11/26/14

top ten thanksgiving horror films

There’s no such thing as a thanksgiving horror film. Here are the ten “best” of the 12 or 13 spooky movies I watched this October and beyond. The Halloween season spans from January 2nd to the day before Thanksgiving. This is a time when corpses rise from their graves and all murder is legal. A lot of people don’t know that. Thanksgiving through New Years is the Lord’s time.

The order’s been thought through a little but not too much. I include the movie’s taglines when they exist. What an art. I hope to someday get a job writing horror movie taglines.

10. Devil (2010)

Bad things happen for a reason

The PG-13 makes me not want to put Devil on the list. Murder is rated R. Any life worth dying in gets an R rating—whatever. All these bad people get trapped in an elevator. The lights flicker and then there’s a dead person, on and on until one or two are left. It’s an Agatha Christie-esque whodunit. One of them’s the devil. The devil is in the elevator. Mindy Kaling’s TV boyfriend Chris Messina plays the detective tasked with bringing the lord of darkness to justice. You can’t tell that he’s too short for me when everybody’s shrunk down inside the television. [Netflix streaming]

gurl, look dem lips.

gurl, look dem lips.

9. Buried Alive (1990) 

One of them put and end to the marriage, until the other came back for revenge

The worst tagline of all of them. I’d blame it on an unpaid intern but I don’t think they had those in 1990 for made for TV movies. Frank Darabont fucking directed this, the guy who wrote The Shawshank Redemption. The creator of TVs “The Walking Dead.” I remember seeing this movie on TV in my apparently unsupervised childhood. Jennifer Jason Leigh wears shoulder pads. Good dog acting by the Rottweiler; holy fuck I want my own Rottweiler. Movie’s a classic noir setup. The wife hates her husband, plots her death with her lover, people are betrayed, he’s “buried alive,” there’s a lot of woodworking. If Buried Alive were in black and white and starred Humphrey Bogart, we’d be talking about it in college. If you’re looking for this movie, beware: there are about 10,000 other films with the same title. [I can't tell you how I found this film.] 

 

If the widow looks like this at the funeral, she did it.

If the widow looks like this at the funeral, she did it.

8. Resolution (2012)

Why is this a horror movie? The horror elements of this are not even. I can’t even. Michael’s friend Chris loves crack so much and who can blame him, but drugs ruin your life and turn you into a bad friend, so Michael chains him to the wall to force him through withdrawals. Then some stupid supernatural shit happens, I don’t recall exactly, a haunted video tape or witch or something. But in between all of that, they manage to say poignant shit to each other about what drives a man to the pipe and the human response. What’s Michael’s true motivation and is life really so precious, really? This movie is a documentary about what I would like to do to my friend Will, but who has the time. [Netflix streaming]

Dick move not having a tagline but really good poster.

Dick move not having a tagline but really good poster.

7. Hider in the House (1989)

You can’t lock him out. He’s already in.

 Made for TV movies from the golden era of cinema are nothing to fuck with. Gary Busey doesn’t exactly play against type as the recently released mental patient who builds himself a room in the attic of a nice family’s new home. The new family has a dog. Do you guys think the dog is going to be okay? Busey wants to be normal so bad. He just wants the Dad to be gone and to marry the Mom but he’s Lenny Of Mice and Men and people in his way are frightened girls squashed dead under his thumb. This is a buy-the-numbers horror story but suspiciously well written and acted. The characters are 3D and smart. Everybody Hates Busey. Good body count. [In full on Youtube.]

 

6. Ravenous (1999)

You are who you eat 

Hey, this one’s about food and it’s set in Civil War era America so it’s basically a legit thanksgiving horror movie. The turkey’s made out of people, though; everybody running around with their mind’s lost. The best thing about the film, unequivocally: the score. What instrument even makes those sounds. How tonally inappropriate. And yet. Check out these idiots arguing about it on the imdb message boards, subject: What an Annoying Soundtrack… Comments include, but are not limited to:
“Halfway in I wanted to stab my already-busted eardrums, it was SOOO loud and annoying. :(
“I find the music utterly unfitting for a movie set in the 19th century”
“Sorry, I actually like interesting soundtracks in my favorite movies.” [Netflix streaming]

The next three films are directed by Ti West, a hip new filmmaker that people may very well be talking about.

5. The Innkeepers (2011) 

Some guests never check out 

A film about a couple of hip young people with sexual tension. The hotel is haunted. Not particularly scary or memorable; I don’t know why I included this. [Netflix streaming]

Creepy basement, second only to creaky houses.

Creepy basement, second only to creaky houses.

4. The House of the Devil (2009)

Talk on the phone. Finish your homework. Watch TV. Die. 

This, on the other hand, is a legit 1980s horror film throwback. Shot in digital I’m sure but they threw on an instagram-style old school film filter. Tom Noonan needs a babysitter for his mom. Girl wears a walkman and Greta Gerwig plays her friend. The babysitter eats pizza for two straight meals. Things start off one way, then shit gets dark as fuck. [Netflix streaming]

The pizza's out of frame.

The pizza’s out of frame.

3. The Sacrament (2013)

Live as one. Die as one. 

Sometimes it pays to be stupid, but for this example I’m about to deprive you of that luxury. I didn’t know this film was basically a modern adaptation of the Jim Jones, everybody drinks kool-aid and dies cult story. So when everybody in the cult got together and drank poison kool-aid, I was horrified and surprised. (I clearly did not read the tagline, either.) It’s a palpable series of scenes. They scared the shit out of me; I dreamed about it for days. Beyond that, meh. It’s a “found footage” movie which is just unfortunate. Bunch of Vice journalists visit the cult, they get camera access that they would never ever get in real life—such a dumb conceit, I hate found footage, why they gotta do that for a film that could have been so, so good. Instead it’s pretty good. Awesome Gene Jones performance as “the father,” just an unfortunate coincidence he has the same last name as the real guy. This movie’s proof that liberals can be scary and batshit, too! The box says “Eli Roth presents.” Not a compliment. [Netflix streaming]

a real People's Temple cult member.

a real People’s Temple cult member.

2. You’re Next (2011)

Forgive me for being so mainstream. Of all my pics you’re most likely to have already seen this one. Maybe you’re one of those people who takes pride in not having seen any movies; go fuck yourself. I appreciate the savage simplicity: A rich, grown up family get together for a dinner party and people outside are trying to kill them with arrows. At first you don’t know why, and then a motive’s revealed and it makes perfect sense. It’s not some ridiculous bullshit. They hear bumping around upstairs and somebody says a line about this being an old creaky house. I know that sounds terrible but in fact it felt like a breathing organism of a wink. [Netflix streaming]

animal masks frighten dogs, try it if you don't believe me.

animal masks frighten dogs—try it if you don’t believe me.

1. The Signal (2007)

This is not a test 

It doesn’t get any weirder. A psychotic poet I know, a man who’s one dirty look away from killing everyone recommended this film to me. We might as well have met in an underground tunnel at night. He handed me an envelope with a slip inside that said “The Signal” on it, followed by, “the 2007 version. Not the new one from 2014.” Anyway, TV’s are sending out a signal that’s making everyone go on a murderous rampage. Never mind the why, it’s the how it plays out that matters. The film stars AJ Bowen, who irrelevantly enough is in four out of the ten movies on this list. (He’s the cutie pie with the beard.) It’s hard to make a movie with a slippery reality whose puzzle doesn’t also bore you. I decided this film was number one under the influence of ambien. Now I’m just like. I don’t remember, but probably I mean it. [I can't tell you how I found this film.]

Dead person at a birthday party.

Dead person at a birthday party.

There’s the list. That’s it. Do you like it? Why don’t you like it. Be my facebook friend if you aren’t already! Creepers creep me out. 

02/11/14

The only ‘top 10 films of 2013′ list ever written.

10. Room 237

This is a good movie to fall asleep to if you want your dreams invaded by raving lunatics who’ve gotten their brains on esoteric bordering on conspiracy film theory. The Shining is my all time favorite horror film, and this documentary featuring multiple bizarre and supernatural interpretations from real live humans is scarier than the original. I liked this netflix documentary more than Gravity, that’s what kind of an asshole I am. 

What?

What?

9. This is the End 

At one point, a man’s head comes off his body and the camera switches to the severed head’s point of view as the boys in the film who are playing themselves kick the head around on the floor. And then they go to Heaven and everybody sings “Backstreet’s back!” which is a pretty good song but not great. This film’s major influences likely include but are not limited to: Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, The Seventh Seal, The Craft, George Washington and the TV series Quantum Leap.

I want to fuck all these guys.

I want to fuck all these guys.

8. Upstream Color 

This movie makes no sense. It acts foreign but it was made by the guy who made Primer, a film I plan on getting around to watching sometime soon. People are very affectionate with pigs in this film and thats a thing I like to see. Every night we as humans are afraid of worms crawling in our ears that make us do terrible things, and yet nobody talks about it. This is an important film visually as well as socially and politically, as it raises awareness about worms crawling into our skull and taking over our minds. Now streaming on netflix; somebody pay me for these hyperlinks.

upstream-color-2-580

my vision board.

7. Before Midnight 

I don’t like it when Jesse and Celine fight. If you can’t be happy in Europe with your beautiful children and novelist husband than there is no such thing as happy. Any future joy ahead of us will come in a series of fleeting moments, like the way it is now, like we’ve always suspected, and I still cannot believe that bitch said she didn’t love him anymore.

Life sucks.

Life is awful!

6. Blue Jasmine

Here’s some things about this movie nobody ever talks about. 1. Alec Baldwin’s character struck me as nice and easy to get along with. He really is in love with the French au pair and probably believes it’s okay to steal money from people because life is a game and having a lot of money is how you know you’ve played the game well. What does this say about you? Are you nice? 2. All the scenes taking place in the dentist office are poorly written and unfunny. 3. What happens to Jasmine at the end? I think prescription drugs turns into heroin and she’s dead in six months but look at me with my head in the clouds.

Her clothes cost more than my face.

If you have a problem with me putting a Woody Allen film on this list I’d be more than happy to not talk about it!

5. Dallas Buyer’s Club

People become unraveled by death and I don’t like to see that happen. It reminds me that I’ll die someday, and if it’s not something unexpected like an anvil from the sky or a sudden elevator shaft, then I might have an inkling it’s coming for me. I might get very anxious and start juicing vegetables for some reason other than trying to make my skin glow so my ex boyfriend will like me, and I don’t like thinking about that feeling. This movie would have been a lot more earth shattering if it had come out in 2002 or something. I remember in 1999 when I was a junior in high school a woman came to our school and gave a lecture on HIV. Afterward I went up to her and shook her hand and asked her if I could get AIDS from my tongue piercing. I knew that was a stupid question but really I just wanted to touch someone who had AIDS. I had this thought that it might be my only chance, and so far (as far as I know) I was right. Is that fucked up? I don’t know.

Jared Leto's steller performance = proof that acting must not be that hard.

Jared Leto’s stellar performance = proof that acting must not be that hard.

4. 12 Years a Slave 

Forget about the social and historical relevance or whatever. Now that it’s been a few months since I’ve seen it, I think about the way the cotton looked against the sky, the weird soundtrack and that fucking snow globe hurling through the air at the pretty slave’s head, holy fuck slavery was awful. Also, did you see the fun movie game I made up for Unstuck magazine, GOD or NO GOD?

cheer up everyone.

Just nine more years buddy.

3. The Wolf of Wall Street

This movie’s only controversial if you believe the film glorifies and celebrates the lead characters, which it doesn’t, so calm the fuck down. It’s not 12 Years A Slave for chrissake, it’s not going to beat you over the head with its thesis. Look at the face of the woman who’s having her hair cut off at that Charles Foster Kane like party. That’s where you’ll find the morality. Contrast Wolf with something like the Goodfellas rip-off Blow from 2002. Now, that’s a movie that celebrates a guy who profited off of millions of people’s drug addictions and misery and never ever once felt bad about it, and never once did the movie invite us to feel bad about it either. The fact that people have misunderstood Wolf isn’t the movies fault. Who didn’t know before today that people aren’t smart? Leonardo DiCaprio is a crush gone rogue, I want to lick him.

I didn't realize men could be so into their wives but look at this.

I didn’t realize men could be so into their wives but look at this.

2. Her

I knew I was dating my computer before I saw Her, but now I really know. I’m in a relationship with all 786 of my twitter followers, so long as we’re including parody accounts, literary journals and local chiropractors, which we are. I feel as though movies are unpacking the truth of existence at a quicker pace than the average man on the street, which could lead to breakdowns later but there’s no point in dreading a future we can’t know about, is there? Did you know that no one ever really loved anyone else? That we’re nothing but slaves to our piddly sensations and even these are fleeting and without a master? I don’t act like I know it, but I know it. Parades are in order for this, the best mainstream film of the year, with its pink sadness and creepy wisdom on the nature of relationships and what they do to us.

her-film-02

In the future writers live in nice apartments.

1. The Act of Killing

I can’t pretend I didn’t see this documentary just because my brain doesn’t know what to do with Indonesian women dancing outside the gaping mouth of a wooden, house-sized bass. Werner Herzog said that after watching 8 minutes of Josh Oppenheimer’s footage, he knew he’d seen something extraordinary, and he and Errol Morris signed on as executive producers, a fancy term for $ $ $ and getting shit done. The film stars men who are making their own movie about their personal role in killing more than a million communists 40 years earlier under a tyrannical government regime. They’re proud and gleeful about what they’ve done and it makes you think, “Wait, I thought I knew what it meant to be a human, this is confusing.” In vipassana meditation, you sit still for days at a time waiting around for unpleasant sensations to come bubbling up to the surface. They’re called sankaras, and it’s weird! That time you lied to your friend in high school and didn’t feel bad about it shows up 15 years later in the shape of a scratch on your nose.  Think of the sankaras coursing through your veins after killing thousands of people with blunt tools and wire. In The Act of Killing I liked when the kids wouldn’t stop crying after they said ‘cut’ and the way the lead character couldn’t stop dry heaving when the cameras followed him back to the death pit. I mean, not “like.” You know what I mean.

hilarious

Hilarious! Wait no, a different feeling.

Honorable mentions: Gravity, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Frances Ha, August: Osage County, Out of the Furnace 

Special Jury Prize for a movie that technically came out in 2012 but otherwise probably would have been 4 or 5 on my list: The Place Beyond the Pines 

Terrible films that I moderately enjoyed anyway: The Counselor, After Earth, Elysium 

Top 5 worst films of 2013 I happened to see: Movie 43, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Secret Life of Walter MittyKerouacThe Company You Keep   

Don’t think I didn’t see these films, I just didn’t like them: Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Blue is the Warmest Color 

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY LIST? 

12/30/13

date night: permanently cancelled.

That blood you’re looking at is my ex boyfriend’s blood. I didn’t want to break up. I wanted us to get married and have babies. The grief is terrible. I feel like I’ll never get over it, but I’m sure that’s wrong. He says things to me like, “You’re a beautiful person who will positively impact the world,” and “Get out! [of my apartment.]” He thinks that I’m too negative and I make myself miserable, but. I mean. Look how painful life is. I know not seems, madam, nay, it is!

This grief has followed me around for weeks now. There’s nothing to do really but wait it out. I tried going on a couple of dates, but the men don’t move me, and the idea of sex with some non mathematician makes my stomach turn. I went out with one guy who immediately said to me, “You seem awkward and uncomfortable.” I was actually totally relaxed, fuck that guy. He asked me how attracted to him I was on a scale of 1 to 10, and I said “6.” He screamed back, “6!” and I changed it to 5. He pounded his fists on the bar and yelled louder, “5?!” I fucking hate extroverts. And anyway, I explained to him that if 1 is “you are a dirty shoe” and 10 is “you’re jennifer lawrence covered in glitter,” then 5 is pretty good. But he didn’t listen.

These men, what were they raised in a barn? I’ll go on a date with a man and he won’t ask me a question the entire time. They just fan out their peacock feathers as if I give a fuck, it’s maddening. And all the while, they’re on a date with Molly Fucking Laich. They all act like they’re smarter than me, because why, they’re a man and I’m a woman? I’m beginning to see just how pervasive and under the surface misogyny really is. The only thing worse than a misogynistic man is an overly feminist one, but that’s a topic for another time.

Another guy spit in my drink once. I think he thought he was Charles Bukowski and that he was the only one on the date who knew anything about writing or the human condition. I told him I had an MFA and he informed me I was a privileged asshole. I actually worked really hard as an undergrad and won a full fellowship, but that’s fine, sometimes its easier to just not correct people. He spit in my drink and then looked at me like, “Eh? What did you think of that? Here’s what I think of women.” Honestly, I’m grateful that happened because it’s such a fun thing to tell people. Everyone is horrified, and they all say, “I hope you didn’t go home with him afterward.” I have two different versions of the ending of this date story and you don’t get to hear either.

The next morning I ran into mormon missionaries on the street. They sang a hymn to me and prayed that I would find a good apartment. I did, but of course it’s impossible to say whether or not the prayer had anything to do with it. I looked on craiglist; it didn’t fall from the sky. But yes, I am aware the lord works in mysterious ways and those mysterious ways might certainly include craigslist.

The last date didn’t have a prayer, poor thing. I haven’t shaved my legs in three months and I wore a sports bra under my extra large guns n roses t-shirt, what does that tell you. He was good looking and normal, but a little bigger so I think he showed up to the date feeling bad about himself. Man, I feel sorry for anyone on a date who gives a shit about the outcome, what a miserable position to be in. This guy didn’t ask me a lot of questions either, but I think it was more out of social clumsiness than anything. He’s the designer of a super nerdy, cult video game. He’s got his own wikipedia page and everything; it’s genuinely impressive. I talked to him about video games for most of the date, which in retrospect was pretty unfair. Afterward he texted that okcupid had picked the perfect girl for him. It’s not even close to true. I was only talking about video games with him to get him to like me. It’s just a parlor trick I learned hanging out with gamers for most of my 20s. I know all the words and it drives the men wild. But there’s no way I’m going to keep that up for the next 30 years, please.

These men don’t know my last name and none of you better tell them. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. Daniel never read my blog once because he was a shitty boyfriend. I told him that my online persona is different from me in real life, which isn’t actually true, I just wanted to trick him so he’d love me. Here’s a glimpse of his aesthetic preferences as contrasted with mine: He likes to post pictures of geometric shapes on facebook, hashtag godseye. He thinks The Number 23 is a really good movie. I know, right? I would pay 1 million dollars to make him love me again. I’d sell my hair and get a second job. It’s like In High Fidelity when John Cusack screams up to Catherine Zeta-Jones’ window: “You fucking bitch, let’s work it out!” Daniel doesn’t like Peter Gabriel. If I were going to stand outside of his apartment holding up a boombox it would have to be some ambient techno track.

Fuck. Fuck fuck. My fucking life. Fuck. I probably shouldn’t post this, but if you’re reading it, I did.

With a sinking heart I have to admit that I’m not ready for a relationship. There’s something about me + another person that starts to eat away at my core until there’s nothing left but a fat person who doesn’t write stories anymore. I get lazy and unambitious. I’ll do anything for them. I like them best when they don’t like me. Tale as old as time. It’s a truly depressing illness with no cure, this aching for another. The only solution I can think of is exercise and green smoothies. Eye of the fucking tiger; I’ll get on that real soon here.

I was going to apologize for all the dreary, personal posts of late, but then I remembered, fuck you, this is my website. You read this far of your own accord and I’m really grateful! But I have lots of ideas for the future with more universal appeal. You will like them and then you will like me and this will make me feel better for a second until I remember some new bad thing, rinse, repeat.

10/8/13

oh, shadow!

My body’s been going through some exciting changes. All the walking has made my legs taut and sturdy like trees. At night I go to the gym and hit a bag. I can do one male pushup with confidence, but walking dogs makes me hungry so I still weigh a lot. I look at my body and think, where is all this weight distributed? My tan is fading. Further, I’ve been going to the same gym for three months and I haven’t made a single friend. I don’t think anybody paid my gym fees, so for the last several weeks I’ve just been slinking by the front desk. From this I can conclude that everyone agrees I’m supposed to be there but would rather not talk to me, which is a good position to be in when you haven’t paid your gym fees.

This morning at 7:30 I took Beatrice the bulldog for a walk in the alley behind her dad’s house where we came across a golden, jewel-encrusted turtle sitting on a wet chair. It looked like a trick, it was so perfect. At first I was afraid to touch the turtle because it seemed alive, and then I thought if I picked it up a loud alarm would go off. I decided to leave the turtle for the time being, and if it was there when I came back at 11, I’d take the turtle home and put it under the covers at my new boyfriend’s house so he’d know what I’m like and maybe feel the same way about it as I do. Basically it’s a test that none of us know we’re taking. At this point I’ve put the turtle in my car and the rest of the story hasn’t happened yet.

A few entities have approached me in the last year asking if they can put up advertising on mollylaich.com, mostly for “learn how to write” products since that’s what most of you are into apparently. If there were serious money involved I’d do it—don’t get me wrong—but it’s not serious; it’s like 100 bucks a year if we’re lucky. I was going to say that I’m not going to do it for the principle or whatever but now I’m wondering if it isn’t just laziness. I think it’s funny how the moment you manage to create something remotely interesting, a thing that people want to put their eyes on willingly, somebody else wants to come along and squeeze the blood out of it. It’s like an insect bite. The bug wants to eat you: Be flattered, but strike her dead.

The reality of my situation is creeping up on me, that I only have 729 twitter followers and I might not have the work ethic to make any sort of profound impact on the literary world. I’m coming to terms with my ordinariness, basically. But even as I type it I don’t believe me. I just keep living my life as though it’s about to start to matter as soon as we clear this next big hill. It’s just a series of hills, you guys! It’s like in Homeward Bound when they make it over the first mountain only to see a million more in the distance, and Sassy the cat says, “Oh, Shadow!”

Plus I’m in love with a nice man. How gay is that.

Free letters is still a thing, send me your address! I just sent out a bunch of them. I tried to give everyone a dollar, but toward the end of the pile I ran out of cash, and it’s like, why am I paying you? I don’t have enough turtles to put in everyone’s bed, probably.

07/25/13

my boyfriend’s back (and you’re gonna be in trouble).

Too much time has past since my last confession. All the quality people have died or moved on. So much has happened, where to begin:

1. Becoming a full time dog walker/pet sitter is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. It’s as easy as you imagine and weirdly lucrative so long as you work all day every day and sleep in a stranger’s bed with a pug under each arm every other night of your life. My enthusiasm is tempered only because dog walking is a well known loser job, as evidenced by this recent onion video, “Friends Don’t Understand How Man Not Depressed.”  Three guesses for what this sad, pathetic man does for a living. I’ll give you a hint: He’s not a doctor. If you saw the way the dogs look up at me from the leash with total devotion, you’d understand.

2. An attractive, newlywed couple moved into the upstairs of the house I’ve been living in and are converting the space into their own personal love nest. They dismantled the pool table and threw away the television. Day by day, the ugly tile is covered up with pretty hardwood laminate. Imagine a Charlie Kaufman film. Every morning I wake up thinking, “Oh God, my life.” But I move into my new place in Greenwood this weekend and I have big plans to throw away everything that isn’t an elephant. Speaking of which.

3. In a surprise twist, Jesse moved to Seattle a couple of weeks ago with my first and last name tattooed over his heart. He rolled up with everything he owns in the $300 Subaru, and now he’s making $500 a day roofing, like a game show screaming, “All this could be yours!” But money’s only fun when it’s buying you freedom, right? He moved in with his second choice, a young, rich, beautiful girl in Kirkland. She has no idea what she’s up against. He hates me, he wants to marry me, I’m a whore, I’m beautiful, I don’t know, it changes on a dime. Jesse Casado is Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood. He is Brandon McCarthy from Welcome to the Dollhouse. He’s Mark Wahlberg from Fear. He’s the guy who killed McGinnis in Jesus’ Son. He is Raging Bull.

“Will you believe me when I tell you that there was kindness in his heart? His left hand didn’t know what his right hand was doing. It’s just that certain important connections had been burned through. If I opened up your head, and ran a hot soldering iron around in your brain, I might turn you into someone like that.”

The last time I saw Jesse he’d started drinking at 5:30 in the morning. He bought me breakfast at Denny’s and I sat across from him on a bed of eggshells thinking, forgive me, please. I’m sorry I hurt you. Forgive me. Love me like you used to. Let me love you. Just be my friend. Guess what’s never going to happen? On the way home I puked up the Denny’s in a plastic bag, and it’s like, what the fuck is the point of this? What am I doing? I quit.

4. The worst of it is that I haven’t been writing, but I’ve been off the Jesse for a few days now and I think I’m coming out of the fog. I’ve got my sense of smell back! I can feel myself having ideas again. I want to write essays on dogs and how to be nice. I want to write you free letters and a novel and a million short stories and more film articles. Now it’s just a question of where to start.

Where do I start?

06/17/13

let’s talk about all the movies I saw by myself this month.

Feeling the suffocating weight of the human condition and my life choices, but what else is new. Writing is a shitty vocation on any day but it’s been particularly difficult for me lately for some reason. Sometimes you go to paint and the colors are wet mud, that’s all, it happens. Like breathing, writing for me has been labored and difficult.

I’ve got this new life plan. My mother taught me from a very early age that people who are happy and love themselves are assholes. I think she was thinking of my father but I analogized the lesson to include everyone, chiefly myself. So my new thing is to from now on go incredibly, uncomfortably easy on myself. You remember the four agreements, right? 4. Always do your best. Maybe on Tuesday my very best means eating an entire frozen pizza and going to bed at 7:30, I don’t know, I’m not a psychic.

Holy fuck, I’m so lonely, I go to the movies every weekend by myself, sometimes twice a weekend, that’s how lonely. I go to movies whether the paper assigned me to see the film or not. If writing is a knife in the heart than cinema is the balm. You just watch it with your eyes, get on the internet afterward and bitch about what you saw. You don’t have to create anything or guess what the characters look like.

For example, I saw After Earth in theaters on purpose. The scholarship has been done, it’s hardly relevant anymore, but seriously, what were they thinking. Gifting your kid a 130 million dollar movie to star in is not inspiring, Will Smith. We do not relate, this isn’t a father/son story the American people are interested in getting behind. Will and Jaden are speaking in accents because it’s 1,000 years in the future and language changes but this is a dumb future detail to guess at and also distracting. It was stupid when they did it in Cloud Atlas too, we don’t need to have them talk funny to know it’s the future. The plot says everything on earth has evolved to kill humans since they absconded long ago. That’s Lemarkian bullshit—evolution doesn’t work that way. Why is M. Night Shyamalan obsessed with plants killing us. The plants aren’t going to kill us, bro.

The CGI is bad, the story is boring and Jaden has no charisma. The lesson of the film is that you should never be afraid of anything. Not being afraid of a monster who wants to kill you is known as “ghosting.” To ghost is to truly not give a fuck but I think Will Smith takes it too far. What I hated most is the moment when Will Smith puts a necklace on his wife in this single, sweeping gesture that only works in movies. Cal does the same thing when he puts the Heart of the Ocean on Rose in Titanic, I fucking hate that. Necklace clasps are a bitch and we all know it, why can’t we just be real with each other.

we are royalty, Rose.

we are royalty, Rose.

Star Trek: Darkness Falls, The Iceman, Now You See Me and Before Midnight (coming this thursday) I wrote reviews for in the Indy.

What else.

My roommates and I snuck into an advanced free screening of This is the End last week, and maybe this is all the liquor and candy we smuggled in with us talking, but it might be the greatest and funniest film of all time. This is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial debut and I think they learned a lot about how to make a comedy look pretty from David Gordon Green (the indy genius who directed All the Real Girls and Pineapple Express, holla). My love for this film is just more evidence to a growing internet rumor that I’m actually a 14 year old boy.

Not in theaters (and not streaming on Netflix so you’re so fucked), I watched a movie called Killer Joe (2011) starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and some other people. Hirsch’s mother is awful and has an insurance policy, so he and his Dad hire Killer Joe to, you know. The best part is how nobody lingers too much on the morality of the situation; a good dark comedy is hard to find. I love films about poor, violent and otherwise not very bright people. I want to write a short story collection in which every story is as fucked up and entertaining as this movie was.

what could go wrong.

what could go wrong.

Since Killer Joe was so thrilling, I can’t write and my life is as empty as a shell, I went and saw Mud, again starring McConaughey. The movie has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which sounds good, but what it really means is that the film is unobjectionable so perhaps a little soft. It’s about 13 year old boys in Arkansas, which I find really relatable. It’s a Cormac McCarthy style morality tale about how women hurt men, tempered with the optimism and guarded violence that comes with a PG-13 film. Seriously, I wish I’d never known the rating, it was a real spoiler to know that nothing truly terrible would happen.

Last night I tried to watch The Descent (2005) but it was too scary. I can’t watch scary films alone, and unless you’re a dog don’t even bother inviting yourself over. Right now I’m doing a me time thing.

me. alone in my room. calmly reading.

me. alone in my room. calmly reading.

 

04/21/13

two short stories.


1.

I thought I wasn’t going to see my ex boyfriend when I went back to Montana, but that turned out to be wrong. He picked me up in the Orange Street Food Farm parking lot in the dead of night after all the bars were closed. Everything he owned was piled up in the backseat. It was snowing and I didn’t know where he was taking me. He told me I looked pretty in a soft and unfamiliar voice and I knew I was doomed.

The next morning, a couple of old men called my ex boyfriend about the moose antlers he had for sale on craigslist. We got in the $300 silver Subaru we bought together in November and drove to the old Walmart off of Brooks to rondevu with one of the old men. I thought the old man wanted to buy the moose antlers so he could display them on his wall as though he’d killed the moose himself, and it seemed pretty weird and sad, but again I had the wrong idea. It turns out you can make chandeliers and lamps out of the material, and Montanans go fucking wild for creepy antler crafts. My ex boyfriend sold the moose antlers along with a set of elk antlers for $50, but the man said they were worth twice that. My ex boyfriend knows about a place where there are 15 or 16 elk antlers just lying around, and the old man said he would be very interested in that.  Elk antlers go for $8 a pound. I think the elk’s life is worth more, but no one cares, so it isn't.

We’d shared a two bedroom house together on the Westside for four earth-shattering months, but it ended pretty swiftly when I absconded to Seattle under the cloak of night in January. I was thinking that I still loved him, and it was a feeling like if stabbing were something that felt good and people were into.

There was no traffic on the street and the mountains looked cold and right on top of us. we were headed back to his friend’s house to hang out and pass the time until the next thing.

“What happened to my bike?” I asked. We both pictured the black frame and the gold rims. The gears didn’t work so it was a pretty shitty bike, but still it was all I had and I wanted to take it back to Seattle. Nobody thought I'd be back for it; he'd thrown it away or it had been stolen. The bike was long gone and it made me feel tired. With regards to the bike situation, I was back to square one.

2.

The newspaper sent me to review the film adaptation of On the Road. I was glad because I love money, but I never liked the book, and the guy who just dumped me loves it, so it was a mixed bag I guess. I saw the one o' clock showing alone in a mostly empty theater on a rainy Thursday in Seattle. The movie made me think a lot about my life because it’s a dreamy story about writers who don't have jobs and like to get fucked up. The character's don't know they're going to become famous and then die of alcoholism anyway; it's depressing. When I got off the bus on Lake City Way I felt like I was someone else. I felt as though someone had stepped into my body and was taking over, but it's always just me.

A man leaning against the wall near the Value Village called out to me and I walked toward him. He wanted me to sit down and hang out. It seemed like it would make him happy so I agreed. A second mad person approached us, a woman this time. She said she found the man I was sitting next to attractive. If you looked closely you could see that he'd been handsome once, but now he went on and on about a divorce that could have happened last week or never, and it showed.

The lady said I was okay-looking too but she assured me she wasn’t a lesbian. I said I didn’t care. She got a little graphic about what she wanted to do to the guy. Her and the man bickered and I couldn’t figure out whether they’d met before this moment or not. They were like crazy hounds circling each other and sniffing.

The woman opened her backpack and showed us a bunch of pills. She kept waving around the bottles, saying, “Social Security gives me all these pills with the money but I don’t take them.” She really wanted to unload all these pills on me. There were white oval pills and round orange ones. I held out my hand and said, “No, don’t," and then I put the pills in the front pocket of my backpack.  I was trying to get her to show me the labels on the bottles so we knew what we were dealing with here, but she kept flirting with the man and I couldn't get her attention.

The lady pulled out a third bottle and turned it around magically in her hands. I could see by the look in her eyes that the third bottle of pills meant something. A few hours earlier, my roommate had given me a mini bottle of cinnamon flavored whiskey. He said to me, “Use this when the time is right.” Long story short, I traded the mini bottle for a handful of pills from a woman with wild hair and broken glasses.

The man had his own agenda but lord knows what that was. He wanted to go find weed. I said it seemed like a good time, but we were strangers on a city street corner in a shitty part of Seattle, and even though that sounds like a recipe for finding drugs, you’d be surprised how helpless you really are when the time comes. I just wanted to go home and look up what the pills were on the internet. Every pill comes with a unique number and letter, so anything you find in a change purse or buried in the carpet can be identified. It’s as if the drug companies knew what they were doing.

The man followed me down the street for a few blocks. I had a few hundred dollars in my wallet for rent, but his puppy-like energy suggested he didn’t have much power inside of him for violence and I wasn’t afraid. He followed me for a while and then I dodged him in a complicated move involving a grocery store restroom. The other pills turned out to be Lexapro and some kind of stomach ulcer medication, so not worth much, but the muscle relaxers are nice for going to sleep at night.

Do you think you're better than me? We’re exactly the same. On you it just looks a little different.

10/24/12

The Shinning!

Every now and then I go a little too far in the gloom and doom direction… my last post may have been an example of that. Thanks to everybody who wrote me emails, said nice things or looked at me from across the room with eyes like yellow labs. I love you very much as well!

Anyway, things are looking up. I got three job interviews this week, the most promising of which is a housekeeping position at a retirement home that begins every morning at 5 AM. Do not feel sorry for me! I really want the job! After all, I’m not looking for a goddamn career. I just want a job that I can shut up and ignore, and all these woes will serve for sweet discourses in our times to come. I can already see myself looking back fondly on that time I had to cover my tattoos so that old people who are confused about the time and place won’t think the robin on my forearm is a pterodactyl about to eat their medicine.

They said they would call me about the job after they do a background check and call my references. So, as long as “background check” just means a cursory search in a police database to see if I have any felonies, I should be good. If background check means “google search”… well.

Yesterday my roommate made me mad and I announced loudly on twitter that I was going to kill him and then go on a murderous rampage through the neighborhood killing everyone in sight until the police took me down (like a Halloween thing!) I was totally JK about the second part; I’m not a monster.

At night, we watched The Shining alone in the dark on my laptop. I said, “Take this melatonin, Jesse.” It will help you sleep, Jesse. Go ahead. Take the capsule. And then we cuddled and talked about how awesome Shelley Duvall’s outfits are. Take a look at those yellow boots!

It occurred to me a little too late that if Jesse were to suffer some freak, inexplicable death in the night, it would be hard to explain away my tweets. I should be more careful.

But really, in all seriousness, I poisoned his melatonin. Jesse convulsed in his sleep, foam dribbled down his chin and his limbs contorted in terrifying ways. He has such pretty eyes when he’s hurt and scared! It’s a rare look on him! No, I know. You still think I’m joking. Ha ha. No really. Jesse is dead. I murdered my roommate in his sleep and then dragged his lifeless corpse into the garage where he will enjoy a long, lonely winter.

Oh my god, one last thing: I’m worried that I eat too much tofu and I’m going to get breast cancer. It raises your estrogen, you guys. Seriously. This is serious. I should really start looking into healthy alternatives to soy.

To review: 1. Sorry for being a crybaby earlier. 2. I am clearly a person who hates money, as evidenced by my repeated and systematically self sabotaging behavior with regards to the job hunt. 3. The Shining is a really good movie. 4. I killed Jesse as a halloween prank.  5. Send me your soy free vegan recipes!

 

 

10/9/12

four dogs, two humans.

My brain still doesn’t think my life is real life. I don’t know why, cuz I mean, look around, it’s the realest. We eat a lot of potatoes and tonight I’ve got big plans of steaming up the rest of the red cabbage. We’re like the Bucket family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They were pretty hardcore vegans until they got their hands on an unlimited supply of milk chocolate. “It wasn’t even really a chocolate river,” the kid who played Augustus Gloop later told reporters. “It was cold, dirty water.” At least, that’s what my friend Alice says he said; who knows if it’s true. She does the Austrian accent and everything, it’s hilarious!

The point is, four dogs live here now. The mini poodles are a contract pet sitting job from craigslist. The rancher who owns two mini poodles will be back in three weeks to collect his pups when he returns from the oil fields. There’s no reason to think the rancher won’t come back for his mini poodles.

 

Here are some old cranky poodles named Corky and Roxy. They think that my lap belongs to them. They are the prince and princess of my free orange chair. Everything in this picture but my satchel is curtesy of craigslist.

In an entirely separate incident, my roommate found the beagles in the “for sale: general” section of craigslist listed for one dollar. It’s fate, he argued. Who else would find an ad for two perfect beagles when they were so miscategorized? Like our love—like our improbable craigslist love, when you go looking for a roommate and instead find a loveless marriage—the dogs were meant to be ours. So that’s how we went from having zero dogs to four emotionally needy little animals in a single Sunday afternoon. They’re squirmy and hard to photograph, I’ll say that for them.

After some big important scent, I'm sure.

 

The beagles came to us with the names Bella and Buster, which is too much alliteration, anyone would agree, but then again, they seem to know their names well enough and who are we, their new slave masters? Jesse likes the name Bella but wants to call the bigger one Edward. He thinks it’s hilarious to reference Twilight in this way. I don’t always get my roommate’s sense of humor. He also thinks it would be really funny to go to the polls and vote for Romney. Ha ha. Voted for Romney. And there’s all the Nazi stuff on his Facebook page. Ha ha. The Third Reich. We’re still getting to know each other I guess.

My mom saw a psychic, and the psychic told my mother, “Which of your kids is the writer? This person should write a book.”

The world has high hopes for me and I fucking hate that. How come psychics never tell people, “I see your daughter, sitting on a comfy orange chair surrounded by spooky clouds and music. She should continue to fulfill her destiny by watching “The Dog Whisperer” and “Animal Hoarders” for hours a day, Ooooooo……”

09/11/12

oh, I don’t know.

There’s this boss moment in The Lion King that I can never shut up about when Mufasa appears as a ghost in the clouds, looks down at Simba and says, “Simba. You are more than what you have become.”

I looked up the Hamlet equivalent, and he’s not nearly as inspirational. The Ghost just tells Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” In the Disney version, Scar never bangs Mufasa’s wife, and when Simba goes back to reclaim his kingdom, he intends for a peaceful overthrowing of the fraudulent monarchy. It’s only by accident and circumstance that he ends up throwing Scar into a pit of flames.

Life’s not really like that, kids! In the real world (i.e. Shakespeare) you obsess over what’s real and what’s imagined. You have no idea what this life is for. It’s just given to you out of nowhere, and now what are you supposed to do with it? Even if you wanted to be fair and just, how do you know what that looks like? Who can you trust to show you? How do you know what the right thing is? Once you think you have it, will you have the guts to act?

The point is that Hamlet’s a good play and I wish I were writing more.

Here’s some more shit about the house I share with Jesse:
As soon as you walk in the living room, there’s a gigantic canvas painting of Jesse’s face on the wall painted by his ex girlfriend. The place is sparsely furnished and sometimes cold. I told him our house reminded me of Xanadu. He hasn’t seen Citizen Kane but when I laid it out for him he seemed pretty receptive to the idea. Jesse says that people always think that their lives are going to work out, that one day they’ll have everything they want and when that day arrives, things will be better. But Jesse knows that it’s not really like that. Here is no different than anywhere else and it will never get better, so accept your marriage, accept your shitty job and try to find some happiness in it. I said I agreed more with the first part than the second, but I’m still working out the details.

There are fires in the bitterroot and the smoke seems to be getting to people. Some nights the moon is pink, which is beautiful but not at all normal and I wonder if she’s enraged or happy or what. The smoke doesn’t bother me but my friends seem pretty upset and I think it’s as good a time as any to get the fuck out of Montana.

On that note, I’m catching a greyhound to Seattle for five days to watch my friend Laura’s dog. Don’t worry, I’ll live-tweet everything.