Category Archives: Holidays

My Movie Briefs – Take #1

My Movie Briefs – Take #1

That’s right, I hand wash my unmentionables.

It’s the holiday season again! Time to get out the big box of decorations, bake treats, dig out my clapboard and director’s chair and listen with a child-like sense of magic as the nominations start to roll in.

That’s right, it’s the start of award season and I, for one, need to change my pants because I AM SO DAMNED EXCITED.

Knowing how busy we all are preparing for that “other” holiday, I figured I’d do a mini-review of the movies that look to be award contenders during this, the holiest time of the year.

Sort of a Reader’s Digest version without the old people cartoons about prostate cancer and hearing loss.

So I present a niblet, a trace, a whisper, and a whiff of my opinion on some of the movies I’ve seen thus far, thereby reducing the essence of the gigantic human effort of creating an enduring piece of cinematic art to one or two snarky lines.

Here are my Movie Briefs. (Not to be confused with my actual lucky movie underwear I’m wearing right now.)

Nebraska – This is nothing short of a renaissance for pissy, stoic geriatric Midwesterners. It’s finally your time in the spotlight! And Will Forte, you adorable bastard, call me.

I’m freezing and it’s too damned loud in here.

Blue Is The Warmest Color – Finally, I can now go out in public to watch my foreign lesbian pornography under the guise of French art house noir! If real porn were one-tenth this good, well, I’d probably have to quit my job.

Dallas Buyers Club – Heroine-chic is so 90’s and so OVER. If you are not sporting retro HIV-chic then I simply cannot be seen with you.

12 Years A Slave – Terrific, fantastic, impactful movie that states what we all grudgingly know deep down inside – white people are just very bad.

Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks acts out exactly how I responded to the news I was having twins with his amazing portrayal of PTSD. Nailed it.

I don't accept this! Re-do the ultrasound now!

I don’t accept this! Re-do the ultrasound now!

Blue Jasmine – Mental illness has never been so exceptionally well dressed. I wanna get me some of that!

Gravity – Sandra Bullock is one badass chick, floating through space all perfectly toned yet “sciencey” at the same time. Only thing that would have made it better is if they threw Melissa McCarthy out there with her. Now that is a buddy movie I can get my arms around.

Enough Said – So adorable, heart-warming and moving that I am suddenly drawn to overweight, balding yet soulful middle-aged men. That’s right, I’m looking at you, Dennis Franz. Call me.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for round #2 when I’ll give you the 411 on depressed folk singers, dysfunctional families, techno-erotica, corporate greed and Walt Disney. Deck those halls!

Valentine’s Day – SPOILER ALERT From A Grumpy Non-Romantic

Valentine’s Day – SPOILER ALERT From A Grumpy Non-Romantic

I am not a Valentine’s Day type of gal. It’s never mattered what my relationship status has been. I just have never gotten into it.

I see it like I see New Year’s Eve – it’s amateur night.

But, in honor of St. Valentine (who most people think was made up by Geoffrey Chaucer who I love so maybe it all makes sense after all) I will throw a giant bucket of cold water on the event everyone is hoping will happen tonight.

Yep, I’m all sour grapes. Turn back now.

With the constant deluge of “leaked” celebrity sex tapes, I think we may all be under the misguided idea that we are looking pretty hot and sexy ourselves during “the sex.”

I hate to burst any bubbles, but most of the time these celebrities are fully aware they are being taped so they are adjusting their responses accordingly, able to look seductive and well-coiffed even at the peak of the experience.

They are THESPIANS after all, with many having completed the all-important Porn Method Acting 101 class.

The rest of us, however, look like we either stubbed our toe or ate a lemon when we reach the top of the mountain. But we don’t know it and we don’t particularly care because NO ONE IS LOOKING.

It’s in our DNA to close our eyes because otherwise the human race would cease to exist. It’s hard to get that picture out of one’s head once it’s there.

Let’s face it, real people sex, while lot’s of fun, can be kind of ugly to look at since, despite what may be happening in your head at the time, we are not professionals.

Exhibit A:

What we think we look like.

What we think we look like.

 

The terrible reality.

The terrible reality.

So, Godspeed, my romantic darlings. Buy those giant hearts full of chocolate and the red roses, wear that super tight dress to dinner and, for the sake of humankind, keep those eyes closed!

[Creative disclaimer: In reality, I am a hopeless romantic. Hell, Love Actually is my favorite movie! But hopeful and happy is just not as funny as bitter and grumpy.] 

New Year’s Resolutions In Review – Epic Fail

New Year’s Resolutions In Review – Epic Fail

Yeah, I know, little baby new year. I feel the same way.

I usually hate making unrealistic promises I know I can’t keep just because the calendar happens to turn over to January 1st. I fail to see how predicting my upcoming failures, or “resolutions,” rings in the new year with any renewed optimism.

At this point the chance that I will become a better, more evolved human is about as likely as the whole Rihanna and Chris Brown thing ending well.

To clarify, it’s not that I believe I’m already a better more evolved human and, therefore, already as awesome as it gets. It’s that I’m old and tired and can barely be bothered to pause The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills long enough to get off the couch and go take a dump.

So, here are my predictions for 2013:
*Data is derived from the predictions and outcomes of identical goals for 2012.

I will exercise more. What utter bullshit. I will either join a health club I can’t afford and use it once but pay for a full year because I hate being sold to so will sign whatever you put in front of me to get you to shut the fuck up.

Or, I’ll decide I will run a 10K without even walking regularly to the mailbox, pull a hamstring in the first 10 feet, be laid up for months in bed while eating my boredom and end up on some horrible TLC show called  “Bedridden, Obese and Angry.”

I will scale back on the cursing. Notice how I said “scale back” and not stop? You might as well say “I will no longer use air to breathe”. Believe me, the world is a safer place if I can express myself with profanity.

I will lose 10 lbs. I did not say how many times I would lose 10 lbs. over the year, did I? So, technically, if you add up all the weight I lost this year, I’d be way over that goal. Luckily, we won’t count the number of lbs. I gained as well. I blame it all on the holiday pie and booze I shoveled into my face hole.

I will be more patient. I don’t really know how to measure this one since I am, by nature, one of the least patient people on the planet. So, even when I’m at my best, I am still probably a good 50% more impatient than normal people.

I do tend to be a lot more easy-going when I’m drinking, so let’s just assume I drank more this year and everyone wins.

I will reduce my drinking. Defeated.

So, there you have it. Not a stellar report card.

However, I have come to a conclusion and this is it:  By making a list of how to change myself I miss the most important goal I should be focused on – being true to who I am and loving myself despite…..myself.

My 2013 resolution: I will love, or at least accept myself, warts and all. And, do the same for everyone else.

Happy New Year, other imperfect humans! Keep yourselves weird and we may just come out of all this OK.

Darth Vadar riding a unicycle while playing bagpipes in a kilt. What of it?

Menorah Shmenorah, Bring Me My Gifts!

Menorah Shmenorah, Bring Me My Gifts!

Well, it’s that magical time of year again when we celebrate the lighting of the menorah so that baby Jesus could see the three wise men air their grievances and perform feats of strength.

Or something like that.

More importantly, it’s when you get to list out all the things you want without looking like a selfish, small-minded bitch. Yay!

I have my standard items that I tend to repeat each year but to no avail. Clearly Santa or the Maccabees or Shiva or whoever the hell should be bringing me shit is sitting around on their fat asses.

See, not unlike my approach to religion, I will follow any tradition to cover all bases on whomever it is who will actually give me presents. I am the whore of holidays.

It’s not like I want anything that outrageous either. Just the regular stuff like:

Balanced hormones.

Paul Rudd.

Awesome ‘stach, Broham.

A margarita party with Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Leslie Mann where they all have to fight each other to be chosen as my best friend.

A leather jacket.

A pet meerkat. No, a whole family of pet meerkats. Who can talk. And are gay and sassy. And can sing but not in an annoying way like The Chipmunks.

Are you kidding me???? Freaking AWESOME!

If all you Santa-like deities are really too lame to supply me with this totally rational list of wants and needs, then I will make due with only one item.

And that item is a butler.

I’ll admit, I am after a pretty hybrid kind of servant here. But, if you can’t customize, what the hell good are you.

I want the intelligent, snarky, grandfatherly wisdom of John Gielgud as Hobson in Arthur.

I find you repugnant and yet I serve you.

And, he’s had LOADS of experience dealing with super drunk people so a big plus for him…and me.

Mix him with the gay drama and fashion sense of Hank Azaria as Agador Spartacus from The Birdcage.

The mix of taffeta and corduroy upsets me.

And,  he shall be referred to as Hobacus and we will live happily ever after.

If my butler request is really too much for you to handle, I’ll settle for Paul Rudd and the meerkats. See, I’m not unreasonable.

As you ponder your own Hanukkah, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza or Festivus list, I leave you with this vision of MY holiday deity for your viewing pleasure.

Cornelius X. Spacklestein:
The Non-denominational Holiday Meerkat

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Why did the Turkey cross the road?

Why did the Turkey cross the road?

Because it pecked at my ankles and I am going to kick the crap out of it.

May you avoid all unwanted peckers this Thanksgiving.

I leave you with this little bit of justification. (Yes, I know it’s a rooster, not a turkey. Work with me, people!!)

Rooster Takedown

An Organized Day of Sloth and Gluttony

An Organized Day of Sloth and Gluttony

Ah, Thanksgiving. It’s the official kick-off of the holiday season. Or, as I like to call it, the start of my special 6-week alcohol bender cleanse.

I know this is a little early for a Thanksgiving blog but with the amount of tryptophan and vodka that will be coursing through my bloodstream next week, I figured it may be best to hit this one now.

And, maybe it’s good to get some of these thankful feelings in the forefront of our minds before having to spend time with your insane, dysfunctional families in tight quarters, having a food orgy as if they were all zombies at a brain buffet.

zombies

Save the cerebral cortex for me, Grandma!!

I thought I’d put together a list of the little things I’m thankful for. I know the norm is to be thankful for family, kids, good health, blah blah blah. But, I think we don’t stop to focus on those tiny little things that crop up every day that make us all question, if only for a moment, the need for the anti-depressants we are all taking.

So, here we go. Minutia I am thankful for.

People who are brave enough to give massages for a living. I can’t even begin to say how skeeved out I would be at the idea of having to oil up and rub my hands all over a complete stranger. The possible scenarios these poor saints must have to deal with….well, I just threw up in my mouth.

Awesome parking spots. This little thing can make my day. I somehow feel as if I have a force field of good luck around me for the entire day when I snag a spot right in front of where I am going. Conversely, when I see someone else with the force field, I am driven into a homicidal rage at the injustice of it.

People who are idiots because it gives me stuff to write about. I thank the cretans, morons, bigots, pundits, politicians and boneheads who give me mountains of material with which to mock them. They have given me countless hours of unbridled joy and I thank them and their cross-breeding parents.

People who wave when you let them into traffic. I love them! They make me want to not only let them in but also wash their car and buy them an ice cream. It may be my slavish response to positive reinforcement but, by God, it works! These people have been raised very well and most likely send hand written thank-you notes too. They always make my day feel more civil.

People who know how to write well. It’s like hearing angels sing.

People who make sense on Twitter. There are so few of you, I feel you probably know who you are. Let me illustrate this point by showing you the exact opposite of what I speak.

“AL mistake OMG Brian over Joe SO wrong my friend SO wrong I cant believe u made such a mistake Id go C Joe Buy Joes songs #SOWRONG

Yeah. I have no idea. And I wasted valuable time just trying to read it.

My dog, Calvin. If he were a human he’d be a total mensch. He is all-knowing and, I believe, the Gandhi of the dog world. I am mixing my cultures and religions but that’s how awesome he is.

Emma Stone. I don’t know. She just makes me happy whenever I see her.

A BIG thing I am particularly thankful for. Everyone who is kind enough to take time out of their lives to read what I write. This is no small thing and fills me with joy. I feel anytime someone gets even the smallest giggle, an angel gets their wings. I truly believe laughter can save the world.

I will attempt to continue to make this site worth visiting!!

Now, put on those elastic waist pants and go eat a shitpile of dead bird because you KNOW how I feel about birds. Especially flightless birds. At least Thanksgiving helps diminish the numbers.

kid and turkey

Artist’s rendering a mere moments before this child is pecked senseless by this feathered harbinger of evil.

The Ghost of My Dead Film Career

The Ghost of My Dead Film Career

Amargosa graveyard

What, with it being Halloween and all, I figured it was time for a little visit to the dark side. I mean the scary, ghostlike dark side, not the whole excessive body hair thing I usually dive into.

Like the time my sister and I came home from school and heard our dog, Sugar, whining. So we searched the house for her, thinking she got locked in a closet or something only to find out our parents had put Sugar to sleep earlier in the day. True story.

Or like the time I was making out in a parked car with my boyfriend and we heard a scratching on the car roof. We thought it was a tree limb but it turned out to be the disembodied arm of a murder victim whose fingernails were scratching the car.  Not a true story.

But this one is actually one of the true ones.

I’ve mentioned before the unfortunate decision I made years ago in going to the desert to film a movie with a lunatic.

There is a  special horror in being on the crew of a really bad movie. Some of you may have experienced this torture before and can attest to the exceptional pain and suffering involved.

We were filming in Death Valley Junction, CA which is an outcropping of mostly abandoned buildings in the middle of the desert with approximately 20 “living” inhabitants.  The only real attraction here, other than being the hottest place on earth, is the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House.

By the way, Amargosa comes from the Spanish word “bitter” (amargo). Don’t you love it when things line up so perfectly!

It was built in 1923 and was home to borate miners who worked for the Borax company for many years. It was abandoned eventually and almost disappeared into the graveyard of that desert but was saved by an eccentric dancer, Marta Becket, in the late ‘60s.

The hotel is famous not only for it’s Gloria Swanson-esque owner but because it is believed to be extremely haunted.

Some of the stories are of miners who lived in a section of the hotel, now abandoned, who haunt the halls of the area called “spooky hollow”.

Spooky Hollow

Spooky Hollow. Also looks a lot like the hallway in my first apartment.

Others are of a known hanging that occurred in one room that is now haunted by the unfortunate ghost of the man who died there.

And yet another story is that there is often the sound of a child crying when no children are in the hotel.

It’s owner is both a ballerina and an artist and covered every room and hallway in her unique 3-D style of art that only adds to the overall freakiness.

Sure, nothing creepy here….STOP LOOKING AT ME!

Fake headboard. Real air conditioner.

This fake armoire was in my room.

This room had a fake boa you could wear while listening to fake old timey music on your fake gramophone.

You can imagine my joy to find out we were staying in this haunted hotel during the shoot from hell. But really, I should not have expected anything else.

After a long, hot and dirty day of shooting we all checked into our rooms, showered, and hunkered down. I would guess I was asleep for an hour or two when I heard knocking on the door to my room.

I got up, opened it and there was no one there.

Assuming the dickhead sound guy who was staying in the room next to me was high and fucking with me, I cursed and went back to bed. I was just falling back to sleep when the knocking started again. Now I was pissed off and went to the door ready to tear his head off.

But again, no one was there. I looked down the hall in both directions and there was no one to be seen. At about the same time the sound guy next door clumsily unlocked and opened his door and stuck his sleepy head out.

“What the fuck. What do you want?” He said to me groggily. He had heard it as well but it was obvious he hadn’t done it.

Needless to say I did not get much sleep that night. It seemed every time I started to fall asleep I’d hear footsteps in the hallway, whispers or the knocking.

The next day most of the crew reported a similar night. One person said she decided to leave the light on in her bathroom but when she woke up in the middle of the night the light had been turned off.

All of this, of course, is totally explainable in some form or another. But, given the number of times guests tend to check out in the middle of the night, it does give you pause.

I was more than happy to be done with that shoot for many reasons. I was happy to hightail it back to civilization and away from the undead. And the ghosts were scary too.

And, I was ready to take a break from making crappy films. Maybe one day that break will be over….

I Hope They Don’t Serve Peanut Butter in Heaven

I Hope They Don’t Serve Peanut Butter in Heaven

I know I’m a little tardy on a Father’s Day tribute but I chose to write about porn last week instead so now a word about my Dad.

(By the way, I believe my father would not only support the porn decision but would have been surprised had I gone another route. And then he would have whacked me upside the head for being late because that’s very rude.)

My Dad seemed to be in a pretty crappy mood for a large portion of his life. Or, at least the portion of his life when I knew him. I try not to take that too personally though. He was Irish and that can tend to explain all sorts of things. And he was raised by the Christian Brother’s Catholic Church in New York City during the Depression and, since he only had peanut butter and bread to eat for long periods of time, he most likely had scurvy….which would explain everything that the Irish part didn’t.

I began to grasp the real reason he was so cranky in the past several years since I had kids. He and my mother produced six offspring.  I never did get them to fess up about their reason for this terrible lack of judgment. Did they actually intend to have six or was it the no-birth-control Catholicism? Either one paints them as lunatics.

When my father passed away 7 years ago, no one was especially surprised. For one thing, he was 84 years old so not exactly taken down in the prime of his life. Also, he was supposed to have died several times prior to this and didn’t, I believe, so that he could keep us slightly off kilter and nervous at all times.

My father’s wishes were to be cremated so me, my sisters and my mother found ourselves in a hushed conference room with soothing colors and quiet background music at the funeral home discussing the receptacle we would pour Dad into for his final burial. My father was a very no-frills, pragmatic man so an ornate urn was out of the question upon risk of being haunted for the rest of our lives with a litany of ghost rantings about wasteful behavior.

As you’d expect, we were all quite tired and punchy from emotion and worry about our mother and how she was going to fare through all this so we weren’t thinking particularly straight. As the nice young funeral boy (I believe that’s on his business card) went somberly through the absurdly large catalog of options for housing ashes, we all started to get the giggles. I can’t quite remember what may have started it (I think it had something to do with “veteran” vs. “veterinarian”, him being the former and not the later) but pretty soon there wasn’t a dry eye in the room and not for the correct reason. Our barely contained hysteria went something like this:

“Let’s just put him in a velvet Crown Royal bag and call it a day.”

“Is there some way we could fashion him into a fishing lure?”

“I say we scatter him all over the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Do we need a permit for that?”

The bad news is that we tend to be loud laughers and one does not normally expect to hear loud female cackling coming from a funeral home as if we were doing Jell-O shots at Senior Frog’s. We were gently escorted to the parking lot to avoid bothering the other, more appropriate mourners.  I don’t know if we were really 86’ed from a funeral home, but knowing how proud Dad would be if we were, it’s what I’m choosing to believe.

Here are some facts about my Dad:

He hated peanut butter

Used to have me believe he was a spy in the war and still had the recording devices and cameras embedded in his eyes and ears

Had a wicked, some would say cruel, sense of humor

Loved animals

He cheated at board games

Scared the shit out of us

Taught me how to skin and gut a trout

Smoked cherry-vanilla tobacco in his pipe

Hope you’re having a hoot, Dad, and they don’t serve peanut butter in heaven.