Audition | Scariest of All Time?

There was this TV special that aired on Bravo in 2004 called The 100 Scariest Movie Moments, and the number 11th most scary moment came from this movie called Audition. You had these talking heads, including three American filmmakers: John Landis, Eli Roth, and Rob Zombie, and they’re going on about how disturbing this movie was. Landis found it so unsettling he didn’t even like it. This is still profound to me. First of all, there’s no better word of mouth for a horror movie, I think, but more than that, I boyishly appreciate this very open appreciation by Americans of foreign cinema — I’ll take that anywhere I can get it. So cool did I find it, it must have rattled around in my brain for long enough that I turned it into an issue. Wait a minute, why this one? What makes Audition different? … More Audition | Scariest of All Time?

Three the Korean Way (Why Revenge?)

Gosh, I remember — and don’t you dare deny that this happened — I remember when Parasite was at the height of its celebration, and one of the ideas floating around online was that Korean cinema isn’t only defined by violence and revenge. And if you look, a lot of the blockbusters of the past few years were romantic-comedies or historical dramas. However, my experience with Korean film is absolutely defined by violence and revenge. That’s how it was marketed, that’s what got me interested. So consider this a disproportionate response to something I saw on Twitter a year ago. I think Korean revenge is important. And today, I want to explore three of its examples and ask the question that bubbles at the edges of your mind while in the throes of these films: why? That scurrilous online claim had to come from somewhere — why is there so much Korean revenge? And should revenge define the nation’s cinema? … More Three the Korean Way (Why Revenge?)

Sisters of Mulan Part II: Golden Swallow vs. The White-Haired Witch

Whether it’s Wang Cong’er taking up her righteous sword against the Qing Dynasty or Ching Shih living the freest possible life yet expressed, rebellion lies at these restless hearts. Where there is war, there are warriors, and where there are warriors, there are warrior women. It’s really that simple, and so I think it’s only right how we’ve gone to great lengths, by way of mythology and science both, to complicate it. Selective history is exactly that — it is conscious. Before I raise hell about all the Chinese warrior women omitted from my American public school education, what about all the important American women of history I only learned about later and at random? Why were they excluded? Did the people who made the choice to exclude even know about them? Were they excluded for them too, and then, who was the original excluder? By George, this goes all the way to the top, or at least, to some rather unpleasant gentleman. … More Sisters of Mulan Part II: Golden Swallow vs. The White-Haired Witch

Sisters of Mulan: The Warrior Women of China

What about Mulan? I always thought she was a real historical figure, maybe because she was also pretty. The movie has only a dash of the supernatural — seasoned just right — and we certainly never learned about Chinese history in school, so how, before I looked it up, could I have known, how? Well, it turns out that the Mulan story dates back to a poem, not an actual, factual woman who rode off to war in her father’s place. But that’s such a good story, I want it to be real. And because our perception today of Mulan is so tied in with female empowerment, that she’s the Disney princess who kicks butt and challenges a woman’s place in society, shouldn’t that have some basis in reality? Obviously you can enjoy the Mulan story or the movies any way you’d like, and feel empowered by them, so the answer is no. But if the answer is yes, the question “Was Mulan real?” becomes “Is Mulan believable?” And to answer that question, I’d like to take a look today at the historical figures with similar stories, and their depictions in movies. Because it’s not enough that Mulan has spiritual sisters, we have to understand that she does. And so, our story begins where a lot of great stories begin. … More Sisters of Mulan: The Warrior Women of China

That Infernal Departed

When The Departed won Best Picture for the year 2006, it assumed an unexpected place in American pop culture. Years later, another Leonardo DiCaprio movie was nominated, The Revenant, preventing its rightful destiny as a beloved cult classic, and not just because it feels like Ravenous. A movie cannot be underrated if it wins Best Picture, and you cannot be its champion, because it’s already got one. … More That Infernal Departed

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 Recap

So, I was really unsure about how to condense or even identify my feelings on the fourth season, because it was such an unexpected turn that it left me without much I could personally square. For the most part, it’s just beyond my critical ability, and I actually prefer that. That was my very first experience with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, back in season one, that this is a show speaking a new language; it’s a puzzle and suddenly so much of my energy is being directed toward solving it. And that’s where this YouTube channel comes from: pure excitement over something so novel and as I discovered, so deeply layered it rewarded analysis. I think that reward still waits for me on the other side of a true deep dive on the fourth season, but it just hasn’t been enough time for me, and I’m more than happy to linger in this space where it remains mysterious and kind of baffling in both good and bad ways. To be honest, this season was frustrating as it was surprising, maintaining everything that made past Crazy Ex-Girlfriend so wonderful except, in my opinion, for one thing: a strong sense of direction. … More Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 Recap

Paula With a Thousand Faces | Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Analysis

If Greg sometimes felt like the alternate protagonist of season one, Paula is the stealth alternate protagonist, and that’s all-too appropriate given that her arc is about emergence and actualization, and a womanhood many people experience and embody. Of the many spotlights shone by Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, this one may be the most unexpected, and overdue. … More Paula With a Thousand Faces | Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Analysis

The New Comedy

You can’t explain a joke because that ruins it. That’s logical and simple, but it’s also very powerful, and actually has far-reaching implications, especially in regards to how comedy ages. Even if I don’t agree with it, I understand the temptation to think we’re not moving in a direction, as a society. Things are lost, but there could be ways to hold onto what the outdated parts of ourselves appreciate. … More The New Comedy

The Endgame is You

In the mid-2010s, a revolutionary creative duo was born when the award-winning writer Aline Brosh McKenna discovered the comedy music videos of Rachel Bloom. And the script McKenna had in her back pocket at that time was for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a feature film she thought would be perfect for Bloom, considering most of those videos up to that point were about bringing violence and instability to romantic comedy. So this is a crucial moment not only for either woman but for television itself. The ingredients to make it so are McKenna, who’s navigated to the top of a system that works so well when it’s working against her and those like her, the idea for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend the movie, female-led and female-featuring, and Bloom, the quadruple-threat and counting with a completely new voice, and whose teaming up with McKenna turns a writer’s natural introspection into a dialogue. … More The Endgame is You

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 3 Recap

“Wow, I really underestimated this show,” is probably a thought I should only have once. But alas, and believe me, it’s only because Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a TV show, and generally, my expectations for a TV show are at least: this will be a TV show. And with dribbly phrases like
“golden era” and “peak TV” ubiquitous in television criticism, we know shows have experimented and pushed past old expectations for the medium. But this is different. … More Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 3 Recap