Monday, January 31, 2011

Movies in a Minute: Bowling for Columbine

Michael Moore: "Columbine proved we Americans sure do have a problem with guns. Look! You can get a gun in a bank."

Michael Moore: "And look! A beagle with a rifle. Could we be any kookier? Well, speaking of kooks...let's talk to a famous crazy gun nut."

Assistant: "Mr. Moore, we couldn't get in touch with Phil Spector's people but Terry Nichols is available to talk to you. Also, your shipment of bacon covered bacon just arrived."

Terry Nichols: "I sleep with a gun under my pillow."

Michael Moore: "Cue the montage of gun use!"

Beatles: "Happiness is a warm gun..."

Michael Moore: "Did you guys know that Lockheed Martin was responsible for creating bombs that were dropped on Kosovo the day of the Columbine massacre? And look who's in charge of Lockheed. A white man! In a suit. Now, cue Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World and let's watch some tapes of the U.S. doing evil. Next, we have a tape of the Columbine massacre."

Assistant: "Should we play The KKK Took My Baby Away or My Generation in the background?"

Michael Moore: "Let's be understated and just play the hysterical 911 call a Columbine teacher placed at the time instead. Anyway, after that, the NRA still came to Denver."

Charlton Heston: "FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!"

Michael Moore: "So, why do we have higher rates of gun related deaths than any other countries, despite the fact that other nations also love video games, heavy metal, and also have experienced the breakdown of the nuclear family? I'm not sure, but let's have another montage while we play the synthesized version of Beethoven's Fourth made popular in A Clockwork Orange."

Stanley Kubrick: "I really should have more control over this sort of thing."

Michael Moore: "Matt Stone who created South Park also grew up in Colorado. Speaking of cartoons, I'm going to show you a South Park esque cartoon. Draw your own conclusions about who animated it."

Cartoon Character: "Being a rich white oppressive moron is so much easier with a gun."

Matt Stone: "Note to self. Remember this moment when writing the script for Team America. Also, look into the physics of marionette fornication."

Michael Moore: "Americans sure are afraid of things. Probably because of the news depicting black people as criminals. Even the wild, Africanized bees can't catch a break."

Professor Barry Glassner: "That's right. You know, on TV, they make black and Hispanic people look like bad guys but the real tragedy is that we can't see the Hollywood sign because of all the pollution. The police are here covering a story of a suspect with a gun but no one seems to care about the pollution issue."

Michael Moore: "Is that so? Excuse me, Mr. Policeman? You can't see the Hollywood sign because of the pollution. Mr. Policeman? Also, I dropped my fudgsicle. Can you arrest someone?"

Policeman: "Absolutely not."

Michael Moore: "But, but...the pollution!"

Al Gore: "Hands off, Mike. That story's all mine."

Black Kids Playing: "La la la..."

Policeman: "Hmm..."

Michael Moore: "Why not? ...uh, why not?"

Policeman: "Excuse me a sec, I'm in the running for the LAPD's much ballyhooed Mark Fuhrman award."

Michael Moore: "All right, that's enough critical thinking. Now, back to pop culture. You know what else sucks? COPS! Cue the theme song!"

Cops Creator Dick Herland: "Well, exploring the true causes of crime would be hard. So we mostly just follow around cops and pour our scriptwriting funds into Krispy Kremes."

Michael Moore: "Do a show called Corporation Cops! Everyone in America with a dead end job is gonna love seeing a rich white boss man get taken down. After all, who wouldn't want to punch a guy wearing a suit and tie?"

Sadako: "At this point, I can't tell if Corporation Cops is supposed to pass for wit or if it's just another promo for Stupid White Men."

Michael Moore: "Time now for the O Canada section of our film. Did you know Canadians have a lower rate of gun related murder than the the U.S., despite the same poverty levels, gun ownership rates, and enjoyment of violent movies as we do?

Sadako: "Also, that the Canadians have about seventy ways to describe french fries topped with gravy and cheese, but no word for hatred?"

Michael Moore: "So, Canadians. Do you guys lock your doors?"

Canadian: "Nope."

Canadian: "No."

Canadian: "Not at all."

Michael Moore: "See? Hi. Hey there!"

Canadian: "Oh, hello. Up for a game of luge?"

Michael Moore: "Plus their news is free of propaganda and their politicians ready to engage in intelligent discourse."

Bureau of Canadian Tourism: "Here's your check, Mike."

Michael Moore: "Now we're going to return to Flint. Yup, Flint, Michigan. My hometown and site of both my first movie and first documented stalking experience. A six year old boy shot a little girl at school. No one knows why."

Sadako: "I'll go with institutionalized racism with a side order of The White Man."


Michael Moore: "As he had after the Columbine shooting, Charlton Heston showed up with a pro-gun rally after this shooting, too."

Sadako: "Just when your little morality play needed a rich conservative white man to cast in the role of villain most."

Michael Moore: "Next I decided to meet up with some kids who still had bullets lodged in their bodies from the Columbine High School shooting. I figured this movie still didn't have a moment that rivaled the skinned rabbit scene in Roger and Me for tastelesness, so I took the kids to K-Mart and asked if we could return the bullets in their shrapnel ridden bodies for cash."

K-Mart: "Well..."

Michael Moore: "When that didn't work, I had the kids show off their bullet wounds. Lift up your shirt--show 'em the bullets."

Dov Charney: "Compared with this, my unitard ad campaigns are positively G-rated in terms of exploitation levels."

Michael Moore: "Then it was time to harass Charlton Heston while Mr. Roger's Neighborhood played in the distance and I broke the all time record for ironic music in a film."

Charlton Heston: "Hi."

Michael Moore: "Why do YOU think there's so much gun violence in America?"

Charlton Heston: "Ethnic strife?"

Michael Moore: "Are you saying you hate black people?"

Charlton Heston: "I don't know. I'm an old man. I get confused!"

Michael Moore: "So, why do you hate poor, black, oppressed people? And why do you like to have rallies after children have just been murdered? And does it burn you up that you were never considered for the part of Paul Kesey in Death Watch?"

Charlton Heston: "..."

Roger Smith: "Just smile and nod and wait for him to take a cheeseburger break."

Michael Moore: "Will you at least apologize?"

Charlton Heston: "Moses doesn't apologize for shit."

Michael Moore: "Mr. Heston, wait, come back, I need to get a shot of you pissing on a murdered girl's photo. Mr. Heston, WAIT. Screw it, we'll amp up his evil quotient in post-production. As I left, I reflected on our gun problem and thought: it was a glorious time to be an American."

Joey Ramone: "And I say to myself...what a wonderful world..."

Michael Moore: "In case you couldn't tell before, I was being sarcastic."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lessons I Learned from Teen Movies, Part II

There's nothing I like more than learning a good lesson. (A trait I'm sure I picked up from the American Girls and Stan Marsh.) Here's Part II what I learned from some of the teen movies I've watched over the years. Part I here.

She's All That

Synopsis: After getting dumped by his hottie girlfriend, Zach makes a bet that he can turn any girl into the next high school bombshell. He's given the task of playing Henry Higgins to nerd girl Laney Boggs' Eliza Doolittle.

Lessons Learned: There is very little that can make the kids of Rydell High learning to hand jive seem hip. Watching a bunch of white kids try to turn Rockafeller Skank into a dance sensation qualifies, however.

The Craft

Synopsis: Four high school girls discover that they can actually use witchcraft to get what they want.

Lessons Learned: Learning witchcraft is good for summoning up vermin, getting rid of an amorous stepfather, and perfecting the art of Zettai Ryouiki.

10 Things I Hate About You

Synopsis: A teen movie version of The Taming of the Shrew in which new student Cameron pays bad boy Patrick to ask out bitchy feminist outcast Kat in order to date her more subdued sister. Hilarity, romance, and pop music of the day ensue.

Lessons Learned: What is feminism, really? Feminism means never penciling in your eyebrows to make them darker, even when you've got less melanin than Data. Feminism means that girls can go to the guitar shop and reenact the, "It will be mine, oh yes. It will be mine," scene from Wayne's World. And feminism means never loosening up. No matter how many fortune cookies implore you to let a smile be your umbrella. It also means if a guy is paid to take you out, you're only allowed to be mad at him until he buys you something pretty.

We can't be too surprised that soon after, girls and women turned from Kat Stratford to Carrie Bradshaw, right?


Synopsis: An overachiever, a football player, and a vengeful social studies teacher deal with a high school presidential election.

Lessons Learned: I'll tell you what I didn't learn. The difference between morals and ethics. Stupid Alexander Payne.

Ghost World

Synopsis: After high school, fellow outcasts and best friends Enid and Rebecca try for a non traditional route, only to find things changing faster than they'd realized.

Lessons Learned: Despite how things turned out for them (and poor, poor Seymour), I still admire Enid and Rebecca. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to do what they did. Embrace outsider-hood. Not go to college. Wear combat boots and long sleeved shirts in the middle of summer.

The Breakfast Club

Synopsis: During a Saturday detention, five kids from different cliques realize they have more in common than they'd thought.

Lessons Learned: Actually, this is one time when I don't think I learned much of anything (except that when TBS is doing a John Hughes-a-thon, The Breakfast Club makes for a good opportunity to take a pizza break). I'll tell you what Anthony Michael Hall learned, though: whether she's a posh uptown girl or a pseudo Goth chick, girls don't go for quiet boys who enjoy puzzles. (Sorry, Langdon Alger.) Check out all of Anthony Michael Hall's post steroid work to see just how much of that lesson he took to heart.

Dirty Dancing

Synopsis: A sheltered Jewish girl finds love one summer at a resort in the Catskills in the early 60s.

Lessons Learned: Whether you're looking for an abortion experience considered safe by pre Roe v. Wade standards, tango lessons, or an education in Ayn Rand, the Catskills circa 1962 were the place to be.

Sixteen Candles

Synopsis: Samantha tries to cope with humiliation and getting the guy of her dreams when her family forgets her birthday. Meanwhile, dorky Farmer Ted gets the girl of his dreams.

Lessons Learned: Sometimes I wonder if John Hughes was going out of his way to come up with ambiguously non-consensual sex scenes just to give feminist blogs of the 00s something to angst over. (To be fair, he did do them a service--after all, just how many posts can you eke out on Terry Richardson and Dov Charney?)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lessons I Learned from Teen Movies, Part I

There's nothing I like more than learning a good lesson. (A trait I'm sure I picked up from the American Girls and Stan Marsh.) Here's what I learned from some of the teen movies I've watched over the years.


Synopsis: A sixteen year old Beverly Hills airhead tries to mentor a new girl, learns some life lessons, and finds love in the most unlikely of places.

Lessons Learned: Using a computer for things other than the Oregon Trail and Midnight Madness doesn't make you a dork or a shut-in. Computers can make things pretty. (I have it on pretty good authority the Weinstein Brothers were taking a break from writing Clueless fanfic when they came up with the idea of equipping each Project Runway contestant with an HP Tablet.) Sorry, Mark Zuckerberg, I credit Cher with transforming computers from dull to chic.

Also: incest is best, Wally Shawn is capable of expanding his range beyond "INCONCEIVABLE," and everyone's favorite diva Cher has a hidden past as an infomercial goddess.


Synopsis: Kevin Williamson pays homage to the slasher genre in this 90s send up of horror movies.

Lessons Learned: Jason Voorhes' mother was the killer in Friday the 13th. I repeat, Jason Voorhes' mother was the killer in Friday the 13th.

Can't Hardly Wait

Synopsis: Right after graduation, high schoolers attend a party. Preston hopes that after years of unrequited love, the newly dumped, popular girl Amanda will discover a love of literary nerds, while outcast Denise finds love in the unlikeliest of places.

Lessons Learned: Ways to start a relationship: common interests, no. Biting the bullet and taking them to dinner and a movie, no. Waiting years until they're dumped and vulnerable and then moving in for the kill: yes. Finding yourself trapped in a bathroom with nothing else to do: yes.

And people are surprised that flowers, chocolates, and sonnets have been replaced by negs and Facebook pokes.

Empire Records

Synopsis: A day in the life of a group of high school kids working at an alternative record store, trying to deal with their various problems, and attempting to save their store from the forces of corporate evil.

Lessons Learned: Damn the man! Save the Empire! Gamble with your boss's hard earned savings in Atlantic City! And do it with maximum navel exposure. Years from now, the Museum of Sex is going to feature another exhibit on cultures and their fetishes, and right alongside the Chinese and foot binding, the Japanese and their love of necks, the men of the 1990s and their belly buttons will be right there next to them.

Cruel Intentions

Synopsis: Decadent prep school students manipulate the lives of kids around them in this Dangerous Liaisons remake.

Lessons Learned: I learned that you can avoid sleazy 90s teen movies your entire life and somehow still have to watch them for class when you attend an Ivy League institution of higher learning. And director Roger Kumble learned that when you're making a movie about prep school kids that you should think a little bigger. After all, give Katherine Mertreuil a few more Barney's shopping scenes and give Sebastian a pet monkey, take Sebastian's journal and give it a nameless narrator, and you've got Cecily Von Ziegesar's oeuvre. Poor Roger probably still can't watch Gossip Girl without wishing he'd given Sarah Michelle Gellar a few more scenes in her school girl uniform and found a good publishing company to collaborate with.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Synopsis: A lovable high schooler plays hooky, avoids the wrath of Principal Rooney, and tries to show his best friend how to appreciate the little things.

Lessons Learned: Life moves pretty quickly. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.

Also, if you want to steal other people's lunch reservations and mess with vintage cars that don't belong to you with impunity, it helps to spout off pithy aphorisms at random intervals.


Synopsis: A high school pariah with telekinetic powers takes revenge on her fellow students at prom.

Lessons Learned: When taking revenge on your peers, less is more. Carrie White's vengeance was theatrical but she could have done just as much damage and lived to tell about it with just a piece of chalk. Next time, be less like Carrie White and more like Mathilda Wormwood. (Though to be fair, when Mathilda exacted revenge on Miss Trunchbull, she hadn't just been pelted with tampons.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

TV in a Minute: Twilight Zone: The Bewitchin' Pool

Enjoy the latest Twilight Zone post, guys. And expect a Babysitters Club post coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Sport: "What do you thinks down in that there pool, Jeb?"

Jeb: "Water?"

Sport: "Silly. We're supposed to show the audience that our rich fantasy life is the only thing keeping us from feelin' bad about our divorcing parents."

Whitt: "Howdy! Come with me!"

Sport: "What is this place?"

Rod Serling: "I described it to the writers as the town of Willoughby but even more idyllic."

Jeb: "Gollee!"

Sport: "I wonder if all there was a hole in the bottom of our swimmin' pool."

Whitt: "Hahaha!"

Sport: "Why you--

Aunt T: "Now, now. There's no fightin' to be had here. Fightin' takes away from the energy you'll be needing for chores--I mean, for enjoying a parent free paradise. I'm Aunt T, the only grown up in this place."

Michael Jackson: "Would you be interested in networking? Your place could be a direct subsidiary of Neverland Ranch..."

Aunt T: "Whitt, you and Sport go off and settle your argument. Jeb, while those two are settling their little tiff, you can help me ice the the cake. My, my. You are very accomplished! Have you had much experience?"

Jeb: "No, ma'am, this is my first."

Aunt T: "Well, we'll just have to put you on cake duty. Though from the look of it, I'd also like to see you behind a shoeshine kit if I get the chance..."

Sport: "We're back."

Aunt T: "My, you children do seem serious. Why don't you laugh much?"

Patti Hearst: "Yeah, guys. Getting kidnapped from your family's no excuse for long faces. I regularly did Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce bits for the SLA gang before our raids."

Sport: "What's there to laugh at?"

Whit: "I got a riddle! What do you call someone who crosses the ocean twice and never takes a bath? A dirty double crosser!"

Sport: "'s going to be a long eternity."

Aunt T: "I'll show you children your rooms and assign you to your chores! And if we have time, I'll measure your ankles and waists for the chains I'll be affixin' to the radiator."

Sport: "No. We have to go."

Jeb: "I wanna stay with Aunt T! Our inexplicable Southern accents and our predilection for going barefoot suddenly make sense when we're here."

Sport: "She's a kidnapper."

Aunt T: "Am not. I've been tempted to, hundreds of time, when I've seen children whose parents don't treat 'em right."

Sadako: "Yeah, I hate it when I see kids wearing shoes, living in upper middle class homes, and getting an education that goes beyond an old woman's homespun wisdom. Really burns me up."

Aunt T: "But I always resisted the temptation!"

Parents' voices: "Sport, Jeb? Come back here!"

Sport: "They're calling us."

Aunt T: "Those voices you hear first they seem quite strong. But if you ignore them, they go away after a while. And I've got Stockholm Syndrome for dummies if that don't work!"

Sport: "They're our parents and they love us!"

Aunt T: "If you say so..."

Sport: "Come on, Jeb. We cain't go back there ag'in."

Mother: "Sport, where is your brother? Get him. It's time for a chilling denouement to this episode, and I'm only doing it once."

Sport: "Jeb. Jeb?! He musta gone back to Aunt T!"

Jeb: "Aunt T? Why does their have to be chores?"

Aunt T: "Every child must have chores. It teaches him dignity of work and the joy of labor."

Bill Lumbergh: "Hmm. I like the sound of that. Hey, Peter, I'm gonna need you to learn a little bit more about the dignity of work this Saturday. Oh, and I'd like you to go ahead and experience the joy of labor."

Jeb: "Do all the children got holes in their swimming pools?"

Aunt T: "Oh, no. Some of them come down chimneys. Or you open a door and there they are. Sometimes you find them on streetcorners or on doorstops."

Sadako: "And sometimes you find them in Lindbergh cribs or in the basements of Boulder, Colorado homes owned by kiddie beauty pageant aficionados. And sometimes even in the bedrooms of Mormon girls."

Sport: "Jeb, we got to come back! Mama and Daddy have news."

Jeb: "Is it that we was switched at birth and that somewhere in Appalachia, there's a pair of WASPy kids in blazers and floral skirts wondering where their Connecticut parents are?"

Sport: "They aren't gonna yell and scream at each other anymore. And we're gonna take trips together. Everything's gonna be different. They're gonna love us."

Jeb: "But I want to stay with Aunt T!"

Aunt T: "Well, you best go back then. Whitt, get my headhunter on the line and see if he's got any more kids I could use. Tell him I'll settle for Red Chief if it's all he's got."

Sport: "Are you going to love us?"

Mrs. Sherwood: "No, we're getting a divorce. You want to live with me or that bum?"

Sport: "But what about the vacations?"

Mr. Sherwood: "You can watch me take a trip to the bank every month to sign over the alimony checks to that she-devil."

Mrs. Sherwood: "Now, choose. Who do you want to live with? Him or me?"

Jeb: *sniff*

Sport: "We choose....we choose...neither! Come on, Jeb, we got to get back to Aunt T! A demented old woman who depends on children to get her housework done is the best we can do family wise!"

Aunt T: "I'm glad you children decided to stay with Aunt T!"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TV in a Minute: Twilight Zone: Long Distance Call

Hey, guys. I did a guest post on Monday at the Secret Society of List Addicts about Manic Pixie Dream Girls. Check it out!

Now, on with the Twilight Zone. Here's Long Distance Call.

Grandma: "Happy birthday, Billy! Make a wish. Now whisper it into Grandma's ears! She's the only one who understands you!"

Sylvia: "Shouldn't we all hear the wish?"

Grandma: "No, it's a Grandma thing. Ah, my little Billy. He has given me new life."

Billy: "Why are you crying, Grandma?"

Grandma: "I won't be here with you for very long. Soon, I will be away."

Sadako: "Can I have your cameo brooch when you're gone? Next to owls, they're the next biggest thing in jewelry."

Billy: "Where will you be, Grandma?"

Chris: "So...who wants presents?"

Sadako: "Can't we play a rousing game of Where would Grandma most like to be buried first?"

Sylvia: "Come on, Billy. Your father and I have gotten all kinds of wonderful toys. perfect for a child of the early 60s. Your very own lil Martini maker. Some tin soldiers made from good old American lead paint. And a toy rifle, fit for shootin' Injuns or battlin' Commies."

Grandma: "Billy, come. I found an old telephone. Wouldn't you rather look at Grandma's present? You can talk to me whenever you want on this phone."

Billy: "Oh boy!"

Grandma: "..."

Chris: "What is it, Mother?"

Grandma: "Heavy handed music that signals that I'm on my deathbed."

Billy: "Don't be sick, Grandma!"

Rod Serling: "As must be obvious, this is a house hovered over by Mr. Death."

Sadako: "Which would probably happen a lot less often if you switched to Nicorette for your narrations, Rod."

Rod Serling: "In a moment, a child will try to cross that bridge that separates light and shadow. And of course, he must take that only known route: the Twilight Zone."

Doctor: "I'm afraid there's nothing I can do for your mother. You can see her if you like, but she won't recognize you."

Grandma: "Who are you?"

Chris: "I'm your son, Ma."

Grandma: "No. My son was taken away from me by a woman."

Mrs. Bates: "You've got to watch your kids like a hawk to make sure things like this don't happen."

Grandma: "This is my son now. Billy. Come with me, Billy. Just the two of us. Just you and..."

Billy: "Grandma!"

Chris: "Goodnight, sweet guilt tripper. May Livia Soprano and Livia Augusta sing you to your rest."

Sadako: "This makes that dreaded birthday where I got Malibu Barbie instead of Ballerina Barbie look like a walk in the park by comparison."

Sylvia: "Chris? It's Billy. I'm worried about him the last few days. He's wandering around in a daze since your mother died instead of joining me in a victory jig."

Chris: "I'm sure he'll be fine, dear."

Billy: "Yeah? Oh..."

Sylvia: "Who are you talking to on your toy phone, Billy?"

Billy: "Grandma. Can I come visit her?"

Sylvia: "..."

Sadako: "Sure, Billy. Right after your play date with Captain Howdy."

Babysitter: "Mr. and Mrs. Bayles?! Oh, thank goodness you're here."

Mr. Peterson: "While you were out at the funeral, your son ran right out into the road, right in front of my truck. When I asked him why he did it, he said someone told him to."

Sylvia: "Billy! Who are you talking to on that phone?! What's this about?!"

Billy: "Nobody!"

Sylvia: "Dammit!"

Chris: "Hmm. Better fix this. Seems I've misplaced my Dr. Spock. Uh, Billy, don't talk to Grandma in front of your mother. It freaks her out. Now that that pesky parenting's out of the way, time to join Rod for a martooni."

Billy: "What's that? Okay, Grandma. It'll be our little secret!"

Sylvia: "What the? Give me that.'s HER. Uh, where'd Billy go?"

Chris: "He's in the pond! No! Billy!"

Sylvia: *sob*

Chris: "Is he..."

Paramedic: "I'm afraid it doesn't look good. But the doctor will be here soon to give your wife a sedative. You should really keep Mother's Little Helper stocked in your medicine cabinet."

Chris: "Ma. Billy's only five. He hasn't lived. He hasn't been to school, had girlfriends, worn long pants. There's a whole world out there."

Sadako: "Just think. Billy will miss the advent of denim."

Chris: "If you really love Billy, give him back. Give him back, Ma! I know adjusting to the afterlife is hard, but try! Play Mah Jong! Join a living challenged bowling league! Become an afterlife caseworker! Just let Billy live!"

Paramedic: "I have no idea how we did it but Billy's going to be all right! It's a miracle!"