Author Archives: Liz Shannon Miller

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “After Earth”

Dear Frank,

after earth posterAs I write this, let me tell you — I’m not feeling great. Some sort of head/chest congestion thing. It’s way better today than it was on Sunday, thanks to the joys of modern medicine, but it also means that I write this now after having just taken my second dose of DayQuil of the day, and I’m gonna tell you, I feel a little bit loopy.

Which is probably the best possible place from which to approach After Earth.

Yes, Frank, technically I know what I’m getting into. I know this movie is not good. But I need to know JUST HOW BAD.

Because here’s the thing — the question I pose today isn’t “is After Earth a terrible film?” but rather “is After Earth WORSE than Battlefield Earth?” It’s time for the Scientology Metaphor Movie Showdown! Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”

Dear Frank,

noah-posterMonday night, about ten minutes before a screening of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, I made the following joke on Twitter:

Do you think I’ll have a hard time understanding “Noah” if I don’t read the book first? (I remember hearing it was based on some book…)

Not exactly groundbreaking, as jokes go. But it happened to be couched in some amount of truth. I would probably consider myself a spiritual person, but that spirituality owes absolutely nothing to the Good Book and any knowledge of the material within is due largely to pop culture’s appropriation of it. Like, I know what Gethsemane is, but only because there’s an X-Files episode called that, you know?

(DAMN IT I almost made it a full 24 hours without referencing The X-Files in some context. Frank, I was doing SO GOOD.)

Point is, I know the basics of the Noah story — God decides to punish Man with flood, one guy builds a really big boat to save the creatures that can’t swim to survive it — and went into Aronofsky’s interpretation assuming that the rest of what happened in the film would be drawn from the original text.

But the next day, when I was talking with people online about what I’d seen, I was surprised to learn that NOPE. Not only is the original text, in one person’s words, “really bare bones” but Aronofsky took some, um, liberties with the source material. And Aronofsky’s version? BONKERS. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “How I Met Your Mother”

Dear Frank,

how_i_met_your_motherSo it’s been a little while — sorry about that. There are a number of reasons, most of which boil down to “I really am going to tell you about After Earth out of revenge for it NEARLY KILLING ME the first time I tried oh god that movie’s bad.”

But someonething I loved left us forever this week, and I’ve been waiting for years to tell you about it. Once upon a time, Frank, this guy named Ted made his kids listen to the story of how he met their mother. It only took NINE SEASONS, Frank, but tonight that story came to a close.

And look, I could get into a lot of the details about this epic journey through the mid-20s to mid-30s years of a group of attractive white Manhattanites. I mean, just for starters, Ted’s many failed relationships, the incredibly loving marriage of his best friends Lily and Marshall, their womanizing buddy Barney’s love of manipulating women into casual sex, Ted’s long-time crush Robin’s pursuit of success as an on-air journalist, Lily’s failed art career, Marshall’s struggles as a corporate lawyer, Ted’s architectural obsession with the Empire State Building, Lily’s credit card debt, Robin’s secret past as a Canadian teen pop star, Barney’s black half-brother, Marshall’s obsession with puns, that time Ted and Barney licked the Liberty Bell, the Slap Bet…

Like I said. I COULD GO INTO DETAIL. But Frank, you want to know who the mother is. We all have wanted to know who the mother is FOR NEARLY A FUCKING DECADE. So I’m going to tell you. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In TNT’s “The Librarian”

Dear Frank,

posterThe other day, as I looked through my media collection, I was reminded of how many kinda stupid things I kinda totally love. Like, the 2002 Jennifer Lopez movie Enough, where Billy Campbell beats the shit out of Jennifer Lopez until she says ENOUGH! It’s through-and-through Lifetime crap, but I have seen it at least a half dozen times, the guilt tearing at me inside.

There’s so much other stuff I haven’t seen, Frank! And good stuff, too! The Internet won’t stop yelling about True Detective, but I’m rewatching a movie that contains lines of dialogue like “You have a divine animal right to protect your life and the life of your offspring.” STOP ME, FRANK. HELP ME SAY ENOUGH WITH ENOUGH.

I bring up stupid things I love apologetically to provide a contrast to stupid things I love unapologetically. Like, for example, the TNT original film series The Librarian: [Let's Go Looking For Insert Precious Relic Here], which (it was recently announced) will soon become fodder for an upcoming TV show! Holy shit, Frank! Is it fucking CHRISTMAS? Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “SeaQuest DSV”

Dear Frank,

SeaQuestDSV_S1_OuterBoxIt’s funny, to remember the year 1993, and the minor civil war that broke out between television-loving nerds: Specifically, the rift between those who chose to watch the premiere of Lois and Clark at 8 PM Sunday nights on ABC, and those who chose to watch SeaQuest DSV during the same time slot on NBC. Funny, because it’s a battle now made irrelevant by DVRs, and funny, because I’m pretty sure neither show was actually very good.

I know you were a Lois and Clark person, Frank, because of your deeply held Superman alligence, but I definitely fell on the SeaQuest side of things, for reasons that we’ll get into over the course of this retelling. However, it has been close to 20 years since I’ve seen an episode of this show, and I suspect that it doesn’t hold up. Let’s find out!

This thing opens with what I think is an old speech by John F. Kennedy and some stock footage of whales and dolphins, which, yay. How to win a pre-teen Liz’s heart, right off the bat? Motherfucking WHALES AND DOLPHINS. When I was a kid, I either wanted to be a marine biologist or a writer, and the major reason I went down the latter path is that I suck at doing actual science. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Spaceballs”

Dear Frank,

Spaceballs_DVD_coverIf I ever have kids, I’m not too worried about them being exposed to graphic media. I mean, I’m going to keep them away from the really violent stuff as long as humanly possible, and yeah, maybe I’ll try to keep a lid on the swears.

But when it comes to comedy, I’m pretty confident that if my kids hear a dirty joke, they won’t be terribly scarred for life — because they just won’t get them. How do I know this? Well, growing up, one of my all time favorite movies was the Mel Brooks Star Wars parody Spaceballs.

Here is how much my brother and I watched Spaceballs growing up — the VHS cassette case BROKE, and my mother (whose excellent qualities include a MacGuyver-ish ability to fix stuff) had to transplant the physical tape into a new case. Here is how many of the really dirty references we got: Pretty much zero. Here is how many times I’ve seen Spaceballs as an adult: Maybe one, and years ago. (You might have seen it as well — but I’m certain not recently. We’re both in the same boat here.)

However, the film is available on Netflix, and I’m a sucker for anything set in space. So, Frank, let’s revisit this classic! Read the rest of this entry

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