• credit: 20th Century Studios
    movie reviews

    Die Hard (1988) ****

    Dear Rory,

    I finally came up with a pitch for reviewing our favorite Christmas movie, Die Hard.

    Like I totally agree, there’s no point trying to give a traditional review to Die Hard. I don’t think I can come up with a better way to explain it than you did. Whatever interesting 1980s class commentary might happen irt blue collar figures versus the globalist corporate entity is super-numbed by the fact that cops don’t belong in the labor movement ever, at all, period. And I don’t think we’re at the point where we’re ready to tackle The Die Hard Problem (movies and TV making Black actors the face of the justice system to avoid engaging with the racial dynamics of our carceral system). That takes away a whole lotta more-substantial commentary on the flick. Maybe when I start watching 80s action movies?

    Anyhoodles, yes, the copaganda is way beyond the scope of this review, so I was thinking I should just treat it like it’s any other holiday romcom.

    I know what you’re thinking. People are bored of arguing about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

    But are they bored of talking about Die Hard as a Christmas Romcom?

    The argument here isn’t, “Is it a Christmas romcom?” but rather, “Who’s the romantic pairing?” Right? I think that’s the argument for our review.

    Let me take a whack the pros and cons of each potential romantic hero for our central heroine, John McClane. (Obv he’d be the heroine; he’s kind of a manic pixie copboy who likes to frolic barefoot through the park broken glass.)

    Holly Gennaro: This is the second most obvious romantic hero for John. Holly’s his ex, and a lot of people love ex reunion stories. There are cute kids involved. Bringing a family back together is such a nice hopeful visual for the ending. Plus, Holly has to realize that John being a *massive* pain in the ass is endearing when it’s aimed at a villain, which is romantic character growth if I’ve ever heard it. Also, Bonnie Bedelia is sooo smokin.

    Sgt. Al Powell: The physically distant but emotionally intimate relationship between Al and John is reminiscent of classics like You’ve Got Mail, Serendipity, Your Place Or Mine, and The Holiday. They love each other long before they’ve ever locked eyes. John and Al are smooching atop the thin blue line. It’s romantic?

    Hans Gruber: My personal favorite and the most obvious pairing. As with Rock Hudson and Doris Day, we love seeing a couple with spicy chemistry. Entire romcoms are built on a couple arguing with each other. Nobody argues like Hans and John. The way they lob quips back and forth between each other is basically foreplay. Their playful banter once they finally meet blows the top off the building. Plus, dreamy Alan Rickman has a history being Austen heroes, so he’s got the chops to sweep a giggling John off his bloody feet.

    What do you think? People are going to love it if I write a review like this, right? I really think I’ve stumbled onto something genius here.

    Hope you’re having a great time six feet away from me, which I could know if I spoke to you instead of sending this email.

    Love, Sara

    (image credit: 20th Century Studios)

  • movie reviews

    The Proposal (2009) *

    I go into movies daring myself to like them, at least when I’m on a themed watch. I think it’s more work and more interesting to find reasons to like something that you ordinarily might not. The Proposal came out in 2009, a year when I was going to see basically every movie in the theater out of boredom, so I already watched and disliked this one. But 2009 was “early days” and my story literacy was much lower.

    If you asked me for a review of The Proposal in 2009, I would have said something like, “Everything is super sexist surrounding Sandra Bullock’s character and the end doesn’t resolve stuff right.”

    I expected to have a much more complicated reaction to this movie now. And my review is certainly wordier and more-informed.

    But basically, everything is super sexist and the end doesn’t resolve stuff right.

    In The Proposal, Sandra Bullock is a Canadian about to get deported from the United States despite her work visa because she fucked around and found out. She insists Canadians aren’t the type we’re trying to get out of the country. I think she actually said that immigration enforcement is only there for terrorists, which is the way women like Sandra Bullock in 2009 says “not white people.” ICE is a monstrosity that terrorizes loads of people and Bullock’s character is fine with that but it’s not supposed to terrorize her. She dismisses all the people out in the immigration waiting room as like gardeners and stuff. Sandra Bullock’s character is massively racist.

    Anyway, Bullock isn’t disliked at work because of her racism, but because she’s cold and work-driven and doesn’t fuck around with the feelings of people around her. This is another autism-coded Sandra Bullock character, like in Miss Congeniality, and yeah it all comes across super sexist. Her assistant, Ryan Reynolds, extremely insecure and defensive in his masculinity, runs around saying absurdly sexist things about this woman, and fostering an environment where everyone at work hates the powerful boss-lady.

    I think we’re supposed to feel bad for him that this racist woman involves a sexist guy for fraud. Bullock leverages her power bribe Reynolds into faking an immigration marriage with her. And now we’re off to the cute part of the movie? Where they fall in love? Presumably? I want them to both kill each other.

    It turns out Reynolds is ALSO RICH. We only care about rich people in this movie. I note this because class is a major element in romcoms! You often see cross-class romances because the fantasy of economic security gets a lot of people real horny, understandably. Bullock’s “While You Were Sleeping” is notable for being about people who feel like they could be your neighbors. Here, the wealth of Bullock and Reynolds’s characters is not part of a fantasy, but simply a fact that relieves Bullock’s character because she won’t have to bother putting up with poor people stuff, like a studio apartment.

    I will resist a full synopsis. I don’t think The Proposal is worth my effort.

    However, you should know that it turns out Ryan Reynolds is a “Kennedy of Alaska,” and his character actually has Tlingit descent via his grandmother, Betty White, who spends a while chanting and doing drums in the forest wearing regalia reminiscent of First Nations. This provides an opportunity for the racist character played by Sandra Bullock to have a “charming” dance scene and butt-shake to Lil John and the East Side Boyz. This movie is the whitest thing I’ve seen in a while.

    Bear in mind when I say “the whitest thing,” I’m talking about the structures of whiteness, the things that Whiteness as a Caste in America loves. The power plays. The wealth. Colonization. Dismissal of nonwhite people as human beings.  The movie itself holds narrative approval for racist attitudes without challenging them, which is enough.

    There’s also a character played by Oscar Nuñez, who seems to be a family employee? of the Alaskan Kennedys. He’s named Ramone and stands in dubious positions of subservience. He’s a waiter at one point and a stripper at another. One nonwhite guy to serve them all? That’s not weird. His presence reminds me of the way Mickey Rooney was called upon to play a racist caricature for “comic relief” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s almost like Bullock’s remarks being dismissive of nonwhite people is held by the person who wrote the screenplay and is thus incapable of writing a nonwhite character who is fully human rather than a leering caricature of servitude.

    Regardless, I don’t think cutting the racist remarks from Bullock’s character, the Tlingit art used without context, etc would have saved the screenplay.

    This screenplay is just kind of crap.

    It’s barely a romcom, for one thing. It’s a romcom the way people who don’t understand romances write romance. It’s a movie where two attractive people realize the other person is actually a human, and because straight people don’t really need to know their partners in a meaningful way, they decide to be together at that point. They show us enough interaction between Reynolds and Bullock to justify a physical attraction, and even a friendlier work environment, but they barely have enough involvement for me to believe they’ll be long-term friends.

    Neither of them markedly changes over the course of the movie. The plot changes *only* how they view one another, which takes us from bickering and drenched in toxicity to…respecting one another to do less sexual harassment (he likes grabbing her ass while she tells him not to do that).

    Bullock arrives at the “grand gesture” from Reynolds and neither of them have changed! At all! Love didn’t change anything. Nothing healed.

    This movie shallowly touches upon the beats of a romcom without understanding why the machinery works. Even tropes I ordinarily enjoy, like the heroine falling in love with the hero’s family, and the mere presence of Betty White, did not stop me from hating The Proposal all over again.

    Romance should feel seismic and inevitable, and this just felt cynical, horrible, and shallow. Also racist.

    So of course I looked up the writer. In addition to Kurtzman and Orci making their era-appropriate uncredited contributions, this is mostly written by Peter Chiarelli, “a former creative executive at MGM who decided to use his downtime after the company was bought by Sony to do some writing.”

    That is exactly the kind of person who seems like they’d have written this movie. Full insult. I’d hate to see what was in his screenplay before Kurtzman and Orci got to it.


    Turns out my 2009 impression of The Proposal was more than adequate. Including this movie in a watch of greater romcoms is a waste of time, and I walked away hating everything a little more instead of feeling hope.

    (It’s a little funny revisiting this because I’ve hated Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock since the late 00s and I couldn’t remember why. Now I remember. They suit the project well. Full insult.)

    (I didn’t post a banner image on this article because I looked it up and Disney owns The Proposal, and I’m not going to argue fair use for editorial purposes on a negative review with Disney.)

  • sara reads the feed

    Productively neglectful, really cool science, movies I don’t want

    Yesterday was mostly a fun variation of my normal-of-late routine where I watch at least one movie and write a review about it.

    I actually spend November/December every year watching comedies, especially romcoms, even if this is the first year where I’ve put a sincere effort into reviewing the stuff I watch. Usually I do more genre — SF, horror, and fantasy — in August through October. Yesterday a short film kinda fell in my lap which is more of a September watch, if you ask me.

    The John Experiment‘s premise is near-future science fiction, and its impact is ultimately psychological horror. So, you know, September stuff.

    This one is special because I know the creator and I got to chat movies with her a bit. It was a lot of fun!

    Also, I reviewed Much Ado About Nothing, but I otherwise didn’t watch movies. I’m trying to take a break consciously every day or two. It feels kinda *too* good to slam movies and reviews all day. Like, overstimulating? Instead, I did a bunch of drawing, some essay writing, and then I under-stimulated myself by playing more Baldur’s Gate III with Rory.


    I’ve been avoiding the doctor for a couple years. I go in a couple times a year, mind you. I’ve got asthma and psychiatric needs which absolutely *cannot* be ignored. But I’m doing my best to ignore everything else because I hate it and I don’t wanna. It feels like if I’m seeing my doctor a few times a year already, that’s enough, and my body isn’t allowed to do anything else.

    Of course that’s not how it works and not how it ever has worked.

    I had a big blood sugar crash yesterday. I’ve always had reactive hypoglycemia from taking an SSRI – basically, my body over-produces insulin. If I eat properly, it’s not a problem, but I struggle to eat “properly” because of an eating disorder. So yesterday, big crash.

    I feel so shaken after things like that. Probably because it’s massively depleting, but it’s also just scary. I don’t love the idea of trying to hash this out with my doctor. I hate running around for appointments.


    The makers of No Man’s Sky are promising a game where they generate an Earth-sized planet. I am benignly skeptical. I was there when they marketed NMS with a whole long list of features which never materialized and watched it turn into a base building game. I like NMS. I just won’t listen to a thing Hello Games says until I can see the game itself.


    This article about fungi encouraging ice formation is the most mind-blowing thing I’ve read in a while. (Ars Technica) I’d always heard that ice forms at lower temperatures with “pure” and undisturbed water, because impurities permit ice to form quicker, but never thought further than that. I guess I assumed it was a surface area thing?

    Organisms such as bacteria, insects, and fungi produce proteins known as ice nucleators (non-protein nucleators can also be of abiotic origin). These proteins can kick-start the formation, or nucleation, of ice at higher temperatures than pure water would freeze at.

    This is one of those things where I read it and I just wanted to throw my pen to the desk and pace around the room thinking FURIOUSLY about everything new-to-me I just glimpsed.


    Shit that’s so COOL.


    Speaking of cool stuff, researchers seem to be developing these sorta…synthetic mini-organs? (Engadget) to help people with diabetes produce insulin properly, with fewer external devices involved.

    First, the scientists figured out a way to insert nylon catheters under the skin, where they remain for up to six weeks. After insertion, blood vessels form around the catheters which structurally support the islet devices that are placed in the space when the catheter gets removed. The newly implanted 10-centimeter-long islet devices secrete insulin via islet cells that form around it, while also receiving nutrients and oxygen from blood vessels to stay alive.

    Medical symbiosis? Shit that is ALSO so COOL. And this is one humans are coming up with!

    Often, when I learn about science and medicine, I’m surprised how basic our understanding remains. A lot of the stuff we use on a practical level day-to-day isn’t necessarily more complicated than, say, a medicine that just adds a single molecule to your body and then your body does the work because it has the molecule. This “islet device” seems something else entirely.


    BookRiot rounds up romances without the third-act breakup.


    Hugh Grant hates Wonka. (Cosmopolitan) Like, I get it. I hate it and I haven’t even seen it, much less performed in it. I don’t expect anyone to love their job, either. But I’m sick of this miserable lipless man being miserable and lipless and everyone tittering like that’s a personality.


    Yes, we are talking about Avatar 3 (Variety) even though we didn’t want Avatar 2 and Avatar 1 was forgettable if not for the fact the franchise bafflingly continues.

  • image credit: Lionsgate
    movie reviews

    Much Ado About Nothing (1993) ****

    Hey, nonny nonny!

    Herein lay a review for another Shakespeare adaptation starring our good noble Denzel Washington, looking even hotter than he does in The Tragedy of Macbeth. My God, man. You’d think the purring voice alone would be all the hotness that could reside within a single man’s body. Then he’s running around the countryside, riding on a horse, bouncing around with his mantitties inside that vee neck, and I’m just like. My God. Lord Denzel. (Prince Denzel?)

    Credit: Lionsgate, by way of my cell phone snapping my computer screen. oh yes i did that.

    Bear in mind that I didn’t do any research to make sure I have details about the play or movie remotely correct, and I don’t care, so please don’t correct me.

    There are several plays by Shakespeare that I know very well. I performed a small part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a teen. I’ve written a lesbian vampires adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. The Scottish Play is another favorite, and so is Taming of the Shrew. But Much Ado About Nothing is a blank for me. I’ve seen it performed live–once–when I was a kid–but that’s it.

    Anyway, as far as I can tell, this is Shakespeare’s Silly Bitches Play for Bitches Acting Silly. Literally, there is much ado about absolutely nothing, and we love every minute of it.

    Like there’s something about Emma Thompson arguing with a bearded guy. I don’t know, I couldn’t look at any man when she was on screen.

    I’ve got mixed feelings about Emma Thompson sometimes. She did this whole odd former-Yugoslavian accent thing for Last Christmas, which is my most recent exposure, and…I did not know what to think about that. Here, I realized I wasn’t enamored with her delivery either, but…

    Goodness. That smile. The way she just sort of flows everywhere in those gorgeous dresses, with her hair, and my lesbianness.

    wait oh my GOD is that KATE BECKINSALE?

    Image credit: Lionsgate

    I got all the way through the movie once without realizing who it was. I saw her name in the credits, then completely forgot she was meant to be there. I couldn’t pin the young actress’s look down. I’m bad at faces. I was like, “For one thing, it’s definitely NOT Mia Sara.”

    Since looking things up didn’t sound interesting, I just kept staring at this gorgeous young lady thinking, “Oh, she’s so pretty. I wonder what she’s doing these days? Is she still acting?”

    It’s KATE BECKINSALE, Sara! I just liked a more recent movie of hers! And I’m pretty sure I swore fealty to Selene the first time I ever watched Underworld!

    The number of times I have dreamed about this actress (as a character) drinking my blood is making me have such deep thoughts about the adorable young woman to blood drinking vampire milf pipeline. Like, if I had a nickel every time–

    Okay, so I’m reviewing a movie, right?

    Well, it’s a straightforward adaptation of the Shakespeare Silly Bitches Show, translated quite literally, with a sorta ambiguously historical setting and lots of Italians (?) speaking in English accents, or like Denzel Washington. If you don’t enjoy watching it, then you probably just don’t like watching Kenneth Branagh’s vacation videos. Obviously this whole thing was a ruse for hot talented people to giggle in a beautiful place wearing pretty dresses.

    Or wearing…not dresses.

    image credit: Lionsgate. nipple credit: Keanu Reeves.

    I didn’t find the movie especially interesting on most levels. It doesn’t have anything to add to the core play, as far as I can tell, except for the sheer vivacity of beautiful actors.

    So obviously it was a *great* movie and I highly recommend it completely on artistic merits.

  • essays,  movie reviews

    The John Experiment (2023) – Colors as a Visual Language

    I was invited to view The John Experiment by its co-creator and voice of IVY, Lux Karpov Kinrade. As one half of publishing and marriage duo Karpov Kinrade, Lux has a great many talents to her name: many books, a USA Today Bestselling author title, a romance game on the Dorian app, and an inclination toward illustration. Bear in mind this is only skimming the surface of this particular artist’s interests based on my rugged research (citation: “paying attention to Facebook for a few months”).

    We’ve been acquainted with one another for a while since we’re both SFF-loving indie authors of a similar “generation.” A similar interest in movies only recently came to my attention when Lux began posting about her film festival experiences and I started posting movie reviews. Turns out we’re both obsessives about a lotta similar things.

    So when she asked if I wanted to watch her movie, my tits got real jacked.

    To my pleasure, “The John Experiment” is a short film that invites interpretation–my favorite kind. I adore it when I get to watch something and then be Extremely Opinionated About What It Really Means. Hence, I decided to write an analysis of the film before asking Lux Karpov Kinrade anything about it in the style of my usual reviews.

    Spoilers for The John Experiment from this point onward. (All images credit to Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade.)

    Be aware: STROBE WARNING. The John Experiment contains explicit on-screen death by suicide. Themes of death and possible implied child abuse.

    In a focused fifteen minutes of film, The John Experiment takes us from an apparent thought experiment (can hot-button tech like AI help us heal from grief?) into a metaphoric space of punishment (do you deserve to heal from grief?).

    credit to Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade
    John is looking happier already!

    John is doing therapy in a sparse red room, like a studio apartment stripped of personality. He spends much of his time in bed. When he’s not in bed, he’s at his laptop at a small white table. The only method of physical interaction with the outside world is an unremarkable white cabinet. From this cabinet, John can retrieve his coffee or expel bodily waste. These things are cared for by IVY, an AI character voiced by Lux Karpov-Kinrade.

    Also, John seems to be trying to write an email to his wife, and it’s not going great.credit to Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade

    Ostensibly, the purpose of John and disembodied IVY semi-coexisting is for IVY to help John overcome his grief. The email changes throughout the course of the film as John begins to accept his own role in a baby’s death. He stops blaming his wife as much.

    Eventually, John even admits he should have checked on the baby instead of watching football.

    If that was the point of IVY and the red room, I guess that would be the end of the movie, huh?

    credit to Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade
    John does not feel better.

    Unfortunately John is still trapped. Initially it’s not clear whether he’s suffering from psychosis or not–is there really a baby crying?–and his distress rises as he should be healing.

    Maybe John isn’t telling the whole truth to himself, to his wife, or to the audience.

    The room isn’t getting smaller, but it’s getting “smaller” as he realizes how little control he has over the situation.

    The white cabinet permitting ingress and egress of Things to John’s room is not there for him, and exiting the room is simply not an option. John wants to go home to his wife.

    IVY says, “I’m sorry Hal, but I can’t do that,” or something to that effect. He signed a contract.

    credit to Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade
    “Of course I didn’t read the EULA! Nobody reads the EULA!”

    The therapeutic room changes in increasingly distressing ways. John cannot access the internet to talk to his wife anymore. There’s a new picture in the room: a red circle upon a white field, bold and accusatory, and here to tell half of the story with its abstract form.

    Why is such a red circle so upsetting to John?

    Why is John’s room so red?

    Hey, let’s take a look back to his video chat with his wife, Ana, at the beginning of the movie.

    credit to Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade
    One of the blue things in this film is the room Ana chats from. Also, Joe’s mug.

    These two were permitted one conversation, where Ana begged for John to get out of the program. She was bothered by how little he was allowed to take in, and even more so, how he doesn’t seem allowed “out.”

    Initially, John is not so terribly bothered being trapped in the red room.

    He still has comforting sources of blue refuge: video chat with his wife, his mug, the bedspread under which he is usually lying to do therapy, and parts of the painting. Anything signaling comfort is blue. Blue is hope and peace in Western color theory, and this applies to John’s world.

    But there is that damn red dot painting.credit to Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade

    It’s like the redness of it all doesn’t want John to find refuge. It wants him to see that he is in the red place.

    The red dot upon white can be emblematic of so many things: The nipple a baby nurses upon, the roundness of a pregnant belly, the sphere of a newborn’s head. In Western culture, red is often hostile and angry. It is a bloody evocation of John’s sins.

    Because as we established, if this was a therapeutic environment, he would have probably already made enough progress to leave.

    credit to Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade
    The blue sweater, blue jeans, and blue bedspread are no longer comforting, but cold and deathly.

    If John is in Hell, communicating with Ana in Heaven, we could read deeper meaning into this than parental neglect. John’s fury over a crying baby could be the normal frustration of a sleepless parent, the pain of a grieving parent, or a sign that this man gets *real* angry when he hears a baby cry.

    Though the size of John’s grief could belong to anyone struggling, the heightened emotional state in the end, and Ana’s position in a “blue place,” suggest a family annihilation to me. That red dot is the bloody thumbprint of his legacy, and he will never reconcile his actions enough to exit that red room.


    The John Experiment is supported primarily by a compelling, human performance by Evan Gaustad as John. This movie was produced, directed and written by Lux Karpov Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov Kinrade. This was an Official Selection at the LA Sci Fi Film Festival.

    Lux assures me this film will be available for streaming once it leaves the festival circuit, so keep an eye out for future updates.

  • sara reads the feed

    Mental energy conservation, A Forgettable Prince 2, and notification privacy

    I was really vibing for a couple days until current events crashed in to ruin my mood. It’s not that there isn’t good reason to be upset. But I think I need to use these things as opportunities to practice good mental hygiene. Getting sucked into “it’s fair to be upset” things happening in the world is part of the reason I bottomed out so hard in 2020.

    There will always be lots of reasons to be unhappy, and I have to make sure to process them as healthily as possible. I was up randomly at 3am brooding and then began brooding again the instant I woke up at 7. Now 1.5 hours into brooding about it. A reasonable length of time? I don’t think “reasonable” applies. But I have had Thoughts about it, and now my Thoughts suggest it’s time to turn back to my tangible life.

    (It’s not cruel to “turn off” to the world; it’s conserving emotional energy for when it’s my turn to *need* it.)

    I really really need to watch out for News Mood Swamps as we approach America’s next presidential election.


    Yesterday’s crochet time was spent on what I’m calling “the installation” rather playfully. I crocheted a bunch of handbags in a frenzy, and now I’m making an art installation in my stairway to display all the bags. I’ve integrated a Very Big Stick and some organic elements that unite Stick and Bags and it’s coming along slowly. But it’s nice. I think it will end up looking like an abstract crochet handbag rain forest.

    My 9yo told me it was really cool that I was turning part of our house into “the art museum” (we visited recently) and 13yo has barely blinked because this is just the kind of shit mommy does.

    I’m going to figure out how to light it too. And THEN I will take photos of everything to share with you guys.

    I guess that’s the entirety of the project for me. An organic growing art-thing in my hallway, which I will then document after the fact like someone who discovered it, and then I will probably disassemble it because it’s getting dusty and put everything in a labeled bin. “My entire 2023.”


    While I was looking for things to watch yesterday, I realized I had watched The Christmas Prince 2: Royal Wedding without logging it on Letterboxd, writing a review, or even remembering it until that moment. If I write a review, I’ll bundle it with the third movie, because it was so forgettable that it’s not going to be worth more than a paragraph or two.

    But the tl;dr is that they shouldn’t have tried to venture away from the oppressive blandness of the first movie, because they took about two baby steps and fell flat on their faces being monarchists, plus they wasted most of our time with a boringly executed mystery instead of actual romance or Christmas vibes. Rose McIver deserves better.


    Turns out your push notifications can be “read” by Apple and Google, no matter other privacy settings. If I understand the article on Engadget, this has been known quietly for a long time but the government didn’t want folks to know.

    Thing is, I think we “knew” publicly because most apps with any sort of privacy element have an ability to mask push alerts in some way. Alerts on mental health apps I used were always discrete. Not like, “Check in with MYCRAZYPERSON and log your PSYCHIATRIC MELTDOWNS!!!” kind of alerts. Rather, it would say, “Want to check in?”

    Partially, that’s to keep people from seeing your alerts when your phone is sitting on the lunch table.

    But also, many app developers come from Apple or Google development backgrounds, so they’d know notifs are always “readable” by the companies. Some folks have been protecting us longer than we “knew” we needed protection. I guess that’s the good part?

    I disable notifications on everything by default because I don’t want anything to talk to me.


    Andrea Fay Friedman passed away (Variety). She was an actress with Down’s Syndrome, and for many families like mine, she brought representations into our living rooms through the tv show “Life Goes On.” She also provided a voice role to insult Sarah Palin on Family Guy, and kept working through 2019.


    Important news for the adult family members of giggling children: Goat Simulator 3 is on mobile now. (Engadget)


    SAG-AFTRA’s new agreement has been officially ratified. (NPR)


    Colossal reviews a book on surrealist art. I might want this one. I really like Miles Johnston and one of his pieces is included, too.


    A Nevada grand jury indicted some of Trump’s fake electors. Get ’em all outta here. (NPR)


    Tor reviews a biography of Captain Sisko from DS9. Tor dot Com also let me know that three Pixar pandemic-era movies are coming to theaters. I’m still not back in theaters for anything short of a Jordan Peele movie, BUT I loved Luca more than life itself, so I hope this will bring more people to the child-aged mmf paranormal romance. Call Me By Your Fins?

  • movie reviews

    Falling for Christmas (2021) ****

    The first time I watched Falling for Christmas, I was surprised to enjoy such a corny Lindsay Lohan Christmas comedy. Since I’ve spent this year watching a whole breadth of comedies, I’m not surprised anymore.

    Honestly? The setup is easy to dismiss if you are around Lohan’s age and kinda cringed away from the public nature of her meltdown. Plus, culture in the time when Lohan and I were young is notoriously mean. Most of us had to come on a journey to accept movies with sincere messages after growing up on the sarcasm and apologetic self-effacement of the 00s. And some of us particularly immature kids needed to realize public meltdowns deserve sympathy and privacy and a thousand opportunities to try again, not tabloid snark. (Sorry Lindsay. I wasn’t cool.)

    Sincere Christmas romance with Lindsay Lohan pings a lot of my primal “ugh, eye roll” nerves, is what I’m saying, so I guess Falling for Christmas had to sneak up on me in order to earn my love. That’s my fault, not yours, Hallmark-like romance genre.

    Yes, it’s corny, but let’s put that at the forefront: Holidays are a good time to tell corny stories about falling in love.

    Once you accept corny as a feature instead of a bug, there is nothing about Falling for Christmas left to dismiss. The more obvious special effects are funny. The performances are sometimes cartoonish but always earnest. There are some decent needle drops with songs I don’t recognize, but possess exactly the right amount of drama for the hero to gaze after the heroine with tears shimmering in his eyes.

    Even the hero won me over. This is one of the dearest romance heroes, and you know I hate boys. He’s a daddy, and a little bit of a Daddy, and he brings his GAZING INTENSELY gaze with the best of them.

    The part is appropriate for Lohan’s skills, warmly, and she does such a cute job transforming from bratty heiress to amnesiac flannel mommy.

    It’s got the trope I love where they fall in love with one another’s families (mostly Lohan falling for his family).

    Lohan’s ex goes into the wilderness and falls in love with a bear poacher. No, not a poacher who kills bears. A poacher who is a bear.

    Plus, there is a so-magical-he-almost-seems-scary leering Santa Claus disguised as a strangely intense old man, and I love this EVERY TIME.


    Basically this is exactly what you’d expect, and if you like the tropes, you’ll love this. It’s a good execution of well-trod small town holiday warmth and YEAH I’m probably just going to give it a higher rating every year I watch it, even though my inner sarcastic teenager thinks I’ve grown up *so lame*.

    (Image credit: Netflix)