Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews, Uncategorized

Shimmer Lake, or: Murder Most(ly) Foul

Watching films with a focus on mental health is a great idea, they said.  Movies about serious emotional issues will in no way be too real or fill you with existential dread, they said.

Predictably, they were wrong.  And by “they” I mean “we.”

This month returns us to an old favorite, Blog Free or Die Hard, which promises hours of mindless entertainment.  Or at least no more films about mental health care facilities in the UK (for now).

The Film:

Shimmer Lake

The Premise:

What is the truth behind a small-town bank robbery that has left a trail of bodies in its wake?  The answer may (or may not) surprise you.

The Ramble:

As viewers, we see the story of a small-town bank robbery gone wrong as it unfolds in reverse.  Sheriff Zeke’s concern at this point is finding his brother Andy, one of three suspects, before someone else does.  Zeke seems to be the only competent, upright citizen in the entire town–a rather thankless job.  As it turns out, Andy is hiding out in his own basement with the duffel bag full of cash he conspired to steal.  Great plan…?

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Because where else would you have a payphone if not by an abandoned, decrepit building?

In the robbery’s aftermath, Zeke is shot, 2 people are dead, 2 suspects are on the run, and many people seem to know more than they’re revealing.  Since the money in the vault was federally insured, FBI agents are involved with the investigation, though they create more problems than they solve.

Now on the run are Ed, the ringleader in all of this, and his wife Steph, who rendezvous with Andy to divvy up the cash and get out of town.  That is, until the passenger in Steph’s car shoots Andy and drives away.

As the story unfolds, we see how the conspirators used blackmail and violence to complete their plan (despite their overall incompetence).  It’s also clear Steph plays a much greater role than she initially appears to, lying to the police about threats from Ed and plans to flee to Mexico.  Or is she…?  Her relationship with Ed is tense, and she blames him for the death of their young son in an accident.  Whose side is Steph really on?

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The Staring off Dramatically into the Distance Club met every Thursday…

Additionally, the judge is involved with the robbery as he’s being blackmailed over his much younger male lover just as he’s about to announce his campaign for Senate.  Things don’t end well for quite a few characters who end up being loose ends in this plan…is the judge one of them?

Like any good noir story, the mystery becomes even hazier as we learn that literally everyone in this town is despicable.

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Coincidentally, this seems to be set in Ohio (based on that license plate)…?

Which all leads us to…what really happened the night of the robbery.  It’s probably not what you think.  Or maybe it is; I’m not a mind reader.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Look, the biggest problem here is that I don’t know if this film is supposed to be funny or not.  There was one moment I recall that made me laugh–in fact, it was almost vaudeville sort of moment when Andy asks Chris to check the radio after the robbery has occurred and Chris turns on the radio to a rather upbeat jazzy tune.  There is unexpected humor throughout the film, but it doesn’t always feel at home.

The more I think about it, I wonder if this was a tactic to catch the viewer off-guard–would you really expect Rainn Wilson and Rob Corddry to work on a dark, gritty project with a dramatic twist?  However, this never completely commits to being funny nor to being a clever film noir; it exists mostly in limbo.

I hoped for more of an IDFAHITWA vibe, so perhaps this was destined to fall short in my eyes.  There’s no Melanie Lynskey (or Elijah Wood), and no one even remotely worth liking or rooting for.  Almost everyone in this film turns out to be utterly incompetent or a complete sociopath.  The female characters are also pretty sloppily written, and even the signature femme fatale manages to fall flat completely.

Main conclusions:

  1. The more I hear the name Zeke, the more I like it.  Potential name for my next cat.
  2. Netflix really, really needs to add more film noir to its streaming collection.  While this wasn’t terrible, I also wanted it to be so much better.

Did my blog wife come back for this one or take the money and run?  Find out here!

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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews, Uncategorized

A Date for Mad Mary, or: Quite Contrary

I think the overarching theme of this month is that it’s proven too real for us.  Our pick this week manages to be somewhat more uplifting while remaining emotionally devastating in a way we’ve come to expect (and enjoy to some degree–we’re pretty masochistic).

The Film:

A Date for Mad Mary

The Premise:

Immediately after release from prison seems as good a time as any to plan a wedding, dress up as characters from Mamma Mia, and make bold claims about fictional boyfriends.

The Ramble:

Mary has just been released from a brief stint in prison, a fact willfully ignored by her bff Charlene and just about everyone else.  There’s more important shit going down…like Charlene’s wedding in just a few short weeks.  In spite of all that’s happened, Mary is ready for her life to go back to the way it was and to get up to her usual antics with Charlene.

As we know, weddings are important, blah blah blah, but it’s all a bit much for Mary, who is so not into the frilly lace and passive-aggressive snarkiness of it all (the bride gives Mary a CD with elocution lessons—say what?).  What our girl Mary is really angling for is a carefree night at the club with her bestie, but there always seems to be some element of the wedding rudely sabotaging their friendship.  Or is it something that’s been festering for a long time?  Spoiler alert:  yes.

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U up?

When Mary goes out to the club on her own, it’s obvious she has a bit of a temper.  Bouncers seem to have it in for her as the unexplained mystery of Mary’s prison sentence had something to do with a drunken night out and a short temper.  It’s not long before Mary is sent home without $200 for passing go.

Impulsively (as she does most things), Mary proclaims she’ll need a plus one for her super smokin’ hot boyfriend.  The problem, of course, being that Mary doesn’t have a boyfriend and seems to have very little interest in dating or attracting members of the opposite sex.  In fact, it becomes pretty clear that Mary may be more than a little bit in love with her bestie.  Or is she in love with the person Charlene used to be?

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My milkshake brings all the girls to the stairs…

Either way, checking things off the massive wedding plan list has just become a lot more complicated.  Additional wrench thrown into the plan arrives in the form of Jess, the videographer for Charlene’s big day.  Having left things too late, Mary begs Jess to cancel the gig she has with her band that night.  Reluctantly, Jess agrees, but only because Mary’s a babe and the two share a connection.  *winky face*

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Is that a guitar in your case or…oh, it is a guitar?

Mary does seem to finally have a date, though not the one Charlene is expecting.  Jess is willing to go along with this but balks when it becomes clear how often Mary’s sole purpose seems to be making Charlene angry and jealous.

Alone once again and falling back into old patterns, Mary decides to get her drink on and go pick a fight.  Is it too late for her to change her habits and accept herself the way she is?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I really liked this one, so it probably deserves a better rating.  That being said, I was completely unable to separate my reaction to this film from my feelings toward Charlene, who is an utterly horrid person.  At the end of the day, the emphasis on Mary and Charlene’s relationship is that it has changed (necessarily), but my biggest takeaway was that she was a shit friend.  The elocution lessons CD was fucked up, then writing a maid of honor speech for her, along with the complete unwillingness to support her friend through a difficult time–all really fucked up things to do.

I feel this was a deliberate commentary on my ability to let go of things.  In this case, Mary and Charlene had a rather toxic friendship, but it was still hard to watch a one-sided relationship and see Mary’s realization that their friendship was no longer what it once was.

Would this be my blog wife’s plus one or would she tackle it in a drunken brawl?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews, Uncategorized

Poppy Shakespeare, or: Arguably the Less Fun Shakespeare

I thought this week’s film would go nicely with our theme and be somewhat satirical in the vein of Trainspotting.  Horrible moments dotted with the occasional winking nudge along the lines of “Blimey, this mental health business is a bit much, isn’t it?”

I don’t know where this delusion came from…possibly too much John Oliver?  The moral of the story is that I was wrong.  So, so wrong.

The Film:

Poppy Shakespeare

Where to Watch:

Amazon Prime

The Premise:

Pray you never find yourself at the mercy of the mental health care system, whether you believe in a higher power or not.

The Ramble:

N is a patient who has been in psychiatric care for many years, carrying on a legacy inherited from her mother and grandmother, and possibly farther up her family tree.  She’s pretty content with the status quo—she collects “mad money” as her income, gets to come and go more or less freely, and enjoys the company of her fellow patients.

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Based on this scene, I’d be totally fine with a stay at Dorothy Fish.

Obviously a change is coming, which arrives in the form of Poppy Shakespeare.  Though everyone in the Dorothy Fish hospital is there voluntarily, Poppy insists she isn’t.  N is assigned to help Poppy understand how the ward works, but the only help Poppy is interested in is how to return to her life and daughter.

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Dress every day as if you’ll be committed to psychiatric care.

Meeting with a lawyer introduces Poppy to the catch-22 that is the entire mental health system:  to collect “mad money” and pay for representation that proves she is fit to leave Dorothy Fish, Poppy must prove she is, in fact, mentally unstable.  Luckily, she has N to help her con the system by falsifying her forms and demonstrating symptoms like pulling out her own hair and burning herself with scalding water.

Meanwhile, the ward is undergoing massive changes.  In an attempt to cut costs and receive bonuses, assessments will be made more frequently to discharge more patients more quickly.  N is terrified as her usual yearly performance must walk a very fine line to avoid the dread of placement on one of the upper floors for more severe mental health issues without being discharged entirely.

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They like me–they really like me!

As N and Poppy try to cheat the system, they become close friends.  The chemistry between the two leads is perfect, making their friendship believable yet bittersweet.  While N is confident their plan will succeed, of course things aren’t going to be so simple as the two patients wind their way through the maze that is the mental health system.  All of this madness begins to take its toll on both characters, and the emotional damage they suffer together will have understandable, realistic consequences for them.

Yeah, this is less Trainspotting and more…slowly bludgeoning your feelings with a wooden plank for an hour and a half.

The Rating:

3/5 PPHs

I wouldn’t argue that this is a bad film or one that mishandles its subject matter, but it’s heavy as fuck.  Oh, you wanted an uplifting film about overcoming crises and handling mental health issues effectively?  Not this one.

Poppy’s situation is horrifying as she describes completing a profile, then out of the blue being identified as someone with a severely disordered personality and being stuck in limbo.  Her experience begs the question of who exactly defines sanity and what motivations may influence them–especially when N uncovers a secret towards the end of the film.  N isn’t in a much better place, as she and just as much at the mercy of the system–a system that failed miserably to help her mother and grandmother.

Chillingly, Dorothy Fish is recognized for its excellence at one point in the film.  It’s a bit of an Ivan Denisovich move–if this place is considered exemplary, how terrible must the other wards be?

Would Christa let this one loose or send it up a floor higher?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews, Uncategorized

The Neon Demon, or: Beauty Is Skin (and Blood) Deep

Someday we will watch a film about what a nice place LA is and how completely un-problematic the fashion industry is (or not).  Today is not that day–it is, after all, Anxiety August.

The Film:

The Neon Demon

The Premise:

The fashion industry is disturbing.  Really disturbing, and possibly cannibalistic.

The Ramble:

Elle Fanning plays Jesse, an aspiring model who has recently arrived in LA.  She’s getting possibly the creepiest pics ever for her portfolio courtesy of her amateur photographer friend/boyfriend/acquaintance?  Not 100% sure on this one yet.  She lounges on a sofa with blood dripping down her arm as the camera.  Dramatically.  Pans away.

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Just another day at work…

Jesse’s magnetism/beauty/je ne sais quoi lands her a party invite from make-up artist Ruby.  At the party, she meets other models who are probably 10 years or so older (aka ancient in terms of modeling) and therefore immediately loathe her.  Our unholy trinity corners her in the bathroom and asks all kinds of overly personal questions about her sex life and family.  Ruby is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally intensely into Jesse and applies appropriately named Red Rum lipstick to her.

Jesse scores representation from a competitive modeling agency that recognizes she will go far as a model.  However, first she needs much better pics for her portfolio, which will be provided by really intense shaved head dude (yeah, I wasn’t paying the most attention ever to all of the names here).  At the photo shoot, the photographer asks everyone to leave and for Jesse to take off her clothes.  It gets weirder when he covers her in gold paint in the messiest and least efficient way possible besides maybe if he had used a pastry brush.

After the shoot, Ruby says she’s looking out for Jesse and insists she call if she ever needs anything.

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“And I mean anything…”  *wink*

Meanwhile, Jesse is sort of dating the amateur photographer who took her first round of pics.  It’s hard to say what she’s feeling most of the time as she seems to be a bit detached from everything, though there are a few moments when she reveals insecurity about her talents.  It’s sort of sweet if anything can be said to be sweet about this movie?  But you know this is all being set up for it to fall dramatically as if from a diving board.  Oops…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Meanwhile, in a cameo I don’t completely understand, Keanu Reeves plays the manager of the shady motel where Jesse is staying.  They’re never going to be the best of friends, especially after a puma destroys her room.  Yeah.  An actual puma.

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This is a pretty shot, but I also sort of expected song and dance in the style of La La Land.

Anyway, things are going swimmingly well for Jesse on the career front.  She manages to swipe a major gig from one of the models from earlier, then lands another job with the other one, who has struggled for years to get where she is.

Predictably, things start to go downhill with Jesse’s boyfriend (or at least guy she’s gone on some dates with).  When she has nowhere else to turn to, she goes to stay with Ruby.  Two guesses about whether this ends well.

The Rating:

3.5/5 PPHs

My review is destined to be biased as, based on the title, I expected demons to appear explicitly in this film.  Perhaps that’s just an indication of our usual fare for the Blog Collab, i.e. veering just a bit farther away from the intellectual.  If you’re looking for demons, you’ll probably be disappointed; however, you will see a lot of blood in this.  SO MUCH BLOOD.  Also slow, dramatic face close-ups.  If we had cut those in half, this film would have probably been about 30 mins shorter.

This does take a pretty interesting angle and makes it clear that this film is a vehicle for social commentary, but it’s not particularly fun to watch for a few reasons:

  1.  No one is particularly likeable or even that interesting as a character.  You will have brief glimpses when characters seem slightly more likeable,  but those moments are usually less than genuine.
  2. All of the photo shoots are really suggestive, which is clearly in service of the film’s message.  It doesn’t make them less voyeuristic and uncomfortable to watch.
  3. It’s really irritating to hear all the goddamn time how beautiful Jesse is and how she has that certain something.  Part of the message here seems to be that all of this talk of magnetism and charisma is a bunch of shit, but it’s still pretty distracting.  See also:  it would’ve been more satisfying to see explicitly that Jesse was a demon or worshiping Satan or something.

Not a bad film, but it might appeal more to the film school crowd than this simple blogger with a strong interest in B-movie monsters.

Would Christa take a dive with this one or send it off to be eaten by pumas?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Incredible Jessica James vs. The Incredible Jessica Williams

This month is already affectionately (or not-so-affectionately) known as Anxiety August, which is like a less chill version of Blog Free.  Welcome to our paradise.

The Film:

The Incredible Jessica James

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

Jessica Williams is…more or less a version of herself navigating personal crises and keeping her dreams of becoming a playwright alive.

The Ramble:

Nothing seems to be going right in any part of Jessica James’s life, personal or professional.  Having just broken up with her long-term boyfriend and facing rejection after rejection as a budding playwright, JJ is pretty much done on all fronts.

I feel you, JJ.  The one bright light seems to be that her bff Tasha has got her back, plus her job teaching kids theater at a non-profit isn’t too shabby.  However, this is far from the life she envisions for herself.

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Archetypal look laden with secret bff meaning.

Even though dating is gross, JJ agrees to go along on a date Tasha sets up.  The date is with a 30-ish man (yeah, right) who is recently divorced and dubiously named Boone, so I guess it follows that they both need a rebound relationship in the logic of all rom-coms.  They don’t seem destined for each other as he has no interest in theater and she can only think about the ways in which he’s completely unlike her ex.

After deciding to go their separate ways, JJ ends up spending the night in his apartment and then moves on.

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“I really am 30!  Why are you laughing?”

Meanwhile, she’s determined to convince one of her most talented students, Shandra, to attend an upcoming writer’s weekend.  They have a bit of a falling out because Shandra would rather spend time with her dad during their weekend together, something JJ doesn’t have a whole lot of understanding for.

As it turns out, JJ is un-enthused at the prospect of returning home to Ohio for her sister’s baby shower.  She doesn’t have the best relationship with her family as the big city girl who left to pursue her dreams rather than settle down.   As a small act of rebellion, she writes a book about subverting the patriarchy, which is less than thrilling to the other ladies at the shower.  She also does a perfect imitation of a pretentious film student and is super rude about what true theater is when one of the guests asks her which show she should see in New York.  We get a little bit more family backstory eventually, but not to a degree that seems particularly satisfying.  I’m not going to deny that family relationships are hard, but if you’re going to make a film about it, you need better character motivations.

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I don’t remember putting this on my registry…

After returning to New York, JJ breathes a sigh of relief.   She’s clearly still not over her ex, continuing to write scenes in which she confronts him about their relationship and he begs for another chance…only to be crushed by falling pianos, etc.  Both JJ and Boone help each other get over their exes by taking important steps like unfollowing them on Instagram…then giving each other updates on the other’s ex.  JJ seems to finally catch a break personally and professionally, with things all coming together—until of course they aren’t.  Will things turn around for the incredible Jessica James?

The Rating:

3.5/5 PPHs

Don’t get me wrong—Jessica Williams is great in this, but somewhat underutilized.  There are moments when her natural charm and humor shine through (like when she shames a manspreader on a subway car), but her character seems to be written as a less interesting version of the real JW.

The times when real emotional depth is attempted fall flat, and the scenes with her family just unintentionally make her seem self-centered.  Their family drama seems so…normal, and there’s no clear reason for the rift between JJ and her family.

Ok, AND I’m probably super biased here, but JJ slags off Ohio, which I can only deal with coming from actual Ohioans.  Have a disproportionate number of serial killers hailed from Ohio?  Are we the state people only care about during presidential election years?  Is it somewhat disheartening that we’re incredibly proud our rivers no longer catch on fire?  Yes, yes, and yes—but, like family, it’s our dysfunctional mess.

I loved the scenes between JJ and her best friend, however few and far between they were.  I would’ve really liked that to be the central focus of this film rather than her attempts to get over her ex and the development of her relationship with Chris O’Dowd.  Can we be real for a second?  She and Chris O’Dowd have ZERO chemistry.  ZERO.  And I didn’t believe him as 30-ish for a minute.

Spoiler-ish (but not really because this is a light-hearted rom-com that doesn’t pull any punches):  the ending pissed me off because everything came together so neatly in a way that didn’t feel earned.  And Boone makes a romantic gesture that would personally make me really uncomfortable and wonder what he really wanted from me.  To wear my skin Buffalo Bill-style?

No?  Have I just become the world’s most cynical living human?

Did this one make Christa’s dreams come true or send them back to Ohio to die?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews, Uncategorized

Planet of the Sharks, or: Damn Dirty Waves

The shame consumes me as, at least for the purposes for the blog collab, we forgot about the most important summer holiday:  Shark Week.  Better late than never?

The Film:

Planet of the Sharks

Where to Watch:

Amazon Prime

The Uncondensed Version:

This one is a SyFy original giving the all-important shark genre a dystopian setting and topical global warming commentary, so you know it’s going to be good.

In the future, humanity has fucked up…to the utter astonishment of no one.  Predictably, people waited until the entire surface of the Earth was underwater before coming up with constructive ways to combat global warming.  As a result, people live in giant floating cities primarily constructed from recycled debris.  Not an ideal situation to begin with…but it’s about to get better when we throw swarms of sharks controlled by electromagnetic pulses into the mix.  Seriously.

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Never volunteer for look-out duty in a shark-infested dystopian planet.

For whatever reason, we follow the sole survivor of a shark attack that wipes out her, er, city(?) when the double whammy of sharks + random explosions strikes.  I think we’re supposed to feel at least some sympathy for this girl, but it’s difficult to even remember her name (which I don’t) when she has something like 2 lines of dialogue in the entire movie.

After this girl is saved when the closest floating city sees a distress flare, scientists try to determine what is happening and how it could impact their current project.  So you’re aware–their current project involves launching a rocket into the atmosphere to destroy the C02 that has led to global warming.  One rocket is supposed to reverse decades of C02 emissions and pollution that has flooded the entire goddamn planet…?  Rather irritatingly, there’s quiet a lot of science-splaining that pretends to be smart but is really just spewing a bunch of nonsense.

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Obviously the main thing lady scientists do is stand around looking sweaty.

So anyway…the lead shark glows for some reason and is able to control the rest of the sharks for human destroying purposes.  This has the power to doom humanity completely as any chance of launching a miracle C02 blasting rocket could be in jeopardy due to shark attacks.

The scientists try to recruit the help of the largest floating city around, Salvation, to defeat the sharks and launch the rockets.  Unfortunately, their leader is too much of a badass to believe her city could be taken down by sharks.  Her indeterminate but vaguely Creole accent is distracting, but her one-liners more than make up for it.  Even though I don’t condone the killing of sharks, she’s a bit of a hero, uttering with complete confidence lines like, “I find it hard to believe an entire flotilla could be taken down by sharks,” and “We got some…sha-waks to keel…”

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Shark-kabobbed.

Since it’s been only about 20-30 minutes at this point, I think you can guess whether sharks or humans win this round.  However, the scientists, the girl, guy who looks a bit like a pirate, and cringey comic relief dude have a chance to regroup and restrategize.  Their brilliant plan?  Lure the sharks to an underwater volcano and then make it erupt.  For real.  Goodbye, humanity.

Color me surprised when this rock-solid plan suffers some unexpected complications.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

It’s no Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, but there are definitely some moments I really enjoyed here.  The characters are largely forgettable, but some of the women demonstrate moments of badassery and pretty entertaining one-liners.  I probably should have given them more attention, but I seriously cannot remember any of their names.

The last half of the film is way slower and decidedly less shark-centric.  There is SO MUCH discussion of the damn rocket, and all of the pseudo-science drove me insane.  While I acknowledge the point of this movie was to fill time and sell ads on SyFy, it still irritated me that global warming was a plot device explained with nonsense that probably does more harm than good.  What hath SyFy wrought?  Will we grow up with a generation that sincerely believes launching a single rocket can solve global warming???

Overall, I was hoping for a more deliberate Planet of the Apes parody (I would KILL to see talking land sharks enslave humanity) rather than just a catchy title that has little to do with the way the film unfolds.  However, this film checked off some major boxes:  sharks, women with spears, volcanoes, and inexplicable explosions.  I can live with that.

Would Christa rule the planet of the sharks or let it all go under?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Christine, or: Chickens vs. Serial Killers

Gorgeous Ladies of the Blog Collab takes an unexpectedly dark turn this week.  Chickens, mental health, and sensationalizing local news are all wrapped up neatly (or not so neatly) by Rebecca Hall.

The Film:

Christine (2016)

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Uncondensed Version:

Right from the start, it’s clear that Christine is a brilliant yet deeply self-critical and complex young woman.  In both her personal life and professional career as a local TV news reporter, she frequently second-guesses herself and looks for opportunities to confirm her flaws in the eyes of others.

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“I can’t help feeling you’re a bit detached for this interview…”

After a year working for a Sarasota Springs station, Christine is ready for the next move in her career.  Having a non-existent sex life, her mother as a roommate, and an impending 30th birthday only make it clearer that she’s much in need of change.

When the opportunity arises for a promotion that will take her to Baltimore, Christine is eager to prove she’s up for the challenge.  However, this won’t be easy as the new marching orders from the station execs are to cover sensational, violent stories over the thoughtful human interest pieces Christine favors.  Her work crush, Dexter George, agrees with her objections, but it’s not long before the reporters are tripping over themselves to get in line with the changes.

Meanwhile, Christine has been experiencing major stomach pains that she shrugs off as stress-related.  I’m apparently way more of a wimp than Christine because I’d be at the doctor’s so quickly or at least popping more than the recommended dose of Extra Strength Advil 24/7.

These factors seem to be creating the perfect storm for Christine to suffer a repeat of Boston, which her mother mysteriously alludes to.  The mother/daughter relationship is volatile to say the least; Christine reacts very badly to change and seems to be threatened by her mother’s series of unsuccessful relationships.  There’s so much to unpack here that their relationship doesn’t get as much attention as some of the other facets of Christine’s life, but I would have loved to see more.

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For once, I have nothing cynical to say.

The stress begins to wear at Christine as it turns out the stomach pains are more serious than initially thought and may impact her ability to have children.  After receiving the news, she has a bit of a melt-down at work.  It’s frustrating to see self-care as a continuously low priority for Christine, though of course there are mental health and other issues at play too.  However, even when her sole work friend Jean suggests they take the rest of the day of and eat ice cream, Christine insists on pressing on.

Later, she does an ill-advised piece on a gun enthusiast who warns her that threats are everywhere.  He encourages her to carry around a gun for a few weeks to see if it makes her feel different and more in control.  Seems like…maybe not the best idea?

Though Christine tries to tow the new party line, her ideas are constantly shut down and she is usually at odds with her boss.  Finally, she is forced to take time off when she’s sent home early after an especially tense disagreement.

Just as her professional life is falling apart, Christine’s personal life seems to be lining up for once.  George asks her out to dinner, which is a major breakthrough as she seems to be convinced they have a future together…or at least the possibility of Christine’s first sexual relationship.  At the same time, George has some important news to share—news that will prove deeply upsetting to Christine.

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I’ll give you 3 tries to guess the number of murders I’ve committed.

If you are familiar with the story of Christine Chubbuck, there will be no surprises for you here.  I was not and didn’t expect the ending at all…though it does have a sad logic that made me think I should have seen it coming.  Much like the real story I imagine.

4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I’m not sure I’d want to revisit this one, but it definitely earned at least a solid 4.  Infinite PPHs for Rebecca Hall’s performance, as she manages to portray mental health issues with such a depth and range of emotion without becoming melodramatic.  Christine comes across as extremely bold and intelligent while pulling back a few layers to reveal the pain of living with undiagnosed bipolar disorder and a devastating lack of confidence.  It’s time for Rebecca Hall to be a household name–she’s so talented.

Special shout-out to Christine’s closest work friend, Jean, and chicken lady, who I didn’t give a lot of attention here but who also deserve recognition.

Did this one hold Christa’s interest or was it too sensational?  Find out here!