Pop Culture Blind Spot: Dirty Dancing

Warm up those hips and grab a watermelon because it’s time for another installment of Pop Culture Blind Spot!  And today we’re heading back to family summer camp and celebrating Dirty Dancing, which was released on this day exactly 30 years ago. Even after three decades, the movie still holds up. Let’s dive right in and revisit one of the greatest movies that defined a generation.

Statements of note from the trailer:

“The heat is in the music. The music sets you dancing. The dancing sets her free.”

“She thought it would be just another summer vacation, but it turns out to be the time of her life.”

“What they learn from each other feels too good to be wrong.”

My knowledge of this movie: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey do a lot of dancing. Kenny Ortega of High School Musical fame choreographed it. Kelly Bishop aka Emily Gilmore is also in it, but I always manage to forget this fact.

The reason I had never seen Dirty Dancing is from a lack of not wanting to see it. By nature, it should be a movie I love – romance, impressive dance sequences, drama, comedy. I just never got around to watching it. Thank God for Netflix, amirite, ladies? So here we are, almost 28 years to the day it was released on August 21st, 1987, and I’m sharing my thoughts with you on it for the very first time. Here goes nothing.

2:20 This movie takes place in 1963? Definitely did not know that. I thought it was just another 80s movie.

2:44 I remember that Kelly Bishop is in this movie. I know, I know. She’s a Tony Award winning actress of stage and screen, but to me she will forever and always be Emily Gilmore. And to quote the Gilmore Guys podcast, Bishop is Queen.

2:57 I knew there was greenery and cabin-looking structures in this movie, but I was not aware it takes place at a sleepaway camp for families. Does anyone go to this kind of camp anymore? Do these even exist?

3:24 The cars lining up to Kellerman’s camp legit looks like moving in day for freshman at my college.

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3:54 Is Newman from Seinfeld in this? [the answer is yes]

5:00 MAMA KELLY BISHOP IS SERVING IN THIS DANCE SCENE, DESPITE THE FACT THEY’RE SMUSHED TOGETHER LIKE A BUNCH OF SARDINES.

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7:20 I get Patrick Swayze now.

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7:55 “You just put your pickle on everybody’s plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me.” – Johnny Castle, an employee at a Jewish family camp, definitely NOT a porn star.

9:00 Baby is set up with some doofus who is the camp owner’s grandson, a dude named Neil who is going to Cornell for Hotel Management. Meanwhile, Baby’s got her eyes on going to Mount Holyoke to study the economics of underdeveloped countries and then enter the Peace Corps. Obviously well matched.

10:30 Johnny Castle and the blonde dance instructor Penny take center stage at this dance Baby and Neil are at, clearly auditioning for whatever the version of Dancing with the Stars was in 1963. However, they get cockblocked by the owner Max who wants them to dance with the guests instead.

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13:37 After being forced to appear in a magic show and awarded a chicken for participation, Baby wanders into the staff quarters, which is a big no no. What a rebel.

14:30 Baby runs into a guy holding three huge watermelons, but they really just look like three prop pickles. There is no way he could carry three of those on his own. Come on.

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15:00 Baby enters the secret staff dance party where the literal Dirty Dancing is going down. Basically this type of dancing is grinding on top of your partner with no room for the holy spirit at all. Which I guess doesn’t matter for the employees of this Jewish camp.

17:00 This soundtrack is amazing, by the way. I’m a sucker for 60s/Motown era music. Still blown away that this takes place in 1963.

20:00 Johnny teaching Baby how to roll her hips is the most awkward. It’s like she’s about to drop a deuce right on the dance floor. (GOD HELP ME I NEVER WANT TO SAY DROP A DEUCE AGAIN)

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21:00 For some reason, an activity for the women at this camp is to try on wigs. What else is available at this camp – How To Cook A Proper Roast For Your Man or Top Tips For Cleaning Your Curlers?

25:00 Penny is pregnant. I was not aware there was a pregnancy twist in this film. Despite attempting to help a devastated Penny, she tells her to GTFO. And apparently the father of this baby is the asshole misogynistic server in the restaurant.

30:00 To remedy this, Baby asks her doctor dad Jerry Orbach for $300 to do a “non illegal” activity – aka she’s going to pay for Penny’s abortion??? This is a lot of money for someone she just met a day ago. Is she trying to prove something or is she just a good person? Or trying to prove she’s a good person?

33:42 Baby agrees to take Penny’s place in a dance competition since she’ll be recovering from her aforementioned abortion – is there really no one else qualified to take Penny’s place? A sub dance instructor at the camp, perhaps? Baby can barely roll her hips around, as we learned earlier. She’s worse than Julia Stiles learning hip-hop in Save The Last Dance.

37:00 Jennifer Grey is incredibly skinny. Penny is even skinnier. And the two skinny waists have a weird threesome with Johnny as they teach her how to dance. Uncomfy moment #3 – it’s the same feeling I get while watching ballroom trios on So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With The Stars.

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38:00 The closeups on the gyrating hips – not for me. Uncomfy moment #4.

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I know I keep on bringing up Dancing With the Stars, but this B plot about Baby learning how to learn competitive-level dance is totally a parallel to DWTS. The fact that you have to pick up a foreign skill quickly then perform it under the (hungry) eyes of judges is just like in this movie. Which probably explains how she won season 11 of DWTS.

40:00 Johnny accidentally locks the keys to his car inside said vehicle, so he just straight up takes a pole out of the ground to smash his car window. With ease, he does this. It’s also raining, but it’s the fakest rain ever and the sun is shining like it’s 90 degree day, and all I can think is the rain machine is blowing the water horizontally at Patrick Swayze’s face. That handsome mug must be insured, this shouldn’t be happening to him.

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41:00 This balancing on a log practice could be problematic. That is a ravine right there. Maybe don’t risk your life when you could easily do this on a dance floor? Also, I’m supposed to be shipping this right?


43:00 Johnny takes Baby to a field and subsequently the famous lake, which is much better than a log in the middle of the forest. But why isn’t Baby’s family concerned about her whereabouts? She just disappeared from camp. Isn’t her sister wondering why Baby didn’t show up to Wig Class?

47:00 Baby has somehow aged 10 years with her costume for the competition. She now looks like a New York Housewife competing in DWTS.

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51:00 Uh oh. Penny’s not looking too hot after her shotty abortion. Baby comes to the rescue again by secretly getting her M.D. Dad to help her. Jerry Orbach (RIP) is quite the Doctor Detective. And quite upset with Baby’s interaction with the Dirty Dancing sexual deviants.

56:00 Welp Baby basically just confessed her love to Johnny. He’s already got his shirt off, so she asks him to dance… But on the real tho –  this sex dance scene is still hot.

1:00 Penny clearly picks up the sex vibes that Johnny and Baby are putting down, and she warns him not to get serious with Baby. Which of course, in 80s movie terms, he obviously is.

This outfit is the reason I keep forgetting the movie takes place in 1963. This could either be 1987 or 2015, who the hell knows.

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“What is with all this rain? Remind me not to have my honeymoon in Niagara Falls.” Baby’s sister

“So, you go to Acapulco, it’ll be fine!” – Queen Bishop

1:04 Baby and Johnny can’t stop boning. She’s technically a teenager, right? Since she’s “planning” to go to Mount Holyoke? Johnny’s obviously the type to skip college in favor of living out his dreams of being a camp dance instructor, so is this forbidden love even more forbidden?

1:07 Oh hey, a scene I actually have scene before. This makes sense in context now. Before I thought it was just some weirdo lip syncing to a song.

1:09 Neil, the annoying grandson, is like the Patrice of this movie. He wants Johnny to dance the Pachanga for the final show, and Johnny’s response is one that made me legit LOL: “He wouldn’t know a good idea if it hit him in the Pachanga” 1:12 Johnny’s bad boy side comes out when asshole waiter sees him kissing Baby, and the scene is like a fight between the Jets and the Sharks.

1:13 Baby’s sister singing I cannot.

1:18 There’s some side plot about Johnny’s cougar dance client setting him up as a kid who stole her husband’s wallet, but Baby comes to his defense by providing an alibi that he was with her at the time of the alleged theft. Not really important.

1:19 Baby goes to confront her upset father about basically admitted she slept with Johnny, and the whole conversation looks like a scene from The Bachelor when one of the final girls meets the bachelor’s dad for the first time to talk about how in love they are with their son.

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1:22 Johnny’s heading out of town because of all the “trouble” he’s caused, and as he rides away, She’s Like the Wind plays in the background. Yes, the hit song by Patrick Swayze. TOO META. BTW, what exactly is Johnny’s accent? And does he not look like The Terminator in this scene?

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1:26 This camp has its own theme song. This is just such a foreign culture to me that I’m having a difficult time believing it’s real. This tune is a cross between a traditional hymn and one of those camp songs you hear in like Troop Beverly Hills.

1:29 Ah yes, the iconic “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” scene. In my head she was in a literal corner of a room, sitting in a chair as if she had been punished. In addition, Johnny was gone for like 2 hours they’re all acting like it’s been years. ALSO Queen Bishop looks so hot rn!

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1:30 So here’s my problem with Baby and Johnny dancing to Time of My Life – it’s a song that was made in the 1980s, but supposed to be set for a performance in 1963. This is why I’m confused. However, I will say that this song in context also makes so much more sense with the movie. Oh, and how did Johnny coordinate a flash mob so fast??

“I think she gets this from me.” KELLY FREAKING BISHOP

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There are some interesting characters in the crowd, including the guy who predicted wearing sunglasses at night long before Corey Hart, the band leader dancing with Penny, and the two larger women happily dancing with each other. The movie ends with a pan out on the dance floor, with a spotlight on Baby and Johnny DIRTY DANCING. Bless. Also, it’s very reminiscent of the High School Musical 3 finale, because as you remember, Kenny Oretga is a mastermind of both these epic films.

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(Previously posted in August, 2015)

Pop Culture Blind Spot: First Wives Club

“What does it say? ‘I beat Meryl!'”

Those were the words Jennifer Lawrence said when she got on stage to accept her Golden Globe for Silver Linings Playbook back in 2013, and for people like me who had a certain pop culture blind spot, the joke went over their heads. Apparently it’s a quote from First Wives Club by Bette Midler’s character, and J Law being J Law, just assumed everyone would get that and not think it was a dig at the world’s best actress.

Well I can safely say that now, I understand the reference because I finally watched First Wives Club for the first time. First Time First Wives Club Club? No? Ok Fair. Read on for more pop culture refs and early celeb cameos from one of the best comedies in movie history.

My knowledge of First Wives Club: Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn are are recently divorced from their husbands. Probably rich husbands. Now on their second, much younger wives. Comedy and sisterhood ensues.

Netflix description: Following a friend’s suicide after her husband dumps her for a younger model, three women plot payback against their two-timing exes. 

… The club was started because of suicide? And this is a comedy???

The pop art title credits are giving me vibes I wasn’t expecting.

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MAGGIE SMITH? VICTOR GARBER? ELIZABETH BERKLEY? BRONSON PINCHOT/BALKI?! Truly had no idea these fine folks were in this movie.

And then Stockard Channing shows up straight from There Are Worse Things I Could Do… Oh God is she going to kill herself?

She killed herself :\

Diane Keaton’s kitchen got the Nancy Meyers treatment.

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Archaic 1996 item watch: Bette Midler’s son’s cassette tape

Does Bronson Pinchot ever get to use his real accent when he acts?

Diane Keaton wins Most Supportive Mother Award:

Prediction: Diane Keaton’s inability to get truly angry will finally come to a head when it matters the most. Like Cameron Diaz crying in The Holiday.

1996 was a really big year for Dan Hedaya, right?

Cameo Alert: SJP! Rob Reiner! Timothy Olyphant! Rev Cam! What a star-studded cast.

Speaking of star studded, the British bartender Goldie Hawn is complaining to about playing a mother looked familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. Naturally, he was in a singular episode of Gilmore Girls as the wedding planner hired by Emily to organize Lor and Christopher’s wedding. He had about 5 minutes of screen time (if that), but THIS IS HOW MY BRAIN WORKS.

Oh look, Diane Keaton’s anger is coming through at the perfect time – when she finds out her husband not only wants a divorce but is sleeping with her therapist. Good call, Trace.

Diane Keaton reading Stockard Channing’s final letter: “Perhaps Gil isn’t the problem. Perhaps loneliness is. Please take care of each other. Love, Cynthia.”

Diane Keaton’s mom: “And on such pretty stationery.”

I am the mom.

My new aesthetic is three ladies putting their wedding rings in the champagne glasses.

THEY’RE GOING TO A GAY BAR TO SUPPORT DIANE KEATON’S LESBIAN DAUGHTER. AND GOLDIE HAWN DANCING WITH THE GAYS IS EVERYTHING.

Cameo Alert: Lea Delaria as a *gasp* lesbian who hits on Goldie Hawn, who just loves attention, and Debra Monk is the drowning her sorrows at the bar because her girlfriend left her.

Bette Midler: He brought her (new wife). To my son’s Bar Mitzvah.

Diane Keaton: Is she a gift?

Cameo Alert: Elizabeth Berkley is Victor Garber’s new girl? And she’s an aspiring actress?! Her acting is horrible. Is this what she was like in Showgirls?

And here we have the famous “I beat Meryl!” scene:

Maggie Smith’s hair is the definition of “The higher the hair the closer to God”. Also this may be the first time I’ve ever seen Maggie Smith act without her British accent?

I just realized the magical reunion that is SJP’s boyfriend’s ex-wife is Bette Midler. Confession: I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus either.

One of my favorite things about movies from the ’90s is when people use computers, because it looks so extremely archaic compared to the handheld smartphones we have today. The ladies attempting to find Morty’s tax returns is like Julianne using Kimmy’s dad’s computer in My Best Friend’s Wedding.

I love the irony that these ladies almost died falling down the side of a building in scaffolding kind of like Stockard Channing.

This singing bit between the trio is adorable.

Cameo Alert: Kate Burton as the Goldie Hawn superfan who’s in bed when she and the girls are flying down the building.

THIS BLOW UP SCENE IS 100:

Cameo Alert: JK Simmons as the police officer/mobster(?) who handcuffs Morty

Also my new aesthetic: Bette Midler chastising/blackmailing Morty with hanging carcasses behind her.

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YASSS LADIES WORK THESE PANTSUITS. PANTSUIT NATION.

How is Morty signing a check to the “First Wives Club”? Are they a company LLC now? I feel like I missed something.

Cameo Alert: Kathie Lee Gifford as a local NY reporter. I miss Reege.

They started a crisis center in Cynthia’s name. I love this. What a great movie!

Cameo Alert: Gloria Steinem at their party! And Ivana Trump saying an iconic line. I CAN’T GET AWAY FROM ANY OF THE TRUMPS.

Ok the singing bit reprise is wonderful. And has me a little emo.

What a delightful film! I get why people love it so much. Yay ladies doing it for themselves! #NastyWomen! #WearWhite!

First Wives Club is now streaming on Amazon & Hulu

Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Babadook

When The Babadook took its rightful but confusing place as a gay icon after Netflix included it in its list of LGBT films, I had a real dilemma. I hate horror movies, but I love when everyone on the internet is joking about the same thing. As usual, my love for internet won out. It’s time for me to learn about the Babadook, a scary basement demon recently outed by Netflix.

The Babadook opens with a mom, Amelia,  dreaming about a car accident and waking up to her creepy Australian child wanting to read his favorite book. Australian children are less creepy than British children in horror movies, more than American. Fight me on it. If you were a British child, you wouldn’t have to. You’d just say something fairly innocuous like “I’m awake, mummy” and I’d run screaming.

The entire house is decorated in shades of gray and midnight, like they interior decorated for the comfort and preferences of the ghost. Demon, monster, whatever.

demon chic

Samuel (creepy-but-not-British-creepy child) tells a random supermarket lady that his “dad’s in the cemetery. He got killed driving mum to the hospital to have me.” Gay means happy and this is NOT.

Sam stands on the tip-top of a swingset while being a Babadook, I guess. Still not clear on what a Babadook is. A small white dog scratches at a locked door, which I gather is where the Babadook lives. Is it a closet??? Is the Babadook in the closet? I’m trying.

and dorothy. of you and me and dorothy.

Maybe everything is gray and colorless so it can become rainbow when the Babadook comes?? Kind of like The Wizard Of Oz… starring gay icon Judy Garland?? I’m reaching.

It turns out the Babadook is a terrifying pop-up book Sam has. For the record, they say Babadook to rhyme more with “look” than “Luke.” PLOT TWIST: the terrifying pop-up, which ends with the words “you’re going to wish you were dead,” ends up looking like a generic colorful children’s book when they pull back, and Amelia is reading a different story entirely. Amelia hides the book (rhymes with Babadook!) above her wardrobe.

Amelia watches black and white tv because that’s her aesthetic.

Sam throws firecrackers in anger.

Amelia: Where’d you get those firecrackers?

Sam: You got them for me on the internet.

Amelia: That’s the end of the internet.

Why did I love that exchange so much?

Samuel loves to play in a sequin cape,  a nod to Liberacci??

NOPE

Sam, or a Babadook, hung up an empty men’s suit on the wall and it’s very spooky. Also I KNOW that a hanging suit is, or should be, empty but that’s really the only way to describe it:

There’s glass in Amelia’s soup or thickened boiled milk that she’s eating. Sam said the Babadook did it. Maybe the real Babadook is SAM.

Sam watches an unsettling magic DVD. How does Sam keep getting these age-inappropriate forms of media? Don’t say the internet. Amelia swore off of Amazon.

Amelia goes upstairs to find the photo of her and Sam’s dad all scribbled out. Scribbled out like … bi erasure??? Guys I am so sorry but nothing’s gay yet.

At Sam’s friend Ruby’s birthday party, all of the moms wear black to look creepier for the Babadook.

In another feat of color coordination, the girl party guests wear pale pink with black accents. The party decorations are maroon, every child’s favorite color. There’s a clown because this is a horror movie, why not.

Amelia’s friend Claire doesn’t like going to Amelia’s house because it’s depressing, possibly because every surface from floor to ceiling, including the stairs and Sam’s bedroom, seems to be covered in black chalkboard paint. I really hope there’s a big reveal at the end at it was colorful all along.

Ruby taunts Sam for not having a dad. Maybe the real Babadook is CHILDREN’S CAPACITY FOR CRUELTY. Sam pushes Ruby out of a tree house which was still very unwarranted. Sam then appears to seize in the car, which makes me wonder why Sam hasn’t had a neurological and psych eval yet??

Amelia gets a new pop-up book… is something that should be a caption on a mommy blogger’s instagram, but which is actually a scene where Amelia gets a new gift from the Babadook about how the Babadook will take her over.

AHHHH. The Babadook calls Amelia on her land line and says “Babadook…dook…dook” in a croaky demon voice.

Let’s talk about acting. Essie Davis is fantastic as Amelia, who half thinks her child is losing it and half thinks she is. She’s extra fantastic in the scene where she goes to the police to report a children’s book. You can see her genuine belief that she’s correct right alongside her realization that what she’s saying sounds ridiculous. Noah Wisemen is also marvelous as Sam and he really does seem like an actual child, not a spooky horror movie child cliche. Also, this was Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut and it’s absolutely beautiful — not too scary, despite my protests against horror movies, but really thoughtful and nicely styled.

Amelia finds a hole in her kitchen wall. Beetles crawl out. She has made references to being poor but she has an expensive-looking vintage replica fridge so that doesn’t quite check out.

The Australian child Sam watches on TV sounds so much more Australian than Sam.

SHIIIIIT. The Babadook sneaks into Amelia’s bedroom by way of creaky door and croaks “Babadook…dook…dook” again. He kind of stop-motions around on the ceiling for a bit. Amelia has an outfit, complete with hat, on a mannequin in her bedroom. What is WITH this family? Anyway, it was a “dream” but surely it wasn’t really.

In keeping with her aesthetic, Amelia watches a black-and-white silent film that looks kind of like A Trip To The Moon, except with Babadooks all up in it.

this is why i don’t have cable

Amelia shouts at Sam to “eat shit,” but I’m certain that’s just the Babadook or the mean older brother in a John Hughes movie talking.

Amelia: 1. crashes a car because the Babadook was Babadook-dook-dooking her; 2. takes a bath fully clothed; 3. attempts to nap while cuddling a violin; 4. tromps around her house with a butcher knife; 5. forces Sam to take pills; 6. watches aesthetically-consistent black and white cartoons.

The dog won’t hang with Amelia, which is how we can be sure she’s harboring the Babadook.

SPOOOOKY. Amelia watches a news report about a woman who stabbed her 7-year-old to death; cut to Amelia in the news report looking out her window with an eerie frozen smile. NOPE NOPE NOPE. This is neither about the Babadook or the Gay Babadook, but when I was little my brother used to open my bedroom door and stare with an eerie frozen smile while singing that circus song, which was some clever sibling bullying. It’s a tattle-proof trick. “Mom, Matt’s smiling and singing!”

Amelia’s dead husband is in the basement. He’s surely a Babadook. He says “bring me the boy” in increasingly Babadookish tones.

Amelia kills the small white dog 😦  Then she Babadook-floats at Sam, who says she isn’t his mother and throws a firecracker and some darts at her.

The kind, elderly neighbor comes over and says that she knows this time of year is hard for Amelia. Maybe the real Babadook is HOW SAD SHE IS.

Sam brings a knife down on his mother with the most unsettling confused grimace/smile.

After some stuff, Amelia voms a black tar-like substance so who knows, maybe the real Babadook is an intestinal bleed and a bowel obstruction.

Amelia relives her husband’s gory death, and tells the Babadook that he’s nothing and not welcome in her house. The Babadook goes back to the basement. The real Babadook is grief and PTSD, just like I’ve been saying this entire time.

Almost right away, Amelia’s hair is MUCH fluffier, and a birthday banner is hung in the living room. They speak freely about Sam’s dad. Ruby was Sam’s… cousin? Which I did not realize. They feed the Babadook worms in the basement, because they somehow learned that he eats worms. The Babadook, which is grief, will always exist in their lives but that doesn’t mean it’s always invited to the party.

Sam does a worryingly good magic trick.

Fine.

Okay, so I still don’t know why the Babadook is gay but he doesn’t owe me an explanation. The Babadook is more than just gay, he’s also a basement grief-demon who eats worms and hangs suits up. I hope he has fun at all the parades and parties!

 

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Shawshank Redemption

“But Traci, The Shawshank Redemption is SO GOOD. I can’t believe you haven’t seen it!”

I’m aware. Oh I’m very aware. I’m also very aware that Pulp Fiction and the Star Wars and the Godfathers are all critically acclaimed, but I haven’t seen those either. It’s basically the reason we have this pop culture blind spot series in the first place. We are aware we’re missing out on a huge part of the pop culture landscape. And we’re working on it.

In the process of “working on it”, I finally got around to watching Shawshank and 2 and a half hours later it was a blind spot no more. Read on to revisit this iconic cinematic masterpiece that I’m officially an expert on having just seen it for the first time.

Prior Knowledge of This film

Prison. Tim Robbins. Someone dies? Supposed to be real good.

Actual IMDb description

Two imprisoned men (Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman) bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Oh right Morgan Freeman. I swear I knew that.

Ohh this is a double death crime of passion? I’m already into this.

The cinematography is great in this! (Apparently so great it was nominated for an Oscar)

Legit question: it’s 1949 but there wasn’t segregation in this prison?

This is nothing like Orange is the New Black. Relatedly, I miss my GF Poussey.

Doctor Romano is one of these prison wardens?! Remember when his arm got cut off by a helicopter in ER?

TIM ROBBINS IS SO TINY AND CUTE. He was only 36 when he made this, which is adult age but he still looks like a little nugget.

Yes Andy making a deal with the officers to drink some beer. That is a true hustler.

Andy gets constantly gang raped by a group of men called the Sisters and it is not fun to watch. I also was not expecting a lot of rape in this film, tbh.

Wait the Captain, after befriending Andy, comes to his defense by beating up the prisoner who was raping Andy? This is oddly heartfelt and I feel weird about it?

I need to read more about prisoners getting Bibles on their way in. Does this always happen? Does it still happen?

This is amazing – now other prison guards are going to Andy for trust fund and financial advice!? He’s practically doing taxes for every employee. And he set up shop in his new office at the library, and he’s really the Taystee of Shawshank State Penitentiary.

Aw that actor guy is in jail! James Whitmore is his name. You know, the old guy from all the things! In Shawshank, his name is Brooks and he’s been in the prison for 50 years, spending most of his days as the joint’s librarian. He finally gets parole and he now works at a Halfway House and works as a bagger at a grocery store and oh my god this is so sad I’m cRYING. It doesn’t end well for Brooks 😦

“The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.” Brooks

I guess when you’re have prison and got nothing but time, a long con is small peanuts. Andy wants to improve the prison library so he writes to the government asking for money in the prison budget. He doesn’t hear back. He continues to write a letter every single week for SIX YEARS until one day officials finally write back and give him a check for $200, along with a note appreciating his “persistence”. Never give up on your dreams, kids.

This Mozart scene tho.

BILLY THOMAS!!!!

If this is who Ally McBeal fell in love with in high school I GET IT.

Billy Thomas had an old cellmate who basically confessed to killing Andy’s wife and her lover?! And his name – the robber dude who killed them – is Elmo Blatch. Elmo. Blatch. He has a face that looks like this. What nightmares are made of.

Andy talks to the warden to tell him Billy Thomas’ story and the warden is a dumb prick about it and the frustration I get with Andy’s lack of support from the warden is the same frustration I felt when watching Making a Murderer.

WHAT THE FUCK THE WARDEN BASICALLY HAS BILLY THOMAS KILLED SO HE DOESN’T COME FORWARD WITH THE REAL STORY AND ANDY CAN’T LEAVE THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM HAS ALWAYS BEEN CORRUPT

They’ve mentioned farts like thrice is this symbolism

oh my god Andy was using the rock pickaxe thing to dig a hole through the wall to escape and used the posters of Hollywood stars to cover up the hole. Brilliant.

“Andy Dufresne, headed for the Pacific. Those of us who knew him best talk about him often. I swear, the stuff he pulled… Sometimes it makes me sad, though, Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice, but still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty now that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.” I GUESS I JUST MISS MY FRIEND. RED! YOU’RE KILLING ME

Seriously Red/Morgan Freeman goes into his parole meeting and literally says “I don’t give a shit” then gets approved after years of being declined. Is this what I should do in job interviews?

When he gets let out he lives in the same room as Brooks, has the same job bagging groceries. It’s like late 1960s early 1970s now? Again, isn’t there segregation?? Like he’s being let out in a world where he can’t drink from the same water fountain as white people AND he’s an ex-con.

That’s probably why Red was like eff this, I’m gonna go follow this scavenger hunt Andy is leading me on. It takes him all the way to the oak tree in Ohio Andy talked about in prison. Red digs out a box with money and a letter from Andy, telling him to meet him in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, a place Andy told him about long ago. And so Red continues.

 

RED, 2 HOURS AGO: “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

ANDY, IN HIS LETTER NOW: “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

RED, ON THE FINAL LEG OF MEETING UP WITH ANDY: “I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.”

“Get busy living or get busy dying”, my new tattoo.

GUYS I’M CRYING THEY’RE REUNITED ON THE PACIFIC

A++++. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. IT’S AS GOOD AS THEY SAY.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Hello Dolly

Welcome back to Pop Culture Blind Spot, where we examine beloved films and tv shows that we definitely should have seen by now. Up today: Hello Dolly, a movie musical totally missed by this person who loves movie musicals.

What I think I know about Hello Dolly: It’s from the 1950s but set in that time all mid-century musicals were – approximately 1908, or whenever Main Street Disney is supposed to be. It’s about Barbra Streisand… doing vaudeville, maybe. The only thing I know is the song Hello Dolly, and by that I mean the part of the song where they say Hello Dolly, well hello Dolly.

Let’s see how wrong I am!

Right out the gate, this was made in 1969, making me nearly twenty years off in release date. I guess I should have been tipped off by the fact that Babs would have been a child in the ’50s.

But it IS from the era I was thinking of-ish: New York City, 1890! I’m already into it by the Ken Burns-y fade-in they do from a still photo of a 1908 street scene to live motion.

The continued opening shots showing people’s feet as they skip, hopscotch and trip-trap about are fantastic. This leads me to look up who directed this… Gene Kelly?!? WOAH. I had no idea he directed, too. Talk about a quintuple threat.

Premise: Dolly Levi (Barba Streisand) is a matchmaker with great hats.

Ambrose (Tommy Tune), doing a nerd voice, wants to marry scroogey rich Horace Vandergelder’s niece Ermengarde. I assume Ermengarde was meant as a nerd name even in the 60s. Ermengarde has a great fuchsia hairbow and a nice complexion.

 

Horace: You are a seven-foot-tall nincompoop!

Ambrose: That’s an insult!

Horace: All the facts about you are insults!

Horace, re: his clerk Cornelius’s announcement that he’s 28 and 3/4 years old: “That’s a foolish age to be at. I thought you were 40.”

Horace (Walter Matthau!) ‘s plan is to get married.  He illustrates that through a cringey song about how it “takes a woman” to do thinks like dump ashes. He describes women as both “fragile” and “frail” but also capable of doing the garbage work he doesn’t want to do like “clean out the drain in the sink”,”washing and bluing and shoeing the mare” and “cleaning the stable.”

Okay, here’s what Horace is. He is to husbands as Marilla Cuthbert is to mothers: he’s more or less trying to buy another human for chores. It sounds like what Horace needs is a maid or a handyman. I assume that in 1969, as in 2017, this song read as a joke about how horrible Horace, the two male clerks and the chorus of singing men behind him are. Men in general I guess.

The scene with Barbra Streisand reading Horace’s palm turned me into a Barbra Streisand fan.

Apparently the frail sturdy chorewoman Horace has in mind is Irene in New York. Dolly sing-explains that SHE wants to be Horace’s wife-maid-stableboy.

Barnaby and Cornelius, the nerdy clerks, are going to New York and aren’t coming back until “they’ve each kissed a girl.” Barnaby is 19 and a half to Cornelius’s 28 and 3/4 so “for me it’s not so urgent.” I should probably mention that they’re in Yonkers, which I guess looked like the Old West in 1890, so it’s not much of a commute. Dolly sends them off to meet that hussy Irene and her shopgirl. I see what you’re doing, Doll.

About to close down the saloon early. Or feed shop. Grainery? General store.

Put On Your Sunday Clothes is the best number so far. “Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out,” sing a bunch of Newsies from a time when ‘Sunday clothes’ meant anything. Ladies dance with parasols, a film industry requirement for all technicolor musicals made before 1970. A family in all white emerges from a Queen Anne-style house and for a second it’s like we’re in a Ragtime crossover. The ladies do a tiptoe move with their bustles that’s the late Victorian precursor to twerking. People talk-sing and you can show that to any old folks incredulous about modern rap musicals. Everyone departs on a train, another one of those midcentury musical requirements.

Parasols. Newsies. Bustles. Trains. Yep, all accounted for.

We meet Irene and her galpal Minnie mid-scene with some quality chuffa:

Minnie: A banana a day keeps the doctor away.

Irene: You mean an apple a day.

Minnie:Who ever heard of a doctor slipping on an apple peel?

Established: shopgirl Minnie is an idiot and Irene’s used to it.

 

Irene Molloy (Marianne McAndrew) would be played by Kristen Wiig if this was made now.

Irene is so much cooler and smoother and better-looking than Cornelius and Barnaby, who is so dense he introduces himself as a hat, plus her shop is unnecessarily large and decorated in sophisticated grays. Minnie Fay is right about on the guys’ level though.

Expensive.

“Forgive me for saying this, but you should see Yonkers.” NEVER.

Everybody is doing that annoying trick where they mention the other person’s significant other to see if they have one. I always secretly like when guys do that, though, because it saves me the trouble about lying about a boyfriend to get them to stop talking.

Horace shows up at the shop to mack on Irene. Dolly shows up in her flashiest purple dress in Old New York and tries to act unassuming. Sorry. Make that the flashiest purple dress in the world. It’s what Prince would have worn if he was a woman in 1890.

Horace is shocked that Cornelius comes into New York City. Again, from Yonkers. In 1890, when there were trains. Dolly talks Cornelius up,  and it’s funny (” Who took the horses out of Jenny Lind’s carriage and pulled her through the streets?”).

Does this take place in one day? Also is there a term for musicals that take place in one day, because it seems like there should be?

Horace is going to march in a parade with “the kind of people I can trust – 700 men.” I remain confused as to why he doesn’t just hire a chore boy.

Barnaby is the Niall Horan of this musical: affable, charming, boyish and underrated.

While searching for images of Danny Lockin I found this FASCINATING info about what happened to him after Hello Dolly – pic links to article. Woah.

Anyway, right?

Not to make too much of Irene’s giant hat shop but it’s so big you can swing a lady in a hoop skirt without hitting anything. Which they do. If I had that kind of hat shop money I’d never get married.

Dolly has so much purple, including a little purse and a feather boa and a giant hat, that she’s like a purple muppet. She has some LONG acrylics as well, just like the Victorians did. They are her “getting back in the dating game” nails. She’s widowed.

I thought Horace was talking about a metaphorical parade, but there’s actually a giant parade. Once again, it looks like Main Street Disney. Women are there too, including some suffragettes (another requirement of technicolor musicals) but Horace goes anyway. Babs sings about parades, which is one of her specialties.

Along with Niall Horan, Barnaby also has some Mark Hamill vibes.

Niall, Cornelius, Irene and Dumb Minnie sing about how elegant they are, a thing I think you’ll notice elegant people never do. Like how smart people don’t talk about being smart. They make a fun friend group and I would 100% watch a spinoff movie of Minnie, Mark Hamill and Cornelius bumbling about and Irene having to be the only adult in the situation.

Image links to cute Hello Dolly post.

Here’s what I appreciate about the costuming here: everyone is head-to-toe color coordinated like a 1980s bridesmaid. Dress, cape, hat, shoes all dyed to the exact same color. Babs changes into what I guess is the most uncomfy loungewear invented, a lacy tan corset top with a lacy tan jacket over it with some giant sleeves. It’s kinda Stevie Nicks-esque and I’m obsessed. Her hair is a smooth orange dome with a ponytail at the end. This is her casual hairstyle.

Best I could do

Don’t worry, there are dancing waiters in red tailcoats.

I wonder if Mock Turtle Soup struck people as funny in 1969 too, but I bet it did. Just the idea that turtle soup was so in demand but so rare that people had to fake it.

“If I tell you the truth, would you let me put my arm around your waist?” Weird bargain but OK.

“I’ve never touched a woman before.” YOU DON’T SAY, CORNELIUS.

Don’t Barnaby and Cornelius sound like what a hipster couple would name their sons?

Dolly is BACK wearing a very gold beaded dress and a feather headpiece, which is what prompts everyone to sing Hello Dolly.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG IS IN THIS. I know everyone else probably knows that but I didn’t. He’s absurdly charismatic.

I kind of feel like the first hour, hour fifteen were jam-packed and then we’ve been marking time in this restaurant ever since.

There is a whole turkey on Dolly and Horace’s two-top table. Is this how rich people eat?

Cornelius dances with a fan like an idiot. On one hand, Irene can do better. On the other, they’re both having fun and he doesn’t take himself too seriously like ol’ Horace.

Horace almost fires Cornelius and Barnaby for being in New York even though I’m fairly certain he doesn’t own them like he will the chore-wife he wants to buy.

Falling in love “only takes a moment” but the song about it lasts seven.

Back in Yonkers, Barnes and Cornes quit. Cornelius is becoming a new Horace, and Barnaby is becoming the new Cornelius. Dolly and Horace are getting married. ALL the people you thought would get married in the first ten minutes will get married, but my, wasn’t it a fun journey to get there?

I just wish these men would stop singing about how it takes a ‘fragile’ woman to do chores, is all.

Bottom line: I see what the fuss was about – not so much the songs themselves (not too many showstoppers) but the character of Dolly Levi and Barbra Streisand’s performance, plus the supporting cast and throwback sets and costumes. This was delightful and a break from real life, just like a musical should be.

 

 

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Darby O’Gill And The Little People

Three truths and a lie, St. Patrick’s Day Edition:

  • I grew up Irish dancing and thus I never went to school on St. Patrick’s Day because I had performances.
  • I mostly look like a leprechaun.
  • Every year, my family watched Darby O’Gill and the Little People sometime around St. Paddy’s day.
  • I despair every time someone calls it St. Patty’s Day. Who’s Patricia?

Answer: As you probably guessed from the post title, I’ve never seen Darby O’Gill and The Little People. The 1959 Disney movie is a cheesy, beloved Irish-American classic starring (according to Wikipedia)… Sean Connery?! Woah. In my defense, in the 90s if your family didn’t have the VHS tape of a movie or it didn’t air on a station you got, you just didn’t see it. I’m rectifying that now, so please don’t disinvite me from the next ceilidh or soda bread baking night.

Set design of Irish movies from the 1940s-1970s is the main reason for a lot of lingering Irish stereotypes. Namely, that it’s always vaguely the 1800s with thatch roofs and dirty stucco walls and like … spinning wheels and butter churns and shawls everywhere.

Is the old lady, The Widow Sugrue,  the same old lady from The Wedding Singer? I know it’s impossible but one has to wonder.

It’s not.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Pretty Young Lass Needs A Husband

It takes me about 3 minutes to get into the mode where I understand what anybody is saying. It’s not because I’m not used to Irish accents. It’s because these aren’t Irish accents (Katie’s is often OK. Widow Sugrue’s reminds me of elementary school plays where you didn’t know how to do the accent you were supposed to do so you just talked weird).

It’s called Darby O’Gill and The Little People, and for whatever reason I assumed Darby would be a leprechaun too. Nope. Just a guy.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Group Of Men Telling Legends In A Pub.

The special effects of Darby talking to leprechaun King Brian are surprisingly very good. Sometimes I think modern CGI makes things look more fake than old-school camera tricks.

The image links to an explanation of some of the *movie magic.* I’m duly impressed.

It also reminds me of the parts of Mr. Rogers when take the trolley to the Land of Puppetville or whatever that was.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Village Priest Solving A Financial Problem.

Young Sean Connery could get it.

By the way, Sean Connery is one of those people who’s never been young. He’s 29 here and his face is care-worn and weathered.

Everyone’s sideburns are huge. Little House on the Prairie sideburns.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Woman Leans Out A Half-Door.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Old Man Plays The Fiddle.

These leprechauns have the best outfits. They’re total Keebler Elf getups.

I’d live inside this Leprechaun Ceilidh. It’s like the Trolls hideout without all the LSD, or Munchkinland without the specter of murder. Yet, anyway.

So many dorky Irish in-references: Brian Boru, the harp that once thro Tara’s halls, a tribe of people cowering away from direct sunlight (no? Just me?).

When Darby plays his fiddle really fast and the leprechauns start dancing crazy, you could forget what I said about “without all the LSD” before. This is trippy.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Somebody Gets Someone Drunk In Order To Trick Them.

Always been a sucker for a cat vs leprechaun sequence. Another triumph for old-school special effects.

All these songs sound the same. Bless Janet Munro and Sean Connery. They’re trying so hard to have Irish accents in their scenes together. Sean Connery has natural 21st Century American Invisalign Teeth. Janet Munro, an English actress, definitely looks Irish.

Darby would be a cute name for a dog, right?

Darby, requesting whisky: The best in the house!

Barmaid: [look of shock and fear, because best in the house means things are SERIOUS. Also because Darby gives the drink to a man inside his rucksack.]

I start laughing out loud when Katie starts singing in a drippy voice while preening her weird short bangs and suddenly I can’t stop laughing.

Keep expecting this to turn into an SNL sketch where King Brian is really gross or filthy.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Woman Gets Offended When Man Loves Her.

The banshee looks like you’re meant to be looking at it through special glasses.

“29. Sean Connery is TWENTY NINE” – me, out loud, trying to convince myself that Very Adult Man Sean Connery isn’t even 30 here.

The ghostly horse and carriage is actually spooky in a laser light show at the planetarium kind of way. If I saw this as a kid I’d be unnerved.

By the way, the headless horseman doesn’t really have an Irish accent, either.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I laugh every time they sing that stupid song.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Characters Drive Away In A Horse-Drawn Cart.

The bottom line: I enjoy old movies, and this was an enjoyable old movie. The underlying question with our Pop Culture Blind Spot posts is whether cult favorites are good of their own accord, or if you have to have some sort of earlier sentimental connection to them to really love them.  I could see being really into Darby O’Gill And The Little People if I had loved it as a kid, and seeing at is an adult I have a healthy appreciation for the old-school special effects and the imaginative story. It actually made me realize, in comparison, how much more I liked last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Pop Culture Blind Spot, The Quiet Man. In the battle between Rugged Men Who Aren’t Irish Playing Rugged Men Who Are, Sean Connery vs John Wayne, John Wayne takes this round.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Tomorrow, October 20th, we’ll be introduced to another TV musical, and just in time for Halloween – The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Unlike Sound of Music, The Wiz, or the best of them all, Grease Live!, this is NOT live. But it does feature a lot of stunt casting with Victoria Justice and Adam Lambert and Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-n-Furter. Now I have no emotional ties to this movie/musical, so I could care less. But I imagine there are folks out there that do. But you fall into the same category as I do, here’s a post from last year, when I watched the movie for the very first time. Spoiler alert: I did not enjoy it.

 


Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

It’s been 40 years since The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released and for the past four decade’s it’s been a cult classic. It’s spawned countless stage productions, midnight dress-up movie sing-a-long showings and even a Glee episode. But it’s only been a few weeks since I’ve watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time.

If you’re just joining us for our Pop Culture Blind Spots series, we basically live blog our first viewing of something we’ve never seen before but we probably should have. So let’s start by sharing my knowledge of Rocky Horror:

  • Susan Sarandon plays an innocent girl
  • Tim Curry is in drag
  • Time Warp is a song. So is Touch a Touch a Touch a Touch Me.
  • I somehow confuse this show with Little Shop of Horrors in my head and often picture Tim Curry with a talking venus flytrap.
  • I guess I don’t really know the plot?

Alright, so here I am, about to watch Rocky Horror and in full disclosure this might not end favorably for Rocky fans. You’ve been warned.

Haven’t even started the movie yet, and I have to decide whether or not to watch the US version or the UK version… apparently the Brits get an extra song called Superheroes, because America hates heroism. Also there’s an option called “I’m frightened”, and I didn’t pick it because WHY ARE THERE SO MANY OPTIONS JUST TO PLAY THE DAMN MOVIE. 

I already hate these talking lips. Literally it’s talking to me during the DVD menu selection. “Everything is in readyness, we nearly await your selection”, it says to me. SHHH.

I feel like we’ve gotten off to a bad start. Let’s collect ourselves and calm down.

Did movies made in 1975 still have credits in the beginning or was this a style choice made specifically for this film? Either way, I appreciate it

The side of the car said “WAIT TIL TONITE SHE GOT HERS NOW HE’LL GET HIS” …. she got her… sex? I’m too young for this movie.
Photo Nov 07, 10 04 14 PM

I was not aware this movie was in black and white.

Janet’s boyfriend is proposing right after a wedding and defaced church property. Poor form all around.

I’ve never heard Susan Sarandon sing before? Gosh she’s pretty and hasn’t aged.

Who is this Hitchcockian character breaking the fourth wall??

Photo Nov 07, 10 05 02 PM

Janet is using a newspaper to cover herself from the pouring rain. First of all, she is completely drenched. Second, the newspaper is made out of some type of waterproof paper because it’s not soggy at all.

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Maybe it’s because it’s 1975, but TBH, if I walked up to a rando house in the middle of the night in a storm and this dude with the balding hair with Dracula voice answered the door, I’d be all, ‘Oh sorry, wrong house BYE’. NOT TONIGHT SIR. 

Is American Gothic a theme here

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There was a star wipe effect. Did someone edit this on Windows Movie Maker

Oh it’s in color now.

This Time Warp scene is like if Cabaret met Grease and they were meeting in Jeckyll and Hyde’s home office. Also, Eyes Wide Shut.

SPEAKING AS A TAP DANCER THIS WOMAN’S TAP DANCING IS HORRENDOUS AND NOT MATCHING WITH THE SOUNDS OF THE TAPS

HOLD UP. THE 20TH CENTURY FOX LOGO SHOWED UP AGAIN AND IT’S THE SAME OPENING FROM THE BEGINNING? IS THIS LIKE GROUNDHOG DAY (which I watched for the first time a couple months ago)

Is my DVD doing something weird because now the credits are in color, as opposed to black and white when I started this shit 20 minutes ago… OK lit’rally this movie just restarted from the beginning to be in color is this what really happens because I’m fast forwarding.

We’ve managed to move past the 20 minute mark without going back to the beginning. Never have I been so excited to see Tim Curry as a transvestite *apologies for saying ‘in drag’ earlier*. Also, Tim Curry has a huge mouth. take that as you will. I’m already obsessed with him.

Also Barry Bostwick was a babe??

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What kind of fuckery is this? A mummy in formaldehyde? Maybe not formaldehyde. But might as well be.

This is horrible but my other prior experience with Rocky Horror is the Glee episode, and I distinctly remember Chord Overstreet in these tight gold lamé underwears.

Guys, TBH I’m like paying half attention and have no idea what’s happening. Why did Meatloaf just crash through the wall of the Tim Curry’s Willy Wonka laboratory on a motorcycle??

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Yoooo did Tim Curry just murder Meatloaf with an axe

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Why is Janet sleeping in a malaria tent?

Photo Nov 07, 10 10 51 PM

Now the Igor hunchback is walking around with a candelabra and throwing the wax on the gold lamé naked guy. Honestly have no idea what’s going on.

Brad just had sex with Tim Curry? And Brad was okay with it? Oh I guess it’s fine because Janet just sought out Gold Lamé to have sex with her.

Dr. Scott is here. It is someone’s birthday. They’ve been having dinner on a table with a dead person in a coffin underneath it. So that’s another normal thing going on at this mansion.

Funniest thing to happen so far: Igor and busty maid laughing hysterically then Igor suddenly reprimanding her: SHUT UP

I’m gonna be honest with y’all – I lost interest around this point. I got distracted, decided not to pause the movie, but didn’t understand what was happening anyways and I probably skipped a a lot of things moving forward.

They’re in a pool now. Having a huge orgy while the dude in the wheelchair is watching from afar. Because at this point, why the hell not.

Why are there lazer guns involved now?

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Are these aliens?

Photo Nov 07, 10 13 37 PM

Oh it’s Igor and what’s her name?? Gold lamé shorts just shook his fist as he’s trying to carry Tim Curry on his back.

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They fell into the poolWHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK IS HAPPENING

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I give up y’all. This isn’t for me. I don’t get it. But respect for those who do. 

Unpopular opinion I’m assuming most people will disagree with:

Rating of Rocky Horror: 1 spear shaped lazer gun (out of like 20)

Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Sandlot

Before you say anything, I KNOW. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW.

In my defense, I think I actually have seen The Sandlot, but wasn’t paying attention because I don’t really remember anything about it. And I’m three decades old. I also confused all the 90s baseball movies (Little League Angels of the Year and the Rookie in the Outfield of Dreams) together, so it bears some refreshing. Plus it’s coming off Netflix streaming and I thought I’d watch it (again?).

Knowledge of this film:

Baseball with kids. A backyard. Something about ‘You’re kiddin’ me Smalls’.

Actual IMDb description:

A new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his team in this coming of age movie set in the summer of 1962. Together, they get themselves into many adventures involving rival teams, lifeguards, and a vicious dog.

*I did not remember this was set in 1962.

Question I always ask before talking about one of those 90s baseball movies: Is this the one Scott Patterson (Luke Danes) is in?

Answer: No. He was in Little Big League.

little big league scott

HOLY SMOKES I G2G WATCH THIS BRB

Denis Leary is in this? And James Earl Jones?

Mike Vitar plays main character Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez, and in the back of my mind I knew the name sounded familiar, but he hasn’t acted since 1997. Why did I know his name when this movie has no relevance to me? Oh, because I legit wrote about him being arrested for assault.

Mike quit acting and became an LA firefighter, and last Halloween, he and two other off-duty firefighters allegedly beat up a man. They all plead not guilty in January, but it’s unclear what the verdict if there has been one yet. Yikes.

This movie takes place in the San Fernando Valley aka “The Valley” aka where I live!! …It was all filmed in Utah.

In my head, “The Sandlot” was someone’s backyard and it was next to a crochety old lady like Ellen Burstyn in The Baby-Sitters Club movie.

“Don’t be a goofus!” Scotty Smalls but also my new motto in life.

Scotty ends up in the far outfield in The Sandlot, but when the ball comes flying towards him, he misses it. To make matters worse, it lands right next to the fence with the Cujo-type dog barking and when he throws it back to the pitcher… well, he doesn’t and all the boys laugh at him. At 9 years old, I would’ve found this funny. As a 30 year old, I call this bullying. #Adulting.

We’re eight minutes in, and Scotty has used the phrase “got into the biggest pickle” twice already. Take a shot.

Mom: Honey, I want you to make some friends this summer, lots of them.

Smalls: Yeah, I know. But I’m not good at anything, mom. Face it, I’m just an egghead.

SMALLS IS SO ADORABLE I JUST WANT TO EMBRACE HIM. He also keeps hesitating on what to call his stepdad (Denis Leary) either Bill or Dad and it’s 2QT. I hope BillDad is a good guy. At least he agrees to play catch with Smalls. Except he ends up with a black eye.

Denis Leary looks perfect for the 1960s here

Benny shows up at Smalls’ door and invites him to play ball this is the MOST TENDER.

The kid who’s in The Big Green is in all the 90s sports movies, no? His name is also Hamilton and they all call him ‘Ham’. There’s an opportunity for a crossover here. I just don’t know what it is yet.

SQUINTS: No you don’t. It’s stupid, Benny. The kid’s an L-7 weenie. <<< What does this mean.

Benny has the patience of a saint. After Smalls couldn’t catch the ball, he hits the ball directly at Smalls and tells him not to move and just keep his arm up. And then later:

Benny: You got a fireplace?

Smalls: Yeah, why?

Benny: Throw that hat in there, man. (I KNEW HE WAS GOING TO SAY THAT)

Smalls: Oh, yeah. You know, it was the only one I had.

Benny: Not anymore. Wear my old hat.

What a dream. He is a hero among boys. We all need a Benny in our lives.

“You’re killin’ me Smalls” is in reference to him not knowing what a s’more is? THIS SENTENCE IS JUSTIFIED. I know he’s from out of state but s’mores are an American (??) institution.

Basically this Cujo junkyard is described as a “true killing machine” per this Are you Afraid of the Dark? story from Squints.  Is the neighbor going to turn out to be a really nice dude IRL?

Wendy Peppercorn (IT’S Peffercorn NOT Peppercorn!?!?) slow walks through the town to The Drifters’ There Goes My Baby and I remember this is set in the 1960s. Also, Wendy is the typical babe who is probs 15 and inapprop

“Aw, Squints was pervin’ a dish.” AKA Squints was checking out Wendy Peffercorn?!

Ham also used the word “pop” for “soda”, which is not a think Californians say colloquially.

Squints pretends to drown in order to have Lifeguard Wendy save his life. I really hope kids didn’t try this at home.

This movie is rated PG and they used the word “shit”. Is that a thing? That must be a thing.

“On the 4th of July, the whole sky would brighten up with fireworks, giving us just enough light for a game. We played our best then because, I guess, we all felt like the big leaguers under the lights of some great stadium. Benny felt like that all the time. We all knew he was gonna go on to bigger and better games, because every time we stopped to watch the sky on those nights like regular kids, he was there to call us back. You see, for us, baseball was a game. But for Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, baseball was life.” Narrator Smalls says, as the boys watch the slow motion fireworks in the night sky with awe. That is some good *shit*.

“You make your Wheaties with your mama’s toe jam!” LOL WHAT, HAM?

HAM IS A BULLY AS THE CATCHER BUT IT IS HILARIOUS. HE’S LIKE HAMILTON IRL

Benny treats the team to a free ride at the carnival. Seriously, what a dream.

Uh oh. One of them brings chewing tabacco. This isn’t going to end well. It’s so gross I can’t even watch it.

First of all, “Tequila” is playing LOL Second of all they go on a spinning tilt-a-whirl type thing and they all vom. On the other riders.

Minute 53 – Narrator Smalls says “pickle”. Take a shot.

Ohhhh no. The boys are in need of a ball after Benny lit’rally smashes it into bits. Smalls saves the day by grabbing the (Babe Ruth) ball from BillDad’s office. Prediction: it flies into the Cujo junkyard and he has to go get it.

Bertram: “Maybe the shock of his first homer was just too much for him” LOL this is a great line coming from a 5th grader.

The ball flies into the Cujo junkyard and Smalls has to go get it.

Cujo’s paw is out of CONTROL.

The boys devise a plan to fake Babe Ruth’s autograph on a separate ball to put in BillDad’s trophy case while they try to get the real one back, and it’s a real case in support of teaching kids cursive in elementary school.

Squints: She ain’t gonna buy that, Benny. It doesn’t look anything like the Babe’s signature.

Benny: It doesn’t matter what it looks like. His mom’s never gonna know the difference. This’ll just buy us some time, ya dorks!

Cujo’s being a real bitch not letting them have this ball back. What’s he gonna do, sell it on eBay? Or whatever it was in the 1960s? A… yard sale?

The dudes actually come up with a pretty ingenius plan involving three vacuums and a catcher’s mitt. That is until it blows up the tree house. Anyways, that didn’t get the ball back either.

“We’ve been going about this all wrong. I blame myself.” These kids, I tell ya.

CUJO IS HUGE-O.  Also he may or may not have rabies.

I can see why this movie was popular with kids aka my generation growing up, particularly with the scenes in which they come up with different ways to get the ball. From the vacuums to an aerial attack using a lever/pulley situation and military style robot they create, it shows creativity while making you sit on the edge of your seat

Hologram Babe Ruth shows up to tell Benny to just go over the fence and get the ball back. He is played by the diner owner in that one Boy Meets World episode where Shawn attempts to run away after his dad dies.

Babe Ruth says “pickle”. Take a shot.

Benny saves the day by jumping over and grabbing the (now mangled?) ball. Except Cujo breaks free from his chain and begins chasing Benny through the streets. Cujo even breaks through a glass window, in a movie theater, through a Founder’s Day festival and underneath Uncle Sam just to follow Benny. This is exhausting.

They end up back in The Sandlot and the fence falls on Cujo, but Smalls, being the good kid that he is, attempts to lift the fence off Cujo, and only Benny helps.

Why does Cujo look like it’s a CGI dog?

Cujo has been secretly hoarding their baseballs! And the owner of the junkyard is a blind James Earl Jones!

They all gang up on Squints because James Earl Jones says he would’ve just gotten it for them if they knocked and didn’t believe the stupid urban myth.

JEJ calls Babe Ruth “George”, so obviously he knows him. He offers to trade Smalls and Benny a ball signed by the 1927 Yankees. Wait IS he blind?? Or going blind?

You guys come by here once a week and talk baseball with me and we’ll call it a deal.

Thank GOD Denis Leary is a nice guy in this.

So we get an epilogue of sorts telling us where each kid ended up, and each one slowly disappears. It’s making me tear up a little? Bertram got really into the 60s and no one ever saw him again (lol), the twins invented mini mall Squints married Wendy Peffercorn?! AND HAD NINE KIDS?!

BENNY PLAYS FOR THE DODGERS NOOOO AND SMALLS IS A COMMENTATOR WEARING THE OLD HAT AND I’M CRYING I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS I’M OLD AND UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF TIME

When one guy would move away,
we never replaced him on the team with anyone else.
We just kept the game going like he was still there.

Well, that final scene made it for me. I get it, you guys. I get it now.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Princess Bride

I know someone out there is thinking it – where was my childhood? – but here’s the thing. Somehow, between 1986 and 2004, I aged from 0 to 18 and never saw The Princess Bride. I even did high school theater, where it was decided – by secret ballot, I assume –  that everyone on stage crew would love The Princess Bride. I knew the Inigo Montoya line and all, but believe it or not nobody ever produced the DVD during theater sleepovers (probably because if theater kids’ love for The Princess Bride was eclipsed by one thing in the early 2000s, it was Moulin Rouge). Like almost all of our pop culture blind spots, this wasn’t intentional, but it happened and I’m rectifying it today.

  • This is still how I default to imagining video games looking. I’m not saying that as someone who hates video games, I’m saying that as someone who has an OG NES in her living room.
    This image links to a site directing Fred's bedroom so there goes my afternoon.

    This image links to a site directing Fred’s bedroom so there goes my afternoon.

     

  • I know I had seen Fred Savage’s awesome 80s bedroom set before, yet I still thought this took place entirely in … vaguely in the Middle Ages.

 

  • “When I was your age, television was called books.” – Fred Savage’s grandpa. I already love this.
  • I feel more uncomfortable during the eye sex between Wesley and Buttercup than I do during actual sex scenes, in the ‘I’m not meant to be watching this’ way.
    Some of the more effective eye-acting I've seen.

    Some of the more effective eye-acting I’ve seen.

     

  • Eye Sex Wesley died already? Even though he looks like a gentle English singer-songwriter?
    Cary Elwes, whom I now have a belated crush on. WHERE WAS MY CHILDHOOD?

    Cary Elwes, whom I now have a belated crush on. WHERE WAS MY CHILDHOOD?

    Johnny Flynn, whose songs I sometimes cry to.

    Johnny Flynn, whose songs I sometimes cry to.

     

  • When the guys on stage crew were obsessed with this, it was definitely the Andre the Giant/ Wallace Shawn / Mandy Patinkin sass humor I was thinking about.
  • Buttercup was basically gonna be kidnapped by that king or kidnapped by these guys then, huh? Also, I never noticed before how very pretty Robin Wright is.
  • I like how the sets with the cliffs and the ocean are super fake looking. I don’t mean that in the sense where people say “I like how” when they mean “I hate how.” It has a storybook quality and also reminds me of movies from the 30s-60s.

    Just the right kind of fake.

    Just the right kind of fake.

  • Do high school stage crews still love The Princess Bride? Somebody find out. I can’t, as I’m 30.
  • Is the Shrek Puss In Boots modeled after this Zoro Guy? They have the exact same vibe:

  • If this doesn’t end in the princess winning her own freedom and outsmarting everybody I’ll be pretty disappointed.
  • [I really loved The Paper Bag Princess in my youth, ok.]
  • But surely it will end with her getting together with the Johnny Flynn-looking guy who isn’t dead after all?

A. DID NOT AT ALL see Zorro being Westley and I don’t even think it was supposed to be a surprise. The joys of watching a movie so old that nobody cares enough to spoil it.

B. DID NOT AT ALL see Westley being a sass-pants – I thought his main thing was being subservient.

C. His mustache and ponytail are bad.

D. The movie isn’t even half over, so I clearly called this one wrong.

  • Actually I am liking the ponytail within a few minutes.

    But it IS that awkward length when you're growing out a bob and it doesn't all fit back easily.

    But it IS that awkward length when you’re growing out a bob and it doesn’t all fit back easily.

  • I wonder how Buttercup feels about Westley now that he tells long stories instead of doing chores for her. (The story about getting the ship from some guy who was also not the Dread Pirate Roberts was funny.)

  • Sure, Buttercup is chilled out about her gown getting caught on fire, but the Jim Hensons Workshop-looking giant weasels give her the willies. Honestly, same.
  • Fred Savage says that Buttercup doesn’t marry Humperdinck. I agree. He says it wouldn’t be fair because of all that Westley did for her. I resist the urge to rage at baby-Fred-Savage-from-the-past because a human is not a reward.
  • (I agree that Humperdinck sucks and Buttercup and Westley are endgame, obviously.)
  • Are there gifs of the homeless lady saying Boo, Boo, Boo?

Not only are there gifs and videos, the character is named THE ANCIENT BOOER.

  • So Westley may get to marry Buttercup, if he gets the mail fast enough?
  • JK he never sent the ships. Buttercup’s gonna throw down. It’s all happening.
  • What is Fred Savage sick with? Why is he so sick that his elderly grandpa has to come read stories at him? Honestly a little distressed that Fred Savage has some serious chronic illness that they haven’t addressed.

  • I think it’s beautiful that the two people with the speech impediments have each other.
  • Ewww they had better get there before they “escort her to the honeymoon suite.” Gross.
  • [Obviously the mawiage part is funny but I knew it was coming. See comments above re: high school theater. Carol Kane is a dream. As is the makeup artist, because Kane was only 30-something.]
  • I want an interactive art installation that is Fred Savage’s bedroom and you can go in and touch everything. 10/10 best set decoration ever.
  • WHAT is this boy sick with. Seriously.
  • Wow, I truly didn’t know that Rob Reiner directed it.

Okay, this is the thing we hope for every time we do a Pop Culture Blind Spot: I LIKED this. We don’t do these to make fun of other people’s beloved favorite movies, we do them to catch up on some popular or cult classics that somehow got by us. Now I am wishing we had shelved Moulin Rouge during at least ONE of those sleepovers so I could have seen this sooner.

 

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?