Hush

I had “Hush” in my Netflix queue for a few weeks (months?) and I’d been meaning to watch it. Last night, after watching some sportball (the one with the basketball ring) with my dude at a local bar, we came back to my place and put it on. The one big thing that I didn’t know about it? John Gallagher Jr. was the killer.

it was about a deaf writer living in a secluded cabin who is preyed upon by a random killer in a mask with a crossbow and a knife. Some parts were in her point of view – silence – and it was really interesting to see a horror movie from a deaf person’s perspective. Her neighbor friend runs up to her glass deck door, screaming for her life and banging on the door, while she’s cleaning up from dinner, and she doesn’t hear a thing (obviously) and never notices. Her friend is killed right there and she never has any inclination to turn around. 

Things are made much harder for her when Gallagher takes her cell phone, turns off her power (no wifi!), and slashes her cars tires. 

The whole movie was kind of silly because, as always, the protagonist makes some dumb choices, but it’s a horror movie, so without those dumb choices, there would have been no movie. 

That said: it was different to see parts of this movie without sound. 

Also: it was really nerve wracking. 

Sticking It To the Man at 30

My parents wanted to do something other than just take me out for brunch for my birthday this year (because I’m turning 30) and I suggested we go see School of Rock. I’ve been slow on my show-seeing this season and my mom agreed that it was a good idea. We sat in the second row on the left side last Saturday and I was looking forward to it. The movie was meant to be turned into a musical and Andrew Lloyd Webber knows how to write a good score. At the very least, it was bound to be good.

I was disappointed that Alex Brightman (Dewey) was out but seeing how his standby Jonathan Wagner looked exactly like him, I knew I probably wasn’t going to mind (after all, I had nothing to compare him to). Sierra Boggess was in though, so there was that.

The pre-show announcement is made by Webber himself and states that yes, all the kids are playing their own instruments. Good to know because I found myself wondering that as they shredded through the score! Holy shit, those kids are talented. 

The score is great and it follows the movie almost to a T. Everyone in the cast is very talented and I walked away humming the score (which usually never happens). The staging and sets were great and the choreography was effective. Jonathan Wagner also didn’t disappoint. My 30-year-old ass definitely walked away singing “Stick It To The Man.” 

If you like the source material (ie. the movie) and musical theatre, get yourself over to the Winter Garden Theatre immediately. School of Rock won’t let you down if you’re looking for a good time. 

Throwback Thursday: RIP, Wes Craven. 

I found these photos in my Tumblr archive recently and thought they should be shared. These are photos from the time Wes Craven did a talk at The New York Times building during Halloween 2010, a few months before SCREAM 4 was released. I was excited but probably more apprehensive for the next, in my opinion unnecessary, edition.

This was a cool talk and my friend and I met him after briefly. I have a production photo of him and Neve Campbell from the original Scream hanging in my apartment now (or at least it will be, whenever I get around to hanging it).

The horror world misses you, Wes. 

This is what being Patrick Bateman means to me. 

J and I went to see American Psycho on Tuesday night (remember when I waited on line in the freezing cold for like way-too-long?) and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d listened to the London cast recording a bunch of times on Spotify and loved a lot of what I’d been hearing, but who knows how it would transfer, right?

I’ve been lurking on the American Psycho Previews thread on BroadwayWorld and the buzz was that the first act was amazing but the second act dragged. I was excited to see how they’d handle the chunks of the book that included the mass murders of numerous prostitutes and how much blood, exactly, would be on that stage. I’d also heard the opening moment of the show was amazing. I was really excited but trying to keep my expectations low, anyways. 

Spoilers ahead!

The opening moment WAS cool. The stage was filled with smoke and there was screaming, but I wanted it to be more frightening. (Maybe they’ll up the scares during previews.) For those of you who saw the cast perform on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week, well, Benjamin Walker is only in tighty-whiteys and looks like he’s eaten nothing but protein shakes since then. He looks good. He describes his morning routine and then the song Selling Out starts.   

I know Selling Out wasn’t in the London production and I have no idea how the show must’ve felt without it. It sets the feel for the entire show. These are a bunch of empty, shallow (albeit extremely well-dressed and good looking) people who care about all the wrong things and are extremely annoying.

I digress. Cards was the next great song. Theo Stockman is playing a completely different character from who he has played in the past (Hair, American Idiot) as the obnoxious colleague of Bateman’s Tim Price. J burst into a laughing fit as soon as he spoke his first lines because his voice is just that ridiculous. Another stand out was Drew Moerlein in his Broadway debut as another one of Bateman’s colleagues Paul Owen. He was as smug and overly expressive in that douchey way that only an investment banker on Wall Street can be. 

You Are What You Wear was an introduction to the women who (sometimes) occupy these men at night. Helene Yorke as Evelyn (Bateman’s girlfriend) and Morgan Weed as Courtney (Evelyn’s friend) outshine every other female on that stage with their comedic timing and portrayals of these socialites. I don’t think Yorke opened her mouth a single time that wasn’t answered with laughter from the audience.

Side note: Jennifer Damiano plays Bateman’s secretary, Jean, the same way she always plays her roles (Next to Normal being the exception). That said, she didn’t disappoint. Alice Ripley plays Bateman’s mother in addition to two other small roles and she’s great. She’s supposed to be a heavily medicated mother which she’s done before and won for a Tony for it, so: this is basically a walk in the park. 

The pre-written songs that Sheik wove into the show were seamless and worked without question. Everybody Wants to Rule the World and In the Air Tonight (this one sounded exceptionally spectacular) fit right in, as does Hip To Be Square at the end of the first act. 

The score is so very 80′s and it’s so much fun. Not a Common Man was one of my favorite songs of the first act and I Am Back and This Is Not an Exit were definitely my favorite in the second act. I had I Am Back in my head all day yesterday. 

There are LOTS of projections used in the show. And there are two turntables on the stage. Even though Les Miserables is referenced over and over (it was the hot thing in 1989!), the turn tables don’t make it feel like we’re watching Les Miserables at all. Don’t worry. Donald Trump is also referenced probably a dozen times, too, since he was a big thing especially to Wall Street douchebags. Trump is referenced three times as much in the book though. The producers couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time to transfer American Psycho to New York with this reference intact. 

So, the gore. There’s not a lot of blood in Act 1. He kills his first person at the end of Act 1 and there’s a decent amount of blood on the plastic scrim. I was really curious as to how they would get through all of the people he murders in the book and they handled it perfectly. Patrick Bateman has really loses his mind by Act 2 and after trying to clear it with a trip to the Hamptons accompanied by Evelyn, he returns to Manhattan (I Am Back) and goes on a killing spree. There’s lots of blood on people and the walls for this. Imagine a pile of dead bodies center stage and that’s how this song ends. It was a perfect way to get through a good 100 pages of the book that describe how he murders dozens of people.

Oh, and the sex. There’s a silly, but hysterical scene in Act 1 with simulated sex between two prostitutes and Bateman with ridiculous projections. I read that lots of people hated this but by the time the end of Act 1 rolls around, you’ve already forgotten it’s happened because you’re enjoying the rest of it so much.

The audience was largely a theatre crowd. You could tell that they hadn’t read the book because they gasped when Bateman invites Jean to his apartment before they see a show. She doesn’t die in the book and she doesn’t even have much of a role in the movie, so they would never have killed her off in this adaptation.

Benjamin Walker was so, so good. He’s a playing a character who is a genuinely bad person but I felt sorry for him at times, especially when he was being ignored. All Bateman wants is to fit in and he feels invisible; that’s just sad. He has a much better voice, in my opinion, than Matt Smith does and I hope they plan to record this soon (as far as I know, they don’t). 

It clocked in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, which is long, but the book is 400 pages and a vast majority of it is in Bateman’s mind. When he’s really losing coherence in Act 2, there’s a lot of dialogue to try to express this. He’s covered in blood, dressed in his tighty whiteys and he realizes there’s no way out (This Is Not An Exit). It’s a heavy second act, though I’m not sure what you could cut to make it shorter. 

You could say this is a representation of how society in America completely ignore mental illness if said-mentally ill person has an outward appearance that satisfies us. Even if that person tells us they’re going out of their minds and want to kill people, we’re more likely to say, “great joke!” than take it seriously. Bateman’s pleas for help are ignored by his friends and family. 

To say I had a good time at American Psycho is an understatement. Is it a perfect show? No. Is it for everyone? No. I could imagine the New York Times panning it’s non-traditional but I hope word-of-mouth and the cult following that the book and movie have can make it a hit. 

There was a great energy inside the theatre on Tuesday night and I hope they can sustain the momentum they’ve been building and take your average Broadway audience by surprise.

This Is How All The Bret Easton Ellis Novels Fit Together

Someone posted this recently and I was super intrigued. I would think that there are probably other writers out there who have done this but the only one that I’ve read that comes to mind is Emily Giffin. Giffin’s characters are somewhat related in three of her books, but how Ellis put characters from one book into another who supposedly were killed by Bateman in American Psycho is super cool. It actually made me want to read all of his books. But.

BUT.

I’m currently reading American Psycho…. and it’s a painful read. Bateman and his friend’s shallow materialism and his need to identify where every last item on his person came from is dreadful. I’ve been reading it for a couple of weeks now and I’m only 160 pages in (out of 400-ish). I’m starting to lose hope that I’ll finish it. But I think I have to. i know that I’m not required to finish every book I start but I like to. We’ll see what happens.

In other news: American Psycho the musical is getting pretty good reviews from regular people. I know it’s going to be a super polarizing show (not every one will like a musical about a banker who’s going insane and killing his friends) but I read that the first look you get in the show is amazing and so far everything is impressive. Currently it’s super long (just under 3 hours) but I’m sure they’ll cut it down a bunch before April 5th.

Has anyone else read American Psycho? 

This Is How All The Bret Easton Ellis Novels Fit Together

I missed this on opening weekend but got around to seeing it last Saturday. I went to the AMC on West 84th Street for the first time since they renovated a year or so ago and the seats are now all basically leather recliners. It’s a little nuts. I really love the original Cloverfield and although I suspected this one had very little, i.e. nothing, to do with the first one, I love John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. so I was excited to see 10 Cloverfield Lane.

The movie opens up to the main character, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), racing in her car down an empty road somewhere in the midwest probably while looking intermittently down at texts from her (now ex-)fiance asking her to please come back and not run away because she apparently always runs away when things get hard. When she turns on the radio, we hear about a massive blackout across much of the country (aliens?) and eventually she is driven off the road. When she wakes up, her leg is injured and she is chained to the wall of a steel vault with a mattress to sleep on. 

John Goodman appears after she’s had a few minutes to freak out, bringing her food, telling her he saved her life, and the questions begin. John Gallagher Jr. is introduced shortly thereafter. Goodman also saved his life and he now sleeps on a cot behind some food racks. He needs a shave. 

I walked out of the theatre a little perplexed. I wasn’t sure what to make of what I had just seen. Was John Goodman a good guy or a bad guy? There are probably 3 times that we’re lead to believe that he’s the good guy, with equally as many strikes against him where we’re left thinking he’s a total psychopath. Did he save them from something outside? Is the air really unbreatheable outside? Did he kill a girl? Why is he keeping them down there? I think he was probably really a psychopath but there obviously was something outside so was it just giving him a good excuse to abduct people? So many questions. 

I need to read up on analyses written about 10 Cloverfield Lane, but I enjoyed it. There was lots of tension and suspense, and unlike Cloverfield, they actually didn’t show the monster until the very end. 

A Night with Shirley Jackson

I’d seen somewhere on the Internets that Paul Giamatti (far right), along with (from L-R) Cristin Milioti, Dana Ivey, and Stephen Kunken, were participating in a night of reading short stories by the late writer Shirley Jackson in honor of her 100th birthday. I literally had no idea who Shirley Jackson was, but my dude had just finished watching the John Adams series on HBO and loved Paul Giamatti so I bought two tickets. 

We ended up hearing five short stories from the group (one was read by the host, whose name I forget at this moment) and they were all pretty good. The story Ivey read was kind of long and I don’t really remember what it was about. Jackson was a dark writer, sometimes very cryptic. Usually cryptically funny though. 

Giamatti’s story was probably the more eerie. Milioti, Ivey, Kunken, as well as Giamatti all told the stories with the flare that only stage actors can provide. It was a really different type of night, one that I’m glad we went to.

Drama-Free Valentine’s Day

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I’m happy to say Valentine’s Day was drama free. I wasn’t expecting any drama (my dude and I are both pretty chill) but after hearing some friend’s stories, I was extra grateful. We went to a friend’s party in Brooklyn – walking way too far in the frigid cold from Barclays after the F train was refusing to appear. The party was lots of fun and we we were diabetic after from ingesting way too much sugar, as expected. We stopped at Sugar Shoppe on the way home, and Fat Daddy Taco (we needed to eat food that wasn’t 95% sugar).

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We started Sunday off with a leisurely brunch at The Hamilton before showering and attempting our plans of milkshakes and The Boy. Upon arriving at Black Tap in the Meatpacking District, we witnessed the most ridiculous wrapping line plus a bouncer in 10* weather and immediately abandoned ship. Starving, we stopped at The Diner on 14th and 9th for some delicious (albeit overpriced) comfort food. We hopped on the train to 42nd Street to attempt an earlier showing of The Boy. It’s been out for weeks, so how could there be a problem? It turns out that EVERYONE wants to go to the movies when it’s Arctic outside so our movie was sold out plus the theatre was mobbed because the machines to buy tickets were down.

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the scene outside Black Tap Burger. guys, they’re just milkshakes. 

Our plans were just not meant to be, I guess. We ended up making dinner at my apartment and settling in for a double-header of Frozen (that was better than I expected, said Justin) and a movie called Dark Skies (it’s a thriller about aliens with Kerry Russell and I totally enjoyed it).

And we ate more candy. So much candy. Because: Valentine’s Day. 

Least Favorite Made Up Holiday

Let me preface this to say that I think all holidays are made up. Did you know that there’s zero evidence that Jesus H. Christ was born on December 25th? And don’t get me started on Easter. Halloween is made up but at least that one’s just fun.

I’m not typically a fan of Valentine’s Day. Two years ago when my then-long distance boyfriend flew in I asked him to cancel last-minute our dinner reservations (nothing too outrageous, I promise) and asked him to go to a pub instead. I felt fraudulent getting behind the holiday that is a) made up, b) will obviously leave large groups of people feeling bad about themselves which is unnecessary.

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Last year I watched this vlog by Gabby Bernstein and I said fuck it and made it a day for self-care. I took a bath, I got a mani/pedi, it was fun. I even went all the way out to Brooklyn the day after for a kundalini yoga self-love workshop that a girlfriend of mine was hosting and met lots of really cool people who were also in need of something to do on this day, whether they were single or not. That was totally fun. I may or may not have started a “love vision board” (at the suggestion of Bernstein) that never really went anywhere and never was hung up. The point was that it was a lot more fun to focus on what I wanted for the future and how I could make myself feel good right now than wallow with a bunch of other depressed people at a bar.

This year I find myself in a relationship again (and not a long distance one, thank fucking god) and it’s a really wonderful and comfortable one. I knew I still didn’t want to make a big thing of the stupid day but I suggested eating one of those ridiculous milkshakes at Black Tap Burger and going to see The Boy. Is there anything more appropriate for Valentine’s Day than a horror movie? Nah. Even though it received horrible reviews it’ll be fun.  

The best part about Valentine’s Day this year? The Walking Dead is back! My dude and I are both stoked about this.

So, instead putting a lot of pressure on this day, I’m going to be Captain Obvious over here and tell you to just chill out and do what makes you feel good.

I’m Kicking My Own Ass.

Does anyone remember what movie this is from? It’s from Liar, Liar. Such a funny movie that I watched a LOT of times growing up. I wonder if it’d stand up against my memories if I watched it now. Anyways, I digress. 

That’s how I feel whenever I go to my advanced-intermediate (Russian) vinyasa class on Monday (and sometimes Wednesday) nights. I call it Russian vinyasa simply because the teacher is Russian. She is one the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen and so, so strong.

Between my upheaval at work in November and the stress and business of the holidays, I started skipping this class in favor of less strenuous ones. As a result, I think I lost strength in some of my yoga poses. Now that I’m eating vegetables in place of a lot of carbs, I’m feeling better and like I want to get back to kicking my own ass at least once, preferably twice, per week. 

I need to add strength training into my regime as well. I do all this cardio with limited strength training. 30 chaturangas per class only does so much. 

I’m happy to be kicking my own ass again.