Today marks the end of summertime fun and the beginning of work. Classes for the school year won’t start for another nine days, but I’ll be filling out various bits of legalese paperwork and taking the same bloodborne pathogens quiz I’ve taken every August for the paste decade.
In the spirit of beginning another year of academic rigmarole and inspirational mind-molding, I decided to review the 1989 dark comedy Heathers, starring Wynona Rider and Christian Slater as two oddball teens who declare war against the titular popular clique that rules the school.
I first watched Heathers on Hulu back in 2019 with the girl I was dating at the time. I remember it being far darker than I anticipated, and found the second half of the film unpleasant. I usually enjoy unsettling movies, but tonally it seemed “off.”
Well, tomorrow I head back to the real world—at least, as close to the real world as teaching gets—and the glorious freedom of summer ends. I’ll likely spend today playing piano at church and watching crummy movies on Shudder.
That’s kind of a metaphor for the conundrum of summer vacation: you get two months of completely unstructured time handed to you, then blow it all watching B-movies and taking naps. I do think I had a more productive summer than usual, but many of my hoped-for projects—as usual—are incomplete, even un-started.
Oh, well. It was still a good summer. I loved living like a retiree for two months.
Anyway, on to the flicks!:
“Monday Morning Movie Review: Still (2018)” – This movie is about a magical water source deep in the Appalachian Mountains that grants eternal youth to two jaded outlaws. A young woman stumbles upon it, and is drawn into their weird world.
“Monday Morning Movie Review: Suburban Gothic (2014)” – This flick is a fun, quirky comedy-horror. The protagonist is a dude who looks and dresses like a gay man, but is just an eccentric weirdo. When some Mexican contractors dig up a young girl’s grave and steal her necklace, some supernatural shenanigans start to go down. Needless to say, this movie—which is only seven years old—could not be made today.
“Monday Morning Movie Review: The Housemaid (2016)” – I very much enjoyed this Vietnamese-language film, which takes place during France’s failed attempt to hold onto its southeast Asian colony in the 1950s. A young woman takes a job at a notoriously haunted rubber plantation and begins an affair with the wounded French captain and plantation owner. The flick is all about revenge and colonialism, but don’t let that second point spoil it for you—it’s quite good.
That’s it for this Lazy Sunday, my last Sunday as a free man until June 2022.
The description for the movie on Shudder.com reads thusly:
A lonely dog groomer in Hollywood searches for love, but his true passion is making weird video art that nobody understands. His menial routine spirals out of control when he meets the girl of his dreams, crossing boundaries between reality and fantasy as he dives deeper into his video experiments.
I guffawed as soon as I read the line “making weird video art that nobody understands.” That sold me on the flick, which I actually found enjoyable, if baffling.
Back in 2014 the indie game Five Nights at Freddy’s fired the imaginations and nightmares of gamers with its twitchy, fast-paced, stressful management of a low-powered security camera system and a couple of security doors. The premise of the game is simple: survive the night as a security guard while the animatronics at a haunted pizzeria come to life.
It’s not surprising, then, that Hollywood would take note of Five Nights at Freddy’s success and attempt to capitalize on this very specific horror niche. 2019 saw the release of The Banana Splits Movie, a horror comedy ludicrously based on the late 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Banana Splits.
I haven’t seen The Banana Splits Movie (though it’s definitely on my list of “weird things to watch”), but I have seen the most recent entry into the subgenre of animatronics horror: 2021’s Willy’s Wonderland, starring Nicolas Cage in a role completely counter to the over-the-top acting style Cage usually employs: he doesn’t speak a single word in the entire film.
With all the gloomy weather in South Carolina over the past week (please pray for the poor folks in Texas, who are facing truly dangerous weather conditions), it’s been ideal weather for staying home and watching movies. Surprisingly, Hulu has upped its game a bit in terms of selection.
I’m running a tad behind with today’s post, so I figured rather than diving deeply into one movie, I’d give a quick round-up of several movies, with some quick notes on each.
Regular readers know I’m a big fan of Redbox, the company that managed to survive the digital streaming revolution with its ubiquitous red monoliths stationed outside every pharmacy, Wal-Mart, and gas station in the country. Without the overhead of Blockbuster, Redbox has scraped by on its hundreds of locations and super cheap rental fees, and by throwing coupons at customers every five minutes.
Little Lamar has one trusty (if occasionally glitchy) Redbox kiosk outside the local Dollar General. I was convinced until this week that I was single-handedly keeping that kiosk afloat, but in The Age of The Virus, everyone is looking for cheap entertainment, and I’ve had to wait on someone slowly browsing through the dozens of selections before picking their entertainment sleeping pill for the night. Regardless, I’ve rented so many movies for dirt-cheap, I’m achieved “Legendary” status with Redbox.
Finally, the recognition I deserve.
My point is, Redbox makes it compelling to watch a lot—and I do mean a lot—of schlocky trash. They used to throw $1.50 off coupons at me (remember, a rental is only $1.90 for a DVD) like concubines at King Solomon. Now they’re going with a BOGO strategy, which probably suits their interests better (if you forget to return your two movies, you’re going to pay for another night for both of them). Either way, it just means I watch a TON of movies.
If I’m spending, essentially, $0.80 on a rental, I’m willing to take some risks. Sometimes, as in the movie Snatchers (2019), that risk pays off beautifully, and I stumble upon a diamond in the rough. Usually, I lose the bet, as was the case with Black Christmas (2019).