Category Archives: Movies

In which Liz tells Frank about klassic kinema.

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

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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

John Tells Liz What Happened In “Endless Love”

Dear Frank,

endless-love-poster01Look who’s back! That’s right, our dear friend John Ross is back to continue his anthropological survey of what teenage girls seem to be into these days. His dedication to science is a blessing to us all.

Love,
Liz

Dear Liz,

Scott Spencer, the author of the novel Endless Love, really, really regrets selling the movie rights to his book.  In this devastating op-ed in The Paris Review, he equates viewing Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 movie adaptation to being stabbed in the heart, and predicts that the 2014 remake will be a “Valentine’s Day massacre.”

My reaction to the new remake was somewhat similar in that it also involved stabbing.  That is, during the film, I wanted to stab myself in the eyes and ears, and when it was over, I wanted to go to a crowded place and see how many people I could stab before the police shot me.  That might maybe cancel out the experience of watching the new Endless Love remake.

Spencer himself describes the book as an “unhinged novel about the glorious destructive violence of erotic obsession,” and from what I’ve read of it, that sounds about right. 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

Liz Tells Frank Stuff She Forgot About “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Dear Frank,

poster_wonderful_470_ixWe’ve had some interesting times this week! We learned what to watch if you’re super in the Christmas mood, and we learned what to watch if you’re SUPER-SUPER-SUPER-SUPER not.

John and Jesse took us to some dark places, and I think today, on CCH Pounder’s birthday, we should try to remember the real meaning of the season. Or at least, try to remember stuff that happened in It’s A Wonderful Life. Because what a weird movie this is!

Of course, I have, like, Christmas to celebrate, so let’s not get too bogged down in details. You know what happens in It’s A Wonderful Life, Frank! We all do! But there are some key details that might have slipped under the radar for you over the years… Read the rest of this entry

Jesse Tells Frank What Happened In All Cable Christmas Movies

Dear Frank,

Normally, I guard the honor of telling of you stuff as sacred. But after John Ross recommended a most bloodthirsty selection of “Christmas” movies yesterday, I figured we could all use an antidote. So here’s our good friend Jesse Vigil — with a different approach!

Love,
Liz

Dear Frank,

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas 2013I grew up Catholic and was educated by Catholics for 13 years, so naturally I am really good at swearing and having not the best relationship with faith. I am also a little Grinchy about Christmas, especially when it comes to starting the “season” prior to December 1st.

You might know me as a person who does not always have great taste in film. I do, for example, believe Michael Bay is an important artist whose dadaist celebration of the meaninglessness of “plot” has yet to be properly recognized. But I have a dark secret, Frank. Because I have seen over two dozen cable Christmas movies.

And no, we’re not talking about the classics. No White Christmas. No It’s a Wonderful Life. Not even Die Hard or Batman Returns. I’m talking about the factory-churned slew of contemporary Christmas movies that rose to prominence on Lifetime and then spread like cancer to ABC Family and even a thing I didn’t know existed: The Hallmark Channel.

I have relatives, Frank, and they watch a lot of these movies. I also stay up late, Frank, so I’ve seen more of them than my wife, whom the Sandman loves more than me. Last holiday I started live-tweeting the most outrageous discoveries I made about this whole genre of films and was asked by our mutual friend Liz to share my discoveries with you. So here are the Five Things You Need To Know About Cable Christmas Movies: Read the rest of this entry

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