Thursday, December 23, 2010

Movies in a Minute: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Hey, guys. No new posts this week, sorry--I've been taking it easy. But in honor of Xmas this weekend, check out this classic (NOT old) blog post on Home Alone 2!

Kate McCallister: "Peter, do you think we should do anything for Kevin? I feel so guilty for leaving him at home last year."

Peter McCallister: "Don't worry. I gave him my old tape recorder. He thinks it's a great new toy and it didn't cost us anything. Well, off to Florida tomorrow. Kevin, go get your tie out of the bathroom so your whole family can verbally abuse you for not reacting to Buzz's humiliation of you with gentle good humor."

Uncle Frank: "Get out of here you nosy little pervert, or stuff some singles in the shower curtain, because I'm not giving all this away for free!"

Kate: "Oh no, we slept in again!"

Kevin: "My parents are on that flight! And my boarding pass is...somewhere."

Airline Security: "Go on in. You look trustworthy."

Osama Bin Laden: "And you guys at the convention laughed at me when I came up with my grand plan. You said, no, Osama, go for the empty cornfield in Kansas. Now who's laughing, eh? Eh?"

Kevin: "I'm in New York? Oh no. I did it again. OK, time to check in at the Plaza. Credit card fraud? You got it."

Mr. Hector: "There's something not quite right about that young boy. I'm going to make it my life's mission to unmask him. Cedric, watch him like a hawk."

Kevin: "Excuse me, why were you going through my bag?"

Cedric: "I thought there might be a non demeaning movie role in there for me?"

Kevin: "Sick. An old man Marley doppleganger who's also a vector for bird flu. Well, time for shopping!"

Mr. Duncan: "My, my. Where did you get all that money?"

Kevin: "Uh. Lots of grandmothers. I'm part Mormon. So what's with this Mr. Duncan? Is this store an extension of Neverland Ranch or what?"

Mr. Duncan: "Well, you see, Mr. Duncan is a kindly old man who loves to talk about himself in the third person. He loves kids so much that every Christmas, in between serving F.A.O. Schwartz with lawsuits, he just takes the money from the cash registers and brings it to the children's hospital. Oh, take an ornament from Mr. Duncan's tree. The turtle doves are especially exquisite."

Harry: "Look who it is. A witness to last year's crime and someone who also tortured us on several occasions. Let's get involved in his life again."

Kevin: "Oh no! Marv and Harry! And I forgot to buy Marv a Hanukkah gift."

Mr. Hector: "What's the matter? Not cute enough to pass off a...stolen credit card?"

Kevin: "Angels with Filthier Souls, don't fail me now."

Johnny: "You was here. And you were smooching with my brother. You've been smooching with everyone. Cheeks. Bony Bob. Cliff."

Cliff: "It's a lie!"

Chris Columbus: "Oh, man. Is there anything that can't be made funnier by homophobia?"

Harry: "Come to Papa! We're going to waste you and then rob a toy store. Say hello to Spider for me."

Marv: "He's getting away!"

Harry: "No, he's going into pre-tidied up by Rudy Giuliani Central Park. He's a dead man."

Kevin: "Help! A rock! Aah. Oh. You're not so bad."

Bird Lady: "When I take my schizophrenia medication, I'm downright chipper."

Kevin: "So what's your deal?"

Bird Lady: "Got my heart broken, and now I can't trust in love."

Kevin: "A heart is like a pair of roller skates. Use it before you outgrow them and all your friends make fun of you for not wearing neon inline roller blades."

Bird Lady: "That's good. You got any kid friendly metaphors for my alcoholism and mental issues?"

Kate: "Excuse me. What kind of idiots do you have working here?"

Mr. Hector: "Well, Cousin Itt's wife isn't the brightest, but ever since he stopped paying alimony, she's got no choice. And don't be hard on Cedric--he's not much of a bellboy. His main field of expertise is in making the copies."

Kevin: "Hey Marv and Harry? Don't mess with kids on Christmas."

Bird Lady: "And take that. Bird seed."

Kevin: "Awesome, all the loose plot points have been wrapped up before my family got here."

Buzz: "Kevin, you've taught all us a valuable lesson. Lie your way into the Plaza and then make them give you a huge suite in exchange for not suing anyone."

Kevin: "Bird Lady, here. It's a turtle dove. You keep one and I'll take the other and we'll remember each other."

Bird Lady: "Great. I'll hang it on the bird feces encrusted pine tree I call home."


Glad you guys enjoyed the last Home Alone post, and hope you enjoyed this one, too. As always feel free to let me know if there are any other recaps that have to happen on this blog.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movies in a Minute: Interview with the Vampire

Louis: "I am a tragically beautiful vampire. You want me to tell you my life story?"

Daniel Malloy: "That's what I do for a living. I interview people. On the radio. I'm thinking I can parlay my interview with you into making myself into a Howard Stern meets Elvira persona."

Louis: "Shall we begin like David Copperfield? I am born, I grew up? Or, instead, shall we find a convenient way of reducing this film to about two hours by instead beginning with the year I was born to darkness? I was deeply depressed because of the death of my wife and son in childbirth. And then a vampire came to me, and..."

Malloy: "Bit your neck and turned you into a vampire?"

Louis: "Like Charlotte on season one of Sex and the City referring to copulation as "lovemaking," we prefer to call vampirism the dark gift."

Lestat: "I'm going to give you the choice I never had. Want the marble coffin or the onyx? Now, Louis. You must feed!"

Louis: "Oh. Uh. Er. Got any TruBlood?"

Lestat: "Wuss."

Louis: "I longed to know more, learn about my vampire heritage. But Lestat didn't want to indulge in my angst. I thought of leaving him, but Lestat, like an undead Kato Kaelin, liked hanging around and feeding off my wealth. So after I fed off a little girl, he turned her into a vampire so I wouldn't leave."

Claudia: "I'm hungry! Please sir, I want some more."

Lestat: "Look, Louis! Claudia. Our own little vampire daughter. We're one big happy family."

Sadako: "How is the Christian right rioting over poor Tango and not saying boo about this?"

Louis: "To me, Claudia was a child. A child with whom I spooned nightly in a coffin."

Michael Jackson: "What a glowing testament to fatherhood!"

Louis: "But to Lestat, she was a prodigy, a cold blooded killer. And to Hollywood, she was the prototype for Hit Girl, Let the Right One In, Ringu, and hundreds of other evil little girl movies. But thirty years had passed and Claudia still had the body of a child. Her eyes alone told the hidden story..."

Claudia: "I'll never go through puberty! I'll never become sexy! I'll never be able to dance about in 19th century garb with my cleavage on display! I want more! I want the chance to star in a slow paced period piece with a bustle and corset that emphasizes my womanly physique!"

Sofia Coppola: "Just wait a few more years..."

Claudia: "You did this to us! You! Let's kill Lestat! Here, Lestat, I brought you two little boys drunk on brandywine. Feast!"

Lestat: "Mmm. I love the taste of offending middlebrow America..."

Claudia: "Psych. They were already dead. And now you will be, too!"

Lestat: "Noo...."

Louis: "Claudia, I don't know about this..."

Cesar Milan: "Rules, boundaries, and limitations!"

Claudia: "Let's dump Lestat in the swamp. Now we can go to Paris and learn about our vampire heritage!"

Lestat: "I'm back! I feasted on reptile blood in the swamp!"

Sadako: "Suddenly Nicole's prosthetic nose in The Hours seems a lot less brave..."

Louis: "He's hideous. New plan. Let's burn him alive, run screaming into the night, and then go learn about our vampire heritage."

Claudia: "Isn't Paris wonderful, Louis?"

Louis: "But no vampires were to be found in the Old World, no matter how hard I looked. And so it was when I gave up my search for another vampire that one finally found me."

Patti Stanger: "It's like I always say. Even the undead can smell desperation a mile away."

Armand: "Hello. Take my, how you say? Ah, yes. Card. Come to Theatre des Vampire. Bring the little one, too. We put on plays where we kill and feast upon the living for a human audience. We like to think we're pioneering reality theatre."

Louis: "Can you tell me more about our heritage and what it really means to be a vampire? And could you possibly cast off my human name, Louis, and give me a more fitting vampire name? There's no way Ann's going to write a human sequel called The Vampire Louis."

Armand: "If by all that you mean ogle you and smile suggestively...then...yes. Oh, and by the way, I know the plot is getting dull again, so it's against our code to kill another vampire, and we know about Lestat. How, you ask? We can read minds."

Claudia: "You would leave me for Armand if he beckoned you!"

Louis: "I would never leave you. And if I did, I'd be extra angsty about it."

Other Vampires: "You killed Lestat! Preapre to die! The little one will be left outside to scorch in the sun, and you will be locked in a box for all eternity just in time for Armand to save you."

Louis: "Claudia! No!"

Armand: "Sorry about Claudia. You want to come upstairs and look at my, how you say? Ah yes. Etchings?"

Louis: "That night, I took my revenge. I set fire to the vampire lair. When I was finished, all but Armand were dead. Also, I had established my reputation as the Uncle Tom of vampires."

Armand: "Come. Stay with me. You are perfection. The embodiment of our tragic century! I will teach you to you say? Ah yes...without regret."

Louis: "No. All I have is my suffering. My regret. And a homosexual vampire relationship just doesn't have the shocking social stigma as a relationship with a seven year old girl vampire. Sorry."

Armand: "How you say? Ah yes. Good bye, Louis."

Louis: "I went back to New Orleans. Things changed. Then it became the new century, and I got to go to movies to be exposed to things that I couldn't experience as a vampire, like sunrises and non-stilted conversation. I'm debating buying a Betamax. Oh, and I saw Lestat again."

oy: ""

Sadako: "Enough Louis/Lestat fanfic writers slit their wrists and said they do believe?"

Lestat: "Louis! Stay with me, don't leave me! I can't bear the new world. All these lights. And the price of frozen blood. Oh, Louis, you're as beautiful and enchanting as ever."

Louis: "Well, that's it."

Malloy: "Brilliant! Now make me a vampire, too! I want to be your companion of the night, like Lestat and Armand."

Louis: "Silly boy. I'm out of your league. Now go start a Weezer tribute band and get these thoughts of vampires out of your head."

Malloy: "Back to playing Magic the Gathering and crying. Holy crap, another vampire!"

Lestat: "For no real remotely logical or plausible reason at all other other than the fact that I'm Ann Rice's Mary Sue, hereeee's Lestat. I'm going to give you the choice I never had."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Movies in a Minute: Sex and the City 2

Carrie: "Time for Stanford and Anthony's wedding!"

Charlotte: "My gay male accessory is marrying her gay male accessory."

Carrie: "And there are gonna be swans, show tunes, Liza Minnelli officiating, and everything else we could find in Fred Phelps' big book of nightmares."

Anthony: "Stanford. When we first met, it was hate at first sight. But since then, Michael Patrick King refused to write any more gay male characters, so it was you or that walk on extra from the Bitchy Bingo episode."

Charlotte: "Aw. Gay people can be so sweet!"

Liza Minnelli: "All the single ladies! All the single ladies!"

Sadako: "Between this and what happened to Brook Astor, someone needs to create an Association for the Exploitation of Rich Old Lady Icons."

Mr. Big: "Carrie, I bought you a big screen TV for our anniversary. I was thinking we could stay in and watch a timeless black and white movie. I picked up some food from the new Japanese place on Madison."

Carrie: "How could you?! Get thee behind me, take out containers! I'm going to my old apartment to write."

Mr. Big: "That was nice. Why don't we take two days off every week since it worked out so well last time."

Carrie: "I'm the only one allowed to have diva like demands! How could you even ask me that?!"

Mr. Big: "I'm sorry. I'm having a hard time being boorish enough to create enough conflict for a feature length film, but not so obnoxious the audience won't cheer when we sail off into marital bliss at the end."

Charlotte: "I hate my life! The baby I've wanted for years cries. The cute adopted Asian kid who represents how open minded and progressive I am doesn't understand how not to get cupcake icing on my outfit..."

Charlotte: "...And my Irish nanny doesn't have the good grace to be dumpy and middle aged."

Miranda: "Well, I've got to try to balance my hectic work life and my family obligations. Again."

Samantha: "An Arabian sheik has invited us on an all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi! The SATC girls are going to the UAE!"

Michael Patrick King: "Insert the Emirates Airline promotional information. And someone make a sheik/chic pun before the plane lands!"

Butler Guarau: "Hello, miss. I'll be your butler and the reminder to the audience that you still know how to connect with the little people."

Carrie: "Nice!"

Aiden: "Carrie? It's me!"

Carrie: "What are you doing here?"

Aiden: "Baryshnikov wouldn't come back and Ron Livingston's shooting Dinner for Schmucks. Let's have dinner."

Carrie: "I got a bad review of my book in the New Yorker."

Samantha: "Screw that. Men are just threatened every time we show we have a voice. Just like the women here in their burqas."

Miranda: "Or my asshole boss who never let me finish a sentence."

Carrie: "Guarau, marriage is so hard, isn't it?"

Guarau: "I only see my wife once every three months when I scrape up enough of my wages to go back to India."

Carrie: "It must be so meaningful when you do see each other! I guess my marriage is in good shape! Okay, now do you have a mystical, Eastern flavored way of making Big's unwillingness to spoon in bed seem justified?"

Charlotte: "It's really hard being a mom."

Miranda: "Definitely. There's a lot we have to sacrifice. Work. Luncheons with the girls. Vacation with the girls limited to only once every two years."

Charlotte: "How do the women without help do it?!"

Miranda: "To the women who do it without help! Assuming they didn't give themselves an injury eye rolling when you had a panic attack after your daughter smeared icing on your Valentino skirt."

Aiden: "Carrie, you look amazing." *smooch*

Carrie: "No...this is a mistake."

Adrian Monk: "Wait, are you sure you can't sleep with him? The way you slept with Mr. Big when you dated Aiden? It'll make it even. Trust me. You'll thank me later."

Rikard Spurt: "I love the Middle East. Whenever I come here, everything's so covered up and there are so many sexual taboos, that it's so much more erotic."

Sadako: "For a fraction of the price, you could go to an FLDS compound in Utah."

Samantha: "Speaking of getting turned on..."

Carrie: "Miranda, Samantha's been arrested! Conservative Abu Dhabi just doesn't understand our needs and wants."

Miranda: "For god's sake, how many times do we have to sing I Am Woman before you men understand?"

Samantha: "Great, our free hotel service just ended. Ugh! New Middle East my ass! I'm beginning to see just why Garfield threatening to send Nermal here was such a big deal. We're out of here."

Carrie: "I lost my passport! We've got to go to the market and get to the airport in time so we can still fly first class!"

Strange Middle Eastern Man: "Would you like to step into my seedy backroom to buy a Rolex?"

Charlotte: "Okay!"

Samantha: "I HAVE SEX!"

Carrie: "We're in trouble, and I don't see any street urchins voiced by Scott Weinger with anthropomorphic monkeys to save us."

Middle Eastern Woman #1: "In here! We're going to help you!"

Middle Eastern Woman #2: "Also, look! Underneath our hijabs and burqas, we Arab women are just as subject to the male gaze as you New Yorkers!"

Middle Eastern Woman #1: "Now put on these burqas and you can escape!"

Carrie: "But how to get a cab to the airport? I know! I'll make like Claudette Colbert did in It Happened One Night and lift the hem of my burqa to flash some leg!"

Jasmine: "Come on. Really? I was pretty naive shopping for apples my first time alone in the marketplace at Agrabah and even I handled myself better than you guys."

Carrie: "Back in New York, Mr. Big didn't even pick me up at the airport after I told him I kissed my ex boyfriend."

Mr. Big: "Hi."

Carrie: "Where were you?!"

Mr. Big: "As a punishment for what you did, I'm not getting you any jewelry that evokes Breakfast at Tiffany's or old New York. Instead, you get a plain black diamond."

Carrie: "Black? Because it's the color of my soul?"

Mr. Big: "No, because De Beers accidentally ordered a few hundred black diamonds in stock that they really need to make move this summer."

Carrie: "As for the rest of the gang, Miranda got a new, empowering job, Samantha continues her lonely role as the sole SATC girl who exemplifies living life as a gay man in the body of a woman, and Charlotte found out that her hot nanny, apparently out on loan from the set of Friends, prefers other hot nannies."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lessons I Learned from the Babysitters Club, Part II

Part II of what I learned from the BSC!

Kristy and the Baby Parade

Synopsis: The town of Stoneybrook holds a baby parade. The girls decide on a theme and borrow some babies. But when they start fighting, will they ruin their chances of winning?

Lessons learned: I like to think that you can tell a lot about the personality of kids from what they buy. The BSC fans looking over their Scholastic book lists and begging for this one instead of, say, Stacey's Lie or Dawn's Big Date are the ones you have to worry about. (Another good test? If they were more interested in saving their money to buy an exquisite Ann M. Martin approved tea cozy instead of Goosebumps pogs and Creepy Crawlers.)

Welcome to the BSC, Abby

Synopsis: The BSC has a new member! Meet Abby Stevenson. She's Jewish, has long curly hair, plays soccer, tells a barrage of nonstop corny jokes, and suffers from asthma.

Lessons learned: Ann M. managed to cram in two Asian stereotypes (Asian airhead for Claudia and super smart Asian for Janine), the cliche of jock girls not being into boys or makeup, the California blonde one, and a few others. Should I really be all that surprised that the token Jewish girl is Woody Allen lite?

Kristy and the Copycat

Synopsis: Kristy joins the softball team at school but finds herself under pressure to do things she knows are wrong as part of the hazing process.

Lessons Learned: Based on the actual plot of this book (which has little to do with Karen's copying Kristy), I think Ann M. was outsourcing more than just the actual writing of this book. If we raided Scholastic's corporation in Korea, would we find pale, emaciated writers chained to desks, coming up with tag lines and titles to books they've never actually read?

Get Well Soon, Mallory

Synopsis: Mallory hasn't been feeling well for a while. Turns out she has mono!

Lessons Learned: Between Mallory's mono, Stacey's diabetes, Shea's dyslexia and Abby and Anna's various ailments, little Stephie's asthma, I blame the BSC for my hypochondria. This series was worse than a year in med school when it came to inspiring fear of development diseases.

Kristy in Charge

Synopsis: The kids at SMS are given a chance to teach a class for a week as part of the Short Takes program. Kristy has the opportunity to teach 7th grade P.E. but has to deal with the annoying Cary Reitlin.

Between this and Stacey and the Mystery at the Mall, apparently, education, experience, and certification aren't huge components of becoming an educator. I'm also starting to realize why Ann M.'s autobiography glossed over the section where she worked as a teacher.

Kristy + Bart = ?

Synopsis: Kristy's always described Bart as her sort of boyfriend. But they've never had the same commitment as Mary Anne and Logan. Does Kristy want a real relationship with Bart?

Lessons Learned: Dating, relationship, and guys are confusing for most teen girls. And the best way of conveying that confusion isn't through metaphors and interesting prose: it's through the question mark.

Claudia, Queen of the Seventh Grade

Synopsis: Claudia was bumped back from 8th to 7th grade a few books ago. She makes the best of things and may even be elected Queen of the Seventh Grade as part of the SMS class games.

Lessons Learned: Ann M, you're a closet Priscilla, Queen of the Desert fan, aren't you? You can admit it. I won't tell anyone.

Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever

Synopsis: While in California for a few months, Dawn meets a 12 year old girl named Whitney who has Down Syndrome. Whitney's parents ask Dawn if she'll sit for Whitney, who can't be left alone for long, but without telling Whitney (who thinks she's too old for a babysitter). When Whitney finds out Dawn's being paid to spend time with her, she's hurt. Later, when Dawn is sitting for some other kids, they disappear...but later are found at a carnival with Whitney who was trying to prove her responsibility. Later on, the We Love Kids club makes Whitney an honorary member.

Lessons Learned: The mentally challenged should be treated like everyone else. Except when they engage in light kidnapping, we don't sound the Amber Alert--instead, we treat them to hugs and societal approval.

Super Special: California Girls!

Synopsis: The BSC girls come into some money and spend it on a trip to California where they stay with Dawn's father.

Lessons Learned: Somebody out there at Scholastic has to tell Ann M. that there's more to the Beach Boys than California Girls references. Please. Someone stuff Pet Sounds in her stocking this year along with kitten pincushion. Also, considering all the California Girls references, Ann M. and Scholastic should feel grateful Brian Wilson was too busy mainlining birthday cakes (and making the odd Full House guest appearance) in the 80s and early 90s to get too litigious.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lessons I Learned from the Babysitters Club, Part I

I've told you guys all the important things I learned from Goosebumps and The Twilight Zone. Now, I'm tackling the BSC!

Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls

Synopsis: Something scary is going on in Stoneybrook. A criminal is robbing houses but considerately calling to make sure that no one's home when he comes over. The girls panic--what if the Phantom Phone Caller strikes when they're babysitting?

Lessons Learned: You can tell that Scholastic really cared about putting in back when these books came out. Even though BSC mania hadn't yet hit America, whoever came up with this title managed an alliteration even with the "ph" prefix to both words. Kudos to you, phantom book title writer!

The Truth About Stacey

Synopsis: Stacey (still) has diabetes but her parents are having a hard time dealing with it. Also, the BSC gets some competition.

Lessons Learned: Since Ann M. already told us that Stacey had diabetes in book one, there's not much "truth" to be revealed in this book. I think this is what's known as tipping your hand too soon. That also explains why Ellen, Suzanne, Peter and the other ghostwriters are always so eager for Ann M. to take part in the weekly Scholastic poker game.

Mary Anne Saves the Day

Synopsis: Mary Anne's father is overprotective of her: she can't stay out as late to babysit as her friends, she has to wear her hair in pigtails, and she can't even pick out her own clothes or decorate her room. But when Mary Anne shows she's matured, her father finally decides to give her the freedom she's been wanting for so long.

Lessons Learned: Much like Warren Jeffs of the FLDS, Richard Spier knew that the secret to keeping a woman oppressed lay in ensuring that she wore a humiliatingly out of place hairdo. After Mary Anne gained control over her hair, it was all over: boyfriends and the freedom to adorn her bedroom walls with all the cute kitten pictures she could lay her hands on.

Jessi's Babysitter

Synopsis: Jessi's mother decides to go back to work so Jessi's overbearing Aunt Cecilia moves in to help out. Will Jessi and Becca be able to cope?

Lessons Learned: The tagline for the book is Jessi doesn't need a babysitter--she is one! Apparently, Liesel Von Trapp steered me wrong when she haughtily informed Maria that at sixteen she did not require a governess. In actuality, it was thirteen year old Brigitta and twelve year old Kurt who should have been the most offended.

Stacey's Emergency

Synopsis: Stacey isn't feeling well. Is it her diabetes?

Lessons Learned: If things don't go well with this Scholastic gig, illustrator Hodges Soileau could do great things in the advertising sphere specializing in products for the stressed out working mom on the go.

Welcome Back, Stacey!

Synopsis: Stacey's parents get a divorce. Her mother decides to return to Stoneybrook, and Stacey has to choose which parent she wants to live with. This book sets up the big question: will she return to Stoneybrook--and the BSC?

Lessons Learned: The good people at Scholastic may have had the art of L33t speak down well before the Internet came along. (Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies? Kristy + Bart = ? Truly ahead of their time!) But they really needed to work on their sense of suspense.

Keep Out, Claudia!

Synopsis: Claudia babysits for a new family. The children's mother dislikes Claudia but seems to like most of the other sitters. The BSC soon suspects that their new clients are racist.

Lessons Learned: For all her love of adolescents with blonde hair and blue eyes, deep down, I think Ann M. never much cared for Flowers in the Attic. I like to think that this book, in which a bunch of Dollanganger dopplegangers exhibit bigotry, is her little V.C. Andrews send up.

Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym)

Synopsis: Mallory hates boys. And gym. No false advertising here, folks.

Lessons Learned: Scholastic's mastery of punctuation leaves something to be desired. Sorry, Scholastic. Putting in a parenthetical phrase doesn't make this title cute or whimsical. Now, consider a strike through or an exclamation mark, and this might become a little more marketable.