Friday, January 28, 2022

Worth Mentioning - These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning. 

Troubled (but promising) young women, and the Winchester brothers.


Writer/actress Emerald Fennell's feature directorial debut Promising Young Woman is essentially an entry in the "rape revenge" thriller sub-genre, but while many rape revenge films are sleazy and/or extremely violent, this one takes a bit of a classier and more accessible approach. As a result, it ended up earning Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay - and Fennell won in that last category. This is not the sort of movie I would expect to see going for the gold like that, but I like that it did, because it is really good.

Carey Mulligan is terrific in the lead role of Cassie, a former med student who dropped out of school after her best friend was raped by a classmate. Now Cassie works in a coffee shop by day and has a dangerous hobby at night. She goes out to clubs, pretends to get blackout wasted, allows men to take her back to their homes, and when they try to take advantage of this woman who is clearly in no condition to consent, she scares the hell out of them by revealing herself to be sober. So she's trying to ensure that other women won't be victimized like her friend was, one creepy guy at a time. It isn't until she has a run-in with former classmate Ryan (Bo Burnham), now a successful doctor, and he mentions that he's still in contact with her friend's attacker, that she starts targeting the people she holds responsible for her friend's trauma and resulting suicide. A female classmate who didn't believe her friend. The Dean of the college, who didn't punish the attacker. The attacker's lawyer, who made sure he wouldn't be prosecuted. And the attacker himself, who is about to get married.

What's interesting and makes Promising Young Woman stand out from the pack is that Cassie doesn't go after these people with a shotgun. She plays mind games with them. Terrifies them. Makes them question themselves. Fennell crafted a very clever and compelling story here. And it goes in some completely unexpected directions.

Fennell also assembled a great supporting cast around Mulligan, including Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Alfred Molina, and Chris Lowell as Cassie's targets, Laverne Cox as her boss at the coffee shop, Adam Brody and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as men Cassie goes home with, Samuel Richardson as another club patron, Clancy Brown and Jennifer Coolidge as Cassie's parents, and Molly Shannon as her late friend's mother. Interestingly, Fennell primarily cast actors best known for comedic roles as the creepy, questionable, or downright criminal guys in the film, so they're charming and funny, but also trash.


Written and directed by the duo of Anthony Baldino and Ryan Lacen, the horror film Save Me From Everything isn’t an eventful one, but it does make for an intriguing viewing experience. Large portions of the film’s rather brief running time (83 minutes) are actually more reminiscent of an entry in Richard Linklater‘s Before trilogy than any other horror movie, although there is a dark, unnerving edge to it throughout.

The Before comparison comes due to the fact that, much like Before Sunrise, Save Me From Everything centers on two people having extended conversations in a country that is not their place of origin. In this case the setting is the small town of Gorey in Ireland, and the two people we watch interact with each other are both Americans who have just met for the first time: Emmy (Paige Henderson), who is visiting from Los Angeles, and Patrick (Brendan McCay), a man with a troubled past who has moved to Ireland in hopes of cleaning up his act.

Emmy doesn’t have a perfect history herself. In fact, that’s why she has come to Ireland – and her history is also what brings the horror into the picture. For the past three generations, members of her family have become violent and suicidal on their 30th birthdays. It started when her great-grandfather, who had a farm in Ireland, snapped, killed all of his farm animals, and was later found dead on the side of the road. The 30th birthday tragedies continued with her grandfather and with Emmy’s own mother, who murdered Emmy’s father on her 30th birthday and then stepped into traffic. Emmy is about to turn 30 herself and she’s hoping she’ll find answers about her family curse in Gorey so she can avoid the fate of the people who have preceded her. She has sought out the help of Patrick because she learned that their great-grandfathers were neighbors… but expecting someone to have a lot of information on their great-grandfather wouldn’t pan out too often, and Patrick is less helpful than most.

There is a “ticking clock” element to the story, as Emmy’s birthday is swiftly approaching and her mental state is clearly starting to unravel. Baldino and Lacen also keep things interesting by throwing in the occasional twist and turn – but none of this would really work if the two leads hadn’t been perfectly cast. Henderson and McCay both do strong work in their roles and are able to hold our attention while making their conversations seem natural. Henderson is particularly fascinating as Emmy, this woman on the edge of a breakdown who we need to have some level of investment in. She and the filmmakers are able to make us care about Emmy and hope turning 30 will go better for her than it has for previous generations.

Emmy and Patrick get most of the lines, but there are a few other characters with some dialogue, most notably Breffni Holahan and Kieran O’Reilly as Gorey locals who are both shady in their own way. As the story went on, I began to think the film might have been more satisfying if either or both of those local characters had more prominent roles; as it is, I found the ending of the movie to be somewhat underwhelming. The conclusion is fitting, but I was left with the feeling that the filmmakers could have done something more with the final moments.

If you’re in the mood to watch a horror movie, Save Me From Everything probably isn’t going to do much to satisfy that craving. This movie would be better to put on when you want to watch a dark drama, a “walk and talk” movie where someone might become homicidal by the time the end credits roll, or if you’re in the mood to see good performances from some actors we’ll hopefully be seeing a lot more of in the future.

The review of Save Me From Everything originally appeared on


Sera Gamble was given a very tough task when she was chosen to be the new showrunner of Supernatural after series creator Eric Kripke stepped away after season 5. Kripke left because the story was over, it had been told to completion, the season 5 finale worked as a series finale. But Supernatural was a popular show, so it kept going beyond its ending. I felt season 6 was the weakest season yet, but season 7 might rank even lower for me. It has its moments, there's still fun to be had because we're still getting the chance to watch Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) hunt monsters... but the overall story of the season is very disappointing and lacking.

Season 6 ended with a rather chilling cliffhanger. The angel Castiel (Misha Collins) absorbed all the souls in Purgatory and became so powerful that he declared himself to be the new God. He had turned bad on his old friends the Winchesters. He told them to bow down to him or he would destroy them. Season 7 picks up at that very moment, but Castiel's reign as the new God doesn't last very long at all. As it turns out, Purgatory was created to house "the first beasts", the Leviathans, created by God even before angel and man. Now the Leviathans are within Castiel, and they're too powerful for his body to handle - which is why he ends up literally exploding. The Leviathans are released... and your imagination may spin at the idea of how a show about monster hunters might handle "the first beasts", but don't bother to give it much thought. The way the Leviathans are handled is incredibly lame. 

When Castiel explodes he does so in a town's water supply, releasing a black goo. This goo is how the Leviathans proceed to take over the bodies of human beings. So we don't see them as beasts, they're just a bunch of average people most of the time, they'll just occasionally show off the fact that they have big mouths that can take over their whole face. This effect is done with a CGI morph and it looks atrocious. The Leviathans are basically a variation on shapeshifters, they're just more difficult to kill. So any hype that was built up before we see them in action deflates as soon as we see them walking around as people and chatting with each other. The Leviathans have a leader who ends up taking over the body and life of Richard "Dick" Roman, a billionaire business owner who ranks as one of the most powerful men in America. Played by James Patrick Stuart, he's just a smarmy rich douche and the show becomes obsessed with trying to make us laugh at the fact that the character is called Dick. Dick the Leviathan purchases a food company called SucroCorp, through which he intends to taint the food supply with an additive that will turn the public into docile meals for the Leviathans. A test run of this additive is done through a restaurant chain's sandwich called a Turducken Slammer, which Dean briefly gets hooked on. Since the Leviathan is passing as a wealthy business owner, that means Sam, Dean, and their monster hunting mentor Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) have to infiltrate factories and office buildings to try to get at him. Not interesting settings for a monster hunting show. I really didn't like any of this.

As lame as the Leviathans are, they do cause some serious trouble for our heroes. Sam and Dean are forced to go into hiding and even stop using Dean's Impala because a pair of Leviathans steal their appearances and frame them for crimes. Not only does Bobby's house burn down, but Bobby is even killed before the halfway point of the season - though he does stick around for a while as a ghost. I like Bobby, but honestly wasn't sad to see him go because I still think it was too much of a cheat when the possessed Bobby survived being stabbed with the demon-killing knife in season 5. His death was a couple seasons overdue as far as I was concerned.

Even while hiding from the authorities and trying to save us all from the Leviathans, Sam and Dean still find time to hunt a bunch of other monsters. This season features the usual ghosts and demons, there's some vampires and cursed objects, and at one point Bobby and the Winchesters think they're on the trailer of the Jersey Devil, but it turns out to be something else. We're introduced to creatures that are called vetala, which are basically a snake-like twist on vampires, and there's a fun episode that deals with a shojo, "a Japanese alcohol spirit" that can only be seen by someone who's drunk. There's a really sad episode with a kitsune, a creature that feeds on pituitary glands... Dean makes a bad move in that episode that causes a rift between him and Sam for a while. Dean is judged by the Egyptian god Osiris, and ends up getting sent back to 1944 by Chronos, the Greek Titan of Time. Time travel episodes are becoming a regular thing for this show, and while in 1944 Dean finds out that Eliot Ness (Nicholas Lea) was also a monster hunter.

Mark Pellegrino is around as Lucifer and has a part in several episodes, because Sam is still haunted by the time he spent in Hell. That storyline, with Sam having constant, taunting hallucinations of the devil, got old real quick.

There are some entertaining guest stars in this season. Buffy the Vampire Slayer alumni James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter show up as a pair of bickering witches, Jewel Staite plays a kitsune, Ginger Snaps' Emily Perkins reprises her role of Supernatural book series fan Becky Rosen, Felicia Day plays a hacker in one episode, and DJ Qualls makes a couple appearances as a monster hunter named Garth. We also have a wedding: Sam gets married! And a child: Dean has a one night stand with an Amazon warrior named Lydia (Sara Canning) that results in the birth of a daughter named Emma (Alexia Fast). That doesn't go well for anyone.

This season didn't go well in general, but it has some bright spots in it. I'll keep watching Supernatural, but after the drop in quality for seasons 6 and 7 I'm really hoping things will improve in season 8. Sera Gamble departed the show after finishing work on season 7 and passed showrunner duties over to Jeremy Carver, who wrote for the show in seasons 3, 4, and 5. I look forward to seeing how he did.

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