Monthly Archives: April 2012

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Cabin in the Woods”

Dear Frank,

I feel kind of guilty about writing this, so let me just be upfront: You should see Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods. You should read this post only after seeing The Cabin in the Woods, because it’s a smart inventive film with some great twists and surprises. You and everyone else should go to a movie theater and vote with their ticket dollars for smart, original films that play with genre. I’ll see you in two hours plus however long it takes you to walk/drive/bike/bus to your local movie theater. Have fun!

Two hours plus however long it takes Frank to walk/drive/bike/bus to his local movie theater later…

Great! I hope you liked the movie, Frank! Let me tell you about what you saw:

Five young college students load into an RV and drive out to a creepy cabin in the woods. Once there, they party hard, but just as things are getting sexual they are each brutally killed by a variety of horrible creatures and accidents. THE END.

All right, some other stuff happens too… Read the rest of this entry


Liz Tells Frank What Happened In Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture”

Dear Frank,

Today, as I usually do while writing, I am listening to music: Specifically, I am taking advantage of my Spotify Premium free trial to listen to Kelly Clarkson songs about being strong and independent and whatnot. I listen to music like this on repeat as a sort of hypnosis technique — the bulk of my work has been accompanied by the collected works of Britney Spears, P!nk and Jennifer Lopez. My iTunes listening history is a deeply embarrassing thing.

But Kelly Clarkson is a conscious choice today, because Kelly (I feel like I can call her Kelly), represents a very specific sort of girl whose public image is deliberately honest and natural, almost to a fault. I remember listening to an interview Kelly did with NPR after she Tweeted out her support for Ron Paul — the way she explained it, she was watching Leno with her brother, decided she liked Ron Paul, and said so on the internet.

Politically, she and I couldn’t disagree more, but I liked the image of it, Kelly couch-surfing with her brother, jeans and thick socks, sending out a quick tweet before seeing if there was a Simpsons rerun on anywhere.

Frank, this comes up because these days, the idea of a lady living her life unapologetically is becoming less and less a radical act. Ashley Judd makes headlines by ranting about the media attention paid to her face, Jennifer Lawrence charms late night hosts and red carpets with her mesmerizing goofiness… and Lena Dunham makes movies and TV shows. Read the rest of this entry

“Farscape”: The Complete Skip It/Watch It Guide

[I’ve wanted to do a SI/WI for this show for ages, but it’s been a while since I really dug into the Henson Company’s insane combination of puppets, sci-fi and attractive people in leather pants. Fortunately, I happen to know a bonafide “Farscape” expert, and she was willing to step in and perform this valuable public service! Andreanna Ditton, take it away… –Liz]

Farscape is, as one character says, “Disneyland on Acid.” It’s a roller-coaster of sci-fi and bad decisions when the human is always wrong, but that doesn’t stop him from having a plan. Our protagonists are all escaped criminals, from the big blue priest (Zhaan), who orgasms in the light, to the tentacled warrior masquerading as a Klingon rip-off (D’Argo), who turns out to be funny, young, romantic and ragey. There’s a soldier (Aeryn Sun), raised by a fascist military race that look human, who accidentally goes against her training and gets exiled for it. And then there’s the deposed dictator with the worst case of swamp gas in history (Rygel). Couple all that with a living ship (Moya), her snarktastic Pilot (Pilot), and John Crichton, All-American boy wonder who got shot through a wormhole into the ass-end of a universe that considers him expendable, problematic, and eventually marked for death — and you have a television show.

This is science fiction for people who like their comedy in turns black and snot-filled, their love stories fraught and full of sex, their action-sequences big, the consequences bigger, and the actual science…best left unexplored. It’s space opera on an epic scale.

Farscape tackles all the traditional tropes, then turns them on their collective heads. Continuity matters. Story matters. This is the Odyssey — a man lost in the universe, trying to get home. In the meantime, home changes. Decisions don’t get undone in Farscape, for any of the characters — heroes or villains. It helps that the cast is uniformly stellar, that crazy is not pretty but terrifying, that space is vast, and villains cruel but multi-faceted, and that everyone is capable of doing bad all by themselves.

And yes, there are puppets. If those puppets don’t make you cry at some point, you have no heart. Read the rest of this entry

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