The Lost Boys (1987)

The Lost Boys
Directed by Joel Schumacher
(number 438)

Rachel and Lizzy came over to watch this with me. We all got very excited about the clothing.

I first saw this movie as a teenager, when my big brother Michael was in a phase of mostly coming out at night, wearing black and sunglasses if he had to be out during the day. We knew, we KNEW he wasn’t actually a vampire, but the similarities were a bit close for comfort.

Our lead character, Sam (Corey Haim) has to prove he’s not a fake geek boy to the Frog brothers, which is kinda funny. Imagine if they’d cast a girl to be Sam … and if one of the Frog Brothers was a Frog sister… oh my goodness. I think I’ll go and write a fic or something.

*clears throat* You can see the film is dated not just from the fantastic clothes but also from the lighting and the sound quality. It’s all terribly goth, with the vampire teens wearing awesome jackets and hanging out in an abandoned hotels with lots of candles and the girl is all gypsy.

Star is an interesting character, in the sense of…. she’s an amazing perfect interesting girl who is beautiful and interested in Michael, she’s shown as a mother figure (always protecting the youngest lots boy) and yeah she’s not interesting at all. She’s a totally predictable ‘girl’ character. Sigh.

Does it make me love the people? Yep. I love this whole entire movie. The baby Coreys, Kiefer, Mr Gilmore… and yeah. Lots of good memories associated with this film.

Plus we have some good theories about how the vampires get their shoes back on as they fly out, that Sam and his mother Lucy swap clothes. Lizzy is keen to know where the Frog parents are, and the back stories of all the vampires.

Lizzy: The plumbing in this house sucks!
Me: It’s vampire plumbing.
Lizzy: Why is the lighting in this room all red?
Me: Vampire lighting!
Lizzy: Vampire interior decoration sucks.

In terms of vampire lore the rules are a bit fuzzy – garlic doesn’t work, holy water does slow them down but only kills in tubs full. Stake through the heart is good but slow, and impaling with deer antlers in a homoerotic display of power works too. They can fly and they have some sort of mind control thing (making Michael see maggots and worms instead of Chinese food), but mostly they just look really cool and they make you want to be cool and join them by drinking out of their elaborately decorated ‘wine’ bottle.

This movie is cheese. It’s late 8os Goth cheese and it’s great fun to watch, especially with a few friends who you can crack wise about it with.

Bechdel test: Sadly, no. Star and Lucy are really the only females with names and they’re never in the same scene.

Best lines:

Sam: Don’t kill me, Mike! I’m basically a good kid!

Frog brother: Kill your brother, you’ll feel better.

Grandpa: One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.

State of Mind: Hell yeaaaahhhhhhh!!!! I should also point out that after Stand By Me the other day I bought Corey Feldman’s autobiography and it’s really good.

Things I Love Thursday

An incredible weekend with a wonderful girlfriend. Highlights include: breakfast at Drexel’s, high tea at Martha’s, BBQ at Uncle Mike’s, the Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular, a drive in movie, watching more Veronica Mars and gah, yes, I had a wonderful (delicious food filled!) weekend.

Photos of the larp where I played a cop. I love how you can track me losing my patience with all the lying over the course of the night.

I keep remembering things about Webstock and feeling inspired all over again.

I started using handkerchiefs instead of buying tissues. I feel pretty good about this choice. Less trees killed, less rubbish created and a barely noticeable increase in my laundry.

Progress on my (final) rewrite of my first novel.

A lovely song from a terribly emo band ;p

Kaleidoscope Eyes by Panic! At the Disco

Honourable Mentions: Thursday summer markets, a week of catching up with people, being so happy I cry a little, planning for the future, making excellent lists, naps, clean fresh washing and chocolate.

Isn’t it a lovely night? ~ The Decemberists
(Look I’m completely addicted to this whole album, okay? okay.)

Juno (2007)

Directed by Jason Reitman
(number 464)

I last watched this movie on the plane back from America in July last year. I was in a state of physical and emotional exhaustion, having not really slept the night before being taken on a whirlwind tour of LA by Hamish. I needed something familiar enough to be comforting and also interesting enough to be a bit of a distraction and when Juno came up on my menu of movies on the wee screen on the back of the seat in front of me it fit the bill and I stuck it on.

Watching Juno in that state it was severely affecting, as you can probably imagine. Luckily it’s okay to be sobbing like a freak when you have an emotional movie on in front of you, and no one tried to have me sedated or indeed, tried to intervene in any way. It’s a relief to be able to let go like that.

There’s a lot to love here. Juno’s relationships are really the focus of the movie. How she gets on with Bleeker, who she loves – but doesn’t allow herself to know. The wonderful father/daughter dynamic and the more strained relationship with her stepmother. Her and her best friend… and of course with the couple who are intending to adopt the baby.

It’s interesting to look at the relationship between Juno and Jason Bateman’s reluctant adoptive father, Mark. You can read it as Juno innocently trying to be friends with an older guy who she genuinely thinks is interesting, that she wants to ensure will give her baby a loving home. But you can easily read it the way Mark does – that she’s interested in kissing him. He relives his youth through her and from there decides he wants to pursue the dreams he used to have and leave behind the life he’s built with Vanessa. It’s easy to blame him for that – cast him as the bad guy, but of course if he didn’t want to raise a child getting out early is the best thing for both Vanessa and the child.

I do love how complicated this movie is. There really are no easy answers.

Of course this is really the world’s introduction to the marvelous Ellen Page and I have to say: what a way to make an entrance. It’s not exactly a ‘pregnant teen makes good’ movie, but it’s close to that – and it’s hard to think of other movies about pregnant teens which are both so down to Earth and so light hearted. Come to think of it, it’s usually the end of that character in teen movies if pregnancy happens, or it leads to terrible things like in Dirty Dancing. Ellen Page had of course, already done Hard Candy, but a lot of people avoided that film for very good reasons. She is fantastic in it, though.

I know this is Jason Reiman’s movie in the sense that he directed it, but I can’t help but think of it as Diablo Cody’s film. Her voice through the script is so witty, so unique and so very interesting that I’m not sure how much of the success is due to the director. The actors do amazing work with an excellent script, and although it’s shot beautifully and the soundtrack’s amazing I feel like the script is the true star.

Bechdel test: Many times over, which is a nice refreshing change from the other movies in the list so far!

Best lines, because there are so very many:
Juno: Bren! Use a dick!

Juno: I never realize how much I like being home unless I’ve been somewhere really different for a while.

Juno: Yeah, I’m a legend. You know, they call me the cautionary whale.

Rollo: That ain’t no Etch-A-Sketch. This is one doodle that can’t be un-did, Homeskillet.

Mac MacGuff: Liberty Bell, if you put one more Baco on that potato, I’m gonna kick your little monkey butt.

State of Mind: I’m always surprised by the amount of sadness I feel from this movie. I usually just remember the jokes…

Stand By Me (1986)

Stand by Me
Directed by Rob Reiner
(number 75)

I remember my sister watching this film when I was a kid and how I saw two scenes that freaked me out. One was the story about Lard Ass and all the vomiting of blueberry pie and one was the scene with the swamp full of leeches. I was looking forward to watching this again – although didn’t expect t be watching it quite this soon.

Anna, Ellen, Blair and I went to the drive in movies to see 10 Things I hate About You but sadly there were technical difficulties. In the end they had a ‘honk off’ for the audience to choose between Grease and Stand By Me and Stand By Me won.

We had some issues with our radio not picking up the sound, but they were playing it loud enough outside that it was all good. I think I missed a couple lines, but not too many. I have to say I really enjoyed this. The barfing scene wasn’t nearly as gross as I’d thought it was as a kid and the leech bit gave me a weird feeling but it was over quickly. I was also surprised by the end, because I thought one of the kids got killed and they didn’t – except for in the epilogue.

What most impressed me about this movie was the performance of tiny babies Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix and Corey Feldman and OH HOLY FUCK JERRY O’CONNELL! Holy crap I didn’t realise it was him. HOLY CRAP.

I remembered reading on TV tropes about the enforced method acting things Rob Reiner did to the kids to get great performances, but I don’t know how much of that is true, really but it was in my head when I saw the scenes with the boys crying, and the tension between the main boys and the older, mean gang of kids led by Kiefer Sutherland.

I enjoyed the silly conversations, the landscape, and the small(ish) nature of the crises. It idealises the age of 12 where you’re not yet responsible for anything much, but you’re aware of the world and the people around you. The cruelty of your friends as well as the unwavering dedication. That said, it’s a totally male film. Around this age, girls (in my experience) tend to get insecure and catty about each other, with best friends changing around week to week. It’s hard to think of a similar kind of film to this with female characters, but then again I guess there aren’t really any other films like this one. Or maybe I’m just forgetting them.

It made me want to play Grace again. To explore that feeling. I suspect I’ll be watching this film again.

Does it make me love the people? If there’s a thing Rob Reiner can do, it’s make you love the characters.

Bechdel test: Nah, the only speaking women in the movie are moms and only called that. This is a movie about boys being boys and other boys being nasty boys and grown up men mostly being nasty as well. Is it because it’s set in the late fifties, or is it just a male story?

Best line:

Gordie: Do you think I’m weird?
Chris: Definitely.
Gordie: No man, seriously. Am I weird?
Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody’s weird.

and for the lulz:
Vern: There’s one thing I didn’t understand. Did Lardass have to pay to get in the contest?

State of Mind: A bit sad, a bit introspective and a lot entertained.

Hugo (2011)

Directed by Martin Scorcese
(number 391)

My first Martin Scorcese film of the project (I think…) and maybe the most unexpected of him. A director who is mostly known for gritty realism, taking on a charming film about a little boy. But this is not really a children’s film – or at least, it’s not just that. I imagine if I had seen it as a child I may have felt the way I did when I saw Baron Munchausen as a kid. Overwhelmed, enchanted and like I’d stepped into something huge.

Hugo is a love letter to film – through the story line’s attachment to the early films of George Melies and also from the way it’s shot lovingly.

The actors are all superb, and the film is firmly in the genre of magical realism – with odd technology, lucky breaks and beautiful light, dream sequences and montages and characters larger than life.

There are small stories happening, threaded all through the story of the main character – Hugo’s tragic past and his quest to belong in the world.

I am totally on board for all the rides on offer, the startlingly beautiful cinematography, the character stories, the tragedy and the strange montage of the past. The slightly creepy automaton and everything fitting together so nicely. The recurring jokes and the foreshadowing. Sasha Baron Cohen’s problematic character who is so awful to Hugo (and other stray waifs) but wins your sympathy with his awkward attempts to court the flower seller.

Does it make me love the people? Absolutely. Asa Butterfield has such a look about him, such a vulnerability that you’re on his side immediately. Then there’s Chloe Grace Moeritz’s bookish girl who’s so wishing for adventure, which resonates with how I felt as a child to a degree – where books seemed to be so much more interesting than real life.

I really should read the book that this is based on but somehow I’ve never got around to it. Maybe this year I will!

Bechdel test: There are two lines between two named actresses, but it’s the only moment. As mentioned here, it probably doesn’t count if it’s so brief that you could blink and miss it.

Best line:
Hugo Cabret: I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.

State of Mind: Such love.

Things I Love Thursday

Hearing that something I have made is a favourite thing. The things we make and give away and the people keep and rediscover, or re use or find a new use for – updates on babies with sock monkeys or quilts, saying ‘oh she loves her quilt’ or ‘he won’t sleep without the monkey you made him’. It’s such a gratifying thing to hear after spending your time making something with love.

fog and sunshine

fog and sunshine

Writing. Webstock and various other things, inspired me to get off my ass and start in on my plan. So, I’ve started editing (for the final time) my first novel: kiki. It’s going pretty well, then I’m gonna stick it up for sale on Amazon, so watch this space.

Summer! Sunshine, sting rays sunning themselves in the lagoon, ice creams, jandals, short shorts, sunglasses. It’s all good times.

My sweet girlfriend who I am super excited to see tomorrow for the weekend, but I’m especially pleased because she sent me a lovely, thoughtful Valentines Day gift and it was very much appreciated.

Honourable Mentions: Rekorderlig in the sun and beautifully cooked French chicken dinner to chase, watching Sin City on blu ray, cool water in a paddling pool, the eerie beauty of the mist, vivid dreams, the satisfaction of getting chores done and tidied up rooms.

Love Letter to Japan by the Bird and the Bee (thank you Anna, I love this one)

Things I Love Thursday


Book themed wedding table setting of loveliness.
The wedding on the weekend was so beautiful. It’s something very special, going to the wedding to two dear friends who you introduced to each other. There’s nothing like a celebration of love, I think we should have more of them.

Sunshine – especially when the morning was grey and misty or rainy. Fresh summer breezes are rather wonderful too.

Chocolate – I have so much chocolate in my life right now and I’m okay with that.

Sleeping when you’re sick and you need to – and sunshine coming in the window to cheer you up.

Good books – I’m almost done on The Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley and I have books I’m excited to read after it. I like reading! heheh.

Anna, she’s not just adorable and fun, she’s funny, clever, geeky and loves to sing. She makes me smile and I am so very lucky to have her in my life, texting me, skyping me and generally being lovely. :3

Honourable Mentions: Pretty music, the promise of cuddles, sewing, crafting, doing art doodles because I feel like it, laughing with old friends, sheets which have retained the fresh sunshiney smell from being on the line even after being in the cupboard, lying down on my bed the wrong way and reading my affirmations quilt and enjoying the colours.

Another Sunny Day ~ Belle and Sebastian

Wake in Fright (1971)

Wake in Fright
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
(number 442)

Australian movies are so enticing to me. They’re so lonely and dark, but filmed in such a wide open and bright landscape. Lots of yellows and deep blues of the sky, bright glaring sun. They’re so often depressing and yet I keep going back to watch them.

Apparently the movie adaptation of a novel, made by a Canadian, this movie starts off feeling eerily like the Australian version of the Wicker Man. The story is very different, but there are parallels there – it’s the horror of the human existence, rather than religion gone wild, and there’s no campy Christopher Lee. It’s very 70s though, the colour palette of the movie and the quality of the film, the clothing and the music – all very much of the time.

Instead there’s a well spoken school teacher (John) who is hating the post he has in a tiny outback Australian town, and on his way to his Christmas holiday he ends up descending into barbarism and madness. Well… it’s a slow burn. He starts out with beer and gambling and loses all his money, and then there’s more beer and a steady parade of men willing to buy him more.

The solution to everything is drink up, have another beer… which isn’t too far off the experience of small town New Zealand. Hell, it’s the solution in the cities as well.

The movie follows his slow course of destruction and through a roo hunt (real, and brutal, not for any one who that sounds upsetting to), fighting and drinking and dust and sweat. There are moments with strange horror movie music – mostly when John is wandering through a town or just utterly confused about what is going on. There were some really fucked up images in there.

I was pleased that a man on man wrestling match did end up with a homosexual encounter between John and Doc, because it had all seemed to be heading that way. The camera tastefully pans up to shoot the lightbulb and then fades to black but hey – they went there. That’s cool with me.

Does it make me love the people? I guess it made me love John, and you see the kindness of the people he encountered. It’s a careful balancing act, showing their tenderness and their humour and then the dark side and the way it was so easy for John to slip into the dark side himself.

Bechdel test: Nope. Only one named female character and the other is just called the Receptionist. Women exist in this movie, in this landscape, as a rare and desirable commodity. The receptionist is a strange dreamy mix of bored and constantly orgasmic – rubbing cold water on herself and tilting her head back to enjoy the desk fan. Janette is shown as being up for sex and described later as a slut, but in a kind of good, admirable way.

Best line:
“Discontent is the luxury of the well to do. If you have to live here, you might as well like it.”

State of Mind: what just happened? What was that?

Looper (2012)

Directed by Rian Johnson
(number 284)

Rian Johnson did Brick for his first movie and I gotta say, that’s one of my favourite movies of all time (OF ALL TIME) so I was predisposed to enjoy this. Plus Joseph Gordon-Levitt is amazing and seeing him channeling Bruce Willis is epic fun. I like this movie a lot, it’s timey wimey and violent and strange and two out of three of those things are always a good time for me, but… I dunno. I’m not sure this should be in the top 500?

I mean, I’m glad for science fiction entries. But I honestly don’t think it’s a better time travel movie than the Time Traveller’s Wife, or the very indie Primer. But it is a big flashie one, with Bruce Willis in it, and it was released just in 2012 so it’s fresh in people’s minds.

It does have some very neat time travel stuff, and it’s a great twisty plot. There is incredible darkness in the film, more than you maybe expect from the trailer or from the premise, and I remember being very unnerved when I saw it at the movies, but knowing what’s going to happen makes it easier to watch.

I just thought, I should keep a track of how many Bruce Willis movies there are in this list XD I feel like I’ve watched a fair bit of him already.

Does it make me love the people? Yep. It definitely does that, in between the action and despite the horrific things Bruce Willis’s version of the lead character does. The leads all have an excellent charisma, and there’s a cleverness to how everything fits together which is also a bit heartbreaking.

Bechdel test: Nope. They do that thing where they make Emily Blunt’s character all bad ass and shotgun wielding and you think ‘aw yeah’ but in actuality she’s relegated to very conventional roles of tender mother and love interest. It’s… one of these things Hollywood does I think. Where they’re like “LOOK, SHE’S ALL BAD ASS” only she actually still needs the man to save her and she only interacts with the men and she exists to react to the males. I dunno. It’s sucky.

The only other women are a hooker and the magically perfect Chinese woman from Bruce’s looped past.

Best line: Time travel hasn’t been invented yet, but in thirty years, it will have been.

State of Mind: Still love the movie, kind of annoyed with the women characters thing.