The House with a Clock in Its Walls

 

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Hey, kids! Let’s watch the new Eli Roth film!

Not something most parents would say, eh? But The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a kid movie, so it’s okay…I think. I can see why Roth was drawn to this story – it’s full of every kid’s worst fears: dead parents, a creepy old house, being the new kid at school, peer pressure, ghost moms – it’s like a fucking laundry list of fear! And don’t get me started on baby Jack Black – I’m having flashbacks every time I close my eyes.

My kids are coming around on Jack Black, I think. I mean, my daughter practically begged us to see the new Jumanji (haven’t yet) and she was excited about this one.

Cate Blanchett is an amazing actress and a joy to watch. Please let her be in every movie – all of them!

Kyle MacLachlan has got to be having so much fun playing quirky villains these days. He was absolutely chewing the scenery – it was greatness.

I didn’t even realize it while watching, but Angelica Schuyler herself was in the film. Such a shame that there wasn’t a call for her to sing.

I was expecting to play games on my phone the whole time I watched this, but it sucked me in and was a great bunch of fun.

We had watched this film months and months ago…it would blow their little MINDS if they knew this was the same guy who made Cabin Fever.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

 

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Gary Oldman just makes every film better, doesn’t he? I mean, Bram Stoker’s Dracula notwithstanding, he is AMAZING.

Is it totally out of line to say that I think Sirius Black is sexy? I think it’s just Gary Oldman with long hair and a goatee…even though he’s one of the best actors of our generation…he’s hardly ever – ok, mostly never – sexy. Mason Verger? No. Zorg? No. Beethoven? Maybe.

Let me settle down – this is a children’s film, after all.

I think my favorite part was when Hermione punched Draco in the face. To me, Hermione is a much more interesting character than Harry Potter. As a mudblood, she’s subject to just as much – if not more – bullying and hardship as Harry. Yes, sure, she’s got parents – but they’re fucking dentists. Snape fucking straight up ignores her – she knows all the answers and he harrasses Harry instead. She’s been turned into a cat (or dog). She’s been frozen. She solves the mystery of the pipes. She saves the day in this film. I’m just saying, Hermione Granger is the real hero here.

I can’t believe I missed Dobby.

This one is my favorite Harry Potter so far…but then again, I still have 5 films to go.

It Chapter Two

 

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Bill Hader is a National Treasure. His portrayal of the grown Richie “Trashmouth” Tozier was the glue that held this film together.

Not to say that it was falling apart by any means, but the second half of the film was missing the the taut tension of the first. By the time it came time for the group to hunt Pennywise, I wanted them to just get it fucking over with already.

Overall, the casting was very, VERY good. Not only were excellent actors selected, but the actors chosen were physically and tonally similar to their young counterparts. The only one that I had a bit of disconnect with was Ben Hanscom, but that might just be because I loved John Ritter’s portrayal so much.

People LOVE to bitch about how the movies don’t measure up to the book – I’ve been guilty as well. I’m not even mad about the pluses and minuses to the story for the film adaptation, except for a single detail – Ben’s story. I loved the tiny revenges in his story and was looking forward to hearing it. I also loved the callbacks to the TV version, including my all-time favorite line, “Kiss me, fat boy.”

Speaking of details from the book, I was shocked that the film started off with the story of Adrian Mellon. Adrian’s brutal assault is more gut wrenching and hard to watch than any of Pennywise’s attacks. Wait, except for Spider-Stan – I did NOT enjoy that fucking creepfest AT ALL.

Throughout the film, one of the running gags was giving Bill Denbrough shit about not being able to write a decent ending, also a common criticism of Stephen King (I tend to agree, although it gives me a chuckle to remember how he circumvented this criticism in the Dark Tower series.) I was fully prepared for the digs to be a set-up for changing the ending here…and I wasn’t disappointed. As convoluted as the book ending was, and as ridiculous as the TV version ending was, it wasn’t hard to improve upon. I feel like the screenwriters got it right here, and gave a more philosophical and proper end to the film.

Like the first film, we also bought this one on DVD – it’s worth owning. I’m also looking forward to checking out the special features and behind-the-scenes stuff.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 

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Chamber of Secrets? That’s what I used to call my vajayjay back in college…

Thank you folks, I’ll be here all night. My children absolutely appreciate any and all mentions of their former abode and entry into the world, so let’s give them a round of applause for pushing me to revisit Harry Potter and to make inappropriate vagina jokes. My son voraciously consumed Harry Potter books the second he could read. My daughter was slower to get hooked and in fact, only promised to read them if I read them. Challenge accepted!

I saw Sorcerer’s Stone shortly after it was released, but never sat down and intentionally watched the rest of the films. I am fairly certain I’ve seen them all in bits and pieces over the years though. Having just finished reading the second book, my daughter and I had a Friday Night double feature of the first two films…

My favorite part is when I say Her-Mee-Oh-Nee instead of Her-My-Oh-Nee – my daughter has an absolute shit fit about me not saying it right.

Dobby is so fucking annoying. He reminds me of our dog, always cowering and whimpering. I wonder if I give her a sock, she’ll fucking leave?

While watching the film, I told my daughter that Gilderoy Lockhart is a butthole. She said, “No, he’s another B-word, but I can’t say it.” “A bitch?” “Yeah. Can I say that?” “Uh, no.” At what age is appropriate to let a child call someone a “little bitch”?

So, I didn’t know that a Basilisk was a snake – I thought they were lizards. The only thing I know about Basilisks was from playing Magic in college, and they looked like big fucking iguanas. Wikipedia was not very helpful, as they also have chicken legs and a cock’s comb. The fuck?

A fun film, but I feel like it was really long. My daughter fell asleep halfway through, but I made it through both. Onward to the next one!

Re-Animator

 

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Re-Animator was another film featured in Eli Roth’s History of Horror, so of course, my kids had to see it. On top of that, there’ll be a Re-Animator reunion at Texas Frightmare Weekend this year, with Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott and Barbara Crampton in attendance. Since I already met Jeffrey Combs at one of his appearances years ago, I’ll probably skip his line this year – but I think it gives the kids a thrill to just walk by these actors and recognize them from their works.

Loosely based on a H.P. Lovecraft story that I’ve never read, Re-Animator is the tale of Dr. Herbert West and his quest to reanimate the dead. It’s not hyperbole to say that Herbert West is Jeffrey Combs’ most iconic role and the one he’s most known for. His frantic, erratic energy is contagious. As Lily said, “Ugh, he’s just as weird as he was in The Frighteners.” She did not like him at all. Probably because of Rufus…

I’d forgotten about how creepy and rapey Dr. Hill was – I think he scared the kids more than Herbert West! I also forgot about his, um…lick rape? Is that what you call it? We were all rooting for his comeuppance.

More than 30 years later, Re-Animator is still a suspenseful thrill ride, filled with gallons and gallons of blood. Good thing there are some sequels I can find for the kids!

Pet Sematary

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Lily had been begging to see this freaky ass movie for weeks. It’s Sunday afternoon, gross and rainy – so why not?

Pet Sematary was the very first Stephen King book I ever read – the summer between 6th and 7th grade. I remember vomiting the night after finishing it, but as an adult, it was more likely the after-effect of too much sugar at Astroworld…but at the time, I was convinced that the end of the book was so disturbing that it physically impaired me. My son has been trying to read it as well…again, he’s bored.

The movie, however, was a sensation to us as kids. I clearly remember renting it for a slumber party and it had us screaming! My poor friend Karen, I still feel bad about putting her through it. That one scene…the achilles heel scene…still makes my butthole pucker whenever I think about it. (My kids screeched during that scene – it was glorious!) Oh, and that bullshit with Zelda…I had more nightmares about Zelda than that freaky little kid.

The movie stands the test of time – it still shocks and repels, especially the ending. I just heard that they’re remaking Pet Sematary, riding the coattails of It, I guess. Sure, remake all of them – except Tommyknockers – that book was shit.

It (2017)

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My procrastination in watching the new It was twofold. First off, It is my favorite Stephen King book and Tim Curry’s Pennywise holds a special place in my heart as the scariest movie villain EVER. If I am scrolling through the guide and I see the mini-series, I’m dropping whatever I’m doing and watching it. So even though reviews were phenomenal, I was hesitating. I just didn’t want to be disappointed – which is why I’m avoiding The Dark Tower as well.

My second driver was my kids. My son is currently reading the book – or trying to. He is having a really hard time getting into it. I finally gave up the wait and we had a family movie night. (If you’re wondering if the 10 year old daughter was a factor – she wasn’t. NOTHING scares her.)

I needn’t have worried – the remake was enthralling. Bill Skarsgård fully reimagined Pennywise – his deranged portrayal will be the gold standard for horror villains of the 10s (that was awkward as fuck to type). There is room in my hard, little, blackened heart to love both the new Pennywise and Tim Curry’s portrayal…WHO, as a matter of fact, will be coming to Frightmare in 2019. Tickets already bought!

I fully support fast-forwarding the plot to the 80s. I also get why they moved around some of the plot points – making Ben the Historian, making Eddie a little less of a pussy, etc. The masterful turn though, was turning the kids into amateur detectives. Looking for Georgie gave them more of a motive to fight Pennywise – well done. I also support the things they left out – although, I was hoping to see the notorious gang bang scene rewritten as just kissing, which it sorta was? I also think the BJ scene would’ve worked, but I get why it wasn’t included.

By the way, I don’t watch Stranger Things, so I have no comparisons for you. (I used to have Netflix , but since moving out to BFE, my sad little 1.5mbps internet connection cannot handle the joy of Netflix.)

Now that casting has been announced and filming has started on the next chapter, I am DYING to see it. James McAvoy. Jessica Chastain. Bill Hader. Chapter Two is gonna be LIT.

The Silence of the Lambs

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I am now entering the third phase of my children’s film education. Phase 1 was the off-the-wall kid stuff, like the 60s Batman and Howard the Duck. Phase 2 was the slightly more PG-13 and adultish stuff – everything from Army of Darkness to Zoolander. Phase 3 is the hard R stuff, like Friday the 13th and Silence of the Lambs. There IS a super-secret fourth phase…but I am not quite sure how old I’ll have to be to sit through Pink Flamingos with my son. Probably at least 75 or so.

My son has been wanting to watch Silence of the Lambs FORever. Not because of all the Oscars, or because he is into sewing…but I’m guessing it’s solely because of how often I say, “It puts the lotion on it’s skin, or else it gets the hose again!” Or some variation thereof – it never gets old! Oh, AND he had to listen to his grandmother and I endlessly dissect the wonderful TV version, Hannibal, a few years ago.

The plot was harder for my son to follow at 13. I vaguely remember difficulty and I must have been 16 or so when I watched it. I’m envious of his innocence – honey, that wasn’t saliva Miggs threw at Agent Starling. Even though there were several points I had to pause the film and explain, he really seemed to enjoy it. At least I didn’t have to explain the tucking part.

Believe it or not, the film holds up. The tension is palpable in the last 20 minutes – even though I’ve seen it a gazillion times, I still get jumpy around, “Oh yeah, was she a great big fat person?” So few films these days are able to build this kind of tension, sheerly through the narrative and creative editing. Buffalo Bill stands up as a villain, even the horrors of the last 25+ years haven’t made him any less freaky. Hannibal, on the other hand, is virtually a pop culture hero. He’s become this superhero-like entity…eat the rude. I’m actually considering that for a tattoo…along with a Death’s-head Hawkmoth tramp stamp, if only to make my children cringe at the waterpark!

I know I’m a goober, but I always forget about Chris Isaak in the SWAT Team and squeal at the TV, “Oh look! Chris Isaak!” My son was like, who dat? I explain that he sang our wedding song, again, a blank look from my son – why is he is the movie, if he is a singer? I don’t know dammit!

I’ve got Red Dragon on DVR, I somehow managed to miss seeing that one – so I think I’ll hold off on Hannibal and watch this one next. Now, if I can only get my child to read the books…

The Parent Trap (1961)

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I normally don’t watch BYUTV, but when they’re playing The Parent Trap, then why not? I didn’t intend to drag the whole family into it, I was just trying to be annoying…but they all got sucked into it.

These children of mine were so confused at first. It’s like they’ve never had to sit and listen to dialogue in a film to figure out what’s going on.

My mom was in love with Hayley Mills and had us watch all the movies, but she especially loved Pollyanna and The Parent Trap. She even cut her hair like Hayley – that weird, split down the middle mullet. She called it…’The Rutabaga.’ I feel like she had to force us to watch it, but my kids jumped in with gusto. The girl was watching TV in the other room and just wandered in…and she stayed! She actually chose THIS instead of her current Disney Channel shows.

I absolutely do not remember all the music being by Annette Funicello…but really, who else could it be? She was like the 1960s Selena Gomez. I also didn’t remember all the spousal abuse. She punched him in the fucking eye!

Ultimately, the kids liked the movie, but they said it was “so weird.” If they think this one is weird, I need to get them into the really hard stuff…Old Yeller, Pollyana, The Shaggy DA – all that shit. It will blow their minds…

On a sidenote, the commercials on BYUTV are super weird. They’re all for other weird shows I’ve never heard of. I guess Mormons have special shows? One was for a prank show…they were hiding in high school trash cans. Huh?

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Several months ago, I caught Lily watching this movie. I snatched the remote QUICK. I’d forgotten about it until I was chillin’ with my friend Rachel. She lured me in with the promise of a glorious merkin…and y’all know how I feel about merkins.

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So…we’re not sick of Adam Devine’s douchebro act yet? I mean, I’m not sick of it quite yet…but it is starting to wear thin.

Really, the best thing about the movie is not Mike & Dave – it’s Tatiana and Alice. Not a few people have told me that I remind them of Aubrey Plaza – my black sense of humor and dry wit, etc. Oh, and my hatred of EVERYTHING. She doesn’t disappoint here – she’s amazing. I don’t know much about Anna Kendrick, except that she is in those Pitch Perfect movies. Even so, I kinda like her a lot. In interviews, she seems to be a real person that gives zero fucks about celebrity bullshit.

I got all excited when they went on the Jurassic Park ATV Tours – we went there, too! It’s a resort called Kualoa Ranch, and of course we didn’t do the ATV part, but we toured it in bus. In fact, almost the whole movie is filmed at Kualoa Ranch. It’s an awesome place to visit with kids.

The massage scene is my favorite. I want all my massage therapist buds to watch it, but I don’t want them to get mad at me. I KNOW that’s not real, but it still makes me giggle.

The merkin didn’t make an appearance until the very end, but it wa indeed quite glorious. A glorious, glorious merkin.