12/31/18

3 Movies to Watch When You're Done with Black Mirror's Bandersnatch.


So. Bandsersnatch. Here are two weird things that immediately preceded our viewing:

1. In an attempt to reach sixty blogs for 2018, I combed through old, unfinished drafts. One was about fan theories, specifically, about LOST being a psychological experiment.

2. My sister showed my best friend her favorite episode of Black Mirror titled Play Test. Which is thematically relevant, to say the least. I also talked to them about how true to the simulations industry and scenario design the episode really is. If I were insane, this would be a bad time to be...well...insane.

Luckily, I'm not. First, I'll share my favorite ending. Then, I'll give you three movies to cleanse your palate of the Black Mirrory-ness of it all.

We enjoyed several endings, none of which I will ruin for you here. After trying several variations of choices, I chose to end my experience with the "Do you want more action?" ending. Not only is it true to the era of the story, but it's also funny and self-aware. Two of my very most favorite things, especially when they're thrown together. If you need a palate-cleanser...

Here are 3 Movies to Watch When You're Done with Black Mirror's Bandersnatch

They'll take you back to the real 80's and put you in a great mood.

1. King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters



2. Atari: Game Over


3. Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made



Remember when the world was simple? When the Thompson Twins were new? When Indiana Jones was young? When you could go to Jennifer and Kimberly's house and play Donkey Kong and Pong? When you were connected to the world around you and the summer smell of freshly mowed lawns left you to adventure in your imaginations instead of the internet on a tiny box phone? 

Okay, Audrey. Oddly specific. I guess Bandersnatch messed with my head, shifted me firmly into Nostalgia mode. Anyway. Music played an integral part in Bandersnatch, yes? Here's another movie moment for you that made excellent use of an 80's song. 



Where's your head after Bandersnatch? Are you feeling any better yet? 

P.S. Happy New Year!

3 Things I Still Love: Fan Theories

1. Toby is the Scranton Strangler



2. The Whedon-verse is all connected



Related: There was almost an animated Buffy series this famous fan opening by the talented Stephen Byrne gave us a taste. And there's a unified Pixar theory too.


3. LOST was a psychological experiment. A simulation designed to see how humans would perform and behave outside of their normal environments. How susceptible would they be to the power of suggestion? And so on and so forth.


Of course, the video explaining the theory is gone. So I'll explain. Briefly. This excellent theory claimed origination from cast and crew who worked on season one. No proof was offered. But all the dots connected story-wise. That is, until the series was so successful, it needed to be extended and milked for all it was worth. Along with J.J. Abrams famous "mystery box" philosophy at the heart of the series.

Among other ideas, the psychological experiment theory claimed:

1. the plane crash was a simulation

2. actors were planted within the group of survivors (John Locke was one.)

3. this is why there were animals on the island beforehand, specifically animals anachronistic to the physical environment, hence the polar bear

4. the time travel wasn't real, the controllers just wanted to see if they could get people to accept extremely unlikely circumstances as part of the experiment


There have been countless fan theories, but this is my favorite. The simplicity of it makes sense. It explains the plot holes, the numbers, the significantly named characters, and why things went off the rails story-wise in such non-specific and confusing ways as  TV networks knew they had a gold mine to keep...well, mining.

I personally thought God (Jacob) and the Devil (the man in black) had been fighting over mankind's right to exist. In my mind, they were going seven rounds and this was the seventh and final, which is why it was so important.

But back to my theory. Because what kind of writer would I be if I didn't arrogantly assert my own theory?

Each time humanity failed to prove their goodness, God restarted the world. Hence the four-toed statue, as evidence of one of the failed past civilizations. I thought many of the selfless acts of sacrifice, and the many ways people changed for the better, would help Jacob win the final round, allowing the Earth and humanity to continue existing.

Related: My embarrassing TV rants have gotten some of my highest hit counts ever. Here's the tantrum I threw the day after LOST ended, my Medium finale reaction, and my Magnum P.I. rant.

3 of the Best Film Analysts on YouTube

1. Lindsay Ellis



2. Rob Ager at Collative Learning


3. Be Kind Rewind

2019 Character Study - Lara Croft

I love doing this and I do it every year.

To use a poetic, mature term, in 2018, I was kind of a wimp. Whiny. Weak. In all fairness, I survived a major medical thing. The consequences of which I'm still dealing with. But I'd like to say goodbye to weak, vulnerable, sad sack Audrey and reconnect with one of my earliest inspirations.

Lara friggin' Croft.



And I'm not talking about prequel Lara. Bruised and battered, scared Lara. I don't even mean movie Lara. I mean grown-up, closet full of adventuring clothes, runs a mansion gaming Lara. She's disciplined. She's goal-focused. She doesn't suffer fools. She eats right and exercises often, and most importantly, she knows how to do a great french braid.

Well, okay. Maybe it's not the most important. But it's pretty handy.

Who's your fictional role model for the upcoming year?

12/30/18

Eartha Kitt's Vocal Performance for Yzma

You never know how long these banned videos will last on YouTube. Enjoy this 2002 "making of" (directed by Trudie Styler) for The Emperor's New Groove while you can. It's titled The Sweatbox and the whole doc is pretty great.

You can also skip ahead to 10:38, 23:10, 51:32, and 1:09:56 to see Eartha Kitt working her absolute magic in the studio and in her real life.



12/25/18

The 2018 Christmas Monorail Resort Tour at Walt Disney World

Jake and I have always been bad at traditions. Usually, it's because we're working on different projects when the holidays roll around. It's tough to repeat a celebration if you don't know what state you'll be in. Side Note: I accidentally typed, "when the holidays toll around." For whom the It's a Wonderful Life bell tolls, am I right?

ANYWAY.

We finally managed to cement a tradition. I flew back from my museum in the mid-west and we managed to get sushi at Disney's Polynesian Resort on Christmas Eve two years in a row. AND we brought one of our very best friends.

And hey, if you're going to the Polynesian, you might as well ride the monorail and see it all. So this is Christmas 2018 from Walt Disney World.



12/9/18

You Must Whip It


Gerald Carale, the founding member of DEVO, wrote an in-depth treatise about capitalism. Again. BoingBoing.net posted this last week and it's worth a read.

I've been doing a deep dive into the sites I first loved when I started Born for Geekdom a DECADE ago. A decade, you guys. Ten years. Ten yeeeeeeaaaaaarrs.


*Please feel free to read the rest of this post in the voice of Minnie Driver from Grosse Pointe Blank*

It was pretty much BoingBoing.netWilWheaton.net, and Doombuggies.com for me back then. And that was plenty. That and my Indiana Jones-themed Myspace page.

Anyway, I love Devo. In middle school, my youth minister told me Devo was from the devil. Simon and Garfunkel too. And my little music-obsessed heart broke right into two sad pieces. I don't know. Maybe he was right. Eternity will tell.

Mark Mothersbaugh has since become a hero of mine. He's a master of tone and one of many from the pop pantheon who have gone on to the wonderful world of film score. (hullo, Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo)

I used to visit this spot with DEVO's handprints in San Francisco. It was a happy place. Still is. I dream of a day when Mark Mothersbaugh scores one of my projects. As far as dreams go, that's pretty pipe-shaped, I realize. But you never know.

What were you perusing on the internet ten years ago? Who is your favorite 80's musician/film score genius/capitalist essayist? Do you even want to think back that far or should we give the past the slip?

(I'm sorry. I had to.)

12/5/18

Speaking of the Tower of Terror...let's muse


I've been thinking a lot about The Twilight Zone since my post the other day. You know what makes me happiest about The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror? The mystery.

I feel the same about The Haunted Mansion. It's the mystery in between the spots of well-defined narrative. It's the objects in the library that don't have a story. The tiny bits of detail in the Boiler Room that remind me of walking through the bowels of The Queen Mary.

It's all that wonderful possibility. Let's think about it while we look at some pics I took the last time I was there...

12/2/18

It's December

You know what that means.

It's time for this:




And this:



Shut up, Wesley.

What's on your annual holiday geek watchlist?

Three Places to Get Your Twilight Zone Fix While You Wait for the New Show

Twilight Zone mini-golf

I recently discovered a Twilight Zone-themed golf course in Las Vegas. I was so overjoyed, I thought I'd make a list of a few more places fans can get a fix while we wait for Jordan Peele's (sure-to-be-brilliant) new iteration.


1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. I particularly enjoy the glee-like fear everyone experiences at the end of the ride as they notice the ventriloquist dummy from the aptly-named episode The Dummy. It's situated uncomfortably close to the ride vehicle.

(Eagle-eyed fans will also notice a lot more props in the ride and the exit through the gift shop.)


2. There was also a very nineties made-for-tv movie based on the ride, which is itself, based on the show. It's creepy turtles all the way down. By the way, I love the movie and I'm not sorry. It was the dry run for the theatrical Pirates of the Caribbean movies. So we owe it a lot.

Fun bonus fact: Melora Hardin who played Jan on The Office plays an old-timey nightclub singer in the movie. She was also a singer in The Rocketeer.


3. Last but certainly not least, I've been bingeing a lot of Blank on Blank lately. Rod Serling's episode is nothing short of spectacular. Enjoy.


More Spaceship Librarian Is Coming

I shared an update on Instagram the other day. I'm ridiculously excited, even though my progress on this project has been glacial. But hey, slow and steady is much better than not happening at all, right?

11/27/18

When You've Been Sick for So Long...

...that you just sing this song over and over again in your head between loud, dry coughs. Thanks, Midwestern winter!

*air five transitions into slow motion rocking back and forth*


11/25/18

When Your Horse Doesn't Like You



Optional Pre-Reads
For anyone confused by the whimsy and glitter and puppetry of it all.

Part 1

What I Learned Growing Up with a Mom Who Did Singing Telegrams


Part 3

When Your Horse Doesn’t Like You


To my imaginative, creative mother, horses meant prosperity and dignity. She sketched them in whimsical shades of pink and blue with curly manes and purple stripes. Sometimes they had wings. Usually glitter.

In an effort to share the inspiration, my parents once scavenged a carousel horse for me. Mom painted it white with rainbow zebra stripes. Dad hung it on a trellis in the back yard. I must’ve been four or five.

I'd happily swing back and forth until I got too high. The chains would catch. I'd fly through the air, land in the grass, cry for a few minutes, go inside, have a popsicle, then come back out and repeat the whole routine. Knowing the horse could throw me, at any moment, offered a strange bonus thrill. An adrenaline rush.

History, it turns out, would repeat itself. And you know what they say about history, those who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. In fact, history has a lot of helpful advice for avoiding calamity. But hindsight is always twenty-twenty...there's a lesson in here somewhere amidst this Mike Brady paroxysm.

I promise I'll get to it at the end.

This Crimes of Grindelwald Promotional Video from Marie Claire You Need To See


Forget the fact that Dan Fogler is a charming, hilarious gem. Forget the fact we're all discovering Ezra Miller's edginess. Just. Please, please watch this video from 3:03 to 4:45 for a good laugh.





Ooh, ooh...how about a show called Dan Fogler Reacts? Where we just show Dan Fogler weird stuff and he, you know, reacts. I'd watch. 

For the record, I love it when actors get fatigued during press junkets. I know it's schadenfreude, but it's funny schadenfreude, which is the best kind. Also, it happens a lot, mostly because actors get locked in rooms for hours on end where they're forced to answer the same three or four questions ad nauseum. It's enough to make anyone slap happy. But this is a new level. A whole. 'Nother. Level.

Conan O'Brien Has a New Podcast

Get thee hence, comedy nerds!

Bonus Conan Content:

1. Here's my all-time favorite Conan remote.
2. Here's a thing I wrote about Conan that went moderately viral back in the day.

11/18/18

All the References in Hail, Caesar!

I haven't watched The Ballad of Buster Skruggs yet. When I do, I know I'll get that type-A itch to catalog all the references. I have a listing problem when it comes to classic film. But we all have problems.

Below you'll find my guide* to all the classic film references in the highly underrated Hail, Caesar! Plus, here's another time I wrote about The Coen Brothers and their predilection for western structure.

Now, onto the show...

The Coens have written yet another incredible detective story. This one is filled with fictionalized versions of real Hollywood figures. Their dreamlike universe is a nice place to visit if you already know the referential sites. If you're new to Old Hollywood, it might've been a little confusing.

It would be easy for me to wax not-so-poetic about how much I loved Hail, Caesar! A more helpful contribution might be a primer to the film's many references.

If you're a Lebowski fan, but couldn't find your way into Hail Caesar!, read this list, then try again.

3 Good Geek Things To Get You Through the Holidays

And now, 3 Good Geek Things To Get You Through the Holidays. These selections are ushering me through a weird season of life. If you're enduring the start of a hectic time too and you need a brief, mental respite, use these. They help.

1. The Gryffindor Common Room

I go to sleep every night in the Gryffindor Common room. The original Pottermore sorting quiz placed me in Slytherin. The recently updated quiz sorted me into Ravenclaw. So I don't know why I'm hanging around with the goody-goodies in Gryffindor. But I am.

The sound of the crackling fire comforts me. The look of the room itself takes me back to my days at Universal Orlando, when I'd get out of dance rehearsal and ride Forbidden Journey four times in a row. Every day. Very happy times, indeed.




2. I Was There Too

Specifically, this episode featuring my favorite, your favorite, EVERYONE'S FAVORITE, Vasquez from Aliens, Jenette Goldstein. True story, the day after I started drafting this, I was flipping channels and found Star Trek: Generations. I paused to watch for a few minutes and guess who was on the bridge? Jenette Goldstein.


If you like smart podcasts, I highly recommend this and this. True story, I accidentally typed Malcom McDowell instead of Malcolm Galdwell while searching for a link (because Star Trek) and guess what? Malcolm McDowell has his own podcast.

3. Film Score, Film Score, and more Film Score (with a side of They Might Be Giants)



Film score is restful for the ears and the mind. These are my personal favorite playlists on Spotify. 

WRITE by Yours Truly
CINEMATIC CHILLOUT by Spotify
ON STRENGTH also by me

I think Ludwig Goransson's Black Panther will likely be my favorite score of 2018. And TMBG is going to take song of the year with this one.


I've been making a playlist every year of my life since 2013. I officially close them out on Dec. 31st and they can never be altered after that day. Embarrassing or otherwise. 

I can read these playlists the way mystics in movies decipher tea leaves or thrown bones. 2013 was a rager filled with nostalgia. It was walks around Lost Lake in Florida and new tattoos. 2014 was driving back and forth from TeachLive. It was hopeful and happy and filled with connective tissue. 2015 and 2016 were long walks in San Francisco. Work stress, plane flights, and political upheaval. 2017 was almost a lost year, aside from some great work in Washington D.C. I spent the rest of it locked away in an office writing one-off screenplays that I never revised. 

This year? This year has been a grab bag. Chicago, New York, Indy, Orlando...as Johnny Cash would say, I've been everywhere, man. I'm almost certain I finally found my landing spot. Almost. I can't tell if I'm hiding or making a good move for the long term. Either way, 2018's playlist is long walks in Florida, thoughts of returning to dancing, trips to the hospital, and autumn in Indiana. 

Not that anyone needs an intimate peek into my psyche, but just in case...


What will be your mental retreat in November and December? What strikes your fancy right now as relaxing, intelligent, or inspirational?

10/27/18

31 Days of Halloween

I know October is almost over. By now, you've probably seen the new Halloween, The Haunting of Hill House, and our sweet, beloved Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas about 43 times. (And if you haven't, what are you waiting for?)

If you're all funned out, if your inspiration is waning, check this list I made a few years ago. It has suggestions you may have overlooked. Some are cult classics, others will be new to you.

31 Days of Halloween

Ghost Story is an important precursor to movies like What Lies Beneath. Robert Wise's The Haunting is the foundation for The Haunting of Hill House. If you're a chicken like me, there are plenty of cop-outs. I highly recommend Transylvania 6-5000 and High Spirits, flicks we simply must do more to push into the cult classic category.

If you're looking for some fun reads, I re-edited my dorky FanFiction (totally safe for work, the playground, church, etc.) Mulder and Scully Visit the Haunted Mansion.

I also shared my poem Monsters' Girlfriends via Twitter and Instagram. Because I'm needy. 

Happy Halloween! What are you watching?

10/17/18

Mulder and Scully Investigate the Haunted Mansion

It's almost Halloween and it's fanfiction Friday. I just had to do something about that.*

My favorite episodes of The X-Files were always "monster of the week". This term refers to a standalone episode that doesn't affect the overall story arc of the series. Very often, writers use these episodes to celebrate holidays or reward diehard fans with wish fulfillment.

In my opinion, the very best of these were The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas, Triangle and Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-MonsterIn the grand tradition of weird one-offs, I bring you my very own X-Files episode, wherein Mulder and Scully investigate The Haunted Mansion

If enough people ask for it, I'll share the second and third acts. (I originally wrote this in script format, but over the years, I've learned that nobody likes to read script format on the internet. So I turned it into fiction instead.)

Hello Giggles Articles

In 2016, I began contributing to Hello Giggles. I wish I had more time to write for them because I really appreciate an organization that amplifies the voices of women and girls.

And I'm proud to say one of my articles even made it into one of their editor's Best of 2016 lists.

Here are a few more of my articles:

10 Productive Ways To Celebrate Earth Day

8 Movies and TV Shows To Help You Feel Brave

I talked to Ashley Eckstein of "Star Wars" about empowering fangirls, running a business, and harnessing the power of positivity. (Hello Giggles called this one a "must read" and I wrote a follow-up here.)

What TMJ taught me about listening to my body

What I learned growing up with a mom who ran a singing telegram business

How Changing My Hair Color Taught Me A Life Lesson

How other women's stories of surviving sexual assault taught me to let go of shame

10/16/18

Today's Writing Exercise

Several months ago, my friend Trish recommended a writing exercise wherein you catalogue the lies your characters believe. I recently had the chance to try with my characters from Leaves. (A script in desperate need of fixing. I love it so much I avoid it. That's healthy, right?)

Results are below, and they give away a pretty big plot point.

10 Museums from Pop Culture (Real and Fictional)

I work in a museum right now. On my lunch break, I can wander up to the galleries or out to the gardens. I'm so busy I almost never do. But still, it's an option. For a dreamer, that's pretty ideal. 

For me, museums have always been places of great freedom. My cousins and I went to museums a lot as children. We played a game wherein we pretended to get lost just so we could be on our own all day. It was soooo long ago that if you were within the walls of the museum, you knew, you just knew, you'd be safe. We somehow always found our parents by closing time and they were never mad and it was just the greatest. (It worked at Disney World too.)

I'm too busy to do much more than have a gif party below in honor of these 10 Museums from Pop Culture, but I hope you enjoy. (I definitely saved the best entry for last.)

1. Indiana Jones in every movie (but the gif is from Last Crusade) - The National Museum at Marshall College



2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off - The Art Institute of Chicago


And now...a montage...



3. L.A. Story - Los Angeles County Museum of Art


4. The Mummy - Museum of Antiquities


5. Ocean's Twelve - Galleria D'Arte di Roma


6. Jab Harry Met Sejal - Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam



7. The Squid and the Whale - American Museum of Natural History


8. Ghostbusters II - Manhattan Museum of Art



9. When Harry Met Sally - The Metropolitan Museum of Art



10. Batman - Flugelheim Museum



What museums did I miss? Do you still love to get lost in a museum?

P.S. While drafting this, I found, Museum People's Tattoos. It's a delightful blog I discovered by accident and I love it.

Also, there was a popular book titled From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler about a girl who sneaks into a museum and stays past closing time. They even made it into a movie. Any other nineties kids remember it?

8/13/18

New Short Comic - Swamp Ape

I'm so incredibly sensitive about human and animal welfare. That's not a brag. Frequent public weeping isn't exactly a superpower. I become overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness when I see animals hurting.

But. I've recently discovered I can sometimes write my way out of the melancholy, like a lobster scooting backwards out of a trap. When I saw a particularly moving story about abandoned orangutans, I decided to write them a guardian.

Here's our backstory for a famous photo...

Story: Yours Truly
Art: Javi Laparra
Lettering: Justin Birch


Page 1


Page 2

Please consider donating a dollar to International Animal Rescue's Borneo Orangutan project. Unfortunately, nobody can help the orangutans except us humans. So, pony up. 

Writing Prompt

How about you? If you could re-write a wrong, what would it be?

Disclaimer Town

I have work to do when it comes to clarity. Everyone who reads this has to ask me questions about it. Which is bad. But I'm learning. I think this script is better than Author. I can feel myself getting a better handle on how to harness the turn of the page or the natural way the eye reads left to right and up to down for the benefit of reveals. You would think a lifetime of reading comics would make an initial attempt at writing them less clumsy. 

Alas...a clumsy effort is an effort nonetheless.

New Short Comic - Author

I'm still learning this format. It's hard. I'm obviously struggling with clarity. But the artist (Javi Laparra) and letterer (Justin Birch) I'm working with are tremendous. I don't want their work to go unseen just because I'm a perfectionist Debbie Downer.

I have three more scripts I'm currently redrafting that are better. Prey, Sunk, and Mothers. But this was my first attempt at a short comic. Two pages only. The concept has been knocking around my brain since college.

Obviously, the idea was fresher back in 2003. It's been done to death now. Back then, I was still really obsessed with Shane Black's The Long Kiss Goodnight. I thought about how funny it would be if an ordinary woman just thought...well, you'll see...

Story: Yours Truly
Art: Javi Laparra
Lettering: Justin Birch

Page 1


Page 2



~

These were Patreon exclusives for a few months. A two page short comic costs me about $400 to create. If you want to chip in to help me continue creating short comics, essays, or anything else, consider becoming a Patron here: https://www.patreon.com/audreybrownwrites or sending a one-time donation to: https://www.paypal.me/AudreyMarieBrown

I'm so intensely thankful to the people who support me. I also take requests and commissions! This month, I'm writing a creative nonfiction essay about my grandma for Liz Tippy!

7/20/18

There's So Much You Don't Know About Angela Lansbury


I'm writing an essay about how the brilliant Dame Angela Lansbury continues to stay relevant. She's not just a childhood favorite. She's a legitimate role model for a million reasons I'm currently trying to put into words.

I even keep a framed picture of her on my desk. It was a gift from my friend Jen about ten years ago. I've displayed it in every office since then. Is it a little weird? Sure. But I do enjoy watching people slowly figure out who it is, then try to get up the nerve to ask if she's my grandma.

Anyway, while I draft, I want to make sure you know about the Angela of three key eras. This is your homework, my friends.

1. Classic Film Angela Lansbury

To you, she may be the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast or a witch in training from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. But her career spans decades. There's another Angela most of you don't know. The one who got an early start in the studio system by taking on the "bad girl" archetype...and taking it on quite well.



In the unsung Judy Garland classic The Harvey Girls, she even got into a full-on fist fight with Judy. That alone makes the movie worth a watch, but so does Judy, the soundtrack, and this... 



2. Broadway Angela Lansbury

Angie once tread the boards for fifteen years straight and has since returned for many runs. She's a triple threat. She originated iconic roles and spent plenty of time in classic shows. (Mame, Blithe Spirit, and Gypsy just to name a few.) By her own account, she kept ticket sales rolling along and made sure she got ten percent of the take, to boot.

She also worked with her best friend, Bea Arthur, many times. How much do you wish you could go back in time and have a lunch date with these two?



3. Television Legend Angela Lansbury

My favorite role of hers is still that of Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. There's something innately empowering about the character. She enjoyed her time as a mother and a wife, she's clear about that repeatedly in show dialogue.

We meet her in the pilot as a widow, but she's still a vital, involved member of her community. She then goes on to find world-wide success as a mystery writer, using the skills she's developed through research to solve real murders. She bakes bread when she needs to think. She travels extensively. She's always direct, but never rude. Not even to the actual murderers when she catches them.

Plus, she even helped Magnum P.I. once. Speaking of which, no, I'm not watching the new Magnum. I know you didn't ask, but I have a lot of feelings.


You get the sense from interviews that Angela Lansbury is a lot like Jessica Fletcher. She speaks confidently about making deals, demanding excellent pay and working conditions, and treating the crew well in this series of interviews from EmmyTV Legends.org. She understands her own agency.

On a lighter note, she also pulled hosting duty for the Academy Awards. Honest to God, sometimes if I'm having a tough day, I watch this just to cheer up. (She also did one-off, televised theatrical productions like this.)


Bonus: She also did a workout video. See? Renaissance woman. 



I think I've made my point. I'm one of those writers who writes to discover. I don't really know what I'm trying to say until I gather all my research and take a few cracks at it. I'm just as curious as you are about what's brought Miss Lansbury to mind in such a strong way lately.

I'll keep you up to date...



And also...

I still love the internet for making this.

6/28/18

Hammer Pants: The Making of a Nerd


What I like to call...the aftermath.
I turned into a nerd the way people in movies change into werewolves. All at once and completely against my will. 

Pictures of me from fourth grade play like a makeover montage in reverse. At first, the images show a normal-enough little girl with straight teeth and mismatched clothes.

(Please say the following line in the voice of Jacques Cousteau.)

Then...a rapid progression.

(Un-Jacques)

5/28/18

3 Times the Coen Brothers Displayed Their Devotion to Classic Film

1. Hail, Caesar!



Related Thing: Why Do People in Old Movies Talk Weird? & tracing the roots of the homage in Hail, Caesar!


2. Raising Arizona



Related Thing: I see Raising Arizona as following the classic mythical western template. There's no better example of that than the most iconic spaghetti western of all time, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Sergio Leone intended to create a satire. He accidentally elevated that which he meant to critique. He was just too good at it.

(The most popular theory to emerge states that the three main characters of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly are Gods who have descended in the disguise of humanity to wage spiritual battle on Earth.)

The Coens have an innate understanding of how tight scriptwriting and intense focus on small details can amplify a seemingly run-of-the-mill story. A focus on simplicity of plot and clarity of character transforms a story into an artifact. Something audiences can read meaning into, as so many have done with Raising Arizona. (Many people posit that the entire film is Hi's dream sequence or slow death, populated by people he interacts with while serving time.)

In other words, good writing consistently stokes fan theory culture.


3. The Hudsucker Proxy



Related Thing: Pee Wee's Lament and relevant information about why I think Jennifer Jason Leigh's character is an overt homage to Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday.

5/17/18

New Comic and Podcast Episodes!

My Patreon patrons and past Leaves donors received a new two-page comic this week. In which our heroine isn't quite as tough as she imagines...


If you want to know more, hop on my bandwagon over at Patreon. Also, my very nerdy comedy podcast, Movie of the Year, churns out new episodes weekly. To quote the great Karina Longworth, join us, won't you?



4/27/18

Seven Predictions for Avengers: Infinity War

UPDATE: 1 out of 7. Yikes. 

To be honest...I didn't love it. I didn't go back to see it again, which is almost unheard of for me. So....yeah. Still processing.

ORIGINAL POST:

The great Marvel Rewatch of 2018 has concluded. I hit everything except the first two Thor movies.

(Sorry, big guy.)

The first Avengers was a masterwork of what-if scenarios involving established characters. I hope this movie also takes full of advantage of quirky pairings, inevitable personality conflicts, and comic book references.

Before I head out to Avengers: Infinity War tonight, I wanted to record my predictions.

Here are my top 7:

1. I think they all die, including one or more of the Eternals*. Tony's vision in Ultron was foreshadowing. The man is a genius. It wasn't just his fear Wanda saw, it was that big beautiful brain of his working through multiple probabilities.

There might be one survivor at the end. It should be Ant Man or Dr. Strange, but it will probably be Iron Man since he's the father of the MCU, by way of Jon Favreau. Whoever they may be, I think they'll use one of the infinity stones to go back in time or to an alternate dimension to change things for the next movie.

The final frame or bonus scene will probably be a Back to the Future-esque scene of the lone survivor meeting Captain America during World War II. Cap will say, "Who are you?" The character will smile and we'll cut to black.

2. Black Widow will die protecting Captain America or vice versa. Those two are bros4lyfe. Actually, Cap owes her more than a few favors by now. If we're never gonna get a Black Widow movie, I hope our talented and illustrious spy gets more of the attention in this movie and the next. She's second in seniority out of the entire cast. Please give her more to do.

3. Someone will use the time stone to send Cap back to see Peggy. OR they'll use the mind stone to make him believe he's back in time as a way to temporarily distract him or take him out of the fight completely. I know, I know...wishful thinking and how I am the king of it. I just really want a Peggy cameo.

4. Thanos will be more reasonable than we expect. All great villains must be correct in some way in order to be compelling. Marvel is great at sympathetic bad guys. Loki was kinda right about how humans were made to be ruled or dominated during vacuums of power. Ultron was right that we were killing the planet. (For the record, I still love that movie and I don't understand the mass hatred.)

Random relevant quote: "You're not wrong Walter, you're just an a*@hole."

5. I hope Red Skull shows up. I realize that's not much of a prediction. His absence still bothers me. I've always believed he was meant to be the big bad of Marvel's phase one. I thought the tesseract opened some kind of generic version of the bi-frost and transported him...I don't know...some kind of place.

I thought for sure he'd show up in Thor's universe at some point until all those reports surfaced about how much Hugo Weaving loathed the makeup process and swore to darken Marvel's door no more.

But it would be really great if he ponied up for a cameo to tie up that loose end.

6. One or more of the female characters form friendships. So many of them have been relegated to being the only woman on their team. It would be great if one of the Wakandan warriors commented on this in a humorous aside. Come oooooon, Bechdel...mama needs a new pair of shoes.

7. I think Hela could be percieved as the Goddess of Death and I think that's who Thanos is smiling about at the end of the first Avengers when Wesley from Buffy in prosthetics says, "...is to court death." Run on sentence, I know. I'm just...I'm amped. As mentioned in point number 4, I think Thanos will have a rock solid reason for being the Mary Poppins of murder.

I have a lot more thoughts, but I'm almost too hyped to put them down right now. I've thought maybe Vision or Loki might somehow pose as one of the other heroes at the end because said actual hero is dead. And I don't know...other stuff. Is it Christmas morning yet?!

I'm pretty much a sugar-crazed toddler right now. I've been worried about Infinity War and worried about the Russo Brothers making things so dark that the movie won't be fun to watch. But the spoiler-free reviews I've read say otherwise, so I'm officially excited.

What do you think will happen in Infinity War?


*I originally called the Eternals "Celestials" because I'm a dingbat sometimes.