You gotta see IT on the big screen

When a child’s arm gets bitten off early in a movie, you need to be prepared. Granted, in horror films, the opening sequence can be the most terrifying (see Jaws). In the case of the modern IT revamp, nope, things just get progressively worse.

We all know the Stephen King story: a bunch of loser kids in the 80s are terrorized by a weird clown. Something is wrong with the sewers, and their lives are haunted forever.

Although the original miniseries was pretty dang good, the movie surpasses it in fear factor. This is probably due to the cutting edge special effects. It’s also due, largely, to the style. The creators of this film utilized slow build suspense that escalated and escalated. (There’s a particular scene in a library basement that had me crying inside.) The technique of slow build was what made each and every moment so horrific and unforgettable.

Of course, I have to talk about Pennywise. I watched Bill Skarsgard in Hemlock Grove and despite some pretty despicable behaviors on that show, I still fell for the guy. He’s hot, okay? But here’s how things went while watching IT …

Prior to IT: Oh, hey, Bill. Mm, yeah, can’t wait to see you on big screen, baby.

At the beginning of IT: You’re pretty scary, but I can still see that sexy mouth.

Halfway through IT: Oh, but, Bill, you … uh … no! Bill, no, you … But …

Toward the end of IT: BILL, I NEVER WANT TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN, YOU MONSTER!

I am seriously not one to overlook the brilliance of original Pennywise, Tim Curry, but the handsome Mr. Skarsgard has stolen the trophy for most effed-up clown of all time. Apparently the director kept Bill away from the kids during filming so they wouldn’t get friendly. The kids didn’t even see Bill as Pennywise until they were all in a scene together, so their terror is real.

Speaking of great acting, the little kids were perfect, including one troublemaker from Stranger Things. The writer gave each character interesting back stories, although evidently parents are all totally evil. Young actress Sophia Lillis really stole the show as the only female lead. Comedy was interspersed throughout, but even the moments of levity couldn’t compare to the bone-shaking horror.

IT is a film that should be viewed on the big screen, even if you do have to hide behind your hands half the time. It’s as beautiful as it is gross. Sitting next to my husband, trying not to choke on my Sour Patch Kids, I was frankly too scared to scream. I just sat there, clawing his forearm for two and a half hours.

How did IT end? Ha, I’m not going to tell you that. We’ve all been making fun of the miniseries ending for decades, but I will say this: I’m happy with the conclusion. I mean, I didn’t sleep at all the night after we saw the movie and I won’t go in my basement anymore, but, you know, totally worth it.

Dunkirk is the last war movie I will ever see

Jake made a compelling argument. Not only was Dunkirk killing it on Rotten Tomatoes, but it was a Christopher Nolan movie. I’ve been in love with Nolan films since Memento. Yes, Dunkirk was a war movie, and I generally avoid war movies. But Jake said, “It’s rated PG-13. It can’t be that bad!” Plus, two of the stars were Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, and I want to have a hundred of Cillian Murphy’s babies (metaphorically).

Saturday, I agreed to spend a rainy afternoon watching a critically acclaimed war movie from one of my favorite directors starring a two men who take my breath away. Sure, why not?

Oh, what a mistake.

I was okay for a while. Sitting in the darkened theater, eating my popcorn, I didn’t start freaking out until about halfway through. There was a very claustrophobic scene involving a bunch of young men trapped underwater, and I lost my shit. I think I hid it well. I cried silently and covered my eyes. Nobody noticed the woman falling apart at the Willoughby Regal Cinema.

It got worse. Popcorn forgotten, I watched the rest of the movie while hiding behind my hands. Then, things escalated. Following an abrupt ending, the credits rolled. Jake, eyes alight with Nolan’s brilliance, turned to ask, “What did you think?”

I started sobbing. I hate crying in public. Hate it. Jake grabbed my hand and guided me back to the parking lot. I hid behind my sunglasses. Once in the passenger seat, in the privacy of my own car, I really let go until I was a sniveling, hiccuping mess. I said it over and over: “I can’t do war movies. I just can’t. I can’t.”

Saturday was destroyed. No matter that we went shopping and ate wings at my favorite dive bar, I was still trapped underwater, struggling for breath. I drank enough beer to surface, but I still feel Dunkirk today and its lingering effects. I woke up sad.

I recently read a brilliant novella by Em Shotwell called “Forget Me Not” that really messed me up. In a good way. Follow me on this.

One of the lead characters in “Forget Me Not,” Rex, has the ability to never forget anything. When he’s sent off to Vietnam, it’s horrible because every death, every terror, is burned onto his brain. The horror of war is with him forever. In “Forget Me Not,” watching a lovable character crash and burn is painful. Watching what war does to a beautiful, innocent man like Rex made me want to curl into a little ball.

Shotwell does an excellent job of bringing Rex back from the edge, but many soldiers aren’t so lucky. As is the case in Dunkirk, many soldiers don’t even come home. Many of the ones who did (see Cillian Murphy’s character), came back totally messed up.

Nolan did a brilliant job in Dunkirk of using the minimum dialogue to address huge issues. For example, Cillian Murphy’s character, who escaped what we presume was a sunken battleship, won’t go below deck on the ship that rescues him. Shell shock forces him to sit outside, covering his ears. Much of the communication between actors is done through eye contact and nothing more. The cinematography makes me suspect Nolan is actually a wizard, because how else did he get some of those shots? The score is like a constant time bomb, ticking away as one young man after another is killed. (Tick-tock-tick …)

Dunkirk was a fantastic movie, and it’s the last war movie I will ever see because I can’t do this to myself anymore. There were beautiful moments of hope, bravery, and friendship, but those moments weren’t enough to make me feel glad I spent my Saturday afternoon crying.

Jake made a good point: it’s important to know history, especially for younger generations. My counter argument: an internet search won’t have such long-lasting effects on me. Like Rex in “Forget Me Not,” flashes of the film still scream through my head. I still see the dead bodies and the wild, panicked look in Cillian Murphy’s eyes. (I joked with my mom this morning that if my beloved Benedict Cumberbatch had played the same role, I would probably still be crying. Like, forever.)

I don’t understand war. I know it must be fought, but I don’t understand how young men can so easily kill other young men just because some general tells them to. Dunkirk portrayed how quickly we turn on each other in the name of survival. It showed the honor of battle but also its fruitlessness. The movie busted a bigger hole in my chest: a hole that’s been growing for years the more I watch the news. Dunkirk was brilliant, but I know when enough is enough. I wish I could say the same about the world.

Vampires, movie magic, and best books: 2016 in review

Every December, I do inventory of what the hell happened over the course of the previous twelve months. As you may have noticed, 2016 was (by far) the most chaotic and successful of my life … which might be why I refuse to get dressed today. In fact, you’re lucky I’m even sitting upright. In homage to a year of utter, beautiful insanity, I offer you a look back.

1. BITE SOMEBODY

bitesomebody_final

Dreams do come true. After years of angst, in June, my first published novel was released into the innocent, unsuspecting world. Bite Somebody–a ridiculous paranormal romantic comedy about an awkward vampire, her sexy human surfer boy, and a psychotic blood-sucking best friend–found fans the world over. I hosted two massively successful (and anxiety-inducing) launch parties and attended my first conventions as an author. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, click HERE, because as you may have heard, the sequel, Bite Somebody Else, comes out in 2017. The rodeo is far from over, folks. With all the upcoming promo and additional events, let’s just hope I don’t start looking rode hard and put away wet.

2. DECENT PEOPLE

decent

Once upon a time, I was an actress, so when my high school buddy asked me to be in a movie, I agreed. I had an absolute blast making Decent People, but I had no idea how hard it is to make a full-length film. (You can read all about it HERE.) Despite the laughs and new friends made, I walked away from the experience with bronchitis, laryngitis, and a phobia of having to smoke on screen ever again. (The reality just isn’t as sexy as it looks.) The film should be released in spring or summer of 2017. Since I refused to watch the dailies, I’ll surely watch the film from between my fingers, but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to slip back into my acting shoes–and have a damn good time playing a bitch in the process.

3. MODELING

modeling2016

Moving to Ohio from Phoenix (where I had a full, colorful cast of photographer friends), I wasn’t sure how much modeling I would do in my new state. Surprise! About a ton. Thanks to networking, I’ve gotten to shoot in a famous cemetery, in a creepy church basement, and yes, in my underwear. I even got to do a runway show in Cleveland. As always, I encourage everyone to do a photo shoot at least once. You won’t believe what you look like on camera, and when you’re old and crinkly, you’ll be amazed at how beautiful you are and always have been. (Above photos thanks to Bill Thornhill, Devon Adams, Steph Gentry, and Dennis Mong.)

4. SHORT STORIES

Other than Bite Somebody, what else got thrown into the world this year?

Wolf Among Sheep (Hot Ink Press)
“I was not at all prepared for what I deduce you proposed yesterday,” he says. I just adore that strange accent, so much like my husband’s: a mismatch of places and times, trapped somewhere between New York and the low south—musical yet clipped and precise.
“What exactly do you deduce we proposed?” I ask.
“That I enter into a sexual relationship with a married couple.”
I laugh; people around us turn to stare. I take Timothy’s hand. “Well. Perhaps these Americans aren’t quite as close-minded as I thought.”

I Hate Myself for Loving You (Lunch Ticket Magazine)
Timmy shoves him over and joins him in the dirt. He thumps Jason in the side of the face. I think I should tell them to stop—scream it even. Instead, coward that I am, my boys keep going until they see blood. Then, they fall back. They yell about catching Jason’s “gay disease,” named by some mad scientists a couple years back in ‘82. My best friends drag me away.
Jason rolls onto his side in the dirt and wipes at the split skin below his right eye. He doesn’t look up at me, but I keep watching as we hurry from the scene of the crime. I keep watching Jason and think I’d like to wipe his blood all over me.

The Saguaro Apocalypse (Stoneslide Corrective “Striking Use of Wit” Winner)
I opened the door. At first I thought it was some really tall, skinny dude with short arms.
Then, I realized it was a saguaro cactus. Must have been a young one, since its limbs were only about two feet long and pin wheeling in my face. I had the momentary thought: What the hell was in that weed? The cactus kept brandishing its T-Rex arms at me.
“Thomas?”
“What now?” I heard the shuffling of his sock-clad feet.
By the time Thomas reached me, the cactus was banging its rounded top against the doorframe; guess it couldn’t figure how to duck.

You’re Glowing (Omnia Veritas Review)
I haven’t had sex in two years. This unfortunate situation could be ignored except men have started glowing. The doorman outside my apartment glows dark blue, like his nicely tailored suits. I shudder beneath his smile and barely acknowledge his mannerly door holding.
The cop on the corner near the elementary school, he glows green. I don’t know if he’s supposed to, but he always holds up his orange “Don’t Walk” sign when I pass his crosswalk. He winks at me every day, which makes my forehead sweat.
The guy who makes my morning coffee glows pink. I hate the color pink, but I don’t hold it against him. He’s always nice to me. He tells me I smell good. I’m probably old enough to be his mother.

Forget Me Do (Red Rose Review)
Her friends called her a witch. It was only a joke. Whenever one of the girls posted on Facebook that she felt a cold coming on, Debra was on the road with her herbal tea mixtures and tinctures. Then, miraculously, within days, her girlfriends would be completely healed and winning track meets. That was why they called her a witch. That and, well …
“You just made out with Stan in the back of his dad’s car.”
“I hate when you do that,” Rebecca said.
Debra couldn’t help knowing things.

If It Ain’t Broke (Marked by Scorn Anthology)
“This thing for Henry Oliver … You’ve got it under control, right?”
“Of course. I’d never do anything about it.”
“You are kind of touchy-feely with the kid.”
Nate slowly turned his mug on the sticky, wooden table. “God, am I?”
Ella shrugged one shoulder. “A little. I think it’s cute, but other people might not.”

Ghosts of Ice Cream (Bop Dead City)
My fingers rest like a sleeping spider against his collarbone. I breathe the scent of him: salty sweat with an undercurrent of men’s cologne, leftover from his day at the office. He take small inhales, exhales, and hums a little when my fingers touch his throat.
And then I hear it: the ice cream truck. I finally recognize the song: an off-key, off-tempo version of “Beyond the Sea” that comes to me like screams through water. It was our wedding song. I shiver and pull closer to Michael, who falls apart, a pile of ash in my hands.

Sick Like Me (Honeydew Erotic Review)
“What kind of help do you need exactly?”
Evan shrugged. He played with the strap on his motorcycle helmet. He had long, skeletal fingers with squeaky-clean nails. He chewed on his bottom lip. “You think I’m attractive.”
“I’m sure a lot of people think you’re attractive.”
Evan shook his head. “I’m not talking about them.”
Cam sighed. “You’re making this too easy.”

5. BOOKS READ: 58!!

bestbooks2016

Best of the best:
The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Wreck You by Randi Perrin
The Train Derails in Boston by Jessica McHugh
Captive Prince Trilogy by CS Pacat

6. COMING IN 2017

Bite Somebody Else (Bite Somebody, #2). Read all about it HERE.
“Not Again” – LEGENDARY Anthology (January 13)
“They Lived in the House On Cherry Street” – Black Denim Lit
“The Emmett File” – Stoneslide Corrective
“Painted Red” – kINKED Anthology
Enchanted Series: Magic SparkPen and Kink Publishing

Frankly, I’m exhausted just reading all this. I guess I should go take a nap, duck and cover until 2017 officially rolls around. I do want to thank everyone who supported me this year, whether that involved a Tweet or a glass of whiskey. I have wonderful friends, family, and fans, and I could not have achieved all of this without YOU. So here comes my British boyfriend to blow you a kiss … Cheers!

ben

 

The 7 Best Horror-Comedy Films

army-of-darkness-1

Due to my overwhelming humbug-ness, I’ve eschewed the traditional “Best Christmas Movie” list to post a list much closer to my twisted, little heart. In this time of joy and cheer, I find nothing brightens my day more than screaming and demon decapitations. Therefore, my holiday gift to you: a list of the seven best horror-comedies.

You heard me. Some of you might not be familiar with the idea of a horror-comedy, but they exist and they are glorious. Films of this genre are usually ridiculous, covered in gore, and completely inappropriate. If you find pleasure in any of these attributes, read on. Cuddle up by the fire with your hot cocoa and bask in the beauty of flying body parts and gratuitous boob shots. Counting down …

7. Zombeavers

A vacation weekend turns into madness and horror for a bunch of drunken groupies looking for fun in a beaver-infested swamp. But not just any beavers. Zombie beavers! These big-toothed bullies are out for blood. Not only do you get some horrendous animatronics (think Princess Bride’s ROUS), but you also get sex, bad puns, and an unfortunate castration. Nothing says Christmas cheer like an unfortunate castration.

6. Re-Animator

A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus. Pure 80s fun, this retelling of Lovecraft’s short story of the same name is chock full of one-liners. (My personal favorite: “Cat dead. Details later.”) Again, blood and body parts fly! There’s nudity and, well, a living decapitated head with dubious intent. Don’t forget the horrible soundtrack. You’ll be ho-ho-ho-ing all the way to the morgue.

5. Witching and Bitching

A coven of witches traps a gang of escaping jewelry thieves. True, since this is a Spanish horror flick, you have to deal with subtitles, but it’s totally worth it as this group of bumbling criminals become the captives of some seriously no-good witchy bitches. The jokes are, of course, over the top, but the dialogue is brilliant and there’s a naked, silver Jesus. Yes, a savior is born.

4. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

Still on the run from a group of Nazi zombies, a man seeks the aid of American zombie enthusiasts and discovers new techniques for fighting the zombies. Come on, Nazi zombies, people. (And don’t worry about watching the first one. Just watch this one.) As with all zombie films, you have to deal with a ton of gore, but the plot is fast-moving and actually makes a lot of sense. Plus, there’s a guy with a zombie hand, and geeky, idiot zombie hunters run amok. Blood in the snow is very festive this time of year!

3. Army of Darkness

A man is accidentally transported to 1300 AD, where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home. I understand that film snobs will disapprove of me choosing the third in the Evil Dead trilogy and not the original, but sue me; this one’s the funniest. (“Gimme some sugar, baby.”) Bruce Campbell is comic-horror gold as he pulls some Three Stooges gags and reels off one-liners fast as Santa filling stockings.

2. Deathgasm

Two teenage metal heads unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity known as The Blind One by delving into black magic while trying to escape their mundane lives. Oh, you crazy New Zealanders with your cute accents! The writing in this film is absolutely dazzling, including asides that’ll make you break a rib laughing. The brilliance of this movie is in its use of unexpected plot twists and its love of all things hard rock—and the gore. The gore is gorgeous. Nothing says Christmas snacks like your neighbors vomiting blood in the streets!

THE WINNER
1. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

White trash dudes Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids. Although the story is great, it’s the lead actors who make this movie. Their response to a bunch of strangers accidentally dying at every turn is comic gold, and they achieve that extreme level of comic genius without being crass or obscene—which is saying something in the modern horror genre. If you ignore the rest of the list, consider this my generous holiday gift to you: a movie to warm the cockles of your heart and make you reconsider the many uses of a wood chipper.

How to Make a Movie

Dunlap, Kevin, and Mike ... with his, urm, mic.

Dunlap, Kevin, and Mike … with his, urm, mic. (That joke never gets old.)

How do you make a movie?
Find a writer who’s not me.
Find a director who knows what he’s doing.
Find an amazing cast and crew.
Film for five days straight.
Get bronchitis, laryngitis, and a life-sucking bout of depression.

Now, your movie is done. Just kidding, your movie isn’t done. It feels like your movie is never done.

When I moved back to Ohio, I knew I would be close to old friends. I didn’t realize one of my old friends would be doing cool things like, oh, rocking out in an amazing band or making movies.

Dunlap and I were in a few theater shows together in high school, but I think we mostly just liked each other’s company. (We also shared the superlative of “Most Likely to be Famous.”) When he heard I was moving to his ‘hood, he got in touch. It all started with several beers and escalated until, all of a sudden, I’d been cast opposite him in an indie flick called Decent People, written and directed by long-haired artistic genius Kevin Naughton.

movieposter

Movie poster? Image thanks to Dave Sebille.

Decent People isn’t a nice movie. There aren’t nice characters. Dunlap and I play two despicable people who get what’s coming to them. Filming began two weeks ago after several rehearsals and detailed planning of my hair and makeup. See, the film only takes place over a two-day period, with A and B costumes that have to look exactly alike for every take. (These are things you don’t think about when making a movie. For instance, my hair is currently purple, and it must remain this current shade of purple until filming wraps.)

As I type, filming is not complete, but I’ve learned quite a bit already. Having been an actress in a previous life, embracing my character’s tics, vocal delivery, and facial expressions has been like sinking into a warm bath–even when I have to scream in Dunlap’s face and call him horrible names (after which, we usually hug and say, “I’m sorry, I love you,” because that’s what friends do).

Doing the same scene over and over from different camera angles can be a challenge. Working in 90 degree heat can be hellish. Smoking a cigarette on film? Looks cool in the movies; sucks in real life. At one point, I’d rushed so much nicotine into my system, I thought I was going to vomit and/or pass out.

That was about the time I got bronchitis and started crying in public in front of our movie crew. After five days of shooting, I crashed. I burned. We had to take some time off, only recommencing film creation Sunday night. My depression was at critical levels, so much so that I made my parents come visit because Jake was out of town and I was afraid of being alone.

In hindsight, I should have expected the crash, the burn. I’m a moderately-functioning introvert who usually has a two-hour “in public” time limit. I’d spent five days with PEOPLE, being on all the time. Literally, in front of a camera all the time. For someone who’s accustomed to only communicating with my computer and only showering when I know my husband is coming home, being surrounded by human beings for five days straight could have landed me in the psyche ward. Luckily, it didn’t.

We still have probably four more days of shooting, and that’s if everything looks right, sounds right, feels right to our Master of Ceremonies, Kevin. Decent People won’t come out until next spring, and I’m nervous because I hate seeing myself on screen. When everyone else was watching the dailies, I hid in the other room and tried not to wince at the sound of my recorded voice–but everyone says I’m doing a great job. My facial expressions are icy, downright terrifying. That makes me smile, because I’m twisted and compliments like that make me smile.

So how do you make a movie?
Find wonderful, understanding people.
Work hard.
Laugh at your mistakes.
Don’t get bronchitis.

decent

Just another day at the office with MEEEE!!!!

This Rocky Horror remake really pisses me off

tim-curry

No. Just no. I watched the teaser for Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show remake, to air in October, and just … no. Look, I’m happy that maybe this remake will introduce a whole new generation of viewers to the glory that is Dr. Frank N. Furter, but …

No, I’m lying.

Tim Curry is and forever will be Dr. Frank N. Furter. I mean no disrespect to Laverne Cox, who I’m sure will do a good job, but from what the teaser showed me, she’s just doing a Tim Curry impersonation. AND why is a woman playing this part? I know, some chicks are going to be all up in my grill over this, but “Sweet Transvestite” doesn’t have the same ring when it’s a woman singing about dressing up like a woman!

GAH! I can’t ….

Even …

Type ….

Dfkjhvpiouzxjcvkmasndijhasjmjndvcxkzmncviuyerhf!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve observed Hollywood is going through this phase where they’re just making the same movie over and over again, but you can’t remake a cult classic. Cult classics become classics by accident. When they were first making the low budget B-film that is Rocky Horror Picture Show, nobody knew it was going to become the salvation of teenage freaks everywhere. They didn’t know it would become the perpetual, immortal midnight show. They didn’t know suicidal goth kids like me would consider the film to be Practically Perfect in Every Way.

The beauty of the original Rocky Horror Picture Show is that it isn’t beautiful. It’s a hysterical mess of cheap costuming, campy music, and the glorious thing that is Tim Curry in tights. Without Tim Curry, the movie would have sucked. He MADE that movie. Now, they’re making it without him (although I think he has a cameo), and they’re expecting it to be as magical as it was in 1975?

Rocky Horror Picture Show saved my life.
When I used to dye my hair black and write “you’re ugly” on mirrors …
When I used to hide beneath clothes three sizes too big …
When I used to smoke cigarettes and cut myself with my own fingernails …
Rocky Horror Picture Show was there, telling me, “Don’t dream it, be it.”

So maybe the remake will save some other troubled kids … but not if it sucks! If they actually give the movie a respectable budget, feature famous people, and just try to imitate the original, the remake is going to flop and troubled kids will miss the point. The biggest flaw, truly, is casting a female as Dr. Frank N. Furter, because part of embracing the freak in me was seeing a man in drag and realizing my freakiness was okay. Not only okay but pretty damn cool.

A confession: I objectify men

deadpool

Jake and I went to see Deadpool this past weekend, partially because we like action films and partially because I think Ryan Reynolds is a stunning specimen of man beast. The movie was a blast: totally irreverent, sexy, and action-packed. I greatly enjoyed myself.

On the drive home from the theater, I texted some choice girlfriends to say Deadpool was surprisingly good and “Bonus: Naked Ryan Reynolds,” to which most replied “FULL FRONTAL?” in big, screaming letters. Alas, no, but I did see his ass, which wasn’t quite as good as my husband’s ass but it was still a very nice ass.

I admired the film as much as I admired Ryan Reynold’s butt, which made me think about the way I treat the opposite sex in general. Conclusion: I objectify men. Thoroughly.

This is most obvious on my Tumblr, dedicated almost exclusively to Benedict Cumberbatch, and no, not his acting chops. I reblog any pictures that, ah-hem, tickle my fancy, and I make the most inappropriate (albeit innocent) comments, which include …

“Oh my God, his ass.”

“His hair. Wanna pull on it.”

“I would tear that suit right off.”

The British online news site Metro even quoted me from Twitter, saying, in regards to Cumberbatch, “Dapper gorgeous mofo. High class. Delicious.”

Ha, Benedict. But oh, to be that teddy bear ...

Ha, Benedict. But oh, to be that teddy bear …

These comments might seem tame (and a little stalker-ish, considering I can recognize Cumberbatch by his hands and even the back of his head), but when I interviewed author Caitlin Moran, she went even further.

Re: Cumberbatch, she told me, “I would climb him like a tree. I would do him until security pulled me off, and then, I would wank at him from behind a door.” I found this comment fantastically hilarious and posted it EVERYWHERE.

I asked my husband how he feels whenever I make lewd comments about his physique or, for instance, when I smack his ass while he’s making dinner. (Goodness, I’m really an ass girl, aren’t I?) Jake says he doesn’t mind any of it. In fact, he thinks it’s complimentary.

I’m thankful Jake feels this way, but I still need to acknowledge that I objectify men … and no one has ever complained about it. No one on social media has ever told me to “tone it down.” Even the Moran comment received nothing but laughs and reblogs.

A man could never get away with saying he would “wank” at a woman on social media without getting dragged through the mud of shame, so how come I can say things like this and more? How come no one comes after me when I shout, proudly, “I would definitely tie Ryan Reynolds to my bed!” (And I need to find the street from that Superbowl commercial … )

There’s a double standard, obviously. When men whistle at women on the street, women (some women) are offended. If a woman whistled at a man on the street, the guy would get high fives from his buddies. Why? WHY?

Oh. You were expecting an answer. Ha. Yeah, I don’t have one of those. The simple truth is, I think men are beautiful creatures, and I say comical, improper things about them all the time. Will there be a time when I come under attack? Maybe. But when will that be … and who will be my attacker?

The Oscar boycott and modern day witch-hunting

salem-witch-trial

Salem, Massachusetts: 1692. In a community rife with arguments about property lines and church rules, three teenage girls started pointing fingers, accusing local women of witchcraft.

Tituba, a black slave, was one of the first targets, due perhaps to her ethnic differences. Martha Corey came later, perhaps because she voiced skepticism about the girls’ accusations and drew their ire.

By the end of 1693, the Salem Witch Trials had come to a close, and twenty people were dead, thanks to hysteria, anger, and feuds. Thank God, in 2016, we’re past all that!

Kidding.

Yesterday, invoking the name of Martin Luther King, Jr., stars like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee announced they would be boycotting this year’s Oscars due to the lack of diversity amidst nominees. Lee pointed the finger at “the executive offices of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks.”

This arguably could be considered a modern day witch-hunt. This is a drop in the pond in a year of witch-hunts. Instead of people being persecuted for witchcraft, though, they’re now attacked because of perceived racism, sexism, religious bigotry, and even an inappropriate sense of humor.

Let’s think back …

Remember when Target released their “OCD” sweater? A play on the mental illness obsessive-compulsive disorder, the sweater read “Obsessive Christmas Disorder,” and people got pissed because they blamed Target for poking fun at mental health.

Remember when Kim Davis wouldn’t sign gay marriage licenses in Kentucky because it went against her religious beliefs? People called her terrible names and spewed hatred all over her desk because of what she saw as a moral obligation.

Remember when over-the-top comedienne Nicole Arbour posted her “Dear Fat People” video and got banned from social media because she’d hurt people’s feelings, so they took her voice away?

Or how about Rachel Foote’s blog post, “Generation Cry Baby,” in which she told millennials to “Get. The. F***. Over. Yourself.” She was strung up on social media by the same people she wrote about (who apparently don’t know the definition of “irony”).

This is modern day burning at the stake. Not only have we become a society of self-righteous witch-hunters, we’ve become players in the blame game. Not enough diversity at the Oscars? Blame Hollywood. Eat one too many Big Macs? Blame Nicole Arbour. Unhappy marriage? Blame your parents. The list goes on … and on … and on.

Face it: if we lived in 1600s Salem, half of us would be hung, myself included. The ones left alive would be a bunch of complainers who would end up dying from lack of anything to be angry about.

I can see them, soldiers of the politically correct, wasting away without a cause to protest. “Woe is me,” they’ll whimper, “No one is left to piss me off. What shall I do with my time now that I have no one to shame on social media?”

We all have a right to our opinions, which is what many people do not understand. If I want to wear black socks with sandals, I can. If I want to eat meat, I can do that, too. If I want to argue that Evil Dead is a cinematic masterpiece, you will not stop me.

You do your thing; I’ll do mine, but let’s not go on a witch-hunt every time something goes wrong in our lives. Let’s not blame someone else for believing something we do not or whine over Oscar injustice while people are starving in Syria. Life’s too short to be angry. Or, in the words of MLK Jr, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Why Spectre sucked

bond_3235796b
If you’re Daniel Craig, call me. If you’re Daniel Craig playing James Bond, it’s hard to disappoint, but well, you did. It’s not your fault entirely, and I don’t know how Hollywood works, but man, didn’t you read the script for Spectre and think, “What the hell is this?”

I’m a shallow woman, so I’ll watch Craig in just about anything—especially Bond, due to the way his body is just plain STACKED—so there was no question that Spectre in theaters would happen this weekend.

The first scene was my own personal wet dream, as Bond wandered the streets of Mexico City on Dia de los Muertos. I mean, I was, like, sighing and gasping over streets filled with skull-clad spooks. Then, the movie happened, all two-and-a-half hours of it, and I left disappointed and, as a writer, confused.

Maybe I’ve been ruined by two of Craig’s other Bond forays, Casino Royale and Skyfall (which is my favorite Bond movie of all time). Maybe I was ruined by Javier Bardem, a villain so creepy but somehow sympathetic, you didn’t know whether to put a bullet in his head or get him to a therapist.

In Spectre, Bond’s career reaches a crescendo as the double-oh unit is closed down and Bond seeks to put an end to a covert bad guy club (which sounds mysteriously like the plot for Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation). Craig has a strong supporting cast, featuring Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, and Christopher Waltz as the baddie. So what went wrong?

Spoiler alert. Spoiler alert. Spoiler alert.

spectre_daniel_craig_lea_seydoux-wideThe writers apparently forgot something we like to call character development. Our super villain, Waltz, was just some angry little man with evil toys—toys that didn’t even pay off during the torture scene. The love interest (played by Lea Sedoux) was supposed to be someone we cared about, but she wasn’t. She was just a vapid little girl angry at her daddy. Plus, for me, she wasn’t hot enough, not like Eva Green in Casino Royale, for instance.

Spectre was rife with plot holes and weird connections that just made no sense. Plus, in the denouement, the bad guy was so theatrical as to put believability—even for a Bond film—in the realm of magic realism. (If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand when I ask, did the guy have time to run to Kinko’s?)

There were some good fight scenes. The sex scenes were pretty good, too, but not as good as I’d like. There were some ingenious moments of comedy, like when Bond is drunk and asks a random mouse in a hotel, “Who sent you?”

What rattles me the most, though, is the lack of attention paid to the characters. I frankly didn’t care if Bond’s love interest took a bullet to the face. I didn’t jive with the antagonist’s motives because they were silly and weak. Even Andrew Scott, who I usually find so fascinating to watch in his portrayal of Moriarty in the BBC’s Sherlock, was just an angry little boy. I realize Spectre is an action film, and action takes precedence, but that was no reason for the writers to be like, “Screw it,” and toss emotion and plot out the helicopter window. No, said helicopter didn’t crash, but the movie sure did.

I sort of wish Daniel Craig had chosen Skyfall as his final performance as Bond because he would have successfully escaped this sinking ship. It goes to show that explosions, car chases, and fight scenes can’t carry a film, just like sex alone can’t carry erotica. We, as viewers, need a reason to care, and there wasn’t one. When Bond’s romantic interest whispers, “I love you,” nobody’s buying it. You’ve known the guy for five seconds, honey. You can say, “Daniel, I love your mouth,” but that’s about all there was to love about Spectre.

Would you survive a horror film?

polt-big

Back in the day, my friends used to tell me I would survive a horror movie, despite my wild appreciation for alcohol—probably because I was a virgin and had an obsessive love for scary movies.

Well, I’m not a virgin anymore, and I’ve developed a habit of wearing insensibly high heels. I also have wobbly breasts, so let’s face it: I might be first to go nowadays.

Man Crates is a new gifting company who delivers cool gifts for men in custom crates. (You’ll even need a crowbar to open it.) They recently asked me: “If you were in a horror movie, what would you want or need in a crate to survive through to the end credits?”

Although not all my items will fit in a crate … it’d have to be a big crate … I did come up with my Horror Movie Survival Kit, just in time for Halloween. I’m not paranoid; I’m just planning ahead, okay?

Guns and a crap-ton of ammo

This is where NRA members will have the step up. I mean, how else are you going to kill Leatherface if not for, like, fifty bullets to his head? Even Michael Myers, well, a bullet would at least slow him down. And if Zombieland taught us anything, bring extra ammo and don’t forget the double tap.

Car

Screw running and screaming through the woods. Get in your car. Drive away. And make sure you have a phone with you and an in-car phone charger so you can warn your friends who’re still having sex upstairs. Maybe this is why my husband always wants to have a full tank of gas—just in case we become victims of Scream, Part Infinitum.

New-Carrie-vs-Old-CarrieWhiskey and cigarettes

Everyone talks about needing water to survive a zombie apocalypse. How come no one talks about booze? If some undead Thriller-style Michael Jackson is chasing me, I’m going to want a drink afterward—several, most likely. A cigarette will calm the nerves, and if I have to, I’ll burn someone with it. Which reminds me: bring a lighter.

Change of clothes

If you happen to run out of ammo and all you have is a chainsaw, that’s going to cause quite a mess. You’ll want a costume change. I’m telling you, there’s nothing worse than blood and brain matter on your favorite 80s prom dress.

Garlic and holy water

Garlic is good for your cardiovascular system … and for warding off Dracula. Holy water apparently has all sorts of uses if Exorcist is any indication. Nothing is more distracting for an undead vampire than to have his or her skin melting off, let me tell you. Drink the holy water if you’re thirsty. Never know; it might miraculously cure that whiskey hang-over.

James Bond

Although Daniel Craig probably won’t travel well in a crate, I think he’d be really helpful in a horror movie, what with all his ninja moves, gun knowledge, and general affinity for escaping any and all enemy attacks. So what if he’s a fictional character? So are horror movie characters—until they’re not.

Man Crates, who prides itself on cool gifts for men, has their own Zombie Annihilation Crate that includes things like a flashlight, duct tape, and first aid kit. I might want to add it to my list, you know, just in case. It closely resembles the trunk of Dean and Sam’s car in Supernatural. Happy haunting!