Pop Culture Blind Spot: Gone With The Wind

It only took my nearly 80 years to watch, but I finally dug into Gone With the Wind.

My knowledge of Gone with the Wind: Set during the Civil War(?). Clark Gable hits up Scarlett O’Hara. Hattie McDaniel made history by winning an Oscar. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” V LONG MOVIE.
Netflix description: Director Victor Fleming’s 1939 epic adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name stars Vivien Leigh as self-absorbed, headstrong Scarlett O’Hara, a Southern Belle who meets her match in Rhett Butler just as the Civil War breaks out.

Maybe I’m just having a brain fart, but could’ve sworn the actress’ name was Scarlett O’Hara and Vivien Leigh was just another actress. Oops.

I’ve gathered my snacks, I’m hunkering down. Here we go.

There’s an Overture! And I’m skipping it! If there’s any bit where I can cut down on this 4 hour movie, I will.

In the credits (because it’s 1939 and the credits are at the beginning of the movie, you folks who run out to leave the parking lot early), there are men under the category of “Scarlett’s Beaux” and that’s an IMDb credit I’d gladly take.

Update: Her Beaux are ginger gentleman callers who look like the Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman meets Alexander Hamilton

And Scarlett is refusing to listen to her maid/Hattie McDaniel. This is going to be a problem.

Do you ever watch old movies like this and think, “All these people are probably dead, right?” No? Just me? Cool cool cool.

“Has been trifling with you?” Scarlett’s Pa asks her.

Scar and her Pa were just walking outside near a lake and now they’re in front of a green screen and it is hilarious. God bless the early days of film.

Ok Mammy is mumbling to herself after giving orders to the other staff members and she’s officially my favorite.

Wait Scarlett’s parents are calling each other “Mr. O’Hara and Mrs. O’Hara”… was this a thing?

“You can’t show your bosom before 3:00!” Mammy telling spoiled bitch Scarlett about picking an appropriate dress

I don’t have a subtitles option with the way I’m watching this, so I legit had to pull up the script. Vivien is speaking real fast, and oddly, it’s harder to read Mammy’s lines than hearing her say it.

“He looks as if, as if he knows what I looked like He looks as if, as if he knows what I looked like  without my shimmy.” Scarlett on Rhett seeing her for the first time

Scarlett’s Beaux should actually be changed to “Scarlett’s Bitches”. They’re fawning all over her like she’s The Bachelorette.

But this Bachelorette is into a dude named Ashley, who’s into another chick, so it’s not looking good for Scar. She confronts him and he’s all, “Get a grip, I can’t marry you,” and she reacts very maturely:

The women get to take a nap in the middle of a party??? This is a custom I can get on board with.

Everyone is celebrating after hearing that President Lincoln called on soldiers to kick off the war. Legit hugging and whooping as if their team just won the Super Bowl.

Charles Hamilton goes and proposes to Scarlett because he’s all hopped up on the war excitement, and because she’s still reeling from that library slap, she accepts. In the course of about 5 minutes, they get married, he goes to war, and she gets a letter saying that he didn’t die “a hero” in battle, but rather got a bout of pneumonia followed by measles. Yikes.

A widowed Scarlett runs into Rhett at some Confederate party/fundraiser. First bad sign: a solider is going around asking women for their jewelry to fund the war. Then an auction is held for men to bid money to dance with a woman of their choice. Rhett offers up $150 in gold to dance with Scarlett, still in her black dress of mourning. This is the most foreign thing I’ve ever watching.

Rhett continues to be headstrong against a needy Scarlett, and the result is this famous scene, that I’ve actually heard of before!

The Battle of Gettysburg happens and the list of everyone who’s been injured or killed is released in the South. And naturally, a band plays some upbeat music like the string quartet on the Titanic.

Should’ve Cut For Time: A slave follows a chicken with an axe, and in the next scene, a dead, cooked,chicken is on the table for Christmas dinner. 

Ashley’s back from the war and Scarlett professes her love for him again and kisses him – despite the fact He’s Just Not Into You AND she’s BFFs with his wife now. Ugh.

Scarlett is helping out in the infirmary, which is surprising seeing as how the only prevalent characteristic she’s shown is selfishness.

This Miss Pitty lady needs to get a handle on herself.

“… Even though it isn’t much of an animal, I did have a even though it isn’t much of an animal, I did have a  lot of trouble stealing it.” LOL Rhett gives no fucks

The war is still happening, Scarlett and one of the slaves are left at the house, she delivered Mellie’s baby, and Rhett continues to be Scar’s saving grace.

Annddd then he tells her he’s going off to join the rest of the men to fight in the war. But not before telling her he’s in love with her, saying, “Because we’re alike. Bad lots, both of us. Because we’re alike. Bad lots, both of us.  Selfish and shrewd.” Yeah. Duh.

Scarlett, her slave, the baby, and the horse go back to Scarlett’s parents’ home and turns out her mom died from typhoid, and her dad is in shambles.

“As God as my witness….as God as my witness they’re As God as my witness….as God as my witness they’re  not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this  and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again.  No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal,  cheat, or kill, as God as my witness, I’ll never be  hungry again.” A dramatic monologue by Scarlett in a bloodied field.

::Intermission + Entr’Acte::

LOL at the ladies bitching about having to pick cotton.

WELL, Scarlett just shot a soldier attempting to steal from their house straight in the face. As Chris Hardwick likes to say, “POINTS!” This is ridiculous, now it’s turned into Sunshine Clearners and Scar and her sister need to dispose of this body without anyone noticing.

The war is over, and there’s a montage of everyone reacting to the news. Scarlett? She’s still pining for Ashley, saying, “Ashely will be coming home. We’ll plant more Ashely will be coming home. We’ll plant more  cotton. Cotton ought to go sky-high next year.” *dislike*

Scar legit told Ashley that Melanie can’t have any more children in an attempt for him to leave her for him. What is wrong with you?? Oh and then he kisses her? Everyone needs to check themselves.

Scarlett’s dad dies so now she needs money to keep the plantation running. Natch, she goes to Rhett???

Scarlett’s dress is the inspo for Carol Burnett’s curtain rod dress, right?

Scarlett continues to be the worst by tricking her younger sister’s fiance Frank (who just happens to be rich) into marrying her. Frank and Ashley start a business together, ??

Rhett comes home with a v drunk Ashley and no Frank in sight – because he tells Scar Frank’s out on some road shot dead in the head. Hello? That’s how you tell her? Also she didn’t ask where her husband’s whereabouts were, because ugh Scarlett.

“Don’t drink alone, Scarlett. People always find out. Don’t drink alone, Scarlett. People always find out.  And it ruins reputation.” Rhett, what do you know, man?!

It’s basically Frank’s funeral, and Rhett casually proposes to Scarlett, who says yes. Here’s the thing – I’m finding Rhett’s conceit endearing, but Scarlett’s selfishness annoying. This is what the patriarchy wants you to think. I’m annoyed with myself, TBH.

RHETT: “What are you thinking about, Scarlett?”

SCARLETT: “I’m thinking about how rich we are.” About sums it up.

Ok so all of a sudden Scarlett gives birth to a baby girl… the time jumps are questionable, yet this movie is still 11 hours long??

Scarlett tells Rhett she doesn’t want any more children (half because she still loves Ashley, half because she doesn’t want to lose her figure). He gets mad and busts open the bedroom door with his swift kick. Maybe a little too agrressive, but OK.

Bonnie has a stroller with a fake horse in the front and reins to make it look like she’s –

Scarlett and Ashley have a lingering hug and Melanie’s sister sees their intimate moment, and because she never liked Scarlett, spreads the nasty rumor around town. Rhett later forces Scarlett to go to Ashley’s surprise birthday party but then at the door leaves her to go in alone. What a dick move. I care for no one in this film. Except for Mammy. I like Mammy.

“I’ve always thought a good lashing with a buggy I’ve always thought a good lashing with a buggy whip would benefit you immensely.” Rhett, WHAT?

“Well, cheer up. Maybe you’ll have an accident. Well, cheer up. Maybe you’ll have an accident.” RHETT, WHAT??? SCARLETT TELLS HIM SHE’S PREGNANT, ADMITS THEY BOTH DON’T WANT IT, HE SAYS THAT LINE THEN THROWS HER DOWN THE STAIRS?!?! WHAT IS THIS MOVIE

(also, it’s horrible, but I immediately thought of this Melissa McCarthy SNL sketch)

GUYS BONNIE JUST DIED BC SHE DISOBEYED HER PARENTS BY ATTEMPTING TO JUMP A FENCE WITH HER PONY (which Rhett shot and killed).

While visiting Bonnie at her … wake (? Rhett locked himself in her room), Melanie faints and while she’s dying, Scarlett finally realizes that Ashley only really loved Melanie, and not her. Bitch, come on now. It took for Melanie to die for her to get that rolls eyes forever

Well Scarlett isn’t having the best luck right now. She had a miscarriage, her daughter died, her BFF died, the man she’d been in love with for years is broken because his wife died, and Rhett ups and leaves with the iconic line 

Crying at the steps of her empty mansion, an audio montage of the important people in her life reminding her about the Tara Plantation where she grew up, and she has an epiphany that she’ll not give up on life and instead go back home, because “tomorrow is another day”.

Well, I really didn’t think it would end with the two main characters together and in love. I thought this was a true ride into the sunset situation, but the 2018 feminist in me is kinda glad it didn’t? Maybe this is just the beginning of her new life as a non-selfish human now that she’s lost pretty much everything in her life.

Except for her plantation, of course.

 

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Best of 2017: Pop Culture Blind Spot: Hocus Pocus

Milestone moment: over 20 years after its release, Traci finally watched Hocus Pocus — so you can stop telling her she missed her whole childhood. But is Hocus Pocus actually good if you first watch it in your 30s, or do you love it because you loved it as a 7 year old in 1994? Click the link below to read the full post:

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Hocus Pocus 

I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus. I’m an older millennial who was the perfect age to be a fan of Hocus Pocus when it came out, yet I’ve managed to still succeed in life without having seen this “cultural touchstone”.  When I say I haven’t seen it to others of my generation, there’s shock, disgust, and a response of, “You have to watch it, it’s soooo good.” Listen, I get that a lot about every movie I haven’t seen. That’s the point of these Pop Culture Blind Spots. Please stop telling me popular movies are going to be good. Anyways, you want to keep reading after my rant, right? Good.

My knowledge of Hocus Pocus: Bette Midler. Sarah Jessica Parker. Kathy Najimy. Three witches get together dressed in over-the-top costumes to hang out with kids and sing some songs. They’re probably good witches? Guys, honestly, I have no idea. People love it especially at Halloween? There’s always a rumor there’s going to be a sequel.

Actual movie description: After 300 years of slumber, three sister witches are accidentally resurrect in Salem on Halloween night, and it is up to three kids and their newfound feline friend to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all.

Sooooo they’re not good witches? Also there’s a cat involved? And no idea it took place in Salem, but that makes sense.

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Christmas In Connecticut

Merry December! This month’s pop culture blind spot challenge: finding classic or otherwise beloved holiday films that we haven’t seen. It’s a tough one for me – I was raised on oldies like White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, and kept up with the major developments of the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s like the other Miracle on 34th Street,  Christmas Vacation and Elf. That’s why my blind spot pick today hearkens all the way back to 1945: Christmas in Connecticut.

Short Description:  A food writer who has lied about being the perfect housewife must try to cover her deception when her boss and a returning war hero invite themselves to her home for a traditional family Christmas.
Not only does this sound like a really fun premise, it reads 100% like a rom-com they’d still make today. The difference is that in 1945 talkies weren’t even 20 years old. It would be a rom-com cliche today, but in the ’40s it was a rom-com groundbreaker.
We open on a submarine shooting torpedoing a ship. So this is like, definitely a World War II movie.

Image links to post from the blonde at the film. i didn’t let myself read it before writing, but it’s a lot of fun with some great background on old Hollywood!

Two sailors from the ship have been adrift in a lifeboat for 15 days. One – Jefferson Jones, played by Dennis Morgan, who had an extensive career playing a lot of military guys – imagines himself in a light blazer dining at a bistro table and he looks like a handsome hipster of today. After getting rescued he convalesces in a military hospital and becomes obsessed with magazine food columns. See also, the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
 
Alexander Yardley is a human Bustopher Jones, and he’s Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck)’s publisher. She’s a food writer but PSYCH she does not know how to cook. This is such a good rom-com job! So good, in fact, that I start googling which other rom-com involves an advice columnist who’s winging it. I swear I’ve seen this somewhere else?

It wouldn’t be one of our Pop Culture Blind Spot posts without linking to an article about the house in the movie. Click on over to Lisa’s Home Bijou!

Anyway, Yardley wants Elizabeth to host Jefferson Jones for dinner because he’s a war hero and her number one fan. You will recall that Elizabeth knows jack about cooking. I can’t wait for the wacky misunderstandings! Also in the course of writing about cooking wouldn’t you learn how to cook? Wouldn’t it be easier, writing-wise, to just learn how to cook? Or are all of her recipes made-up craziness that magically turns out OK?
Elizabeth also has a pretend husband and child! This is a blast! And her drapey blouse and high-waisted Katharine Hepburn pants outfit is completely on point.

LOOKS FOR DAYS.

If they remade this in 2017 you know they’d make Elizabeth a food blogger and it would not be as good. Maybe a HGTV-style personality.
Elizabeth’s first excuse to get out of falling in love with Jeff being a hostess is that her fake baby has whooping cough. #VaccinateYourKids
So Elizabeth has this friend John who always proposes to her. Like, it’s a habit. And they’re not even dating or anything, he just proposes marriage regularly and Elizabeth expresses zero interest in him.  Here’s how this convo plays out:
His point: You need someone to look after you. [Note: it’s 1945 -M]
Her counterpoint: I don’t love you.
Elizabeth demurs that it “gets harder and harder to find an excuse to say no.” John counters “well you can’t blame it on your career this time because you haven’t got one.”
1. SICK BURN, JOHN.
2. This is why nobody accepts your proposals, John.
Elizabeth accepts the proposal, but only because she needs a husband and a farm in Connecticut, like, yesterday. Elizabeth’s editor Dudley also needs Elizabeth to procure a fake baby (a real baby that’s not hers, technically), because they’ve already bought his kids’ Christmas presents so he needs this to go off well. If you’re keeping track, so far Elizabeth is a liar who’s otherwise okay, and Dudley and John are The Pits.
Elizabeth brings her chef friend, Felix, along to cook. That’s where she’s been getting her recipes, by the way. He’s German. I ship him and John’s Irish maid Nora. German and Irish? That was an OK marriage in the ’40s, right? I lose track of who used to be weird about each other.
 
Barbara Stanwyck’s waist is tiiiny. Or is it the shoulder pads?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but bring back shoulder pads 2K18?

Elizabeth coos “oh, John! Where did you get it?” about a neighbor baby he borrowed them, as though it’s a nice table runner or a new coffee table.
Felix puts paprika into Irish stew, which turns it into goulash. B- ethnic humor.
Know what you never see anymore? Tinsel.
Jeff brings Elizabeth a rocking chair because she wrote in her column that she could never find a good one.
HA! Elizabeth tries to answer Jeff’s questions about the baby and she is clearly a stranger both to him and to all babies. Fortunately Jeff is a good uncle and has met babies before. He gives “Robert” a bath and JUST KIDDING, turns out the baby is now Roberta.
[I will say that I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I’m always surprised when adults who can’t deal when they have to feed, change, bathe and generally deal with babies. They’re just little humans who need their necks supported, is all.]
Elizabeth and Jeff have an old-fashioned piano party while she trims the tree. He plays the piano and sings. Girl. Marry him.

John pervs about where he and Elizabeth are going to sleep tonight because it’s supposed to be his wedding night. Except they didn’t get married, so Elizabeth will stay in the guest room, thanks. He pouts and stomps off saying that he won’t sleep a wink. Wow, rom-coms in the ’40s really ramp up the bad qualities in the guy who’s purpose is to get dumped, don’t they? In the 2010s he’d just be too into his work or fantasy football.
A different neighbor drops off a different baby than yesterday, because they assume the new lady in the big house just takes other people’s kids for the day

Elizabeth cooks.

Elizabeth and All Her Guys* go to a barn dance. But in a dance hall. So just a dance I guess.
*All Her Guys = Yardley, John, Editor – was it Dudley?, Jeff and probably Felix.
Elizabeth and Jeff joyride in a sleigh, and I’m sorry but you only do that with somebody that you mean to fall in love with.
I was really hoping they’d bust out the Comedy Rule of Threes with people dropping off random babies at the house, but no such luck.
Elizabeth and Jeff got arrested – just a misunderstanding! – and the borrowed baby got reported as kidnapped after its mom collected it – also just a misunderstanding! We have angled the Tangled Web stage of the rom-com.
Elizabeth spills the beans about her… all of it. Everyone’s furious except for Jeff, a good person. In this pre-internet age, as long as none of these people say anything about Elizabeth’s true identity, nobody would find out, right? Felix pulls a fast one and tells Elizabeth’s publisher that she has another offer, and suddenly they want to keep her after all.
By the way, Jeff had been engaged to his nurse. Fortunately she married his shipmate so he’s all set to mack it with Lizzie. People really were willy-nilly about their engagements in the post-war era, huh?
“What a Christmas!”, Felix giggles.
What a Christmas, everyone.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

My knowledge of this film: Audrey Hepburn. Jewelry. Her iconic look. The hit 1993 song of the same name by Deep Blue Sea.

It’s weird to see this so clearly as if the movie was made yesterday. Also I definitely thought it was made way before 1961, which really isn’t that long ago. I mean we’re talking season one of Mad Men.

No but, did the song Moon River get popular because of this movie??

Also I admit, this is maybe the first movie I’ve ever seen Audrey Hepburn in? JK I FORGOT ALL ABOUT MY FAIR LADY PLS FORGET THAT.

This Japanese guy… isn’t actually Japanese, right? And he has fake teeth? And a horrible accent? This is obviously not OK, but I feel like I’d be more offended if I didn’t know this movie was made when minorities still had to use separate water fountains. UPDATE: IT’S MICKEY ROONEY. IT WAS APPARENTLY A WHOLE THING. GOOD LORD.

HER BED IS SO TINY  Omg these dangling ear buds are so fabulous. And she’s drinking milk out of a champagne glass. Good lord.

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I honestly have no idea what happens in this movie, but I get why people love it based on the New York aesthetic alone.

RIGHT CLICK SAVE THIS FOR SHADY BUSINESS:

Audrey Hepburn’s like, really pretty. Has anyone else ever noticed this?

Also George Peppard. What’s his deal? (I found out his deal)

Oh and Holly just put Paul in the friend zone by nicknaming him Fred, just like her brother. Except then she casually asks to lay in bed with him. Girl. Got. Game.
screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-58-06-pm

This OJ Berman guy (Martin Balsam) talks fast and smooth like Conan O’Brien’s impersonation of guys that go to speakeasies.

Holly has a party in her apartment and by the end of the night people are totally shitfaced. There’s lit’rally a woman crying into her reflection in a mirror. Holly’s friend Mag Wildwood falls flat on her face as Holly yells Timber. Are they are on acid? Is Roger Sterling here? I miss Mad Men.
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HOLLY IS LIVING A PHONY LIFE JUST LIKE OJ SAID. Her name is Lulu Mae Barnes! And she’s married to a Southern dude named Doc Golightly who was on The Beverly Hillbillies! And they married at 14! That was normal back then? Or was it still weird?!

I was under the impression Holly was going to be upset Doc was there but she seems v happy to see him? Isn’t this going to end with her and Paul together? I’m just assuming.

Promise me one thing – don’t take me home until I’m drunk. Until I’m very drunk indeed.

Holly says her goodbyes to Doc and she and Paul go to what seems to be a 1960s strip club. Which leads us to yet another iconic shades GIF:

A drunken Holly states she’s got no money so she’s marrying someone who has a lot of it. Cool. Except a few days later we find out he’s found some other chick to marry. To lighten her spirits, she and Paul decide to spend a day doing things they’ve never done before, which includes stealing animal masks from a store and scare a police officer with them on.

Oh yay they kissed. And spent the night together. Ow Owwww!

Honestly: 

“You’re a very stylish girl. Can’t we end this stylishly?” Is Paul being condescending or is this just how they talked back then?

Holly is on the lamb and when he finally finds her she says she’s marrying another guy from the party, who is Latin and rich.

Asian Mickey Rooney has Holly and Paul arrested for narcotics? Also Audrey looks so fierce in pigtails and a turtleneck sweater. If I wore that I’d look like Boo from Monsters Inc.

Apparently this all has to do with the dude she was visiting at Sing Sing – this is why you don’t do things for money without asking WHY.

And Latin lover calls off their engagement. She needs to get over her inability to feel feelings and get together with Paul already?

FINALLY

I get it, world. This was good.

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Hocus Pocus

I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus. I’m an older millennial who was the perfect age to be a fan of Hocus Pocus when it came out, yet I’ve managed to still succeed in life without having seen this “cultural touchstone”.  When I say I haven’t seen it to others of my generation, there’s shock, disgust, and a response of, “You have to watch it, it’s soooo good.” Listen, I get that a lot about every movie I haven’t seen. That’s the point of these Pop Culture Blind Spots. Please stop telling me popular movies are going to be good. Anyways, you want to keep reading after my rant, right? Good.

My knowledge of Hocus Pocus: Bette Midler. Sarah Jessica Parker. Kathy Najimy. Three witches get together dressed in over-the-top costumes to hang out with kids and sing some songs. They’re probably good witches? Guys, honestly, I have no idea. People love it especially at Halloween? There’s always a rumor there’s going to be a sequel.

Actual movie description: After 300 years of slumber, three sister witches are accidentally resurrect in Salem on Halloween night, and it is up to three kids and their newfound feline friend to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all.

Sooooo they’re not good witches? Also there’s a cat involved? And no idea it took place in Salem, but that makes sense.

This is a Kenny Ortega jam?! He’s keeps popping up in all my favorite things! High School Musical, Dirty Dancing, some of my favorite Gilmore Girls episodes.

Is Omri Katz the kid from Indian in the Cupboard? Oh, no, the character’s name in that movie is Omri. HAHAHA This dude was in Eerie, Indiana though! What, you haven’t seen Eerie, Indiana? IT IS SO GOOD.

I forgot Thora Birch is in this!

Wait does this take place in the 1600s? Or this might be a flashback. To 300 years ago. Which explains the slight British accents and peasant shirts. I’m with you now. I’m onto the logic of this children’s film.

Oh Bette Midler’s wig is…LAID.

This book with the eye looks eerily like the Care of Magical Creatures book in HP.

Why are the sisters’ mouths all weird?

This was the year right after Sister Act. Kathy Najimy living her best life.

So the potion made them “younger”? Is this like a cautionary tale about naturally aging and not giving into plastic surgery and botox? And is Emily dead now? Or did she turn into a little girl ghost?

Is this a true story? I SAW GOODY MIDLER WITH THE DEVIL!

Max is a recent transplant from Los Angeles who said “Give me a break” after his teacher was telling them a story of witches instead of whatever she’s really supposed to be teaching them, and her response was, “We seem to have a skeptic in our midst. Mr. Dennison would you care to share your California tye-dye point of view?”

Why does Max look like a creep hitting on Allison?

The instrumentals in this film are truly enjoyable.

I MISS FALL IN NEW ENGLAND.

UGH this must’ve really been filmed in Massachusetts. It’s so New England-y! 😍

These idiots:

Calling him “Hollywood” and stealing his new sneakers is exactly what is wrong with white boys and bullying.

Ok this Dennison family house is spectacular. Max has stairs leading to somewhere inside his spacious room??

How cute is Thora Birch tho

Dad: What are you supposed to be, Max?

Max: A rap singer. 

Dad: Oh. Well your hat should be on sideways, shouldn’t it?

Ice & his leather jacket bro are back with more of their cronies and literally sitting outside a house making kids pay a toll in order to pass by. I HATE THEM SO MUCH.

Oh the huge house is where Allison lives, and apparently the theme is Marie Antoinette – and not the Kirsten Dunst version.

Danni calls out Max liking Allison’s “yabbos”, which is why I hate teenage boys.

So not only did Max’s teacher tell them about the Sanderson witches, but Danni’s teacher told them about the lore too. Is it just like, required cirriculum to tell kids about these witches in Salem? Also I find it funny they’re the “Sandersons”. It’s like, a 300 year old tale about the most haunting ladies in the area and they have the whitest names ever.

“Legend has it that the bones for 100 children are buried within these walls”… and this place used to be a museum open to the public?

If the black flame candle is lit by a virgin on Halloween night, some shit goes down, and apparently Disney is fine by mentioning virgins in this film.

“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus.” Has this always been a phrase to indicate something being outlandish? I legit thought it was always just a made up thing from this movie.

Is this a crossover with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch?

Has Hocus Pocus been made into a haunted house yet?

Max the Virgin lit the candle and conjured up the three witches, and it’s basically like the opening scene in the 1600s but with Max saving Danni. I love a good plot parallel.

Ugh instead of hauling butt out of there, he tells the sisters they messed with the “Great and Powerful Max” so now he’s “summoning the burning rain of death”. Just leave.

No wait the cat talks is it Salem’s great-grandfather or something?

 

Honestly, do these sisters think they’re in a never-ending musical?

Has Hocus Pocus been made into a musical yet? (Yes, kinda – a musical parody)

Winifred caught her BF William Butcher cheating on her with her sister Sarah so she punished him? I mean I’d be a little mad at my sister too, just saying.

The cat’s name is Thackary Binx. Solid name. You don’t hear the name Thackary anymore. Wonder if it was the Madison of its era.

LOL Thackary with the shade calling Max an “airhead virgin”.

Yo the zombie getting up from his death slumber is me when someone tries to wake me up in the morning.

Also, the zombie is William the one who played two of the sisters? And now Winifred’s asking for his help?

 – an actual bus driver picking up the sisters  🙄

Also: “We desire children” – Winifred. “It might take me a few tries, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem.” – bus driver who needs to calm down.

THACKARY 

OMG HIS STOMACH JUST INFLATED HAHAHAHA

Ahhhhhh Garry Marshall!!!

This dude pretending to be a real cop is really unnerving to me.

Ahhhhhh Penny Marshall!!!

This entertainment center with VHS tapes is my aesthetic 

Everyone ends up at the big Halloween party, where the sisters somehow end up on stage and sing I Put a Spell on You. Look, I love a musical number but this seems unnecessary. Especially if they’re trying to track down Max and co.

They tricked the sisters into the high school where they burned them alive?? Did this even work? Seems too easy.

It didn’t work.

Winifred comes out of the kiln speaking French because Max was pumping some kind of instructional tape over the stereo, and it’s the first time I’ve LOLed.

The bully idiots are back and discuss illegally watching naked women: “do you wanna look in windows and watch babes undress?” “It’s 3:00, they’re undressed already.” Honestly, what the actual fuck. This is what we taught our kids?

Kathy Najimy uses a vacuum to fly – so basically they can fly using anything, since it’s not the broom that has the power, it comes from within? I learn something new about witches every day.

“We haven’t the time!” I need to start using this phrase more. Sorry Jessie Spano, Winifred is in.

Wait William is calling Winifred a “trollop”?? I thought he’s the one who cheated on her????

Between Max’s shoes and his gym bag, Nike really got great product placement in this film.

Bitches didn’t even check to see if there was salt in the salt container?!?!

This sun is like The Lion King Musical huge 

Ok, but like a 300 year old male ghost kissing a 9 year old and whispering “I shall always be with you” is creepy right?

“I had to wait 300 years for a virgin to light a candle.”

^Legit the best part of this film.

Meanwhile, the Dennison adults are just clamoring out of the Halloween party wasted, the bullies are stuck in their birdcages, and the Harry Potter book’s eye wakes up.

Unpopular opinion: This film is mediocre? It’s obviously geared towards kids, which is why adults of our generation have a special spot in their hearts for this movie as an important part of their childhood. Was it because it’s been hyped up so much? Maybe. Was it the fact I’m not crazy about Halloween in general? Probably. At least now I can say I’ve seen it. Come at me haters.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Teen Witch

It’s October, and I am continuing to tackle my Halloween movie pop culture blind spots. As a person who loves Halloween but hates to be scared, it’s a chore. A neat trick I learned with Teen Wolf is that if a movie has the word “teen” in the title, it’s probably not that scary … and with that, I delve into Teen Witch.

What I Think It’s About: An ’80s teen learns that she’s a witch, like in Halloweentown or Twitches or Worst Witch or Harry Potter. She raps at a mean boy. That part, I HAVE seen.

Hulu short description: A high school student who is a descendant of bona fide Salem witches uses her magic to snag a football star as a boyfriend.

Okay, I’ve mentioned before how far down the Salem Witch documentary/podcast/google hole I’ve fallen, so this sounds pretty cool. Except for the second half, anyway – even a dopey teen has better uses for magic powers than “snagging a football star as a boyfriend.”

The movie opens with 80s sexy smooth jazz saxophone, which I hate. Two teens hang out in blue lighting on a rooftop. The first FOUR minutes look like any generic music video of 1989. It’s just a dream, we learn as Teen Witch wakes up in her Laura Ashley bedroom.

Also my bedroom style c. 1989 – 1999.

The family all sits around the breakfast table at the same time, being formal at each other.

Teen Witch’s best friend has dark hair and is 100% the person I thought was the Teen Witch based on the rap clip I’ve seen.

Anyway, Teen Witch (Louise) and Best Friend (Polly) wear those oversized, menswear, Annie Hall-type 80s clothes, which I find really underrepresented in the 80s-inspired fashion universe.

Cute look!

Teens just rap in the hallways. White boys. They’re dressed like the Uptown Funk video, or more accurately, the Uptown Funk video is dressed like them.

The cheerleaders sing and dance ‘I Like Boys’ in the locker room. THIS IS A MUSICAL?! This is a musical! I didn’t know.

I have so many things to say about the I Like Boys sequence, none of them probably search engine-friendly. You don’t strictly see anyone singing it, they just sort of prance in the locker room, having antics. As gals do, while telling you over and over that they like boys.

I probably don’t have to say this, but the ’80s teen hunk Louise is obsessed with is named Brad.

Louise goes to a creepy unpainted Victorian house to see someone named Madame Serena. The Victorian House trope is always interesting to me. By, say, the 1950s an 1890s Queen Ann Victorian was already known as a creepy witch/ ghost house. But in 2017, a house the same amount old (built in the 1950s) isn’t considered creepy. Our scary movies don’t involve a foreboding ranch house.

Madame Serena is a small psychic woman with a high voice, like in Poltergeist. She refers to Louise’s “cute little Punky Brewster face.” Ha.

Is Louise’s little brother going to turn into a rat ever? I feel like that happens in a lot of these kinds of movies.

Casting breakdown: Twerpy Younger Brother Who Gets Turned Into A Rat

An elderly health teacher has the kids chant ‘condom,’ which probably doesn’t happen in public schools? Or does it??

I think the only thing in the school’s soda machine is regular Coke.

Louise’s vest from her mom is “dorky” but with 28 years’ perspective, it doesn’t look any worse than anyone else’s outfits. Her dad has a big poinsettia sweater.

Wait but the nerd assuming Louise wears glasses, when she does not, is my whole life. Does this happen to everybody?

The nerd boy just looks like a hipster.

He’d be the hot friend on a CW series today.

“You think you’re hot stuff because you went to a dance. Nobody wants to date you because you’re a dog.. a dog… a dog!” That’s what kid brother says in that wavery scary voice before he TURNS INTO A DOG. I know I said rat before but I feel like I was close.

There’s a witch yearbook – “new faces of 1632” – and I choose to find it unrealistic that (1) they’re photographs and (2) not in 1600s-style clothing. The witch part is fine. Louise and Madame Serena are both in there. Does that mean all witches are reincarnated? Or they’re both 400 years old but went dormant and lost their memories for a while? I have questions.

Surely you all realized this already, but Madame Serena IS the actress from Poltergeist! I haven’t seen it since I was 7, but I was so certain it was her I had to IMDB it. What a very specific role to be typecast in.

It’s been almost an hour but I just realized that the character breakdown for Louise was absolutely “Molly Ringwald type.”

Louise has gone full witch, with love spells and a poppet.

Anyway, Louise voodoo poppets her awful English (?) teacher, a man whose classroom includes some weird stage with a desk and bookshelves on it, and who openly torments Louise every class. She makes him strip. ‘S funny.

Mean Teacher gets poppetted through a carwash on foot while the song “All Washed Up” plays, but the beginning of it sounds so much like Bad Romance. So much!

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’ve ALL been waiting for:

I thought there would be more context but, no. Also how I said it was a musical earlier? There was really just the locker room I Like Boys scene, then this. It’s like if I dreamed a kind-of musical about a Teen Witch, and an hour into the dream I realized I forgot to do songs.

Polly’s my favorite. It didn’t sound like the guy’s voice was coming from him?

Louise gets an ’80s perm, AKA she looks exactly like me if I air dry my hair, and a tapestry vest and a flouncy skirt. Hot stuff, indeed. She’s like Tiffany now. There’s a montage and all her outfits are super cute now.

It’s just Grease with witches, isn’t it?

The Sexy Sexy Saxophones are back, but this time Louise isn’t dreaming. She kisses Football Brad near a plaster-and-lathe wall.

Louise accidentally (?) magics the lead of the school play into breaking her leg, thus getting the lead role. I just thought witches had more control over their magic? Like with spells and wands. Louise is running this operation on poppets and hormones.

I’ve been checking how long there is left every 15 minutes or so.

Never have I ever seen a school dance scene that felt like it was the appropriate length. Like real school dances, it just goes on and on and on with very little happening.

In 1989, the bigger your hair was, the lovelier you were. Must have been nice to have such a clear formula.

I thought we’d get more clarification on the popularity-doesn’t-matter thing, but like Grease the messaging is not all that great.

To that end: the closing theme is “I’m gonna be the most popular girl. Gonna change my hair and makeup, soon you’re gonna see…”. There was nothing spooky in this whole movie – it was way too un-scary, actually – but this theme song would be PERFECT playing at the end of a dark, Black Mirror-y study of popularity at all costs.

Takeaway: I really like a lot of kiddie ‘scary’ movies, and I think witches are the coolest thing ever, but this didn’t 100% do it for me. Judging by my love for Hocus Pocus, I probably WOULD have liked this if I watched it first as a kid, though. It’s almost like it needed to be more witchy, or at least for the witch to have a more interesting objective than Football Brad.

 

EDIT: It’s been like 3/4 of a day since I watched Teen Witch and I find myself liking it more and more. Maybe it’s magic after all.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Teen Wolf (1985)

Welcome back to the spookiest month of pop culture blind spots! (October. The spookiest month is October). I started us off with The Shining, one of the most iconic horror movies of all time, so I don’t feel bad for dialing it way, way back this time and watching Teen Wolf.

What I think Teen Wolf is about: Michael J. Fox plays a teenage basketball player who discovers that he is a werewolf; he has to hide it from his friends and from the requisite 80s movie cute blonde girl; in the end she’s fine with it or maybe is a werewolf herself.

Hulu short description: A teenage boy’s incredible werewolf powers improve the quality of his life in dramatic and hilarious ways.

Look, if the grossest thing we see this whole movie is the sweaty teen face close-up we open on, it will be gross enough.

Michael J. Fox (Scott) goes into his coach’s office, mentions that he is “changing,” coach apologizes for not noticing but says he hasn’t been in the locker room much. A few things:

  1. APOLOGIZES FOR NOT NOTICING BUT HASN’T BEEN IN THE LOCKER ROOM MUCH
  2. I think it’s fine and actually v good if adults don’t notice teens’ puberty stuff
  3. In locker room situations, didn’t you always assume that nobody was really looking at you? Well you were wrong.

Everything is exactly as it should be in ’80s teen movie land: Scott has a Brunette Platonic Friend(TM) and a Blonde Crush. He works at a folksy, cluttered hardware store. The school’s theater director wears a turtleneck and a tweed blazer. Blonde Crush Pamela has a tough-guy boyfriend in double denim.

Honestly this is the whole thing in one photo.

Scott demands a keg at the liquor store, his eyes glowing red which is an early werewolf thing.

The one thing most 2010s depictions of the 80s are lacking: the intensely feathered and permed bangs that are all over the place in this teen party scene.

Peep the young Andy Samberg lookalike.

Does Scott have a mom? Single-parent households were the thing in 80s movies.

Importantly, Scott grows fangs and nasty thick nails before morphing into a full fur-face; more importantly, the green tiled bathroom was out of style for so long that it’s in again. I’d love that bathroom.

Scott is the only person, other than me, who says “jeez Louise” in moments of stress and panic.

There was a D.P. who was REALLY feeling this downward ceiling-shot in the bathroom.

Post-werewolf Dad (Dad’s also a werewolf BTW) looks so much like Jim-Bob Duggar.

Not sure if it’s the sound mix on Hulu or the sound cues in general, but the background music is so jerky and loud, bad and jarring. No shade to the music supervisor: it was the style of the time.

There is some very extra-casual use of f*g and I thank my lucky stars that it is 2017, not 1985. I only hope that 32 years from now, people are horrified by the things we say in movies today, too.

Everyone in the school is very cool about wolf-Scott. (SCOTT WOLF! Would have been a relevant thing to say 15 years ago.) Scott’s dad understands. There is basically zero conflict at this point in the film, except for a vice principal. Come to think of it, Scott’s friend Stiles was significantly nastier when he thought Scott was maybe-gay than when he thought he was definitely-wolf.

Platonic Brunette gives Blonde Crush a t-shirt, which is “too big for me.” Shade.

Season 1 Joey Potter-level sass.

The theater director is now in a cowl-neck with seemingly no shirt underneath, which is itchy and sweaty.

Pam & Scooter hang out backstage, where she is just in a bra and underwear, but it’s 1985 so like, white granny panties and a plain white bra. They hook up. She seems to really, really want him to turn into a wolf, which I mean, if that’s what you’re into it’s fine.

Scott calls his teammate “chubby” and “chubaroo,” and you’d think a wolf-teen would be more cool about other people’s body situations.

Scott thinks he’s hot stuff because he goes to a school dance in wolf mode.

I don’t know if I’m more confused as to why vice principal and Blonde Crush’s boyfriend hate werewolves so much, or why literally everybody else is so nonchalant about werewolves.

The only time I like a sports montage is when the movie description includes the phrase “rag-tag misfits.”

The twinkly, inspirational song that ends the basketball game! Oh my goodness. It’s like the same song that plays at the end of every 1980s to early ’90s teen movie. The entire ending sequence is all b-ball, no wolves, BTW.

That’s the end of it – they win a ball game.

One thing I forgot to mention is that Platonic Brunette’s name is Boof. I kept thinking it was a nickname for something that I missed (Lisa, per the internet), but the end credits confirm. Boof.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Shining

To begin with our standard Pop Culture Blind Spot apology/non-apology: yes, The Shining is a classic and no, I haven’t seen it. As a little kid I would challenge myself to watch scary movies, only to find myself haunted by them for months after. [Poltergeist, I’m looking at you.] At some point I questioned why I was doing that to myself and massively slashed back on my horror viewing. As a result, I’ve never seen some cult favorites: like The Shining, or Stephen King’s The Shining if you’re nasty. Between now and Halloween, I plan to dive into some of these spooky favorites – so watch this space.

What I think The Shining about: Jack Nicholson plays a writer who takes his family to a remote, haunted hotel until he snaps because of hotel-ghosts and tries to kill them all. Also, twins.

Netflix short description: A distant father roams an empty, maze-like hotel thick with dread. Something awful awaits in room 237.

First thing I notice: The Shining is shot, preserved, and/or remastered beautifully for a 1980 film. You know how a lot of movies from that era look sort of orange and grainy? In the scene with Jack’s son and wife (Shelly Duvall) it truly feels like I could walk into through the screen and into their apartment. As I said, Poltergeist did some things to my brain. But really, it’s like early 80s time travel, with all these nicely layered set details.

It’s so weird to hear the distinctive Jack Nicholson voice coming out of such a young face.

Jack agrees to the hotel deal and learns another guy who did the same thing went crazy and killed his family with an axe. Cool cool cool cool.

My first reason I don’t really trust Jack is that they have stack and stacks of paperbacks piled around their TV. Get another bookshelf.

Little Danny converses with himself in a mirror, which I hate. Then a flood of blood pours out of elevators, which I also hate. Then you see the scary twins, who I sort of thought would show up way later?

Backstory: Jack drank too much, got angry at Little Danny, and injured his arm 5 months ago. Since then he has stopped drinking… OR HAS HE?! OR WILL HE?! I don’t know, just trying to drum up some horror-appropriate suspense here.

Danny stands the eff up in the backseat of the car, and that is the most 1980 thing I have seen in the first 20 minutes of this film.

Oh, so those twins are just gonna keep showing up, huh.

There’s a hedge maze, but I’m going to stop them because nobody does hedge mazes better than My Dad Wrote A Porno.

Danny befriends Dick Hallorann, a chef who knows far too much and thus is surely a ghost or ghost-whisperer. Also Danny will not shut up about Tony, the ghost who live in his mouth.

The worst part of watching an iconic horror film is that your tension during dramatic moments starts way too early because you know too much. When Danny rides his trike around the hotel, I know from the first second that it’s definitely A Thing.

We watch part of a scene through a mirror, so Jack’s T-shirt writing is backwards. It’s so hard to tell what’s foreshadowing and what’s A Choice, because as a rule when I watch horror movies I assume everything’s foreshadowing.

Jack starts to act like a REAL DICK when Shelley Duvall stops in to say hey, so he’s already full of hotel ghosts.

Oh no, the twins.

To expand: the twins talk like a child Queen Elizabeth, or possibly like that old-time movie accent people used to have. Then Danny’s vision cuts to the girls dismembered.

Wait, shouldn’t Danny be going to school …? He spends 100% of his time riding a tricycle and getting haunted.

That damn mirror is back, along with Jack staring blankly into it before being creepy at his child for a while. Are we double-sure the overall problem isn’t actually that Jack’s a POS?

Oh, Danny has a great sweater:

And Wendy has a great overalls dress:

Danny has a bruised neck and Wendy deduces that a blank-faced Jack did it. Wait, is this whole thing an allegory for abuse?

A tuxedoed bartender shows up at the hotel bar just when Jack needs him most. Again, this dirtbag was supposed to quit drinking months ago. I still can’t decide if all the hotel people are ghost or if ghosts just live there alongside the people.

Shoutout to this film’s rug artist, and all the rug artists inspired by this film:

Jack gets chased by a decaying ghost-woman, which is honestly his comeuppance for being all “hehe, boobs” when he sees her in the bath instead of wondering what she was doing in the hotel.

Jack temporarily redeems himself by not being the person who choked Danny, then un-redeems himself by saying Danny did it himself. Also maybe I’m projecting, but it feels a lot like Danny has undiagnosed epilepsy that his parents should deal with.

There’s a ghost ’20s party going on in the house and Jack invites himself. You know what? Usually in horror movies I get annoyed with the people who go straight into clear peril, but I’d invite myself to a ghastly Gatsby party too.

[I do realize that Jack’s non-reaction to this scenario means his brain’s broke and we shouldn’t be holding him accountable for being a dirtbag, but isn’t it possible that Jack’s haunted/possessed AND a dirtbag?]

Anyone else find the blindingly red bathroom almost as creepy as the fact that Jack’s hanging out there with Mr. Grady, a deceased man who obliterated his family?

Danny starts using the funny creaky voice my littlest niece and I like to talk to each other in, and I can’t stop laughing. It’s supposed to be scary, I guess.

Dick Halloran hangs out in an airplane that, in true ’70s fashion, has seats that are about 3 feet wide.

There’s a lot of snow, and maybe this is just me being from a super-snowy city, but we’ve seen their stocked pantry and know the family doesn’t have anywhere to go (ahem, school). So I feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal?

I just googled Danny Lloyd (Danny) and found out they filmed the whole movie without him ever realizing it was a horror film. I love that so much! Stanley Kubric, ladies and gents. Legend for a reason.

We’ve now ticked off the following classic scenes: twins, redrum and All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It’s been fun seeing them come up, but nothing has really shaken me yet because I knew more about this movie than I realized.

Shout-out to Jack Nicholson: the scene after Jack finds Wendy reading the manuscript is some of the best creepy-movie, sinister acting I’ve seen, ever. There’s no gore or jump scares or anything, yet it’s the most harrowing moment of the whole thing.

Danny says redrum (AKA murder backwards) near that mirror. Good work, Stephen King’s The Shining. I like your foreshadowing.

Mhmm, so everything from when Jack gets an ax through the end is edge-of-your-seat chilling. I love how the first maybe 2/3 of the movie are only slightly spooky, only to get full-scale terrifying at the end.

Did I or did I not see Mr. Grady doing it with a furry?? Why is this not a thing anyone has brought up when I’ve heard them talk about The Shining?

Dick Halloran, RIP, you were my favorite one of all these shit people.

When Wendy finds the ballroom full of spiderweb skeleton-people, I can’t help it – I start grinning. It’s not funny, I’m just so delighted by the Psycho/Miss Havisham-ness of it all. In this moment I understand how people who are braver than me get a kick out of horror movies.

I love frozen popsicle eyeroll Jack so much. More than I’ve loved Jack this whole movie.

The ending – where you see the photo of the ballroom from July 4th 1921 and Jack’s there in an old-school tuxedo? That right there has to be the best ending of a horror movie I’ve ever seen.

BTW, almost all pics in this post link to great related posts about people who are clearly a lot more savvy than I am re: this movie.

 

I made it! That wasn’t so bad, but I have a feeling horror movies where most of the scenes aren’t a part of our cultural shorthand already will spook me out way more.

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Practical Magic

I have never seen Practical Magic. This, despite my love for Sandra Bullock (a love so deep I call her Sandy), comfy 90s movies where people wear sweaters, and witchy things. Most of my knowledge about Practical Magic comes from surfing past it on HBO during my childhood, and commercials for Charmed, a TV show about sister witches that is a different thing entirely from Practical Magic. Anyway, it feels like fall here in upstate New York, which means it feels like time for a fall movie… which I assume Practical Magic is, based on the witches.

The Netflix blurb:

Thanks to their powers, things come easy to these sisters… except keeping a man. Alive, that is.

First of all, this is some of the Netflix copy writers’ best work. Second, hard same.

We learn that the women in the Owens family have been witches since puritan New England. Oh, I love this already. If you haven’t gone down a Salem Witch Trials documentary spiral yet, I suggest it. Your YouTube suggestions will get a bit weird for a while but it will be worth it.

There’s a Victorian house, too! [Profiled here on my fav, Hooked on Houses]

The girls move there with their aunts after their dad falls victim to a centuries-old curse. Everyone wears draped, lacy dresses and florals with scarfs and floppy hats and statement earrings, exactly how you’d want witches in a Victorian house to dress. [I already feel a Practical Magic Is My Aesthetic post coming on.]

 

Work those April Cornell catalog vibes, ladies.

Child Sandy Bullock (Sally) looks like adult Sandy Bullock. Child Nicole Kidman (Gillian) does not really look like adult Nicole Kidman, but even casting directors are victims of All Redheads Look Alike Syndrome.

Child Sally, by the way? None other than little Camilla Belle, who actually DOES resemble adult Sandra Bullock these days, now that you mention it.

Adult Camilla

We’ve circled back to the late ’90s, fashion wise, and I like Sally’s straight-leg jeans. She also has one of those sweaters with the big stripe across the middle. REAL thing 90s kids remember: those sweaters with one big stripe across the middle.

IMPORTANT: There’s a scene where This Kiss by Faith Hill plays as Sally falls in love with a handsome man and, over time, marries him and has two kids. Practical Magic and This Kiss have definitely lived in the same mental file folder in my brain for these two decades. Meanwhile, Gillian leaves New England and dances whitely by a pool. Just watch it, it’s the best of comfy ‘normcore’ 90s romcom montages:

Like all of us, Gillian sings the soprano parts of Case Of You while driving and feeling some feelings.

On one hand, Gillian and Sally have a horrible curse wherein every man they love is doomed (RIP Gillian’s husband, Minute 5 – Minute 7, roughly). On the other, they have gorgeous, full blowouts and a bedroom fireplace.

If you didn’t get enough Practical Magic interiors from Hooked on Houses, click on this pic. I’m obsessed.

Whoopsie! The sisters killed a man by accident. He was Jimmy, Gillian’s garbage love interest who she drugged and brought cross country, but don’t feel too bad because he was secretly a killer as well . The gals take a real ad-hoc, non-Hogwarts-approved method of resurrecting him, doing the spell on their ample kitchen island. It doesn’t go great, so now they have to cover up his death. It’s a drag.

It’s not a movie about ‘strong female characters’ (TM Netflix) without a scene where they dance around the kitchen. Just ask Hidden Figures (a movie I loved, for the record).

A longer stretch of this movie than I expected is centered on covering up an accidental death. It’s fine but not what I was expecting. Aidan Quinn arrives to investigate Jimmy’s disappearance but also to fall in love with Sally. He is unusually handsome for someone named Gary. He’s ALSO the dream man Sally described as a child.

The reanimated corpse of Jimmy confronts Hot Gary  in the beautiful attic. I don’t know if witches need money, but they could rent that thing out for some serious bucks.

This is not an attack on anybody named Kylie or who named their daughter Kylie, but man, Kylie is NOT something a witch would name a child. [:Your Kris Jenner joke goes here:] I guess she was born during Sally’s trying-not-to-be-witchy phase.

The witch sisters need to expel Jimmy’s spirit and to do that they need a coven, which is basically like a quorum. Sally does what any small-town single mom would do: activates the school phone tree.

PS guess who Kylie is? A baby Evan Rachel Wood. I had no idea, this whole time. Along with All Redheads Look Alike Syndrome is the related Red Hair Renders You Instantly Unrecognizable Syndrome (hers is dyed, to perpetuate the one brown haired kid/one ginger kid thing her family has going).

She looks exactly like she does now, just with red hair.

In case you were worried, there’s a great witches-with-brooms scene. They just sweep with them, but still. They sweep OUT an evil spirit. The family curse is broken and now Gillian and Sally can fall in love without casualties.

The witches dress up as witches (but stereotypical ones) and fly from their roof on Halloween. The neighbors EAT IT UP. Just as I did this movie. It was cute.

 

P.S.: Not all of the music was by Bonnie Raitt and Mary Chapin Carpenter but it was all LIKE that.

 

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.

Photo Aug 18, 11 48 08 PM

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.

Photo Aug 17, 11 00 20 PM

7:20 I get Patrick Swayze now.

Photo Aug 17, 11 03 13 PM

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.

Photo Aug 17, 11 10 40 PM

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.

Photo Aug 17, 11 12 49 PM

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)

Photo Aug 17, 11 18 25 PM

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)