Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

Movies in Bed: The Vampire Diaries

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Listen, I know what you’re thinking: this show is on the CW. I know. I KNOW. But seriously, if you haven’t already squandered three years of your life watching this show, it’s never too late to start! Plus, Netflix just added the third season so if you hurry, you can catch up before the new season begins on October 11.

Here’s where I usually write the summary but where to begin?? Oh, there is so much that happens in this teenage monster drama! So, Elena Gilbert lives with her really annoying brother in Mystic Falls, Virginia. The new boy is mysterious, brooding. Guess what? He’s a vampire! He’s got a bad-boy brother too. Their names are Stefan and Damon Salvatore. They don’t eat her annoying brother, but I wish they would. This town is rife with monsters! Witches and werewolves! Doppelgängers and douchebags!

It’s got all the high school drama and beautiful people of a CW show the supernatural witchiness of the other CW shows. But somehow, once one gets past the sensitive music overlaying melodramatic moments, it’s very difficult to stop watching. Even if Stefan is a little too self-righteous, and Bonnie and Jeremy both stubbornly refuse to be killed off, and the kids seem to often forget to go to school, The Vampire Diaries is fun for all! After all, we are approaching Halloween, so what better time to immerse oneself in monsters!

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Movies in Bed: Supernatural

Post by Mark T. Locker.

As the first leaves start to change and the apples begin to ripen on the trees, I return to my favorite autumnal events. One of such is all things spooooooky! My most recent spooky favorite is the TV series “Supernatural”.

Though, to be honest, I watched this all through the summer too!

For those of you who enjoyed the X-Files episodes that weren’t laden with government/alien conspiracies (there were at least a couple outside of that theme!) and watched for the monsters and beasts, Supernatural is a good surrogate. The theme is simple: brothers Dean and Sam Winchester are the sons of a demon hunter. Although Dean always hunted with Dad, Sam is reluctantly drawn in when their father goes missing. Anyways, that’s how it begins. You know how these multi-season shows go: one premise leads to another until the whole underpinning story is more or less unrecognizable from the original plot line. Nevertheless, it stays excellent. And what for me separates good from really good shows is keeping it from taking itself too seriously. Supernatural is always peppered with a good dose of humor, and actually funny humor at that.

And cheeseburgers. Seriously, don’t watch this if you are on a strict diet. Dean eats terribly; there paper-wrapped burgers being shoved down his maw every episode. And boy do they look good!

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Movies in Bed: Inspector Lewis

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Yes, mum. No, mum. Sorry, mum.

Is that the sound of a child being scolded by his mother? Nope, that’s just how some folks say “ma’am” across the pond! One of those somebodies is Robert Lewis of the Thames Valley Police. You how it is with those working-class Northerners.

I just began watching Inspector Lewis about a week ago, and even though I never seem to find time to watch a full-length movie, I manages three of these 90-minute BBC mysteries in just the past seven days! Paired with younger, best boy, cerebral partner Sergeant James Hathaway, they are the Odd Couple of Oxfordshire.

What I like about these BBC mysteries is they have none of the flash and overwrought special effects. And, best of all, the Who don’t do the intro music. There is the wonderfully subtle British humor, plenty of murder, and lots of English plodding about. It’s great to watch right before bed because it’s not TOO exciting!

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Movies in Bed: Fantasy Island

Post by Josh Zinn.

Picture, if you will, a time before the Internet. An innocent world that beckons with the promise of adventure and mystery, without the ability for its treasure trove of secrets to be divulged, pinned, poked, or liked by people in caftans whose explorative minds have been numbed by multiple mouse clicks, Judge Judy, and the soothing reliability of their favorite microwave fettuccini alfredo. Hold in your mind those precious memories of pay telephones, travel agents, Tab cola, and oversized women’s shoulder pads that helped define what it meant to be “on the go” when people still needed to leave their homes in order to satiate their fetishes and desires. Remember, “Ze plane! Ze plane!” and the hope it brought that some washed-up B-list actor could—in between mortgage-paying appearances on The Love Boat and Hart to Hart—find a glimmer of happiness in a temporary, entirely unsustainable setting.

Like a Jurassic Park for those who prefer lust and lingerie to lizards and Laura Dern, Fantasy Island revels in the fact that people desire what they are unable to attain in their day-to-day lives. For some, this might be a healthy version of a tater-tot casserole or a discount on nachos at the movie theater; for others, it’s a torrid affair with a vampire or disco lessons with Charo. Regardless of what its guests desire, however, Fantasy Island’s job is to make the impossible possible by promising the fading stars of yesterday a paycheck for tomorrow and by counting upon the dissatisfied lives of its viewing audience and their unquenchable thirst for an existence where clean Corningware is not considered a measure of happiness.

Sadly, the modern world no longer has much of a place for a Ricardo Montalbån-hosted tropical island where Don Knotts can become a sex symbol or women like Florence Henderson can uncover the power of their womanhood by fighting against the curse of a Don Ameche-led Satanic cult. Now, with the secrets of the world at our fingertips, people can simply find a web page, user group, or chat room that gives them the sense of normalcy and belonging that Fantasy Island may have once provided—it’s all the payoff, without the worry that Mickey Rooney or Milton Berle might show up in a Speedo.
Akin to a Make-A-Wish-Foundation for neurotics and hedonists alike, Fantasy Island captures a pre-internet moment in time when the world had yet to fully comprehend the scope of its depravity or its ability to write Twilight fan-fiction ad infinitum. It is an oasis of sin in the sun, accessible to even the most secretive of suburbanites.

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Movies in Bed: The Legend of Billie Jean

Post by Josh Zinn.

Back when I was an unattractive and rotund child, I often used to feign sickness in order to stay home so that I could play Metroid and watch copious amounts of television. Because there are only so many times a boy can defeat Mother Brain and subsequently reveal his bounty hunter’s true femininity (if you never owned a Nintendo this is probably going over your head), the videogames regularly took a back seat to the joys of daytime programming. From the lurid tales of Divorce Court; the demonic possessions that plagued The Days of Our Lives; to the scandalous biopics of Liberace and Susanne Sommers that defined a then-young Lifetime television, my real education came not from the classroom, but from soaking in the televised depravity of the human condition.

Amongst this sea of scintillation, HBO would frequently air a film entitled The Legend of Billie Jean. Now, I’m not sure what it takes to qualify as a legend these days or if a female vigilante fighting for the cash to fix her brother’s scooter truly qualifies as such, but for all intents and purposes Billie Jean was a revelation for me as to what young folks could achieve if they adopted a defiant stance, a Dolph Lundgren circa-Rocky 4 flat-top, and a wardrobe filled with neon-tinted leather. No, this wasn’t some cheap dramatization of Mr. Showmanship’s seedy late-night male deliveries; this was a rallying cry for a life beyond the borders of small-town oppression, where men with bandanas on their brow, beef jerky on their breath, and beer in their bellies ruled the land.

Billie Jean and her ragtag group of freedom fighters (including Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson!) taught me that I didn’t have to listen to naysayers who didn’t believe in the power of youth and the possibility of a life outside of a six-pack of Mt. Dew and a minimum wage job at the dollar store. Furthermore, as she handily evades both the police and the rednecks that have defiled her brother’s possession, she becomes a symbol for women everywhere that they are their own keeper; a veritable Susan Sontag of the trailer park.

Finding myself at my own crossroads as I finally graduate from college this week, it’s easy to get caught up in the memories of experiences that have shaped my life. While I would love to tell you about the amazing learning journey I had way back in junior high school, the truth of the matter is that most of that time was spent at home, “sick,” watching a media-savvy Billie Jean exclaim, “Fair is fair!” to anyone with a camera and credentials. For those words of wisdom alone, I am thankful every day my folks bought my numerous stories about the dog’s puke on the floor being my own.

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