Duck Butter (Film) Review

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am really not a fan of ‘the disintegration of a relationship’ movies – or Doom Coms™?

This probably says an awful lot about me, that I can’t handle the truth, but there it is. Blue Valentine had me cringing and praying for it to end and there have been many films of the same ilk since. Duck Butter falls into this camp as far as I’m concerned and now I feel like I need my mummy and a big cuddle.

*Spoilers*

Duck Butter (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Two women, who are dissatisfied with the dishonesty they see in dating and relationships, decide to make a pact to spend 24 hours together hoping to find a new way to create intimacy.

My Review

Alia Shawkat is one of my favourite actresses at the moment so it is truly a joy to see her face whenever and wherever it pops up. In Duck Butter, as actress Naima, she meets the soulful (?) Sergio (Laia Costa) in a club and the two quickly hit it off. Somewhere during this evening together the two discuss spending the next 24 hours together, the plan being to shag every hour on the hour in order to create a super intense intimacy. Phew.

Initially, Naima backtracks a little because she’s just taken a new job making a film with The Duplass Brothers and this upsets Sergio.

Side note: the whole film within a film, Naima working with Mark and Jay who are playing themselves thing is so fucking meta that it actually hurts a little bit.

But when she is fired for ‘creative differences’, she persuades Sergio to pick up where they left off – and so begins 24 hours in the life of Naima and Sergio.

Well, there’s not all that much to say other than it starts hot, heavy and sexy, and then the ugly aspects of each of the characters begin to show and the love slowly but surely dies. Perhaps a relationship doesn’t need so much fucking examination all the time?

Naima is obviously still stinging from her professional rejection, while Sergio has a complicated relationship with her mother. Both women are creatives and this lends itself to a passionate and fiery joint temperament. Honestly, I must cop to not really remembering much of the nuance, this is more like a walking nightmare. By the end credits I felt as though I’d gone through my own breakup and I felt sad and battered.

maxresdefault

Both performances are hyper real and it is easy to forget you’re not peeping in on an authentic relationship. Neither are that likable either with needy traits (that lord knows I have when I’m in the midst of a anxiety attack). I think it’s sometimes hard to watch because the viewer will see so many aspects of themselves mirrored back at them. At least that’s how I see it.

There are plenty of awkward moments including a very forced orgy instigated by Naima to mark the end of the relationship Sergio doesn’t seem to want to end. Honestly, I was keen for the end credits to roll – and it was a beautiful release when they did.

I can’t say the performances were bad and aesthetically it’s a hipster’s dream, it just didn’t have the something I expected. I felt no true sympathy for anyone and also, how cheated are we that we only get Mae Whitman for a few measly scenes? It’s a total liberty.

While reading up on this I did find out that this was originally written about a hetero couple. Apparently, the extended sex scenes made Alia and her male co-star uncomfortable so it was rewritten for two women – thank god for small mercies, eh?

My Rating

2.5/5.

What does my love think of this one? Would she last 24 hours with it or would she kick it to the kerb within 90 minutes? Find out here.

Beginners (Film) Review

beginners-movie

Jill picked another Ewan McGregor movie for this week (with a fair amount of encouragement from me), so sue us.

We decided he was infinitely more appealing than Pinhead right now (and honestly, unless we go back to #3 in the series, I’m pretty sure the PH we know and love has been replaced by another actor and I don’t know how I feel about that).

So, Ewan. Here we are again, Sir and might I respectfully say to the room, this is a phase of McGregor I really enjoy. Stripey sweaters, older, slightly more debonair McGregor. Hummina.

Also, no swinging appendage this time which is bittersweet I suppose – like, this is a film that doesn’t need dick to give it worth, yet I kind of like seeing it in all it’s familiarity, you know?

*Spoilers*! As well as added asides from me (in (brackets) AND italics to show the seriousness of the situation).

Beginners (2010)

Director: Mike Mills
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic

IMDB Synopsis: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.

My Review:

This film is an introspective meander through the recent and historic pasts of an emotionally distant father and son, as well as a glimpse into a future so far unmapped for our boy, Oliver (McG).

(This film is so sad I blubbed throughout, maybe because Christopher Plummer looks so much like my grandfather did. Sadly, our own Grampy never did come out towards the end or experience the joy of real love before he left us (that we know of anyway)).

Oliver is coming to terms with the passing of his absent for the majority of his childhood father, Hal. We flit back and forth on Hal and Oliver’s timelines so we meet Hal after he’s come out at the age of 75, following the passing of his wife Georgia (Mary Page Keller). He has a boyfriend called Andy and doesn’t insist on monogamy. He has a little dog called Arthur and likes parties. He’s also been diagnosed with cancer and things, frankly aren’t looking great.

tumblr_n2r4rsINam1r7s6hko5_500
An emoji or two wouldn’t have killed ya

In the present, Hal has passed on and Oliver has taken ownership of Arthur, who has separation anxiety. One evening Oliver goes to a house party with his friends (and Arthur), and meets the charming Anna. They share an adorable meet cute and the spark ignites.

(Mélanie Laurent makes me want to be so French it hurts. Everything about her seems so effortless and I’m in love with her.)

Oliver is sad though, mourning a father he only really got to know in the latter part of his life, sometimes with a side of TMI. There is real love between them but Oliver has trouble with his own relationships having witnessed the problems in his parents’ marriage (several decades of living a lie can do that to a couple). He’s scared shitless and seems aimless in other areas, though he’s trying to find his groove creatively.

beg-1 - Copy
“Have you read this one? It’s called Marley & Me…”

Oliver is an illustrator with a unique style which he’s trying to evolve beyond album covers for obscure brands. He creates a series of drawings called The History of Sadness, to give you an idea of where his head’s at but it’s rejected by the band he’s done it for because he’s too much of a damn maverick and they don’t get it.

(I get it Oliver! HOLD ME!)

beginners7
The Sads

Meanwhile, back in the past, Hal is finally truly happy and loving his New Gay Life, spearheading gay political letter writing groups, gay film clubs, the gay pride committee. He’s a big hit in the gay community but he’s also in denial as his illness gets worse, telling his friends he’s turned a corner health wise.

Oliver and Anna are slowly getting to know one another in 2003, though she’s an actress who travels from job to job so there are periods of absence (you don’t really notice them within the film). Honestly, not that much happens in this film, it’s very navel-gazey which is not necessarily a bad thing.

beginners-247986l - Copy
Pretty sure this lady wants to be me too

Eventually Oliver’s fear of not feeling the way ‘he should’ when Anna moves in causes a big fight and Anna leaves. Arthur works on his neediness (kind of), Andy confronts Oliver about his ‘homophobia’ after Hal’s death and Oliver makes some political graffiti (not necessarily in that order).

Questions:

Will Oliver fuck this all up? Will Anna come back? More importantly, will super-cute Arthur the Dog ever get over his grief?

All these questions will be answered by the end of the movie. You’ll also, I predict: cry a lot, hug the next person you see after you’re done and want to call your family immediately.

beginners31
Political, innit

My Thoughts: 

I think you can get from the above that, although action is thin on the ground, this is an emotional piece of art that will stay with you long after Ewan has shuffled off the screen in his stripey jumper. It’s a thinker and in places it is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

I found myself tearing up an awful lot and I think it’s okay for me to admit here in my safe place that that’s because losing my remaining parent is the stuff of nightmares. It actually makes me panic if I think about it, so I try not to. Beginners takes you to that place and forces you to stare at it head on, to consider the act of forgiveness and letting go, and taking the person before you for exactly who they are, warty/fucking fabulous bits and all.

GAH!

McGregor is sexy as fuck throughout (good hair and nice eyes) and Melanie is effervescent but the film really belongs to Plummer, whose Hal is a joy to behold in every way. His childlike glee at finally getting to live his best life is making me form a lump in my throat as I type this.

The interspersed illustrations are also dead good.

My Rating: 4/5 – It’s all about the mood this film and it’ll cut you up, like a ferret with a flick knife. I’m telling you.

If this doesn’t get you thinking about your loved ones and your past/present relationships then you’ve a heart of granite. You’ve at least got to agree that Arthur the Jack Russell is one of the sweetest showbiz canines in a long while (that doesn’t get murdered horribly).

tumblr_movolvTPjB1rxcc0ao2_500
“Do you like my tight sweater?”

So, did my wonderful blog wife get The Sads watching this (in the good way) or did she get the sads (in the bad way)? Only one way to find out, you know the drill by now! ❤

Music to Cry To

tumblr_nfmwr7rCvT1tf75mqo1_500It became apparent during a conversation over the water cooler (kettle) a few weeks back that my colleague Tom has never been moved to tears by a song. I wonder if it’s because men don’t seem to listen to ‘the lyrics’ (or so I gather from the few I’ve actually spoken to about it)?

Whatever it is, I was surprised (and perhaps a little disbelieving, I mean COME ON), and while it would be far easier and quicker for me to compose a post about the song(s) that haven’t made me cry, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some that have, and do, make me weep like a wee bairn on the regs.

Somehow the below tunes have also managed to heal me.

It’s a little like the bit where Emma Thompson is questioned by Alan Rickman (Always) as to why she loves Joni Mitchel so much in Love Actually (2003): “Because she taught your cold English wife how to feel”.

That’s exactly it – crying at sad stuff makes you feel and feeling stuff is GREAT – I thoroughly recommend it.

Have a selection of my most emotional songs:

I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You – Colin Hay

UGH. Put me out of my misery right now. I dare you to listen to lyrics such as “Don’t want you thinking I’m unhappy, What is closer to the truth, If I lived till I was a hundred and two, I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you”. GULP.

The loneliness and sorrow comes through in every word and yet it’s ridiculously beautiful and hopeful, like somehow just loving this person was enough. Makes you want every love you feel to be as deep.

Apparently it appeared on the Garden State (2004) soundtrack but don’t let that put you off!*

Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

Jill actually reminded me of this song recently (Monday) when we reviewed the heart-shattering Iris (2001). It appeared on the motion picture soundtrack for City of Angels (1998), a film that has also destroyed me in the past (Look, I’m a huge Nicolas Cage fan and I don’t care what anyone says about it).

It was also a song I listened to a whole lot while backpacking around Australia, falling in lust with my Aussie boyfriend (now a racist) and getting my first Official Heartbreak™ because he couldn’t keep his lovely dick in his pants. I cried a lot that year and quite a bit through the end of the nineties but this song helped me along nicely.

Jolene – Dolly Parton 

This song is the worst! I mean it’s a begging letter from a woman who knows her lover is in love with someone else FFS. And she’s sweetly asking this total sex bomb not to phunk with her heart, or his. BLUBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB.

Also, Dolly P is the Queen of all things, right?

At Last – Etta James

At a wedding last Summer this song played and I cried, for no good reason. The sentiment, the unfairness of loss, my feet hurting in heels – all that. What a voice and what a fucking tune.

Hometown Glory – Adele

Obviously Adele was going to make this list, it’s the way of things. This is my favourite of all her songs because it makes me think about wandering the streets alone, thinking about life.

I love the lyrics, “Is there anything I can do for you dear? Is there anyone I could call?” “No and thank you, please Madam. I ain’t lost, just wandering.” and I love the piano intro too.

Day Too Soon – Sia

Honestly, I could have chosen any one of Sia’s songs and my statement would be true, especially Breathe Me and Elastic Heart but I chose Day Too Soon because it’s happy and hopeful – and I love Sia. Is she an angel sent to Earth just to make my heart beat faster? Well, that’s how she makes me feel.

Don’t get me started on the two songs she did with Eminem about Survival (Beautiful Pain & Guts Over Fear), and the recent Alive). Killers.

~

I could go on and on but I’ll leave it at these 6 heart breakers.

What are your favourite songs to cry uglily to? (Has to be ugly crying or it doesn’t count).

*Semi-kidding.

Ellie the Elephant

Lotsa_Heart_AG
Not Ellie, but I loved these fuckers too ❤

Last weekend, as we Netflix and chilled at my brother’s (actually, ew), my Sister-in-law brought out Maeve, her childhood lion and I was reminded instantly of Ellie the Elephant.

In a forever kick-yourself moment, I handed Ellie over ‘temporarily’ to the great-aunt of that bastard I used to live with as we jetted off to start our new life in Canada. Last Chance Saloon I called it and boy was it. But Ellie couldn’t come for some reason and I’m so mad at myself for not stuffing her into my suitcase anyway.

I thought I could always go back for her and then everything ended, and now Ellie’s gone forever. You’d think that was a small price to pay for my freedom and maybe it is but still. I’ll always regret that decision.

In my heart I know she was probably burnt to a crisp in a garden bonfire, renamed Christa as a grotesque effigy of me after I left but I don’t want to believe she’s gone. I suppose I could pick up the phone, swallow my pride and ask for her back but I can’t handle the truth, or the inevitable abuse.

Ellie the Elephant, legend has it, was given to me as a newborn by a group of hospital staff in Toronto. My father had apparently misjudged my delicate character and presented a giant gorilla that made me cry so the antidote was Ellie, a baby pink elephant twice as big as me.

Life for us was a rollercoaster from that moment on and Ellie bore the brunt of everything I ever went through. All the rage, the playful torture from my brother, the kickings, the kidnappings – Ellie felt all my feelings, washed down by a million angsty tears. And she was rewarded for her loyalty by losing an ear and one glass eye. She was sewn up and re-stuffed more times that I can remember.

Ellie was the confidante and the cure; she was my very best friend when sometimes I felt like I had nobody. She didn’t travel as much as I did because I just couldn’t bear the idea of losing her in some far off land, or more likely Amsterdam but she was always there when I got back, she was there for me when I was happy and there when I’d given up all hope.

Seeing Maeve made me feel sad. Poor grubby Maeve with no mane and a distended body, looking like she’s carrying all Maddy’s secrets. Her and Ellie would have been great friends.

I want her back, wonderful crusty Ellie the Elephant, aged 38 (and 2 months) ❤

The Ex Factor

tumblr_inline_nx178ocDyR1qdwfop_540

This headline popped up in my inbox this morning: “Facebook begins testing tools to let people manage interactions with exes” and, to paraphrase Miss Carrie Bradshaw, it got me to thinking.

Obviously, before I pour vitriol all over this post, I have to say that I understand this is meant to be a good thing. Apparently it will allow people to hide each other without unfriending or unfollowing. So your ex can post pictures of his/her new love to his/her hearts content and you won’t be able to see it, no siree.

Heaven forbid that you hurt his/her feelings by kicking him/her off your newsfeed though, amiright?

‘Course it works both ways and might leave you feeling more relaxed if you’re the one moving on, leaving the person you used to love in your dust.

I am friends with a few exes. But when I say ex I mean there was a certain degree of interaction and one of them almost broke my heart, but these were never long term loves, nor life ruiners. One of them has revealed himself to be racist so has been swiftly removed but for the most part I’ve picked well in the past and they can stay.

But I don’t need advice on how to deal with my significant ex because he’s lower than low and therefore has no part in my present. It’s bad enough that I still bear the (emotional) scars of years walking on eggshells and years believing I was nothing and nobody because he make me feel that way.

If it hadn’t made me who I am now, I would hit delete on our shared past quicker that it just took me to type the word delete. The thought of ever accidentally bumping into him (I hear he lives in the next town over) fills me with pant-soiling fear. I don’t know what I’d do beyond running as fast I could in the opposite direction. Cry hard. Buy an 8 pack of Brillo pads and scour my skin until it bled, that sort of thing.

It’s not always healthy to try to make people feel good above your own well-being, to always be the bigger person or to take things graciously (and I have to take my own advice here). There are valid reasons for why people despise their exes and I don’t think FB can help you with those. Then again, it’s doubtful you’d still be friends on social media.

I think, block those fuckers and move on, loves. Try not to give them the power they need to thrive. Try and forget. Try and move on, and protect yourself. Trust me, you’ve got plenty of friends so don’t have to be friends with everyone you’ve ever dated.

That’s my view and I know I’m massively biased. I know many people look at this topic very differently and what works for them, works for me.

It’s just you know, I’m still angry.

The Only (Riot) Grrrl In The World

robyn2Ever notice how the best songs are the heartbreak anthems? Sometimes not even anthems, some are weepy little poems that still have the power to cut you like a switch blade (hey there Joni).

Even though I hung up my angst a long time ago (does one ever?) and am not currently nursing a sore heart, I still love the fist pumping, imagine myself standing on tables, shouting at all the pigs that ever let me down psalms the best.

As I shuffle reluctantly to work every morning, my iPod bruising my ear canal ever so slightly, I always have to make the final push with a great song in my head, that extra protection against the day ahead.

Now I write all this with the best of intentions but my musical catalog contains an awful lot of Janet Jackson so it’s usually something like What Have You Done For Me Lately? off Control that gets me fighting.

JJ notwithstanding, it’s funny how some lyrics just jump out and elbow you in the ribs, isn’t it? They have the ability to drag you back through time to the exact moment you found yourself standing hesitantly outside a coffee shop after a blazing row with a boy you’d only been seeing for a few Summer months.

You remember your carefully chosen words, and how carelessly he batted them away like fruit flies. You remember how black his eyes became in rage, the chocolate-brown evaporating from them completely, making him look demonic. How you had known right there that this was it, that no matter how lovely his skin felt or how pumped you were that he chose to spent these hazy twilight hours walking around the city with you, it was done.

You recall the tears that you thought would never end, your best friend’s hand on your back and the thought, even in that moment, that you were crying not for this, but for everything bad that had ever happened to every person in the world.

Most of all you remember that it was over because you decided it was; that you weren’t going to take shit any more.

That’s what a heart-break tune will do and it doesn’t matter if you’ve moved on, if you’re happy now. It doesn’t matter if you rarely think of them; those fuckers built you up to be the fabulous person you are today and tribute must be paid, even if it’s angry.

Especially if it’s angry.

So what’s my go to angry anthem? You’ll not be surprised to learn there’s some utter toot in here: Since You’ve Been Gone, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Dancing On My Own, Raspberry Swirl. Sinead O’Connor’s You Cause As Much Sorrow. Mr Brightside. Harpoon.

Army of Me.

All my loves.

Special mention to Joni’s Case of You which saw me through a wonderful break up (I loved it). Less punch facey sure but just as powerful. (I’m listened to Joni as I tie up the ribbon on this post with a flourish, because she’s the one).

It is true that every girl has a fighter inside, a riot grrrl or a punk, whoever she wants it to be. She may be a soft touch like me, most of the time, but given the right theme tune, that fighter will awaken to stomp the shit out of her memories, free to fight another day.

So what’s your angsty/angry/fighter theme?

Memoir Madness

floral-pattern-piano-typewriter-vintage-writing-machine-favim_com-79331

Prompt via Weekly Writing Challenges (4th August 2014)

In this week’s writing challenge, mine your memory and write a memoir.

It is some time in May, maybe later, maybe earlier. I never remember dates. I find myself barefoot in Paradise and, though the sun feels like kitten kisses on my lids, I would give anything to be elsewhere.

I shield my eyes from the scorching sun and wonder not for the first time, or the last if I need more sunblock. If I am honest with myself, which I am trying not to be, I’m an Autumn Girl and beaches aren’t my thing. In fact, sand gets everywhere and there’s not much to do. Drink, basically and play pool while Bob Marley serenades.

Again, if I allow myself to stop and think about it, all his songs about love are just cruel. It will never be me.

I’m here with someone. Someone who scares me for reasons I can’t explain. I would rather be anywhere else with anybody else but I am weary. What if he is right and nobody else will ever want me? Is that even a bad thing? Love is obviously not for me and I was a fool to wish for it.

Take me back to heartbreak and desperation. Take me back to my bedroom floor, the one on which I lay crumpled, crying until I hiccuped. Crying until I had surely used up my lifetime’s quota.

He’s somewhere around but on these heady hot days I try to be where there are people. In a group I can just about handle this. It’s when he tries to touch me that I feel my facade slip. I can’t deal with the truth though because the truth hurts people and demands answers. I don’t have answers and so I’m going to keep on swimming.

I’m at the shop and I see him again. The man from the hill. I see him sometimes and he’s got his dogs with him. They look at me with rheumy eyes while I look at him. He’s tall and thin and looks just like a man who lives on a hill. His name is Mr Ood and he’s legendary, so they say.

I buy my juice and some food for his dogs while I’m there, why not? He’s thankful, even though he doesn’t speak my language. Or maybe he speaks it perfectly.

We go our seperate ways. Later he sends a message down via a village boy. He says he will tattoo me for free because his dogs like me. He’s legendary because he is an artist and was famous once on the Khao San Road.

The man I am with tells me I am stupid to even consider the gift. It’s dangerous and foolish, he says. It might be, I think but then I think, to myself, FUCK YOU. That’s how I find myself on the winding path, walking towards the hill.

When I arrive, I see that the village boy has a giant Koi on his shoulder; beautiful and intricate, almost jumping off his golden skin. “I’ll have that” I tell Mr Ood and I swear he winks.

The pain and all the discomfort than follows is worth it. The big FUCK YOU is so worth it. I will always have this on my skin as a reminder that even when I am down, even when I have no idea what to do, you can’t stop me. You can’t tell me what to do.

Even though I am already tattooed in discreet places, this is the most impulsive thing I have ever done to my body and it feels like nothing I have ever felt before. I don’t know this now, at this time, but I will look back one day and realise, this is where I started to fight back.

Later on, my back to him in bed, as it always is, he says it’s like I am somebody else.

How I wish, I think, as I shut my eyes, happy to feel something for the first time in months. Even if it is only defiance.