Monthly Archives: December 2012

Liz Tells Frank Stuff She Forgot About “Love Actually”

Dear Frank,

Love_Actually_movieHappy holidays! A time of shopping, togetherness, and debating whether Love Actually, Richard Curtis’s 2003 Christmas romantic comedy to end all Christmas romantic comedies, is the absolute worst or the absolute best.

Every time I watch it, I’m not really sure of the answer. I mean, I adore some percentage of it, and I loathe some other percentage, and because the movie is fundamentally schizophrenic, that percentage is never the same twice.

But there is a lot to love, especially if you’re like me, and looking up cast lists on the IMDB is like breathing. EVERYONE is in this movie, Frank. Read the rest of this entry


Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “John Carter”

Dear Frank,

john-carter-poster-red-marsAbout a year or so ago, you may recall, I told you about the John Carter of Mars trailer, because (like many things I tell you about here) I thought it was pretty stupid. But for some reason I was cautiously optimistic about the film itself, based entirely on the fact that writer/director Andrew Stanton had made some pretty good movies already, and he seemed likely to keep a good thing going — especially because he was such a passionate fanboy about the source material.

Then, of course, the movie actually came out, and the reaction was literally mixed — to the point where I couldn’t really get excited. It has taken me WEEKS, Frank, to get through this movie and figure out what the hell it was about, and I wish I could tell you why that was the case. It just boggled me, you know? Boggled.

First realization, as I sit down to watch: It feels like it’s been a long long time since I’ve seen a movie with only one company in the pre-title sequence. Like, everything has like at least two production companies behind it these days — five, if you’re from Europe. But Disney’s the only company behind this movie. Which explains why they took such a bath on it. Read the rest of this entry

John Tells Liz What Happened In “50 Shades of Grey” (Part 2)

Dear Frank,

When last we met, our friend, writer and filmmaker John Ross, was telling me what happened in the best-selling erotic not-technically-“Twilight”-fan-fiction-except-basically-still-“Twilight”-fan-fiction novel “50 Shades of Grey,” leaving us with this breathless cliffhanger:

Ana wakes up the next morning to find herself in Grey’s hotel suite in Portland where they did the photo shoot. Don’t worry, they didn’t do anything. As he explains over breakfast, he won’t touch her unless he has her “written consent to do so.” What does he mean by that?! Refrain. He assures her that all will be revealed later that night, at which point, I guess, he will finally touch her. But in the elevator, he can’t seem to contain himself and—pinning her arms above her with one hand and grabbing her hair with the other—proceeds to try to fit her whole head in his mouth. Afterwards, he promises to never do that again until the paperwork is signed. What paperwork?! What is this mysterious man’s mysterious secret?!

Now, we go further down the rabbit hole, as things intensify for not-Bella-and-Edward’s relationship, as does John Ross’s use of “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” as a coping mechanism…


Dear Liz,

502bdd39acc01.imageI wish I could say that a lot of what you’re about to read was made up by me or embellished for comic effect. Such is the sadness of the Fifty Shades of Grey experience: reading it, knowing it is not a joke. Until the ending, that is, when another writer seems to suddenly take over, but we’ll get to that.

That night, Christian picks Ana up and flies her via helicopter to his penthouse apartment complex. After Ana signs a non-disclosure agreement (kinky!), she’s all ready for him to make love to her. But Christian needs to explain something to her first: he never makes love, he fucks…hard. Record scratch! Big reveal: Christian Grey is a dominant, and the only relationships he’s ever had were with women who agreed to be his submissives. This is the only kind of relationship he’s ever had, ever will have, and ever wants to have. And if Ana signs a contract, she can be his submissive too! Read the rest of this entry

John Tells Liz What Happened In “50 Shades of Grey” (Part 1)

Dear Frank,

Here’s the true story of how this came about — at an engagement party a few weeks ago, your friend and mine John Ross (a writer/filmmaker based in Los Angeles), mentioned that he was looking for a good excuse to read the best-selling erotic novel “50 Shades of Grey,” so he might learn what all the hype was about.

Because one of Liz Tells Frank’s proudest traditions is other people telling me about stuff, I immediately said to this nice Nebraska-born young man, “You should tell me about it so that I don’t have to tell Frank about it!” He proceeded to buy the book that night at his local grocery store (because apparently they are seriously selling “50 Shades of Grey” in grocery stores). And then, everything for John changed. For the better? Let’s find out….


Dear Liz,

502bdd39acc01.imageFifty Shades of Grey tells the story of Anastasia Steele, leader of a four-man Ghost Team call-signed “Hunter,” tasked with extracting an arms dealer named Christian Grey from a terrorist-controlled compound in Sucre, Bolivia. After using her remote surveillance drone to tag and execute the surrounding hostiles, Anastasia at last breaches the compound — taking out the last remaining guard with a silenced double-tap.

His body drops to the floor to reveal Christian Grey, bound and tied to a chair — her objective. She flushes. She can see the heat radiating from his toned physique through her thermal optic tac scope. Her breathing accelerates. Her optical camouflage deactivates and she starts to feel a pinch down there. Her subconscious is pinned down but her inner-goddess is providing cover fire—there’s just something about him that she can’t keep away from!

That is a pretty accurate snapshot of my psyche while reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I played a lot of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, because it was the only way I was going to get through the book—by taking frequent breaks to kill people. It was rough, Liz. There were moments when I wanted to take the book out to my driveway, run it over with my car, then light it on fire — for example when I would read an exchange like this:

Read the rest of this entry

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