Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

God’s Own Country, or: Who Needs a Heart Anyway

Some weeks on the blog are for ladies roadtripping with the ashes of their deceased bff.  Others are for murderous dudes dressed as Santa Claus.  This week is for ripping our hearts out for 90+ minutes and watching them slowly cease beating.

The Film:

God’s Own Country

The Premise:

Yorkshire.  Rolling hills.  Sheep.  Homophobes who sound like Sean Bean.  Maybe not the best place to be a closeted young farmer.

The Ramble:

Oof, Johnny is leading a bleak life on the family farm in Yorkshire.  Having watched his friends leave for university and bright futures, Johnny is bitter about staying at home, tending to the farm and to his father, who has recently suffered a stroke.  Trying to stop feeling anything, Johnny is a regular at the local pub and really overdoes it quite often.  Like, reeeeeeeeeeally overdoes it.  Occasionally hooking up with other men, Johnny makes it clear he’s not interested in an emotional connection.

a young man gazes into a pub window from a darkened alley
I’ll spare you the hangover pics.

As a result of the stroke, the family has had trouble managing the farm and hires a temporary employee to help out.  The only applicant is a Romanian man named Gheorghe, who Johnny grumpily picks up from the station.

Since Johnny’s father is constantly on his case, Gheorghe overhears quite a few heated discussions but quietly goes about his work.  Though dispassionate about his work, Gheorghe has a soft spot, going out of his way to save and care for a lamb who is a runt of the litter.  He is annoyingly good at everything and looks both comfy and stylish in knitted sweaters, only further fueling Johnny’s grudge against him.

two men wearing many layers of clothing crouch together by a small fire outside
Sweaters on sweaters on sweaters.

Things are unlikely to go well when Johnny and Gheorghe must camp out at the far end of the farm to repair a fence.  It all reaches a boiling point when Johnny refuses to stop calling Gheorghe a gypsy despite his objections, though what begins as a fight becomes an almost literal roll in the hay.

a shirtless man lies on top of another man in a field, holding the other's face
Roll in the grass really…but that leaves little room for incredibly clever word play.

Later, Gheorghe and Johnny share a super tender evening and become closer.  Johnny reveals his mother left when he was very young, and has since lived with his emotionally distant father and grandmother.

Unfortunately, it all goes downhill quickly when Johnny’s father suffers another stroke and is hospitalized.  Gheorghe very sweetly cares for Johnny, making him pasta and special sheep’s milk cheese.  While Gheorghe agrees to stay on for more time to help with the farm, Johnny asks Gheorghe to stay indefinitely…and perhaps forever?

a man reaches over to another man's dinner plate, stealing a bite of his food with a fork
It’s true love when he makes you food.

Gheorghe decides to break Johnny’s heart (and my heart and the heart of everyone watching this film who isn’t made of stone) by leaving–he’s been burned before and doesn’t believe things would work out if he stayed.

Though devastated, life goes on as Johnny’s father returns home from the hospital more dependent on his son than ever.  Johnny begins to wordlessly take responsibility for his father’s care and for the upkeep of the farm, bringing the two closer together.  However, the farm needs more help–and Johnny needs a cuddle from a certain sweater-wearing Romanian.  Johnny sets out to find Gheorghe and bring him home…but does Gheorghe even want to be found?

The Rating:

4.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I don’t know how to rate this because the more I think about it, the more I like it.  It’s deceptively quiet and no-frills, but holds an aching beauty–much like its characters and the land itself.  There’s a power to the desolate landscape and a sense of endurance.  I have so many stills for this post because the scenes are gorgeously moody.

Much remains unspoken between the characters, leaving a lot of room for looks, gestures, and the few words they do exchange to carry great meaning.  The scenes Johnny shares with his father (who is even more sparing with words after the 2nd stroke) towards the end of the film are especially lovely.

It’s also wonderful to see the transformation of Johnny, who is understandably but still an annoyingly whiny asshole when the film starts.  Gheorghe is so beautifully layered, caring for the runt lamb tenderly yet rather impassively skinning a lamb so it can have a coat to keep it warm.  How…sweet?

The moral of the story here is if you make food for your partner, I will remain invested in your love.

Would Christa cuddle this one like a warm sweater or leave it passed out in the cold?  Find out by reading her review here!

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fashion, Life Rants

Fashion Blog, Part Two: Judgment Day

I had about 10,000x more fun sorting out my wardrobe when I blogged about it (approaching a year ago, I believe?!?).

I’m taking a page from Hollywood and creating a sequel long after anyone needed or expected one.  That’s right—the Fashion Blog You Never Knew You Needed returns for part 2, in which I expand my wardrobe and buy clothing of a business casual nature.

My obsession is ModCloth, but I also managed to get a bit of thrifting done at my local Goodwill and put together some pretty nice outfits if I do say so myself.  Allow me to introduce you to my recent-ish fashion acquisitions.

  1.  The Spring Weekend:
20160531_175144
Shirt from ModCloth; jeans from Goodwill

2.  The Librarian with Too Many Sweaters (Or Not Enough???):

20160601_165147
ModCloth sweater (I’m obsessed with this one); same jeans from Goodwill (also note Bertha Mason’s tail featured in this photo)

3.  The Vintage ‘80s Chic Colorblocking Throwback

20160601_165605
Apparently ’80s fashion is old enough to be vintage now.  Sweater and dress pants from Goodwill (Bertha Mason featured in this photo as well)

4.  The Weekend at Woodstock

20160601_165848
Shirt and yellow pants from Goodwill; I love the shirt, but it’s made of rayon and gets hot really quickly (which is surprising considering it doesn’t really have a back)

What about you?  Any fashion finds you are particularly proud of lately or on the prowl for?  What I would really like is a pair of sweat pants that look like dress pants, honestly.

Featured image via Unsplash; all other photos by me (obviously).

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Antisocial, Not a Description of This Blogger (For Once)

Horror Month, part 3! This week’s film is Christa’s pick. Do I really have to tell you where to find her excellent review? Here. It’s here.

The Film:

Antisocial

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A zombie plague spreads very politely through social media in Canada.

The Uncondensed Version:

First of all, on a scale of 1 to Canadian, this movie is really fucking Canadian.

Instances of the word “aboot” instead of “about”: 86,357

Number of sweaters worn: 5,114

Apologies: countless

I guess you might want to know more about this film than that. Right? Maybe?

So there are these teen vloggers who have this sort of fashion vlog (I’ll stop using that word now, Christa). It all seems to be going rather swimmingly and one of them even looks like a character from Orphan Black, so I’m already on board. However, one suddenly attacks the other, who commits violent murder in self-defense.

Cut to Sam, who dresses exactly like Sarah from Orphan Black but with less eyeliner. Or maybe it’s just the way Canadians dress? It’s the same old storyline but via Skype: she’s pregnant, her boyfriend wants to take a break. Sick of this shit, Sam deletes a thinly disguised version of Facebook, the Social Red Room (which is a terrible name for a social media platform).

a woman wearing dark clothes and a beanie walks down the empty hallway of a school building
Welcome to Clone Club.

Obviously with no social media to share her fabulous New Year’s plans on, Sam opts for pity party over party with friends. However, her friends have other plans and decide to throw a party at her place. There’s a lot of drinking, social media-ing, and burning of sparklers in the house (which is extremely unsafe and I do not condone).

a man in a plaid shirt holds two lit sparklers while inside a house
YOU’RE GOING TO BURN THE HOUSE DOWN. IN THE LITERAL SENSE.

Everyone seems to be having a nice time until Jed, social media guru and Most Likely to Have Paranoid Conspiracy Theory to Explain Everything, starts tracking multiple updates about what is basically a zombie plague. Zombie people break up the party because obv they do, and 9-1-1 gives essentially a keep calm and carry on message.

The remainder of the film is Sam and her friends trapped inside, getting the virus one by one. Coincidentally, getting trapped at a party and not being able to leave is one of my phobias. Death by zombie plague would be a relief, honestly.

Other things that happen in this film:

  1. One of the characters gets a call from an unknown number and picks up; I call bullshit. Everyone knows you let that shit go to voicemail b/c it’s probably someone trying to tell you you’ve won a cruise.
  2. Jed loses his shit.
  3. One of the characters gets zombified and dies by hanging…from Christmas lights (I’m not nuts about Christmas either).

Guys, I just didn’t really get into this one, plus I’m having…not my favorite Monday ever. The sort of “social media will kill us all” theme felt kind of tired to me and just annoyed me. Will it? Will it really?

Am I too much of a millennial? IDGAF. I am who I am.

Ready for sleep. Seacrest out.

The Rating:

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

Compare with Christa’s notes here!

Blogging University, Writing

It’s Always Sweater Weather

My blog wife Christa, A Voluptuous Mind, tagged me in this questionnaire about autumn. Do you honestly think I’m not going to jump at the opportunity to combine several of my most favorite things? Also counting this as a Writing 101 post just so you guys know I’M NOT A QUITTER. Let’s do this.

Day 16 Image
Image via https://unsplash.com/

Favourite candle scent? I don’t really like to burn candles (esp. with added Bertha Mason-induced paranoia about leaving things burning), but I suppose apple or pumpkin is acceptable for the season.

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?  TEA. TEA. A THOUSAND TIMES TEA.

What is the best fall memory you have? My family and I used to go on a not-so-scary haunted hayride at a local farm when I was a kid. I got to pick out a pumpkin to carve, drink hot apple cider, and pet goats. There were also llamas and a Scottish Highland bull!

Best fragrance for fall? Not really into perfume, so my own natural scent.

Favourite Thanksgiving food? Dill rolls. Is it obnoxious that the dish I make every year is my fave? They’re pretty fucking fantastic, though. Pumpkin cheesecake, which is infinitely preferable to pumpkin pie, is a close second.

Most worn sweater?  Robin’s egg blue Mr. Rogers-style sweater that probably deserves to retire. I want to be buried in that sweater.

Football games or jumping in leaf piles? Leaf piles. Duh.

Favourite type of pie? Apple berry, but I accept all varieties of pie.

What is autumn weather like where you live? Fluctuates wildly. It usually lasts for about a week, when it’s mild, sunny, and full of colorful leaves. Then everything suddenly dies overnight and it’s frigid and gray. This year it’s been a nice but suspiciously warm autumn. The leaves are turning and looking gorgeous right now.

Which make-up trend do you prefer, dark lips or winged liner? You’re lucky if I’ve brushed my hair, world. I like the winged liner look, but I would lose an eye if I attempted it. I’m just going to have to admire the look and be a teensy bit envious that it’s a thing other people can pull off.

What song really gets you into the fall spirit?  Nothing in particular, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Neko Case at the moment.

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype? Eh, not really. I prefer apple and/or butternut squash to pumpkin-flavored things.

Favourite fall TV show? Battlestar Galactica is appropriate year-round.

Skinny jeans or leggings? I don’t really wear either of these things. I may be wearing a greater number of leggings in the future as I seem to have acquired several librarian skirts, and it is my goal to avoid shaving for (at least) a solid six months.

Combat boots or Uggs? Tennis shoes. As a bigfoot, shoe shopping is the bane of my existence and I avoid it at all costs.

Halloween – yay or nay? YAY. Why is this even a question???

Fall mornings or evenings?  I suppose mornings at the moment? All of the above, though, honestly.

What do you think about Black Friday?  It fills me with terror.

One fall 2015 trend you love?  SWEATERS. I don’t think that’s necessarily a fall 2015 trend, but I don’t care. Sweaters are TIMELESS.

FIN.

Also supposed to tag 10 or so people, but I don’t think I know 10 bloggers I want to tag. Here are 5, halfway between the number I’d like to tag (0) and the number I’m supposed to tag (10):

Fannie Frankfurter

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Internet

Kelsey’s Journey

Sash Around the Clock

Simply Marquessa

Blogging University, Writing

Writing 101: My Fabulous Life

Fuck it, guys. I’m just barely hanging on in terms of Writing 101. Instead of motivating each other to keep going, Christa and I have fallen into a black hole of negativity that we just keep pulling each other further into. I’m cool with that—it’s what we do.

“What do you do when you’re not writing?” is the question I’m addressing. Which I interpret as “What did you do today?” in a way that isn’t just polite—you really want to know every minute detail of what I did today.  Here it is, guys.  My fabulous life:

After I woke up, I found 2 lip balms under my night stand. I decided today was going to be a good day since I’ve gone from known locations of 0 to 2 (of 4) lip balms, BERTHA MASON.

Obviously the first thing I did with intent was make a cup of tea. Day will be off to a bad start without a cup of tea. This is approx. 7:30 am, btw. I can’t sleep in anymore, which is pretty upsetting when you consider how much I love sleep. I sat around for a while trying to convince myself to work on this post. Didn’t happen.

After about 2 hours of debating if I should do something more productive with my morning, I made a hash brown casserole. Then I remembered how terrible I am at waiting and ate pumpkin waffles with apple cider syrup for breakfast instead. (That casserole took AN HOUR to cook, you guys. It was really good and contained way more cheese than any other ingredient, but AN HOUR.)

I decided to take my (brisk) walk for the day after breakfast. Bertha Mason helped with resistance training by sitting on my leg as I stretched.

If anyone doubts my commitment to the care of my sweaters, I hand washed not one, but TWO sweaters. And by that I mean I kind of swirled them around in the bathroom sink with some laundry detergent and then let them sit for a few minutes. They’re clean now, right? Super fucking clean.

At this point I kind of forgot I was working this afternoon, so I had to run around simultaneously putting away groceries, finding business casual-y clothes to wear, and speed eating lunch (a little bit of hash brown casserole and a little bit of lo mein. It was fusion cuisine).  Bertha Mason once again offered her assistance by running after me and trying to bite my ankles.

After work, my mom and I made veggie soup with grilled brie, turkey, and cranberry sandwiches. Have I mentioned I’m ready for Thanksgiving food? Because I am.

Since then, I’ve been working on this post and drinking a lot of tea. My goal is to keep blogging…but you know me too well to believe that’s going to happen. I’ll probably be watching Star Trek: TOS and eating cheesecake.  What I feel you should take away from all this is that, on a typical day, I eat a lot of cheese, drink a lot of tea, watch a bit of sci-fi, and lose some blood to Bertha Mason.  If it’s a good day.

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The One I Love, or: Ideal Hair

Second week of romantic films or, rather, almost entirely unromantic films!  Actual romance theme starting next week, probably.  Possibly.

See what Christa thought of this one soon.  Hell has frozen over and I’ve posted my review first (???).

The Film:

The One I Love

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Sophie and Ethan, a young married couple, encounter a very strange phenomenon while on a retreat to save their marriage.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Sophie and Ethan do NOT have a good relationship, as their couples counseling session (with Ted Danson?!) reveals.

Though Ethan tries to recapture the magic of when they first met, Sophie is clearly not feeling it and can’t allow their relationship to start anew.

As a last resort, Ted Danson recommends a retreat where he’s had a great deal of success with other couples.

A man walks along a path in a lush, green garden.
Pretty, but never trust the greenery.

All seems to be going well at the secluded cottage, with Sophie and Ethan reconnecting almost immediately upon arrival. However, all is not as it appears. After Sophie and Ethan have sex for the first time in many moons, Ethan has no recollection of these events. Sophie is understandably upset, and the two fight about it.

At this point I’m really hoping there are clones (spoiler alert: there are no clones).

The next morning, all is forgotten, and Sophie is making Ethan’s favorite forbidden breakfast food, bacon. When he leaves the house, he sees Sophie standing outside. Apparently there is a real Sophie and an ideal Sophie, just as there is a real Ethan and an ideal version.

A man in a polo shirt stands with a living room behind him, eating a piece of bacon.
Bacon? Bacon.

Both Ethan and Sophie are really freaked out and decide to leave immediately; however, upon further consideration, Sophie thinks they should explore the possibilities. They set some ground rules, which you know are going to break into tiny little pieces.

In Sophie’s ideal world, Ethan paints a portrait of her, makes her drinks, gives her massages, and doesn’t wear glasses. He is emotionally available, articulates why he cheated, and has better hair.

A man paints a portrait of a blonde woman with short hair.
Always be the double with better hair, if at all possible.

Ethan’s ideal Sophie is significantly more housewife-y and doesn’t mind Ethan doing whatever the fuck he wants. It becomes clear pretty quickly that Sophie is really into her ideal Ethan, while real Ethan is uncomfortable with the inauthenticity of his relationship with ideal Sophie because she’s not real.

However, the lines of reality are about to blur as ideal Ethan starts texting real Sophie and calling Ethan’s friends and family.

Ethan goes beyond Othello on the jealousy scale and schemes to catch her breaking the rules of their agreement. He tells Sophie he’s going to the store, but actually sneaks into the guest house and impersonates the other Ethan in time to get some action (this is so close to being a soap opera, you guys).

As Sophie tells Ethan she plans to stay, they return to the house and find the ideal versions of themselves sitting inside. They all have a very surreal dinner together involving aardvark metaphors and extreme passive-aggressiveness. This culminates in the revelation of real Ethan’s fake grocery store scheming, and Sophie asks him to leave.

A man and woman sit at a dining room table, smiling blandly at an off-screen character.
No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to DINE.

With a bit of alone time, Ethan discovers some mysterious tapes and realizes Ted Danson trained the Ethan/Sophie counterparts. Surprisingly, ideal Sophie says she will help Ethan escape, though she and the other Ethan will remain trapped at the house. She would rather remain trapped with ideal Ethan than see him leave with real Sophie.

Thus begins the plot to trap the ideal couple at the house, which involves dramatic sweater changes, hidden force fields, and a moment right out of Star Trek featuring a fight between the two Ethans.

The Critique:

Okay, I am admittedly always ready to start a fight with screenwriters, but I still don’t understand why Ted Danson was doing all of this. If you’re going to go out of your way to conspire in a pretty nonsensical sci-fi scheme, you NEED to have a motive or I WILL be annoyed.

The humor was fairly dry and witty, but the pacing of the movie was very slow. Probably because, according to Netflix, this is a “cerebral” movie, but it wasn’t quite as clever as it wanted to be.

Depending on how much sci-fi (or soaps) with clones/doubles/evil twins you watch, you will probably see the ending coming.

Side note: blonde Elisabeth Moss was weird and distracting and quite Gillian Anderson-y looking.

The Rating:

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

Eh…I sort of liked it, but I probably would’ve stopped watching about halfway through if it weren’t for the blog.

Check out Christa’s review too!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Ravenous, or: Battle of the Beards

Another Monday, another blog collab!  Check out Christa’s review here!

The Film:

Ravenous

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

CANNIBALISM. Nineteenth-century California. I have nothing else to add; you’re either into it or you aren’t.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

So Guy Pearce is getting a medal for his brave service in the Mexican-American War and attending a nice dinner with a bunch of military dudes. Basically, it’s good to be Guy Pearce…for about 3 minutes. He’s really grossed out by everyone’s eating sounds/the bloody steak, which is giving him really bad war flashbacks. When he goes outside and throws up, I guess it’s the last straw for the general (or whatever his rank is?) because he suddenly decides Guy is heading to a remote fort in California.

When he gets to the fort, Guy realizes this is essentially high school; we’ve got the leader, the religious dude, the drunk guy, the extreme army man, the quiet one, and the stoners.

A Native American figure stands with a dog in the middle of a snowy, mountainous landscape.
I’m not even going to pretend I could afford to live anywhere in CA, wendigo or no.

Their delicate social hierarchy is thrown into chaos with the arrival of a severely injured Robert Carlyle (so you KNOW shit’s about to go down). It’s going to be battle of the beards b/c extravagant facial hair was a legal requirement for all serious-minded 19th-century dudes. Not sure what this says about me at the moment, but I kinda dig that every dude in this move seems to be going for the Jesus look.

RC tells his sad story, which is essentially a condensed version of the Donner Party. After they got stuck in a cave, the pioneers all started to eat each other. RC started to feel stronger and in general manlier after consuming human flesh, but he also developed an intense craving for it. George, the Native American guy who likes to get high with David Arquette (seriously), warns everyone about wendigos, but no one is particularly concerned.

Most of the men at the fort form a search party because when RC ditched his group, he left the only lady alone with the insane captain who led them down the path of cannibalism. Perhaps unsurprisingly, shit goes down almost immediately. One of the men falls halfway down the mountain they’re scaling, and all the other dudes secretly breathe a sigh of relief b/c least competent member of the group has already been decided. The injured guy wakes up in the night to find RC licking his wound (not a euphemism), so RC asks the others to tie him up. He starts freaking out as the group approaches the cave, and Guy + super soldier go in to investigate.

Pretty quickly, they realize this is a trap; there are 5 skeletons hanging in the cave, making RC the only survivor in their party of 6…aka the MURDERER/CANNIBAL/WENDIGO.

Actor Robert Carlyle wears period clothing, long hair, and a beard. He is smiling with blood visible at the corners of this mouth.
Please, PLEASE quit OUAT and make more movies about cannibalism.

At the moment of their realization, RC digs up a knife he’s buried in the woods and kills everyone in the group to a very lively bluegrass song. Well, everyone except Guy Pearce. Guy shoots him, but RC is pretty much immune to death. To escape, Guy jumps off a cliff and rolls with the dead super soldier, who comes back to life and tries to kill Guy. Bonus points for this unexpectedly becoming a zombie movie.

Guy eventually makes his way back to the fort, where the military higher-ups don’t believe his story. Since the colonel is dead, the fort is in need of leadership in the form of…Robert Carlyle. Of course. He makes Guy look extra crazy by “proving” he’s not the same man as he is totally free of injury.

When Guy confronts him, RC tries to get him to come over to the dark side. This might be Interview with the Vampire minus Kirsten Dunst?

Somebody else turns up dead, and Guy, who already seems suspicious, is locked up in preparation for a military prison. Also the colonel is alive again b/c he’s a wendigo now. He and RC convince Guy to eat human flesh stew in order to stay alive.

Shortly thereafter, the colonel starts losing it. He lets Guy go, and in exchange, Guy puts him out of his misery.

Then Guy goes after RC while wearing a really comfortable looking sweater.

A man with a well-groomed beard and a blue knitted sweater stands in an old fort.
Don’t ever make assumptions about people with comfy sweaters.

Three possibilities here: one dies, both die, neither dies. Mostly because I can’t think of an interesting way to describe the extended fight scene that is also rife with sexual tension, I’m going to leave you with that.

A man with a bloody nose and mouth stares intensely at another man who is covered in blood.
Seriously, please tell me whether Guy is making a sexy face or a murder face.  Inability to differentiate between the two is the number one reason I have misgivings about relationships.

Also because I’m on a power trip.

The Critique:

I don’t know, I suppose what I really wanted of this movie was more cannibalism. Is that a strange criticism? I don’t care; IT’S VALID. It wasn’t quite as creepy as I wanted it to be, but that’s really the eternal problem, right? Also I wanted Guy Pearce to have less of a moral compass. I don’t understand how killing people AND hanging out with Robert Carlyle could be anything but a win-win situation.

However, I did really appreciate all shots of Guy Pearce looking like a moody Jesus (and there were A LOT).

The Rating:

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

I’m not sure I totally understood this movie, but it gets a star for cannibalism, Guy Pearce, and Robert Carlyle, respectively.

Find out what Christa thought here!