Blog Archives

Meredith Tells Liz What Happened in “Nashville”

Dear Frank,

8aac306cc445b05fc3272c588efe96e3Special guest post from Meredith Lee, a new friend of Liz Tells Frank! ‘Tis the season, after all, for learning about new ridiculous dramas on ABC! (Seriously, this one sounds BONKERS.)

Love,
Liz

Dear Liz,

In the city of Nashville, it is really easy to become a superstar singer. You just need to go there and then get a job singing — and you will immediately get a contract. That actually may not be true in the real life Nashville but in the television version it is. They have everything: illegitimate children, drugs, alcohol…it’s like they have a list and it’s all set to country music and also everyone is ridiculously attractive in Nashville, because they just are and that’s just what happens.

We’re talking about the show Nashville on ABC, just to be clear. Read the rest of this entry

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Maureen Tells Liz What Happened In “The Wire” Season 1

Dear Frank,

Hey, people like to tell me stuff! Really! It’s very nice of them. Today, that person is the vunderbar Maureen McEly, whose blog is really, really fucking funny. Here, she is informing me — and by extension the world — about one of television’s greatest achievements. She uses less profanity than I do, but we’ll forgiver her for it.

Love,
Liz

Hey Liz,

The_Wire_-_Season_1I know we mostly love to talk about cryptozoological erotica (you were part of that FB conversation right? Otherwise this just got super weird, right off the bat) and David Duchovny/Gillian Anderson flirtation. But for a change of pace, I thought we’d delve into the Baltimore’s violent and depressing drug trade, as depicted in The Wire! Don’t worry, even though it’s a bleak and complicated universe, it’s actually very (wait for it) addictive. (Get it, Liz? Because of drugs?)

Horrible puns aside, let me get this out of the way: everyone who told you to watch The Wire was right. You should. Ugh, I know. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told to watch The Wire. It got to a point, at the peak of Wire popularity, where I felt like literally everyone I met was recommending, no, insisting that I watch it. It was pretty annoying. I think I’ve had this exact conversation 200,000 times in my life:

Smug Dude: “What, you haven’t seen The Wire?? Wow.” *Looks at me in a sympathetic yet condescending way* “You really should. It’s so realistic.

Me: “Yeah, it looks like you probably know a lot about life on the streets of Baltimore.”

Smug, Now Slightly Offended Dude: “Well, what I DO know is that it’s the best television show ever created.”

Bored Me: “Really? I have never heard that before in my life. The Wire you said it’s called? Let me write that down!”

Then, in my head, I’d fervently declare I’d NEVER watch The Wire< because it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype, and also because I don’t like being told what to do. But then I finally watched it this year and… yeah. They were all right. God damn it. Sorry, everyone I met between 2002 – 2010. 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

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

John Tells Liz What Happened In The New French Extremity Movement

Dear Frank,

As you know, our good friend John Ross usually tells me about properties related to or derived from female-skewing young adult literature. Today, he’s taken a… different path. But it should be an interesting time!

Love,
Liz

Dear Liz,

Cat FrightenedIt’s the most wonderful time of the year…for most people. But for many, the holidays have the potential to be the most depressing time of year, a time of “unrealistic expectations and excessive self-reflection.” To make matters worse, everything pretty much shuts down — you can’t go to work, you can’t go out, everyone’s gone home to be with family or loved ones — leaving you with not much to do but sit there and dwell on how single you are, how little you’ve accomplished this year, how it’s dark at 4pm, or whatever.

This is also true of the characters in many of our most beloved Christmas movies. Scrooge in A Christmas Carol is subjugated to intense self-reflection, forced by ghosts to relive the most shameful moments in his life and even visit his own grave. In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey reviews all the missed opportunities in his life that eventually drive him to commit suicide. In the end, however, they always wake up reborn on Christmas and proceed to go bug nuts insane, running down the street, hugging everyone, throwing money around and shouting elatedly.

But this catharsis is only possible after a dark night of forced purgation by an inescapable, seemingly omnipotent entity. Only after they’ve reflected on their sins and faced death can they truly appreciate life.

Wait a minute… That sounds familiar… Read the rest of this entry

Eric Tells Liz What Happened In “Spec Ops: The Line” (Part 3)

Dear Frank,

What a fun genocidal journey we’ve been on, huh? But now, it’s time for Eric Miller‘s thrilling conclusion to the video game “Spec Ops: The Line.”

Love,
Liz

Dear Liz,

Spec_Ops_The_Line_cover…nice long kitten break. Back to Dubai!

Something that I should make clear to you, Liz, is that Spec Ops is not the best game I’ve ever played. At the moment, that title belongs to Mass Effect 2 (with some grumblings about how many of the problems with ME3 can be traced back to ME1 and 2 over promising…). It wasn’t even my favorite game of last year, which goes to… Mass Effect 3, because of everything that happened before those last 15 minutes…

Point is, the game’s not perfect. There’s clear padding in areas, Act 1 goes on too long (it’s almost half the game), I hate the In Medias Res beginning (hence why I didn’t mention it at the start), and the fact that there’s no way to progress in the White Phosphorous attack without using it and killing all the civilians undercuts the message a bit in the end (although many disagree).

Compared to Apocalypse Now, Spec Ops isn’t even close. Apocalypse Now is just about perfect, the writing, the directing, the cinematography. Really, the only problem is that the early battle scenes are too exciting and entertaining, and thus make it easy to miss the point of them.

But what Spec Ops does well? It does phenomenally well. Read the rest of this entry

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