Guest Post: Mean Girls is the second best movie ever

Mean Girls. The epic comedy about high school. It’s got a relatable main character (relatable for everyone, not just girls in high school), a quality plot, comedic prowess, great acting (especially from the often overlooked Tim Meadows), and a great message to take away from it. As I was watching it last night in preparation for this post, I was trying to find something I didn’t like in it or didn’t agree with. But I couldn’t. That happens, but rarely. Even the current favorite film of most people, The Grey, I had a few issues with. But Mean Girls rises above the classic “chick flick.” It does more for women that the current holy-crap-women-are-people-too-movie Bridesmaids. I’ll get to Bridesmaids in a minute.

The only thing that goes deeper their necklines is the character development.

So why is Mean Girls so wonderful? I think the fact that the message it puts forth is so relatable by everyone is what really makes me love it. Everyone has been through high school and had to deal with cliques. It’s not fun. The main character is relatable too. She’s not loved because she’s pretty but because she’s smart. We root for her because she’s just trying to be liked and fit in, and that’s what we have to do every single day of our lives.

While initially the plastics seem to back the stereotype of women being able to get by on their looks, it’s the complete opposite. No one can watch that movie and relate to the plastics. We all get that feeling of sick satisfaction when Regina gets hit by a bus. The relationship between the plastics and Cady, and the ultimate result of the plastics breaking up and Regina no longer being an ultrabitch, is used to show that acting dumb and just getting by on looks is not the way to do it.

This movie is the opposite of the quintessential chick flick. It’s not about the geeky girl taking her glasses off, wearing her hair down, and then getting the hot guy and living happily ever after. Cady take that role but only to infiltrate and destroy the plastics. It’s an action/spy movie set in high school!

And here’s the point I talk about Tina Fey. Put aside the fact that I am totally in love with her (just like every other person on the planet). Her character in this movie is amazing. She’s like a philosophical master. She really doesn’t have a ridiculous amount of screen time, but when she gets it, she uses it for good. She’s the mentor. She’s a strong and successful woman who’s life seems like a mess. But she is profound. She says shit like “I know having a boyfriend might seem like the only thing important to you right now, but you don’t have to dumb yourself down in order for a guy to like you.” Bam! That could have been the entire movie right there.

So this entire post came about because I got in an argument about Bridesmaids, which seems to be everyone’s go-to movie when talking about the wonderful things women have accomplished and blah blah blah. The guy I was arguing with was adamant that this movie is “an unabashed flexing of women’s comedic and filmic talents that, even more so than Mean Girls, demonstrates the equal yet all-too-often undersold competency of women as lead actors and writers to the public.” First, does anyone else think it’s weird that a man so often argues against women about what movies do for the societal standards of women? Shouldn’t we know better? No? It’s just me? Okay. It’s not just against me, either. I’ve seen him argue against other women about this very movie. And he never listens to our points and never seems to really take into consideration that he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. Anyway, that’s a totally different topic. It’s just something that really annoys me.

That quote is a direct quote from this argument that inspired this post. First, I don’t really think the question of whether women can be lead actors and awesome writers is that relevant anymore. Women have had starring roles in pretty much every type of movie I can think of. Of course the romantic comedies are largely dominated by female leads, but action movies have been relying on women in increasing number (Kill Bill, Salt, Resident Evil, Underworld, etc). Most of those examples are from the early 2000’s. And I could definitely name more. So it’s not like the “competency of women as lead actors” is really in question anymore. It’s not just action movies either. Horror, comedy, coming-of-age dramas, epic historical dramas (Gone With The Wind FTW), fantasy. They’ve all had high-grossing movies with competent, well-acted female leading roles.

And women screenwriters? Did you know a woman wrote and directed American Psycho? Because one did: Mary Harron. (And if you haven’t seen that movie, go watch it and marvel that a woman did it.) Other big names (screenwriters and directors): Julie Taymor (Frida, Across the Universe), Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie [awesome], Doctor Dolittle, 28 Days), Penny Marshall (she played Laverne in Laverne and Shirley and then went on to direct Big [which was co-written by Anne Spielberg, Steven Spielberg’s sister]), Nancy Meyers (she both wrote and directed The Parent Trap, What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give), Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally [my favorite romantic comedy of all time] she also wrote and directed Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Julie and Julia). And do I even need to mention Sophia Coppola? She wrote and directed the masterpiece Lost in Translation. She also wrote and directed Marie Antoinette which was actually a pretty decent movie. I guess I should mention Diablo Cody too simply because Juno was such a big hit.

The competency of women as writers and actors in film was not in question until Bridesmaids came out and then suddenly it was all okay and women were real people. Women have been a huge influence in film for a very long time. I did leave Tina Fey off that list but simply because we all know how amazing she is. She was the first female head-writer for SNL, she’s the head-writer and star of 30 Rock. Oh and she did the screenplay for Mean Girls. So all this nonsense of making such a big fuss about Bridesmaids like it was the first comedy written by a woman is insane.

Bridesmaids isn’t even a really great movie. It was entertaining but the main character is not relatable. She’s portrayed as insecure and insane. The screenplay was unoriginal. If you replace the female leads with men, it would be just like the I Love You, Man types of movies.

The message of Bridesmaids? Don’t go insane when your best friend is getting married? The pacing is rough, the comedy is lowbrow. The movie is simply about what’s going on in a woman’s life. You can’t invert the gender and it would still make sense. No one would believe that a guy would go that crazy when his best friend was getting married. But everyone believes it when a woman does it (furthering the stereotype that women are crazy).

So I guess what all this is saying is that making such a big deal about Bridesmaids is nonsense. Mean Girls is worthy of that big deal because it’s a far superior movie. I’ll leave you with some words that were said during the argument: “A great movie has a solid plot and doesn’t seem drawn out. Bridesmaids very much feels drawn out. There are a few scenes in the film that serve no purpose to the story or character development. That’s a pretty big sin for a great movie. Turn on Fight Club, turn on The Dark Knight: every scene in those films are completely necessary to the work as a whole. Also, it breaks a vital rule of comedies: make the audience root for the protagonist. Wiig’s character goes all irrational (rejects her friend, her love interest, and her job) with the realization at the end is that she was being irrational, I guess? Sorry, but when a character makes me dislike them, seeing them rewarded at the end with all their wishes coming true is not satisfying to me, thus the story failed.”

-Sydnie

Lose Ten Pounds In A Month? Nailed It! (and then some…)

Hey everybody, here’s my weekly (ish?) update on exercise and stuff.

Goals

My goal for February was to lose 10 pounds. I started at 173 in January and at the gym today I was down to 162. Bam! That’s 11 pounds, yo! My overall goal of reaching 140 by June may be unrealistic, but this means I’m already 1/3 of the way there. Or maybe the 140 is realistic. Even though I’m down 11 pounds, I still look pretty obviously overweight… I’m going to put my goal for March to reach 155. We’ll see how I do!

Exercise

I’m finally getting the hang of this again. Yesterday, I ran 7.8 miles at 8:30 pace or faster the entire time. Goddam that’s awesome! Let’s try to increase that by at least a mile every week until I’m at 12 miles. That should put me ready for the half marathon in April. Also, I totally forgot how horrible running is for my digestive system. It’s lame. Anywho, exercise is going awesome. Whether it’s just running a few miles or going to an hour long spin class, by tomorrow I’ll have been at the gym every day for two weeks. Fuck yeah! Weird things at the gym that I’ve never done before but turned out that I love: sit ups on those half exercise balls, the stairclimber thing (I will cover that in sweat every time I go; I feel like I legally own it now), and doing super boring plate lifts.

Diet

I’m still unsure if I’m doing my diet correctly. Basically, I’m only eating healthy foods (good!), but I’m just eating as much as I want (bad?). My weight loss probably means whatever I’m doing is right though, so let’s just keep doing that. Favorite meals: grapes with yogurt and raisin bran, greek yogurt, tuna, and ham sandwiches with apple.

Critiques

I have no critiques with my workout and diet, I’m doing great! However, it is totally taking time out of school and stuff, so I should probably adjust a bit? Whatever, I’m happy. My other critique is that I can’t see a physical difference in my body. I know that’s just because I’m biased and the changes are so insignificant by days. But… I know that it totally is working because you may see me wearing some new shirts. Wait a second, those aren’t new shirts… those are old shirts that I couldn’t wear because they were too small on me. That’s right! I can wear my small sized shirts now! What whaaaaaat!

Death: A Short Story

Peter’s eyes slowly opened and for the last moments of his life, saw his family before him. His wife, Susan, sat on a chair by his side holding his hand, while everyone else stood with somber faces around his deathbed.

“Pete..?”, said Susan with hesitation in her voice. Peter let out a light wheeze and smiled.

“I’m still here, honey” he said with a light squeeze of her hand.

Peter raised his eys and glanced around the room. His eyes locked with each of his four children, and then with each of his eight grandchildren. He gave a contented sigh and said with a half smile, “You guys don’t have anything better to be doing now?” His grandchildren responded with tear-soaked laughs before wiping their eyes. Everyone felt the urge to say something, but Peter seemed like he didn’t need to hear them talk, their presence was enough. Susan gave a sideways glace to the bedroom door.

“Honey, Father Mark is outside in the kitchen… He’d like to come in and talk to you.”

“Why? I barely know him.” Peter said, perhaps a little too forcefully.

“Please, he’d like to read you your rights.”

“What, am I under arrest?” Peter deadpanned, causing his grandchildren once again to burst into awkward laughter.

Peter’s youngest son knelt beside him and said quietly, “Jeez dad, just go ahead and talk to the guy for a minute. It’ll make mom happy.”

“No.” Peter said strongly. “Try to understand, please. I want to end my life feeling proud of all that I’ve done, feeling proud to be with my family in my final moments. You all know who I am, and that I am not a religious man. What I most strongly believe is what I see in front of me right now, and what I feel to all of you. When you miss me and wish I were back with you all, don’t just imagine that I’m in a better place. Instead, feel happiness at the times we spent together. I do not fear death because of possible punishment from a God. If he really does love us and made us, then he’d apprecaite all that I’ve done in my life. What I do fear in death is that I will never be with you all again. But be happy because in my short life, I got to enjoy it all with you.”

Peter’s daughter wiped her eyes, and Susan gave him a reassurring squeeze of his hand. Susan looked into his eyes and saw his life slip away. She tried to take comfort in his words, but still worried that he might not join her for an eternal life in heaven. If only he had accepted Jesus…

From his throne in Asgard, one of the nine worlds of the great tree Yggdrassill, Thor let our a ferocious roar and grasped his hammer in anger.

“Why must they continue to defy me?!” yelled the true, supreme ruler of all, Thor.

“It is most unfortunate, my Lord” Loki stammered from the throne to Thor’s right.

“I agree” Thor said, calming down. “I have done so much for them. I gave them life, I protected them for every rogue god who has tried to smite them. They used to worship me as I had commanded. They provided sacrifices and toasted my name, but now they spend their days worshipping these false gods. Those charlitans convinced the simple people of earth to stray from me, the one true God.”

Thor stroked his long beard thoughtfully.

“Sending humans to the world of the dead is so taxing to me; Hel is an awful place to go when they could just as easily be here enjoying paradise in Asgard.”

Thor lifted his cup and paused. “At least I won’t have to for much longer. To Ragnarok!”

3 Free Business Ideas

I’m not interested in running a business, but I do have some ideas for products/services that I would love to see become reality. Please take these ideas and do them? Because I want to use the following:

“Hurry” – A Wakeup Call Service

Who wants to wake up like this?

Good morning Michael, this is your wakeup call.

No, that sucks. I’ll go back to sleep. How about this: a wakeup call that hurriedly tells you that its imperative that you get out of bed. A wakeup call that lets you know that simply walking out of your bedroom can save all of humanity.

Michael! The President is choking on a cinnabon in your kitchen! Get the fuck out of bed and give him the heimlich!

or

Holy shit! Theres a nuclear bomb in your closet that will explode if you don’t put on a pair of pants right now! Hurry!

It doesn’t have to be clever or anything. Just yell at me to wake up with some urgency. That’s all that I need (but I would like elaborate situations more).

A Treebeard Alarm Clock

Okay, you don’t want to do the wakeup call idea. I get it, thats going to be an expensive thing, so lets move on with another way to get me out of bed… a Treebeard alarm clock. I mean, how cool is he? Easily the coolest voice in film. Just give it a listen:

So cool! But yeah, it comes with a giant subwoofer for under the bed, so the whole room shakes when he goes:

Miiiiiichaellllll. Itsssss timmmmme toooooo waaaaaaaaaake uppppppppp

Yeah! I love it already. Make it, please.

“The Morning After” -A Breakfast Restaurant That Only Serves Cold Pizza

Not much to explain, cold pizza is awesome. This restaurant will cook delicious pizzas, and then put them in a refrigerator for about 12 hours.

Conversation Starters (That Will Make Most People Like Me Less)

These are things that I think about all the time, but I can never talk about them because they’re all either overly critical of insignificant things or really irrational.

Let's talk about something other than red velvet cake. You'll be much happier!

I have a fear that I’m going to die from the hiccups

So you’re eating a gyro with extra onions and suddenly you get the hiccups. Your lungs and throat lose complete control of themselves and you can’t control your breathing. Sure, you can try water, but that’s no instant guarantee and it’s the scariest thing ever. How do people not freak out like I do?! Every time I get the hiccups, I feel like I’m drowning and if you look into my eyes, you can watch me stare death in the face.

I hate sprinkles

I just don’t get it. It doesn’t change the flavor; it’s just food coloring that is going straight into your digestive system. My mouth and stomach don’t care at all. The bigger question is, why do you like them so much? Are you just attracted to colorful or shiny objects? Are you a fucking fish? Enjoy the simple things in life. Don’t go around adding bells and whistles to everything that you already enjoy.

I hate funfetti (corollary to previous)

I’m pretty sure that people only enjoy funfetti (and why I say “enjoy”, I mean go totally apeshit for) because of the sprinkles (already noted) and the stupid name. I get that you think the name is… fun to say. That’s stupid, let’s move on.

I have a fear that red velvet cake is made with blood

Now this one is really irrational. I have no idea why I think this, but deep down in my core I feel like it must be true. I already explained that it’s dumb that people dye foods colors to make them look bright and colorful, but why would a chef dye a cake blood red… unless it’s only red because that’s a key ingredient in it! Seriously, if you’re going to bake a cake and you insist on dying it a color, go with any other color than one that universally symbolizes meat and murder.

Why not make a different colored cake instead?

I instantly hate people that end any block of text with “lol”

Why would you end a sentence with “lol”? Did you say something funny? If you think you did, let me be the judge. Maybe that’s not actually why. Maybe it’s the people that habitually end their texts/messages with “lol” that ruined it for everyone? But for whatever reason that I think this, just don’t ever do it to me.

I feel like everyone loves showers, but I just don’t

Don’t get me wrong, I still take a shower at least once a day. But my showers take the exact amount of time that it takes for me to soap up (thanks science, for finally inventing body wash that also works as shampoo) and rinse off. No longer than 3 minutes. Boom. Why are you taking so long? Do you like the heat? Get under a blanket, it’s cheaper and you’ll save water. Do you like to get wet? Go for a swim then, stop taking all the hot water.

The Grey is the best thing

I watched “The Grey” in theaters today and it was a transformative experience. It’s difficult to explain how one film can completely change the way that I look at my life and the world. I’ll do my best, though, to show how this visceral movie has helped me reexamine my life. Before I get into it, let me give a brief overview of the plot.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH"

Plot

A badass wolf killer (Liam Neeson) in Alaska becomes stranded in Alaska where he has to kill wolves.

Main Themes

Either directly or in subtext, “The Grey” delves into the following themes: love, death, alcoholism, survival, the relationship between man and animal, hunger, racism, family, suicide, religion and faith, search for purpose in life, solitude, teamwork and leadership, feminism, violence in the media, and alienation in culture. I could describe in depth as to how “The Grey” explores and probes each of these subjects, and then proceeds to track down and murder it. This would take quite a while though, and to fail to completely understand the great filmmaking that has gone into this work of art would be a tragedy on the same scale as The Black Death. I do wish to discuss the theme in this film which pervades and overpowers all emotion in every scene: It’s totally possible that at literally any time in any scene a wolf will jump out of nowhere and eat someone to death. Do you understand how awesome this idea is? Simply by throwing some wolves into a movie, director Joe Carnahan holds a mirror to the audience and forces them to confront their mortality. Just like death, wolves feel no fear, cannot be dissuaded by nature or bullying or fire, don’t care whether it is daytime or night, and are completely unavoidable. One contrast between wolves and the concept of death is that these wolves could potentially be defeated by Neeson’s character, but on second thought, definitely not. 

Just awesome

Let’s just gloss over the fact that Ottway’s (Neeson) job is wolf killing. He is so much more badass than that. Read his list of quotes and bask in how much he is the epitome of everything awesome in this world. There’s one lame quote, sure “Who do you love? Let them take you.” Fuck that, look at literally everything else. 

“I’m going to start beating the shit out of you in the next five seconds.”

“Don’t move. Stare right back at them.”

“Fuck faith! Prove yourself!”

“We’re going to get a large branch and sharpen the end of it, and we’re going to shove it up this thing’s ass. Then we’re going to eat it.”

Note: Ottway doesn’t yell these lines. He says them like he’s ordering a pizza. He’s so calm and cool that these lines are almost (but actually not even close to) as scary as the wolves in the movie. Tired of scaring the shit out of the wolves and his fellow men, he eventually gets into an argument with God over why he doesn’t help him (the more interesting question is if God himself could fight the wolves). When God doesn’t answer his cries for help, Ottway pretty much flips him the bird and tells God:

“Fuck it. I’ll do it myself.”

Alright, back to wolves jumping out of nowhere and attacking people…

Why can’t this be a thing in movies? It’s such a great narrative tool. By showing the humanity (and vulnerability to wolves) of characters, the audience will relate much more strongly to them. At least, I totally would. And now a list of works of fiction that would benefit from this (hopefully soon to be popular) trope:

  • The Great Gatsby
    “And I hope she’ll be a fool–that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool, who is also talented at fighting wolves. Because in East Egg, the wolves are ferocious and will not stop until humans have left their home.”
  • The Shawshank Redemption
    “Get busy living, or get busy dying… from all the wolves!”
  • Taken
    “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you… wolves!”
  • Titanic
    “I’m the king of the world! Also, our ship is about to hit an iceberg populated by wolves!”
  • Gran Torino
    [to wolves] “Get off my lawn!”

Guest Post: Mr. X, Sexual Expert

I was so close to making this awesome, but I really cannot manage it. Maybe someone can save me and salvage this idea, turn it into gold. But until then, It’s just here, a sign of my lack of writing talent. See, I had an idea last week: “It’s really common for kids to pretend that they know everything about sex, and exaggerate stories about it all the time. Wouldn’t it be funny to take a guy who always lies about how much he gets laid, and challenge him to write a sex advice column?” That’s a great idea right there, if I do say so myself. Maybe it would work better as a skit or short film? That way the “expert” can stammer and really show the reader that he has no idea what he was talking about. Well, I still tried to write a little piece about a fictional guy who has never been with a woman, but he still writes a sex advice column. I wanted the reader to gradually realize that this guy is just talking out of his ass; that he has no idea what he is talking about. Unfortunately, I lack that kind of subtle writing. So I ended up with this. The fact that I’m telling you the premise of it right now completely ruins the joke, so there’s no point in you reading it. I tried at least. So, if you’re talented at writing, please rewrite this into something good:

Hey everybody! Over the last few weeks, we’ve received a lot of questions from our readers about personal matters. For questions pertaining to sex, we went to the most knowledgable person we know about sex. After hearing so many of his tales of women he’s been with, we gave him our mailbag and he’s answered a  few of your questions. We hope you enjoy it!
-Mike and Val

Dear Mr. X,
What music do you recommend for setting the mood? My girlfriend and I can’t seem to find anything that’s sexy enough for us.
-Musical Orgasms Are Neat!

That’s a great question, M.O.A.N., because choosing some acceptable “sex music” can be challenge! With my many sex partners, I have found that you should play music that fits how you do sex. For example, some of the women that I have been in sexual relationships with enjoy their sex at a faster tempo. Logically, this sex is typically accompanied with some sort of faster paced music, such as pop rock or if you enjoy traditional music, Figaro’s first aria from The Barber of Seville is a great one. In fact, with the constantly changing melodies, having sex to “Largo al Factotum” is a great way to demonstrate sexual prowess. For a couple that enjoys having sex at a lower speed though, a slower musical selection should be chosen. Perhaps, you would enjoy a ballad by Bob Dylan or to a slower traditional song, such as Rosina’s cavatina “Una voce poco fa” from The Barber of Seville. I hope I have answered your query successfully.

Dear Mr. X,
I’d like to try having sex on my period, but don’t know if it would be gross to ask. What are some ways to keep it clean?
-Ready And Gross!

Ah, the old sex and periods problem. R.A.G., from my many sexual encounters, it did not take long until I came across this situation. I soon found that as a woman goes through a 28 day menstrual cycle, she will shed her uterine lining on three to five of these days. That means, about 14% of the time that I have sex with women, they will be having periods. Ultimately, this decision is up to the both of you depending on how comfortable you both feel with having sex while you are shedding your uterine lining. I imagine that you may be at ease with being around your uterine lining, but it is possible that it may make your boyfriend uncomfortable, especially if he is not familiar with what a uterine lining is. With my vast experience though, I have found that I am completely accommodating to a menstruating female, so perhaps your boyfriend is as well.

Dear Mr. X,
I’d like to try something kinkier in the bedroom, but haven’t really tried anything yet. is there a way to experiment with some “kinky-lite” moves?
-(Kinda) I’m Not Kinky

As defined by Dictionary.com, a kink is “an act marked by unconventional sexual preferences or behavior, such as fetishism, sadomasochism, or the like”. So K.I.N.K., there’s nothing wrong with exploring what you are sexually comfortable with. For example, one of the many women that I have been in a sexual encounter with was a fan of an act called “bondage” where she put handcuffs on my wrists. While sex was more challenging without the use of my hands (because I had trouble moving myself into different positions), she took great pleasure from it and had an orgasm. I have also have had sex with a woman who enjoyed the act of spanking me. She also took great pleasure from it and had an orgasm. Those two moves are some beginner kink moves, so you and your partner should consider those.

Dear Mr. X,
My boyfriend has a few roommates that are usually around when we want to make love (I hate that phrase). I’d like to try out some other places, but don’t know if doing it in public would be going too far. What do you think?
-Where To Fuck?!

I understand your problem W.T.F., and I often face it myself. That is a significant reason why I never bring women back to my apartment: I don’t want to be in the awkward situation of being interrupted during my sex. Some of my roommates insist that I do not bring women back to my apartment because I have never actually been intimate with a woman, but this is false. The sex is usually done at the woman’s place but I have also had sex in locations in bathroom stalls. That is preferable for when I meet a woman at a bar and we impulsively have sex, so I am unsure if that will what kind of location your boyfriend and you are looking for. Have you thought of having sexual relations at your place instead?