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Showing posts from 2018

All I Want for Christmas: Less Elf on the Shelf, more Elvira under the tree

As everyone knows, jump scares and subversive fun make Christmas infinitely better. Watching movies like Black Christmas, Krampus, and Christmas Evil this time of year is a favorite custom of misanthropic scrooges everywhere. Hey, I like Christmas just fine, but I like it even more when you ratchet up the body count. Calm down, I mean fictional body count, yeesh!


So, in the spirit of Our Lady and Savior Cassandra Peterson, AKA Elvira Mistress of the Dark, I'm wishing you a very scary Christmas season.


There probably won't be any new content here over the next week or two, as I take some much-needed time off to recharge my batteries. Parts of 2018 have been stressful, personally and professionally, so a little R&R is definitely in order.


Besides enjoying time with family and friends, that means lots of comfort food movies for me, including holiday favorites like Batman Returns, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Gremlins, to name a few.


Heck, maybe I'll throw in Elvira Mistress …

Michelle Pfeiffer: Style Icon

Let me start by admitting that, while I have an appreciation for fashion, I'm in no way an expert. What follows, then, is one layman's attempt to highlight how fabulous Michelle Pfeiffer's style is, both onscreen and in that thing we call real life. This isn't a comprehensive look back at her fashion evolution, nor will it describe "who" she's wearing, so please, fashion bloggers, don't hurt me.


Did you know that for a hot minute at the start of her career, Pfeiffer managed to out-Daisy Duke Daisy Duke? This was a promo shot from the truly lousy and mercifully short-lived series B.A.D. Cats. Remember, her early gigs were usually as eye candy (see also: Delta House). Here, she's basically late-'70s, early '80s sunshine personified. She's positively glowing, with her early-career signature cascading locks bouncing every so perfectly over her shoulders. This is not a look we usually associate with La Pfeiffer, but is anyone really willin…

All I Want For Christmas: Phoebe Cates's Monologue in Gremlins

Joe Dante's 1980s classic Gremlins will always be a subversive Christmas favorite. From Spike exploding in the microwave to Mrs. Daigle's "stairlift to hell", the movie is packed with deliciously transgressive moments that turn the holly jolly season right on its ear.



None are more memorable, though, than Phoebe Cates delivering her legendary "worst thing that ever happened to me on Christmas" monologue. It's a jaw-dropping, tour-de-force moment, a truly horrific story that's also one of the most darkly comic moments in Christmas movie history.



Cates really shines during this scene. There's no denying just how seminal that scene of hers in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was for a generation of young people, but her speech in Gremlins is equally important and a wonderful showcase for her serious and comedic acting skills. 



Here's the speech, in its entirety. No Christmas season is complete without at least one viewing of this horrifying yet hilari…

It Came From the '90s: Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade.


My cinematic obsession began as a teenager in the 1990s, which coincided with the Golden Age of the erotic thriller—which was often also the neo-noir erotic thriller. It started in the late 1980s and peaked in the early to mid-'90s. Movies like Fatal Attraction (1987), Sea of Love (1989), Body of Evidence (1993), Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), and Malice (1993), to name a few, flooded theaters with a provocative mix of oversexed men and women doing really terrible things for money.


Certainly, Sharon Stone starred in two of the most popular erotic thrillers of that time, Basic Instinct (1992) and Sliver (1993), but when I look back today, one actor seems most symbolic of this era: Linda Fiorentino.


Her performances in movies like Chain of Desire (1992 and pictured above), The Last Seduction (1994), Bodily Harm (1995), and Jade (1995) cemented her status as the ultimate &#…

15 Years On: Lost in Translation

Fifteen years ago, writer-director Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation became a surprise hit, its particular melancholic spirit resonating deeply with far more people than Coppola ever imagined possible. After all, this was very much a personal film, forged out of her own loneliness and existential angst over feeling disconnected from everyone and everything in her life. Clearly, many of us could relate. Fifteen years on, many of us still do.
On a few occasions on social media recently, I've noticed some viewers reassessing the film through the lens of contemporary understandings of historically cliched portrayals of relationships between older men and younger women in film. For some, the relationship between Bill Murray's Bob and Scarlett Johansson's Charlotte—mostly platonic beyond a few embraces and chaste kisses, but over the course of the movie it's obvious that each character is tempted to take things to the next level—has taken on a whole new aspect in the er…

High Impact Filmmaking: Kathryn Bigelow

“I don’t want to be made pacified or made comfortable. I like stuff that gets your adrenaline going.”

“Everyone else seemed so much more normal. I began drawing in order to create my own universe. I still have a tendency to withdraw into my own world. Directing films requires communication with hundreds of people, and it has made me open up.”

"Exactly, there are rest notes and there are flurries. You need rest moments where the camera is simply covering two people in an unbroken wide shot and you see the body language. It's a cinematic exhale. That's why we have punctuation. Peak experience only exists in relation to something that is not. It's all context."



"I don't believe in censorship in any form."

“Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time.”

"I like hig…

Baby Pfeiffer

Every Wednesday, social media reminds us to celebrate #WednesdayWisdom, #WednesdayMotivation, and #WomanCrushWednesday (or #WCW). When I think of all three, I think of one person first and foremost. I'll give you a second to think on it. Here's a hint:


Oh, okay, I'll just tell you. Michelle Pfeiffer! Surprise!

Life of late has been hectic, busy, stressful, overwhelming, exhausting, relentless, and even at times crushingly depressing. Thus, I've had less time or mental capacity for writing this month. In order to keep this place going, though (Because you demand it! I hope?), here's a little fresh content. It's light on text but heavy on visuals, and when then the visuals are Michelle Pfeiffer photos*, you really can't complain about that ratio.


These are publicity shots of a young Ms. Pfeiffer from 1979. We're talking very early in her career, when she was guest starring on Fantasy Island (I will write about those appearances one day, so stay tuned) an…