Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab Top 10

Happy anniversary, Christa!  The Blog Collab is officially 18 months old!  Slightly older than Bertha Mason (but the Blog Collab has drawn way less blood)!

In honor of the occasion, my blog wife and I have come up with a top 10 list of our favorites from the past year and a half.  Our blog collab has truly been one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I’m really proud of us for sticking with it even when we thought we couldn’t stand to watch yet another wasp sting to the eye or nightmarish wax baby (thanks, Stung and Hellraiser II, respectively).

Without further ado, here are my 5 picks (of 10)!

Blog Collab Top 10 (in no particular order):

1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Maybe slightly in order because this is my favorite of all the films we’ve watched, except We Are the Best!  You won’t see another film like this one, described as the first Iranian vampire Western.  The dialogue is sparse, the vampire remains aloof yet seems very human, and the black-and-white footage is beautiful.  And there’s a cat plus terrifyingly specific threats to skateboarding children, so I approve.  Love the slow build and clever subversion of what you may expect to happen when a girl walks home alone at night.

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2. We Are the Best!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of our favorites have been quirky independent foreign films.  Like the previous film, the love is reflected in the making of this one, focusing on 3 Swedish girls forming a punk band in the ‘80s.  Haters tell them punk is dead, but the girls hold on to their convictions and support each other in the pursuit of punk.  This film is such a great ode to girl power, and I wish I had been even half as cool as this girl band when I was 13.

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3. The Punk Singer

Any discussion of punk and feminism would be incomplete without Kathleen Hanna.  Founder of the Riot Grrrl movement and all-around badass, of course she had to deal with sexist critics airing her dirty laundry and accusing the members of Bikini Kill of having no musical talent.  What is amazing is her dedication to feminism and music despite battling Lyme disease for many years.  The subject of this documentary is truly inspiring, and this is another film where you can feel the love it was made with.  You’ll be singing “Deceptacon” forever if you watch.

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4. Grabbers

Alien tentacle monsters attack a small island along the Irish coast, and you expect some unbearably awful B movie, right?  But you get several things you might not expect from this type of film:  gorgeous Irish landscapes, reasonable special effects, grumpy old Irishmen, and that self-awareness that’s now almost a prerequisite for monster movies.  This film is surprisingly funny and suspenseful, and it’s impossible not to get attached to the characters, even the ones whose thick small-town Irish accents are virtually incomprehensible.

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5. The Foxy Merkins

If you’re looking for plot-driven film, this probably won’t be your cup of tea.  What this comedy has going for it is bizarre, deadpan dialogue, well-drawn memorable characters, and sharp satire.  The very loose plot follows 2 women who become lesbian prostitutes, which involves a surprising number of Talbots gift cards, merkin salesmen, and being busted by the police (but only as a fetish, of course).  Also worth mentioning:  Madeleine Olnek’s other feature, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, and her upcoming Emily Dickinson comedy starring Molly Shannon (cannot WAIT).

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See the remaining 5 over at A Voluptuous Mind!

Worst:

Monkey’s Paw

There’s a reason it was easy to pick the absolute worst film we’ve reviewed.  SO bad.  Nothing redeeming about this—effects, dialogue, acting, plot, and characters are all abysmally awful.  If you’re not familiar with the idea of the monkey’s paw, it’s basically a cautionary tale about unintended consequences.  None of the unintended consequences are particularly interesting or seem designed with the characters in mind; they could be happening to literally any human anywhere in the world.  It’s just a cookie cutter device in a cookie cutter movie.  Not even close to being good bad.

Honorary Mentions:

12 Days of Terror/Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark

These are realistically only getting a mention because we watched so recently during Shark Month.  Both surprisingly good considering they are made-for-tv shark movies.  12 Days of Terror is the only shark period drama I can think of, and Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark is one of the few I can think of that actually makes an effort in terms of plot and character (and feminism!).

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Housebound

New Zealand horror-comedy that’s more funny than creepy about Kylie, a woman under house arrest who realizes her childhood home is haunted.  Really fun to watch, and there are some great quirky supporting characters.  Kylie’s mother is great and appears in colorful sweaters (apparently she’s been typecast as the mom who wears weird sweaters, as she does so in the excellent Hunt for the Wilderpeople as well).

Ravenous

Worth watching for the beards of Robert Carlyle and Guy Pearce alone (sweaters are an added bonus).  I will always support horror period pieces—this one rather originally takes place in a 19th century military outpost in California.  Plot is a bit shaky, and this isn’t one of my highest ratings, but the creepiness of Robert Carlyle’s bloody smile and the chemistry between the 2 leads is insane.  I have never wanted 2 men to cannibalize an entire military fort together so much.

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Lovestruck:  The Musical

I wasn’t going to include this one, but my entire post felt like a lie without it.  An ABC Family original movie starring Jane Seymour, this is a pure cheese fest with some unintentionally deep commentary about ageism in Hollywood sneaking in there.  Some of the musical numbers are incredibly cringe-worthy, and the original songs are schmaltzy, but this was one of my favorite TV movies we watched.  It allowed me to feel warm and fuzzy and cynical all at the same time.

Mermaids!  Teen angst!  Duct tape Batman costumes!  All of this and more in my blog other half’s post!

What I’m trying to say is go visit Christa’s blog for the rest of this list and some important honorary mentions I’ve neglected.

Here’s to another 18 months…and who knows, maybe even 18 years!

Blogging 101

10 Things I Hate About the Daily Prompt

I hate the daily prompt, guys.

“You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?”

It’s like these WordPress people know how much I despise talking about myself in blog posts. I’M JUST HERE TO WRITE MOVIE REVIEWS, OKAY???

So I’m going to avoid talking about myself and writing about what truth is to me or listing honest things about who I am. I’m into all that po-mo bullshit about truth being subjective anyway.

Since I primarily use this blog to post film reviews, I decided to write a short list of movies I honestly love to an embarrassing degree. This may be cheating slightly because I made an unnecessary list the last time I had no clue what to do with a prompt as well. IF BUZZFEED CAN DO IT, SO CAN I. Without further ado:

  1. 10 Things I Hate About You

Not that I’m embarrassed about the degree to which I ADORE this movie, but it was the first thing I thought of when I was trying to work on today’s prompt. Ha, kind of because I considered writing a list of reasons I hate the daily prompt. This was my favorite movie when I was 10 and is still my favorite comedy. Heath Ledger in our hearts forever.

  1. 13 Going on 30

I love ‘80s movies, guys, especially of the teen angst variety. So it kind of makes sense that I love this film, which is basically a tribute to those movies. Really cheesy, but so fun to watch and surprisingly heartfelt. Any movie that features a large group of people performing the “Thriller” dance has to be at least halfway decent.

  1. Dragonheart

Mixed reviews for this one, but you’ll have to stab me in the heart to kill my love of this movie. TOO SOON. I find this movie every bit as traumatizing as I did as a child. It pretends to be a fun medieval adventure and then it breaks your HEART. Sean Connery voices the dragon, which is pretty fantastic. The line “To the stars, Bowen. To the stars” in Sean Connery’s voice randomly pops into my head to this day.

  1. The English Patient

I know…it’s that movie Elaine from Seinfeld hates. As a result, this film has gotten the reputation of being boring and pretentious, but it’s so good. The desert shots are absolutely gorgeous, and the story is utterly devastating. I love that this movie is incredibly romantic, but it’s also a disturbing and kind of creepy love story. And I’m sorry, but I find Ralph Fiennes ridiculously attractive (ahem, even when he’s playing Voldemort), and this movie is basically the equivalent of looking at his face for 2 ½ hours.

  1. Miss Minoes

This is a Dutch children’s movie about a cat who is transformed into a woman and takes down an evil corporation. I don’t know if it would be considered a classic of filmmaking, but there are so many kittens in this movie, the acting is actually pretty great, and it never fails to make me laugh. I may post my Facebook review of this film here on WordPress someday.

  1. Penelope

Hmmmmmm…I’m starting to realize what a shallow human being I am when it comes to movie watching. I basically love this movie because James McAvoy is rocking some beautiful shaggy hair throughout, and he never once gets beaten or tortured (if you follow his career, this happens A LOT in most movies he’s in). The film kind of hits you over the head with its message and features some very one-dimensional characters, but it’s still pretty cute and mostly works.

  1. The Pink Panther (and all of its sequels)

I feel like such a jerk for neglecting to mention this movie more frequently. Obviously I love it if I named my damn blog in its honor. Peter Sellers is so brilliant in these movies, even when they devolve into absolute nonsense. Even though the first one has some spectacularly dark humor, I enjoy the sequels (esp. The Pink Panther Strikes Again) featuring Burt Kwok and Herbert Lom as well.

  1. Sabrina

Included this movie because the premise is really sketchy, but I love it anyway. Humphrey Bogart pretty much plans to seduce his younger brother’s fiancée because she’s their chauffeur’s daughter and not good enough to marry into the family. Plus Bogie is waaaaaaaaaay too old for Audrey Hepburn, but I just don’t care. It’s Humphrey Bogart. This movie is so much better than I’m making it sound, I swear.

  1. Shakespeare in Love

All I ever hear people say about this movie is that it shouldn’t have won Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the outrage—Shakespeare in Love also won over Life Is Beautiful, one of my absolute favorite movies. Should this film have won Best Picture? I don’t know, but I LOVE all of the Shakespeare references, and I flipping love Judi Dench. Also, like his brother Ralph, Joseph Fiennes has a pretty nice face to watch for a couple of hours.

    10.  Star Trek IV

I think this is the most critically acclaimed of the Star Trek movies until the reboot. That being said, it’s still an incredibly cheesy movie that makes very little sense (even for Star Trek). This movie makes me laugh every time, though. It almost makes up for the effrontery to filmmaking that is Star Trek V (sorry, Shatner).

It should go without saying that I love a lot of bad movies too…but it was just too difficult to decide which ones to list here. Maybe I’ll do a top 10 bad movie countdown eventually.

I am also honestly trying to get my posts to 500 words or even 750…but I’m not a particularly concise writer. There’s a reason I don’t do Twitter.