Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Holy Camp, or: I-E-I Will Always Love You

This week gives us a much-needed break from full-frontal scenes depicting the male (and female) anatomy, which is a feat unto itself.  Add Whitney Houston musical numbers, strong female friendships, and lesbian themes, and we’ve got…well, a film premise constructed from our dreams, essentially.

The Film:

Holy Camp! (La llamada)

The Premise:

Teen bffs at a religious summer camp must contend with secret parties, the crushing of their dreams, visits from an unexpectedly glittery God, and attractive nuns.

The Ramble:

Maria and Susana are besties for life reluctantly spending the summer at a religious camp for teens.  While initially planning to sneak out and party every night, Maria has lost interest in their schemes.  As it turns out, she has been meeting someone else at night–God.  And he seems to be a huge fan of Whitney Houston.

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This is your vision of God too, right?

After refusing to participate in a weekend canoe trip, Maria and Susana are effectively under house arrest with novice nun Milagros.  Though she tries to be stern, Milagros is too kind to be angry and bonds with Susana over their love of music.  Hmmmmmm…I wonder if perhaps Milagros has a secret past as the lead singer of a band…

Milagros isn’t the only one keeping a secret.  Susana, upset about the newfound distance between the two friends, accuses Maria of leaving her hanging.  Maria, on the other hand, thinks it’s time to grow up and forget about their dream to become a world-famous girl band.

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Bestie love.

Meanwhile, Sister Bernarda is convinced she has the perfect solution for reining the girls in:  music.  Though Milagros appreciates the thought, she finds Sr. Bernarda’s taste in music…a bit dated.  This leads to perhaps the finest nun-centric musical number since The Sound of Music.

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No caption needed.

Still on the outs with her bff, Maria, confides in Sr. Bernarda that God speaks to her through the songs of Whitney Houston.  Sr. Bernarda is less than understanding initially, but does eventually believe and support Maria.  With the help of the Sister, Maria learns to pray so she can understand God’s message but keeps her newfound faith a secret.

Susana is also keeping her feelings a secret.  When she sees Milagros dress up and sing into a hairbrush, reminiscing about her days as a singer, Susana develops a bit of a crush.  But does Milagros have a clue?

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Right on, Mary.

Though now armed with the power of prayer, Maria feels farther than ever from God when he laughs at her efforts and walks away.  She becomes despondent after this until Susana finally visits her and the two make up.  Susana confesses to Milagros that she’s in love with her, leaving the novice stunned.

How will the two best friends heal their relationship with the ones they love?  And might it perhaps involve a choreographed glitter-suffused dance number?

The Rating:

5/5 Pink Panther Heads

Without hesitation.

I feel bad now about some of the other films I haven’t given a full 5 stars that probably deserved it.  This one definitely deserves it as it’s so fucking joyous and refreshing in so many ways.  All 4 of our leading characters are women, one of whom is rather aged.  Though she’s a bit out of touch, she is a respected and compassionate while remaining remarkably free of judgment.  The ladies of this film support each other so much, and I support that support.

The way love is explored is powerful:  spiritual love, the love between friends, and romantic love.  Both Maria and Susana express their love for each other by being true to themselves and honest with each other.  I also like the message about religion even as a completely non-religious person.  The way the faithful choose to worship is their decision–music is just as valid as prayer.

If this is what church had been like when I was growing up, you can be pretty damn sure my ass would’ve been in the pews about 3,000x more.

Was Christa singing the gospel of this film or did she convert to another immediately?  Find out here!

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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Love, or: Full-Frontal Male Misogyny

In the history of the Blog Collab, there have been only a handful of films so hated that Christa and I cannot contain our rage about them.  This is one of those films.

The Film:

Gaspar Noé’s Love

The Premise:

An awful garbage human being reflects on how he fucked things up with the so-called love of his life.

The Ramble:

Our film begins ever so tastefully in the middle of a 3-minute full-frontal sex scene.  If this is the kind of thing you’re into, good news–you’ll see so many endless, gratuitous sex scenes with all of the nudity.  All of it.

As it turns out, the scene depicts our protagonist and resident misogynist Murphy with his ex-girlfriend and love of his life, Electra.  In the present, Murphy’s memories of her are all he has.  Murphy is unhappily married to a woman named Omi with whom he shares a young son (named Gaspar, JFC).  As the film opens, Murphy learns that Electra is missing and quite possibly dead.

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Can’t…contain…douchebaggery…much longer…

Let’s just pause to appreciate the nature of Murphy’s marriage and the almost superhuman amount of self-pity he feels.  He’d definitely be top pick for Marvel’s Improbably Self-Pitying Misogynist Man.  Murphy believes his wife, Omi, deliberately became pregnant to trap him.  He regularly thinks shit like “I’m sick of this bitch.  Take care of the baby and leave me alone,” “I’m married because of a broken condom,” and “I hope she doesn’t make my son gay.”  What a catch.

As Murphy reflects on his present, he becomes lost in memories of his past with Electra and–lucky for us–details the tragic story of how their relationship unraveled.  When Electra and Murphy meet at a party, he is a film student who wants to make movies out of “blood, sperm, and tears.”  He’s the obnoxious film guy who gets indignant when Electra admits she hasn’t seen 2001.  Give it a rest, bro.

Electra is a struggling artist with a drug problem and a complicated relationship with her parents.  Despite their issues, Electra and Murphy fall into a passionate relationship with an absolutely unnecessary number of sex scenes.  The two believe they will start a family and be together forever because their love is so twu.

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Yet another reason to be grossed out by PDA.

Unfortunately, cracks begin to show quite quickly in this relationship (and not just ass cracks).  Electra’s ex, Noé (eye roll), has a successful gallery whose position to help her makes Murphy super jealous.  As the couple fights more and more, they go to extreme measures to save their relationship.  Naturally, this includes a visit to a gross underground sex club (I almost vomited when I thought about people having to clean this place), hiring a trans sex worker, and a threesome with a pretty young neighbor, Omi…aka Murphy’s future wife.

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A rare moment of fully-clothedness.

What happened to drive the final nail in the coffin?  And will Electra ever be seen again?  Does anyone give a shit?

The Rating:

1/5 Angry Pink Panther Heads

Ugh, the only thing worse than seeing Murphy’s dick so many times that it stops looking real is hearing this douchebag’s internal monologue throughout the film.  I have absolutely no sympathy for this dude’s existential angst as everything bad that’s happened to him is his own fucking fault yet he still doesn’t learn to treat women better.

Just for fun, a selection of Murphy’s internal thoughts:

“A dick has only one purpose:  to fuck.”  (Dicks fuck assholes.)

“Men understand each other; we have respect for each other.”

“I’m not a slave to pussy.  Pussy is pussy.”

The nature of Murphy and Electra’s relationship is also horrific.  This film should’ve just been called Sex or Fucking because what they share is not love.  The two spend an insufferable amount of time talking about what a great couple they are, but they’re actually the worst.

Only watch this one if you want to watch a porno while insisting to your friends at a party that this is true art.

Would Christa have a self-pitying wallow with this one or cover it quickly with a towel (and/or kill it with fire)?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Art of Loving, or: You Weren’t Found in a Cabbage Patch

It’s summer, so we’re doing what we want on the blog (in contrast to every other season).  This week we’re up for some education on sexual and reproductive health…in 1970s Poland.  Based on a true story!

The Film:

The Art of Loving

The Premise:

A renowned Polish gynecologist struggles to publish a book that addresses very real–and very taboo–sexual issues married couples experience.

The Ramble:

Michalina Wisłocka, having worked as a gynecologist for years in many parts of Poland, has long been an advocate for contraception and the demystification of sex. Now, in the 1970s, she is ready to publish a book to help married couples, and especially women, understand their reproductive health and sexual issues. Enter the Catholic Church, stage left. Also the Soviets. Plus the media. And throw in a few disgruntled misogynists too for good measure. Getting a book published on such a taboo topic is going to be a battle.

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…of wearing super chic boho-style headscarves.

As it turns out, Michalina has always been surrounded by controversy. After spying on a skinny dipping man with her bff Wanda, Michalina eventually ends up marrying him. In large part because of Wanda, Michalina and her husband Stach survive the war. Wanda goes to live with the couple, and they eventually become a threesome. Michalina thinks this will work out perfectly as Wanda fulfills Stach’s sexual needs, while Michalina will fulfill his emotional needs.

After the war is over, Michalina pursues a medical degree and the 3 live together in harmony. Of course, this doesn’t last—when both Michalina and Wanda become pregnant, things get rather complicated. As Wanda is an unmarried woman, Michalina claims both as her own children. This will be totally fine and never backfire as this unconventional family will be together forever…right?

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WWII lulz,

Yeah, maybe not. Wanda feels like a 3rd wheel and decides to leave with her son. This move will create absolutely no trauma for any parties involved…by which I mean SO much trauma for everyone. Wanda leaving triggers the dissolution of Michalina and Stach’s marriage, transforming a family of 5 into a party of 2.

Devastated, Michalina retreats to a small Polish village for the summer. Though she insists she’s taking a break from men, Michalina is nevertheless drawn to Jurek, a married sailor with a secret romantic streak.  From Jurek, Michalina gets her signature style of clothing made primarily from curtains.  She also feels encouraged to love and appreciate her body for the first time.  Unfortunately, Jurek is going to have to choose between his family and Michalina…3 guesses on how that turns out.

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We’ll always have Lubieniec…

In the present day (by which I mean the 1970s), Michalina is on the verge of publishing her book.  However, to avoid controversy, the chapter on female orgasms has been cut.  Following a ridiculous male rights conversation about men’s orgasms being important too (we know), Michalina walks with her book, refusing to compromise on this.

Will Michalina find a publisher and help thousands of Polish women reach their, er, full potential?  Related question:  is there a time in history when middle-aged white dudes are not trying to control women’s bodies?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I absolutely love the portrayal of Michalina in this (by Magdalena Boczarska).  She’s smart, confident, caring, and unwaveringly determined.  Some of her lines are absolutely brilliant–my favorites being “I am the sexual revolution and I’m coming,” and “You’re from a vagina; you weren’t found in a cabbage patch.”  What a woman.

However, there are a few things I find frustrating throughout the film.  The entire subplot of the secret baby mama feels melodramatic and disjointed.  Michalina is heartbroken when Wanda leaves with her child and believes both kids will be fucked up for life.  Yet after this scene, the film spends very little time exploring the effects on all parties and wrapping up this part of the story.

After the dissolution of the Michalina/Wanda/Stach relationship, the close bond between Michalina and Wanda disappears.  It’s frustrating to see such a genuine love vanish because of men–and indeed the extent to which Michalina’s early decisions are influenced by men.  While I adore Jurek and his surprisingly forward-thinking brand of 1970s Polish feminism, I dislike how much of the film revolves around Michalina’s relationships with men.

Would Christa flip straight to the dirty pictures or burn the manuscript?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

East Side Sushi, or: Tako Taco

I love movies.  I love food.  How pleased am I when I find ways to happily bring these interests together?  Almost as pleased as I feel about the idea of Mexican/Japanese fusion cuisine, conveniently depicted in this week’s pick.

The Film:

East Side Sushi

The Premise:

A Latina single mother struggling to support her daughter is determined to master the art of sushi despite the objections of…I mean, pretty much everyone.

The Ramble:

Juana is a single mother living with her father in Oakland, California.  She is far from living the dream as she works odd jobs trying to make ends meet and fund her daughter’s education.  The family’s main source of income seems to be a fruit cart–that is, until one day Juana is robbed at gunpoint.

Disheartened and quite shaken, Juana’s luck takes a turn when she stumbles across a Help Wanted sign hanging in a sushi restaurant.  Though she’s a talented cook and has some serious skill with knives, the help needed is for a kitchen assistant–cleaning, washing dishes, making rice, and doing some other food prep.

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Insert super quick knife action here.

It’s not long before Juana gets a chance to show off her talents when the kitchen is short-staffed, and sushi chef Aki begins to respect her expertise.  Though initially Juana claims she has tried sushi and didn’t like it, she gives it another try and falls in love with the flavors.  Her father and daughter are less than thrilled, however, when Juana begins making sushi at home instead of their usual Mexican fare.  Juana’s father in particular remains stubbornly critical of her venture into Japanese cooking and her ambitions to master sushi.

Even as Juana makes progress at home, she is held back by the traditional views of the restaurant owner, Mr. Yoshida, and several of the sushi chefs, who claim women’s hands are too warm to make sushi(…?).  However, with the encouragement of Aki, she begins to observe the sushi chefs and pick up their techniques.  When the restaurant is down a sushi chef, Juana impresses Aki with her sushi making, but must create her sushi rolls in the stock room, out of sight of patrons and Mr. Yoshida.

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“Yeah, but is it gluten-free?”

On her own, Juana decides to enter a local sushi competition to prove her skills and perhaps win money for her daughter’s education.  At last, Juana’s father begins to support her efforts as he helps her film a video submission.  It doesn’t hurt at all that he gets to taste test her fusion sushi rolls, featuring jalapeños and poblano peppers.

Her sushi skills ever on the rise, Juana tires of receiving no recognition for her work and decides to make sushi up front with the other chefs.  Of course, this is not received well by Mr. Yoshida or by the bullshit white dudes who complain about the lack of authenticity.  After being denied the option to even apply for the open sushi chef position at the restaurant, Juana chooses to quit rather than endure the disrespect.

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Sake it to me? (Sorry/not sorry)

Once again working low-paying jobs, barely scraping by, and with no passion for sushi or any other kind of cooking, Juana feels utterly without hope.  Remember that sushi competition, though?  Maybe an opportunity will present itself when a mysterious envelope arrives from the organizers of the competition.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

As a somewhat belated disclaimer, I’m such a sucker for the formulaic following your dreams, overcoming adversity, feel-good film…especially if there’s food involved.  This does follow that formula pretty closely, but brings a unique perspective and presents its characters with nuance and care.  There’s a slow build, but the emotional impact of the film suddenly creeps up–when Juana’s father finally comes around (and gives her one of her mother’s scarves for luck), I had so many feels.  Diana Elizabeth Torres is an absolute gem as Juana, whose quiet determination, compassion, and curiosity come across beautifully on screen.

The film is very interested in questions of authenticity in the restaurant world, and to what extent those ideas are used to maintain the status quo.  In one of Juana’s rare outbursts, she points out the hypocrisy inherent in the sushi restaurant’s illusion of authenticity, as well as the irony that so many Latinos are behind the scenes in every great restaurant yet just one in public view is not accepted.

I also love the subtle yet sweet relationship between Juana and Aki.  Really all they do together is make and eat food, so I feel they have the ideal relationship.  Aki is adorable, supportive, and incredibly proud of Juana’s successes.  Refreshingly, the romance is very subtle and not at all the focus of this film.  It’s nice for Juana to have someone who’s always in her corner, though, and who gifts her with beautiful sharp knives.

However, I’m extremely angry that I can’t actually try any of the mouthwatering combinations Juana creates during this film.  Streaming this film should also come with at least a couple of sushi rolls.

Would Christa chop this one up and roll it into sushi or toss it with last week’s King Salmon? Find out here!

 

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Hurricane Bianca, or: It’s a Poncho, Bitch

This week’s film is brought to you by false eyelashes, skin-tight sequined dresses, and enough concealer to recolor the walls of a small apartment.  Drag queens, ok?  It’s about drag queens–and one rather renowned in particular.

The Film:

Hurricane Bianca

The Premise:

I mean, technically there’s a plot, but mostly this is a vehicle for Bianca Del Rio to throw shade at homophobes.

The Ramble:

Richard is a long-suffering science teacher who genuinely cares about learning–if only his students felt the same way.  Meanwhile, his interest in stand-up comedy seems to be horribly misguided as he persistently gets a cringeworthy number of laughs.

Feeling completely disheartened, Richard finally gets some good news in the form of a call from the head of a teaching ambassador program (played by a fantastically sinister Alan Cumming).  The catch?  The position is in Milford, a small Texas town into football, nepotism, and traditional gender roles.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Richard is a bit of a fish out of water as a gay man whose masculinity doesn’t jive with the gun-toting football fanatics.  Richard fails to make it through the first day of class when his students blow up the chemistry lab.  While the principal may have overlooked this incident, when he discovers Richard’s sexuality, it’s all over.

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In Texas, this is the only acceptable makeup for men.

In an attempt to drink away his sorrows, Richard ends up at a bar only to discover he now lives in a dry county.  However, he does manage to befriend a trans woman named Karma, who invites him to a drag show that evening.  After Richard has one too many drinks, he performs in drag and finds inspiration to return to Milford…as Bianca.  Not only could Bianca win $25,000 if she wins Teacher of the Year, but perhaps more importantly could whip the smart but unmotivated students into shape and seek revenge on those responsible for ending Richard’s career (including Rachel Dratch?!).

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This is not the face of approval.

With no small amount of scathing sarcasm, Bianca gets to work.  She shames the students into being nicer to the closeted gay kid while also giving him some fighting tips.  When the students fail to complete their chemistry reading, they’re in for a nasty surprise that would definitely get a teacher fired IRL.  Bianca also gives hilariously harsh nicknames to all of the students, including labeling one of the cheerleaders “Bathmat.”

Meanwhile, the school’s football coach Chuck takes a shine to Bianca.  When she discovers Chuck is Karma’s estranged brother, Bianca can’t resist doing some meddling…which has some unexpected consequences.  After learning of Bianca’s scheming, Karma is furious and insists she leave.

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Nothing says romance like beer and roller skating.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, Bianca is nominated for Teacher of the Year.  When her drag queen besties arrive in town from New York, a rival teacher makes one last bid to earn the title for her daughter, and rumors of Lady Gaga’s appearance at the ceremony abound, shenanigans ensue.  Of course, it’s all going down at the Teacher of the Year Awards.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

This is a sweet and irresistibly bubbly film that still manages to touch on real issues LGBT people contend with.  At times, the lightness of the film does undermine the message somewhat–the ending is all a bit after-school special.  While I wasn’t going in expecting Dallas Buyers Club, there were still times when I wanted the film to embrace its serious themes more fully.

Also minor bone to pick:  some of Bianca’s insults come from a fat-shaming/body-shaming place that I just can’t get behind.  It seemed to send a message that it’s ok to body shame people who are fat or have had plastic surgery as long as they’re assholes.  I did find most of Bianca’s sassy quips delightful, but IDK if I can really get behind fat-shaming anyone.

There are some excellent cameos to be seen, and even if the cast may not be getting any Oscars, they are charming and charismatic enough to make up for it.  Overall, the message is positive and does shine a light on some of the BS laws making it even more difficult for people to identify as LGBT at work, school, and in their private lives.

Would Queen Christa cheer for this one in all its glittery glory or don her finest pair of stilettos and show it who’s boss?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Permission, or: Just Get a Cat Instead

We’re kicking off April with a tried and true Blog Free month as part of our precisely planned and impressively elaborate themes.  Okay, mostly out of laziness and an unwillingness to commit to a specific theme long-term.  Which, given this week’s pick, is perhaps surprisingly on the nose?

The Film:

Permission

The Premise:

Childhood sweethearts spice up their relationship by pursuing sexual affairs on the side with…permission.

The Ramble:

Brooklyn hipsters, young and in love, seem ready to settle down.  Anna and Will have known each other since childhood and have been in love ever since.  While Will owns an incredibly hipster-y carpentry business with his bff Reece, Anna is a grad student focusing on music performance.  On a side note:  Reece is also the serious boyfriend of Hale, Anna’s brother.

Just before Will decides to propose at dinner with the four assembled, Reece decides to be a complete tool.  Before settling down with Hale, Reece made quite a few notches in his belt and adopts a bit of a condescending know-it-all attitude to Anna and Will’s commitment to each other.  In reality, Reece is merely shifting the subject from his own relationship issues with Hale, unknowingly setting all four on an incredibly stupid journey of narcissism and poor decisions.

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“I have really nice hair and some cool hipster clothes but am an absolute dipshit at decisions.”

Though Anna and Will initially laugh off Reece’s suggestion that they sleep with other people, Anna keeps coming back to the idea and is rather keen on it.  They both believe the idea of monogamy is BS and question the idea that a relationship could be so fragile that it would be ruined by a sexual affair.  After some consideration, they decide to give this whole idiotic idea a try, reasoning that it isn’t really an affair if they give each other permission to pursue other sexual relationships.

Predictably, this is much more difficult than anticipated.  Almost immediately, Anna feels an emotional connection to the guy she hooks up with, Dane.  Like Anna, Dane is a musician, plus he also makes her breakfast at night because he knows she won’t stay until morning.  Initially, Anna and Will decided against seeing any of their hook ups again, but the two quickly scratch that rule.

Meanwhile, Will finds a romantic partner in the form of Lydia, played perfectly by Gina Gershon.  Lydia buys a table from Will, who delivers it to her late at night, which is a euphemism but also a real thing that happens in this film.

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Prob one of the more unique affairs on film.

I have neglected Hale and Reece’s relationship drama, which centers around Hale’s wish to start a family and Reece’s reluctance to do so.  Though I find all of the leads insufferable in their own ways, Reece is an exceptionally horrible douchebag who refuses to even talk to Hale about this.  As the two seem to grow farther apart, Hale meets a father with a young child at the park and grows more attached to the idea of having a child.

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Also featuring a rather pointless appearance by Jason Sudeikis?

At a certain point, Will wants to stop with the arrangement he and Anna have made and get back to their life as it was before they forgot how to be adults.  But can they ever go back to the way things were?

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

Those PPHs are mostly for Rebecca Hall’s hair in this, which is gorgeous.  I don’t think there’s any room to complain about the acting either, but the supporting characters far outshine the leads.  We get much too close for comfort with our main four, who treat each other horrendously and all seem to be quite removed from reality.

I’m annoyed because I completely support the ideas Anna and Will discuss dealing with sexual liberation, monogamy, and non-traditional relationships.  However, up to this point they have been the most fucking monogamous couple ever–as much as they may think of themselves as free spirits in this context, they have very much internalized societal norms surrounding relationships.

With both sets of relationships, the film seems to explore what happens when partners no longer want the same thing–if indeed, it’s possible for both to truly want the same thing from their relationship.  That’s another element here too–expectations for relationships and what they will (or will not) fulfill.  Better bet?  Just get a fucking cat/dog/literally anything besides a pointlessly stupid human.

My main problem with this film really boils down to how often I sympathized with men throughout.  I hate how bad I felt for both Will and Dane, who of course don’t inherently deserve Anna’s (or any woman’s) love.  However, it’s difficult to see her completely disregard their feelings and deny any wrongdoing.  Though I don’t think she’s initially aware of her interest in exploring other possibilities outside of the relationship, Anna nevertheless comes across as incredibly manipulative almost to the point of being a sociopath.  Admittedly I’m also a sucker for anyone who makes breakfast at any and all hours.

Would Christa…deliver a table to this one or ditch it for a day out at the dog park?  Find out here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Bee Movie, or: Not the Bee Puns

Wrapping up our first free-for-all of 2018 is a first for our Blog Collab:  a dive into the world of animation!  Will we immediately regret stepping outside of our usual sharks, demons, and killer mermaid territory?  I mean, probably.

The Film:

Bee Movie

The Premise:

Jerry Seinfeld made a children’s movie with a vaguely environmental message as an excuse to write a lot of cringeworthy bee puns.

The Ramble:

This should come with a warning label for the number of bee puns that are likely to induce physical pain.  I was ok with the first few, but slight amusement and eyerolls quickly transformed into resentment that made a movie less than 90 minutes long feel endless at times.

If you aren’t dissuaded, let’s continue.

Barry is a young worker bee who has just graduated from the equivalent of bee university and is now facing the prospect of choosing a career.  Or, rather, a mindless repetitive task he’ll complete every day until he dies.  This really begs the question of why bees even need to attend university and what they’ve even been studying if they have no idea what they’ll do for their short lives (AND other bees later reveal there are certain roles bees are bred to perform)…but, if like me, you think about this one too hard, your brain will implode.

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The longer you look at this image, the more convinced you become their eyes are moving.

Because the survival of the hive seems to be rather terribly planned out, the graduates have just one chance to pick the job they’ll do for the rest of their lives.  Unable to decide, Barry jumps at the opportunity to go out gathering nectar with the pollen jocks.  The pollen jocks are an oddly militaristic group of bees with nectar guns and a cartoon stereotype of a general as their leader.  Can I point out that the queen would really be their leader, and I can’t remember anyone mentioning the queen even once?!?!?  Does no one else find that bizarre?

To move on to the actual plot of the film (I’ll do my best not to analyze every single logical misstep in this movie from here on out), Barry manages to survive an unlikely number of obstacles when he is separated from the group.  While dodging rain drops, Barry finds shelter in an apartment belonging to Vanessa, a florist.  After she saves him from meeting the business end of a shoe, Barry decides he must thank her even though talking to a human is strictly against bee law (can I just point out that 1. this film spends more time on that over the fact that bees in the US magically speak English despite never talking to humans and 2. the highly important rule against talking to humans becomes nothing more than a vague recommendation after this moment).

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Love at first questioning one’s own mental well-being?

Upon meeting Vanessa, Barry instantly falls in love with her (what) and she seems to reciprocate?  Or at least their relationship is significant enough that Vanessa eventually breaks off her engagement.  FOR REAL.

Now that Barry gives zero fucks about humans learning bees can talk, he and Vanessa spend their days together out and about in New York City (btw, Vanessa can somehow afford an apartment mere blocks from Central Park).  When the two visit a grocery store and Barry sees the amount of honey harvested from bees, he uncovers the truth that humans have been stealing from bees for centuries.  Determined to right this wrong, Barry decides to sue humanity–representing himself because who the fuck would represent a bee in court.

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WHY IS BARRY WEARING A BLAZER, TIE, AND SHOES, BUT NO PANTS.

In a not-so-shocking turn of events, Barry wins the case.  Bees now own all of the honey they produce, begging the question of what bees would even do with money.  And there’s still half an hour left(???).  After the bees no longer have to work hard to make honey, they stop pollinating flowers and everything dies.  How can Barry possibly restore the balance again?  Will it somehow involve an unlikely scenario in which he has to land a fucking plane?

Yes.  Yes, it will.

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

I tried so hard to remember this is a children’s movie and is going to rely on imagination over logic in its storytelling, but the logical leaps are really difficult to overcome.  The message about bees contributing to the hive by completing boring, meaningless work until they die seems rather dystopian for a children’s movie.  At one point, a bee even points out how every job matters, no matter how small, which would have been a much better message if this film were going to choose one.  I don’t know what this movie was trying to say.  Yield to the inevitable, perhaps?

It’s also really difficult to believe that an adult human woman would put her entire life on hold to help a bee win a court case–a bee she may or may not be in love with.  And, honestly, what is the lifespan of a bee?  Spoiler:  Vanessa and Barry are in business together by the end of the film.  How long is that going to last and will it really all have been worth it???  Am I giving this film way more credit than it deserves as a philosophical reflection?

All of this I would consider overlooking if it weren’t for the fucking bee puns.  The bee puns, OH GOD, THE BEE PUNS.  I’ll give you just one terrible pun so you can feel my pain:  Sting testifies at the trial.  I could’ve forgiven this film for a lot, but I can’t fucking forgive that.

Overall, the plot is horrifically nonsensical, there’s no identifiable message, and I really don’t understand who the target audience for most of the humor was.  I’m bumping the rating up slightly as I am proud that we’ve gained admission to the exclusive(?) Bee Movie club, but I’m ready to return my membership card.

Would my blog wife defend this one in court or introduce it to the bottom of a large boot?  Find out here!