Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Foxy Merkins, or: Are You a Women’s Studies Major?

Another week, another big gay film review!

My pick for this week is The Foxy Merkins as it’s Madeline Olnek’s latest (director of Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, still one of my favorite films I’ve reviewed, and hands down winner of best title on this blog. Probably also best film title, period).

See what Christa thinks of The Foxy Merkins here!

The Film:

The Foxy Merkins

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Lesbian hooker Jo becomes a mentor to Margaret, who is practically the Kenneth of lesbian prostitutes. Way more 30 Rock references in that summary than I intended.

The Uncondensed Version:

The events of our film unfold in New York City as we follow Margaret, a down on her luck former women’s studies major. Since she can’t find any other work, Margaret has become a lesbian prostitute; however, she’s quite terrible at getting women to pick her up.

It doesn’t take long before Jo, a seasoned pro, takes Margaret under her wing. This is both a blessing and a curse as Margaret could use some help, but Jo is not the expert she believes herself to be. Jo comes from a wealthy family and lives in the bathroom of the Port Authority as an act of rebellion. She gives Margaret advice about going up to women and touching them (which, shockingly, doesn’t go over well) and tells her she is the kind of lesbian other women don’t want to be seen with. Jo is a bit of a frenemy, honestly.

A woman wearing a shirt with no pants faces another woman in a public restroom
New meaning to the shirt dress.

Case in point: Margaret gets tickets to see the digitally remastered Lassie in theaters (seriously), and Jo gives her pointers on picking up a woman who’s giving her the eye. The end result is the woman crawling on the floor and eating Margaret’s popcorn. Literally. Not a euphemism, you guys.

Meanwhile, there is a bit of an ongoing subplot involving finding Margaret’s mom. When Margaret and Jo look for her in a graveyard, they encounter a man in a trench coat selling merkins (editor’s note: a merkin is a wig for, uh, down there. Maybe you already knew that, but I didn’t. Or if I did I repressed it LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO). So anyway…it’s all coming together, and our title makes sense now.

Two women talk to a man in a cemetery who is opening his trench coat to reveal merchandise for sale

Margaret and Jo go back to their usual spot to find clients, standing outside of Talbots. In terms of getting picked up, Margaret is still not having a ton of luck—one woman was interested until she realized the 70% off sign was for Talbots, not her. This seems to turn around a bit when a wealthy woman approaches Margaret, asking her to meet her at a particular hotel within the hour. As it turns out, this woman’s fetish is being busted by the police, so she hires men to come to the room and arrest Margaret. Poor Margaret doesn’t realize all of this is a setup until Jo tells her. Understandably, she feels a bit betrayed.

Two women lie under white sheets on the bed they share
Every screencap makes me realize I’ve failed to mention more witty dialogue. To be fair, this film is 85% witty dialogue.

Later, Margaret recognizes the woman as a Republican Congresswoman. Jo reveals she “accidentally secretly” recorded Margaret with the Congresswoman and wants to sell the tape to CNN. This is a major dick move, as Margaret expresses her discomfort with the idea of becoming rich and (in)famous because of a sex tape.

Though the plot is not really the point of the film, I’m going to leave you in suspense about what happens with the sex tape and Margaret’s growing feelings for Jo. There is some excellent dialogue where both plot points are concerned.

The Critique:

Much like Codependent Lesbian Space Alien, this film is driven by message and character over plot. Both films use sort of a documentary style, and a lot of the comedy is based on the awkwardness of the characters and dialogue.

There are a lot of nice comedic touches, like Margaret and Jo always have to compliment the cleanliness and general appeal of their client’s homes. And I HAVE to mention that when Margaret rejects payment in the form of a Talbots gift card, the client tells her, “Every other time I’ve been to a lesbian hooker, they’ve accepted a gift card to Talbots.”

I think Codependent was a bit more successful as it was more bizarre and had more likeable characters. In Codependent, even Zylar, who was a total player and broke one of the other alien’s hearts, was still likeable and funny. However, in Foxy Merkins, Margaret was basically the only decent human being. Jo was funny but also sort of terrible in contrast to how sweet and genuine Margaret was.

Still another solid film from Madeleine Olnek. I did some searching, and apparently girl just got a Guggenheim Fellowship…I hope that means she’s making a shitload of films.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherHalf Pink Panther head 3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I think Codependent Lesbian Space Alien is a bit more quirky and fun to watch, but this is still worth seeing. Make it your mission to watch Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.

Find Christa’s review here!

In other news, someone searching for “moon nazis are coming” found my blog (Iron Sky was the first film I reviewed for this blog). DREAMS DO COME TRUE.

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Boy Meets Girl, or: I’m More Liberal Than I Appear

Second week of Jillian and Christa’s Big Gay Blog Collab! This film is Christa’s pick, and you can check out her review here.

I feel I should apologize for this review in advance as I’m extremely distracted at the moment.

The Film:

Boy Meets Girl

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Ricky, a trans woman living in a small town, navigates family, relationships, bigots, and the pursuit of fashion school.

The Uncondensed Version:

Our film follows Ricky, a young transgender woman living in small-town Kentucky. When the film begins, she and her bff Robby are discussing the merits of dating women even though she has been interested in men up to this point.

a man driving a car looks over at the passenger, a woman

Conveniently, Francesca, a young woman from a well-to-do family in town, arrives at that very moment, and she hits it off with Ricky. Though Ricky feels Francesca wouldn’t be at all interested in her, the two run across each other again. Francesca is kind of annoyingly upbeat, but maybe she’s just supposed to be full of Southern charm? With encouragement from Robby, Ricky tells Francesca she’s trans. Francesca is surprisingly open-minded, though her fiancé, a marine currently in Afghanistan, is not.

two women stand next to each other in a bedroom
See? Blogging brings people together!

A little more about Ricky: since her mother died, she is a surrogate mother to her little brother, who is quite adorable and plays with dolls. Their father is pretty damn sweet and supportive, but is busy running his auto shop. Ricky’s brother helps run her Youtube channel, a fashion blog, er, vlog? Ultimately, Ricky dreams of escaping to fashion school as small-town life isn’t really her thing.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooo things move along pretty quickly between Ricky and Francesca, which leads to an uncomfortable sex talk with Robby. Also a fairly in-depth discussion of gender and sexual orientation.

Things begin to fall apart a bit at a fancy party Francesca invites Ricky and Robby to attend.

Surprise, the marine fiancé shows up and is an asshole!  Classic lines from the party include: “She is a transgender girl, not a terrorist;” “You need to stop hanging out with that thing;” and “I’m more liberal than I appear” (the last one is probably my favorite quote from this film).

a woman wearing a skull t-shirt and plaid shirt walks by herself in the woods
I just really like her punk lumberjack look in this shot.

After all of this drama, Ricky and Francesca end their relationship. The icing on the cake is a rejection letter from fashion school. And THEN Robby and Ricky have a huge fight, most of which they could easily get over except when he says Ricky isn’t a real girl. Damn.

I feel like I’m going to spoil the rest of the film if I tell you what happens next, so let’s jump to rating, ok?

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Eh, I don’t know. At times it felt a bit like one of those educational movies from school. Like the progressive, factually accurate version of one of those films.

Ricky is so cool, and Robby is pretty adorable, but I found Francesca irritating. So, so irritating, and she wouldn’t go away. Also the fake Southern accents. Sometimes they’re just really hard to listen to. I liked elements of this film, but I did find it a bit preachy.

I’m sorry, you guys. I don’t really have a coherent reason for this rating. I’ll do better when I’m not stressing out about interviews.

On an unrelated note, I really need to share with the world that I just got a spam friend request from B00bqueen2.




See Christa’s post here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Way He Looks, or: Belle and Sebastian Is Love

This week begins what I like to think of as Jillian & Christa’s Big Gay Blog Collab 2015.

We’re beginning a bit of an LGBT-themed film fest, starting with Portuguese-language Brazilian flick The Way He Looks.

Get Christa’s perspective here!

The Film:

The Way He Looks

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Blind Brazilian teen Leo and his best friend Giovana get the summer drama they’ve been longing for with the arrival of new kid Gabriel.

The Uncondensed Version:

Leo and Giovana have been best friends foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…meaning like a month because they’re teens, right?

They’re hoping this summer will finally bring some romance their way, which arrives in the form of Gabriel. You know major drama is about to go down because both Giovana and Leo are pretty into Gabriel, as is Karina, the flirty one. To be fair, he does like to read alone by fountains, which he must know is fucking irresistible.

a teenage boy and girl recline in the courtyard of a school

Meanwhile, Leo is also dealing with this douchey blonde guy and his friends, who think it’s ok to trip a blind kid. It’s some fucked up shit, even for high school dudes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Leo longs to participate in an exchange program to the US or France but fears his overprotective mother would never agree.

So anyway…Giovana and Leo’s duo quickly becomes a trio, which obviously spells trouble. Someone’s going to end up the third wheel. Since Leo and Gabriel pair up for a group project, looks like Giovana is the odd woman out. She gets super upset when Leo and Gabriel go to a movie together without inviting her. It’s probably the cutest movie date ever since Gabriel describes what’s happening in the movie for Leo.

A teenage boy in a darkened movie theater describes the action to a blind teenage boy: "The bride has just thrown the flower bouquet at the robot's face."
Sounds like a classic.

This is followed by Gabriel playing BELLE AND SEBASTIAN FOR LEO AND ME FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. I think Gabriel is basically the ideal high school guy and, in fact, the ideal guy of any age. They dance to the Belle and Sebastian song, “There’s Too Much Love,” even though it’s honestly not a particularly great song to dance to. “Funny Little Frog” or “Me and the Major” would have been way better to dance to. It’s cute, though, is the point. Really fucking cute, and since one of the main characters of this film likes Belle and Sebastian, I honestly don’t care what else happens in this film.

Leo and Gabriel continue to have some really adorable bonding time, which is a problem for Giovana, who feels completely left out. Leo is also super jealous of Karina, who is really into Gabriel.

A blind teenage boy teaches another boy to read braille
Is it possible for learning Braille to be more adorable? Maybe if a kitten tried to learn Braille?

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I suppose it’s a bit teen angsty, but it doesn’t veer into melodrama. The film is quite Leo/Gabriel-centric, but the importance of Leo/Giovana’s relationship doesn’t get glossed over unlike friendships in…pretty much every high school movie ever.

I think the only issue I have with this movie is that Gabriel is probably literally an angel sent to Earth because no high school guy is as sweet/wise/in general perfect as he is.

a teenage boy tells a teenage girl "We need to share how we feel. There's not point leaving it all bottled up."

I’m going to skim over the rest of this film because I thought it was adorable and don’t want to ruin the way the relationships between our three main characters evolve.

Since, at the end of the day, this is a high school movie, the resolution of our major plot points comes down to what happens at the final big party (during a camping trip…?).

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I’m sorry, Christa, but your heart is made of stone. 😉

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Wetlands, or: Yes, That’s a Euphemism

So happy to be back to Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015 after a short break!

This week’s film is Christa’s pick, Wetlands. Click here for her post. Or don’t. I don’t really have the authority to tell you how to live.

I’m shaking up the format a teensy bit and just letting my thoughts flow because that’s what I’ve been doing anyway, right? At times way more freely than you ever wanted them to.

The Film:


Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

I really love the Netflix summary for this one. “She’s lewd, and her hygiene habits are…unconventional. Shaving a personal area becomes a blessing in disguise.”

The Uncondensed Version:

Our film follows Helen, German teen with hemorrhoids, a fairly dysfunctional relationship with her parents, and a very sexually curious mind. She also rocks the tomboy/pseudo-grunge look, successfully achieving the much desired appearance of giving zero fucks without looking homeless unlike uh…this blogger.

a teenage girl wearing a baggy sweater and messy hairstyle stands outside
Not fair.

I’m going to stop right here and warn you that Helen is a fantastic character and it’s really fun to see her grow…but this movie is gross. It’s really, really gross. Like one of her acts of rebellion against her mother’s obsession with personal hygiene is to rub herself on absolutely filthy public toilet seats. I mean, public restrooms don’t really bother me, but there are multiple times that one scene from Trainspotting seems tame.

So anyway…when our film opens, Helen’s main interest (besides sex) is getting her divorced parents back together. She quickly makes friends with her new neighbor, Corinna, even though she’ s convinced her mom will decide to move the family soon.

Helen gets an unexpected opportunity to get her parents together when she has a shaving accident that really hurts to think about. I can’t, you guys. It happens when she gives her ass a shave. I need to move on from this topic.

As a result of her injury, Helen needs surgery and an extended hospital stay. It’s not all bad as she has a sexy nurse taking care of her. Seriously, he looks like a fucking Backstreet Boy.

close up of a man with blonde hair wearing white scrubs
Backstreet’s back, alright?

The point here is that Helen tries repeatedly to get her parents to the hospital at the same time, but they refuse to cooperate. She hangs out with the nurse a lot and tries to shock him with the story of this time she went to a brothel and had sex with a prostitute.

To be honest, the plot kind of fell apart at this point with a lot of flashforward/flashback, a pretty insane drug trip, and scenes that attempted to out-gross each other.

If you decide to watch this film, I think you will be watching at least partially for the shock value, so I will say no more. Suffice it to say there’s a reason Helen acts the way she does.

close up of a middle-aged woman speaking to her daughter, telling her "Don't trust anybody. Not even your parents."

And you should do yourself a favor and not eat pizza while you watch this movie.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

Mostly because I wish I had been half as cool as Helen as a teen. The plot structure is…loose, and many scenes are not for the faint hearted. Sperm pizza, you guys. Sorry, I did spoil it. I CAN’T CARRY THE WEIGHT OF THAT SCENE BY MYSELF.

See if Christa handled it better by reading her post here!

Good News Everyone

Feeling Good, or: Looking to the Future

This is possibly the first ever post that is solely about me and what’s going on in my life. I KNOW. ON MY OWN BLOG. Because I feel good (cue James Brown) and want you to know I haven’t utterly lost it and set my neighbor on fire. I think it’s important to feel what you feel, but I also don’t want to dwell on things forever. Plus I don’t want this to become Jillian’s Teen Angst Blog: Part Two (I apologize, internet, for Part One). I hope you realize that any foolish passion on my part is entirely over. I’m looking to the future. (Yes, that was a North & South reference, and I do not apologize. If I could, I would slowly put on a top hat and march away dramatically.)

Without any further nonsense, things I’m looking forward to in the near future:

  1. Most immediately, finishing off a loaf of banana bread I made last week. Apparently banana bread has only been a thing since the 1930s. Just 100 years ago it would have been possible for me to live in a banana bread-less world. Thank you to whatever coincidence of time, space, and invention prevented this from happening.
  2. I have three days off this week, and a mega stack of books and movies. Finally going to watch The Babadook.
    It's wrong to imply that I have a problem because that's clearly false.
    It’s wrong to imply that I have a problem because that’s clearly false.

    Also looking forward to reading The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, my impulse new book purchase. Honestly, I haven’t bought a new book in a really long time…I’m much too cheap to spend more than $1 or $2 on used books. It made me feel powerful and cool knowing I will read this book way before anyone can check it out from the library. And if I really wanted to, I could tear pages out of this book and scribble all over it and pour tea on it. It’s my right as a consumer. God, you guys. I feel I’m about to begin a retail therapy phase.

    That cover, though.
    That cover, though.
  3. Once they have aired their current seasons, I will be binge-watching Continuum and Masters of Sex. Seriously, if you watch either of these shows, let me know and I will talk (type?) your ear off. I don’t think any of my co-workers watch either show, and Masters of Sex is just really hard to casually mention in conversation. “So I was watching Masters of Sex the other day…Do you ever watch Masters of Sex? I find it really interesting to watch.” I wish Masters of Sex had a name that made me feel less like a complete perv. Stupid William Masters for having a name with so much potential for filthy puns.
  4. I have decided: vacation in Sept/Oct. I NEED IT.
  5. The second Diviners book, Lair of Dreams, will finally be published towards the end of the month. Libba Bray’s trilogy(?) follows Evie, a young woman with supernatural abilities, living in 1920s New York. Evie tries to solve a series of occultish murders with the help of her powers and some absolutely fantastic secondary characters. There’s also a really gross scene in a butcher shop in the first one. No one is as creepy as Libba Bray. NO ONE. I’ve been waiting three years for this one, and I’m so bad at waiting.
  6. I finally went bra shopping after putting it off for years. YEARS. I’m sure this is more than the world needs to know about me, but I HATE HATE HATE bra shopping, so I’ve been hoping for the best even as my bras are being killed off in And Then There Were None-style mayhem (spoiler: it was me. I killed them). Be proud: I braved Kohl’s, a store so vast and forbidding that you could get lost and no one would find you for days.
  7. I’ve started version 2.0 of Jillian’s Terrible, Soul-Crushing Job Search. I know that doesn’t really sound like the most fabulous thing to do, but I think it’s time. I like my jobs at the moment, but I’m extremely underemployed. Especially as I’ve been seeing some postings that actually sound interesting and might work out (maybe). I’m easing myself back into applying. Slowly, slowly.
  8. I’m really enjoying my new hobby of painting swear words on cheap ceramics.

    Much cheaper than therapy.
    Much cheaper than therapy.
  9. Also of note in a few short days: my mom bringing me a suitcase full of Tunnocks and tea. This is a thing that is happening, right, Mom? RIGHT???
  10. Rapidly approaching this blog’s first birthday! I’m trying to come up with something special to do in honor of it. I started blogging to keep myself busy, and it’s become such a meaningful, important part of my life where I’ve met some fantastic people. Looking at you especially, Christa and Hayley, but I hope all of you, readers, know how much I appreciate you. Yes, even you, random internet creep. You’re good for my stats.

Obviously I’m upset about my neighbor being a condescending asshole, but I’m tired of giving fuckheads undue influence over the way I think and feel. It sucks that I’m majorly underemployed and drowning in student loans, but that doesn’t mean I have to be miserable all of the time. Though it’s antithetical to everything about my nature, I’m attempting to go with the flow. My life isn’t what I want it to be, but there’s really a very limited value in obsessing over the way I think things should be, n’est-ce pas?

Since you have been so patiently bearing with me, what are you looking forward to, reader(s)?

Or feel free to bitch about things. Never let it be said that my blog isn’t somewhere people can go to bitch about their lives.