I’m on vacation in Tucson, staying in a tiny house and I just watched “Passengers” on a tiny TV– but it sucked huge. The suckage doesn’t fit in this tiny house and it needs a place to go and that place is here.

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“There is a reason they woke up.” Yeah. It’s because Chris Pratt is a total asshole.

It’s the future and Earth sucks so a big company ships 5,000 rich people through space to a new planet called Homestead II. Of course it takes hundreds of years to get there so everyone is tucked away snoozing in pods. Chris Pratt’s pod (don’t remember his character’s name, don’t care) malfunctions and he wakes up 90 years early. He spends a year never shaving probably because he saw “Castaway” and thinks that’s what you’re supposed to do with your stranded time.

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But while Tom Hanks manages to cope for four years by building a meaningful relationship with a volleyball, this guy can’t deal with being alone for one year— even though he has 3-D Dance Dance Revolution AND a full bar with a British android bartender– and so he caves and ruins Jennifer Lawrence’s life by waking her up because he’s a big dumb awful man baby.

AND HE FUCKING TALKS WITH HIS MOUTH FULL. After he lies to her and tells her both their pods just happen to have malfunctioned and she’s coming to grips with the fact that she will die on this spaceship, she shares some of her “Gold Class” breakfast with him because he’s been, boo-hoo, eating Cheerios for a year.

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Then he starts talking to her through a wad of scone and I screamed “OPEN THE POD BAY DOORS HONEY AND JUMP!” That shit is bad enough when you can actually kick someone out of your house for doing it, or just never text back or whatever, but being resigned to a lifetime under fluorescent lights with full-mouth-talking Space Pratt? I’d be fumbling for those cyanide capsules. Or a crowbar. Either way the movie would be more interesting.

But because this is a Lifetime in space– a Lifetime movie in space– of course this happens:

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And this:

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Ugh those shoes. Anyway they do dumb romantic shit like they have a choice and she says baffling things like “for the first time in my life I don’t feel alone” until the British android bartender spills the beans that Chris woke her up on purpose.

Then a crowbar actually does make an appearance. She flips out on him, heaving the anachronistic tool above her head, almost making the movie a good one; I can’t believe there are no pictures of the crowbar scene. But she reins it in and the rest of the movie is just her being frosty to him until some bigger spaceship problem happens and they have to work together to save the day.

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Blah blah she ends up saving his life with the old “my spacesuit tether is still connected and I’m brave” trick and there is much weeping and trauma bonding and probably also a lot of Stockholm Syndrome.

Of course there had been no way for them to crawl back in their pods and go back to sleep because movie, but in all the hullabaloo Chris finds out that the medical pod has a “suspended animation” feature.

The talking-while-eating was bad, but here’s where the movie gets truly dark if you ask me. There’s only one medical pod and Chris is all “you take it– you can go back to sleep now.” Are you fucking kidding me? You were such a weak, blubbering, piece of shit that you had to destroy her life because you were BORED and now you’re like “it’s ok, I’ll be fine, go live your life” and basically manipulate her into saying “no, I can’t leave you,” thereby assuaging all your guilt about having selfishly woken her up in the first place???


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And then they get married the end.

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Like, an Alice in Chains music video or something.

Two hours of meaningless, empty, vapid, BORING plotless meandering emo bullshit. I fell asleep THREE times– on purpose! There’s that part In Amadeus where Salieri is explaining that if the Emperor yawned three times during an opera it would be a one-hit wonder and fail that same night.

Here’s what I was able to glean from the movie in between naps. Tilda Swinton looks like Powder’s sister:

Modern vampires are nothing more than loathsome bohemian hipsters who drink artisanal blood like Fernet and make whimsical blood popsicles:

Oh, and there’s no plot.

A.O. Scott is weirdly gentle in his two-and-a-half star review:

“What sustains “Only Lovers Left Alive” is less a story than a sensibility, an attitude of nostalgic and somewhat cranky connoisseurship. Plots are for squares, which is not to say that nothing happens.”

Of course things happen– vampires mope around wearing sunglasses, looking for blood, feeling suicidal, playing the lute, looking like Robert Smith– but in the end, who cares? You can go to Brooklyn or a Whole Foods and see this shit in real life and STILL not care!

If Nihilism is the underlying theme here, then really embrace it and just stay home.

I often engage in “Lifetime movie stenography” wherein I take real-time viewing notes with the goal of molding it into some kind of review with a point. You know, the way Attempted Blogger does. But I forget about the draft, I forget about the movie, and life hurtles forward.

But then I find it again and am in for a treat, the way a cat eats its own puked up kibble.

The synopsis is what snared me like an innocent hare. Hold on to your hats:

A dramatic and lighter look at breast cancer told from a single woman’s point of view. It’s the true story of Linda Dackman (Ricki Lake), following her as she tries to re-enter the dizzying dating world post-mastectomy. Dackman’s adventures in dating and her intimate and witty insights into appearance, self-image, sex and romance.

Dramatic AND lighter? Oh Lifetime, how you challenge and defy the very meaning of words and how they relate to one another. Let’s go along on this dizzying journey.

What are those monoliths behind her? Is it a… mammogram?

*REALIZATION REALM* I don’t know anything about Ricki Lake (Linda). All I know is that the name sounds “famous.” I’m pretty sure she had a talk show, but beyond that I have no idea. I don’t think this matters.

Already the music is way too cheerful for breast cancer. Linda is telling an ugly blond idiot guy, Kevin, that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship. She’s “always been in a relationship” and she “wants to know why.” Kevin is like “derrrr?” Already there are dialogue issues. It was a ridiculous break-up scene with zero drama and yet she flounces away as the opening credits roll saying “well THAT went well.”

She’s a successful art gallery curator or something, and her underlings are all “didja dump him?” Her sassy Latino male coworker who keeps calling her “chica” tells her she did the right thing. Linda is basically Dr. Cuddy from House.

“I’m doubling your clinic hours.”

We’ve switched to weird documentary interview style filming with her friend saying she dragged her to get a mammogram and she’s got microgranualization which means she’s going to a mastectomy, swiftly laying down the entire conflict in front of out very eyes. Linda laments that this is super ruining her plans to be “free and hot” (like, a fart?). But lo, a swarthy guy named Jacques comes over and wants to buy her a drink. She’s still got it!

Her doctor is hot and he’s laying down some science about her “invasive stage I cancer.” The music is weird clown music. She wants BIGGER boobs, ha ha ha. She is throwing way too much snarkasm at this problem. She’s not going to let this take over her life! She calls the Swarthy Guy! Ohhh, he’s supposed to be French! I guess “Jacques” should have given it away because his accent sure didn’t. Come on, Canada!

Now she’s getting the deets about her mastectomy. Her plastic surgeon’s office makes it looks like it’s going to cost millions of dollars and also like it was cobbled together from crap used in Minority Report, painted white.

All of a sudden Linda’s had her surgery! She wakes up and now seems to be in pity mode; much less snarkasm. Zipping through Lifetime’s plotline wormhole, she’s already whining to her bestie and trying to stuff her bra. She wants to show bestie the [already formed and unbanadaged] scar and asks if it’s ugly. Bestie says “well, it’s not pretty” and “we all have scars, but yours is just showing.” Kind of crappy. Just like this movie.

Her art gallery co-workers don’t know how to deal with her not having a boob. It’s three dudes trying to wrap their brains around how any woman can not have a boob. Pastries will surely fill the void, they think. She shows up and obviously they all act all weird and lame. She doesn’t accept their offering of pastries and goes straight into Power Woman mode– “can we get to work??”

Linda meets her bestie at a coffee shop where she is reading up on how to be a best friend to a… breast friend. She needs to feel like she’s still sexy! She needs a MAN. Bestie suggests Jacques and Linda says “I’m not into him!” Instead, she instantly cougars out and licks her lips over the young barista in the coffee shop and before you can say “but how?” they are making out in broad daylight. He goes straight for her boob and she flips out and runs straight up into her brownstone. When she feels it’s safe to come out, we switch to boob cam and as she walks down the busy city street she is practically assaulted by breasts. Breasts, everywhere!  Some woman calls her out [“HEY!”] on staring at her tits! Oh, she’s dressed up like Carmen Sandiego because she’s on her way to a support group that she can’t bear to go into. There are probably some breasts in there, too.

This is getting so old, so fast. Her boss, Errol, is being supportive and paternal, telling her to buck up. All of a sudden, after all actual danger has passed, she’s finally like OMG WHAT IF I DIE??? Oh but wait.– a super hot guy has come in to buy some art! She runs right into him! His name is GUY. They are having just the worst awkward conversation. He’s weirdly aggressively awkward.

Interview with plastic surgeon who tells her she’s going to crash if she doesn’t accept the depth of what has happened to her. Next scene: she crashes.

She’s massaging her breast at Dim Sum and being a total bitch. “Easy for you to say, you have two real breasts” She’s crashing!!!!! “I need to yell, I need to massage my breast, and I don’t want to drink tea!” STORM OUT. Bestie chases her out and tells her she needs real help and to stop taking it out on her friends and family.

She sniffs out Jacques again and his accent is even worse. He is ignoring his cell phone on their date… out of politeness? NO, it’s his WIFE. He’s married noooo! She is so out of there– doesn’t even finish her wine.

NOW she’s in that support group, you bet. All these actual cancer patients are going to shame her when she bitches about her missing boob. No, they are all being very supportive. They all look like supermodel cancer patients “bald is the new blonde!” One of the cancer ladies remembers her and her “rocking Barbie doll collection” from camp! Now she has a new bestie. I’m guessing she’s going to die and it’s going to be sad for Linda. “Will you be my cancer friend?” asks Linda. Yeesh.

“My chemo is made by L’Oreal”

“She was just trying to get through it, one breast at a time” says the old bestie, interview style, and laughs like that was hilarious. Nope.

Back at work, hottie the art buyer is back and ready to FLIRT. It’s bad, people. “if you can’t think for yourself, I can’t help you.” She’s a great art dealer… and flirt…

Oh good, now she has both besties together and it’s like low-rent Sex and the City (i.e., Lifetime). They recommend she go for exes… Linda dresses like a piece of furniture. She makes out with an old flame who describes her as “the one who got away.”

The ex-sex thing is going really bad. He’s a huge douche and is about to bone her until she says “I had cancer” and he’s all thrown off his game and says “I can’t deal with this. It weirds me out.” I hope she drinks all the wine. Yeah she did.

Depresson montage. Not answering phone. Besties show up with burgers, shakes, and presents. Linda describes herself as “the elephant girl.” Jeez. Cancer bestie got her a DILDO. “Wow, I’ve never seen one of these up close before.” Haha, she says she “can’t accept it.” She says she’d never leave the house (gross). They suggest online dating. How long is this damned movie.

Internet dating montage. Mom doesn’t understand “intercom dating.” Internet date #1 says “I’m no Bob Gates.” Internet date #2 thinks a picture of the Virgin Mary is hot and that she has a nice rack. Nope. Internet date #3, Scott, orders an indulgent dessert and wins her heart. His car is a Hummer with flame details and a plate that says POWRBRKR. More like DEALBRKR.

Oh no. KEVIN from the intro wanders back into her life. He wants to have dinner with “cancer girl who dumped [him]” They skip dinner to bone and he’s a pro when it comes to gently taking clothes off. She turns the light off, but he turns it back on. Smooooth. He probably got the idea from the scene in Pay it Forward where Helen Hunt turns the light back on and makes us watch her undress burn victim Keven Spacey in a sexual manner.

Group picnic with besties and Kevin. Linda says she wants to settle for security and get married. Now he is cooking for her, muy domestico. Her besties are telling her that she needs to be powerful and independent. The “hot and free” tug is too strong. She just hates all these delicious breakfasts Kevin makes her! Kevin made breakup breakfast. I think Kevin is the real victim here.

17 more minutes.

Hot art flirty art man is somehow now playing poker with  Linda and her co-workers. I don’t care if this lady ever has sex again at this point.

I’m going to make an old fashioned.

I’m calling it. No matter what else you watch on Lifetime Movie Network in the next 50 years, The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story will be worse than it. I realize this is a bold assertion, as it takes into account not only past movies but those in the future.

Attempted Blogger and I formulated a plan fit for a Masters thesis in preparation for the viewing. I would write a post from the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen Saved by the Bell, and she would write one from the perspective of someone who has. So I made like Tinkerbell and hopped on a Peter Pan over to Springfield; the bus experience was a good one: expedient, convenient, and cheap; “will ride again.” I hope what I just did there with those semi- and regular colons is ok. I can’t let shit like that slide in my Saved by the Bell Master’s thesis.

I always do my Wiki-homework before watching any Lifetime movie, and was intimidated by SBTB’s meaty entry. The show ran from 1989-1993, which puts me at 10 years old at the end– the perfect time to be exposed through re-runs. But, like most trash I eschewed as a precocious child, it aired on NBC.

None of this made sense to 10-year-old Lena

To be fair, I was home-schooled at the time, and one of my many ideas of fun was to make druid garbs out of white sheets with my friend and go pretend we lived in the woods. I was a PBS kid to the bone.

You got it.

A quick scroll down the Wikipedia page gave the impression that this was a program about Jr. High School and these 6th graders were stunningly complicated, with each character having a thick paragraph containing information such as “At times, Kelly and Jessie argue due to their differences, such as Jessie believing that cheerleading is demeaning to women (although Jessie herself is a cheerleader in several episodes).” Don’t get me wrong, I read over a hundred Babysitters’ Club books, but SBTB was a soap opera. For pre-teens. Yawn city.

(of course every other child my age would have strongly disagreed with me and mocked me mercilessly when I said my favorite show was Nature with George Page. True story: I  was once bullied to tears after asserting that Vivaldi is better than NKOTB, so there is precedent.)

So, if the show is boring, it shouldn’t surprise you that a movie about a boring show would also be boring. Ever the optimist, I imagined that the movie would focus on the characters as adults in a where-are-they-now type situation. They could concoct some kind of adult love triangle and maybe even have slapping and/or kidnapping! Didn’t Screech release some pervy sex tape in real life? YES HE DID, LIFETIME. Actually, everything in Dustin Diamond’s Wikipedia page begs for a Lifetime movie. They made Screech the main character of the Unauthorized Story, but as a whiny kid whose only rebellious acts involve getting drunk and smoking a joint– not as an amateur pornstar/wrestlemania maniac! SMH, LMN.

AB and I slumped into the couch and doodled pictures of Screech and wrote down ridiculous quotes. She made the excellent point that the movie’s TV PG rating was a major constraint, but I can only remain disappointed in light of what could have been.

I guess the conclusion of my thesis is that it wasn’t worth writing a thesis about this movie and that it doesn’t matter whether I saw the original show or not because they both blow.


Because Attempted Blogger knows that “you can’t piss on hospitality”, she had a great bad movie picked out to watch in case SBTB proved disappointing: TROLL 2. I’m not going to say much more than it’s basically an hour and a half Are You Afraid of the Dark episode, and it contains the line quoted and linked to above which I will now say forever. And the word “troll” isn’t said in the entire movie. And there was no Troll 1.

The title says it all. I had been avoiding this one on Amazon Instant for a while now, going for more splashy titles like “The Pregnancy Project.” But after watching and being wowed by a crazy-murderer/artist-dumping-brown-paint-over-his-naked-body-in-a-ritualistic-manner scene in “The Eleventh Victim,” an equally drab-sounding offering, I hoped another gem might be in store. I gamble, I win.

An officer and a murderer AND a panty sniffer?!

I knew I was in for a treat from the beginning, as the credits roll over a military uniform being straightened out and fussed with and we see CANADA emblazoned across the upper arm. I was like “holy shit this is going to be about Mounties” and went to make myself an Old-Fashioned. When I got back, a man was being introduced to an audience of military people as the new Commander of the air base. Then I was like “holy shit Canada has an Air Force?” First time for everything, I suppose. Anyway, the man is Russ Williams and he seems like a bit of a hardass, saying that he doesn’t want to move away from his neighborhood to be closer to the base. He says that he “could run the base through his phone.” Yes sir.

“Snug Harbor Road” is where Russ is so reluctant to leave, and it is made obvious that he’s a well-liked guy as he jogs around the neighborhood.  I got a bit of a House of Cards vibe from Mr. and Mrs. Williams– no kids, no nonsense. Well, maybe some panty-sniffing nonsense!

<Law and Order sound>

Detective Dobson is definitely no nonsense and she doesn’t seem too happy about getting a partner. Detectives never seem to want partners, but they always come in so handy– duh. Anyway, I honestly can’t blame Dobson for not wanting this guy because just looking at him makes me angry. He looks like a bloated version of Brenda’s crazy brother Billy in Six Feet Under and he’s trying to pull off some “distant” look.

I… know things about… criiimees….

Chief Novak (the most detectiviest last name ever) tells Dobson that Gallagher is some kind of criminal profiling master and that they’re going to go investigate… a break-in. Womp womp. But Gallagher’s genius isn’t wasted because they discover that some pre-adolescent panties have gone missing! “Let’s get forensics in here,” says Dobson. Back at the office, Dobson and Gallagher eat detective food and rap about the case. “Stealing underwear is a way for him to get close to his victims.” LOL. I’m getting drunk and this is getting good.

You know what I mean when I say “detective food”

Russ gets warmed up with a couple more panty raids, the first of which involves stealing a woman’s dildo collection and leaving a note mentioning “you’re big dildos.” The second starts off legitimately creepy with a cute air base colleague at home getting into the shower. Russ takes off all his clothes and makes like he’s going to quietly sneak into the shower behind her (eek city) but lo! He spies her underthings and decides to rub them on his chest instead. Then he takes a sip from a nearby wine glass and rubs her panties on the wine glass. His good times are interrupted by the shower being turned off, so he grabs the panties and runs.

Back at headquarters, Dobson and Gallagher meet with Chief Novak to tell her they found a male pube on some underwear he left behind. Novak, as all good police chiefs do, needs more evidence. She also demands a full profile by noon, which leads directly to hilariously bad detective dialogue like:

“He does his homework. He’s methodical.”

“It’s almost like he WANTS the women to discover him.”

“Wearing the underwear represents subjugation of his victims from afar.”

“He’s evolving. He’s going to move on to stealing pants.”

As minds race and midnight oil is burned, Russ enters the bedroom of a new mother who has passed out after finally getting her baby to sleep. He does that “almost touch” thing and then, to our surprise, actually grabs her. He ties her up and blindfolds her, and pretends to be part of a robber posse, keeping her quiet until his guys get the stealing done. In the meantime, he says he’s going to take some pictures of her. The camera sound effects here are those of a camera that looks like this:

Noisy shutter, popping flashbulbs… He must also have an antique camera fetish, no?

Nope. That’s just the way tiny digital cameras sound in Canada. Russ is mostly pretty nice to her and even gets her aspirin for a headache she complains of through her sobs of terror. He takes a few crime selfies and tells her to count to 200 and peaces out. She counts all the way, and only then does her baby wake up and start screaming. Whew!

Russ is on a roll now but the detectives are closing in fast. And by “closing in fast” I mean getting sidetracked by the last victim’s misidentification of Russ’s “sketchy” (not at all) neighbor named Charlie in a lineup who, during questioning, says “do you think I look like the kind of guy who would do that?”  They’re like “yeah, you’re right” and let him go. Good cop, great cop?

My quickly-shortening attention span was refocused by a clever cut to a weird charity auction at the air base where they put good old Commander Russ in a fake jail cell and bid on who’s going to bail him out (?). He raises $3000 (??). “Great for moral,” says some other army guy to Russ on his way out of the men’s bathroom. Yup, says Russ… and then takes off his clothes to reveal that he is wearing women’s underwear!!!

“I’d fuck me”

It was definitely time for Old-Fashioned #2, and (thankfully) by the time I got back Russ had actually killed a couple women, and Dobson and Gallagher were coming to the conclusion that “he’s highly organized, disciplined” and therefore “could be someone from the air base!” They get some roads closed off for random stops for tire tread match identification purposes, possibly the only smart detective thing they do, and get evidence of Russ’s guilty tires. But how could it be Commander Williams? He’s an officer!

AND A MURDERER! Back in his garage, he rolls up a dead woman in a rug and dumps her somewhere. When he gets back, his high degree of organization and discipline manifests in the form of a tiny little dustbuster that he uses to get rid of the forensic evidence. If I know anything about dustbusters, this won’t work, but maybe Canadian dustbusters are more powerful.

Dobson is burning some more midnight oil, and Gallagher praises her diligence (he has done basically nothing useful at all) but warns her that she’s “gotta be careful with cases like this; they really get inside you, they eat you up. So put up a firewall (?).” And oh, by the way, Commander Williams’ tires matched. Dobson checks their profile against Russ’s info and she is ON it. Like a good TV detective, she shows up at his house Clarice Starling style, alone, no backup, no warrant. Russ is inside, Jame Gumbing out, wearing a victim’s bra and panties, watching his video recordings and taking more crime selfies. Dobson peers into his garage, stares at his tires, leaves, goes back to the office and looks at a photograph of his tires they got at the roadblock. Amazing, quality policework right there. You make that face, Dobson.

Chief Novak says that they’d better be able to back up their accusation because if they’re wrong about Commander Williams they are all going to be writing parking tickets for the rest of their lives. Classic police chief threat, classic police chief face.

Russ agrees to answer some questions down at the station, and before heading into the interrogation room he removes his shoes by the door (??). Dobson doesn’t get it either, but she takes the opportunity to grab a shoe and bring it down to forensics to have it matched with tracks that were left on a victim’s floor. It matches and BOOM, it’s all over for Russ. They find his panty stash and he’s off to the clink. One of his army colleagues is so flustered he pukes in the bathroom. The final scene is a weird ceremonial burning of Commander Russ Williams’s uniform. Probably a Canadian thing.

And then the Internet tells you that Russ is the Office Space guy and you go to sleep!

Last night I was diddling around on our newest media box interface, Amazon FIRE TV or something, and stumbled across several– no, many– LMN movies! I saw Liz and Dick, Betrayal (with Meredith Baxter!), and a couple other familiar titles, but I focused in on Magic Beyond Words because:


Oh boy..

I was so psyched that I pressed play right away, but got distracted in the kitchen cracking open a second bottle of wine. I missed some stuff, but was able to figure out some “important” “plot” material, namely that as a child Joanne Rowling had a lot of wizard fantasies, did poorly in school and was picked on. And she looked like Harry Potter.


Hermione she wasn’t.

I settled in as rebellious teenage Rowling flips out at her parents when she doesn’t get in Oxford. “But I want to be a writer!” she wails in her dreadful British accent. Mr. Rowling is an ass and tells her that being a writer sucks and she should make some money instead. Mrs. Rowling is all about supporting her dear Jo and says she should follow her dreams, do what makes her happy, etc. She ends up going to stinky Exeter.

At this point I was half-watching, maybe even quarter-watching so it gets a bit hazy, but what follows are my sporadic notes– with visual media!

– – –

Alright I’m just jumping in here–

Rowling snoozes on the train, has a dream about her childhood woodland wizard games and meets HARRPY POTTER, scar and all, wakes up and says “Harry Potter! Your name is Harry Potter!” just based on his face.


Dream Potter

They are throwing random Harry Potter things into her “real life”  (an owl, weird train snacks)

Rowling’s mom, her champion, DIES after having a shaky-hands-and-wheelchair disease. She sees her little 6 year old stories she wrote that her mom had saved and has a big old breakdown.

….aaaand then finds a job ad for English teachers in Portugal and goes for it, moving into a house of hot, light-hearted chicks. She is loving it. She is still not writing, just partying down and blaming her mom’s death on her slacker lifestyle. They go clubbing.

Pulsing dance music thumps as JK flounces into the club with her Sex in the City entourage. Was JK Rowling actually a slut? They are making up fake identities for the purposes of a one night stand! JK is approached by a sexy Portuguese man who knows ENGLISH and LITERATURE. He’s like a steroid version of Tony from West Side Story. She’s totes going to one-night bone him, but you can tell it’s going to turn into so much more. They’re up in her apartment already; she’s in the other room, and he starts snoopily reading her MANUSCRIPT. She flips out and kicks him out but he saves his poontime by saying “I think I’m falling in love…. with a great writer” in a tortured spanish accent and she basically jumps straight onto his hog.

J.K. Rowling is a *babe*

Family trauma with dad remarrying, meh, and then her Portuguese Romeo is caught smooching some hussy in a club..! She is walking away SO mad. He proposes. Literally next shot is a wedding. Her wedding is IN Portuguese. And now he’s going to war?

Back as an ESL teacher, she is doodling crappy wizards while her students take a test. I guess he wasn’t going to war, I don’t know why he was wearing camo– his job was taken by someone else and he’s all full of machismo. He won’t let a woman support him! She reveals that she’s pregnant! He walks out! Not looking good.

Her Sex in the City housemates are telling her to LEAVE him now, before the baby gets old. He comes home drunk and freaking out, flinging her around by her hair and being generally violent, wakes up the baby, throws her out of the house. Policia altercation. She goes in and gets all her harry potter notes and flees with the baby. SINGLE MOM.

She’s on the DOLE. Dole lady implies that she should have stayed with the abusive husband instead of going on the dole (69 pounds a week). She sees her mother’s ghost face in a mirror who tells her to be strong and follow her heart. She gives her sob story to the real estate lady who was not keen on having a doled-up tenant but she said aaawww why not! Now they have a gorgeous, warm apartment with a nursery! On 69 pounds a week! I’d also point out that she has not been writing Harry Potter this whole time. She’s got an awful lot of stupid names to make up!

Things have hit rock bottom and she is showing her friend Harry Potter notes when she’s asked “what makes you happy?” Her friend is just amazed by Harry Potter.  “Jo, it’s magical!” Single mom writing montage. She writes in a hip coffee shop. Dole much? She looks so not poor. She sees hipsters playing chess… Inspiration! She goes without food to get a typewriter from a pawn shop.

She bought baby food and a typewriter

The candles are all floating as she writes. She sees the Gringotts bank goblin at the dole office. Her magical world is everywhere. She is sending the book to agencies. Everything is working out and now her only hardship is to think of a middle initial– she decides on K from her mom’s maiden name, I think. Secretary says “it’s got a ring to it– JK Rowling.” NOT.

She’s teaching English again and her unruly class is putty in her hands when she makes them all dress up like witches. “Don’t think of a test as a bad thing, think of it as something that makes you stronger!” Mary Poppins city. OMG SHE GETS A PUBLISHER– The publisher who published “The English Patient,” someone says, reverently.  She finally gets a hard copy of her splendid book. She smells it.

She’s doing a reading. Everyone assumes she’s going to be a man because of her mysterious nom de plume. It’s over and they just layer some written facts over JK reading to a rapt audience, but in like a Waldenbooks or something.

– – –

And that was that. Overall, it’s fun to imagine the real JK Rowling being SO PISSED upon seeing this. She got Lifetimed reaaal good. This movie was so Lifetimey that although I’d deliberately set out to watch it, I found myself wandering around the house missing chunks of it.

Also, this movie made me wish that Brad Neely narrated the entire thing.


Disclaimer: I know, I know. Cormac McCarthy has achieved sainthood in certain literary circles (i.e., Brooklyn whiskey bars). My only brush with the author occurred in 9th grade, when an English teacher had us read All The Pretty Horses. I remember hating it and also hating that she said it was assigned because it was a good way “to get boys interested in reading” (because boys HAVE TO like cowboy stories (?) and also OMG what about the mens?!?). Anyway, this review is limited to the film. I’m sure the books are great or whatever and I’ll get around to reading them eventually. So don’t email me all like, “OMG CORMAAC MCCARTHYYY PULITZER PRIZE SDFKJHSDFKJ”

Last week we watched The Road on Netflix. You might think a movie about environmental and societal collapse would be a little bit of a downer — but you’re wrong! Here’s five reasons we couldn’t take this “serious” movie seriously.

#1: Starvation Mostly Makes You Bitchy

The lead characters in The Road – a man and his son – are struggling to survive after an unnamed apocalyptic event wipes out society and, along with it, most of the food. They head south on foot, searching abandoned houses for canned goods along the way. You would think starvation would bring out some deep character development, but most of the time our lead characters just bitch at each other like a couple trying to make dinner plans after 8 o’clock. It reminded me of that series of snickers ads:

I think someone should turn The Road into a campy midnight movie phenomenon where the audience shows up dressed in dirty post-apocalyptic rags and throws Snickers bars at the screen.

#2: Charlize Theron: She’s Pretty and That’s It

I feel bad for Charlize Theron. She’s in like 3 scenes in the whole movie and she barely talks. And then she dies. Oh, and she’s in #3…

#3: Awkward Sex Scene Flashback

Throughout the movie, Viggo Mortensen experiences helpful-to-the-audience flashbacks of his cushy life before the collapse. One is a series of memories of his wife (mostly looking pretty and not talking), including this TOTALLY GROSS scene of him giving said wife a lady handjob during a classical music concert.

Gross. At least it’s dark and they’re in the back, though. People wouldn’t see them, right?


#4: The Dad’s a Jerk

Near the end of the movie, Viggo Mortensen starts cracking under the pressure of protecting his son from roving bands of cannibals and thieves. This culminates in him completely overreacting when a fellow starving wanderer steals their food (you know, the food they rightfully stole from that person’s underground bunker). Dad steals back their food and makes the thief hand over everything — including the clothes on his back. Even the kid is all, WTH is up with you dad?

You’re not you when you’re hungry.

#5: The Happy Ending

Given that this is a movie about the end of the world as we know it, I was expecting a relatively grim ending. It’s not like you can just “resolve” societal collapse. Well, color me impressed because they totally went for a corny happy ending. After (spoiler alert!) Viggo Mortensen dies, the kid is approached by a group of scary, but apparently benevolent, fellow travelers. They offer to “adopt” him and tell him there are other children in their group (insta-siblings!). Just when the kid’s grin couldn’t get any wider, the scary/benevolent travelers reveal that they also have a dog. That they’re feeding with magical food they somehow have or something!

That’s right. They ended a movie about a cannibalistic dystopia with… “You get a puppy!”