Music Video of the Day: Snow by ADI (2017, dir by Shir Rosenthal)

I’ve got snow on the mind.

To anyone who knows me, that should not come as a surprise.  In fact, I put my friends and family through this every year.  Once December rolls around, I start obsessively talking about how much I hope that it will snow.  It always starts out as a cute but, around the 15th, I always start to curse the lack of snow in the forecast.  By the time the 24th hits, I’m usually stamping my foot and making demands.

(Of course, I live in Texas so it’s rare that my snow wish is ever fulfilled.  If it does snow here, it’ll probably be in late January or maybe Febuary.  A few years ago, it did actually snow in Texas on Christmas Day but, even so, it was really more of a light dusting than a real blizzard.)

This year …. well, it’s not even supposed to get down to freeing on Christmas Day.  That’s a shame because we are supposed to get hit by some rainstorms.  So, we’ll get flooded but we wont get any ice or snow.  Oh well.  As long as the sun isn’t shining, I guess I’ll be happy.

Anyway, you may be wondering what all of this has to do with today’s music video of the day and the answer is not much.  The song is called Snow but it’s not actually about snow.  Instead, it uses snow as a metaphor for an intense relationship.  The video itself doesn’t feature a blizzard, either.  Still, I’ve got snow on the mind and this song and video may be as close as I’m going to get before this year ends.

Don’t get me wrong.  Even if it’s not about real snow, I still like the video and the song because Adi Ulmansky is one of my favorite artists.  (Again, I have to thank my BFF Evelyn for introducing me to her music.)  This video was directed Shir Rosenthal, who is also credited with directing the video for Adi’s Dreamin‘.


(And keep your hopes up for snow in Texas!)

Music Video of the Day: Ariadna by Kedr Livanskiy (2017, dir by Masha Demianova)

Today is National Best Friends Day so I knew I would absolutely have to share something from Kedr Livanskiy.  My best friend Evelyn introduced me to Kedr Livanskiy’s music a few years ago and she quickly became a favorite of ours.

Evelyn and I absolutely love this wonderfully atmospheric song and video.  As usual, one of us thinks that this song is about being young and free in Russia while the other thinks that it’s about young vampires who are learning how to deal with the ennui of being immortal.  Try to guess who believes what!  It’s fun!


(And remember to hug your best friend today!)

Music Video of the Day: Otvechai Za Slova (Keep Your Word) by Kedr Livanskiy (2016, dir by Konstantin Bushmanov and Yana Kedrina)

As Kedr Livanskiy videos tend to do for me, this one brings back a lot of memories.  The only thing better than being young  and feeling like you can do anything is surviving to talk about it later.

My best friend Evelyn and I absolutely love Kedr Livanskiy, though we always seem to disagree about what the videos are about.  She thinks this video is just about having a good time in Russia.  I think it’s about vampires.  Of course, I assume that almost every video that I see is about vampires.  Still, there are moments where this video has an undeniable Jean Rollin feel to it.

Anyway, regardless of whether you think it’s about vampires or not, enjoy!

Music Video Of The Day: There Was A Time by Kedr Livanskiy (2018, dir by ?????)

My friend Evelyn and I have been debating whether or not this video is supposed to be about vampires or not.  Her argument is that it’s obviously meant to be about being young and celebrating life.  My argument is that the video reminds me a lot of Jean Rollin’s Two Orphan Vampires so obviously, the video must be about vampires as well.

Maybe we’re both right!

Who knows?

Anyway, enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: I Always Liked Men With Good Hands by Adi Ulmansky (2012, dir by Ori Sinai)

Ever since Evelyn (a.k.a. my best friend in the entire world) first introduced me to her music, I’ve always enjoy the reliably strange videos of Adi Ulmansky and this one features a black cat!


Music Video Of The Day: Invisible by Ashlee Simpson (2006, dir by Marc Webb)

This song, to be honest, is a bit of an inside joke between me and my BFF, the wonderful Evelyn.  Way back in 2007, whenever we wanted to be annoying or cute or whatever, we would start singing this song.

Of course, our version was a bit more aggressive than the Ashlee Simpson version.  Whereas Ashlee sang the song as an anthem of survival (this was after the whole Saturday Night Live lip syncing thing), Evelyn and I turned it into a declaration of war.  Now you’re saying you knew me when I was invisible?  That was your first and final mistake, pendeja

Of course, just as Evelyn and I were doing out own cover of Ashlee Simpson, Ashlee Simpson was doing a cover herself.  Invisible was originally written and performed by Kira Leyden and Jeff Andrea of the Ohio-based band, Jaded Era.

As for the video of Ashlee’s version, it is mostly notable for having been directed by Marc Webb.  Webb, of course, would go on to direct (500) Days of Summer*, the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies, and Gifted.  (I don’t care what anyone says.  I like (500) Days of Summer.)  The video was inspired by Million Dollar Baby and was shot on the same set as that film.


Music Video of the Day: How Soon Is Now? covered by t.A.T.u. (2003, dir by t.A.T.u.)

The song is by The Smiths but the cover version is by t.A.T.u., the Russian duo who became famous by allowing people to (falsely) assume that they were a couple.  When I first met my BFF Evelyn one of the things that we immediately bonded over was our shared appreciation for the absurdity of t.A.T.u.

(Men, we realized, will listen, watch, or pay for anything if there’s a chance they’ll get to see two hot girls kiss at some point during it.  That’s good information to have, by the way.)

As far as the cover goes, it’s not that bad.  t.A.T.u. has frequently been criticized for lacking vocal range but, here, that doesn’t really become an issue until the end of the song, when Julia struggles to make it through the part about waiting too long.  That said, I like this version.  It’s all about that guitar chord at the beginning.

As far as the video goes, it’s made up of a mix of footage of Julia and Lena performing on stage and some “candid” backstage stuff.  By “candid,” I mean obviously staged.  “Wow,” the viewer is supposed to say, “there’s Julia and … OH MY GOD, IT’S LENA!  THEY’RE IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER!  And now they’re in a hallway together!  And now they’re in the same bedroom!  Are they about to kiss … oh wait, we’ve cut to a different scene now…”

Here’s what Morrissey had to say when he was asked about t.A.T.u.’s cover:

Interviewer: Did you hear t.A.T.u’s version of ‘How Soon Is Now’?
Morrissey: Yes, it was magnificent. Absolutely. Again, I don’t know much about them.
Interviewer: They’re the teenage Russian lesbians.
Morrissey: Well, aren’t we all?


Film Review: The Bronze (dir by Bryan Buckley)

The Bronze has been getting terrible reviews since it first premiered at Sundance last year.  Telling the story of an Olympic bronze medalist who has grown up to be bitter and angry, The Bronze has been unfavorably compared to Bad Santa, Bad Words, Bad Teacher and … well, bad anything.  (You know you’re in trouble when your film gets compared to Bad Teacher because most critics have an irrational hatred for that film.  I actually enjoyed it.)  The Bronze was originally scheduled to be released last July and then it was pushed back and then, for a little while, it vanished all together as it was traded between different distributors.  Finally, last Friday, Sony Pictures Classics released The Bronze with all the fanfare of a community theater announcing their annual production of Forever Plaid.

Well, after hearing how terrible it was, there was no way that my BFF Evelyn and I could resist the temptation to experience it for ourselves.  (We both enjoy watching and commenting during bad movies.  That’s what led to us watching that Tyler Perry movie about the adulterous matckmaker .)  We caught a 10:15 showing last night at the AMC Valley View and the theater was almost totally deserted.  (Admittedly, not many people are brave enough to go to Valley View Mall past 9:00 but Evelyn and I fear nothing.)  We were expecting to see a thoroughly mediocre film but you know what?

We were both kind of surprised to discover that The Bronze was not the terrible film that we had been led to expect.

Melissa Rauch (who co-wrote the script) plays Hope Ann Gregory, a former Olympic gymnast who won the Bronze medal at the Summer Olympics.  She won the medal despite competing on an injured ankle.  Unfortunately, her injury ended her competitive career but it also briefly made her a national celebrity.  12 years later, most of the country may have forgotten Hope but the people of hometown of Amherst, Ohio still love her.

When we first meet Hope, she’s masturbating while watching footage of herself competing at the Olympics.  She then proceeds to steal money from her father’s mail route so she’ll have enough money to buy weed.  Hope is rude to almost everyone and yet, no one in the town seems to notice.  Or maybe they are so happy to be in the presence of a minor celebrity that they just don’t care how terribly she treats them.  The movie is actually somewhat vague on this point but still, the contrast between Hope’s reality and the opinion that others have of her is one of the best things about the film.  Intentionally or not, it perfectly satirizes that way that we idealize our celebrities.

When Hope’s former coach commits suicide, her final request is that Hope agree to train an up-and-coming gymnast, Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson).  At first, the jealous Hope tries to sabotage Maggie but eventually, Hope starts to take her job as coach seriously.  (When Maggie first shows up, she seems to be a one-note, excessively perky character but eventually, she reveals some needed, if not exactly surprising, complexity.)  Hope also develops an unexpected relationship with Maggie’s assistant coach, Twitchy (Thomas Middleditch).  (Twitchy is called Twitchy because he blinks a lot.)

The Bronze is not a great film.  Instead, it’s an extremely uneven film, one that often seems to be trying too hard.  It never manages to find the right balance between its raunchy comedy and the occasional and surprisingly subtle moments when it suddenly becomes a character study.

And yet, at the same time, it’s not as terrible as you’ve heard.  There are moments that work surprisingly well.  Some of them are moments like an enjoyably over-the-top sex scene between two gymnasts.  But then there are moments like the scene where Hope talks about the first time she learned that, as a result of the injury she sustained while winning her Bronze, she would never be able to compete again.  There are scenes like the one where Hope proves herself to be surprisingly loyal to the citizens of Amherst or where her long-suffering father (Gary Cole) confronts her about her behavior.  Though these moments may be few and far between, they still work surprisingly well.  It’s during these moments that The Bronze drops the protective mask of outrageousness and reveals some unexpected depth.  It helps that, along with writing the script, Melissa Rauch totally commits herself to the role.  At her best, she’s like a force of stoned nature.

Is The Bronze really worth seeing on the big screen?  Probably not.  It’s too uneven to really be successful.  But when it shows up on Netflix, I predict that a lot of people are going to be surprised to discover that The Bronze isn’t as terrible as they’ve been told.


Embracing The Melodrama Part II #121: No Good Deed (dir by Sam Miller)

No_Good_Deed_2014_movie_posterSo, this weekend, my BFF Evelyn and I were watching the critically reviled 2014 film No Good Deed.  As we watched Idris Elba (playing the role of Colin) viciously and violently choke to death a character played by Kate del Castillo, Evelyn said, “He can strangle me any time that he wants.”  My first instinct was to reprimand my friend and remind her that it’s not empowering to allow a man to murder you, regardless of how unbelievably sexy that man may be.  But then, by the time that Idris was murdering Leslie Bibb, I found myself agreeing.  Seriously, Idris Elba can do anything he wants to me….

Idris is pretty much the only reason to see No Good Deed.  No Good Deed is one of those crappy suspense films where every plot point hinges on someone acting like a total idiot.  Colin escapes from prison.  Colin murders his ex-fiancee after he discovers that she’s been cheating on him.  Later, Colin crashes his truck outside of the house of Terri Granger (Taraji P. Henson).  Terri’s husband is out-of-town and when Colin shows up at her doorstop and asks to use the phone to call for a tow truck, Terri invites him inside.  Terri’s friend Meg (Leslie Bibb) shows up.  Mayhem follows.  Of course, there’s a big twist at the end.

This is where I’d usually say something like, “DON’T REVEAL THE SURPRISE ENDING OF NO GOOD DEED!” but, honestly, you’ll figure it out within the first few minutes of the film.  It’s pretty obvious and it’s pretty stupid.  I won’t reveal it but if you see the film, feel free to tell all your friends about the big twist.  Some films were meant to be spoiled.

As I watched No Good Deed and found myself hissing at the terrible dialogue and the total stupidity of all of the characters and wondering if any of the filmmakers had ever actually met any real human beings, I found myself wondering how this film could be so incredibly bad.  I hopped onto the imdb and discovered that the film was written by Aimee Lagos.

If you don’t recognize that name, Lagos also wrote and directed the absolutely terrible movie, 96 Minutes.  And I will say this: No Good Deed is slightly better than 96 Minutes.

That’s the power of Idris Elba.

(Incidentally, it bothers me that nobody in this film is actually named Deed.  If Colin’s full name had been Colin Deed … well, that would have been pretty stupid but it would have at least been kinda fun and entertaining.)

(Also, for those keeping track, that’s 121 reviews down and 5 to go.)

What Evelyn and Lisa Marie Watched Last Night #125: I Killed My BFF (dir by Seth Jarrett)

Last night, my best friend forever Evelyn and I watched the latest Lifetime film, I Killed My BFF.

(Watching a movie called I Killed My BFF with my BFF?  How could that possibly go wrong?)



Why Were We Watching It?

Evelyn and I love to watch the Lifetime original series, I Killed My BFF.  For those of you who may not obsess over Lifetime like we do, I Killed My BFF is a true crime show about best friends who end up killing each other.  Each episode features dramatic reenactments and the fun comes from trying to guess which friend will be the murderer and which friend will end up meeting a very gruesome end.

(I know it’s probably in bad taste to refer to a true crime show as being “fun” but … oh well.)

From the minute that Evelyn and I heard that Lifetime would be airing a film version of I Killed My BFF, we simply knew we would have to watch.

(According to the imdb, I Killed My BFF was originally titled The Neighbor.  I’m not sure if it was originally meant to have any connection to the I Killed My BFF series or not.  If I had to guess, I would say that Lifetime bought the film and changed the title to make it appear to be a spin-off of the I Killed My BFF series, in much the same way that Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 was specifically titled to fool European audiences into thinking that it was a sequel to George Romero’s Zombi, or Dawn of the Dead as it was known here in the States.)

Also, another reason Evelyn and I were watching the movie together is because that’s what BFFs do!  (Except when they’re busy killing each other, of course….)

What Was It About?

When blonde Shane (Katrina Bowden) meets redheaded Heather (Olivia Crocicchia) at the hospital, shortly after both of them have given birth, they quickly become BFFs.  Unfortunately, they both have their struggles.  Heather is bipolar.  Shane is ambitious but poor.  Of course, their biggest problem is that they are characters in a film called I Killed My BFF and that means that one of them is going to be dead by the end of the movie.

What Worked?

This was actually one of the better Lifetime films that I’ve seen this year.  The film looked great, director Seth Jarrett never allowed the film to drag, and both Katrina Bowden and Olivia Crocicchia gave good performances.  (Olivia Crocicchia, in particular, was heartbreaking in some of her vulnerable moments.)  Even the film’s score was pretty good!  All in all, this film was exactly what we want when we watch a Lifetime true crime movie.

What Did Not Work?

Part of the fun of I Killed My BFF: The Series is that you’re never quite sure which BFF is going to die until the last few minutes of each episode.  Unfortunately, the commercials for I Killed My BFF: The Movie revealed, ahead of time, which BFF was going to die.  They served as a HUGE spoiler.

Though it may seem nitpicky, by the time the murder occurred, Heather and Shane were no longer really friends.  This film should have been called I Killed My Ex-BFF.

“Oh my God!  Just like us!” Moments

Okay, so obviously you know that you’re taking a risk when you and your BFF decide to watch a movie called I Killed My BFF.  But it was still kinda freaky how much Evelyn and I had in common with Shane and Heather.  For instance, Heather had red hair and so do I!  Evelyn has pretty blonde hair and so did Shane!  Heather took a “gazillion meds” and so do I!  Evelyn looks good in red and so did Shane!  It was uncanny and a little disturbing!

After watching the movie, I assured Evelyn that I would never murder her and, after thinking about it for a disturbingly long time, Evelyn agreed that she would probably never murder me.  But then, every episode of I Killed My BFF begins with the BFFs saying the exact same thing!  Listen, I love my BFF but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t spend all night looking over my shoulder.

Lessons Learned

Be careful when it comes to picking a BFF.  Apparently, some people just can’t handle the pressure of being a best friend forever.

I Killed My BFF2