Sunday, December 6, 2009

Volunteering Will Get You Shot In The Face


Those of you wondering where your reviews are: I got the stomach flu! Hooray for life! It's difficult to get together the stamina to watch and review terrible TV movies when you have the flu, especially when you fall asleep in the middle of them and have to start over. Talk about adding insult to influenza. Since Safe Harbor was on my streaming Netflix queue, it required the least amount of effort to view, so it got bumped up in the setlist. It's the story of a grieving widow, her daughter, the creepy overbearing stranger who wants to fix their lives, and the dangers of volunteering. I am not kidding: Danielle Steele thinks that working with people in need is a quick path to an early grave. But we'll get to that later.

The first half of the movie is pretty dull. Melissa Gilbert is Ophelia MacKenzie (gack), a widow with a terrible French accent and some big-time hangups re: the death of her husband and their son. She blames herself for their deaths because she committed the cardinal sin of the Lifetime movie mother and sent them on a trip because she needed some space. Naturally, they die in a fiery airplane explosion and she goes into a catatonic state of grief. Her daughter Pip, a precocious consolation prize, just wants her mom to stop being so mopey and start having fun again. Ophelia moves them to their oceanside vacation home to sulk in a nicer environment. Will Ophelia get her groove back? Like all Lifetime movies, the answer comes on the broad, hairy back of a possessive man!

Side note: Someone please write How Ophelia Got Her Groove Back. I can't be the only English/Women's Studies nerd who would love that.

Matt Bowles is a recent divorcee who lives in the same resort complex. He spends all day sitting on the beach, painting, and looking wistful as his chest hair puffs in the wind. He takes a weird interest in Pip, calling her over and showing her how to sketch and complementing her on things that are creepy for an older dude to notice. Ophelia notices their uncomfortable closeness, and like any good mother would, tells him to back off. But that's the wrong answer, according to the movie and her erstwile galpal. According to her stupid friend, it's a good thing that a weird guy is following Opie's pubescent daughter around, and she should probably go ahead and fuck the guy now before someone else notices how great he is. The movie gets weirder from there, as Opie and Bill get to be good buddies and Pip and Bill cross all kinds of uncomfortable boundaries. I would like to say the worst part is when Bill takes Pip to a school dance, but that pales in comparison to Bill's Christmas gift for Opie: a portrait of her two children. Yes, Bill stole a photo of Opie's dead son from her bedside table and painted him alongside the remaining living child. BILL IS A NURTURING NUTJOB. DANGER, DANGER OPHELIA MACKENZIE. Not really, it's a Lifetime movie. It's just a countdown until she decides she loves his bossy, boring ass, and until she does the movie trundles on like a gutshot deer looking for a clearing in which to die.

In the meantime, Opie's therapist convinces her it's time to get out there and start working in her community to help her deal with her grief in a constructive way. This isn't an uncommon suggestion for people who struggle with long term depression, and for many people it's actually a great way to start making the human connections that draw you out of your sad blue shell. However, this is a Lifetime movie! Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria! (I couldn't resist.) Volunteering is set up as a terrifying whirlwind of middle-class nightmares from the get-go. Apparently, a sheltered mumbly lady with a terrible fake accent who has been volunteering with poor people for a whole week has all the skills necessary to go out 5 times a week and work with poor homeless kids. And oh my GOD is it offensive. Every single non-white person in the movie is either a volunteer or a vagrant, and the implication is every time she's within spitting distance of either one of them she's a heartbeat away from certain death The shots of Opie doling out blankets with this air of pained noblesse oblige are vomit-inducing, as is the praise heaped on her shoulders for her continuing stellar work as White Lady Jesus. Goddamn do I hate watching a movie where some pissant wearing bling that's worth more then my car get turned into Lady Madonna because she schlepped some soup. Fuck you, movie.

(Okay, I'm a big time volunteer booster, so here's my disclaimer: YAY VOLUNTEERS! Like in every other thing, Lifetime Movies are not reflections of real life. Volunteers who work hard for non-profits are their lifeblood, and we love them! If you really want to help your community, please get out there and do it. It's always appreciated.)

But Bill is angry about her volunteer work, because it is so dangerous to spend time with people in a low-income demographic that she will surely be killed! Because poor people are violent and unstable and live to eat the flesh of those who shop at Croft and Barrel! And guess what? HE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! She gives in to his pleas to quit, and at her last night on the site she gives this annoying speech about how she was volunteering because the hole in her heart, but now that hole is filled with Bill, so she doesn't need to volunteer anymore. HOORAY! POVERTY IS CANCELED BECAUSE YOU DON'T NEED IT ANYMORE! THANKS, WHITE LADY JESUS! A few minutes later a homeless guy shoots her in the stomach for no discernible reason, and she's off to the ICU. What fucking planet are you from, Danielle Steele? He visits her in the hospital, they are super-in love and decide to get married, whatever.

Bestest subplot ever- it turns out that Opie's only friend was helping her husband cheat on her! Opie finds out, tosses a hissy, and orders the galpal out of her site. She resurfaces about 6 months later with a baby in her arms and terminal cancer. She reveals that she has cervical cancer, which she is sure that God gave her as a punishment for her infidelity, and that she wants Opie to adopt the baby as it is rightfully hers. Opie agrees that all of this is probably true, and we end up with another baby + wedding ending. Is this a common theme with Danielle Steele movies or what?

So, let's summarize: you should not volunteer because you may die, and you definitely shouldn't sleep with a married man lest the Lord decides to rot off your naughty bits with divine justice. However, nurturing a stranger's Henry Darger-esque idealization of your daughter is a good way to meet Mr. Right. WHAT.

AWESOMENESS: 10 (out of 20)
I'm going to give this one a few more awesome points because it was just so fucking weird and crazy. After we got over the first hour blahs I was pretty much on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what weird new twist in the fabric of reality was going to justify the self-absorbed idiocy of the leading lady. It was kind of like watching The Twilight Zone and trying to guess what weird crap is going on just off camera that makes everyone so afraid of the cute little kid in the diner.

STAR POWER: 4 (out of 10)
Melissa Gilbert was the voice of Batgirl in Batman: The Animated Series! Oh, and she starred in the Little House on the Prairie TV show for a hundred years. 3 bat-points for Melissa. Brad Johnson starred in those damn Left Behind movies, so thanks for another point, Kirk Cameron.

LIFETIMELINESS: 9 (out of 10)
White Lady Jesus Christ Superstar! One point deducted for her only female friend turning out to be a traitorous bitch. That's not cool, girlfriend.

23 points. This seems to be the sweet spot for these movies. Next up: Palomino!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh God, Not Again

Some personal issues are preventing me from working on these reviews. I will have one up as soon as I can. In the meantime, you can always read the last one, as these movies are relatively interchangeable. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Heartbeat! It's a LOVE-beat!

Good news! I found a working VCR, so I got to watch the end of Heartbeat today. And it is a doozy. Unfortunately no clips of this one exist that I can find, but please let me know if you have one I can toss up there.

Heartbeat kicks off with a lovely greeting from the authoress herself, who is for some reason in a kitchen making a giant sandwich. I guess we're supposed to think she likes to kick back with a hoagie when she isn't writing interchangable pink-jacketed novels. Apparently, Heartbeat is a "modern love story" about "finding love in unexpected places"! The first unexpected place we go to is an airport, where successful TV producer Bill Grant gives a weird, exposition heavy goodbye to his kids. My god, he is sad to see his kids go. You'd think they were going to China, or into outer space, as opposed to back to their mother for a while. Get used to it, because Bill is King Weepy Weirdo. He also loves kids more then anything else in the world, and the mere prospect of more kids turns him into a raving-yet-nurturing lunatic hellbent on fathering the fuck out of everyone in a ten-mile radius. But more on that later. Bill loves his kids, but he cannot live near them because he produces a very popular soap opera. He also happens to be dating the lead actress on the show. Way to go, Bill! She begs him to come on a trip to Vegas with her, but he declines. I'm sure he won't regret it. Ahem.

Another program filmed in that television station is some vague news program that is produced by the heroine of our story, Adrain (?!) Townsend. Despite the fact that Adrain is a sentence fragment and not a real name, she has managed to succeed in life. She has a sweet-ass house, a sweet-ass job, and a husband who personifies 90's TV movie beefcake. That is, until she goes and finds out she's knocked up from a home pregnancy test that looks like an entry in a third-grade science fair. Maybe it makes a little baking-soda volcano if you got a positive result, I dunno. Her husband is the career type, and hates kids with a passion, so he informs her that she needs to get an abortion or he's divorcing her. Dick move aside, I really have to wonder how she got pregnant if he's that terrified of knocking his wife up. Snip snip, buddy. She goes in for the appointment and finds she cant go through with it, so her husband lawyers up and steals all their furniture and serves her divorce papers in the span of a week. Anyone else getting the feeling he might be the villain in this story?

Meanwhile, Bill calls his floozy starlet girlfriend only to learn that she's cheating on him with her ex. Apparently they met up in Vegas, had a chat, and realized they were still in love. Now she wants to ditch the soap. Bill, being king of the passive aggressive nice guys, agrees to write her out of the show by having her brutally murdered. There's a weird scene where they film a guy strangling her, then everyone applauds, then she tearfully thanks Bill for setting up a really awesome homicide. I guess we are supposed to think Bill is a sweetheart for releasing Ditzy from her contract and letting her run off with her new boyfriend, but having her faux-strangled in front of her friends and co-workers just seems creepy to me. Good thing Bill realizes he has weird issues with women, goes into therapy, and the film ends shortly thereafter.

Psych! Actually, Bill starts noticing Adrain around the office. And around the grocery store. And finally, around her front yard. He haunts her every step, telling cheesy jokes and insisting she comes to a 4th of July party at his place. This would be cute if Adrain did not reject his invitation 4 times, with increasing firmness, and emphasized the fact that she's married in every conversation they had. It's true that Adrain was in the midst of a divorce, but she was clearly not ready to be seeing someone new yet, and his creepy campaign to befriend her is obviously unwelcome. Nevertheless, she finds herself lonely on the 4th and decides to check his party out. As soon as he spots her, he ditches the rest of the party guests and follows her around talking about how amazing his kids are, and how much he loves kids in general, and how much he misses being married to someone who loves kids as much as he does. It's fucking creepy, and if the guy wasn't played by John Ritter I would have assumed he was going to steal her baby and flee to another country to raise it as his own. Since it is John Ritter, Adrain has no choice but to fall stupidly in love with him and his love for her fertile womb. Bummer for Adrain!

The movie gently montages us through the beginnings of their relationship. 10 synth-pounding-beach-jogging-pastel-hued minutes later, Bill proposes to Adrain. She is excited, but she's not sure she's ready to marry him, and she wants to have the baby first. This is completely unacceptable to Bill, who browbeats her about her inability to get over her husband and get on fast track to domestic bliss. She placates him by saying that she'll marry him after she has the baby, but she wants her ex to witness his spawn and maybe have a chance to be a father first. Kinda stupid, but so are Bill and Adrain, so whatever. It's not over yet, but I'm pretty sure you can see where this is going, so let's fast forward. She drops her calf and immediately calls her husband. He comes around and offers to take her back with the baby as long as he has an option to return them to Bill later if he doesn't want them. Adrain is not in the business of being treated like a holiday sweater, so she tells her ex to shove it and tearfully begs Bill to marry her. He agrees on one condition- he wants his name added to the baby's birth certificate as his father. Adrain, who has already established that her creepdar is broken many times before, agrees to this. The last scene has Adrain and Bill walking down the aisle with their baby in their arms. Seriously. I'm pretty sure Bill would have just married the baby if he could have found a legal way to do so.

Awesomeness: 6 out of 20
This movie was many things, but awesome is not one of them. 5 of these points are for the science fair pregnancy test and a cute dog that appears halfway through the film. Sadly, he doesn't get to walk down the aisle with the baby's posse. The final point is just for the unrelenting bizzareness of the whole thing. I hesitate to reward a film that is about a man who stalks a pregnant woman to hang out with her baby more "awesome" points then strictly necessary. This whole thing made my skin crawl.

Star Factor: 7 out of 10
We all know who John Ritter is, and I'd say he's famous enough for 5 points. Polly Draper, who played Adrain, was apparently a major cast member of thirtysomething. She also created some Nickelodeon show called The Naked Brothers Band, so good for her that she kept busy once the TV movie bubble burst. Finally, the evil husband was on the 1/2 Hour News Hour, so I guess he's evil in real life too.

Lifetimeliness: 9 (out of 10)
BABIES! Babies babies babies. Babies? BABIES.

22. Sure hope Danielle steps it up for Palomino.

Friday, November 13, 2009

ARGH.

So, maybe a 15 year old VCR wasn't the best bet to view one of these films on. I have made it through all but 10 minutes of Heartbeat, and I promise you it is fantastic, but I am confident that this movie will have an insane enough climax that it's worth putting off the review until I can see the rest. I am in the process of locating a working VCR, and I will have one soon. So my apologies, true believers. You WILL see the review of Heartbeat late tonight or early tomorrow, and Palomino will available on Monday. That's a promise from me to you.

In the mean time, maybe you'd like to visit this awesome John Ritter fanpage?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let's Celebrate Getting Namechecked in Marie Claire!

Hey all!

Did you see in Smart Bitches, Trashy Books where they got name-checked in Marie Claire? Very cool! My boyfriend and I both have a weird fascination with romance novels, so you can only imagine how much I love that site. High-fives. Did you happen to see who else got name checked in that article? Oh yes. We may not be as smart as those bitches, but I'll bet my camo-patterned can of beer that we're trashier.

In celebration, I have located 4 Lifetime Movies based on Danielle Steel novels. Big ups to the pawn shop by my house for the following films:

Heartbeat: Starring John Ritter (RIP) as a dude deeply in love with a pregnant lady that just got dumped by her husband. Can he win her heart amidst the chaos of her life? More importantly, can we watch John Ritter trying to be sexy without giggling?

Kaleidoscope: Three sisters that were estranged for years are reunited by a private investigator because of a family tragedy. They apparently have some terrible secrets that will probably be hilarious. Fingers crossed for secret babies!

Palomino: A recently divorced photographer finds refuge on a horse ranch, where she photographs pictures of cowboys to ease her pain. Then she's paralyzed. Sounds like fun!

Safe Harbour: I'm having trouble figuring out what this is about from the box. I guess it's about two people who have dead loved ones getting it on in their memory. It sounds classy. Also, the lead woman in it is named Ophelia? Really, Danielle?

Since I am currently out of a job (don't worry, I've got another one lined up already) I plan to review one of these every couple of days. I will try and get Rusty to help me as well. If you've seen these movies, or-- god forbid --read these books, please leave me some comments so I know what you'd like to hear about. First review will go up Friday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Good News: "Sherri" Isn't As Bad As It Could Be

Let me preface this unusually positive review by saying that Sherri is a Lifetime joint, not the new Arrested Development. It isn't subversive, it isn't terribly clever (aside from a few funny moments), and it lays on the Entertainment For Women frosting with a trowel. But for what it is, it's actually pretty good. I have a deep secret I'd like to share with you: when it comes to comfort food entertainment, my drug of choice is the 90's era sitcom. And I don't mean things we all secretly still like, such as Pete and Pete. Remember Cybil? I love Cybil. I could watch Christine Baranski vamp around to a laugh track all day. It's the era I grew up in, and I was born in a house with the television always on. A good episode of The Nanny gives me the same warm, centered feeling that home-baked cookies give to normal people. So imagine my delighted surprise when I sat down with MyLifetime.com yesterday and gave the Sherri sitcom a try. Has this show been waiting in a vault since 1994?

Sherri Shepherd: Mother, Comedian, Photoshop Disaster Waiting to Happen

"Sherri" is the kind-of-fictionalized story of Sherri "Tracy Jordan's Wife" Shepherd, a d-list actress who supports herself with a paralegal gig inbetween appearances on TV shows. She's dealing with being a single parent after kicking her cheating husband out. She has a supportive gaggle of girlfriends, a cute kid, and New York city as a backdrop for her wacky single misadventures. It's basically every 90's girl-power sitcom boiled into a powerful concentrate and injected into the bloated corpse of Lifetime's original programing. It could just be a stroke of luck that this zombie is a lovable Bub/Fido type and not a lobotomized murder junkie. (and yes, that last one is a Re-Animator reference. Good job, pop culture junkies!) I watched three episodes, and here's what I liked:

1: The family interaction rings true. If you ever viewed the evening programmatic abortion that was Reba, the sitcom vehicle for a musician that should have been above it, you were probably dumbfounded by the idea that a woman who got a divorce from her husband after he knocked up another woman became BFFs with that babymama within one season of mean-spirited banter. Sherri borrows that plotline, but takes it in a more believable direction: she is beyond pissed at her husband, but works on a smooth transition to singlehood to make things easier on her kid. The sitcom is firm on the premise that Sherri has too much respect for herself to take the cheater back or play godmother to the new kid. The show allows us to feel empathy for everyone in equal turns, and keeps things realistic in a not-realistic sitcom way.

2: The acting works. Sherri should never be allowed to host a talk show again, but that being said, she's an engaging lead. She's funny and personable, and she can handle a pratfall like nobody's buisness. (Yes, I think it's funny when people fall down.) The supporting cast has some great folks as well, including an icy drunk of an office manager and a funny sweetheart of a co-worker/best friend. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but the actors really give it their all, and the lamer jokes tend to float by on the good grace built up by their performances. There are some weak links (Jersey Girl paralegal, I'm looking at you), but I generally had fun watching these folks do what they do.

3: This show knows exactly what it is and has a lot of fun with it. Yeah, some of the jokes are lame, most of the resolutions to situations are unrealistic, and sometimes the moral platitudes ring false. Hello, every sitcom ever made. This show works the sitcom formula for everything it's worth, and by doing that, it frees itself from expectations to be anything else. You want a quietly crafted melodrama about people dealing with infidelity and loss? Cool, go watch Mad Men. You want to watch a sassy lady act empowered, toss out one-liners with her fun friends, and have a dance-off with her office manager to celebrate a birthday? Sherri will be a treat for you.

Let me make it simple for you. Watch the preview here: If you laugh at someone yelling "Boobs!", you will enjoy Sherri. The end.

In other words, Sherri will not land on your short list for Shows That Represent The Golden Age of Television, but it could end up being your comfort food sitcom this winter. It's like green bean casserole- make it at home, eat it with gusto, and don't tell your friends.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Messengers

Obviously, I try to stick to Lifetime movies here. It's such a sinking feeling to watch two hours of shlock on the Lifetime Movie Network only to discover that the movie not only had a theatrical release, but it actually debuted at number one in the box office. And all that happened less than three years ago.

So, yeah. The Messengers. A movie that made no impression on me until it was aired on Halloween weekend on Lifetime. And I watched it, so now I get to write about it. No, I don't care if it's a "real" movie and therefore throws off the entire "Hey! It's That Guy!" scale.

And it's not like this movie is good or makes sense or anything.

The movie starts in black and white. Some shadowy menace is killing the shit out of a family (including a distractingly ugly six-year-old) in their North Dakota farmhouse. Cut to the credits and we're back in full color as the Solomon family is moving into that same house. They're moving from the big city to start over as sunflower farmers.

The relevant Solomon here is Jess. Jess is a teenager and she misses her friends! Also, she is angsty and already has a DUI on her record. A DUI caused after an accident that left her three-year-old brother mute! That is the worst kind of DUI you can get! The DUI accident with the sibling in the car...it's like Rachel just got married. I am glad that reference wasn't strained.

Uh, Rachel Getting Married spoiler alert?

Oh, and because this horror movie rips off every other horror movie, the mute toddler can see all the ghosts but no one else can. And they're everywhere! Mom is tucking in her sheets and you see some ghost legs in the bed. Ghosts be up on the ceilings all the time. The ghosts even haunt the stains on the wall.

So, we have the ghosts from The Grudge haunting the kid from The Sixth Sense inside the house from The Amityville Horror.

Dad Solomon is out trying to learn how to farm when he gets attacked by some vicious crows. A guy shoots at them and they fly off. This lonely drifter with a shotgun is giving a farming assistant job on the spot. And he gets to live on the property. Epic bad parenting job. That is worse than handing the keys to your drunk daughter.

Eventually the ghosts attack the kids and Jess can see them now but no one believes her. Jess first takes the wise approach and acts like the ghosts are looking for help. She approaches the child ghost and it is all sweet on it and then it attacks her and tries to eat her face. This makes less sense when the big plot twist is revealed.

Creepy drifter is also attacked by crows. At the same time, Mom finally starts seeing ghosts coming from the stains on the wall and an attempt is made to flee. At the same time, across town, Jess realizes that the Creepy Drifter is actually the patriarch of the murdered family that is haunting people. Creepy Drifter remembers this after the crows leave him alone and he goes into kill mode. Now we're ripping off The Shining.

Creepy Drifter manages to stab Dad with a pitchfork but the ghosts turn the basement floor into water somehow and drag Creepy Drifter to his doom.

So the ghosts were after Creepy Drifter. Then why were the crows attacking Dad? Why did the Child Ghost scratch up Jess's face? Why did Creepy Drifter remember how murderous he was at the exact moment Jess was all, like, "this guy is murderous."

Oh, and in the flashback where Creepy Drifter remembers how evil he is, it flashes back to someone trying to buy the house from him. Presumably with the same offer made to the Solomons to get them to move out. Who was this mysterious land baron!?

AWESOMENESS: 10 (out of 20)

I have never seen anything this derivative before. Or this ridiculous. But it is fun to watch crows attack that guy from The Practice.

HEY! IT'S THAT GUY! n/a

This is a real movie with a real budget so of course there are famous people in it. Jess is played Kristen Stewart from Adventureland, Panic Room, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE WORTH MENTIONING. The bad guy is played that lovable fellow from Northern Exposure and Sex in the City. Even the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files gets in on the action.

LIFETIMENESS: 0 (out of 10)

For obvious reasons. This movie was startlingly low in women's intuition.

GRAND TOTAL :10 (out of 30)

A ten on a reduced scale is pretty bad. Know what's worse? This movie grossed more than Hot Fuzz and Zodiac at the box office.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Visitors Of The Night

FINALLY. No more bashing our brains against the blunt vanilla wafer of this season of Project Runway. It's movie time.

My friends, this movie was really special. Visitors in the Night is the rare treat that occurs when people who write TV movies try to do something other then stories about eating disorders or disastrous proms. Markie Post is a go-go 90's lady with a demanding-but-unexplained job, a distant politician ex-husband, and a snarky little brat of a daughter. Of course she's a brat, she's Candace Cameron, AKA DJ Tanner. (You're reading a blog about Lifetime movies, so I know you are delighted by this.) Anyway, her life is tough, and her problems are only compounded by the fact that she has some kind of weird brain problem that makes her go into a trance and flail violently at random times. The triggers for her trauma are bright lights, exploding transistors, and horses.



Fig 1. A Perfectly Normal Reaction to A Horse

She's hallucinating and blacking out like nobody's business. Most people would have parked themselves in an MRI machine by now, but maybe the Shoulderpad Lady Office doesn't offer decent medical. To make matters worse, her daughter is experiencing the pains of adolescent rebellion, completed with a rat-faced grunge-y boyfriend and a need to "explore the absence of color" through dressing like a slutty goth librarian all the time. This family is desperate for a father figure. Their salvation may lie in the super beefed-out arms of the dad from Pet Sematary, (you know you want to click that link) who is constantly haunting the troubled family with the excuse of being a small-town sheriff. But the soil of a lady's heart is stonier, and Markie Mark has bigger fish to fry.

Maybe the water in this town make you oblivious to obvious things. Not only is Markie unaware of what is almost surely a brain tumor, the whole town is writing off a panopoly of strange phenomenon as teenage stunts. This includes livestock mutilation, crop circles- you know, all that shit you used to do in high school. I always loved to huff glue, listen to Nirvana, and burn huge geometric designs into the soybean fields of my hometown. Candace tags herself a participating punk by scribbling crop circles in her notebook, landing her some serious principal's office time and a fight with Markie. If only they had something to bond on! Some shared trauma or unbelievable secret, perhaps?

Things come to a head when Markie goes out of town to perform whatever vague business she is responsible for. Candace takes this opportunity to throw a bitchin' party and invite all of her scummy little friends. The party quickly gets out of hand, by which I mean the music gets slightly louder then it was and someone burns a pizza in the oven. Candace freaks out, announces that the party is over, and storms away with a bag of garbage. Party foul, Candace. Save the hissy-fit until you're sloshed. Out at the garbage, which for some reason is a half-mile away in a secluded area, Candace hears a noise that freaks out her dog. The picture then abruptly takes us back to Markie, who is giving a presentation on...um, something? Sounds like she's talking about valves? Anyway, she blacks out and we see that she's daydreaming about a bunch of flashing lights in her house, and her parents are dead or something, and...I dunno, she looks scared? The flashbacks lack narrative structure, so it's kind of hard to figure out what's so damn scary. We can probably assume it's aliens. Oh, shit, spoiler alert!

As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Candace's issues are not the garden variety teenage trauma that one would expect. After the party, she experiences repeated blackouts and even crashes the family car. She also goes all Jello Biafra on her science class and harangues them about the the inevitable effects of suburban atrophy for some reason. There's a great sequence where she goes to visit her dad at a city council meeting and talks her dad's staff into using green building materials for a housing development. Apparently, alien-themed traumas make you really annoying and eco-conscious. Markie's alien-themed daydreams get more creepily detailed and specific, and her erratic behavior begins to worry the townsfolk. The sheriff makes a weird effort at being a daddy figure for the troubled ladies, but considering what happened to this guy's last family, you can't blame Markie for taking a pass. Instead she visits a hypnotherapist (?!) to try and get some more information about the bullshit tricks her brain appears to be playing on her.

Now here is where you would expect the hypnotherapist to dig up some long-suppressed memories of something traumatic and terrible that her kid-brain would have rewritten as an alien abduction to successfully ignore. But no! Markie was actually abducted by goddamned aliens! We also learn that the aliens put some weird alien junk in Markie's womb, making her baby daughter a freako alien baby. Now the aliens are back- and this time, it's personal.

The aliens are super gross looking, by the way. They're weird butt-headed hybrids of X-Files-style Greys and Tony Harrison of The Mighty Boosh. Observe:


Fig. 2: The Resemblance Is An Outraaaaage!

No wonder they had to abduct Markie Post to get their swerve on. Ew.

Next we suffer through a last minute boring infodump from a "professor" at a local university who happens to specialize in alien abductions for some damn reason. But it's worth it, because afterwards the movie finally allows the aliens to succeed in kidnapping Candace and revealing their nefarious plot. Apparently, they have been trying to make alien/human hybrid babies, and have a whole litter of them up on the ship. But the babies are tiny little sociopaths that don't feel love because "they don't cry". That isn't actually why babies cry, but I guess she's kind of traumatized, so we'll give her a break. Anyway, Candace gets off the ship and is deposited in her mother's loving arms. Everyone goes home, everything's cool-

OH SNAP!
THE ALIENS COME BACK AND KIDNAP THEM AGAIN!

Fade to black. No, really, that's the end.

So, how does this mother rate in the grand scheme of things?

Awesomeness: 19

FUCK YEAH. This movie had fucking aliens in it. I don't feel like I need to say anything else here. ALIENS! Just thinking about it makes me want to give someone a high-five.

One point deducted for the creepy rat-faced boyfriend. I just didn't like him. If the aliens had stolen him instead we'd be rolling 20s here.

Star Power: 10

No-Brainer thanks to the poor career decisions of Markie Post. Rule of thumb: if you can find their boobs on Google, they're trashy-famous enough for a 10 on their own. Add in DJ and the gloriously hammy Pet Sematary lead, and it's a perfect train-wreck of TV movie casting.

Lifetimeliness: 6

I'm going to cut the score down here a little. Rusty may disagree with me, but women's intuition completely failed to save the day here. A more Lifetime-y approach would have involved Markie figuring out how to stop the aliens by having a passionate heart-to-heart with them about the pressures of being a working mother in today's fast-paced world. Still, the mother-daughter trauma was the core of the story, so partial credit is due.

35! Not bad, not bad. The score is not really reflective of how amazing the movie is, though. DVR it. Get really drunk. Share it with a loved one. Let us know how it goes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

BONUS OFFICE REVIEW

Harmony and I give up on Project Runway. Seriously. We are done. I think Amelie Gillette perfectly sums up what's wrong with the show here. Any show that allows Logan's haunted crotch pants to survive another day is not a show I am interested in.

So, instead of dealing with writing a review, I'd instead like to talk about last night's wedding episode of The Office. Basically, it was terrible. And writing contrarian reviews of beloved things is a hobby -no, a passion - of mine. And I want to get this on the record.

The episode begins with the entire office vomiting all over the place in a nice Lard-Ass moment. I thought it was the perfect beginning to an episode advertised as a straight romance. Of course, the writers were just prepping us for an episode that throws reality into the wind. Mass vomitings don't occur in the office and a lot of the things happening at the wedding don't happen in real weddings.

To be fair, the first 15 minutes were fairly solid. I loved Jim blurting out that Pam was pregnant as he slowly morphs into Michael-lite. But one thing at the rehearsal dinner really stuck in my craw. When Pam's sisters mistakes Kevin for Oscar's boyfriend, Oscar's livid response wasn't just inappropriate, it was shockingly out of character. One can be repulsed at the thought of dating someone and still maintain social graces. Especially when the show has worked so hard to make Oscar the most competent and friendliest employee. Terrible stuff.

From there, the show deteriorated into cartoonish. Andy tore his scrotum! Yuck, yuck, yuck. Kevin's feet smelled so bad they had to destroy his shoes and he walks around in tissue boxes! Har! Dwight bones Pam's bridesmaid and coldly blows her off because sleeping with people and ignoring them two hours later is something to be laughed at! Haha! Sucks to be you, pretty lady who slept with Dwight!

Pam starts freaking out before the wedding and loses it when she snags her veil on a nail. Oh no! Such drama! How can she get married with a slightly torn veil!? This is what screenwriters and other people in the know like to call "conflict."

Jim cuts his tie in half in solidarity and they decide to run off to get married in private. Two problems here:

1. If I drive five hours for a friend's wedding, I expect two things. Open bar and punctuality. If my friends make me wait in a church for two hours, they are bad friends and selfish people who deserve to get divorced.

2. They basically stole this entire plot from How I Met Your Mother (reruns on Lifetime!). Marshall gets a bad haircut and freaks out trying to shave it off. Lily still loves him and they are sick of the pressures of a big wedding so they sneak off and get married in private. I can't expect the writers of the Office to remember every plot point from every sitcom, but just know that this has been done and it was done better and it was done years ago.

Jim and Pam return from their secret wedding to get church married. Before anyone can walk down the aisle, the office workers play some music from a convicted domestic batterer and a bunch of people that were in no way in the wedding party (namely, the entire office) dances down the aisle.

Apparently, this is a recreation of a Youtube video I have never seen or heard of. You know how Michael is lame for discovering Youtube memes a few years too late and living out the fad? That is what the entire show has done and people are supposed to find it cute or endearing? No. And why would that bridesmaid be so happy to dance down the aisle with Dwight? And why is it funny that she got kicked in the face? And I know it's The Office and not The Realistic Wedding Simulator, but a bunch of people just imposed themselves on this wedding? That's not cool. That's just more horrible, selfish behavior.

Since the episode, I watched the Youtube video in question and it looks pretty sweet and nice and fun and the only thing that sucks about it is that Chris Brown beat the shit out of his girlfriend. Romance fail. Still very nice though. It just didn't work on The Office. Not even a little bit.

To be fair, I laughed a few times. I loved Jim's "Let's talk on the phone for a very long time." I loved Dwight's wedding gift complete with live turtle. Niagara Falls looks very pretty. But the tone, the meanness, the jokes that were so broad that Adam Sandler would be embarrassed (A torn nutsack? Really?)...it didn't work. Not only did it not work, it made me aggressively hate the presence of most of the cast. Well played, Office writers!

So, thank you for letting me vent about a show that isn't even remotely affiliated with Lifetime. Project Runway coverage is done, forever. And Harmony will be posting a movie review shortly. It's a doozy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kelli's Last Stand

So Kelli's commentary was conspicuously absent from the last two Lifetime reviews. Kelli actually did respond to episode six...just after episode seven had already aired. So, I skipped it to avoid confusion.

As for episode seven criticism, we have it in spades.

Now, remember, last Thursday's episode was truly the worst episode ever. I was filled with as much righteous anger as anyone else. Anyone else besides Kelli, who was pissed.

I am flipping out about this past week's episode! Yes, Louises' dresses were ugly, but most of them were! I could design an INC look with my eyes closed! I actually realized that I had turned into an old woman when I migrated from the junior's section of Macy's towards the INC section! (While COMPLETELY skipping over the Michael Kors rags too!)

The shows formula is sooooo, incredibly obvious to me now! This episode was so much like my kick off episode (the same time too!), and it played out in the same manner! I am soooo over this crap, I could DIE! I would rather watch reruns of Facts of Life than this shit! AGAIN, it isn't the designers....I actually feel like they are nice people, and talented....it is the show! It is too much like other reality shows, when it used to pride itself in true talent and entertainment.

Also, I would like to vote this season as the WORST dressed season for Heidi. Season 5, I almost broke my neck to see the next outfit....now I cringe!

It also sucks that these auf'd contestants get this speech about how much they suck, when Heidi is just repeating what is said in her ear piece, line for line! And slllooowllly at that! Don't you have a brain to remember a sentence or two? Better yet, don't you have your OWN opinion??? I HATE tv. I HATE the fashion industry. I hate reality show...the line between talented people and Rock of Love contestants is becoming too blurred. I got a chewed gum portrait of me done by some idiot who was trying to show that reality stars last as long as a piece of gum! Great. [Ed note: I would like to see this.] Couldn't you have chosen Heather from Rock of Ass, or something?? She will probably die of STDs soon, but I have a feeling I will be designing regardless. Yuck. Puke. BLAHHHHH!

It's hard to disagree with any of this. My biggest point of contention would be that Heidi's canned lines right before elimination were always a problem, not something that just started happening on Lifetime.

A big moment for me happened last night when I realized I was enjoying Top Chef more than Project Runway. I used to hate Top Chef. It valued personalities more than the food. Iron Chef America spends more time on better recipes and on how to make a flavor profile. Top Chef just has a bunch of personalities say they're going to make something and then it shows up on the plate. Boring.

But, after seeing this season of Project Runway, I trust Top Chef. There is a clear hierarchy of talent. The challenges are usually interesting. And, yeah, the contestants are memorable. That's all I need. And I'm not getting it from Project Runway anymore.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Episode 7: Worst Episode Ever

By the way, I super promise that Harmony and I are going to start watching some proper Lifetime movies. We saw one together, but it needs a sober rewatch. That's happening tonight.

And Kelli's absence last week: I don't know what to tell ya. She mentioned being much busier in the past few weeks and if I had to choose something to slip through the cracks, helping some people I've never met complain about a reality show would be first on the list. Hell, this is my site and I go weeks without posting all the time.

As for Project Runway, ugh. So terrible. Design two blue dresses for Macy's? Really? That's it?

This is the worst challenge on a season filled with terrible challenges. There are no limitations other than that the color blue should be involved. And the best part about these blue dresses? They're only available at Macy's! That makes no sense. Why is that the best part? The best part of Sam's Club seltzer water is that it's only available at Sam's Club? Wait, what?

So we're doing teams because two dresses in one day is difficult. Epperson wins the awesome award for being thankful that he's with a designer he actually respects in Christopher. Haha, fuck you, Qwacks!

(Oh please God let Epperson make it to the challenge where they bring back all of the eliminated contestants and set him up with Qwacks again. It would actually be - gasp! - dramatic.)

So two blue dresses and that's it. And all of the teams get along, so that's pretty boring too. The only extra "drama" is a lot of big talk from Heidi Klum that they might eliminate TWO contestants!

Spoiler alert: They only eliminate one.

So, take all of these factors and what do you get? The worst episode in series history. It was putrid. Unacceptable.

But on to the dresses!

This is Irina's winning dress:


I hate it. Boring and only the flattest of the flat chested could pull it off. I thought Heidi only liked titty dresses.

I much preferred the team of Carol Hannah and Shirin. Those two elf-women provided two striking dresses that were worthy of a win.


To be fair, this photograph makes the dress look like nothing special and, obviously, I don't know what I'm talking about. But I found this to be prettier and more marketable. Team Leader Carol Hannah was robbed.

Epperson, despite being partnered with a designer he respected, still found a way to be on the bottom.


The judges savaged this. Michael Kors said the model looked like a circa 1979 librarian. This is why it's good to have Michael Kors back, even if his taste is questionable.

I...I kind of like this. Maybe it's because my girlfriend bought a very similar piece of clothing a week ago and I don't want to make her feel bad...but I really like this. It's flirty!

Epperson's teammate (and team leader) made something much worse:


Ahhh! The goggles! They do nothing!

This fashion sin was exacerbated by Christopher's crying jag on the runway. I am sorry for the casual sexism here, but man up. You made a shitty dress and you deserve the ridicule. Frankly, that dress was the worst of the bunch and you should be going home.

But I'm certainly not worried that the judges decided to send Louise home instead. Louise sucks. And her designs were atrocious.


The second, more disastrous number, was actually attributed to teammate Nicholas. But Nicholas had immunity. And it was Louise's design. And why the Hell would you ever choose to work with someone who has immunity?

It was a perfect storm against poor Louise. And a reminder that eliminating Ra'mon last week was a tragedy and a waste of a superior talent.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Question The Specialness Of Episode 6

Last night's Project Runway broke my heart and left a bitter taste in the mouths of all good, right-thinking people who watch reality shows on Lifetime (not many). I refer to the cruel auf'ing of Ra'Mon, one of the only interesting designers in this season's decidedly beige lineup. Not only that, but Ra'Mon lost to a bullshit wannabe flapper cocktail dress sewn by mewling art student trash. But I get ahead of myself.

The episode began with the designers thanking their lucky stars that Johnny Methhead finally got the axe, but also worried that the competition was going to be a lot tougher as the group got smaller. Luckily, their fears were for naught, as Tim and co tossed them another softball challenge. Designing a costume for a movie character COULD have been an interesting one, if not for the fact that each person had the opportunity to pick their own genre to work with, and half of the genres were easy as fuck. 'Period Piece'? Really, Tim? You could even write a story to justify the costume you made, so if you happened to fuck up hard there was a built-in way to excuse yourself. The only people who actually got "challenged" by the challenge were Epperson, who got stuck with a cowboy theme as the last pick, and Nicolas, who decided this was a chance to take his space hooker aesthetic to the next level. And, of course, Ra'Mon. But more on that later.

Is this crop of designers getting really boring to anyone else? I fucking zone out when they're at Mood, when they're chatting with Tim, when they're laying faux-dramabombs about how they "aren't there to make friends" or "they have a vision". Fuck you. Shut up and work. I can't even think of anything worth highlighting about this episode other then the outfits because it was just so dull and formulaic. If you were maybe making an instructional film called "How To Make A Show About Catty Design Students And Their Loving Albino Mentor", this could have been the first half. I think the Weinsteins went through and edited out all the dramatic tension as a lawsuit fuck-you to Bravo if they ever got the show back.

The episode was successful in that it gave the really creative designers a chance to shine. Unfortunately, it also gave the boring designers a chance to, well, be boring again. While Nicolas was glorying in the chance to make the evil stepmother in his nightmares, Louise was crying about someone stealing her fucking thread and the fact that it's hard to make up stories about clothes. You know what else is hard? Listening to someone whine about such a stupid fucking problem. As always, I will only talk about the dresses I especially liked or hated, because the others are too boring to bother with. Observe:

(I admit: I was too tired of fighting with my computer to do this, and it had to go up sometime today, so the following photos are shamelessly ganked from the Una LaMarche at the HuffPo. Sorry dudes. At least I didn't leech your bandwidth.)


Hey, remember Althea's challenge winning design in episode 4? She sure hopes you don't! I'm sorry, but I don't get "baggy jacket and bouncing boobs" as a design aesthetic, no matter how much we know Heidi loves them. People always go on about how clean and polished her designs look. If I made the same outfit a bunch of times I'd probably get good at it too.











Chris had my favorite story of the night. She is a vampire bride, who is going to turn her husband into a vampire, um, like in the old times. Yes Chris, good job. Way to think on your feet. And OK, this is a beautiful dress, but the top of it really bugs me. It looks like a lampshade. But the skirt is gorgeous, and it was made in a day. So OK. This dress deserved top 3, and Chris deserves to fight another day.












I just want to point out that both people who got "action adventure" made these lameass fucking pleather catsuits. Really, guys? There are a LOT of action adventure movies to work with, and a lot of them have some kick-ass heroines with sweet-ass outfits. The challenge was "Movie Character", not "Slutty Matrix-Themed Halloween Costume". Weak sauce, Logan.













Epperson! What is there to say about this dress, besides "Good Job, Eppy"? I'm not a huge Epperson fan, and I still think he's a dick, continually impressed with his ability to do something new every time he comes to the runway. His consistent highlighting on the show makes me think he's final 3 bound. So there you go, the judges and I finally agreed on something.













Louise's dress may look familiar, as it is the exact same fucking dress she makes for every challenge ever. Also, this hit one of my pet peeves about Project Runway: She did not pay attention to the challenge. She said this dress is for an actress at an industry party trying to make it big (hey, doesn't that sound a little like episode 5?), but that wasn't the challenge! And even if it was, her dress is boring and cliched as fuck. This is another Halloween costume, but this is the costume donned by someone who can't pick a theme and just goes with "well, I have a feathered headband and this is the one time a year I can get away with that dress". Louise deserved worse then bottom 2. She should have been canned. And we know she's not going to make final 3, so why the fuck keep her and sacrifice Ra'Mon?! We lost Quacks because she was boring in one episode. By that logic, Louise should be beheaded.




WHY RA'MON WHY. OK, so the Lady GaGa reptile-inspired jumpsuit was looking like a mess. But the way to recoup was not to make an even messier looking dress and cross your fingers that someone did a worse job then you! I actually kind of like some of the ideas with this dress. The bust looks cool and the skirt has some nice bunching going on. If he'd had more time, this dress could have been top-3. But it just wasn't going to happen in two goddamned hours, even if you did give your model a backstory from the Super Mario movie (according to Russ). I still think it's bullshit he got aufed. Boring < Too Weird. Plus, Ra'Mon has consistently taken risks and made interesting clothing. Louise has consistently done crap and made crap. What the fuck, Project Runway. If I wasn't blogging this show, I'd be done.







Finally, Nic wins the challenge that was delivered to him on a platter. I don't want to put Nic down, though. This is a great costume and the details are lovely. This is one of the few wins this season I actually get. Plus, Nic is one of the only interesting designers left on the show, so I am starting to get a Stockholm Syndrome-like affection for him. I hope we get to see him and Gordana pal around some more.










Also, the judges for this episode sucked. If I want to know what the fucking costume designer from Walk the Line thinks about specialness, I will blow my goddamned brains out, because there is clearly no hope or joy left in my life. WHERE IS NINA GARCIA. BRING HER BACK TO ME.

So, that's that. Ra'Mon is gone, with a piece of my heart tucked in his sewing kit, and this season trundles on to it's mediocre midpoint. Whatever. Harmony out.

Project Runway Blog Delayed

Attention True Believers:

Due to an unbelievable amount of bullshit, the PR blog will be going up tonight. All my apologies and etc., but sometimes we hurt the ones we love.

Can we all agree that Ra'Mon was fucked over though?

Harmony

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kelli Martin's Thoughts on the Paper Challenge

So, at the very least, we don't have contestants designing based on amateur photography of the skyline. That's worth something, right?

FINALLY! A challenge the showcases creativity and is actually entertaining! This is a REAL challenge! Fashion is about innovation and we finally see some talent!

Tim Gunn really tore someone apart tonight. One thing I miss about Project Runway on Bravo was that Tim Gunn's Bravo.com blog showed real dissent. Last year, Columbus's own Terri got a top-3 spot in the drag queen challenge and Gunn spent two paragraphs bashing the outfit.

I REALLY wish that I had been on for that challenge! Tim Gunn is there as an adviser, he isn't always right, but he has always seemed to be the most genuine person on this show. (That, or he's deserves an Oscar for his performance)

So, any personal examples of Tim being totally wrong about something?

Uhhhh, yeah. My "Slutty, slutty, slutty" outfit had the potential of being really stunning. Sexy suit transitioning from day to night. YEEAAAAH, right! I was bashed for it! He even saw it near the end of its completion! However, I do trust his opinion. I only wish he could be slightly more objective when it comes to street style/subculture inspired fashion. I just don't think he gets it.

2b. Did Gunn ever get that "incredulous" during your time on the show. That last scene was ice cold.

That last scene made me double take. Something else must have happened. I have NEVER seen Tim Gunn be that cold! Even when Kenley yelled at him he kept his cool. Yeah, Johnny was an annoying ass that lasted too long, but JESUS CHRIST! Was talking about the kicked off boy necessary?! Looks like someone is letting fame go to his head!

3. The Missus over at HQ wants to know how much work the networks put into how the designers looks? Did Bravo choose your wardrobe and do your makeup? After six seasons, I kind of expected more slobs. Everyone looks well put together.

I am still under contract, but lets just say I wasn't able to sew in my normal get up (band T's and jeans) because of "copyrights", even electrical tape cover up wasn't allowed. That resulted in me mashing together random pieces to form a comfortable outfit, mostly consisting of dresses and other CRAP! Not to mention, there was NOOOO A/C and it was the dead of summer in NY! I WAS SWEATING BULLETS! SERIOUSLY! Fuck the competition it is 1765325 degrees in here and I have to wear a sweater b/c I have no T's to wear!

The WORST part was "continuity" requiring me to remain a blonde throughout the tryout process, which led to fried hair and extensions. (although they did NOT make me get extensions OR dye my hair, I kind of had no choice.)

Sorry, but that was seriously the WORST PART of the show.....they obviously have characters to fill. I even read a blog about a "blonde" conspiracy theory on PR! Apparently, the lightest "blonde" is always kicked off 1/3 of the way through the season (5th-7th episode)! I thought it was crazy, but some of their points were valid! I think it is ALL loosely pre-determined.

4. I know you don't like her, but how does Gordana (too lazy to check spelling) end up in the bottom 3? That is crazy. Crazy!

I don't necessarily hate her. I was just as confused as you! SOOOOO, it was wearable art. Isn't that the point??! It was made perfectly! AND FIT! I did like Althea's dress, although I wish the waist fit better. The winner? I am glad she won, I guess....She, at least, acted humble.

5. We can agree that this episode was a strong step in the right direction, right?

MUCH, MUCH better. Hopefully they continue! This could be a crap shoot!


Random thoughts....

-Christopher's outfit was hideous! Talk about a prom dress! Yeah, so the bodice fit decently....BIG DEAL! The bottom was awful!
-Did I not tell you about Shirin??!! She IS a talented (nicer) Kenley! Hopefully the "talented" part will continue to please at the VERY least.

- I HAAATE the ways Nicholas talks! He is sooo annoying!
-What is up with all of the "immunity" challenges?? You were lucky if 2 of the prizes for the challenge was immunity!
-Next week a one day challenge! We will really see if they can get their shit together and show us fashion!
-Finally, THANK YOU lifetime for keeping Nina and Michael off of my television for another week!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Project Runway Episode 5: Paper!

I feel better. This was a good episode. Very little to complain about.

And the reason for that, of course, was the challenge: Make a dress out of newspaper.

(Side note: I really hope the Los Angeles Times didn't pay sponsorship money to be the newspaper that made the clothes. Because that would be a colossal waste of resources for a company in a dying industry. Who would watch Project Runway and think to themselves, "Hmmm, I'll but the LA Times today. Never mind that I live in Columbus, or Wichita, or Boise, or wherever I'm hypothetically from.)

When I saw that the contestants had to make a dress out of paper, I figured it would be impossible. But everyone did a pretty great job. So, that was nice.

Of course, the thing that made this episode was that Tim Gunn got really mad. Or, in his words, incredulous!

So we have a paper clothing challenge and everything is going great. Except for Meth Johnny's work. It looks terrible. Tim Gunn, correctly, calls the dress horrible, So Johnny crumples up the dress and decides to start over with only five hours left to come up with something decent. And he fails.

So what does Johnny do? Well, you can take the drugs out of the addict, but you can't take the lies. Despite a dozen eyewitnesses and a bunch of friggin' television cameras, Johnny tells everyone that a steamer malfunction ruined his dress. Johnny even goes far enough to make this audacious claim on the runway after he makes the bottom three.

Spoiler alert: Johnny gets called out on the runway, gets eliminated, and then Tim Gunn refuses to shake his hand. Gunn even calls him out behind his back. Johnny then goes way too far and claims that dealing with addiction was in many ways easier than competing on Project Runway. Super offensive if you have any experience with addiction! Also, Johnny says that he wanted to make it to Bryant Park, but his failure just means something better is in store. Actually, Johnny, it means the opposite!

To the dresses!

Once again this week, no Nina, no Michael. Do not pass go, do not get two hundred dollars. Instead we get Tommy Hilfiger (fine), some lady from Marie Claire (fine), and Eva Longoria Parker (NOT OK!). I hate these guest judges. Especially "celebrity" judges who, let's be honest here, aren't that famous. Eva Longoria Parker's claim to fame is that she's in a Heineken Light commercial (the worst beer I've ever quaffed) and her name kind of sounds like a famous baseball player. Other than that, she is insignificant and I will not be telling you any of her opinions. They don't matter.

I will tell you that other than figuring out who the bottom two were, the judges did a terrible job. Tim Gunn fell over himself complimenting Gordana's dress. It was really pretty! Bottom three. Why? Too boring.


Remember, this is made out of newspaper. That belongs nowhere near the bottom three.

Especially when this qualifies as safe:


Woof. And I was so happy with Epperson last week.

And let's not forget this disaster from Irina:


Uh-oh. Hold on to your O Henries, because this was the winning dress. No, you're not colorblind. This looks like someone turned a color-by-numbers into a kind of ugly coat with scotch tape holding up the back. Ick.

To be fair, this probably wasn't a bottom three dress. But top three? The winning dress? No. No way, Jose.

So, the judges are doing a terrible job, but I finally enjoyed an episode. I'll take what I can get!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Kelli? More Kelli.

Kelli Martin's thoughts on Episode 4 of Project Runway:

Q: When there's a new show you're interested in, how many episodes do you usually give it before you give up entirely. Like, there was a History Channel Show called Jurassic Fight Club that showed simulations of dinosaur fights. I gave that 8 weeks. I only give most sitcoms or dramas 3 or 4 weeks to wow me. How many are we giving Project Runway? Because this sucks.

If I hadn't promised to blog, I would have giving up after week two! MAAAYYYBE, week 3! The designers are all likable, but I see nothing spectacular about any of them. I would much rather see a show about designer's who make more avant garde pieces. This is like watching the Home Shopping Network! I can barely stay awake!


2. I ask this not to be snarky, but because I have no idea. Why did Althea's dress win? All 4 of us at our HQ hated it. What did we miss?

Ok, so that's what I thought. I did like the concept, and I get that it would be different, sophisticated, and sexy.....but it looked like a blob! The skirt was not only up to her neck, it was all poofy and puffy! And if Heidi wants to comment on boobs! Those things were flippin' and floppin' all over the place! Not to mention WE COULDN'T SEE THE CONSTRUCTION! From experience, if they barely show the garment, it is pinned together and royally fucked up.


3. Heidi's leopard print top. No question, just ew.

Love the print, hate the gypsy cut. WHAT ABOUT THE GRAY SWEATER??!!! With thigh high boots?! I am all about the boots, but she looked like ACTUAL shit. And she has someone dressing her! (we called her "Messy Johnson", because she looked crazy like Betsey Johnson, but was a total mess!)

4. Do models and designers really get along as well as half of the contestants claim? These people are blowing smoke up our asses, right?

Most of the designer's are total kiss-asses anyway, but the models were nicer than I had expected (at least for my season). I couldn't part with my model because she was sooo nice, got my stupid sense of humor, and "played the game." She wasn't ideal for me, which could have been a problem, but I tend to be drawn to more down to Earth people, and she was one of them. (Then Kenley got a hold of her and made her cry! Said her garment didn't fit because Germaine's body was asymmetrical! Nice try, BIIIIATCH!)

That's all!

Not much to say because it is so f'in dull, but I would have chosen Epperson to win (I liked the idea, but it was slightly trashy '94), or Carol Hannah. I have a feeling Carol Hannah will show us some decent shit. Louise's dress was cute, but HOW MANY TIMES are we going to see that collar??!! I have sen it on like 5 past episodes!!!!!!!!!! ANNNND, I fucking HATE [guest judge] Jennifer Rode! She was a bitch on "How Do I Look?", and obviously still is! She even resembles Nina! It is nicer without Nina or Michael there... the judges seem to actually view it as consumers, not as rich, snobby, son of a bitch, bastards!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Project Runway Episode 4: Still Boring!

I don't know what to say. This isn't working. It looks like Michael Kors has jumped ship. And today we were without the venerable Nina Garcia. The challenges are boring. One contestant had the audacity to hope for a challenge that will let them show who they are as a designer. Fuck the heck is he talking about? We've had a challenge where you can design any red carpet dress you want. A challenge where you can design any maternity dress you want. And finally a challenge where you can design any surf look you want. God damn it, make something out of car parts already.

But no. Instead we have designers making clothes for their models. Just this time, the models get to choose what they want. I'm sure the models are lovely people (even the one who left the show for an Arby's commercial), but I don't think they know any more than I do about designing clothes.

The episode was really just an excuse to have every contestant looking into the camera nervously saying that these dresses don't really match their preferred aesthetic. The sad part about that is that the show has been so boring so far that I don't know what anyone's aesthetic is. All of these clothes are running together. Watching Episode 4 yesterday, there was a contestant who I had absolutely no recollection of.

Anyways, the challenge. It turns out that the models kind of have terrible taste. They were all happy with whatever crap was sent their way. The best moment in the episode is when once of the many guest judges rejected a model's affirmation of a horrible garment by reminding her that's why she's not a designer. Good.

Here's the winning dress from Dayton, Ohio's Althea:


There were four people in the room watching this. Harmony, Rusty, and our respective lovers. Unanimous disdain. So of course it won. It looked sloppy. It looked like a sloppy suit with a bubble skirt. It was gross and I hate this season.

One dress in the top-3 that I did like was Epperson's. Epperson was the focus of today's episode because he misses his family and was crying while making his dress. Blah, blah, blah. But I liked his dress!


Now, to be clear, this isn't the prettiest thing in the world. But Epperson has actually shown us an aesthetic that he likes. He rejected his model's request for orange fabric and took her moronic request to look "shiek and edgy" and he made it work in a way that shows his eye for design. I didn't like this on the runway, but the more I let it sink in - especially compared to all of the other dresses - the more I like this.


I'm pretty sure Nicholas's dress was the consensus favorite in the room. It could have fit a little better up top, but design-wise, yes please.

It should be clear by now that Nicholas is in this for the long haul. He, like everyone else in this season of the damned, is playing it too conservatively. But he's got a good eye.

Now, two dresses we hated!


I remarked that this looked like a Chinese finger trap. I also liked the AV Club's review that said this model looked like a stick of gum. The funny thing is, I like the color. Hate everything else.

And our losing dress is from Quacks:


A dress couldn't deserve to lose more than this dress. A boring little black dress that's also poorly constructed and designed? Unforgivable.

By the way, Harmony and I watched a fantastic Lifetime movie last week. We really need to write up a review because I need a change of pace from this boring show. Look for that in the next few days.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kelli Martin's Take on Episode Three

Spoiler: It's pretty saucy.

Q: So, the obvious question is why you'd ever want to be the leader in a group challenge. That is death. And you know that firsthand. The challenge yesterday, the leaders were picked by luck of the draw. Do think everyone was hoping to be an assistant?

A: First off, I think that "random" little button bag is a scam! This is a reality show man, they have pockets or something in that bag to determine who ends up together! I wanted to be chosen as the leader, I wanted to be in charge, and I wanted to win! I don't trust ANYONE, but I NEVER thought anyone would purposely sabotage another. On the other hand, I caught a glimpse of a few people's sketches on my season for episode 5, and it appeared as if they were attempting to get the assistant job! For instance, Kenley's sketch looked like an ACTUAL stick person! Who presents that to a client??!! As in my season, I am sure that some of the designer's are actually attempting to do a good job, and the others are "playing the game."


Q: When Tim Gunn throws out the curveball that they need another, more complicated dress, is that totally disheartening?

A: It takes next to nothing to whip together a swimsuit.....and like 1/2 yard of fabric! So all of this bitching about what they needed to buy was time wasting....buy a bunch of crap, and you will have choices!

All of the beach looks, especially with 2 people, should take no time to execute! I do understand the stress of having shit thrown at you last minute, so I get it, but it shouldn't be a big deal.

Q: How does one handle friction in a team challenge. Q[uacks] and Epperson clearly wanted to fight to the death. How does one work through that?

A: Honestly, I wish I would have been a TOTAL bitch to Daniel in my challenge. He either deliberately fucked his shit up, or he REALLY didn't know how to sew/construct. (A pencil skirt can be made in like 30 minutes!)

I must admit, I prefer working alone (I am a loner, Dottie, a rebel), but I did my best to not jack his jaw! When one person is practically sewing the whole look, AND helping their partner make their half, the final garment is TOTALLY going to suffer.......they made the right choice keeping Epperson.....I have a feeling we are about to see more DOTS rejects from Q.

Q: What the Hell was Mitchell's problem?

A: He obviously is lazy and cannot sew. He was kept around because he fits the PR stereotype, not because he is a good designer. It's funny how one person can never be in the bottom, win the "innovation" challenge against the ENTIRE cast of 16 contestants, and still be auf'd. Apparently you get 3 strikes now....

Q: This episode was not-so-subtly sponsored by Garnier. How much of an effect do the hair and makeup people have on looks. Do they really complete looks and make your work that much better or could you have done without them? And did they ever make one of your looks worse?

A: Man, I could have done this shit. No offense, and I have been creating my own look for 20+ years, but SERIOUSLY??! Is the hair & makeup typically ever mentioned? They have to push, push, push the sponsors in order to pay for their MASS advertising for this dull ass season. (Oh sorry, did I say that out loud?)

And some Kelli potpourri:

Finally, I hated most of the looks. I thought they were dull and boring. I did, however, LOVE the 2nd look with the zippers by Louise and the Ohioan. (that was her partner, right??) The rest were COMPLETELY forgettable....well, Ra'mon did an ok job with his second look....I love the dyeing of fabric! I am sure that you can tell! Seems like a lot of hand dyeing lately......nice to see them using gloves and buckets, etc.....I used my BARE hands like a caveman!

Oh yeah, did you see Heidi's HIDEOUS extensions in that ponytail??!! You are a millionaire!!!!!! And again, if I hear "chic", "amazing", or anything similar again, I REALLY am going to die! GET A NEW VOCABULARY!!!!! Why do these designer's find it necessary to sound so cliche'??!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Project Runway the 3rd: In Which Mitchell Is Fucked and Garnier is King

Hello loyal readers. I know you are very disappointed to see me writing this instead of Rusty. Unfortunately for you, Rusty and Teri were kind enough to invite me into their home and liquor cabinet for last night's spectacularly mediocre episode of Project Runway. Sorry it's late, but I am writing this under the influence of a sinus infection and getting my 10-year-old eMac to navigate the flash-heavy Project Runway gallery is only slightly more tedious then building a tiny battleship in a bottle. Let's begin!

So, last night's challenge was another let-down: create surf-wear! With the help of surfer people and a partner! And Garnier logos everywhere, because everyone knows that when you hang out on the beach your hair is priority 1! Jesus Christ, it's a bad sign if they're only on episode 3 and they've already stopped trying. There has to be more interesting beach-related challenges to be had. How about we put them all on the beach with metal detectors for an hour and they have to construct cocktail gowns out of whatever they manage to dig up? I would have loved watching Johnny make a cute clutch bag out of used syringes. Even the unflappable Mr. Gunn is bored, and super-cranky about his flip-flops, as well he should be.

(Also: did this episode have anyone missing Uli? She would have rocked this one. So many flowy skirts!)

There was also a very boring sequence where we had to watch the designers hold conversations with "surf look" models. Russ wanted me to point out how bullshit this was, but I'm actually very grateful they were there to provide life shattering insight like "I like clothes that fit over my bathing suit" and "Blue is pretty". Awesome. Thanks.

Since creating an off-the-rack look for PacSun is really fucking difficult, and the producers were apparently getting desperate for SOMETHING television-worthy, they attempted to ratchet up the drama by partnering people up. Most of the designers were pretty much easy-going team players, and were excited to be working together. It was kind of heartwarming to see them rushing around, sewing and ironing and complimenting each other. Kind of like an Amish barn-raising or something. There were some misfires as well, of course:

Ah, Mitchell. Can we talk about Mitchell? He picked Ra'mon because he said he needed someone to 'carry him through' this challenge. He can't sew, he can't design, and he can't go five minutes without making someone want to smack him. Most of the shots of them working consisted of Mitchell sulking like a baby and Ra'mon frantically sewing, cutting, and sending death glares to his team captain. Surely Heidi and the Death Gods won't reward a team captain that shirks their responsibilities that hard? Stay tuned, true believers!

Quacks also got screwed by her choice in partners. It turns out that Epperson is kind of a huge fucking dick. Russ says Quacks sucks and should have taken the reigns better, and I kind of agree, but I also think Epperson is a bully and that his designs don't justify the level of ego he brought to the table. Quacks should have just ignored him, but Epperson also needs to be shut up by a more efficient queen bitch then her. Maybe they can pair him with Nina Garcia next time. She'd probably eat his head.

To further convolute an already-convoluted process, the PR Counsel of Doom demanded a second avant-garde look on top of the surf one. Seeing the look on Ra'mon's face when he realized he would be responsible for not one, but two looks that challenge was heartbreaking. Quacks and Eppy were too busy quibbling over how to stitch a seam to care much, and that was reflected in what they brought to the table for the final look. But more on that later.

My personal favorite partnership of the night was definitely Nicolas and Gordana. I love the fuck out of Gordana, her beautiful workmanship, and her consistent stream of heavily-accented bizarre prattle. Nicolas is kind of annoying, but a decently creative designer and fun to watch. Nicolas went out of his way to praise Gordana's awesome craftsmanship abilities, and Gordana was optimistic about the design "of a mermaid, the movie with the mermaid?". In short, they are BFF, and I was completely rooting for them.

Let's talk about what these folks produced:

Nicolas and Gordana's first look was actually OK. The judges were really into the top, but they said the bottom looked too sloppy, which I guess is fair enough. But isn't this supposed to be something you wear over a bathing suit? Something too tailored would have looked stupid.














Look 2. I think she looks like one of the hooker replicants in Blade Runner, but Blade Runner is an awesome movie, so this works for me. They should have propped a little origami animal in her perfect Garnier hair. Nicolas admitted he probably went "too far" on this one, and the judges agreed, but they seemed to appreciate the effort and went out of their way to comfort them as they were quietly shooed from the stage. Nicolas and Gordana, you're the only pair who did anything truly risky last night, and I salute you for that.






Just a quick aside- the judges were freaking out over this look, and I can't figure out why. It doesn't look like something you'd wear to a beach. Maybe to buy quirky tiki-torch-and-coconut-themed shit from Urban Outfitters for your dorm room, but not to an actual beach. Also, I thought the macrame thing on the back was completely ugly. Congratulations, ladies, you know how to make a potholder.











Eppy and Quack's other look is dull and pretty, so let's look at this explosion of fug instead. That is the least flattering bathing suit I have ever seen. Making a Project Runway model look chubby is a daunting challenge, even with a pregnancy pillow. They rose to the challenge by creating a bathing suit that downplays every positive thing about her body and highlights every imaginary flaw in pleather-looking material that would be embarrassing on bordello furniture. Eppy upbraided Quacks for lacking a vision, but whatever- this look is just poorly designed and constructed. I mean, what are the buttons for? What the hell are they for?!




Here's Ra'mon's surf wear look. I say it's Ra'mon's because Mitchell did not touch the dress at all. If you squint at the model's cleavage, you might be able to see the swimsuit that Mitchell supposedly made. Heidi couldn't, and she gave Mitchell complete hell for it. He really needed to step it up for this episode and he epically failed. As soon as the camera went to a scowling Heidi we all knew he was fucked. Mitchell sucks, so watching the judges turn on him was lots of fun.









Ra'mon's avant-garde look! Please note that after spending a day making a wetsuit that caused a tiny vessel to burst in Mr. Gunn's head, he regrouped, dyed some material, and sewed this dress up in about an hour. Without Mitchell's help. This dress earned high praise from the judges and a lot of love from guest judge Rachel Bilson, who is apparently on a TV show or something? Whatever, she looks like a Bratz doll.









Anyway, Ra'mon clearly rocked this thing, and Mitchell clearly did not. So, in the first time ever in the history of Project Runway, a member of the winning team was auf'd. So long, Mitchell. Don't forget your Garnier grab bag and don't let the door hit you in the ass. I thought it was notable that, while every other departing designer gets a least a little faux-sympathy from Gunn and co, he was solidly given the cold shoulder as he exited the premises. They probably edited out the part where they all peed on his toothbrush.

If nothing else, this episode was a perfect example of how PR on Lifetime errs in favor of boredom rather then shock value. Boring challenge, blah designs, and it took 3 episodes for the most untalented person in the world to get kicked off. Hopefully the next episode will be Mad Max themed or something and the designers will have to battle it out in Thunderdome for the right to make a matching look for Master and Blaster. My money is on Gordana. Girl looks like a scrapper.

I can't access my email, so Rusty will have to amend Kelli's thoughts onto a follow-up post. Oh well!