Happy Birthday and a Half: The Great Blog Collab

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A change from the norm this week but still very much on brand, don’t you worry.

It’s Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab‘s 18 month anniversary (phew) this week and since it’s kind of a big deal to us (and hopefully a few of you), we decided we shouldn’t let the occasion pass without sticking a celebratory pin in it.

So this week we both present to you a little glance back at our top 5 favourite movies from our blogs, a couple of absolute turkeys (I feel we may overlap here) and a handful of honorary mentions because some films are just noteworthy in ways that don’t translate into ratings, you feel me?

A special thank you to Jill for thinking this one out logistically, and catching the anniversary. I’ve been feeling fried for the last few weeks and feel as though I’ve brought almost nothing to the table in terms of our collab, hence another Free for All theme this month.

I’m starting to feel brighter and more inspired than ever though, and am excited for this post and our future reviews.

To my Top 5! (5 of 10)

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American Mary (2012)

I loved this movie so much when I first saw it and although I haven’t revisited it since, I think of it often. At the time of reviewing it, I accepted that it was imperfect even though I didn’t hesitate to slap a 5/5 rating on it. The ending is disappointing, though I’m not sure Mary could have just walked off to a normal life after everything she’d seen and done, even if I wanted it for her.

I find the body modification community fascinating and wonder how close to the bone this really is. In terms of taking back control and self-expression, it’s a wonderful tale and although you could argue that, in her pursuit of vengeance, our girl becomes just as bad as the perpetrator of the crime that changes her forever, it’s a fantasy and I’m with her all the way. I love the power Mary wields and the ways in which she empowers her clients. Female-centric horror written and directed by women? More please. Ps. Katharine Isabelle, ILY!

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The Wolfpack (2015)

This documentary, that follows the bizarre lives of The Angulo Brothers; Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Mukunda, Narayana and Krisna, is so special I feel it’s left a lasting impression on my heart. Funnily enough it came up in conversation with a friend earlier this week and our talk made me want to see it again. (BTW, I’ll reveal more soon but I have a very special project coming up and I think you’ll love it).

I often wonder what the boys are up to now, yet I can’t bring myself to look as this film has sealed them in time and left them on a high, despite their weird and wacky inner world. I need to live my life knowing that they’re all fine and happy.

If you enjoy something different, positive and heart-warming, then I can’t recommend this enough. (I’ve deliberately told you nothing here so you go in with no information. Trust me, it’s worth it).

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Wetlands (2013)

I had to choose Wetlands for it’s sheer audacity. It feels like a film designed purely to shit stir. So much of it is ripe for a disgusted reaction; that’s exactly what it wants and gets x 1000. It is refreshing that our protagonist is not bound by the usual rules of femininity though, I have to say that. She’s crazy for sex, will try anything once and doesn’t give a flying fuck about being ladylike. It must have been so fun for it’s lead Carla Juri to play this part.

I’ve just bought the book on which the film is based and I hope to pick up soon. I’m curious to see if it’s even more graphic that its movie counterpart. Here’s hoping?

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The One I Love (2014)

I really enjoyed this truly bizarre anti-romance starring Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass, about a couple working on getting
back that loving feeling, if only their alternate reality selves don’t fuck it up first. Yeah. This is one you have to follow carefully but it’s interesting film-making with great performances and a Make You Think ending, which is kind of bleak when you really consider it.

Part of the reason I love this movie is because I saw it around the same time as Coherence (2013) which is another alternative reality movie (on a smaller budget) that really messes with your mind. Don’t expect the ending to be spelt out for you in either film, both leave you genuinely wondering what the fuck has happened and how.

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Advantageous (2015)

This film is one of the saddest I’ve seen in recent years with such a powerful message. Passing comment on sexism and ageism, it paints a stark picture of the future, where women of a ‘certain age’ are no longer useful unless they’re willing to sell their eggs (in this era, healthy eggs are like gold dust, see).

Our heroine, Gwen feels forced to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to give her daughter Jules the very best shot at a future and it’s more dramatic than you can possibly imagine, with consequences that will change both their lives forever. The film is fantastic, with excellent acting and if it doesn’t send you hurtling into the arms of your loved ones by the credits, then I don’t know what will.

Pop on over to Jill‘s to check out her contribution to our Top Ten favourite movies (we each picked five). I agree with each of the ones she’s chosen.

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Shelley Duvall & Sissy Spacek in 3 Women (I don’t know why they’re smiling, you won’t be)

Now to my Worst!

A look back at some right turkeys:

Monkey’s Paw (2013)
Without question (and I know Jill will mention it too), our worst film to date. It’s a re-imagining of W.W. Jacobs’ infamous supernatural short story and believe me, spend your time re-reading that five times instead.

This movie is painful to watch, with appalling acting and shit effects. In fact, you’ll be so miserable it’ll have you longing for a paw of your own to wish the pain away. Don’t bother, please. We’ve taken the hit so you don’t have to.

3 Women (1977)
This film is odd as fuck, I won’t lie and it feels like it’s ten years long.All I really took from Robert Altman‘s 3 Women is that Shelley Duvallshould have stayed in the seventies as the aesthetic suits her so well, and vagina mosaics are timeless.

Down to You (2000)
Teen wank but of the worst kind. And here was me thinking I would never meet a highschool/college movie I didn’t like. WRONG!

Sharknado (2013)
This is abysmal but I mention it because I was expecting the best kind of bad. Not so, it’s just terrible. So many much better disaster/shark movies out there to enjoy, and we’ve watched a lot of them…Try Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014), 3-Headed Shark Attack (2015) or 12 Days of Terror (2004). Alternatively, just watch Deep Blue Sea again (it’s so terribly great).

Honorary Mentions

Some of these movies just deserve a nod, for the reasons listed below.

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“Come on in, the water’s fine.”

Killer Mermaid (2014)

This gets a nod because it’s hysterical in every way. Film wise it’s horrible but oddly only when it ventures into Buffy territory. Could have been excellent, instead it’s good bad gone mad. I will always watch a mermaid movie if it’s offered to me IDGAF!

Lizzie Borden Took An Ax (2014)

It’s a shame in some respects that Lizzie Borden didn’t take an ax to the only copy of this film, thus rendering it extinct. However, we’ve not been that lucky. I’ve included Lizzie because Ricci plays her with such relish but in the end, apart from a little bit of face hacking, this tumbles into a courtroom drama and gets rather dull. Shame, as I love the Lizzie Borden story!

The Hellraiser Films – Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) and Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)

I love love love love love deliciously horrid Julia from the first two Hellraiser movies (played by Clare Higgins). Unfortch, the lack of evil step mum in the subsequent instalments render them not as good. Even if, in Bloodline, we get new Cenobytes, a scenario set during the French Revolution and Pinhead in Space.

Having said that, there are about 69 other Hellraiser movies in the series, so I’m sure we’re not done yet.

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So there we have it, 18 months of appalling, bad, horrifying, great, classy, trashy, unbelievable and downright bonkers movies! And many more to come I’m certain of it.

The Collab has opened my eyes to all the wonders of bad cinema, made me expect more from the things I watch (for real though there’s bad bad and bad great, and never forget it). It has allowed me to embrace the one thing I love the very most: cinema. And even more than that, it brought me something I didn’t know I needed (but clearly did): a great friend with similar cinematic tastes.

Happy Birthday and a Half Blog Collab, and to you my blog wife! *raises cocktail glass in manner of Gatsby*

Don’t forget to swing over to wifey’s for her view on our anniversary.

Don't worry, Christina, normal blog service will resume next week...
Don’t worry, Christina, normal blog service will resume next week…

2 Today

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Well, technically yesterday (we bought ourselves a day in Feb this year, innit?) but there were way more important things to blog about obviously.

Now I have more time to celebrate, I bought myself a Red Velvet cupcake to inhale while I type this. Cake is always the best way to honour any anniversary, naturally. Last year I did quite the fantasy post but I don’t know if I have the mental capacity this evening to replicate it (hectic day). I’ll do my best.

To start, a few of my favorite posts over the last year:

Just a wee flavour of how things go down around here (if you’re new and have just inexplicably stumbled onto this very post – WELCOME!).

For the purposes of this post I figured I’d set myself a few blogging goals:

  • Schedule more posts – So that we don’t have a situation like this one, where absolutely nothing has been thought through… JK! Goofing aside, it’s a very nice feeling to know you’re on top of your ramblings and utilising your time like a motherfucking BOSS
  • Take better pictures – This Guy (me) has a new iPad and the camera is about 7568% better that the one on my scabby old phone so expect to be wowed by future imagery
  • Get better at commenting – I’ve been working on this but could always be better

And finally, if my mystery benefactor just happens to pass by and wants to gift me, I’ll take everything on the Skinnydip London website please. Like, absolutely everything.

To every single person who takes the time to read and comment, thank you. It means the world, it really does. The last year of blogging has been great, I’ve met amazing people, discovered some really great blogs and I can’t wait to put in more time around here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – I’ve got a date with the rest of this cake ❤

Hey Shorty, It’s Your Birthday

I’ve done this before on other significant birthdays (like The Queen, I have two: one for birth, and one for my blog*) and I wanted to mark today in a similar way, just for the sheer heck of it.

Yes, it’s my 38th birthday. Or my eleventh time turning 27, depending on my mood.

I wanted to use this post to shout out some major appreciation to a couple of fellow bloggers and important people in my life.

I shall do this via the medium of a fantasy dinner party. Oh yeah.

So, the guest list (which has evolved a little since my last virtual party), a mix of both IRL peeps and fantasy attendees:

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Tom Hanks – Sorry, but Tom is always invited. No reason needed. In fact, he has his own front door key…

Justin Bieber – Because I’m a Belieber now and IDGAF, K?

Jillian – Not a celeb maybe but one of my greatest influences. Blog Wife, Movie Partner and fellow cat botherer (though I don’t have one at the moment). You’re the best, boo, I love you sooooo much! You can sit next to anyone you like as long as I’m on the other side…

Ilana Glazer – She’s just brilliant, you know? I’d want her to style me half way through dinner though, so we might disappear for a bit.

Hayley Margaret of A Stitch To Scratch – Or HM, as I’ve come to address her, because I’m linguistically lazy. This girl is so sweet and talented, plus just completely up my street, so she’s in. (I ❤ you, HM)

Gaga – I’m currently rocking a rather large Gaga crush so obviously that gets her an invite. I’ll just giggle whenever she speaks to me and make a fool of myself, it’s cool.

My favourite, Tatty Frankland – I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to do what I do without this peach. We sometimes have shitty, stressful days because of our shared environment, but this girl is my sunshine. Nobody is more stylish, generous or cool, tbh. (Love you, bb!).

And, I’ve just realised that there are only two men at my party. I’m cool with that but I’ve decided I’m also inviting Aziz Ansari because he’s cute and I loved Master of None. That balances things out a bit, not that it matters.

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I don’t know if any of my honeys have any dietary requirements but I’m proposing a lot of food; yorkshire puddings, Indian with all the trimmings, cake and masses of sweets. Good burgers, too. Oh, and pancakes, of every conceivable shape and flavour.

Can I get a pancake bar? You know what, it’s my birthday, so the answer to that is yes.

We’ll drink mulled cider and rum, and we’ll dance to two albums on repeat: Carly Rae Jepsen’s E·mo·tion and Bieber’s Purpose (the Real Bieber will refuse to perform while he’s off-duty).

Later, when it’s time to cry in the kitchen, we’ll put on Adele’s 25 and ruminate on lost loves and all the times we’ve fucked up our liquid liner.

Basically, this will be the greatest Birthday Party of my life. My husband will obviously be there too, but he’ll no doubt excuse himself and pass out on our bed by 10pm, as usual.

This is more than just a party for me though, it’s a party for those bloggers mentioned. A Thank You For Brightening My Day, Every Day Party.  A Thank You For Inspiring Me Soirée.

Thanks for being such funny fuckers, such sweethearts and such empowering friends. I hope you know what you mean to me.

What? I’ve got something in my eye…

*Does The Queen have a blog? I would read the shit out of it.

Happy Birthday to Meeeee!

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“What do you mean I look ‘cute’?”

A Voluptuous Mind is one today!

I wasn’t sure how to celebrate this significant (to me) day but then I decided that maybe I would have a virtual birthday party right here and invite an array of fantasy guests to share cake with. Sounds legit, non?

3273518391_c98d57e3bdOn a serious note, this blog has been a real joy for the past 12 months. I’ve officially been blogging since 1st December 2004, which is a very long time. When I began, I had the username Wondy Woman (yes, I can still access it) and have since tried on a couple of different monikers (and blogs) for size. I think I’ll stick it out here now, it’s a good place to be.

My first foray into the world of blogging wasn’t really about quality writing and it wasn’t very introspective either, which means for years it wasn’t very deep. I hope that’s changed since. I have to thank my good friend, Paul (AKA Shocking Fish) for the push to set up a blog in the first place; and all the amazing friends I have made along the way.

Before we begin this virtual birthday party, I thought it would be nice to touch upon a few of my favourite posts from the last year. They aren’t necessarily the most ‘popular’ or the most commented upon, they’re just personal to me.

  • Dream Reader – I wrote a post for my dream reader. Does pretty much what it says on the tin.
  • Memoir Madness – Tattoos, tears and big fuck yous. I love this post and I love how it makes my blood boil, still.
  • Brother – An ode to my favourite sibling.
  • On Bees and Efs – I got introspective about losing a friend.
  • Think Ink – On my love of tattoos and where it all began.
  • Night Film Review – I loved this book so much.
  • Specs Appeal – Making a spectacle of myself as a glasses wearer.

But to the fun bit. Along with all you lovely readers; my Mum, who I know reads this blog and my friends out there in the real world, I’d like to take the opportunity to invite a couple of people I admire. I’ve carefully chosen these guests so I hope you’ll make them feel welcome and share your cake nicely (don’t worry, I don’t believe in sharing food either, I’ll just make sure there’s plenty for everybody).

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Björk – She’d tell the greatest anecdotes and turn up in the best possible attire.

Lena Dunham – I’d like to talk to her about Girls and writing.

Lisbeth Salander – I know she’s a fictional character but this is my party and I’ll invite book characters if I want to. She’d hate my party and be aloof of course, but I fancy I would crack the surface just a bit before the night was out.

Idris Elba – He’s just so cool and beautiful. I think he’d be an immensely pleasurable guest to have around.

Of course, my guest of honour is a no brainer.

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Tom Hanks and I would hit it off right away, because who wouldn’t? He’d be the nicest man I’ve ever met and smash every expectation I had right out of the ball park.

We already know from this recent video that Hanx likes a sing and dance so I’d expect him throwing shapes to Spice Up Your Life quite soon after he entered the party.

Additional music will be provided by Flight of the Conchords.bret-mckenzie-jemaine-clement-flight-of-the-conchords-01

It would be a pretty radical party which is funny because I realise in all my 37 years on this earth, I’ve never thrown one.

I’m not what you’d call a natural party girl. I used to suffer panic attacks before every night out in London and given the choice as a teenager, would always have picked staying home. I didn’t but I would have had my friends let me.

I’m better now and I’ve even been known to have some very good times of my own volition. I like to dance like a loon and drink, very rarely, but when I do, I like to do it properly.

Anyway, happy birthday to you, A Voluptuous Mind. Happy birthday to me, A Voluptuous Girl. Here’s to many more happy years together.

But mainly, thanks to every single one of you, who take the time to read my words and thoughts, who comment and like; and to those of you who stop me in the supermarket, or in the street; who message me and say you enjoy my writing. I’m doing this because I love it, but you make it feel worthwhile.

Thank you all.

Now, who’s for virtual cake?