Tag Archives: movies

To write or not to write

I feel like I’ve hit a wall.

My flannel is wrinkled.

The spikes in my hair are flat.

I don’t want to write any more.  At least not right now.  Not today.  That’s for sure.

I am more content watching TV shows and movies or reading books.  Allowing words and images to wash over me instead of coaxing or forcing them out from that tricky place that’s part heart, part soul.

xx

Movie poster of my life.

Part of me says it’s not ok.  Writers write.  If I’m not writing, I’m not a writer.

The other part says take a break.  Even if I’m not writing, I’m storing words and thoughts for future use.

Here’s some of what I’ve been watching and reading:

Sons of Anarchy — W started watching this biker drama.  I read somewhere that SOA is based on Hamlet and that got this English major’s juices flowing.  So, yeah, it’s well written and well acted, and I like trying to figure out the parallels to the Shakespearean tragedy.  There’s a couple of minor lesbian storylines, but this one is all about the boys and their bikes.  Look for cameos from Stephen King, 70s hottie Adrienne Barbeau and Jimmy Smits.  And appearances by Venus Van Dam, the show’s transgender character.

Women of Will — Speaking of Shakespeare, I saw this play at a local Shakespeare festival last weekend.  Really, it’s part play, part lecture.  Master Shakespearean actor Tina Packer deconstructs the Bard’s most famous female characters with the help of fellow actor Nigel Gore.  Is it wrong that I was hoping for a sexy scene between perchance Lady Macbeth and Queen Gertrude?  Here’s the question I asked myself right before the show began: How do I relate any of this to my writing?  Five minutes in, Packer was riffing on the role of gender in Shakespeare and how Will’s female characters changed as his perceptions about women evolved.  Gender.  Can we ever get a break?

The Guilt Trip — In this cheesy comedy, Seth Rogen takes a cross-country road trip with his over-involved Mom, played by Barbra Streisand.  There are some genuine laughs, but I especially enjoyed the running gag of this mother-son duo listening to the audio version of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex throughout the trip.  Because gender.  There it is again.

xx

She’s hot!

Lucy — Scarlett Johansson plays a young woman exposed to a synthetic drug that allows her to access 100 percent of her brain and develop cool superhero-like powers.  “She’s hot!” W blurted out at the beginning of the movie, allowing all of us to read her thought bubble.  It was some kind of auto-Johansson response.  No doubt ScarJo is a looker with those blue eyes and blonde locks.  But I was hoping for something a little campier.  In the end though, what’s not to like about a beautiful babe kicking ass.

Bad Words — Jason Bateman finds a loophole in a spelling bee competition and creates a scene as he takes out the school-age competitors one by one.  I like when Bateman plays assholes.  See Juno.  Oh, and words.  There were lots of big words.  And a scene with boobs.

A Most Wanted Man — Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a German spy in this John le Carre thriller.  It’s Seymour Hoffman’s last starring role.  As the credits rolled, W and I just looked at each other.  Sigh.  How sad.

The Best Nonrequired American Reading 2013 — Short stories, lists, poems, cartoons, all in one book.  An eclectic collection.  I read this every year.

* * *

What about you?  What are you watching/reading this summer?

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Date night

W and I had a date night on Saturday.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that we don’t have a lot of those.

W asked me out, which is always nice.  I might be a butch, but I’m certainly not adverse to being asked out.

We went to see the movie Bad Teacher just because Ms. Diaz was in it.

We went to see the movie Bad Teacher just because Ms. Diaz was in it.  Does this make us bad people?

We went and saw this cute movie called “In a World …,” which is a small rom-com about the voice-over industry.  It’s a smart, funny film.  Lesbian comedienne Tig Notaro was in it.  As was Cameron Diaz, who played the leader of a group of Amazon women who battle a tribe of angry cavemen in the film within the film.  That’s the movie that I’d like to see next, ’cause Cameron Diaz and Amazons.

The movie was showing at our local art house theater and it was the first movie to be shown there in digital format.  So, that was exciting.

After the movie, the theater was presenting a special showing of Rocky Horror, and we got to see everyone dressed up for that.

We ordered dinner from an Italian restaurant across the street and went to a bar and watched the end of the Penn State/Michigan game while we waited for our food.  Penn State won in fourth overtime, which was exciting, especially because I’m a PSU alum.

xx

I’m sensing a theme here.  Are we that predictable?

We headed home with our dinner and ate Italian food in bed and watched a few episodes of season four of Modern Family.

There were some adult activities after that, but this is not that kind of lesbian blog.

Anyway, it was a pretty sedate evening, but it was really nice to have that alone time with W.  One thing about having kids, it makes you appreciate when they’re not around, at least for an evening or so.

Here’s the thing: I like that after all of these years, we still enjoy each other’s company.  We don’t need fancy or exciting or expensive.  Just being together is enough — sharing popcorn and a movie, Cameron Diaz, a football game and decadent desserts in a take-out containers.

Inside the Actors Studio

Inside the Actors StudioI’m a big fan of Inside the Actors Studio.  It’s something that I discovered recently, so I’ve only seen episodes that have aired in the past few years.

As a movie buff, I like learning the behind-the-scenes stories from big-time actors in iconic roles like Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby and Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise.

Plus, I like hearing about  what people are thinking when they are engaged in the creative process.  It’s like finishing a really great book and finding a final chapter in which the author explains the how and why of his writing process for that particular work.  Bonus.  Stephen King has been known to do this.

I also like trying to connect with the artist as a person and finding a link within myself to the art.  It’s the if-she-can-do-it-so-can-I frame of mind that encourages me to push forward with my own work.

Inside the Actors Studio just celebrated its 250th episode with a two-hour retrospective special.  If you’re familiar with the show, you know that host James Lipton asks each guest the same 10 questions at the conclusion of every interview.

I thought I’d tip my hat to the show by taking a shot at those 10 questions:

1. What is your favorite word?  juxtaposition

2. What is your least favorite word?  hate

3. What turns you on?  a woman in tall black leather boots

4. What turns you off?  ignorance

5. What sound do you love?  heavy rain when I am safe inside my house  

6. What sound do you hate?  yelling

7. What is your favorite curse word?  god dammit

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?  English professor

9. What profession would you not like to do?  grade school teacher  

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?  You tried really hard.

* * *

How about you?  Share some of your answers here.


Why Bomb Girls bombed

Last night, I ended up watching Bomb Girls for the first time.  I was surfing the channels and found the Canadian TV drama on some offbeat channel called Reelz.  I knew the show had a lesbian storyline, so it had my attention from the get go.   I’m obvious like that.

If you don’t know anything about Bomb Girls, it’s about a group of women working in a munitions factory during World War II.

Meg in Bomb Girls

Meg in Bomb Girls

Sure, the show had me at “girls,” but there was one thing that made the show unwatchable for me — Meg Tilly, who looks a lot like her actress sister, Jennifer Tilly.

Every time I saw Meg on screen, I immediately thought about her sister Jennifer and her portrayal of Violet, the sexy Sapphic mobster mistress in Bound, my third favorite lesbian flick of all time.  I was like Pavlov’s dog.  If Pavlov’s dog was a lesbian.

Bound came out right around the time that I did, and I was instantly obsessed with the movie.  I can remember one of my co-workers asking me about my sudden fascination with Gina Gershon.

“What is it about Gina Gershon?” she asked, throwing up her hands to illustrate her inability to grasp my sudden fixation with the B-list actress.

Just saying Gina Gershon still gets me all hot and bothered.  Gina Gershon.

I’m not sure that I knew what was up with me and Gina Gershon.  But I knew that Bound, with its Gershon-on-Tilly action, had me thinking about a whole lot of things in a very different way.

I had gone to see Bound with my husband, who was repulsed by the movie.

“I thought the movie was supposed to be about lesbians,” he said.

He meant the kind of lesbians who wear tube tops and make out with each other and the cute pizza delivery boy in a hot tub.

But these were my kind of lesbians.  Real and gritty.  Hot and sexy.  With tattoos.  In the end, Gina Gershon’s character of Corky gets the girl.  There is no pizza boy.  They never even order a small pie.

My first tattoo is actually a labrys modeled after the one that Corky sports in Bound.  I told you — I was obsessed.

Gina and Jennifer in Bound

Gina and Jennifer in Bound

Ok, so back to Bomb Girls.  Meg Tilly looked old and sallow and haggard.  And, here’s the thing — every time she came on screen, I kept thinking about  Violet.  Why was she working in a factory?  And what was up with that do-rag?

Sometimes we want to stay in that magic bubble where we looked our best and had the whole world spread out before us.  Meg Tilly certainly had me feeling my own age — that whole coming out thing was over a decade ago — and missing that exciting time of self-discovery and all-consuming thoughts of naked women.  Corky and Violet had, in a way, made that possible.  They showed me that it was possible to get the girl in the end and live happily ever after.

The only way these two lesbians will see Zero Dark Thirty

The Oscar nominations came out today.

W read the nominees to me, and we did a quick intake of all of the movies that we’ve seen this year.

Turns out that we’ve seen just about every movie that has garnered nominations.  Except for Zero Dark Thirty.  If you haven’t heard of Zero Dark Thirty, it’s a movie about the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden.  The film is  controversial because of its torture scenes.

W and I are turned off by the torture scenes.  We are tree-hugging lesbians, for crying out loud.

This is a conversation that W and I had about Zero Dark Thirty this morning:

Me: I have absolutely no desire to see Zero Dark Thirty.

W: Me neither.

Me: Jessica Chastain just isn’t enough to get my butt in a seat at that movie.

W: I know.

Me: I mean, if it was Zero Dark Jennifer Aniston, then maybe.

W: There you go.

Me: Or, Zero Dark Sofia Vergara.

W: Now I would see that!  And, they could torture me in a back room while I viewed it.

Me: I’m ok with that.

Sofia, these two lesbians love you

Sofia, these two lesbians love you

My life and the Life of Pi

We lost power for most of today.

I work from home, which means that my office of one was closed.

“You could get caught up with your reading,” W suggested in a text in response to my bulletin about the power situation.

The reading is Life of Pi.  We both read the book a couple of years ago but decided to read it again before we go see the movie, which is out in theaters now.

We take books and movies and movies based on books very seriously in our house.

W has a long commute and re-read Life of Pi in about a week.  That is record time for her.  She passed our paperback copy of the book onto me.

Recently, I declared that I was fine seeing the movie without re-reading the book.

“You have to read the book,” W insisted.

“No, I don’t,” I replied.  “I’m perfectly ok with going to the movie now and re-reading the book later.”

We’ve been engaging in this back-and-forth for about four weeks now.

W insists that I can read the book in like a day because I’m an English major.

I’m a fast reader, but I’m not that fast.  It’s not Dostoevsky, but it’s still 400 pages.

I tell her, sure, I’ll read Life of Pi in between getting ready for Thanksgiving and packing lunches and cooking dinner and chauffeuring kids and doing the laundry and oh yeah working.  At my job.  That pays me money.

“So when you ask what’s for dinner, I’ll have to tell you we’re having Life of Pi,” I say.

When we went out on Saturday to celebrate W’s birthday, we stopped at a small used bookstore to browse.  I picked up a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  In this case, I had seen the movie (American version) but had not read the book.

This could be me

And I kind of have this Rooney Mara fantasy.  Not that I want to do her.  But be like her skinny, bad-ass, ass-kicking, motorcycle-driving, mohawk-sporting character Lisbeth Salander and have sex with hot young girls.

“I think I’ll read this before Life of Pi,” I say just to tweak W.

I tell the clerk about my assigned reading.

The clerk seems perplexed, probably because I’m the oldest student she’s ever seen.

So, with no power, there’s not much else to do besides read.  I bang out about 175 pages of Life of Pi.  I’ll have the book finished by the weekend just in time for a movie date.

Richard Parker

When I start reading the book, I’m reminded that the Bengal tiger’s name is Richard Parker.

I think Richard Parker would make a great name for a house cat.  Sort of like Jenny Lawson’s Hunter S. Tomcat.  Besides, I’m always trying to one-up Lawson.  What blogger isn’t?

I text W.

Me: Let’s get a cat and name him Richard Parker.

W: No more boy cats.

Read: We already have a male cat and he sprays all over the place like a city fire hydrant on an August afternoon.

Me: Ok.  A girl named Dorothy Parker.

Read: See how flexible I am?  And witty, too.  Just like Dorothy Parker. How perfect!

W: Okay!

Read: My fake enthusiasm should be telling you that there’s no way in hell that we’re getting another cat right now.  

Me: Yay!

Read: I’m so excited that you just gave me permission to get a new cat even though you really didn’t mean it.

Stay tuned, folks.

I will be dead before we finish our Netflix queue

Before I went to bed last night, I saw our latest Netflix arrival sitting in its red envelope in front of the TV.

Here’s a conversation that I had with the wife:

Me: Do you know that every time we watch a movie, you see some preview that you like and put it at the top of our Netflix queue?

For example, last week we watched Pariah, a coming-of-age tale about a young, black lesbian who comes to terms with her sexual orientation and her family’s strict, religious ideals.  When we finished the movie, W perused the trailers.  Apparently, another lesbian film caught her eye because she immediately added it to our queue and bumped it up to the top of the list.  So now My Summer of Love sits on our dresser, ahead of 64 other movies, including Cedar Rapids, Ruby Sparks and My Sister’s Keeper.

Me: At this rate, we’ll never get through our Netflix queue.

W: Actually, I don’t do that every time.

Me: Ok, like every other time.

W: Then we’ll get through our queue eventually.

Me: No, we won’t.

W: Yes, we will.

Me: Yeah, like when I’m dead.

W: That has to be the saddest thing ever.  Having to delete someone’s Netflix queue because they’re dead.

Sidenote: So, I’m not sure whether we would actually finish our Netflix queue if W continues to add one new movie every other time that we watch a movie.  As I stated above, our queue currently contains 64 movies.  If she adds half that amount — or 32 movies — we would have 96 movies in our queue.  In a particularly good month, we watch about three movies.  That means it would take us almost three years to watch all of those movies.  All of this, of course, is based on the proposition that we don’t add any more movies.  If I add two movies to our queue today, it’s actually like adding three when you count W’s automatic addition.  And if we watch six movies, W will automatically add three, so I’m pretty sure our queue is approaching infinity.  This is sounding like an episode of The Big Bang Theory.  I think I need to write to the Ask Marilyn chick from the Parade magazine in the Sunday paper.  She could get to the bottom of all of this.  

Fun Fact:  Here are the next five movies on our NetFlix queue:

  1. Barney’s Version
  2. Go Fish
  3. Chloe
  4. The Whole Wide World
  5. Heavenly Creatures

As you can see, our list is top-loaded with gay and lesbian content.  You can read about the reason in this post, Bitch slapped by Netflix.

How about you?  How many movies are in your queue?  What’s at the top of the list?

ParaNorman redefines ‘normal’

I took the kids to see ParaNorman a few weeks ago.  It’s a terrific stop-motion animated kids’ flick about Norman, a pre-teen who has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts.

The movie is better than most PG-rated films.  It’s no Despicable Me mind you, but the characters are interesting and some of the jokes and gags are actually funny.

I especially enjoyed a scene in which Norman, his sister Courtney and a zombie are riding in the backseat of the family car.  Norman’s father turns around, wags his chubby finger and gives the three of them the classic if-I-have-to-stop-this-car speech.  It’s funny because there’s a zombie in the backseat.  Zombies make everything fun, even Jane Austen.

The movie is all ABC After School Special as it talks about not being afraid to be yourself and accepting others for who they are.  “You don’t become a hero by being normal,” the movie poster says.

The most significant part, says this lesbian movie watcher, comes at the end when Norman battles a witch and returns the zombies to their graves, saving the town from a paranormal disaster of epic proportion.  Courtney, who has been salivating over the town’s muscle-bound jock, Mitch, for much of the movie, bats her eyelashes and suggests that the two of them catch a movie sometime.

Mitch, voiced by Casey Affleck, consents and says something like: “You’ll love my boyfriend.  He’s a big fan of chick flicks.”

Mitch

Whoa.

It turns out to be a big reveal that really isn’t so big after all.  And, that’s what makes it so great.

Our kids groaned.  I think they get their fill of same-sex coupling at home.

But none of the characters in ParaNorman batted on eye.  Courtney reacts in much the same way that any jilted lover would, regardless of whether her possible paramour’s competing love interest is a man or woman.

The movie got me thinking about other movie and TV characters.  I often think that I came out later in life because there weren’t many Mitch’s around when I was growing up.

My life might have turned out differently if Shirley had kicked Carmine to the curb and abandoned her roommate ruse with Laverne in Season 3.  “Vo-dee-o-doe-doe” would have had a completely different meaning.

Laverne and Shirley

Or, what if Kate and Allie had retired to the same bedroom each night?

During an episode of the show, I once suggested to my college roommate that we continue to cohabitate Kate-and-Allie style after school.

“Uh.  Yeah.  No,” she quickly replied.

At that moment, I realized that most women did not aspire to such a lifestyle.  Personally, I thought the whole Kate and Allie idea was brilliant.  Two women sharing expenses and responsibilities and child rearing, rendering the male role superfluous.

It would be like a slumber party every night of the week, except we’d have to pay rent and buy our own Doritos and not stay up too late because there’s work the next day.  Oh, and the kids.  We better put them to bed before we bake brownies and watch In Her Shoes.  Ah, heck.  We might as well go to bed, too.

Kate and Allie

I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if Alice had run off with the Brady Bunch’s free-spirited, world-traveling Aunt Jenny (played by Imogene Coca).  Aunt Jenny might have been a plain Jane in the looks department, but she had a limo (sweet), knew Wilt Chamberlain (score — free NBA tickets) and rubbed elbows with world leaders.  “Sorry, folks, but Aunt Jenny and I will be leaving tonight to have a lot of falafel with Golda Meir,” Alice might say.

Aunt Jenny

Or, what if Lacey had left Harv for Cagney.  Freeing Harv to date Magnum P.I. (a match made in moustache heaven, if you ask me).  Or, if the fireworks between The Facts of Life‘s Jo and Blair erupted into a make-out session in a utility closet on the third floor of Eastland School for Girls.  I can almost hear Mrs. Garrett’s shocked, trilling “Girrrrrrls.”

Of course, there’s always Charlies Angels.  “Once upon a time, there were three little girls …”

Gratuitous Charlies Angels photo

The moral to this story is that the world needs more Mitch’s.  Gay characters who are just that– gay characters.  Not punch lines, or caricatures, or targets or closet dwellers or even grand lessons in tolerance and acceptance.  Just characters who move about in a fictional world in the same exact way that everyone else does.

And, who aren’t afraid to state that they have boyfriends who like chick flicks.

How about you?  Who would like to see playing for team rainbow on the big or small screen?

Bitch Slapped by Netflix

Trixie, Camaro and Hel

W and I watched a Netflix movie last night.

We both love movies, but we only watch on average one DVD per month.  Kids, cats, work and exhaustion from kids, cats and work usually get in the way of at-home movie nights.

We remain optimistic about the possibility of seeing more movies though.  Our Netflix queue is 59 deep.  At this rate, it will take us five years to go through our current queue.  I will be 50 and too mature for 21 Jump Street and Cedar Rapids.  Well, it could happen.

W came up with this great idea of putting all of our lesbian movies at the top of our queue.  The theory was that scantily clad women and girl-on-girl action would help us put a sizeable dent in our list of unwatched movies.

The strategy hasn’t really worked.  Lesbian-themed movies are not flying out of here in their little red envelopes.  I think that just means we’re really old.  And, that we have too many kids and cats.  Most times we’re content to just crawl into bed and watch Pawn Stars or Cats from Hell or Snooki and JWoww or whatever other crap is on TV.

There was a time in my life that I could blow through But I’m a Cheerleader, The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love and Disc 3 of Season 2 of The L Word in a single night, but those days of unrequited lesbian lust are way behind me.

Anyway, last night was a designated movie night.  A designated lesbian movie night.

So, sometimes W and I get weird and pretend to be off-put by such movies.  It’s like pretending to be a Republican.

W: So, you didn’t put this movie in our queue?

Me: Of course not.  This is outrageous!  Netflix will be hearing from me about this mishap.

W:  You definitely need to contact Netflix and let them know about this.

Me: Don’t you worry your pretty little head.  Netflix will be hearing about the deviant material that they shipped unsolicited to our home.  (Shaking my fist.)

W: You know, since we have the movie, even though Netflix sent it by mistake, we should probably watch it.  Even though they totally screwed up.

Me: I know.  You’re right.  (Deep sigh.)  We should probably watch it.  Because they sent it and all.  I bet the Romneys don’t have to deal with this crap.

This is my new barometer of what is right and acceptable and good.  Mitt and Ann.

W: You’re sure you didn’t put this in our queue?

Me: Yep.

W: Ok, just making sure.  So what is this movie about anyway?

Me: I don’t know.  Let me read the Netflix write-up.  The movie is called Bitch Slap.

W: I don’t mean to interrupt you, but where would one — if one was interested in this type of alternative entertainment — hear about said movie?

Me: Ummm … gee, I don’t know.  Maybe in some kind of magazine.  That comes in the mail.  In a black plastic wrapper.

W: I see.

Me: Alright, back to the summary.  “Three naughty girls …”

W: Ok, let’s watch.

Me: You are way too easy.  (I continue reading.)  “Three naughty girls — leggy stripper Trixie, homicidal drug runner Camaro and high-powered businesswoman Hel — team up to rip off a crime kingpin, but surprise betrayals quickly spin events out of control.  Guns, hand-to-hand combat, scantily clad women and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor populate this guilty-pleasure throwback to 1960s and ’70s exploitation films.”

We put the movie in and it’s all boobs and cleavage and heaving bosoms and guns and more boobs and cleavage and heaving bosoms.  All in a good way.  The plot was a little weird and hard to follow but that was offset by all of the breasts.

The movie mostly takes place in the desert and at one point our female leads find an endless supply of water to pour on each other.  It was like Flashdance in the Sahara or a Super Bowl sideline.  I kept waiting for Bill Parcells to show up and kill my breast buzz.

Sexy

Not so sexy

Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor have bit parts, which gave the movie extra lesbian cred.

Xena Warrior Princess and Gabrielle

At some point, the movie freezes and we have to skip ahead, missing relevant plot points, no doubt.

W gets bored about three-quarters of the way through and starts checking out Trixie, Camaro and Hel’s bios on IMDb.  “None of these actresses have ever been in anything before,” she says incredulously.

“How dare you!” I say.  “These are finely trained thespians.”

Good breasts buy a lot in my world.

After 109 minutes of kick-ass grrl action, W reminds me to contact Netflix about the problem.

Me: Oh, you mean that scratch on the disc?

W: Yeah.  And the fact that they sent us a movie that we didn’t order.

Me: Oh.  That.  Right.

What are the top 5 movie on your Netflix queue?

Here are ours:

  1. The Fountain
  2. Tipping the Velvet
  3. Pariah
  4. Barney’s Version
  5. Go Fish