Cape Fear (1991)

Check it out dudes, this is my contribution to the excellent blogathon that Mark and Tyson have been running over at You Talkin’ to Me? It’s a great blog that chronicles Robert De Niro’s illustrious career. Read my review if you like, and please check out more of the entries. They’ve all been so superb!

You Talkin' To Me?

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Review by Smash of Smashing Through Life

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Wow, what a wild ride this movie is. Going into it I had some preconceived notions about what was going to happen based on numerous cultural references, most notably the episode of The Simpsons that parodied it. But I was still pleasantly surprised. Mostly by Scorsese’s pacing, it was a lot quicker than I expected, but also by De Niro’s character. The thing that struck me the most was how intelligent and balanced Max Cady was despite his warped morality and misplaced sense of justice. I was expecting a lunatic stalker, but I got something much more complex and it was immensely gratifying.

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My Desert Island Films

Tyson over at Head in a Vice featured my picks on his Desert Island Films segment. I really enjoyed taking part in it, and this has been an incredible experience. I want to thank Tyson for his continual efforts to really connect other bloggers with one another and for creating a comfortable place where we can all share our thoughts and ideas about the movies we love.
Head in a Vice is an awesome blog, Tyson is a really awesome dude, and if you’re looking for a rewarding blogging experience you should consider participating in this segment.

Head In A Vice

desert island

Smash from Smashing Through Life! has kindly submitted her Desert Island Films. Read on for her choices and reasons, and be sure to check out her site.

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Smash’s Traditional Christmas

I’m not talking about your grandma’s gingerbread kinda traditional. I’m talking my brand of traditional. Which, can best be described as gift swap hysteria on my part and determined long-suffering on D’s.

The most important element of my holiday celebrations is the lengthy battle over when we will exchange gifts that D and I engage in every year. The I-Just-Can’t-Wait-Another-Day-If-There-Are-Presents-With-My-Name-On-Them hounding that, admittedly, D has put up a very brave fight against every Christmas since 2006. However, D has not yet been able to come up successful with the ever so crucial December 25th exchange victory. Much to my delight, I am still the unseated champion. I’ve won every battle thus far, and am happy to announce that the tradition lives on!

I have this need to open gifts. It’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Actually, need is a gross understatement of what it is. Compulsion would also be putting it mildly. It’s equal parts insatiable curiosity, hyper-active desperation, and feverish excitement. And the very second I catch wind that there are gifts for me kicking around the house it becomes an all-consuming inferno inside of me, burning up every ounce of sanity I’ve got.

I’m sure my mom thought that I’d grow out of it over time. I’m certain she held out a hope as long as she possibly could. But somewhere down the line she just had to accept it, and had to get more clever at circumventing it. If she couldn’t extinguish the flames, at least she could keep them at bay with frustrated threats and double doses of household chores.

I remember the elaborate schemes my sisters and I hatched for finding and opening gifts before Christmas. For spying on our parents, trying to catch a glimpse of the things they brought home from the store. We were certain that every shopping bag was loaded to the brim with toys, and ripe for the picking. We were young and full of vigour. Okay, fine it was sugar. Sugar-fueled vigour. We devised master plans. We whispered in secrecy. We crept through the house with purpose and stealth. We did these things because we wanted presents. Needed presents.

They grew up and out of it, but I never did. As we entered our teens their interest in scheming waned, but mine never did. They started wanting to sleep in on Christmas morning, but I just couldn’t. I was on my own now. My co-conspirators just didn’t want to conspire anymore. But that’s alright, I worked well on my own too.

If no one was home and I got near the tree I’d shake, rattle, tap, rumble, and even sniff all the gifts under the tree. Could be perfume, right? Gotta sniff it to be sure! If I knew that my parents were going to be gone for a while and my sisters were out, sometimes I would even peel back the tape. Gently now, don’t want to leave any signs of tampering. I could unwrap the end of a gift and make my guesses based on box labels. If the present wasn’t taped down too tightly I might even be able to slide it out a few inches for a better look. When this method was discovered by my mom she started thwarting it by wrapping the gifts in additional boxes. She might put a DVD in a Triscuit box, or a book in a tin that once held cookies. Filling them with newspaper so I couldn’t guess what the gifts were by shake alone.

Every year that I got sneakier, my mom got more vigilant with gift disguises. One year, she even wrapped a tiny bottle of perfume for Mar in an old pizza box. Like a pizza that had been delivered to our house months earlier. I bet she’ll laugh, remembering this. How crazy it used to be.

These days I’m sure my mom is thankful that I’m out of the house. She can actually enjoy the days leading up to December 25th and wrap presents normally. She can relax, because I’m D’s problem now.

My work with D has been infinitely easier than with my mom. Not to undermine his abilities as an opponent, but he just doesn’t have as much experience dealing with my fervour as mom does. And he stands to gain so much more. The temptation for the gifts I’ve got waiting for him and my petulant charm have always gotten the better of him. I’ve been able to coax, convince, and persuade him into an early gift exchange every year. My personal best is Xmas ’09 when we exchanged gifts on November 28th. Yeah, I’m that good. The longest I’ve ever had to wait was December 21st.

The first Christmas we were together was easy. We’d been dating for five months, and we’d said “I Love You” to each other for the first time at the beginning of December. We were still in new-couple euphoria and D would have done anything to make me happy. A giggle here, a tickle there, some kisses peppered in for good measure. Then just a pinch of suggestion. I was subtle, I didn’t need to overplay my hand. We exchanged gifts on December 17th that year. And D hadn’t even begun to realize the depths of my insanity.

I just kept wearing him down, year after year. He’d get tougher and I’d get more wily with every passing Christmas. This is the first year that I’ve really been worried that I might not win. He was quite stern about finally having an exchange on the 25th. I’d have to really bust my ass to make an early exchange happen.

Cue the disastrous hangover I had last Friday after my company Christmas party. I came home so goddamn drunk on Thursday night, it was a miracle I’d even made it home. While I was out, D had been wrapping. Perfect, the gifts were ready to go. The next day I was hurting, for reals. My head ached, I’d spent a fair amount of time barfing, and had to leave work early. When D got home I was cuddled in bed with Harvey, pathetic and useless. He pitied me. “Opening the gifts might help”, I suggested.

Before I knew it we were tearing our way through the gifts. Success! The exchange for Christmas 2012 took place at 7:00pm on December 14th.

To the victor go the spoils:

calendar

The awesomest white-board calendar of all time! I shall record all future schemes here from now on.

tv shows

Some HIMYM and Sunny for laughs, always a solid gift.

lego batman

Lego Batman 2 for my Nintendo DS!!! Oh fuck yes! I was so happy when I opened this one. I’m deeply invested in putting Lex Luthor and The Joker behind bars on my daily commute now. They’ve been manufacturing Kryptonite together, and I don’t like where that’s headed.

the dark knight rises

Another gift that made my heart melt. Damn, D knows me so well.

comics

Because I just don’t have enough Batman in my life. Volume 2 and 3 of “Batman: No Man’s Land”. Currently working my way through volume 1. Great work D!

And the best of my haul you ask? A little Cinderella story to warm the cockles of your heart. A little stocking stuffer really wowed me this year:

drunk dice

Yeah, it’s Get Drunk Dice! I can’t even tell you how much I love the little cartoon dice that’s puking up his beer. And the whorish looking lady dice, ever so gracefully pouring beer down her gullet. I want to party with these dice characters. Right now. Oh, and I haven’t even pointed out the best part yet:

drunk dice rules

The back of the package displays the rules to the game. Oh, but what’s that on the bottom you see? The fine print, which clearly states “Not to be played with alcohol”. The game is called Get Drunk Dice for fuck’s sake! How am I even supposed to win the game if I’m not getting drunk? What do you propose I get drunk with instead? Orange juice? Kit Kat bars? Sunblock? I know the company that makes this game probably did this to avoid a lawsuit, but I just can’t think of anything more contradictory than the packaging on this game. If a box of condoms had a disclaimer saying “Not to be used for sexual intercourse”, it could not be more ridiculous than this.

The gifts have all been sufficiently exchanged, and now we’re contemplating packing up the Christmas tree this weekend because it’s getting in our way and Harvey keeps trying to eat it. All before December 25th. My burning desire to tear open gifts has been sated, and now I can relax. I’ll think I’ll have a few drinks, roll the drunk dice, and tell D how rad I think he is.

harv

That’s my idea of a traditionally awesome Christmas!

Star Wars: Episode VII-A True Hope

I’ve been mulling this over for the past couple of weeks. I didn’t want to speak out too soon and risk having my opinions only reflect shock and disbelief. But now that I’ve had the appropriate amount of time to digest, I feel I can write about this rationally.

If you live, work, or breathe within the general vicinity of the internet then you’ve surely heard by now. Disney bought Lucasfilm. And not only did they buy Lucasfilm, they’ve made it quite clear that we can expect a 7th Star Wars film in 2015.

This is some serious jaw-dropping shit.

When I first heard, I really didn’t know what to think. Shock, awe, fear, concern, grief, and doubt were the first feelings out of the gates. And man did those negative emotions really tear up the track on their way to the finish. I mean, this is Star Wars, this is serious stuff.

I fell madly in love with the original trilogy when I was a little girl. Unfortunately, I never got to see episodes IV, V, or VI in theatres as I was born in the late 80’s. By the time I was ready for my first taste of a galaxy far, far away it was brought to me courtesy of VHS. But it was love at first viewing! And there was so much to love: the characters, the story, the costumes, the lightsabers, the heroes and villains, the veritable well of strange and otherworldly beings that partied it up at Mos Eisley Cantina… It was a burgeoning sci-fi geek’s wet dream! Not that I have those or anything… weird.

The Star Wars universe is so rich with information, there were endless possibilities for my inflamed 6-year old’s imagination. I would spend hours perfectly content, rebelling against the Empire in my daydreams. I used to pretend that I lost my hand in a devastating “lifesaver” battle and had to get a mechanical replacement. (It took me a while to realize that they were actually called lightsabers, but you can see how a child might make that mistake.)

If only I could have been so lucky…

Then something truly devastating did happen. Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace was released. I spent the months leading up to it feverishly bouncing off the walls. When it finally came time to see it, I was prepared. Armed with my Phantom Menace emblazoned Doritos and Mountain Dew, my body was thrumming with anticipation for what would be the greatest theatre going experience of my life to date.

Then I had the misfortune of actually seeing the movie. Wow, what a miserable waste of my allowance that was! I was letdown, but that’s okay, I still had the original trilogy to fall back on. No matter how many disappointing Star Wars movies are made, I will always have that.

So the first thing that came to mind when I heard about the new Star Wars movie was, naturally, disappointment. Especially because I know that no matter what, I’ll still waste my hard-earned money on a ticket to see it in theatres. I can kiss that 20 bucks goodbye as I write this very sentence…

Suddenly, in the wake of all those negative feelings about a new Star Wars movie, something happened. Hope, though initially slow out of the gate, got in the pod race. I considered Batman, and how horribly cartoonish and lame the Schumacher films had been. From the rubber nipple-suit ashes, Nolan had created a new life for the Caped Crusader. Batman got his cinematic dignity back, as he so rightfully deserved.

So who was to say that the same miracle of resurrection couldn’t happen within the realm of Star Wars? Maybe things have to get worse before they can get better. Maybe all this time Phantom Menace had been a necessary evil. The more I mulled over the idea of a new Star Wars movie, the more excited I got. This new film has the potential to become the greatest theatre going experience of my life to date, if I so permit it the opportunity.

I can spend the next three years bemoaning another potential disaster, or I can get excited. And after giving this much careful consideration, I choose to be fucking excited! It’s a much more productive use of my time. And if I spend my time sending the people at the helm of this venture my good vibes, maybe karma will reward me. Handsomely, I hope, with a badass new take on my beloved Star Wars.

If the world doesn’t implode at the end of 2012, then I’ll be at the theatre on opening weekend. Laden with my advance purchase tickets, delicious Star Wars marketed snacks, and a true hope for the future of this franchise.

If Star Wars has taught me anything throughout my countless viewing hours, it’s that good certainly can triumph over evil if given the chance.

May the force be with you, Disney.

A Moment’s Notice

I’ve mentioned this casually in past posts, but I have to reiterate how much I love this: a moment’s notice.

That’s all it takes for a good time when you’re living in the city. Since I’ve been living in the big T I’ve been able to do so much stuff that I wouldn’t have been able to do as easily before. People shoot me a text or email and I’m able to go “Sure, I’d love to!” within seconds. It’s becoming a wonderfully bad habit of mine, accepting last-minute invites. On numerous evenings this summer poor D has been stoked for a night in, all cuddled on the couch. Then, in flurry of frantic texts our night is suddenly a whirlwind of unexpected fun and he’s gotta get his game face on!

Or if he’s really that unwilling, I’ll just head out on my own. A couple of weeks ago on a Wednesday night I had resigned myself to sweatpants and the couch. Then out of nowhere a text from the Magpie to get my ass in some jeans and down to the Cloak & Dagger for night of live music and beers. I fought it at first, but partying won out in the end. Fuck the workday hangover the following Thursday! It was an awesome night, and an excellent decision.

I’ve gone to movies, parties, dinners, jays games, markets, hangouts, dance parties, and all manner of things at a moment’s notice this summer. And I haven’t regretted a single one, every event was totally worth the effort. Our finest achievement in last-minute events this summer was most certainly my friend Brad’s Z-day, which took place this past Friday night.

What’s a Z-day you ask? Only the best possible way to celebrate a birthday ever!

Brad’s girlfriend booked a movie theatre, The Projection Booth, for late night zombie movie screenings. But that’s not all! Everyone in attendance had to be decked out in full on zombie or zombie related costumes.

I sent Brad a happy birthday over Facebook on Friday morning, and then mid-Friday afternoon he responded letting me know about the party. We’d moved to the city in May and I knew that Brad was living downtown too, but we hadn’t yet been able to catch up. So it worked out perfectly that we were free this Friday. But now my mind was in over-drive because we only had half a day to get ready for this thing! I frantically texted D to tell him we were going to be getting dressed up as zombies for a birthday party, and that we needed to stock up on zombie gear for tonight. Needless to say, he was a little taken aback, but excited nonetheless.

So after work, we got to planning. D isn’t much of a costumes guy. He likes doing the costume thing, but only if it’s easy. He doesn’t want to wear anything ridiculous, he won’t go for makeup or hair dye, doesn’t do masks or wigs, and generally likes to keep it simple. After thinking about it for a bit I came up with the idea of him going as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. And then I would do the zombie thing. Easy enough, right?

We hit the subway and I grabbed some makeup, fake blood, and a wound from the costume shop at Yonge and Wellesley. For D’s costume all we needed was a short-sleeved white button down shirt, a red tie, and a name tag. He didn’t have the shirt, so we had to improvise. We took one of his long-sleeved white shirts and cut the arms off. We used an old shirt that he doesn’t really wear anymore. And after an eternity spent trying to make myself look undead, I think the results were quite impressive:

Not too shabby for only half a day’s notice!

I started to really get into the role, you know, terrorizing the cat and whatnot….

Mmmm, kitten brains!

So we had a couple of drinks at our place, then hopped on the public transit! Which was especially fun for me, because while people didn’t take much notice of D I got some spectacularly stunned looks from passersby. I mean it’s not everyday you see the undead riding the Yonge line:

People have seen worse on the subway sure, but this is still unexpected…

The theatre was magnificent. It was small, dark, and creaky in a cozy way. The smell of popcorn and fake blood filled our nostrils as soon as we stepped through the door. I was finally in the presence of my own kind, and all the sideways glances and slack-jawed gaping was behind me. It was so much fun admiring the other costumes, catching up with old friends, and posing for photos.

My favourite costume was by far the guy who decided to do a Plants vs. Zombies thing:

I loved the hat!

It was a unique take on the theme, and really stood out. I also really liked Brad and his girlfriend Lin’s costumes. They put forth and extraordinary effort, and were fantastic hosts!

They’ve been through hell and back, literally

Lin had been planning this event for months. So the other guests had plenty of time to plan their costumes and prepare them. We had very little notice, but we did the best we could, given the circumstances. We had a truly fantastic time. I’m pretty sure everyone else did too…

Fright Night in the city

So when opportunity knocks, just lunge for its tasty brains like a famished, undead abomination of all that is holy and pure! Life is for the (un)living, and you’ll have plenty of time to    stay in, snuggled on the couch when the actual zombie apocalypse happens. In which case, maybe all the couch grazing will finally pay off and this post was all for naught… hmmm.

Nah, I’m sticking with it. Get out there and live your life, dammit!

Fangirl’s Delight

I am still reeling from my trip to the theatre tonight. My body is just thrumming with unadulterated triumph! I’m not even going to bother trying to figure out the perfect word to sum up Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises because I’m too pumped for that right now. In the words of a fellow moviegoer exiting the theatre tonight, it was “fucking awesome”. But don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil any of the magic so rest assured that you can read on unfettered by apprehension. I’m not going to go into an analysis of the movie, dissect the plot/characters, or offer any sort of critique of the overall meaning/message. What I’m focused on today, is the concept of hype…

I have been madly in love with Batman ever since I first discovered the campy old television series on Saturday morning when I was very very young. Batman and fruit loops on a Saturday morning. In my opinion life just doesn’t get any better than that when you’re a 5 year old fangirl in the making. I’ve seen all the movies, watched the cartoons, read the comics, had  the action figures, played the videogames (LEGO Batman for DS is pretty much the raddest game ever), and I even had fucking Batman POGS for Christ’s sake. I vividly remember watching Batman Returns at the drive-in with my parents and sisters in the summer of 1992 when I was 5.

I soaked up every ounce of it. Oh the ways that movie incited my rambunctious imagination and slaked my hunger for the Caped  Crusader! I remember being thrilled when I found out we’d be seeing it at the drive-in, a dream come true. There was so much hype surrounding its release, and it certainly did work wonders on me. All the hype astronomically increased the bat-fervour brewing within.

Flash forward 20 years and not much has changed. A new Batman movie hitting theatres, and an absolute TON of hype sweltering me at every turn. I was itching for this one, absolutely itching! The dramatic conclusion to Nolan’s visionary take on my all time favourite superhero… my heart is still all aflutter thinking about it. And the hype, working its old magic once again.

I tried desperately to convince the boyfriend to go to the trilogy screening with me on Thursday night so we could see it at its midnight release. The trilogy was a special event only playing at certain theatres so when I found out that our local Silvercity was showing it I went into overdrive trying to sell the idea to D. Unfortunately for me though, we had two drastically different takes on it:

Me: ALL THREE BATMAN MOVIES!!!!! ALL THREE BATMAN MOVIES!!!! This is will be the greatest fucking event of my life. It’s now or never, we have to, just HAVE to do it!!

D: 8 hours straight in a movie theatre? Have you lost your fucking mind? That is my nightmare.

Me: But I’m a major Batman nerd, babe. This is just something you have to do for me. Suck it up and do it! It will be so fun, it’s an experience like nothing else!! PLEASE!

D: But I’m an old man, babe. I’m tired just having this conversation, and you’re acting like a maniac.

The last time I pleaded my case that hard for something was probably back when I begged, BEGGED my mom to let me stay up all night watching all 5 Planet of the Apes movies on cable when I was 7. Yeah, we won’t get into it now but suffice it to say the heights of me nerdiness are dizzying. In the case for the apes marathon my youthful excitement actually worked and mom let me have at it. Guess I’ve lost my touch though, because D got the better of me this time. He reasoned that we needed to be rested for my sister’s Jack ‘n’ Jill on Saturday night, and that going to work Friday morning on 3 hours of sleep just wasn’t going to be good for either of us.

Cooler heads prevailed, and I bought tickets for the Sunday night show instead. And hours later, I’m still breathless and racked with awe. I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but at the end of the movie my eyes fucking welled up. It just gets you!

I’ve been reading volume 1 of Knightfall again just to preface myself for this movie. Getting my head really into the zone, you know? I’ve trawled the ends of the internet over and back again reading anything and everything to do with this movie. Checking out the stills, reading blogs, countdowns, tracking reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I’ve just been stewing in Batman for months, working myself into a frenzy.

Hype is a double-edged sword. Hype can amplify your expectations to unreachable highs, and take you crashing down to unfathomable lows should it not be rightly warranted. Hype is the tool most commonly utilized by the studios to put the asses in the seats. Hype garners new fans, sets the blogosphere ablaze, and contributes significantly to the overall reception of the film. We’ve all been touched by the ups and downs of hype at one point or another. From the complete debacle of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace to the utter glory of The Dark Knight, it plays a critical role no doubt.

For me, hype is where the magic is. I love letting the hype wash over me. Tonight I was practically freebasing hype, and the high was divine! When the credits rolled, I felt complete. A satisfying conclusion indeed. This isn’t the greatest movie of all time by any means. It’s fucking awesome for sure. But the real magic is in letting yourself indulge in the hype. Just savour it and permit it free rein to rose-colour your perception of the film. Therein lies the moviegoing magic.

These so-called critics who set out to “critique” and “review” these films need to stop taking themselves so seriously. Going to the movies is about getting lost. Loosen up already you fucking thesaurus loving posers, and just have a good time.

The Dark Knight Rises takes the cake this week for me, it’s just so friggen’ breathtaking! If you’re a long time Bat-fan, seeing this movie just feels like coming home. I’ll be parceling the residual effects of my Batman hype out over the next couple of months to give myself a jolt of awesome when needed. And I’ll lay me down to sleep tonight with visions of Batman dancing in my head.

P.S. Robin can suck a dick.