gets a letter from Daisy Jane (who is engaged to Billy), and in the note, she encourages him to “put the past behind them”. Did Jack and Billy have a falling out? Did Jack and Daisy Jane have a romantic past? These are the things I’m willing to explore.

“This is a big ass door” Vaquero, while walking through a big ass door.

Comment: Joey Fatone is hilarious

Honestly. He keeps mispronouncing Vaquero as Vacaro (like Brenda Vaccaro, which is a totally relevant reference) and it’s v entertaining to me. He also says, “There’s a bunch of chopped up copperheads (zombies) and they’re… muy muerto.” Spin-off with Joey and AJ. Except no zombies. Or as a Western. So, like a normal movie.

Question: What happened to Everclear?

This is Art Alexakis. He was in Everclear. Now he’s in this movie.

Concern: A kid is going to die

“I’ve gotta check on my foster kid, Georgie.” Jon Secada is the maybe only sheriff/cop in town, and earlier, AJ/Vermillion/Apocolypta’s right hand man, was talking to some kid after breaking out of jail. I am concerned for his safety now. Also, his foster kid?? Update: Foster kid is a zombie. So is Jon Secada. Great.

Question: What does Ikaika Kahoano think of all this?

 Sure, Ashley Parker Angel wants nothing to do with O-Town anymore, but Making the Band fans know Dan Miller actually replaced the originally chosen singer Ikaika, who left because he felt like O-Town wasn’t a good fit for him. Then he went and started his own boy band who had a semi-hit with Hey Juliet and disappeared into the Hawaiian night. Does he wish he could’ve been a bartender then have his flesh chewed out by zombies like Dan? Probs not.

“Everybody’s gonna die some day.” – Jack

Comment: Komodo’s girlfriend is no bueno

Komodo meets Trixie at a bar and she hasn’t left his side since. He’s trying to kill zombies and she’s just there. That is annoying enough, but this girl is like every hot girl in horror movies who looks great running away from a murderer, but the acting skills are just not there. And you know what I found out? The actress, Chloe Lattanzi, is the daughter of Olivia Newton-John. Yes, Sandy herself. Do with that information what you will.

Question: Nepotism?

7 of 7 is Sirene, a machete wielding amazong played by Lauren Kitt Carter, wife of Nick Carter. Nick Carter – star, executive producer, writer of the story. So she’s not the greatest actress, but bless.

Question: What happened to Shifty Shellshock?

My, my a Starry Eyed Surprise – to see Shifty Shellshock in a movie with members of ‘N Sync and BSB.

Concern: There’s just blatant racism now

Whiskey Joe yells to Vacquero, “We’re in America we speak American!” Which, I get is a joke, but felt weird to me. To make matters worse, Howie’s Spanish is 6th grade Spanish and an accent that’s fit for Speedy Gonzales.

Comment: I forgot about the other half of O-Town

I failed to mention Jacob Underwood and Trevor Penick are also in this film, and while Jacob spends most of his short time on screen driving a pick-up truck, I honestly don’t even remember seeing Trevor at all. And he’s my fave O-Towner.

Question: What’s happening?

I stopped paying attention because I got distracted by stalking Scott Patterson on Twitter.

Comment: So there’s a brothel

If you were bored by the blood and the zombies, don’t worry, because they’ve thrown in a random brothel to spice things up. And Frenchie Davis of American Idol Season 2 (disqualified bc porn) fame is the madam there. Komodo’s GF Trixie lives here, because she gave him directions but failed to mention she’s a prostitute. He brings along Whiskey Joe and Vaquero, who are being THE BIGGEST CREEPS AND EYING DOWN THE LADIES OH MY GOD THERE IS STRAIGHT UP SIMULATED SEX HERE I HATE IT. Oh bye Howard. He’s dead.

Question: Why?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME Whiskey Joe plays a few notes of Amazing Grace on his harmonica before killing Howie and letting him out of his misery after a zombie prostitute bit him. Like what even was that sentence I just typed.

Concern: I’m still attracted to AJ

He is literally knifing Daisy Jane and Billy is crying because his girl is dead and AJ mocks his tears and it is equally hilarious and hot.

Comment: Just… a lot of blood

So much blood.

“I can’ play rough You’re my kind of bitch” AJ what are you saying

Question: What happened with Billy and Jack?

Billy’s dying and Jack is by his side and crying over his death, but I still don’t get why they had a tense relationship? These characters need to be *fleshed* out better, said no one except me about a SyFy channel movie.

Comment: THIS.

LOL AJ’S HEAD IS LITERALLY ROLLING AFTER KOMODO USES TWO SWORDS TO SLICE IT OFF.

Comment: AND THIS.

LOL ERIK USING A LEG FOR PROTECTION

Question: When zombies die, don’t they come back to life?

Legit question.

Comment: I am mourning the loss of Whiskey Joe

 Whiskey Joey hints earlier that if he ever gets bit by a zombie, he has a separate “blood flask” that’s connected to a bomb lining his coat so when he turns into a zombie he’ll know to detonate it and kill himself. This happens for real and his intestines hang out. I cannot.

“They’re everywhere and I’m running out of whiskey.” Whiskey Joe keeping it real

Comment: Komodo let love ruin his life

Trixie get bit by a zombie, and in mourning, Komodo cradles her in his arms, then kisses her one last time – except she bites him. Like, come on. So he has to kill her they only way he knows how, by jabbing a knife into her skull. Then he kills himself in a Romeo + Juliet situation, thus becoming our tragic lovers.

Question: I still don’t get this movie?

Honestly where is this going, what’s the moral of the story here?

Comment: Baby Baylee appears

Jack/Nick gets bitten by a baby zombie that legit looks like Brian Littrell’s son Baylee when he was a tot, and I can’t unsee it. Luckily, Sirene saves the day.

Comment: The song makes so much more sense now

The original song made by the stars (mainly Nick and AJ) called In The End, is played in the beginning and, surprise surprise at the end of the movie, and it totally resonates so much more because of the journey I just went on.

No one’s left to take me home/Nothing’s left just a dream/Don’t look back nothing’s gonna save us

Comment: Apocolypta is dead

I forgot to mention that. Pretty much everyone dies except Sirene. Which apparently is a relief to some, including Jack, who tells us in the voiceover that he ” has a chance to rest finally rest in death.”