On Culture consumed in the month of November:
Love Actually (2003)
I watched Love Actually the other night to usher in the Holiday season after decorating our little Christmas tree and mostly avoiding the annual “untangling of the Christmas lights.” It’s one of those multiple-storyline movies with an enormous famous cast and a lot of music montages. If anyone has an enduring fondness for the film, it is due to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” which is a great song and anyone who tells you otherwise is a cylon.
Not a great movie, but who doesn’t have a secret Trelawny/Snape fanfic on their hard drive? I decided to be a bummer by pointing out how sad it was that Liam Neeson’s character is a widower and also in real life. Also, how sad that Alan Rickman is gone. And how Hugh Grant’s prime minister character is like a discount Justin Trudeau.
A few more observations on Love Actually:
- The Andrew Lincoln storyline is the worst. Seriously, they deserve each other. Also, where’s the cue card reading “Currrrrl!”
- The real tagline should be “All these relationships are non-threatening and heteronormative. See you on New Year’s Eve!”
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
I watched this after November 8th, so yeah, super depressing. The third installment in the series still manages to add in a few new twists to the gratuitous concept of a night when all crime (INCLUDING MURDER!!!) is legal. A little on the nose what with the assertion that the purge exists solely to cull the fold (that is, get rid of poor people). The movies seems almost accidentally relevant but includes enough badass slo-mo scenes and creative violence to keep my attention. Stylish, if obvious.
First embarrassing confession: I’ve never seen the original Ghostbusters. Also, I’m not really embarrassed. Before watching this movie, I asked if I really needed to see the original and was told no. Since I would watch Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon watching paint dry, I enjoyed this movie.
Lights Out (2016)
A clever take on nyctophobia, even if all the good scary scenes were ruined by the trailer.
Mean Girls (2004)
A day without quoting Mean Girls is a day not truly lived.
I recently had a meeting with my Customer Service team that ended with everyone quoting Mean Girls at each other. It was awesome. We all agreed to stop trying to make “fetch” happen.
I have a rule where if I happen upon Mean Girls while flipping through the channels, I stop and watch Mean Girls. I always notice something new when watching this movie, and I took particular joy in watching Regina George chow down on a whole loaf of french bread. Also, I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles.
She doesn’t even go here!
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
The Girls by Emma Cline
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
This was a month of charismatic influence, whether by a peg-legged pirate, apocalyptic hippies, a malevolent demon, or the demons of your past and your mind.
MUSIC AND MISCELLANY!
I listened to the Beatles’ White Album for the first time. Besides having “Little Piggies” stuck in my head forever, I listened to “Revolution 9” and was sincerely freaked out. Emma Cline’s The Girls led me to Helter Skelter which led me to The White Album and a few documentaries on Charles Manson and his infamous crew. While Charles Manson has never truly interested me, just another psychopathic maniac in a long tradition of psychopathic maniacs, what I find interesting and what I think Emma Cline was driving at in The Girls, even if she didn’t quite get there, was the psychology behind the people who made the man into more than a solitary weirdo raving in the desert.
Here’s a decent documentary that focuses on the girls of the Manson clan; it includes interviews with them 45 years later, where one can reflect on how they have (and haven’t) changed.
Welp, that was my November! December is already in full swing with necrophilia and Shirley Jackson’s 100th birthday on the horizon! (those two things are in no way related)