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Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Day After Tomorrow”

Dear Frank,

day_after_tomorrow_ver4When my brother and I were growing up, we LOVED the movie Independence Day, directed by Roland Emmerich. LOVED it. We had it on VHS, and we would just watch it over and over again, chanting along with our favorite lines of dialogue — we could even re-enact Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum’s final escape from the alien ship word for word, one of us taking Will Smith’s lines and the other playing Jeff Goldblum. (I forget who would play which more. I think, because I was a nice older sister, I let him be Will Smith the most.)

Then, you know, things happened and watching buildings explode stopped being fun for a few years — however, Roland Emmerich appears to have never lost his taste for ending the world. Which would be fine, except for this one time when, to destroy destroy the planet (especially Los Angeles), he fucked up a real disaster instead of using a fictional one.

The Day After Tomorrow is one of the stupider movies I’ve ever seen, Frank (and remember that time I watched Zardoz?). This is largely because it takes the issue of climate change and instead of raising real awareness about how badly we’re fucking up the planet, makes it seem as real as a giant lizard that breathes fire.

Seriously, Roland Emmerich fucks up global warming worse than he fucked up Godzilla. And GODDAMN, did he fuck up Godzilla. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank Why She Struggles With “Walking Dead” But Loves “Warm Bodies”

Dear Frank,

warm_bodies_ver7_xlgIt’s taken me more than a few years to understand why (despite being a total slut for any sort of fantasy or sci-fi narrative) I don’t really like zombie stories: They make for very hopeless storytelling. I can get on board with post-apocalypse narratives; I can get on board with horror. But zombie stories combine the two, often in a dark gruesome way, and goddamn if I’ve always failed to really engage with them. 

The exception, though, happens because of love.  Always because of love.  

Let’s start with The Walking Dead. If I had been single in the year 2010, I would never have finished watching the first season; I didn’t hate it, but I found it awfully bleak for regular viewing. 

However, I was not single in 2010, and the guy liked the show and didn’t have cable, so we watched it at my place — when Season 2 premiered a year later, after my relationship status had changed, I realized that on the bright side, I wouldn’t have to continue watching it. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Hell Comes to Frogtown”

Dear Frank,

So I should have written this post sometime during 2011, as it was heavily requested during the last round of open calls for what I should tell you about. It didn’t happen. You know why, Frank? I really didn’t want to watch this movie! But I got called out, and god forbid I quaver at the feet of any challenge. Even the challenge of a 1987 post-apocalyptic pseudo-comedy starring Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Thus, here’s this movie! The backstory: Apocalypse, of the nuclear kind. And there are dudes who make frog noises and they’re not allowed to have guns? I’m guessing they’re the titular frogs? I am mentally preparing myself for a great deal of literalness. Because, lest you think the title was some sort of fancypants metaphor thing, we establish right away that Rowdy Roddy Piper’s character is named Sam Hell. I bet at some point, he comes to Frogtown!

But first, he’s in jail, getting a bottle broken over his head for some sort of grievious offense against a dude’s daughter — I’m guessing it’s a SEXY offense? Oh, it totally is, because it’s just been revealed that the guy’s daughter is pregnant, which is a miracle in these barren apocalypse-y days, and is thus very interesting to the ladies of Med-Tech, some sort of government organization devoted to making more babies, because doing it naturally isn’t working out so well. This is delivered with all the subtlety and wit that you’d expect from a movie about giant mutated frog people, just so we’re clear. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Southland Tales”

Dear Frank,

Let’s get right to it. It is hot, I have had two drinks and what I know about Southland Tales at this moment is that I am glad to have had those two drinks before starting to watch it. So here we go!

For the record (she wrote while Netflix Instant loaded), I actually like and respect writer/director Richard Kelly to some extent, largely thanks to the same instincts that lead me to seeing Sucker Punch opening weekend. Short version: I respect crazy when it operates in cohesion with creativity. This, like many of my other annoying habits, hasn’t done me a tremendous amount of good.

Opening scene: A children’s party in Texas is interrupted by nuclear bombs. Whoops! Then it’s time for a dramatic exposition/news report hybrid: In the not-too-distant-future of 2008 (this movie was released theatrically in 2007), the draft gets reinstated, World War 3 has begun and everything is the worst thanks to the Middle East and our dependence on oil. On the plus side, things go well for the Republicans. Short version of all this exposition — American has disintegrated and we’re all fucked. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Zardoz”

Dear Frank,

There are times when I am well-versed in the media we’re discussing when I sit down to watch it, and times when I am not. This is the latter. Here is literally all I know about this movie: It is called Zardoz, and Sean Connery is in it, and I think it was made in the 70s. I have NO IDEA what is about to happen to me, and to be completely honest I’m a little nervous.

And okay, I just paused a minute in because WHAT THE FUCK. I think I’m going to be saying that a lot, based on this first minute. Some disembodied head wearing a towel is saying that his name is Zardoz and he’s a fake god and this movie might take place in “a possible future.” Was this the first movie ever made that took place in the future, and the filmmakers were nervous that no one would understand that it took place in the future and so they slapped this bit onto the beginning? ONLY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION.

THERE’S A MUSTACHE AND GOATEE DRAWN ON THIS GUY’S FACE. I REALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Uncanny X-Men: ‘Days of Future Past'”

Dear Frank,

Whoof! We’ve had a rough two weeks, haven’t we, between cross-dressing weirdos and John Travolta… Wait, no — I’ve had a rough two weeks, because I had to watch the damn movies. You’ve gotten off pretty light.

Which is why I want to take it relatively easy this time, focus on something non-painful, print-based and fun. In short, I wanna read a comic book, and as you’ve never read the classic Uncanny X-Men storyline “Days of Future Past,” well, there we go!

The catch, of course, is that this is a comic written initially in 1980. As you know, Frank, I consider myself a pretty big fan of the comic book medium, but while I enjoy superheroes as much as the next girl, most comics prior to the modern era of writers and artists have always struck me as a bit silly. The trade paperback I found Uncanny X-Men #141-142 in, for example, includes some other issues surrounding the classic storyline, and, look, I don’t want to make too much fun of old-school comics, because I know how many people still have fond memories, but, lemme just show you this… Read the rest of this entry

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