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.

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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.

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THIS SCENE, GUYS. PLEASE AT LEAST WATCH THIS SCENE.

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.

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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.

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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Killer Mermaid, or: Sometimes the Baby Boomers Are Right

Part 3 of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015! Read Christa’s review here.

Posting ahem, Sunday night. It’s Sunday night somewhere, right??? No? Not even in Hawaii? Damn.

The Film:

Killer Mermaid

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

Best friends on a Mediterranean holiday end up fighting for their lives when a…KILLER MERMAID attacks.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Killer Mermaid starts strong with a Moby Dick quote. Please, GOD, let this be the world’s most pretentious mermaid horror flick. There are also some incredibly dramatic shots of a shipwreck accompanied by music that almost sounds like some strange hybrid of the themes from X-Files and Jaws. This exists solely to create a mysterious atmosphere and contrast directly with the montage of a, ahem, “cute” couple enjoying their beach vacation. I already want them to die. This feeling intensifies because the accompanying music sounds like a Shakira rip-off and features lyrics such as “The sea is attractive like you in the sun.” Seriously.

So this couple is STILL enjoying the sun, being young, etc, and then not even 5 minutes in we see boobs. Like not even partially covered by strategically placed hair/arms, but straight up naked boobs. I wasn’t expecting that.

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Our sickeningly smiley/happy half-naked couple is making out at night right by the sea which, as we are about to learn, is the worst idea.

Dude: Do you hear that?

Lady: Hear what?

Dude: Uh, that killer mermaid about to murder us?

Lady: Nope. Feel free to keep looking at my boobs, everyone.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, something emerges from the water and drags the dude into the sea. Yeah, it’s the mermaid. Meanwhile, someone approaches and kills the girl with a grappling hook, I think. This movie made me realize I have little to no experience with hook terminology, but I’m going with grappling hook. I really feel a harpoon or perhaps even an anchor would have been more appropriate, but I suppose when I make a mermaid horror movie, I can call the shots.

Now that we have a dramatic set up, we meet our protagonists, the Serious One with a 1940s Haircut and the Hot One Who Cannot Keep Her Shirt on. I had to Google their names because I could not for the life of me remember they are Kelly and Lucy, respectively. They arrive at whatever the hell Mediterranean country this is supposed to be to meet up with Lucy’s ex, Alex. You know, the one she’s completely over and not even remotely interested in. At all.

When he meets up with these two ladies, he brings his fiancée. Kelly is doing fine until she starts having flashbacks of her brother drowning at the age of 10. Ever since, she has been terrified of swimming. Then this crusty old man in a rowboat glares mysteriously at everyone, further pooping the party, as it were.

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Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh, beware ye the island. No, I’ll give ye no further explanation or try to reason with ye logically. I’ll just expect ye to trust the advice of a creepy old man ye don’t know.

Still, it’s difficult to stop Americans from partying. When they arrive at Alex’s apartment, Lucy is suddenly wearing a plaid shirt and American flag booty shorts, aka PARTY ATTIRE. Alex’s fiancée kind of freaks out a little (a lot) because she’s jealous, and they all dance (WHAT).

WHAT IS THIS SCENE.
WHAT IS THIS SCENE.

The fiancée gets too drunk and pukes, Kelly goes for a walk, and Lucy makes out with Alex. Meanwhile, the grappling hook murderer strikes again.

The next day, our cozy little party goes to visit an abandoned army base; there’s also an abandoned prison they’d like to see later. Stellar ideas, all.

The crusty rowboat captain is watching as everyone goes for a swim except Kelly. Something suddenly grabs Yasmin as she’s swimming, but it turns out to be this weird guy named Bob. Naturally, Lucy invites him to join the group for dinner.

The only thing anyone wants to talk about is the island, Mamula, which was apparently like Alcatraz. (DON’T GO TO THE FUCKING ISLAND. JESUS CHRIST.) The crusty captain appears there (of course) and warns them not to go to Mamula because it’s drenched in blood and was apparently used by the Nazis in WWII (please, please be a Nazi mermaid). At this point, it occurred to me that this movie is basically an episode of Scooby-Doo but with boobs. So yeah…obviously they go to the island anyway, and it’s super gorgeous, killer mermaids aside.

I WOULD LIVE HERE.  Is there a discount based on the number of murders that have occurred on the island?
I WOULD LIVE HERE. Is there a discount based on the number of murders that have occurred on the island?

They realize they’re not alone when they witness this dude pouring a bucket of blood into a well. He disappears, and upon further investigation, Kelly sees a mermaid at the bottom of the well. However, the man returns with a rifle and starts firing at the group. When they try to leave the island, they realize the gunman has shot their boat. Shortly thereafter, we are shocked, SHOCKED, to learn this guy is the grappling hook murderer.

I don’t really know how to summarize this part without stating the obvious, so I’m going to state the obvious. Everyone tries to run from the grappling hook murderer. Everyone except for Alex, who starts hearing the mermaid’s song and becomes obsessed with finding her. Incidentally, the mermaid’s song sounds a lot like whale song, so it should go without saying that it’s really sexy.

The group is eventually reunited except for Alex, who’s still freaking out over the mermaid. As everyone files out of the grappling hook killer’s quarters, said grappling hook killer returns and kills Alex’s fiancée, Yasmin. It takes everyone a significant amount of time to realize she’s gone, which is quite depressing, actually.

Bob almost gets hypnotized by the mermaid, but Kelly punches him to snap him out of it. Finally, the group comes face-to-face with the mermaid, as well as the grappling hook killer, which leads to an intense action-packed fight scene. Or, more accurately, a fight scene with a moderate amount of punching. The mermaid transforms into piranha face and drowns Lucy while Bob manages to subdue the grappling hook murderer. Oh, also, Alex is dead. (Does anyone really care?)

Piranha faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace.
Piranha faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace.

And then there were two. The crusty captain appears out of nowhere, and the three escape in his rowboat. I think this is actually fairly close to the actual plot of Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. The only thing we’re missing are cat werewolves and zombies. Apparently the mermaid killed all of the captain’s men when they were working on a top-secret underground tunnel connect the island to the mainland. Except for the captain, obviously, and the first mate(lieutenant? I don’t remember what this guy’s rank was), aka the grappling hook killer. Only men can hear the siren song, which is pretty disappointing, honestly. I would really like a lesbian mermaid sequel to this (admittedly, I say that about every movie since Codependent Lesbian Space Alien).

So finally the mermaid catches up, which Kelly helpfully points out by repeatedly yelling “There she is!” and “Watch out!” In another action-packed sequence, the captain harpoons the mermaid, then the mermaid drowns Bob and goes after the crusty captain. Kelly leaps into the water and harpoons the mermaid. But it’s STILL not over because, even after being harpooned twice, the mermaid jumps out of the water to attack Kelly. Luckily, the crusty captain is prepared with a net, which abruptly stops the mermaid (?).

Pretty sure the captain quotes from Moby Dick and then stabs the mermaid. The grappling hook killer shows up to mourn the mermaid’s death. Then the captain just kind of goes off on this dramatic monologue. Some have escaped from the mermaid song, but from their silence, never. (What?) The mermaid’s sisters are coming for vengeance. You shouldn’t fear death because living as a hypnotized mermaid slave is worse than death. “Maybe we’ll die, but we’ll kill those monsters one by one…starting with YOU.” [Kills grappling hook murderer]

The Critique:

I enjoyed this movie, admittedly often more in a laughing at you rather than with you kind of way. As long as I remembered that this is essentially a Scooby-Doo special, everything was ok. There was a group of young people who totally failed to heed the warnings of a random creep. As in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, the group rather stupidly interrupted a kind of blood sacrifice on an island from which they could not escape. And there were even zombies! Excuse me while I go re-watch allllllll of the 1990s Scooby-Doo movies.

Biggest takeaway here, loath as I am to admit it: sometimes you should listen to that crusty old guy who refuses to stop giving you nonsensical advice that seemingly doesn’t apply to your situation at all. You heard me—sometimes the Baby Boomers are right.

The Rating:

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

Mostly because of the crusty old sea captain.

Awards

The Liebster Award

Thank you, Courtney of According to Courtney, for nominating me for the Liebster Award! The only award I expected to receive for this blog was some kind of Golden Raspberry equivalent. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised.

Major thanks to you, my readers, as well. You don’t have to put up with my nonsense, but you do. I really appreciate having you as my blogging neighbors.

Untitled

The rules for the Liebster Award are:

  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
  • Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.

11 Facts about Me

  1. I love Elton John. A LOT. Everything on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is beautiful.
  2. I’m really, really into Battlestar Galactica. If you follow this blog for any length of time, you may get sick of hearing about it. Lesser known fact: no matter how much I love BSG, Boston Legal is my all-time favorite show.
  3. I have a poisonous houseplant that lives outside but will have to come in for the winter soon.
  4. I hate mushrooms.
  5. I occasionally read poetry to my cats. They love it. LOVE it.
  6. I have four copies of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Absolute favorite book.
  7. I own so many pairs of earrings. I’m approaching hoarder status.
  8. I’m a librarian. People ask me a lot of weird questions. But I also get questions about Star Trek, which is pretty fabulous.
  9. As far as I’m concerned, pie > cake.
  10. I like really sad movies and fiction about WWII (see Kavalier & Clay; also Atonement, Life Is Beautiful, and The Remains of the Day).
  11. I still have a lot of VHS tapes.

Answers to Courtney’s Questions

1. What is your biggest fear in life?
Writing about my feelings in a public forum. Ha, I know I’m a jerk. There’s a reason I write sarcastic critiques of movies instead of posts about my feelings.
2. If you had the chance to move to Mars, knowing you could never return to Earth, would you? Why?
Probably not. I’ve watched too many space-themed horror movies.
3. Which do you prefer: dogs or cats?
CATS. CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS.
4. What do you wish you had done when you were younger that you never got to do?
GO TO FUCKING DISNEYLAND. I have grown too old and cynical to go now.
5. Where is your favorite place in the world?
Half Price Books, any and all locations.
6. If you were stranded on a deserted island with one thing, what would it be?
Probably a cat. It could keep me company and maybe bring me mice (and probably wipe out the native bird population). I might even end up mayor of London, who knows?
7. Do you believe in ghosts?
No.
8. What food could you not live without?
Chocolate. Also bread and basically all dairy products. (Don’t make me choose.)
9. If you could choose your own theme song what would it be?
The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me.” This song just epitomizes the ‘80s cheese that lives in my heart.
10. Christmas or Halloween?
HALLOWEEN.
11. What is the most influential book you have ever read?
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I spent most of my childhood convinced that children are the worst (an opinion that has not changed). When I read LOTF in high school, I thought, “See? This William Golding guy gets me.” Of course, he was already dead by then.

11 Blogs I Love

  1. A Stitch to Scratch
  2. A Voluptuous Mind
  3. Reed Read Review Entertainment Enthusiast
  4. The Discerning Reader
  5. Angill Cards
  6. Sash Around the Clock
  7. Half-Naked Housewife
  8. Far Out in Africa
  9. Novel Reading
  10. Mdickinson35
  11. Adventure Pengembara

11 Questions for My Nominees

  1. What was the last thing you borrowed from a library (or from a friend)?
  2. Which ‘80s pop culture icon are you? http://www.buzzfeed.com/perpetua/which-80s-pop-culture-icon-are-you#1oezkbh Or, if you aren’t as addicted to online quizzes as I am, which ‘80s pop culture icon would you invite to a party?
  3. Favorite book? Or, if too difficult, favorite book you’ve read recently?
  4. Cake or pie (and why)?
  5. Favorite post you’ve written or are at least somewhat proud of?
  6. A Youtube video that always makes you laugh.
  7. One thing you love?
  8. One thing you hate?
  9. The best thing on tv (or Netflix, Hulu, etc.) right now is _____. If you don’t watch tv, favorite movie?  If you don’t watch any of the above, how do you unwind after a long day? (I threw that last part in just for you, Far Out in Africa).
  10. A song you always pump up when it plays on the radio (or on shuffle).
  11. This is really for my own purposes: any bad (or good) movie recommendations?

I hope all of my nominees decide to participate but, if not, just know that I really like your blog and look forward to your next post!

Blogging 101

Nobody Expects the…

I was reading One Little Library’s post The Best of 2014 (So Far!) on her favorite books of 2014, which gave me inspiration for this post. Some of her favorites are ones she didn’t think she would like (Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest, for example, which sounds like a fun read).

So I thought for today’s Blogging 101 task, I’d make a list of some things I have expected to hate, but have actually enjoyed quite a lot this year:

  1. Battlestar Galactica: science fiction tv show about humanity’s struggle to survive after sentient robots attack.

I didn’t necessarily expect to hate this show, but didn’t expect to get so sucked in by the plot and characters. There’s a lot of sci-fi that is just a vehicle for phallic spaceships exploding, but this isn’t one of them. BSG is a really intelligently written show that uses its sci-fi premise to offer social criticism and make you very uncomfortable. You will probably be extremely upset that Starbuck is a fictional character if you watch.

  1. Hanging out by myself in public places.

I have a lot of down time between many of my shifts, but it’s not worth my time/gas money to drive home. As a result, I’ve been spending a lot of time in sandwich shops reading, eating, and/or watching bad movies. It’s been quite pleasant to sit in a corner while people make me food and expect minimal human interaction. Even though I would still rather sprawl at home on the couch with no bra.

  1. Wolf Children: anime about a woman struggling to raise her half-wolf children after their father dies.

Guys, I am really not someone who enjoys anime. It usually just confuses me endlessly, but Wolf Children was a lovely movie about loss, family relationships, and establishing an identity independently (spoiler alert: there are also wolves. And children). I find Hosoda’s films highly imaginative but grounded in the deep emotional connections between characters. Plus there’s some beautiful animation going on in his movies.

  1. Kindred by Octavia Butler: science fiction novel about an African-American woman in the 1970s who is thrown back to the early 19th century to guide her plantation-owner ancestor.

I find sci-fi is very hit or miss for me, so even though I’d heard great things about Octavia Butler, I was skeptical about picking up this novel. I’m so glad I gave it a chance—one of my favorite books of any genre now. Kindred is so action-packed and absorbing with some very unsettling observations about race and gender in both the past and the present. No matter how disturbing this book became, I couldn’t put it down until I knew how it ended.

  1. Enlightened: tv show about a woman trying to change her life and the corporation she works for after having a huge meltdown on the job.

Cheating because I didn’t expect to hate this show, but I did read a lot of negative reactions towards Laura Dern’s character, which put me off watching. I ended up loving her character, who is extremely flawed but stubbornly optimistic. I didn’t expect a show about a woman having a mid-life crisis to seem all too relevant to my own life, and for the writers to basically send a giant “fuck you” to corporate America. Added bonus is the appearance of Luke Wilson in this series, who is aging extremely well.

  1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: pretty much the contemporary YA version of King Lear.

I don’t read a ton of YA fiction (too much angst—been there, done that), but I wanted a nice light summer read. While I suppose it didn’t end up being nice or light, it was a lot of fun to read and kept me in suspense until the end. Much more carefully and intelligently written than many other YA novels out there.

  1. Iron Sky: bad movie about Nazis who colonize the moon post-WWII.

I didn’t expect to hate this movie, but I didn’t have high hopes for it. The premise sounded like it could either be brilliant or horrendous. With its hyper-awareness of its own absurdity and surprising amount of snide political commentary, it’s definitely one of my favorite bad movies now.

  1. The Walking Dead: I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you’re familiar with this show. If not, it’s a tv show about zombies.

I just started watching this show, and I’m enjoying it so much more than I thought I would. It’s really disgusting, which is somewhat problematic because I’m usually eating when I watch tv. That being said, it’s not (quite) as much about blood and guts as I thought it would be, though I’m not sure how much longer I can keep watching without becoming totally repulsed by the human race as a whole.

  1. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: comedy tv show.

Kind of cheating again because I couldn’t think of any reason I wouldn’t love John Oliver’s show. However, I do love it more than I thought humanly possible, especially this clip from his latest episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDPCmmZifE8.

What about you?

Have you been pleasantly surprised by anything that you initially thought would be terrible? Or maybe you’ve gone back to something you hated the first time and loved it the second time around.

Ha, I’ll hate you a lot if you say this blog. 🙂