Sunday, October 30, 2011


So, it's October.  And in spite of it being the month of my birth (which means I can eat cake any time I want based on the "It's my birthday month" excuse) I don't like October movies very much.  It's all scary and I am the biggest pansy ever.  EVER.  "How scaredy are you?", you ask.  Well, I'll tell you and I'll do it in a bulleted list because I really like those.
  • I am such a wuss that once I had nightmares for a week after seeing the TRAILER for LEPRECHAUN 2.  Yup, you heard me, LEPRECHAUN 2, a film so bad it was ignored by the Razzies.  Even now I have to watch the preview with the sound off.
  • I am so terrified of the Ravers on FIREFLY that I refuse to watch episode 102 ever again.
  • I am so bubblegum that when a date once pressured me into seeing SECRET WINDOW, I watched the entire film through the neckband of my sweater, which (and you might not know this) is in NO WAY sexy or cool.  There was not a second date.
  • I am such a baby that SHAUN OF THE DEAD gave me nightmares.  However, they were funny nightmares so I rolled with it.
  • However, SPIDER BABY freaked me out.  FREAKED ME OUT!  It was so bad I refused to walk by this house down the street which looked just like the house in the movie.  The slightly crazy people who lived there with three chickens and duck didn't help with anything.   
  • I am such a scaredy cat that I have to fast forward through the angel episodes of Dr. Who.  Those things are scary!!
  • I am such a chicken that I wasn't allowed to see STAR WARS until I was 14 because it would have been too scary for me.  And it was.
So, there you have it.  October is a terrible terrible month, specially when my Netflix account is telling me that ELVIRA MISTRESS OF THE DARK is available.  Et tu, Netflix? However, I gave in this year and watched two horror films: RUBBER and HIGHLANDER.   (Don't argue with me about HIGHLANDER.  Sean Connery pretends to have a Spanish accent.  You can't tell me it's not horror.)

So RUBBER is not a movie about an S&M accessories shop but is instead a French horror movie about a tire.  A tire that can make your head explode.  It's a B-movie shot in the California desert and while it makes fun of all the horror movie cliches, it still manages to be scary.  I watched it over the course of about 6 hours one Saturday afternoon.  I kept pausing it and going to do things.  Things like grocery shopping.  Things like laundry and Taco Bell runs and  visiting teaching and basically ANYTHING to get me out of the house and the eerily suspenseful film about a homicidal tire.  The best part was the opening monologue by the local sheriff.  He establishes that most films do things for no reason, and you, as a viewer just roll with it.  The narrator calls it "no reason" and I really enjoyed the concept.  I mean, why exactly does an abandoned rubber tire come to life and make things explode? No reason.  Was it a cool movie? Yes.

However, I did have to watch it on a Saturday with all the windows open in chunks of 25 minutes so for REAL people it's probably about as frightening as SIXTH SENSE.  (Which, incidentally, I once watched on a screen hanging on the back of a box truck in the middle of a salt plain in the middle of the desert on a dark night.  It was so scary I actually had to go run laps.  In the dark.  In the desert.) (I don't run.)

"Yesh I'm wearing a peacock feather cape. What of it?"

HIGHLANDER is scary for different reasons.  Mainly because the people are ugly and it was obviously the foundation for every 80's hair band video made after it.  Do you want exploding windows?  Lightening from the sky?   Guys keeping their heads on with safety pins? (yuck)  (Incidentally I'm pretty sure that Clancy Brown, the villain of this film, is the original inspiration for Marilyn Manson.)  Anyway, I can see how this film shaped culture after it but it was still yucky when it wasn't ridiculous.  The ridiculous bits were Sean Connery being an Egyptian/Spaniard and training some dude named "Connor" in the ways of the Immortals while pretending to have an accent which fits the name Ramirez.  And by "pretending to have an accent" I mean he just did whatever he always does and then took his peacock feather cape home with him.  Also, stone towers fall apart spontaneously, no one knows what to do when a punk rocker walks into a cathedral, and everyone has hair so damaged it makes Janis Joplin's hair look like a Pantene commercial.

So, HIGHLANDER is far less scary than RUBBER.  The awesome soundtrack by Queen helps (though I secretly kept hoping they would bust out with just one FLASH! AH-AAAAH!)  In scary it's about on par with REAR WINDOW but without Grace Kelly.  So for normal people that translates into "not very scary at all."
I certainly haven't had enough

October is almost over, I am happy to say.  Soon it will be time to sit on a giant pile of Trick-or-Treat candy and watch all the Oscar-bait dramas... which are scary in an entirely different way!  Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 09, 2011


"The Witch" a.k.a. "Mom"
Korean soap operas.  What can I compare them to?  They are like regular soaps except everyone is in high school.  They are novellas with better fashion. They are Twilight without the blood, Glee without the pregnancy, and they are as addictive as crack cocaine.

I just watched 27+ hours of a single series, BOYS BEFORE FLOWERS VOL.1, and I watched it to the very bitter end because I wanted to find out what would happen.  And ya know what? Nothing happened.  Even in the very last moment, they didn't resolve the series.  This makes me crazy but I also makes sense on a psychological level.  Let me explain.

So, there's this girl named Geum Jan Di.  She's not pretty, smart, rich, cultured, and the only thing she has going for her is her work ethic (at one point in the series she attends school full time while holding down four part-time jobs), her generous nature, and how cute she looks in a school uniform.   NATURALLY the four richest boys in the COUNTRY of South Korea are all over her and two in particular become her love interests.  These two young men are sort of the Korean versions of the Edward vs Jacob debate.  I'll let Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky explain why this debate is universal and eternal in civilized society

So, the concept begins at the 1:18:55 point but the real nut of the subject comes around 1:22:00.  Basically, does a woman want a big dumb muscled guy who contributes nothing but good sperm represented by the ultra-rich Goo Jun Pyo who likes to yell, drag girls around, and is too dumb to not mix his metaphors,

Yes, he's the "manly" one.  Just go with it

 or do you women want a man who looks like a woman
He dresses like Russel Brand but with less skin and more scarves
represented by Yoon Ji Hoo who is quiet and does nothing but take care of Jan Di and her family, friends, problems, etc.  (Did I mention that he looks exactly like a girl?  Did I mention that? I should also probably mention that I like this guy the best because he's not dumb.)

So, the real answer to this question in human women is "it depends."  Sometimes women like big stupid men and sometimes they like small smart men and that "sometimes" has been shown in research to be determined mainly by hormone levels.   Which means that this series can never actually be resolved because Jan Di will flip-flop in her preference on a bi-monthly basis.  Which sucks.

Jan Di collapsed after a severe egging & flouring. Jun Pyo is actually on his way to deep fry her
In the mean time a lot of unnecessary drama happens.  Jan Di gets beat up, kidnapped, threatened, injured, and (my favorite) almost dies in a "blizzard" while wandering on a bunny hill in galoshes.  She also, because this is escapist fantasy for lower-middle class Korean girls, travels to Macau, goes on tropical vacations, rides horses, gets new wardrobes purchased by rich and generous men, and eats a vast amount of expensive food.

Throughout all of it she is teaching these rich boys the value of traditional Korean culture and, after administering a few well placed roundhouse kicks, the boys love her for it.

So, did I learn something? Yes.  Do I recommend them? No, primarily because this series will never ever end and it makes me crazy.  Crazy enough to watch 27 hours of this program and crazy enough to blog about it.

Korean soaps-- Just Say No