Pretty Little Stalker – Who’s the Real Victim?

For anyone who has seen the movie Pretty Little Stalker, the title is a rhetorical question; obviously, the victim is us, the viewers. It sucked me in with it’s title that was obviously designed to draw the attention of Pretty Little Liars fans and ridiculous-sounding thriller premise. I continued watching it, because it was a dumpster fire – terrible and rotting, but sort of beautiful, in a nonsensical, this-needs-a-drinking-game way. So how is this movie terrible? Let me count the ways (and, like, don’t read the rest of this post if you actually have a desire to watch the movie and don’t like spoilers, because that is what the remainder of this post will be comprised):

  1. In the beginning of the movie, a character named Maggie, who you will only ever see in this one scene questions the protagonist’s legitimacy as a mother because she’s in her second marriage. Which is… very illogical. It’s like someone likes to eat salad, and someone else being like, “But you don’t like chicken nuggets. How can we trust your legitimacy as a person who likes eating salad?” Like, shit, Maggie may “tell it like it is,” but she also seems like a crazy person and also, she’s literally only in this one scene, so this entire scene should have been left on the editing floor.
    1. On a related note, this scene, which is a Lorna book signing, since the protagonist is a bestselling self-help author, ends with Lorna signing the book of whomever the next customer in line after Maggie was. You don’t know this person’s fucking name. This person doesn’t matter. But, like, I love how legible Lorna’s signature is. As anyone who has seen a doctor, or attended the book signing of a bestselling author knows, people who have to sign their names all the time have nearly illegible signatures. They have to, to avoid carpal tunnel and, you know, boredom.
  2. So, this one’s a little random, but the dress Lorna wears in the third scene of the movie (modeling a dress in front of the mirror; immediately after the book signing scene) is one that I own. It’s a kerchief dress, with a solid black top with a keyhole, and a paisley-esque skirt. I’ve had this dress for, like, a decade now. Pretty sure I got it on sale at JCPenney’s. Also, weirdly, this is a dress her husband purchased for her, apparently on a whim, since he has to ask her if she likes it, and says he “wasn’t sure” she would. Like, why did you buy it then? Seems a bit misogynist…
  3. Lorna’s supposedly normal high school son is introduced playing the handslap game with his girlfriend. You know, the one where you hold your hands above the other person’s, and you have to try to move them out of the way before they get randomly smacked? These kids are supposed to be in high school. High school students are smart enough to know how to try to seduce someone. This game is literally the weakest foreplay I’ve seen in my life – like, that boy’s never getting laid.
    1. Side note: It’s pretty obvious that Ashley Rickards is the stalker. But wouldn’t this movie be so much better if the “girlfriend” character Bridget was actually the stalker, and was playing the long con to completely ruin Lorna’s life? Like, she gives Lorna’s son syphilis or something before sneaking into his mother’s bedroom and cutting her Achilles tendons so the self-help guru can never walk again. #justsaying
  4. There are several scenes (okay, at least 2) where Lorna’s husband, named Harry, is exposing his hairy chest. In the first scene in which this occurs, he is investigating a noise that Lorna heard. It is very important that he be shirtless, guys. He can’t put a shirt on or even grab a weapon in case it’s robbers to investigate.
    1. The “placate-the-wife” routine this misogynist is going through, since he obviously doesn’t expect it could be anything dangerous because he hasn’t grabbed a weapon is pretty played-out. Like, he deserves that golf club to the head. #TeamMallory
    2. Do you think they changed the name of Lorna’s husband’s character after casting Mr. Hairy chest? Even better, I would love if he’s not actually hairy at all, and the costumer with the ancient discount closet carefully collected, like, her dog’s hair or something and glued it to Harry’s chest.
  5. There’s this whole, weird virgin worship in this movie. Like, Mark’s supposed to feel ashamed that he finds Mallory attractive when he has a girlfriend. I mean – she’s a super hot chick who has an endless well of family drama, which we all know is often the best aphrodisiac. It’s okay for a high school boy to be interested in her. Just, like, don’t string your “girlfriend/slap-hands partner” along – let her know she’s really cute and all but you really want some hot, crazy sex, and maybe you’ll hit her up again when you’re done sowing your wild oats. #honesty
  6. Hairy literally closes his wife’s laptop on her fingers when she says she’s not ready to go to bed. So controlling. Why can’t you just let your bestselling author wife sleep in? Damn, she bought you a freakin’ mansion. Let her do what she needs to do to keep making green! Those property taxes are not going to be cheap.
  7. Because the screenwriter needed to make sure you didn’t find Mallory likeable, there’s this weird scene where she kills the couple who bought her previous home. This scene is amazing. Mallory literally strangles some random bitch named Monique while her husband is sleeping right next to them in the bed. Guess when the husband wakes up? Like, right after his wife was killed. Like, hey guys, just another shirtless misogynist. Nothing to see here. He totally deserves that bullet to the chest. #TeamMallory
  8. The chick who plays Britney in Glee is Lorna’s agent. She loves the book that Lorna is writing based solely on interactions Lorna has had with her stalker. You would think Lorna would look more favorably on someone who was her fucking muse. It was at this point in the movie that I thought: “Dude Lorna, I don’t know what “Mallory” has planned for you, but you probably deserve it.” #TeamMallory
  9. Lorna plans to postpone her son’s 18th birthday party… because she’s grounding him for dating a girl she doesn’t like. Are we supposed to think she’s a good parent? Like, I thought I was strict. Lorna just seems like an emotionally controlling monster.
    1. It’s okay though, guys. She takes that back and gets her 18-year-old son balloons. Like, yeah, I’m so sure your 18-year-old son will appreciate those much more than inviting his girlfriend.
  10. So… just to be clear:
    • Lorna, who doesn’t seem to have any education in therapy, psychology, etc., wrote what are probably bullshit self-help books that “helped” Mallory’s mother realize she wanted to divorce her husband and abandon her daughter, resulting in Mallory’s father killing Mallory’s mother and then himself.
    • So she destroyed Mallory’s family.
    • Yet it is okay for her to protect her own family when Mallory tries to help karma out a little bit by attempting to kill Mallory with a gun.
    • She couldn’t even have tried to draw Mallory out while she stealthily dialed 911, and gotten Mallory monologuing until the police arrived, since they are required to show up at to investigate if they’re not getting any feedback (or hear a mentally ill woman raving and threating to, you know, kill people). Or maybe she could have been like: “Mallory, you’re so smart! You have so much potential. Don’t throw that away by killing my lame nerd of a son. I was inspired by our conversation over dinner – I’ll give you a share of the royalties! Let us be partners. Huzzah!” Nope, she just nabs Mallory’s gun and shoots the poor girl.
    • Who’s the real victim here, I ask you?
  11. Also, for some reason, they have Mark’s 18th bday party 6 months later. Which is just… odd.
  12. There wasn’t even a twist at the end where Mallory, like, walks in front of their house or something. #missedopportunity

So, yeah – I was not a fan of Pretty Little Stalker. Though I will admit:

  • the chick who plays Lorna has amazing hair through the movie, so kudos to the hairstylist; and
  • Ashley Rickards does a good job with a batshit character whom it is unlikely would actually be out on the streets for so long considering how often she attacks people.

Have you seen the movie? If so, what were your thoughts? If not, I don’t recommend it – also, did I convince you to join Team Ashley?

9 Ways Princess Switch: Switched Again Could Have Been Better

My husband and I recently watched the Netflix original movie The Princess Switch: Switched Again, a movie so lazy its’ creators couldn’t even pretend to put thought and effort into it, thus resulting in a title that I literally laughed at when I first saw it. Because I love camp, and laughing at things that are ridiculously bad, I did somewhat enjoy this movie. Having said that, there are various ways that this movie could have been better. [Note: If you haven’t seen this movie yet, and don’t want any spoilers, you should stop reading here. If you have seen the movie or don’t care – read on!]

Here are 9 of them:

  1. The princess and Stacey decide to just swap places, and therefore husbands, whenever they start going through the inevitable couple slump (because letz bee real – happily ever after doesn’t happen, and even if it did, it would take helluva lot of work to keep).
  2. Stacey kills the princess (why not? she’s from Chicago, they’ve got a high murder rate #plausible) and pretends to be both of them for the rest of her life. The prince and her best friend never figure it out.
  3. At the ball/dance/fancy party, Kevin realizes upon meeting Fiona that Margaret’s weird, poor cousin is probably game for some really freaky sex, absconds with her to the bedroom and never looks at Margaret again.
  4. The prince calls Stacey on her bullshit (serious, just tell the man, who is supposedly your life partner, what is going on) and dumps her ass.
  5. The entire switcharoo scheme recurrence is actually an elaborate plot of Stacey’s to get her husband laid, because she thinks their sex is boring.
  6. The prince espies Kevin kissing Margaret, who he thinks is his wife, because his wife’s too stupid to be honest and transparent and tell her husband what she’s doing, and he kills Kevin, causing Margaret to lose the love of her life, and Stacey to lose her best friend. Everyone’s sad. #toobad
  7. In the airport, Margaret and Kevin’s spontaneous wedding vows are more akin to things people would actually come up with when put on the spot. In my mind, it goes something like this:
    1. Margaret: Wassup?
    2. Kevin: You dope.
    3. Priest: Whatever, I guess you’re married? I’m gonna go catch my flight.
  8. At her coronation, Margaret runs through the holy man after being crowned and announced as queen (sword hidden beneath the throne), because he almost crowned her cousin queen. Her cousin! Doesn’t anyone have a brain?

Let me know your favorite, or your additional thoughts, on how this terrible movie could have been better.

Nice Try, Netflix: Enola Holmes

I knew, going into watching Enola Holmes that it probably wasn’t going to be very good. But I shrugged, and though, “Huh. Maybe it will be fine. I can at least give the pilot a chance.” I have no idea how I got the idea it was a TV show, but I was expecting a series with the mystery of the disappearing mother being a long thread tantalizingly teased throughout, and a smaller mystery solved each week. So I was wrong – I mean, I guess it was “fine,” if you believe in disrupting characters to the point that those characters are no longer themselves, and like to watch 16-year-olds barely survive in a dangerous city because you know how annoying teenagers are – of course, everyone is out to kill them. Oh, also – it’s not a TV Show (again, I have no idea how that idea weaved itself into my mind…).

Enola Holmes, which I keep wanting to turn into Enola Hughes because apparently my brain isn’t working today, has a great cast and a large budget, but sucks more than the psychic vampire siphoning off my energy and ability to think clearly today. In fact, Enola Hughes would be a more fitting name for both this movie and it’s main character, because there is no point in making a movie about the Holmes’ family if you’re going to change the characters of both Sherlock and Mycroft beyond recognition.

I think it means well. It’s like, “People love Sherlock, but do we really need another story about this rich white dude who’s just really good at solving mysteries? After all, rich white girls can be good at solving mysteries, too, as Veronica Mars showed us. AND that will mean we can give this film a feminist slant, which educated people in the crumbling facades of democracy that constitute former powerhouses America and England seem into.” For those of you who have noted that:

  1. Sherlock was not, initially rich, which was part of the reason he needed a roommate (hello, Dr. Watson!) until he became rich and famous by solving mysteries;
  2. Veronica Mars was also not rich, in fact a large part of that television series was about the struggle for power and respect in a city with stark divides between the have and have-nots, and V and her pops definitely fell into the “have-nots” category. (In fact, how she was able to afford her bitchin’ camera, completely new wardrobe, regularly maintained coif, and technology gadgets is a mystery of its’ own that will never be solved…);
  3. My faux quote ends in a preposition –

Well done. You are worthy of reading my blog. I did those things on purpose to see if you were paying attention, and you will probably not much like Enola Holmes.

For those of you who did not, you’re not being very observant and/or did not imbibe the same media as me, so sit in the corner with your conical hat, and think about the fact that you might, in fact, like Enola Holmes. The movie is made to appeal to sheep, of which you may be one. You should feel bad about that, and you should engage in some serious self-reflection to try to avoid saying “baa” all the time in the future.

Enola Holmes is basically a re-make of 16 Candles with Bellatrix Lestrange as the purposeful mother, a very watered-down Jake who everyone is trying to kill, and the successful murder of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. As anyone who has read the stories is aware:

Mycroft is not a pompous, blustering idiot. Mycroft is more intelligent than Sherlock. He is also much, much lazier.

And Sherlock Holmes is not a handsome devil lackadaisically solving mysteries, maybe, if he feels like it. Sherlock Holmes is weird. He’s very passionate and high energy when he’s working on a mystery, which he works at with a focus that is possibly psychotic. And when he doesn’t have anything to keep him manic (i.e., another mystery to solve), he is melting into his couch because he’s coming down from his cocaine high, which as anyone who has ever listened to The Weekend knows, means that he is fucking depressed as shit.

Millie Bobby Brown is very pretty, and gives a decent performance as an intelligent woman capable of solving crimes and finding her own way in the world with the myriad of English pounds left to her by her mother. She’s less believable as someone who is naive and uses the word “nincompoop” more than once. And her scattered glances at the audience to break the Fourth Wall feel like a failed attempt to replicate the smart, well-loved performance given by Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag, wherein PWB’s asides to the audience seemingly effortlessly convey meaning to the audience in what is ultimately a sign of her mental breakdown.

If Enola Holmes wasn’t trying to insult the viewer’s intelligence by pulling people in with reference to a well-loved and established fictional character by changing all resemblance to that character, I probably wouldn’t take too much issue with it. In fact, I might even like it. As it is, however, the movie did fail me – first, by not being a television show (which, again, sounds much more likable, because – weekly mysteries done well are always fun to watch), second, by altering those well-established characters in a way that was neither interesting nor thought-provoking and really blatantly point out that the movie should just not in any way even try to affiliate with the beloved characters of Sir Doyle, and would have fared better as the screenwriter’s own flawed creations.

Nice try, Netflix, but fucking do better next time.

Streaming The Order

Netflix’s show The Order is the television equivalent of a sugar-laden, iced coffee drink – intriguing hints of original thinking and pacing, full of components that rely on your either not having a brain or deciding to turn it off while watching, and ultimately, a watered-down version of what you were hoping you were watching.

Two seasons. Twenty episodes. Witches. Golems. Werewolves. Magic. Drama. Cringe-inducing romance. Failed attempts at wit. Cults. Apocalypse. The Order packs a lot into the timeframe that it has, yet somehow generally manages to focus on the wrong things, turning a show full of amazing occurrences and people into a play-by-play of the romance between Jack & Alyssa, two of the most boring people you will ever meet, who take themselves way too seriously, and probably don’t eat enough food. [Warning: this post will be riddled with spoilers, so if you’re interested in watching the show and haven’t seen all of it, stop reading here.]

My biggest fault with this series is its’ insistence that we know all about how the relationship between Alyssa and Jack is evolving (or, in a few non-bile inducing scenes, not). These two characters are the worst ones in the show, which makes them the ones I want the least screen time with (except for a few episodes where Jack has amnesia, sort of, and is taken advantage of by someone infinitely prettier, smarter, and more fun), so to have their gross face-smacking and lustful stares thrust upon my poor, innocent eyeballs when I’m just trying to watch a TV show full of deadly, sexy beings, is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Sometimes, Jack is not the most awful (definition: not boring to me, personally) character on the screen. Alyssa, on the other hand, is always either annoying or infuriating. Okay, first of all, why does every person she meet seem to be sexually attracted to her? Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone is yearning to go to bed with a thin blonde girl. To top that all off, she is self-righteous in that selfish way a lot of white people have. Like it’s not enough to be privileged by virtue of having been born into one of the European immigrant families the US favors, and it’s not enough to be the Aphrodite of campus. She also has to be the most, the best at whatever she’s chosen to be “her thing.” In this case, magic. She literally almost brings about the end of the world because her new lover is killed. The fact that her lover attacked and tried to kill someone else not only doesn’t matter, but Alyssa revises history to talk about how selfless she was, just innocently trying to provide equal access to everyone to something that is dangerous when not handled correctly. You know, like a guns-rights advocate handing out Uzis at an elementary school. Nothing wrong with that, dudes, because Alyssa is in love with this particular guns-rights advocate, so obvs, nothing bad will happen. Alyssa needs to learn that what she wants is not synonymous with what needs to happen.

It also just feels sometimes like the writers are running out of ideas. I think it’s really interesting how many different ideas they’ve smushed together, but then near the end of season 1, you’re thinking to yourself, Is there anyone out there who’s not a werewolf?! Am… Am I a werewolf? Like, yeah, it makes storylines more complicated, but it also makes it seem so much less likely that all of this supernatural stuff is secretly going on, and we mere mortals have never encountered it. Presumably, part of why we mere mortals don’t know about it is because it’s very rare. But then, it feels like 85% of campus is a freakin’ werewolf, and it’s like, c’mon. My credulity is being stretched too thin.

That’s… not the kind of rack I meant. Oh, Alyssa did this for you? What a surprise. No, I will not feel better if she sleeps with me; quite the opposite. Ew.

In summation: I may stop watching now, the main love storyline is so (sososososo*infinity) annoying, the writers need to stop making everyone a werewolf, and Alyssa’s character should just go away. Forever.

Did Netflix Original Heartthrob Noah Centineo Make the Same Movie Twice?

Noah Centineo (“NC” from hereon out, because typing out his full name every time I reference him in this post feels like too much effort) who made an adorable and endearing love interest in the Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han’s YA novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, as well as Netflix original Sierra Burgess is a Loser, continued to play a high-school aged heartthrob in The Perfect Date, along with the ineffably talented Laura Maurano, and went on to make more movies that I’m not going to list in this post. I often like YA romance movies, so I have seen all of the aforementioned movies.

Then, I noticed another movie, which also featured Centineo, and which also featured a dating app, both of which are components of The Perfect Date. I was intrigued. The movie is called Swiped, and before you leave to go look for it on Netflix, let me warn you – It. Is. Terrible. Almost unwatchable. I put it on, and couldn’t finish it, and I willingly watch Hallmark movies for funsies. Sure, I’m mostly making fun of them, like the years where the costume designers didn’t hem anyone’s pants, the predictable plotlines, or the fact that as I grow older, the protagonist of A Christmas Kiss increasingly seems like an inept she-devil hell-bent on terrorizing her unsuspecting, successful boss who was just asking her to do her job, goshdarnit. But I’m still willing to watch these undeniably slightly terrible movies from start-to-finish. But I couldn’t finish Swiped. So, you know – perspective.

One woman’s Xmas kiss… is another woman’s Xmas nightmare

It kind of fascinates me that NC chose to do both of these movies, with fairly similar concepts, so close together. I mean, there are subtle differences. Although both movies feature technologically proficient teens with the capability to fairly quickly develop an app, The Perfect Date features high school students, whereas Swiped takes place in college. Additionally, although both movies feature teenage characters who are socially awkward, The Perfect Date features that teenage character as more of an intelligent teen girl who is an appropriate love interest, whereas Swiped features that teenage character as a nerdy teen boy who develops the app (I think, again, I could only stand like 20 minutes or so of the movie), seems to have mommy issues, and in reality, wouldn’t get laid (although he’s probably got some love interest in the movie, since I think he’s one of the protagonists). Both movies feature NC, and both rely on his good looks and charm to sway the audience as well as make him seem worthy of redeeming, as well as being a love interest, in spite of his character’s flaws. But only one of these movies work.

The largest differentiator between the two films that I discerned based on my cursory introduction to Swiped was budget. Mainly, The Perfect Date seemed to have one whereas Swiped seems to have been made with considerably less money. Swiped has that noticeable vacuum of sound that low budget films often have, where there is no background noise, which makes the lackluster dialogue that much more apparent. It makes the quirks that the characters should have lack humor, because the person talking to him/her/their-self who would seem odd with the right music playing in the background instead seems more like that homeless guy you walked by the other day muttering to himself and pulling his hair out of his scalp (for some reason, the latter feels a little less cute).

So it’s not the same movie, but it is possible that NC chose both movies for the same reason. My theory*: the idea of developing a dating app with a friend that helps him become a better person and find love so enraptured NC that he immediately signed on to do Swiped (a 2018 movie), and then, when the opportunity to make a strikingly similar movie was proffered, he doubled down, and signed on to do The Perfect Date (a 2019 movie). So why is NC so enraptured by this idea? Maybe he has secret Tinder/Bumble accounts, or maybe his love life is solely arranged by his agent, so the idea of finding love in any other way is intriguing and fascinating, or maybe he wants to be the next Steve Jobs, but, cursed with good looks and a lack of turtlenecks, has to console himself in the arms of pretty ladies in movies and on television instead of becoming the technological visionary he knows in his bones he would otherwise be meant to be.

Those are my rambling thoughts about NC and the mystery of the two similar-but-not-quite-the-same movies. What about you? Have you seen one/both of these movies? Did you also compare and contrast these movies – and if so, did your thoughts coincide with mine? Or, better yet, do you have a conspiracy theory about NC and why he did both films? Please spill in the comments below!

*Completely unfounded and likely untrue.

The Stalker Who Emigrated to Netflix

I finally finished season 1 of the Netflix original You, and I don’t know if it’s very good, but I liked it.

I feel like the majority of the reason why I like it, or at least how it initially hooked my interest, is its’ similarity with another former guilty TV pleasure: Gossip Girl.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize how similar the two shows really are, with the storytelling via voice-over, extreme drama, some blonde bitch everyone’s got the hots for, and, of course, Penn Badgley.

#twinning

I defy you to watch this show and not think: “And then Dan Gilbert from Gossip Girl did what?!” Or think “Hm… Dan Gilbert’s looking a little anemic. He needs to get some sun.” Or even: “No, Dan Gilbert! Stalking is bad. Didn’t follwing Serena around like a kicked dog teach you anything?” It adds an umame-ish element to the show that, while difficult to define, is undeniably delicious.

#umame

As the show progresses, it also gets more interesting. More violence, more drama, more sex, more unrealistic relationships. For while this show begins with the wholly realistic premise that there are creepy guys in the world who could find out pretty much everything about you from your internet presence, this is not a realistic show. Just as campy as it’s sister-show GG, this show includes fantastic elements that are intended to be surreal and frightening. And for me, at least, it worked.

#campy

What about you? Have you seen the show, and if so, what are your thoughts? If not, do you intend to? Why or why not?