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Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Clan of the Cave Bear”

Dear Frank,

I have never read the Clan of the Cave Bear books or seen the movie before this week, but they’ve always been on the edge of my consciousness. See, my parents had at least one or two of Jean M. Auel’s novels on our family bookshelves, which I spent a fair portion of my childhood raiding in search of books that were probably inappropriate for my age. However, I was never inspired to pull these off the shelf, because while I was aware that they had quasi-sexy bits, cavemen erotica just seemed dirty and weird to me. I.E., not terribly erotic.

As an adult, Frank? My opinion hasn’t shifted much.

But here we go! And let’s start with a big-league apology — I’m a lazy high school sophomore. I watched the movie instead of reading the book. I did this knowing full well that there are fans of the book who’d probably react to me just watching the movie the same way I would react to people skipping Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for the HBO adaptation (specifically, with blood rage), but sorry, this is what’s happening.
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Liz Tells Frank What Happened In the “Game of Thrones” Pilot

Dear Frank,

So because you and I are both literate adults, students and appreciators of fine pop culture, we are both very in tune with HBO’s tradition of quality television. What does a series stamped with the HBO brand promise? Extreme violence, plenty of boobies and power struggles (the power struggles are what make it classy). Does the first episode of Game of Thrones deliver? Hell yes it does.

The Game of Thrones pilot, based on the books by George R.R. Martin, is, like many pilots, a bit of a shakedown cruise — there’s a roughness to the characterization and the performances that will likely no longer be there in a few more episodes (not to mention a crap-ton of exposition), but is worth forgiving in advance because oh man already so many power struggles! There are pretty much three storylines, which I’ll attempt to summarize quickly and succinctly: Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Showgirls”

Dear Frank,

So, I know that you have, technically, seen Showgirls — once, many many years ago. But here’s the thing, Frank — to only watch Showgirls once is to not be fully aware of just how transcendent a piece of entertainment it is; understanding Showgirls requires constant vigilance and study.

Of course, I say this as someone who watched Paul Verhoeven’s boob-straganza at least six times since its release on Laserdisc, two of which happened in the process of writing the paper “Bitchy or Just Misunderstood? All About Eve, Showgirls, and Female Melodrama” while studying film at USC. (TRUE STORY. I got an A-minus instead of an A because I spent too much time making fun of Showgirls. Looking back over the last ten years, I have clearly not learned my lesson.) Read the rest of this entry

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