Category Archives: film

[television]you’ve been gilmored~a year in the life

(Here there be spoilers for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Lots and lots of spoilers.)

I first discovered Gilmore Girls probably about halfway through it’s run. I had no initial interest, because as a rule CW/Freeform style teen dramas aren’t my jam. From the outside looking in, it appeared to be your typical mother/daughter overwrought emotion fest. On a whim I had Netflix send me a disc though to see what all the hype was about. I was a single mom with a two year old son. Within two episodes I was completely hooked. I over identify with the shows I love, so I saw myself as Lorelai. I was a Lorelai with Rory’s reading habits, a better relationship with my mother and eventually an ability to cook, but I was Lorelai. I love coffee. I talk too much. I’m terrified of emotional commitment while one hundred percent craving one. I wanted to live in a kooky little town like Star’s Hollow and have my own Luke’s Diner to go to. I wanted to know people like Kirk, Babette and even Taylor Doose.

Suffice it to say that was amongst the people who were very excited when Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was announced. We’d get to go back and see what everyone was up to and relive a little bit of that Gilmore magic. And for the most part it was delivered. There were some awfully awkward moments. There were some tear jerking moments. What follows is my feelings on some of them.


First off, the biggest presence was felt by the man who tragically was not there. Edward Hermann played Richard Gilmore with a quiet balance of humor and panache that made him one of the few standout male characters on what is a very female centric show. Since his passing, the world waited to see how it would be handled. It was probably the best done thing about the revival. Richard has died of a heart attack shortly before the start of “Winter”. Emily is coming to terms with being on her own. Lorelai is coming to terms with herself and her relationship with her father and the man he was. Every single scene centered around anything to do with the man I teared up. It was an incredible tribute to the man and the actor.


Emily, oh Emily. Here’s the thing with Emily: If I knew her in real life I’d think she was terrible. She’s manipulative and derisive and actually pretty terrible. As a show character though she is fantastic and acerbic and witty (in addition to the rest). Emily spends a good chunk of the revival trying to find her footing after losing her husband of 50 years (minus that brief separation). You see her in jeans. She is fragile. She is angry. She finds how to live for herself instead of the opinions of everyone around her and ends up in the most unlikely of places talking about whaling for a job.

She also has the second best scene in the entire movie when she tells the DAR in no uncertain terms how much bullshit she is tired of, from them and everyone else.)


Lorelai was always the star of the show for me (in case you didn’t pick up on that on your own from my intro there). She shines here. She spent the whole series trying to find her happy and outside of a few individual moments, it never really felt like she found it. Now it’s been 9 years and she’s been with Luke the whole time, not married and with no more kids. Her whole arc can come down to she finds her happy. I was always Team Christopher, but I love the way she and Luke came together in the end. He is her forever person and it was handled perfectly.

Best Lorelai moment: The whole going to do Wild (the book, not the movie) to figure things out. It goes as predicted for her in that the hike never happens, but she finds her clarity. And another one of those sob worthy Richard moments.


And then there’s the final Gilmore Girl. Last we saw Rory she was jumping on a bus to go campaign for Senator Barack Obama (maybe you’ve heard of him). Now, sadly, this gif sums up who Rory Gilmore has become. She’s whiny. She’s indecisive. She has no passion. She’s………..kind of fucking awful. From still sleeping with Logan even though she had a boyfriend and he has a fiancé to selfishly pursuing writing a book about someone who doesn’t want her to write about them, she not only has stunted maturity wise, but seems to have fallen backward. There’s pretty much not a thing that I enjoyed about her storyline. So there’s that.


Then there’s Paris. Paris is still lovable, overbearing Paris. Time has softened a few of her edges, but not many. Thoroughly enjoyed every moment she was on screen. I do still find it not entirely believable that she would have had kids though. Especially more than one. Unfortunately Rory’s other best friend (and more consistently supportive one at that), Lane, pretty much got shafted. She had a lot of screen time relatively, but it doesn’t add up to much more than her being exactly where we left her at the end of the series. It says something when the thing that stands out the most is the fact that we finally got to see her father after all this time.


All I’m going to even say about the boys in Rory’s life is that if you weren’t somehow already Team Jess, there is no conceivable way you aren’t now. I mean, just look at him. And he grew up and got his shit together unlike Logan and didn’t have eight million kids like Dean.


Final Thoughts

So here’s the thing with revivals. They rarely live up to the hype. You have moments like Lorelai and Sookie meeting up in the kitchen and having no chemistry. It happens. These are people who once worked together constantly and now probably haven’t even really talked to each other in years. I can forgive that and overlook it. As a whole, a Year in a Life was as successful as we can expect a revival to be. There are moments that just feel like filler and don’t feel organic in any way. (Examples are my two least favorite moments of the endless musical and the Life and Death Brigade scene. It’s extra unfortunate on the second, because all and all the only thing I liked about Logan for the most part was his crew.)

Now, I guess we can’t finish up without discussing the last four words. A lot of people felt like it was left on a cliffhanger, but in so many ways it wasn’t. We don’t need to see Rory’s story, because in so many ways we already have. Logan is her Christopher. Jess is her Luke. Outside of small details, it’s easy to see how this plays out. My only real issue with it is that it would have made a lot more sense nine years ago when Amy Sherman-Palladino had intended it to be said.

In closing, the only thing I’d really want anyone to take away is this:


Kirk is the MVP of a Year in the Life.

C’mon, he has a pig. He makes that second movie. He even gets something right finally. This is an indisputable fact.

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[film]shadow of the vampire

Vampires are not necessarily my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like them well enough. I even went through a phase where I was pretty obsessed with the history and lore of them. Said phase also corresponded with my so goth I wished I could shit bats and be a character in a Poppy Z. Brite story so take that for what you will. At the end of the day though, I don’t love vampires or vampire stories. I will always choose Frankenstein’s Creature over Dracula. Werewolves are inherently more interesting to me with the beast inside all of us metaphor. Vampires are, by and large, a pretty boring lot who all took the script of Stoker and Rice and ran with it.

That being said there are some great and fantastic tales featuring the bloodsuckers. Let the Right One In, Dracula’s various film incarnations and What We Do in the Shadows are a few examples. By and large my favorite though is Shadow of the Vampire. It’s not strictly a horror movie. It belongs more to the class of highly fictionalized dramas based on actual cinematic history. It frequently gets grouped together with the also amazing Gods and Monsters. Where Gods and Monsters sticks fairly close to James Whale’s real life though, Shadow of the Vampire goes for the completely fantastical. It imagines what would have happened if Max Schreck of Nosferatu was in fact perhaps an actual vampire.


The first way Shadow of the Vampire goes completely right is casting. Willem Dafoe is barely recognizable as himself and plays Schreck with equal parts horror, pathos and humor. John Malkovich as obsessed film maker Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau gives us some of his best vintage of disturbing Malkovich. Eddie Izzard and Cary Elwes both play small parts to excellent effect for both their wheelhouses.

Shadow of the Vampire relies heavily on the man or monster trope. First in leaving the audience questioning for most of the movie whether Schreck is an actual vampire or just a really really dedicated method actor. Secondly in the monster created by being consumed by obsession Malkovich presents. By the end the question is presented of who is the bigger monster and who has caused the most damage.


All around, it’s as close as you get to a perfect vampire film as you can get. There are a few plot holes granted. (Like if Schreck doesn’t cast a reflection how does he show up on film exactly?) It’s not enough to take anything away from the movie though and that’s why it’s my favorite vampire film.

[film]Green Room

I watch a lot of movies. In all honesty, though many of them are entertaining, few of them are truly excellent movies. Enter Green Room. Green Room tells the story of a punk rock band who thinks about nothing more serious than staying as true to their punk rock ideals as possible. Until after one fateful gig in the heart of Neo Nazi skinhead territory in the Pacific Northwest. From then on their main and only concern is survival.

It’s a pretty basic formula for a movie and one that’s been done in many forms. Where others fall flat and feel formulaic, Green Room was far more effective.

5 things Green Room did right:

1. Sir Patrick Stewart is the leader of the skinheads. Maybe I should put forth a full disclaimer of how big a Patrick Stewart fan I am. We did, after all, choose to watch this, because it was his birthday. That not withstanding, this is a side of Stewart rarely seen. As far playing villains, it’s not something he does enough in my opinion. He played one in the easily forgettable movie called Masterminds. He also was the best Captain Ahab on film to date. Here he leads a fantastic cast and shows how much his element it is as the calm and almost benign seeming Darcy.

“Gentlemen, you’re trapped. Things have gone south. No doubt. Now, whatever you saw, or did, is no longer my concern. But let’s be clear, it won’t end well.”

2. It feels realistic. If you’re going to set a movie in a scene, it’s really nice if it feels like the creators actually know that scene. Too many movies rely on tropes and cliches to get the point across. The beginning of this movie feels like my late teens/early 20s. It’s extremely realistically portrayed.

3. Everything has a point. The beginning of the movie starts off with two members of the band siphoning fuel so they can get their van on the road again. This ends up coming into play later in the film for a plan of the skinheads. Nothing feels like an extraneous moment and that keeps the tension high.

4. Nobody’s an idiot. Protagonists and antagonists are both realistically intelligent and dealing with a situation as best they can. This is actually the most refreshing thing about Green Room. Too often survival movies have to fall back on people doing stupid things in order for the story to move forward that no one would do in real life. No such case here. Traps are recognized as such, but they walk into them because they have no choice. When the protagonists decide to make a run for it, it’s out of desperation and they know they might not all make it. Little things like this make the movie more convincing.

“Now we won’t all live, but, I don’t know, maybe we won’t all die.”

5. It’s gory and brutal, but not unnecessarily so. I am a gore fan. I even enjoy movies that are just gore on gore strictly for the sake of gore. This is not the movie that would have worked in though. It could have easily gone this route, but wisely kept the hardcore scenes to a minimum and where they were most effective.

I highly recommend Green Room. It is that rare film that is tense, smart and entertaining. I even lost the dead pool we had going for who was going to survive and I rarely do that. (It’s a good thing, I promise. It means it’s not at all predictable.)

Let me know what you thought (about the film, the blog, how fucking amazing Sir Patrick Stewart is) in the comments.