June--Little Miss Sunshine

Typically I like any story that has a dysfunctional family as its focus. Probably because it makes me feel that much more normal. That being said, I had mixed feelings on this one. I couldn't make up my mind about Steve Carell's character Frank. He tried to kill himself when his boyfriend rejected him and his nemesis was ranked first in some nerdy field of study, so he comes to live with his sister's family after he's released from the mental help facility he was in. While the idea is comical, it’s not comical enough to actually be funny.

Then you have Dwayne, the teenage son who’s taken a vow of silence until he becomes a jet pilot. For someone who really has no lines the entire movie, he actually added a lot to the movie. I do like when Frank gives Dwayne the little pep talk and tells him that if he skips high school, he’ll skip his prime suffering years and it’s the suffering that makes a person who they are. At least according to some French writer whose book barely anyone reads. A nod to the authors no one's heard of...I like it ;)

But nothing beats the grandfather. He’s definitely got the best lines. I loved the whole conversation in the van when he asks Dwayne if he’s “gettin’ that young stuff” and then tells him he should do it now while they’re both jailbait because once he hits eighteen, he’ll get three to five. He also tells everyone that you’re crazy to do heroin when you’re young, but when you’re old you’re crazy not to do it (I agree, btw). Classic!

That leaves little Olive, the focus of this whole joyride. Or is she? Though the reason for their road trip is to get her to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant, she really doesn’t have anything else to do with the movie. She’s a chubby little kid with confidence (they're the best kind). And as her dad so compassionately points out, as long as she stays away from the ice cream, she won’t get too fat. Olive seems to be the catalyst for one of the movie’s themes: you’re only a loser if you don’t try. Ironically, the theme was conveyed by the heroin-addicted old man and not by the father who was attempting to sell a self-help program with a nearly identical message.

So the family goes on a crazy journey in their old VW van, which they need to push to get started because of issues with the transmission. Finally, the day of the pageant (spoiler alert!), the grandfather dies and the family is forced to steal his corpse from the hospital so they can get to the pageant on time and not “abandon” their deceased relative. I have to admit that while clearly the best character was killed off, transporting his body did add an element of humor to the movie.

Once Olive starts her dance (stripper) routine that she’s choreographed with good ole Grandpa, the family feels compelled to get up and dance with her so the audience isn’t as horrified at the little girl’s risque performance. This scene is reminiscent of that scene in Bad Grandpa (which I know came after this movie) where the little boy strips to “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Only, sadly, the Bad Grandpa was still alive in that movie. He was annoying as shit and should’ve died. But I digress...

All in all, Little Miss Sunshine was worth seeing, but I wouldn't lump it together with the all-time greats. It was one of those movies that manages to be pretty good even though--like the Seinfeld of movies--it's about nothing.


I give this movie three out of five lines of heroin. It was good. But I'd have to be high to enjoy it a second time.

March--Philadelphia
 
I'd first like to say that my hatred for Elizabeth has grown exponentially after watching this movie. How dare she put me through this? My heart is broken and it's all her fault.
 
I'm still not sure what month I get to watch a movie where the main character doesn't die, but she assured me that there are at least four. Four out of twelve? She really has no heart.
 
But as promised, I will review the movie even though, three days later, I am still mourning the loss of Andy.
 
I'd like to start with everything I loved about this movie because there was a TON!
 
I loved that it's a movie about the law and a groundbreaking case. This kind of movie is the exact reason I wanted to become either an actress or a lawyer when I grew up. Clearly, I didn't become either. But this movie allowed me to fantasize about what it would have been like if I had. And I can assure you it would have been awesome!
 
I also loved Denzel's performance! Seriously...how did he not win an Oscar for this? I mean, Tom did a fantastic job too, but Denzel's (do you like how I'm on a first name basis with them?) was so nuanced and carefully constructed. How do you make a heartless bigot so endearing? The hell if I know, but Denzel did it, and he should've been recognized for it. Damn Academy. They're always getting shit wrong. I also loved that Denzel was the only one to take the case, I loved that he put Andy's mask on at the end without any fear of contracting the virus, and I loved his cell phone.
 
Now let's talk about Andy. I loved his family. Seriously, people, do families this awesome actually exist? They were so warm and loving and unconditionally accepting. ALL of them! I mean, where was the black sheep no one talks to or the uncle who's in jail for selling his mother's jewelry to support his meth addiction? Nowhere because their family was truly perfect...or it was until they lost Andy, which made it that much sadder. Even though I knew he was going to die, I still cried my eyes out at the end when they showed the home movies of him as a child. When I texted Elizabeth to tell her I was too upset to get off the couch, she reminded me it's fiction. But here's the thing. It's not. For someone, for many people, this is a reality; unfair prejudice, fear of judgment, losing a sibling or a child. People really go through that shit and at the end of the movie, my heart broke for those people.
 
And that is why even though I rarely watch movies more than one time (like seriously barely ever), I will watch this one any time it's on. Because it actually made my heartless soul feel something.
 
I give this movie two Oscars up--one for the one Tom Hanks won and the other is for Denzel, who should've gotten one to begin with.
 


January--The Notebook

 

So it finally happened. I gave in to the peer pressure and entered the figurative female world of cheesy chick flicks. Before I let you know my opinion on this romance standard, let’s start with my stream of consciousness as I viewed the film. What does Hayley think about? Well, typically not much. But here’s what I was thinking during The Notebook.

 

Why is it called The Notebook? Is it what James Garner’s holding in his hand? That doesn’t really look like a notebook.  There aren’t any spirals or anything.

 

Ryan looks hot when he’s shirtless and ordering Allie to get in the water.

 

Does anyone else find it weird that the parents were watching them make out in the lake?

 

Please bang on the piano, please bang on the piano, please bang on the piano...Dammit!

 

Please bang on the blanket, please bang on the blanket, please bang on the blanket...I hate this movie.  

 

Lon is a tool.

 

Where’s Noah’s mom? Do they ever address this? Did I miss it?

 

He forgot to build the wrap-around porch.  Just like a guy.  It was the one thing she mentioned she really wanted and he fucking forgets it.

 

I can’t decide if I like Ryan Gosling better with or without a beard.

 

Wait, those kids are his and not hers? No wait, they’re theirs together? Why are their kids so young? Didn’t they have them in the late 40s or early 50s? They should be like sixty by now.

 

Yay! Here comes the rain scene!

 

That cloth isn’t going to keep you dry, you idiot.

 

Yes! They’re finally gonna bang! I definitely like him better with the beard.

 

Oh no, his side action’s at the door. Or is Allie his side action? Now I’m confused. They could always have a threesome.

 

Oh snap! Her mom’s here.  And Lon’s coming? God, he’s such a tool.

 

What are the chances the mom dated someone from the lumberyard too? Like really...what are the chances?

 

Ohhhhhhh, ok! The Notebook was HERS! I totally thought Noah wrote that. I would have liked it better if he had.



So what did I think overall, you ask. Though I would love to be able to say that those 124 minutes of my life could have been better spent doing anything other than watching The Notebook, it pains me to say that that would be a lie.  Sadly, I enjoyed it. And not just because it had Ryan Gosling who--as Elizabeth promised--did get significantly hotter as I let myself fantasize about him banging me on that old piano. The movie was surprisingly entertaining, despite the fact that I obviously knew they’d end up together...except for that brief minute when I thought Nicholas Sparks pulled the ultimate mind fuck and actually kept them apart. Damn him!

 

Truth be told, I actually thought this movie had merit.  It was a unique spin on an old premise.  Boy meets girl, they fall in love, but can’t be together...until they are.  I thought the flashback idea was a interesting twist, mainly because the entire story was simply a way to get Allie to remember who she was--and who she had been--even if only for a few minutes. And that’s why I liked it, I guess. Instead of boy meets girl, they fall in love, and eventually live happily ever after, The Notebook showed what true love really is. So it got me thinking. I love my husband, and I’m fairly certain he loves me.  So if I knew I were going to lose my memory, would I write a story about my life so that he could read it to me when I’m old and hopefully I’d remember something? The truth is, probably not.  My life isn’t interesting enough for me to write a story about it...even though I’m a writer. And my husband hates to read, so I’m pretty sure I’d be left to wonder who the fuck everyone is until we both eventually met our demise--which I’m sure won’t be as beautifully moving as Allie and Noah’s.   

 

So that’s it in a nutshell.  I would have given this movie two thumbs up, but since Nicholas Sparks is getting a divorce, I am docking a half a thumb for ruining my image of true love. One and a half Hayley thumbs up!

For The First Story Click The Picture Below
About a year and a half ago, the stories of Max, Lily, Adam, Amanda, and Shane fell out of our imaginations and landed on paper (hypothetical paper, of course). Even though we've moved on from these characters, they'll always hold a special place in our hearts. So, as Max's birthday loomed nearer, we decided we needed to revive them. And through the help of reader suggestions, revive we did. What follows is the first of ten (or so) chapters we wanted to write--and publish in the spring--to give our original cast of whackos another chance to share their stories. Hope you love them as much as we do. Happy birthday, Max! 

Bonus Material

April--Steel Magnolias

Now that the movie's over, I have an appreciation for it--probably because I spent most of the movie waiting for it to end.  I just didn't get what was so special about all the old broads and some whiney virgin with awful hair.

They spent the majority of the movie in the hair salon, and I could barely understand anything they said half the time because of their accents. My husband always gets nervous when I watch movies where people have accents because I continuously ask what everyone is saying and he can't enjoy the movie. Unfortunately I had no one to ask because even he--who will watch anything--refused to watch this with me.

I wouldn't say I disliked the first part of the movie, more that I didn't see much of a point to it. They cut their hair, drank juice, and gossiped. It was like an adult version of The Rugrats. Then something amazing happened: Shelby died. Though I knew it was coming, it was still so satisfying when it finally happened. And I had no doubt she was in a better place. After all, wouldn't anything be better than sitting around listening to those ancient bitches cackling all day?

But if I am being honest, the reason the movie got better after Shelby died was because it actually evoked an emotion in me: sadness. But not sadness for Shelby; I don't really give a shit about her. Sadness for her son, and more importantly, sadness for myself. I have a 14-month-old son--probably the only child I will ever have. And one of my biggest fears is that something will suddenly happen to me and he'd have to grow up without a mother. I know what it's like to lose a parent at a young age. But I don't know what it's like to grow up having absolutely no recollection of someone who loved you more than anything else in their life. And the mere thought makes me want to cry.

I also found myself feeling sad for Shelby's mom. And as she stood at the funeral staring at the casket, I couldn't understand how she held it together, how she didn't just climb inside the coffin herself. I thought the scene was pretty unrealistic until she lost it, like completely lost her mind and started screaming. I thought, that's more like it. Show a little emotion, woman! And then, right when the scene was getting overly sad, Clarice suggested Shelby's mom punch Ouiser. I laughed out loud for the first time while watching this movie. And it was then that I realized that Elizabeth and I are a lot like those two old bags. Elizabeth's the bitter asshole, and I'm the person who would volunteer her miserable ass to take a punch if it would cheer someone else up. Hell, it would at least cheer me up.


All in all, this movie had some worthwhile moments, and there's a small chance that if I caught it on TV, I just might watch it again. So I'm giving this one three out of five juice boxes. You better drink them all, Shelby.


​​Hayley Movie Review:


Elizabeth challenged me to watch one movie of her choosing per month this year.  They are apparently movies that she feels everyone should have seen or something.  Anyway, each month I will watch the assigned movie and give a review.   

May- Kill Bill


After watching only 35 torturous minutes, I can't decide if I'd rather kill Bill or myself. This is a big DID NOT FINISH for me. The plot is way too complex for my simple mind to follow (even though Elizabeth explained it to me several times). The only thing I know is that they are assassins. Apparently the movie is out of order, but I have a feeling even if it went chronologically I still wouldn't know what the fuck was going on. 

I'd rather do almost anything else than finish this...and that includes watching Steel Magnolias again. Two thumbs down. Next please. 

​February--Brokeback Mountain

Happy Valentine’s Day, Top and Bottom

This movie review is a tough one for me for a few reasons. But I'd like to start by revisiting my original prediction of this movie's plot.

Two guys go camping on a mountain and sleep in the same tent. One is gay and they other is straight, or thinks he is (isn't that how all these stories happen?)--and when they share the tent, they realize their love for one another. So they bang all night and then ride horses into the sunset.

I'm not really sure why Elizabeth and everyone else gave me such a hard time about that synopsis. I was almost spot on. After viewing the film, I only have a few revisions.

Two guys go sheep herding on a mountain and sleep in the same tent. One is gay and they other is straight, or maybe they both think they're straight (isn't that how all these stories happen?)--and when they share the tent, they realize their love for one another. So they bang all night and then one eventually dies.

I don't know what the problem with my initial summary was. That shit could have gone on the back cover of the DVD.

Now before I go in to my analysis of this gay classic, I need to confess something. I didn't know either one of the main character's names until at least halfway through the movie (which, by the way, is about when I started to enjoy it). So for the purpose of this review, I'll refer to the two men as Top and Bottom. I don't think I need to explain who is who.

Ok, so let's begin. I'll admit I was a bit bored by the first half. There was little talking and the music could have put me to sleep. It pretty much all sucked. With the obvious exception being the scene where Top and Bottom earn their nicknames. I enjoyed the hell out of that part. Then that was followed by the "heartwarming" conversation where Top says he ain't a queer and Bottom says he ain't either.

Well, glad that's settled. Now they can get back to having lots of homosexual intercourse without worrying that it'll mean they're gay.

As the movie progressed, I had mixed emotions. I kind of felt bad for Top and Bottom. But at the same time I didn't because if they just embraced who they really were, they could be happy together. And I also felt bad for Elma or whatever the fuck Top's wife's name was. But then I remembered I didn't because I don't actually care about her. I just wanted Top to be with Bottom.  And she was in the way.

This is around the time I started to appreciate the movie. I enjoyed Top beating the shit out of people, enjoyed watching him make out with Bottom while the wife watched. And I enjoyed wondering if they were just going to keep meeting up on the mountaintop to screw or if they would actually end up together. Would this movie let two gay men live openly together in the late 70s?

Nope. But they did the next best thing. They killed a main character. I love when movies, books, and TV shows do this. It takes balls. And what better movie to have balls than one about two gay guys?

I'll conclude my review by saying that despite my initial concern about whether Brokeback would hold my interest, on the whole I really liked it. I have a special place in my heart for love stories that have a less than happy ending. And Brokeback Mountain had exactly that.

The only thing missing was that I wish Top would have gotten to scatter Bottom's ashes on the mountain. But the final scene with the shirt made up for it.

I'm giving this one two dicks up.