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Jeff Tells Liz What Happened in “Winter’s Tale”

Dear Liz,

Yes, I know it's not a true story, because it's not a documentary.

Yes, I know it’s not a true story, because it’s not a documentary.

If you’re anything like me, you remember seeing the ads for Winter’s Tale and thinking, “So, Colin Farrell is in love with that girl from Downton Abbey, but then he gets reincarnated in modern day New York? Or something?” The ads certainly suggested romance, and then some vaguely supernatural buggery-boo, but mostly they made no damn sense, and the film only grossed $30 million worldwide on a $60 million budget.

Why were the ads so cagey? This is a romance that opened on Valentine’s Day — why not give us some indication of why Farrell winds up in present day New York, or what Russell Crowe is doing in the movie at all? Could it be that the studio simply wanted to indicate sweeping romance while hiding the fact that this movie is BUGFUCK INSANE??? Liz, this film is so crazy that I started taking notes about 1/3 of the way through because I knew I had to tell you about it. And now I will. [Oh, thank god. –Liz]

Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Batman and Robin”

Dear Frank,

So as you know, I’m a very big fan of performance artist Lady Gaga, primarily because in the world of pop music, she’s the rare person unafraid to truly experiment. Like, I know there are plenty of people giving her shit over coming to the Grammys last night ensconced inside a translucent egg, but frankly I kinda loved it. Especially because she also came on stage inside said egg, basically making the red carpet a dramatic lead-up to her onstage performance, which is such a bold and interesting way of approaching the conceit of an awards show! Lady Gaga is so great.

Why am I talking about Lady Gaga, Frank, when (as the subject of this post clearly states) I am here to tell you what happens in the 1997 film Batman and Robin? Here’s the deal. We all know this is a terrible movie (Akiva Goldsman, even Fringe being awesome doesn’t mean I forgive you). But while other cinematic disasters I’ve told you about were failures because of a lack of talent or inspiration, that’s not where Batman and Robin falls apart. Batman and Robin is fucking terrible, but it’s fucking terrible because it was a bold attempt at capturing a certain spirit in film format — specifically, being a live-action comic book.

The primary problem, of course, is that the people involved have this completely childish idea of what comic books are — probably because the last time they read a piece of sequential art, they were actually children — and the entire movie is a fucking mess. But there is a part of me that admires the amount of risk taken here, the flat-out balls of trying something new with what was previously such a profitable franchise. The visual extravagance of this film alone could inspire an entire concert’s worth of Lady Gaga ensembles. In short: This is probably why I am not in charge of a major motion picture studio, but there is a part of me that would rather Hollywood make five flat-out insane Batman and Robins than one generic and blah Transformers.

Thus ends my defense of Batman and Robin. Let’s begin making fun of it, shall we? Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Fringe” (Sorta.)

Dear Frank,

So this isn’t the first time I’ve tried to tell you about Fringe — when the show first premiered in 2008, I watched the first couple of episodes with an eye towards filling you in on a regular basis. I even came up with nicknames for the characters, like Agent Cate (because star Anna Torv looks like a poor man’s Cate Blanchett) and Pacey (because Joshua Jackson was on Dawson’s Creek, a show I never watched as a teenager because of its lack of space battles).

But while the show wasn’t awful, the first few episodes also failed to hook me (you’ve seen one misfit FBI team investigate strange phenomena, you’ve seen ’em all) and so not only did I not tell you what happened in it, I stopped watching altogether — an experience, I’ve heard, many other potential fans also shared. (Especially fans unwilling to put their faith in a J.J. Abrams production after Alias and Lost failed to follow through on their narrative promise.)

Here’s the trouble with Fringe, though — once you get past those first six or so first season episodes, Fringe is awesome. I mean, it’s not immediately awesome, but about halfway through the first season it starts getting good, and then it gets better, and then it’s onto full-on awesome, and then its awesomeness quotient increases exponentially until the awesome meter breaks and gets awesome juice everywhere. But you DON’T CARE about the mess. Because of how awesome it is.

I wouldn’t have discovered this, though, if my dad — who pushed through those first few episodes and became a fan — hadn’t (with my permission) spoiled me on a detail from the season one finale. So today, Frank, I’m not going to tell you everything that’s happened in Fringe — I’m just going to tell you enough to make you (hopefully) want to watch it. Read the rest of this entry

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