Basement Talk 006: Movie Conspiracies

Welcome back to Basement Talk hosted by Olivia Norwood and Anthony Peyton. In our sixth episode, we will be discussing a variety of movie conspiracies. Some of these include dark industry secrets like Shirley Temple’s childhood and Mark Salling’s pedophilia. Aside from that, we have interesting theories involving the true mastermind of the Scream franchise and who the real chosen one is in the Harry Potter series.

WARNING: Extremely dark subject matter, including pedophilia and sexual aggression.

Episode Length: 32 minutes

Intro & Outro Song: “Funhouse” by John Treash

 

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‘Heathers’: F*ck Me Gently With A Chainsaw

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

It’s time for another Time Warp Tuesday, folks! This time we’ve got the brilliance of the 1988 cult classic, Heathers.

That’s right, I’m talking the iconic original teen bitch dark comedy that has influenced more movies than Meryl Streep has acted in. That’s a lot, if you weren’t aware.

Heathers is basically one of the best movies any teen could watch and I highly recommend. It’s absolutely not one of good influence, but it’s a fun one. A movie from the 80s doesn’t get a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes for being “alright”.

First of all, we have the stunning Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer and all the talent that that beautiful woman delivers. Following her we have Christian Slater as JD, Veronica’s insane – no, like literally insane – love interest who likes explosives a little more than a person should.

Beyond that we have the beautiful title characters Heather Chandler, Heather McNamara, and Heather Duke played by Kim Walker, Lisanne Falk, and Shannen Doherty, respectively.

One of my favorite parts about this classic other than the unforgettable quotes (check the title real quick because that’s a quote) was the fact that there was not a single weak actor in this cast. They all had talents beyond their ages and their wasn’t anyone I got bored watching.

More than that was the stunning color pallete that this movie crew decided would fit best for the Heathers respective personality – head bitch Heather was red, Duke was green, and McNamara was yellow. The decision to have them visually separated added to the memorable scenes and ability to see a group of friends that were very clearly on different pedestals.

Heathers went on to influence such movies as Mean Girls, Clueless, Jawbreakers, and dozens of others. I don’t blame them, if I were a filmmaker I’d want to follow the footsteps of this cult phenomenon, too.

Aside from all the praise, Heathers unfortunately did not have – just kidding, trying to find reasons to not like this movie is next to impossible. Obviously, I love Heathers. I think it just did so much right and cultivated a culture. Even if nowadays the subject matter is a lot more touchy, Heathers is still appealing to everyone who wants a dark teen girl trope comedy.

‘A Simple Favor’: The Perfect Dark Comedy Thriller

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Is it a mystery? Is it a comedy? Or is it both? The new Blake Lively film A Simple Favor is more than what it appears to be in the trailers. In all of their promos and previews, the film is sold as a murder mystery with Anna Kendrick being her awkward self. It’s safe to assume that this was where the comedy was going to come from.

But, Kendrick wasn’t the only one contributing to the comedy. Lively, Henry Golding, and other cast members were pretty much funny the entire time which is why I am deeming this a dark comedy.

When single, crafty mom Stephanie (Kendrick) meets the enigmatic Emily (Lively) through a play date, she becomes wrapped up in the drama and mystery of her disappearance. Emily’s character, being brash and self-centered, completely counters cautious Stephanie which makes for an interesting dynamic when Emily uses the words ‘fuck’ regularly in front of her kid and Stephanie feeds her child meatless Swedish meatballs.

Kendrick usually gives us the clumsy girl performance but in this she evolves from it and becomes the cunning Nancy Drew type (because we all know that Nancy Drew deserves more credit).

While Kendrick gave us the brains, Lively gave us the bitch. Not only a bitch, but stone cold and evil bitch. Her character takes what she wants and never apologizes (this was a huge point in the movie). It was reminiscent of her role in Derek Martini’s 2012 film Hick where she played a street smart grifter. These two roles are very different from the same old ones that she’s used to portraying in Gossip Girl, The Age of Adeline, and All I See Is You (characters with no real backbone).

All in all, it was refreshing to see these two actresses portray something a little different from themselves and see that A Simple Favor was able to surprise us all when seeing it for the first time.


My Rating: 93%

Acting: 3.7/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 4/4

How to Be a Boss and Other Lessons We Learned from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Anna Wintour. Vogue. New York. High Fashion. This is the groundwork and inspiration for the 2006 hit The Devil Wears Prada.

The legendary Meryl Streep portrays Miranda Priestly, the frigid editor-in-chief of a fictional fashion magazine in New York. Sound familiar? Well, what isn’t familiar to us audiences and fashion lovers (although we wish it were) is the story of Andy (Anne Hathaway) and her grueling yet, eye-opening experience as Priestly’s personal assistant.

While many think that working in fashion is a heaven that includes free Louboutins, this film shows the realistic day to day life and its cutthroat mentality. Andy finds herself to be the black sheep at her work as she refuses to fit in with the fashionable, size 2 women around her. But she quickly realizes that in order to earn respect she must act and look the part.

It may be hard for the chick-flick shamers to admit or understand but this film has a deeper meaning than just “fashion week” and “designer bags” (even though I wouldn’t mind a movie about the history of The Birkin). The deeper meaning I’m talking about is simple: being at the top doesn’t always make you happy.

Andy was a journalism student who’d rather write about current affairs than current trends. But in order to get quick success, she chose the job that wasn’t a part of her own dream and even though she was in a higher paying job working with one of the most important people in fashion, she wasn’t happy. She also lost sight of who she was and distanced herself from the people who mattered.

But, there’s a bright side and another important lesson to be learned. While being a personal assistant, Andy became more confident, more articulate, and more knowledgeable on the industry. Miranda Priestly might’ve been stone-cold but she did her job and steamrolled through when it became stressful. She was powerful, intelligent, and no one could touch her. If that isn’t the definition of a boss woman then I don’t know what is.

The Devil Wears Prada taught us what it means to become a better, headstrong version of you while always staying true to yourself.

‘Toy Story’ Will Always Have A Friend In Me

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

I find there no need to introduce a movie that has captivated all ranges of people since 1995. Toy Story is an animated movie that blew people so far out of their shoes that it has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%.

It’s nice to look at the brilliant accomplishments behind the franchise that changed the animation industry and Disney all together, but it’s even more fascinating to think about why they achieved what they did. What was it about Toy Story that makes everyone so powerfully shout a ‘yes!’ when they are asked whether they like it or not? Well, that reason can be answered with many responses.

The animation itself was one of the many factors that people love. It was something unique that wasn’t shown prior to 1995. I mean, it was a bunch of talking toys. How often did you see such a thing in a beautifully animated film?

That transitions perfectly into the second aspect of Toy Story that people fell in love with. That would be the story itself. It adds to the uniqueness of the already living toys with backstories that only benefit the characters. Being able to witness of a chipper young cowboy doll become friends with a plastic astronaut was the perfect amount of funny and happiness. On top of that, we have a dog who doubles as a slinky, a dinosaur scared of his own shadow, and so many more.

It’s a mesmerizing piece of family-friendly artwork that warms the human soul on even the saddest of days. It didn’t stop with the first one, either. It ended up being one of the only franchises ever to prove that a sequel can be better than the original.

It’s ridiculously important to understand just how powerful animation can be. Toy Story is yet another animated family movie that stood in its place – which was high up on an ever evolving pedestal.

Scream-A-Thon: The Perfect Amount

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Yesterday I got the life changing experience of watching all four of the Scream films in a theater (3 of which were on 35 mm print) in a marathon properly titled “Scream-a-thon”.

Let me start by saying that the Scream franchise was already my third favorite horror franchise even before entering the theater. Watching them in a row with a hyped up group of people and entertaining break shows solidified its spot even more.

Prior to the first Scream showing, two workers, dressed up as Ghostface, made a successful attempt to excite the audience with pre-show trivia and games with prizes. Each of these games was splattered with quotes from the legend himself (I am indeed talking about Ghostface) such as the iconic “gut you like a fish” line from the first film.

Before Scream 2 started, we all got the honor of watching a drag queen dressed up as Tatum from Scream with a cardboard garage around her waist imitating the character’s death to the song “Drop Dead Gorgeous” by Republica.

The movies themselves were something else. Seeing the Jamie Lee Curtis of the Scream franchise, Neve Campbell, master the art of one of the most powerful women of horror was truly enlightening. Sidney Prescott is the queen of modern horror. Even in Scream 4, Campbell’s character rules the show and uses all her power to develop Sidney even more.

Separately, watching Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis and Matthew Lillard as Stu Macher makes my bones shiver. They showed what a teenage psycho really was. More like the modern version of the horny teenage psychopath. And I’ll tell you, it was wonderful. The next time that a movie showed an even more modern psycho was Scream 4 when the surprising, fame hungry killer was revealed.

All four movies were something that should – and must – be experienced at least once in the form of a marathon because it’s a very life changing experience. It’s crazy to be able to watch one of the most cult classic horror franchises of all time in a theater with people who are equally as excited as I was.

‘Bao’: A Brutally Meaningful Showstarter

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you like movies and aren’t completely ignorant, you’ve definitely heard of the seamless Incredibles 2. But we aren’t here to talk about that movie – we are here to talk about what comes before it.

Prior to the Disney Pixar sequel, a short film titled Bao was featured. It was a short with no talking and very minimal sound, but brilliant animation. This, of course, can be expected of the mega animation company behind it.

The creator was a woman by the name of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the entirety of it. This was the only produced piece on her filmography, but still made her the first woman to direct and create a Pixar short.

The story itself revolves around a woman who is making dinner for her husband – dumplings, specifically – and as her husband leaves for work, the woman is left alone. That is, except for one dumpling that sprouts arms and legs. Don’t worry, it’s not creepy, it’s cute.

It zooms through the life of the woman and her dumpling as he grows up into a bigger dumpling and eventually wants to leave home. This leads to the tragedy of the woman *SPOILER ALERT* eating her child dumpling. Once again, it’s not creepy. Seconds after, it’s revealed that, all along, the dumpling was her son. A son that abandoned her and distanced himself, creating tension when he comes back. It all ends happily when the love of a mother overpowers the fear of him leaving again.

This short film had me in tears before the main attraction even started. I was left shook and half-tempted to leave the theatre to call my own mom. Shi knew how to tug at the heart strings with a self-understood passion that she clearly demonstrated, telling a story with a moral that can only be described as undebatable and astounding. Family is around for a reason, and you shouldn’t cut that unless it’s necessary and healthier.

Even leaving Incredibles 2, I was thinking about this short. The story, the metaphors within, and all the thought that Shi must’ve put into the – for a lack of a better word – incredible journey of a mother and her child.


My Rating: 97.5%

Animation: 3.9/4

Direction: 3.9/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4