Category Archives: Freshman Film Blue Book

Lemonade is “The Wall” for Women

Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock since the Super Bowl, you may have heard that Beyoncé has a new album out. Remember how she marched a bunch of armed women onto the field in February and then threatened to kill all the cops? Except that she actually didn’t do that at all? I remember it, mostly because I had no interest in the guys in the helmets. Then she released the video for “Formation.”

No fucks given.

No fucks given.

Fuck yeah.

I like singles, but I’m an album listener. That’s why I’ve been listening to nothing but “Hamilton” since December. So when  Beyoncé  released “Lemonade,”  a bittersweet, empowering story of betrayal, fear, fury, self-doubt, and eventually, redemption–and released it with an hourlong film, scored by the music and interspersed with monologues–well, step aside briefly, Aaron Burr, Sir. The Queen has entered the building.

The music is potent on its own; coupled with the movie, it should be studied in film classes.

The Wall: It’s the Fat and Psychopathic Wife’s Fault

Which brings me back to my own freshman college experience, when we studied Pink Floyd’s double-album opus “The Wall.” As an 18-year-old, I loved “The Wall,” for all the reasons I listed above: it was dramatic, theatrical, had a narrative arc, scenes playing out, majestic music, and even a movie to go with it. Animation! Symbolism! Nazis, I think! PAIN!

Watching it in a freshman class, during “What Shall We Do Now,” a friend of mine said, “This guy has some issues with women.” She was not impressed, and seemed insulted.

I didn’t want to think about that theme in “The Wall.” I loved the music too much. I loved that the movie was so dark and animated and like nothing I’d seen before. Emily was less impressed. She saw the misogyny inherent in every scene. I didn’t want to.

I watched it again a few years ago, and found myself so disgusted with Pink, the melancholy, suicidal rock star protagonist, that I was pissed off at my 18-year-old self for days. Little bits of the album and movie kept coming back to me: his abuse at the hands of his evil schoolmasters, whose “fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives.” His mother, who lost her husband in the war and then became overprotective of him. His wife, who apparently got tired of his boo-hooing and left him. So he turns to his groupie, and then trashes his hotel room when she tries to cozy up to him.

That's the fat and psychopathic wife on the left, FYI.

That’s the fat and psychopathic wife on the left, FYI.

His mother, his wife, his groupies, his schoolteacher’s spouses–they’re at the root of all his problems. The women in his life are too mean, too loving, too distant, too empty-headed, too something or everything to satisfy him. And when he hits rock bottom, when he overdoses to numb his pain, and his manager busts in to force him to go on with his life and put on his concert like he promised? He decides to become a fucking Nazi. Women drive Pink to become a Nazi.

This what we call "very subtle symbolism," class.

This what we call “very subtle symbolism,” class.

This is the story of “The Wall.” Pink blames the women in his life for everything that goes wrong, from his miserable schooldays to his failed marriage to his overdose to his eventual embrace of fascism and violence. People die and are persecuted because Pink’s women didn’t love him enough in just the right way.

It’s like a textbook for MRAs. And I studied it in college as an example of existentialism in 20th century America.

Lemonade: Is It My Fault?

“Lemonade”‘s protagonist doesn’t entirely disagree with Pink: throughout the album, she constantly asks some version of, “What did I do wrong?” In “Love Drought,” she asks it so many times she even says “Oh, I already asked that. My bad.” She apologizes for asking what she did wrong. She kept it sexy, she kept it fun. She’s been committed, she’s been focused. She’d give up being a star for the sake of saving her marriage and family. She gives him life, but he’s her lifeline. Which part wasn’t right? Tell her and she’ll fix it.

Of course, it’s not all self-doubt. Before “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” her enraged guitar anthem, she asks, “Why can’t you see me? Everyone else can,” before rolling into “You ain’t married to no average bitch, boy.” He has power, but so does she. But even this is tempered by Malcolm X’s assertion that the “most disrespected…and unprotected… and neglected person in America is the Black woman.”

All of it piles into a rage focused on this one man who took advantage of her vulnerability and power to betray her. In this number, she accuses him of all the same things: You didn’t love hard enough. You didn’t try hard enough. “If you hurt me, you hurt yourself.” The message? You need me.

I don't think wearing an ankh is a coincidence.

I don’t think wearing the Egyptian symbol of life is a coincidence.

She closes that number with “If you try this shit again, you gonna lose your wife.” Which is the first clue we get that she’s considering giving him a second shot. She’s willing to forgive. But not until after he lives life without her for awhile. Not until after she’s spent time with her sisters. Not until she’s thought about her relationship with her father, trying to figure out how she got here.

That’s when she comes back around to examining herself. How much can she take? How can she fix it? What did she do to make this happen? This, I believe, is the clearest commonality between “The Wall” and “Lemonade,” and also a pretty goddamn clear illustration of something men and women seem to have in common: It’s the woman’s responsibility. If it doesn’t work out, it’s because she did too much, or not enough.

What did I do wrong?

What did I do wrong?

The difference, of course, is in the ultimate result. In “The Wall,” his perceived abandonment justifies violence and taking over an entire nation of people; he’s been so crushed that his only recourse is to crush others. When he’s brought to task for his crimes, a judge in the shape of an ass sentences him to “be exposed” before his peers. To “tear down the wall.” And so the wall falls–the wall he’s built to protect himself against all the pain in his life–falls. And little boys are left to pick up the pieces.


The next generation will fix it?

In “Lemonade,” she picks up the pieces herself. After the pain of suspicion, anger (and she does get angry, hoo boy; but she only hurts things, not people), testing her independence, she decides in “Sandcastles” that her marriage is worth more than the betrayal, and begins to re-forge her bond.

In the haunting number “Forward,” she leafs through photos, presumably of her marriage in better times; then we witness grieving women holding photographs of Black men. They’re the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner: men whose women–mothers, wives, sisters–will never get them back.


Will she abandon this man in her life because of his sins? Will she move forward, without him, and raise her daughter without a father in her home? Or will she move forward with him, so she doesn’t join the grieving women? Black men are an endangered population in America; will she cut off her care of the one who is most precious to her, because he betrayed her?

In the next number, she moves from the dark place of grieving to join women in 19th-century-style dresses. As her sisters look on, she stands alone on a stage, singing “Freedom,” with its Doors, Civil-Rights-era-style keyboarding  and the refrain, “I break chains all by myself/Won’t let my freedom rot in hell/Hey! I’ma keep running, ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” Meanwhile, we witness visions of Black women in the South, dancing a haunting ballet, eating together, standing stoically together in strength.



Freedom, I can’t lose.

I can’t watch these two scenes back-to-back without crying.

How It All Ends

“The Wall” ends with “The Trial,” and the man being shattered by his society’s expectations of himself–he’s not strong enough to expose who he really is without being broken down into dust. The women in his life forced him to feel emotion, and, terrified of it, he built a wall that would protect him from the depth of his feelings. The wall metastasized into violence against others; his self-protection branched out until he destroyed anyone who even glimpsed his true self. He’s a human firestorm, consuming everything in its path until he consumes himself and is destroyed.

Tear down the wall.

Tear down the wall.

“Lemonade” ends with “Formation,” where this Black woman–who, like Pink, is a superstar on whom millions pin their hopes and expectations–is not destroyed. Like Pink, she’s experienced pain, the endless drip-drip-drip of sexism and racism on a daily basis. Like Pink, she’s channeled that pain into art. Like Pink, she comes face-to-face with her rage.

Unlike Pink, though, she does not believe she’s alone. She’s supported and surrounded by women who have been where she’s been. Because she’s a woman–a Black woman–she knows she is not the first, and not the last. She can make or break men. She is who she is, and she has made her own decisions, and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it.

I hope men study “Lemonade” the way I studied “The Wall.” I hope they see the enormous responsibility women place on themselves. I hope they experience the beauty, symbolism, and visuals as the film it is, not as “eye candy” or a long music video.

Approve or disapprove of her journey and ultimate outcome, but at least listen. Try to understand it. Because that, in my opinion, is the difference between “The Wall” and “Lemonade.” “The Wall” is about sinking deep into one’s own pain to the exclusion of anything else.

“Lemonade” is about empathy. It’s about exposing the gray areas in relationships. It’s about taking down walls, exposing wounds that can be healed by sunlight. This is what the 21st century holds for us, I hope: understanding that our pain is not unique, that we are not alone, and that looking outward, not inward, is how we save ourselves.

Pink feels the weight of the world, and tries to crush it. Beyoncé feels the weight of the world, and she carries it.

Pink builds a wall; Beyoncé makes lemonade.

Top Ten “Stop and Tell A Joke” Moments in Slumber Party Movie History

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. You’re watching a movie, and enjoying all the trappings that come with it–dialogue, characters, explosions, bared breasts, bras exploding off of bare breasts*.  Suddenly, everything comes to a screeching halt so that someone can tell a joke, and you just have to sit there, like a shnook, and wait for the punchline. Here are the best jokes from left field (or jflf).

10. Desperado. The Bar Bet.

This one doesn’t seem to belong on this list. It’s not really a SPM, and it doesn’t really fit the theme because I don’t think this joke was in the script. I just think that Tarantino wandered onto the set drunk and kept the footage because he liked the way his hair looked. But whatever. It’s a pretty funny joke.

9. What About Bob? I’m a Schizophrenic. 

This one has it all. Bill Murray enthralling a room of people, Richard Dreyfus pulling his hair out in a fit of rage, and a classically hilarious joke.

8. The Crow. Jesus Walks Into an Inn.

I’m braving any bad juju that might be coming my way, as well as the wrath of time-travelling 90s goths, by listing this one, and I’m scared. Scared bad. But I must. Not because this is such a great joke, but it’s how the joke is told.  Just watch.

7. Stripes. Why Did The Chicken Cross the Road?

I was going to disqualify this one for breaking the mold, but then I realized it needed to be included for that very same reason.

6. Pulp Fiction. Fox Force Five Joke.

How did Tarantino make this list twice? Look. This is a bad joke, and it’s about a very unsettling subject–the horrors of baby tomato abuse. But you know what? It fits the scene more perfectly than “hey, thanks for re-starting my heart” would have. (BTW: My two favorite things in this scene are Uma’s eyes and the weird lawn sculpture that appears to be judging them both and the joke.)

5. Good Will Hunting. The Long Form Boston Joke.

This is the reason I like this movie. Because Ben Affleck’s Chuckie is 100% spot on. See, when anyone who was born within a fifty mile radius of Boston tells a joke, they follow three rules. It has to be told like it is the truth, but happened to a friend or, even better, a cousin. It has to be unnecessarily long. It has to include a cat (preferably a dead one).  Chuckie’s story joke hit all three marks. (My long-form story joke included a dead dog, but it was a very small dog, so they let me stay in the state.)


In a pitch perfect Boston accent, Chuckie enthralls and annoys his friends with a long, drawn out story about how his cousin hits a cat with a car, chases the dying cat across the street, and puts the cat out of its misery. A large man asks why he is bashing his cat’s head in and Chuckie’s cousin explains the whole story and points at the hood of his car…which has a dead cat stuck to the grille. The punchline: Can you believe it? He brained an innocent cat.

4. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. You Know What Frosts My Ass?

Just in case we needed more proof that big boobs and adorable accents make everything, even bad jokes, better.


Dolly: You know what really frosts my ass?

Burt: No. What?

Dolly: An ice cube about this high. (Indicates Dolly-ass height.)

3. My Favorite Year. The Duck Joke.

This one makes the cut because of Jessica Harper’s charm, Benji’s reaction, just what an AWESOME movie My Favorite Year is, and the fact that the bad version of the joke is way funnier than the professionally told version. Take that, Stoneberg.


A man walks into a psychiatrist’s office wearing a duck, and he says, “Can you help me because I have a duck on my head?”

2. History of the Word Part 1. Dying at the Palace. 

So this is technically a comedy routine, but it is a comedy routine full of jokes. Funny ones. Delivered by Mel Brooks. To Dom DeLuise. With Madeline Khan and Gregory Hines chuckling along. What else do you want?

The only thing we Romans don’t have a god for is premature ejaculation, but I hear that’s coming quickly. Ba dum bump.

1. Breakfast Club. Poodle Joke.

This is number one, and do you know why? Because of you, Lerlines. Because when I told you what this post was about, this joke sprung to mind, and if it didn’t it should have. It’s a naked lady with a poodle. Be warned. This joke does not have a punchline. Deal with it.

*This only applies for the brasploition epic, Zapped!

In The Thunderdome: Foul Play v Seems Like Old Times

In 1978, movie audiences ran to see the surreal cuteness of Goldie Hawn paired with the unflappably flippant Chevy Chase in Foul Play. In 1980, Hollywood bet they’d do it again to catch the churlish and girlish combo in Seems Like Old Times, and they did. Now, we throw these two flicks into The Thunderdome because we all know that there can be only one!

First Round: The creators. 

Seems Like Old Times was written by Neil Simon, so we know that it tackles serious relationship issues with a comedic sensibility.

Who's the blonde?

I didn’t know Joyce DeWitt’s blonde sister was in this movie.

Foul Play was directed by Colin Higgins so we know it tackles serious issues of life and death with sidesplitting comedy.

This scene is not in the movie.

Is that a loaded gun in your pocket or…?


Round 2: The Cast

In Foul Play, Chevy plays a cop named Tony and Goldie plays a librarian named Gloria. They are pitted against a radical group who wants to call attention to their fairly rational quest to get the government to tax the churches by assassinating the pope with the help of a man with a scar, and albino,  a dwarf who is not really a dwarf, and a Turk who may or may not be Turkish.

So if we taxed the church, you wouldn't be trying to kill us?

So if we taxed the church, you wouldn’t be trying to kill us?

In Seems Like Old Times, it is writer Nick and lawyer Glenda against two bank robbers.

Look at them. They even look like bank robbers.

Look at them. They even look like bank robbers.

ADVANTAGE: A minimalist would say Seems Like Old Times, but I’m not a minimalist, so I’ll say Foul Play.

Round 3: The Opening

Both movies start with a drive up and/or down the coast on California Route 1.

In SLOT, Nick drove a AMC Jimmy from Big Sur to Carmel with the bank robbers while Marvin Hamlish played in the background.



In Foul Play, Gloria drove a yellow bug around Marin with an under-cover cop named Scotty while Barry Manilow played on the radio. Barry EFFING Manilow. He wrote Copa-freaking-cabana, and you have the nerve to step up to him with Hamlish? Fuck that, you know why? Because Rico wore a diamond. Hamlish didn’t wear no fucking diamond, so shut it.

ADANTAGE: Foul Play.

Round 4: The Setting

Foul Play is set in San Francisco and Seems Like Old Times is set in LA.


Why? Because FUCK YOU, that’s why.

Round 5: The Chemistry

The chemistry between Gloria and Tony is off the charts in Foul Play. So much so that, in the scene where they finally kiss, Chevy is clearly doing a goofy Goldie impersonation, and it stays in the final cut. See for yourself.

There is so much chemistry between these two in SLOT, that Nick kisses his ex-wife Glenda in front of her current husband Ira, who is played grodingly by Charles Grodin, and it somehow doesn’t seem as odd as it really, really is.


Round 6: Guest Stars.

Seems Like Old Times also starred Robert Guillaume. Benson. Mother humping BENSON DU BOIS is in this fucking movie. How do you beat that?

In this movie, someone else gets the door.

In this movie, the door is opened for Benson.

I’ll tell you how. Stanley Tibbits. The funniest mother fucker in the movie, Dudley Moore, plays the funniest character in any movie. Stanley Tibbits. Poor Stanley has learned everything about sex from the Penthouse Forum, and he believes every word. When he finally gets a live woman in his “beaver trap”, she is surprised and confused by his behavior (and a little impressed at his proclivity for shopping by mail.) He is left feeling ashamed and a little violated.

Don't look at me!

Don’t look at me!

If you think I’m exaggerating. Watch this. It will be the best eight and a half minutes of your life. Trust me.

Stanley shows up later in a happy ending massage room in a Soma Victorian that looks a lot like the Soma Victorian that I lived in, but it was not the same one, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Stanley Tibbits steals the scene again by immediately using the terms “pussy pie” and “afternoon delight” with unselfconscious glee.

Take your time, Pussy Pie.

Take your time, Pussy Pie.


Round 7: Sassy brunettes who basically save everyone with their sassiness.

In Foul Play, Stella, who is on constant look-out for the Stanley Tibbits of the world, lends Gloria a loud rape alarm, some mace and brass knuckles. Gloria later uses these items to escape from Turk who may or may not be Turkish.

No one messes with Stella.

No one messes with Stella.

In SLOT, Aurora, who is famous for having her feet scraped and making the world’s best pepperoni chicken, catches the bank robbers, with the help of Glenda’s dogs while she is out getting her feet scraped and pointedly not making pepperoni chicken.

And then I saw these two gringos...

And then I saw these two gringos…

ADVANTAGE: Seems Like Old Times.

Round 8: Pick-Up Lines

In Foul Play, Tony tries this one on Gloria, “What do you say? Would you like to take a shower?” It does not work.

In SLOT,  Nick tells Gloria that there is an exact representation of her face on the walls of a Mexican prison, and it sort of works.

ADVANTAGE: Seems Like Old Times.

Round 9: Fight Scenes

In Foul Play, Burgess meredith fights Rachel Roberts, using what he learned in “Jungle Training” against what she apparently learned in a women’s prison.

Ah...the old priceless painting over the head maneuver. Learned it in 'Nam.

Ah…the old priceless painting over the head maneuver. Learned it in ‘Nam.

In SLOT, Ira had to fight the dogs for the bed.

You make them move.

You make them move.


Oh? Don’t believe me? The action starts at 5:48. You’re welcome.  

Round 10: Final Epic Scene

In Foul Play, Tony crashes car after car on a race across the city (or more accurately  up and down the same hills over and over) to stop the Pope from being killed at The Mikado. Yes. That’s right. It’s not a car chase. No one is chasing them. Tony is just driving so fast that he keeps crashing cars in spectacular fashion. There is even an homage to Silver Streak, Higgin’s previous film. See if you can spot it.

In SLOT, there is an epic boss comes over to dinner scene. The boss is Stanley, the governor of California, the dinner is pepperoni chicken that Aurora did not make, and the server is drunk.


Bonus round: 

In Foul Play, a couple of old ladies talk about old lady shit while coming up with filthy Scrabble words. Just watch it.

What do you got, SLOT? That’s right. You got nothing.


Oh! And it’s a knock out! Thanks for playing Seems Like Old Times, but Foul Play just wanted it more.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned From The Slumber Party Movies

Oprah, I love you, but I don’t need you. Go have a few Moscow Mules with Gail, and just chill because I got this. Dr. Phil? Fuck you. There I said it. Even if I could listen to you talk for ten seconds without daydreaming about drowning you in a vat of three bean salad, I don’t need your advice. Dr. Oz? Actually, I have a few questions about wrinkle creams I need you to answer for me, and then you can go straight to hell–don’t forget your sunscreen. Why would I need you chumps when my favorite movie characters have been telling me how to live my best life since Oprah was manning the phones at Dialing for Dollars?


Take a break, girl.

Here is all you will ever need to know:

Bluto from Animal House

Advice: When the going  gets tough, the tough get going.

Why?: Because when the Dean Wormers of the world have you on double secret probation, it  is time for a really stupid and futile gesture be done on somebody’s part.

Also: Just kiss my ass from now on.

Rizzo from Grease

Advice: There are worse things I could do.

Why?: So you got knocked up in the back of an Edsel? So you had to change your name because of the library books you stole. So you cheat at Words with Friends, and now your friends have some words for you? So you told the guy you’re dating that you are committed to composting but you just mean that you throw apple cores out the window of your car when you pass the park? So what? You don’t cheat and you don’t lie. Oh, wait. You do cheat and lie…and steal. Whatever. It still holds.

Also: Hey, Fongool!

Bill-Murray 3

The next three pieces of essential life advice all come from characters played by Bill Murray. Coincidence?  I doubt it.

Tripper from Meatballs

Advice: It just doesn’t matter.

Why?: Because when you think about it, it really doesn’t.

Also: Not masseur. Masseuse.

John Winger from Stripes

Advice: We’re all very different people, but we’re all Americans.

Why?: It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, brown, gay (or willing to learn), a boy named Francis or a girl named Zooey who gets blamed for horrific terrorist acts. We’re all Americans. We were all kicked out of every respectable country on the planet, so let’s stop bickering and acting so high and mighty. (I’m looking at you, Arizona.)

Also: Razzle Dazzle.

Additionally: Lighten up, Francis.

Phil Connors from Groundhog Day

Advice: Don’t drive angry

Why?: What has road rage ever gotten you except to your destination just a few seconds faster? The next time you’re pounding your steering wheel because someone takes five seconds longer to parallel park than you think you would, remember that you are no better than a rodent who thinks he can predict the weather.

Also: Check your mirrors. Side of your eye. Side of your eye.

Winston Zeddmore from Ghostbusters

Advice: If someone asks you if you are a god, you say yes!

Why?: Because if they are stupid enough to ask, they might be stupid enough to believe it, and god status is pretty sweet.

Also: Marshmallows are bad for you.

Mr. Kesuke Miyagi from The Karate Kid

Advice: Wax on. Wax off.

Why?: It always seems like all those geometry lessons we slept through in Jr. High were worthless until we had to parallel park in front of an angry beaver with a god complex. And also because it seems like all we were doing was watching hilarious movies, but we were really learning important life lessons that we could one day list in a blog that no one reads.

Also: Teens are cheap labor.

Sensei John Kreese from The Karate Kid

Advice: Sweep the Leg.

Why?: Because if that quadruped honks his horn one more time, he’s going to learn the meaning of the phrase “no mercy”.

Also: Come into my dojo….

Hanna Long from Flashdance


Advice: Do it now, Alexandria. Do it now.

Why?: Because today you might be an old but hale old woman with a slight cough, and tomorrow some bitch might be stripping the sheets off your bed for the last time.

Also: No also. That’s it. Do it. Do it now, Lerlines. Stop reading this blog and get your asses down to that ballet audition.


Changing the Conversation: The Rape of Betty Childs

You’ve likely noticed, Lerlines, that once in a great while we get all ticked off ’round here. Royally pissed off, even. So when I read that Pittsburgh bloggers are devoting April 16 to a day of blogging about sexual assault, I knew there’s only one thing worth talking about: Revenge of the Nerds. That’s right, folks. We’re changing the conversation, and it starts with the Tri-Lambs.


You know the story: using brains, wit and montage time travel, a group of nerds beat the jocks, get the girls, and even pledge into a fraternity of large, stern, sweater-wearing bodyguards who are accompanied, at all times, by a funky bass riff. We shall embrace our nerdiness, and we shall overcome.

By the way, on the path to glory, we’ll also be creepy stalkers and rape a girl.

Yes, it’s true, folks: Lewis, indefatigable king of the nerds, does not woo and seduce Betty Childs. He does not use his charm and devotion to make her see that love isn’t all about buff muscles and a handsome face, perhaps because he has neither charm nor devotion. He doesn’t realize after the first few failed attempts that Betty Childs is a shallow brat who isn’t worth his time, perhaps because he, too, is a shallow brat who isn’t worth her time. He doesn’t stop pursuing the beautiful, blonde Betty Childs when she and her boyfriend let pigs loose into his house, wrecking a perfectly fine pot party and making fun of another sorority in the meantime.

She's a cheerleader and in a sorority, which means stalking is legal.

She’s a cheerleader and in a sorority, which means stalking is legal.

Betty is not attracted to him. She doesn’t want him, and by all accounts, never will. And yet: Lewis will not give up.

No, instead of giving up–he’s got a heart as big as all get-out, I tellya!–he and his friends stage a panty raid on her sorority house. For the under-30 set reading this, a panty raid is an old-fashioned way for frat boys to invade the home of sorority girls, and steal their panties while they’re at it. In the grand scheme of things, it could be called home invasion, burglary and generally be creepy, but in the context of hormonal, likely drunk teenagers living away from parental guidance, well, as long as the panties are clean and stolen from drawers, not behinds, not much harm done.

Why on earth does she say no this to guy?

Why on earth does she say no this to guy?

Unless, of course, the panty raid is a cover for installing video cameras in the bathrooms and bedrooms of said sorority girls, in which case: Ew. Yuck. Creeptastic.

But it’s OK, of course, because Betty Childs is a big ol’bitchy bitch, and her sorority sisters are, too, so we’re allowed to do things like stalk them from a satellite. Then again, maybe they do deserve it, after all, since one would think they’d be intelligent enough to notice the giant black camera lens poking out of their white, white ceiling? Hmm. Nope. Even stupid people–stupid mean people–don’t deserve to be stalked.

Fast forward through a number of other hijinks, and we’re at the big Homecoming fair, with drunk tricycle races and gay javelins, and the Nerds have a second revenge on the jocks and Betty Childs: They sell whipped cream pies for charity! And the pie is actually a Pi, get it? Because if you lick away all the whipped cream, Betty Childs is all topless and cheesecake right there on the bottom of the pie tin!

Not only have you been watching Betty Childs pee for the last month, but you also cropped out a picture of her and you’re now selling it. So add pornography sales!

But it’s for charity. And she’s a stupid meanie who just won’t stop saying no. I mean, WTFOMG.

This is where she tells him no. Again.

This is where she tells him no. Again.

Mere moments after this discovery, Lewis steals Betty’s boyfriend’s mask, and in another move that makes me wonder if maybe she didn’t forget to clean her contact lenses, she follows Lewis into the funhouse, leads him into the Moon room, and, Lewis still masked, they have lots of moon sex whilst a Martian watches.

After, she doesn’t mention his smaller hands or much thinner, shorter physique, but remarks on his incredible performance. And then he unmasks himself, revealing that Lewis, our hero, is a full-on rapist.

I’m sure he doesn’t think he’s a rapist. He just wants a chance to show Betty how good he really is, because sex and love aren’t about mutual attraction; no, love is about being forced to realize what you’ve been missing all this time. And she does, of course. She realizes and regrets all that great sex she’s been missing, and by the end of the evening, is even convinced she’s in love with the guy.

So what’s the lesson we learn from this, folks? How is the conversation changing? Well, on one hand we’ve got the big dumb jocks, who are big and dumb and vandalizers and, by all accounts, major assholes. We don’t ever see it happen, but I think we can assume one or two of them have coerced a girl into having sex, perhaps even forcibly. They’re Olympians among men, and therefore they get to go all Zeus on whatever girl happens to walk by. They’re your garden-variety date-raping frat boys.

On the other hand, we have the hero of our movie, a far more insidious kind of rapist. This is the guy who believes he deserves a conventionally beautiful woman, but by virtue of genetics and social skill deficiency, can’t seem to get one. And it’s not his fault, no way. He’s smart and his friends think he’s funny. If she just got to know him better, she’d see. Really, she would. And the fact that she’s mean, well, sure that’s embittering, since he’s entitled to so much more. Entitled to as much as any other Greek god, really.

So, really, what’s the fucking problem, Betty Childs? Why are you such a bitch, you shallow cheerleader? Why can’t you be my trophy wife, instead of his? I love you because you’re beautiful and you don’t love me because I’m not, which makes you a bitch and me persecuted. So what’s wrong with transforming into a swan to get a little something-something? And see: you liked it. You said you wouldn’t like it and you DID, so I win.

What I really want to know is: where’s Gilbert in all of this? That guy’s actually decent, and self-aware, and has a very sweet girlfriend whom he respects; how is Gilbert at all OK with the stalking and the nonconsensual porn and the rape? Spiral of silence, boys: if ever it crosses your mind “Should they really be doing this?” then the answer is no. In fact, if it involves a woman who doesn’t even know she’s involved in your “should,” then the answer is “Fuck no.” Wait, make that: “Fuck no, call 911.”

Don't disappoint me, Gilbert.

Judy will be so disappointed in you, Gilbert.

“All nerds think about is sex,” Lewis says, and judging by the library of videotapes of your bare ass, Betty, you can bet he’s not kidding. I just wonder how you’ll react when he takes you back to the Lambda house and all his brothers start remarking on that mole you have. But it’s OK: even if you dump Lewis, he knows the right way to treat a girl. Stalking and raping works!

Crap. Now I’m depressed. But I don’t have to be. Because I donated to the Change the Conversation fundraiser, which is raising money for the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR), which provides support for survivors of sexual violence and sexual assault. You can donate, too.  Because sexual relationships should start with adorable computer hacking, not with panty raids, stalking and rape.

Why isn't this on a t-shirt yet?

Why isn’t this on a t-shirt yet?

Slumber Party Movies Presents: Freshman Film Blue Book

Introducing a new feature here at SlumberPartyMovies: The Freshman Film Blue Book, where we take ourselves very, very seriously. Not too seriously, because seriously: We take these movies seriously, so there’s no “too” involved.

I’ve been mentally writing several chapters of my “Labyrinth” series for months–ever since we started the blog–but this weekend, we bought a 52″ plasma TV (that I may decide is too big; jury’s still out) and inaugurated it with watching “Labyrinth,” for no other reason than “Magic Dance” came up on my iPod, which immediately made my three-year-old insist we see the real thing in all its codpieced glory. She didn’t use the word codpiece, though.

I love a lot about the movie, for many reasons, but the biggest is that it’s fundamentally a coming-of-age story. And a coming-of-age story is nothing if not a loss of innocence: realizing that you’re not a kid anymore, that you have to grow up, and that that is both totally awesome, and massively sucky.

Sarah is dressed in princess garb  when we first meet her–over her jeans, no less–reciting lines from a book to her dog, who’s named Merlin. She fancies herself an abused stepdaughter, and although it’s never said, her mother was clearly a princess: she was a beautiful stage actress, wildly famous, and died young and recently. Sarah worships the ideal of her dead mother, who spent her life pretending to be other people, and hates her new mother, who has a boring, bad haircut, and her new half-brother, who she’s doomed to babysit every night that she doesn’t have a date, which by the sound of it, is every night.

In a nutshell, she makes a wish to lose the brother, and instantly knows she’d rather have a baby brother, safe and secure at home, than live her fantasy of being an only child. She engages on a quest to find him, and at the end, we see her taking down her clippings of her mother, hiding away the toys of her childhood, deciding that it’s time to start moving on and growing up.

The second, third, and fortieth viewings of the movie reveal that her room is peppered with characters from the labyrinth, from Hoggle to the Fieries to the Escher steps. The Goblin King’s there, too, standing right next to her mirror, all purple and blond. Which, of course, has all led us to wonder: how much of this is in her head?

We’ve all thought it, of course: any movie that ends with how it began makes a person wonder if it’s all a dream. But the thing that finally tipped the scales, that finally made me decide to take up the keyboard and tackle this blue book, is the best number in the movie: “Within You.”

This is the big finale, where she faces him for the final puzzle. The song is fantastic: “I move the stars for no one” is probably on a t-shirt at Hot Topic, and if it isn’t, it should be. According to Google, it’s also a popular lower back tattoo.

One of the main themes that repelled and attracted me (OK, mostly attracted), and makes my husband squeamish about the whole thing, is the sexual tension between Jareth and Sarah. He’s like 40+. She’s 14. Gross. Except hot. Especially when you’re 11. So here’s where I go all Intro to Film class, and make a wild suggestion: if the whole thing’s a dream, and every character in a dream is, essentially, you, then Jareth’s part of her. And he’s the part of her that’s trying to keep her in her dream world. Being that she’s 14, sexual tension is pretty much a given.

All of her friends are trying to help her escape; Jareth doesn’t just want to keep Toby. He wants Sarah. He wants her to be his queen–specifically, he wants to rule her so he can be her slave. Which, on the face of it, is a big WTF–you rule me and you’re MY slave? But it makes sense, taken in the context of imagination. If you let your fantasies rule you, it seems as though you can do whatever you want. In fact, Jennifer Connolly herself grows up to marry a guy who solves spy secrets for a supersecret government agency… in his head. Lesson being: you can do whatever you want in your fantasies, but you’re not really living, because you’re obeying them as much as you think they obey you. After all, Sarah wished that her brother be taken away, and he was, and she realized, in that second, that wishes can bite. You can’t always get what you want, but when you do, you don’t always want what you get.

The big a-ha moment for me was the beautiful moment at 1:38, when Jareth sings, “I…. I… can’t live within you,” and makes the saddest, most disappointed face ever seen on a supervillain. He’s crushed. But he’s also resigned. He can’t have her. She’s beating him. The phrasing is what’s important: I can’t live within you. Major sexual undertones aside, he’s realizing that, when faced with adult responsibility and the high stakes of losing her baby brother, she’s rejecting living in her fantasy. Her fantasy can’t live within her anymore, and she finds that bitterly disappointing.

Moments later, she realizes the only way to get to her brother is to take a leap of faith. And she does. And then she faces down her fantasy with her best tool: the magic words her mother gave her. He has no power over her. She controls her fantasies, her imagination, and the game is up: she can be a grown-up. But she can also live in her imagination, as long as she doesn’t let it rule her.

Which is pretty much what I’ve been striving for my entire life. The reason I love stories set in a realistic setting, but with fantastical elements, is that there’s always a part of me that’s pretty sure I am a Muggle, and that there’s a school out there I don’t know about where some lucky kids get to do magic tricks. There’s a young woman who kicks ass against the forces of darkness so I can live in relative normality, sheltered from the vampires and the demons. And I will never, ever wish that the goblins will come and take Gillian away, no matter how fussy she is. Just in case.

P.S. When I saw this in a theater last year, the first five seconds of that last clip sent the audience into paroxysms of catcalling. Just yesterday, my daughter said, “He’s a princess! He’s so pretty! But he’s going to fall in his dress!”