Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The fall.


Hi pals,

It is I, the prodigal blogging child, returning once again to the scenes of my greatest triumph (if you call spending the entirety of one's teen years blogging about Gidget and Godzilla and Ralph Meeker at 3AM a triumph--AND I DO!).

I have to tell you. I never make New Years Resolutions. I just do not think about it. But, this year, 2018, I decided to make a resolution. I would write something--either here or on my personal site--once a week. Just something. I needed a creative outlet while caught in the midst of a very stressful and demanding job. Well, lolz, that has not happened.

My creative output has almost completely been limited to writing pithy Insta captions like three times a day about random thoughts that fly through my brain (mainly about any time I do anything with my cool friends, and also about how Messi and Suarez love each other, and sometimes about movie things), and also to writing Letterboxd reviews (you can read a review for every single film I have watched this year--no matter how embarrassing).

But, I have truly missed you all. I have a million and one hot-take essays bubbling in my brain. But, I am also tired--so very tired. It is a cliche, but the world is a mess. I take it quite to heart. I have known the world is mess since I have known the world, but even so I lived with a little hope. Example: I could watch the ending of Children of Men (2006) and feel peace about it. Now, it is just a little bit like, NEVERMIND. WHAT IS THE POINT.

But, anyway. Of course, I am still me, tattooed with the words, "Let justice roll on like a river," because I cannot live any other way.

Y I K E S.

Well, now, I am very afraid that I am gonna have to tag this blog with the occasionally used "Millie's being maudlin again." Whoops.

LOVE YOU! *insert kiss emoji*

I cannot promise that I am  really back, but look, I am using a rare afternoon off (the first in a few weeks) to talk to all of you, because I am chilling on a lovely autumn at my favorite coffee shop and it seemed the thing to do. (If I post a photo of my hair--we will have completed a classic Millie narcissism brace. Speaking of classic braces--Messi completed one against Tottenham this afternoon with some help from Suarez, BECAUSE THEY LOVE EACH OTHER SO MUCH).

Anyway.

I saw Lizzie (2018) this morning. Not so good. AT ALL. Chloe Sevigney and KStew were good in it, but like, what was the point, and why was it directed by a man? SHEESH. I didn't even get any women in menswear moments. (And, also, I got carded for being possibly under-17, because the box office guy said I had "a very youthful look." UGHHHH.)

Cinematic women in menswear have been having a MOMENT this fall, and wow just be still my beating heart.

Out this week, Colette (2018) gave us Keira Knightley killing the suit game. Although, cruelly, it was only for a few moments in the span of the film (I blame the man directing this film for this egregious error, and also for the other egregious problems with this film--none of which have to do with Keira's stunning, magnetic performance).


Also, though, check out Keira at the Sundance premiere giving us Joel Grey in Cabaret realness.



Anyway, love you, Keira! Thank you for being you! 

To the rest of you peasants: I don't necessarily recommend rushing out to watch this in cinemas, but def check it out at home later. If only to spare yourself the difficulty of containing your laughter in public as my beloved and dear Eleanor Tomlinson attempts a Louisiana accent (my goodness! Darling, no!).

However, earlier in September, we were all rewarded with Blake Lively exclusively in menswear for almost the entire duration of A Simple Favor (2018)--a film I actually severely recommend if you enjoy delicious ridiculousness and/or looking at Blake Lively in menswear. 





^possibly my current phone lockscreen background (I am a young professional with the mobile to match.)

I have hopes for the next women in menswear Fall '18 cinematic moment! But, where will it come from next? Send in your confidential tips to my Insta DMs (I hope we all know that I have not checked this blog's email in at least two years). 

This seems as good a moment as any to mention that a couple of weeks ago I was dressing for the day and grabbed a shirt I had bought at the thrift store a few weeks ago for an dress-as-your-favorite-flavor-of-White-Claw party (Ruby Grapefruit, fyi) I attended.

I realized then, what I hadn't realized before, which is that it was a ruffly white shirt straight from Roger Moore's 1971 closet.


^this is me attempting unsuccessfully to raise one eyebrow. I am no Eunice Gayson. *sigh*

The real shock of this situation though was that I took this photo before I left for work and then tried to find an image of Sir Rog in a ruffly shirt on the Google to pair it with for an inevitable Insta post, AND COULD NOT. How is that even possible?! He wore nothing else for like three years, but whatever. This recap is mainly a brag that I totes am ready to star in a remake of Crossplot (1969), and also I have been completely let down by Google Image Search. 

Anyway.

Also, btw, on August 5th, I tripped off a curb crossing the street--and then couldn't walk for a whole month, and I am still in an ankle brace as we speak. (Speaking of a brace, let me remind you again about the beautiful brace Messi completed today with the selfless help of his #1 bro Luis.) I had a pretty chill knee scooter I used to navigate around my world--but, man, Seattle HAS A LOT OF HILLS. I still feel a cold sweat about going down some of those hills.

While I was laid up with my foot elevated and nothing to do for literally weeks (except for when I roused myself out to do work and all that), I intended to get back into blogging. But, I was so tired, so I didn't.

Instead, I watched a lot of Netflix and Hulu. Mozart in the Jungle was delightful (I might love Gael Garcia Bernal more than Diego Luna now, but the jury is still out, and Diego has that new season of Narcos coming out soon plus this video compilation of him talking about how much he loves Jabba the Hutt!), and Castle Rock was utterly terrifying (damn you, André Holland and your empathetic eyes for drawing me in). I also received so many cheese sticks via grocery delivery services! THANK YOU, FRIENDS (including some friends of the blog, like my dearest Casey). But, seriously, so many cheese sticks. Please, if you live in Seattle, come to my apartment and take home some cheese sticks!

Speaking of apartments, I just celebrated this week one year of not being homeless! I cannot properly explain the joy of having an option to come home--and there is something there. It is v. legit.

Okay, I am gonna wrap this post up, because I haven't said much, and I have even less on the top of my brain.

Here are a few things I think you should be interested in if you want to live as me for the day.

Watch:


Dream to Believe (1986)


I LITERALLY CANNOT OVERESTIMATE HOW MUCH YOU NEED TO SEE THIS FILM IMMEDIATELY. THIS VHS COVER SAYS "A MODERN-DAY MUSICAL IN THE STYLISH TRADITION OF FLASHDANCE AND FOOTLOOSE, WITH THE INSPIRATION AND SPIRIT OF ROCKY." YET, I ASSURE YOU, IT IS A GREATER FILM THAN ALL THREE. Anyway. Please do watch this. I won't say more, because I am playing to screenshot the heck out of it and write something about the fashion here.

Read:

The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery


This is a perennial autumn favorite. I haven't managed to read it the last couple of falls, so it is coming out this year. The coziest, yet full and soul-reaching mood imaginable. "Find a new riddle, if riddle you must." (My next tattoo?)

Listen:

Process - Sampha

This album is so beautiful, and lovely, and right. It is also perfect for walking the streets of Seattle on a crisp, likely drizzling fall day. (Also, speaking of fall, at my fun job [aka managing the Egyptian Cinema], I made a Spotify playlist called Bob Dylan Autumn [v. subjective on the autumn] to play in the lobby with no regard for anyone else's feelings. EASY RESTS THE HEAD THAT WEARS THIS CROWN!)

Anyway, coffee-shop is gonna close in like 40 minutes and I am already tensely looking around and making sure I am making a show of packing up, because I used to work in a coffee-shop and anyone who comes in/hangs around in the last hour is the absolute enemy.

Hopefully, I will pop in again soon. LOVE YOU ALL (all meaning the four people who will read this, and you absolutely know who you are).

Cheers,

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bradford Dillman.



April 14, 1930 – January 16, 2018

It has taken a few days for me to write down my thoughts about Bradford Dillman's passing. It has been difficult for me to find the correct words to express what I wanted to say, and what I needed to say. I will start by saying he was a good actor. Indeed, he was an extraordinary actor--never once giving a bad or uninteresting performance. He seemed to take absolute delight in his work, and it always showed. 

He referred to himself as a "Safeway actor" (anything to put food on the table), but that masks his actual abilities to craft distinct characters out of even extremely poor or bland scripts. He took ridiculous melodrama and made it sublime. He took boring, steadfast characters and hinted at depths of something else--perhaps something just slightly crooked and off-putting. 

Sometimes, all it took was a smile. A perfectly timed, slightly askew smile




That smile took a man who could have been destined for stolid romantic lead roles, and sent him straight into crooked, "wait, is he the villain?!" land. In Bradford Dillman's acting world, there is no overplaying or underplaying--there's just perfectly crafted characters. Each one so unique and utterly entertaining. 

It is certainly true that some actors rely on sheer charisma to build their performances and connect to audiences. Charisma alone can be greatly entertaining--and even powerful. But, then it lacks depths and can lead to monotony. That is the danger of a charming performer: what happens when it just stops being charming? There is nothing else left.

Bradford Dillman never had that problem, because he methodically used his charisma and charm to malicious ends. He brought the audience closer, closer, closer--and then removed his mask and bared his evil smile...or sometimes it wasn't evil at all.  He used it in service of gleeful egotistical murderers, and broken dupes, and trying-to-be-empathetic husbands, and unreliable narrators, and pious saints (hahahahaha!), and adorable architect dates for Mary Richards, and languid supervillains with ridiculous plans, and southern gothic werewolves

These are just a small sampling of the variety of roles Bradford Dillman played with skill and delight. He is one in a line of overwhelming, brilliant, and charming character actors--who can just as easily steal a scene as lead a film. He is the heir to Peter Lorre and the predecessor of Michael Shannon. Perhaps, if he was working today, Bradford Dillman would be enjoying a career like Shannon's--playing complicated good men and complicated bad men in prestige dramas and genre films alike. (It is remarkably easy to imagine Dillman playing Michael Shannon's toxic, complex, and vicious villain in 2017's The Shape of Water.)

Bradford Dillman brought life to mundanity and fun to dullness. He was and remains deeply underrated and even unknown.

That unknown reputation of Dillman's is the reason behind why it took me a few days to write this post. Somehow, it is easier to speak your feelings loud in moments of global, collective grieving. When a beloved famous person dies, everyone gets to say something--and be heard--and no one has to stop and think of the purpose behind their grief. 

But, here, Bradford Dillman died. And aside from a few good friends (most of whom had been indoctrinated in appreciation of The Dill Man by me), no one cared. Suddenly, my sadness at his passing seemed misplaced and self-serving. I did not know him, I never interacted with him, and I dearly hope he never googled his name and found this blog riddled with ridiculous, exclamatory posts and seemingly endless tribute videos. 

Indeed, why was I sad? Nothing in my life had changed. He had already retired from acting just a year after my birth, and he had lived a long and full life--leaving this world surrounded by his family. 

But, there's the source of the grief: he left this world. 

Each human is so deliriously unique and extraordinary, that each loss is of a person who won't exist again. A substance of something that is gone forever. 

I think that is why we so mourn the actors and performers and artists when they die--no matter their longevity. It is perhaps self-focused, but it is to the credit of the person we lose. 

For me, Bradford Dillman wasn't just an extraordinarily talented and individual performer--he is moments in time. He is memories of where I was, and who I was with, and how I felt. He is friendships struck (love you forever, my Dill Man co-conspirator Niamh!). He is thoughts I mulled over, and words I furiously typed at 3AM. (There are posts on this blog mentioning Bradford Dillman that go back to me at age 15.) His performances are not just displays of art or skill or entertainment--they are pieces of the mosaic of my life and personality. 

There is grief, because there was life and art and joy and ridiculousness and power and fun and love and slightly bent evil smiles.

Here's to Bradford Dillman, who never knew I existed (unless he did Google his name and/or actually read that likely very off-putting fan letter I sent him when I was like 13), but has been something of substance in my life nonetheless. Rest in peace and light, cool man. 




^Watch one of my "great" Bradford Dillman tribute videos.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Important Halloween Message



You know what is one of the clearest symptoms of a global consumer culture that is decaying and rotten at its core?
The chocolate industry.
Americans spend billions of dollars a year on chocolate. No one needs chocolate. It is a luxury. A treat. A gift. Something to put into candy bowls in office waiting areas.
Meanwhile, almost the entire cocoa industry is fueled by plantations (mainly in West Africa) where child labour--and child slavery--is the norm.
Children are being trafficked; children are being enslaved; children are being forced to work long hours at dangerous work with minimal to no pay.
Who is buying this child slave cocoa? Hershey's, Nestle, Mars, and nearly every major chocolate brand.
They have blocked legislation that would have required them to be certified child slave free, and have made continual broken promises to self-regulate. They were gonna be child slave free in 2005, now it's 2020. We'll see.
AS THE CONSUMERS, WE CAN DEMAND CHANGE. But, it must be fueled by our dollars, because they are not listening otherwise.
I urge you to stop buying from companies who exploit children. There are alternatives.
This Halloween, please don't support the enslavement of one child to fill the treat bag of another child.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Watching JAWS for the first time: the saga

I have never seen Jaws. Sharks have terrified and fascinated me since I before I can remember (the local aquarium had sharks in this dimly lit underwater observation room where all the walls were coral). I HAVE NOT SEEN JAWS. I cannot even watch Finding Nemo, because the deep underwater horrifies me.

I tried to watch Shark Week as shock therapy once. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No.

Anyway.

Faced my fears and took the plunge (heh heh).

Here is the live play by play:

A photo posted by Meg Hesketh (@thephantomasthmatic) on



A photo posted by Meg Hesketh (@thephantomasthmatic) on



A photo posted by Meg Hesketh (@thephantomasthmatic) on



A photo posted by Meg Hesketh (@thephantomasthmatic) on



A video posted by Meg Hesketh (@thephantomasthmatic) on






A video posted by Meg Hesketh (@thephantomasthmatic) on



Well, gang. Land Shark is still the only shark I trust.

"SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS? It's not even leather!" aka I love the clothes in Working Girl and I don't have a good explanation why

HELP. I was just rewatching Working Girl (1988), and as always it is about 80 shades of problematic and confusingly regressive with toxic ideas yet sometimes subversive and mostly always fun.

And, yesterday, I wrote a post about harassment and Trump, so I am EXHAUSTED and literally cannot talk about deconstructing this film--but I am sure you can find some great critiques through the Google.

And, as I sat and actively did not critique the film, I could only think about how much I was jamming with the fashion, and how that is probably embarrassing. But, then I definitely saw a couple of outfits that I have definitely worn ~recently~ and so WHATEVS--I am unashamed.


But, never the hair.
HEAVENLY MERCIES, NEVER THE HAIR.
I AM HAUNTED BY THIS HAIR.
~a poem by me

Also, hey David Duchovny!


Let's start out with the basics. Why was I watching Working Girl on Netflix at 10:30PMCT this particular Thursday evening? Was it because Kate has gaslighted me into believing that I love Harrison Ford, and I did a Netflix search for his name and it only came up with this film and Firewall--an absolutely bonkers movie that I had happened to already watch last month--so I decided to rewatch Working Girl instead? Possibly. Only time and my therapist can tell.

Oddly enough, Kate is also the reason why the very first time I saw this film, I vividly knew 30 seconds of it by heart--without even realizing it. I have a copy of Boys Night Out (awesome, but also problematic 1960s comedy starring James Garner and Kim Novak) that Kate sent me years ago recorded off of TCM. However, the DVD doesn't start immediately with the film, but instead has 30 seconds of some other film preceding it. I had no idea what film it was, nor did I ever care enough to google it. But, the first time I watched Working Girl, I immediately recognized the moment and can still quote it to this day: "Want a different answer? Ask a different girl." *crowd at bar goes Ohhhhhhh*

Anyway, I am actually now starting to worry that this all some Machiavellian long-con plot by Kate for who knows what nefarious purpose.

*Kate removes face mask; is Randolph Scott*

Well, with that out of the way, we get to Melanie Griffith's first look of the film. And it is major classic.



{Note once again that I neither approve nor endorse this hair.}

I love this look. I wear this look. Classic skirt/dress with tights and socks and tennis shoes. That IS style. I am not being sarcastic right now.

This is not the only time she goes for this look in the film. And, it is always great. And having the appropriate oversized coat is vital.

 ^Why does this strange exercise bike look vaguely steampunk?

Melanie Griffith is not the only one killin' it in the style department. No, there is also Sigourney Weaver. And, all I can say about that, is Lord grant me the confidence of Sigourney Weaver in a power suit/skirt combo with an impressive overcoat draped on the shoulders walking like she knows everyone is blessed simply by being even momentarily acknowledged by her.


Next you see an example of how we fail in the presence of EssDubs. There is literally no point in trying to have any motivation. Also, this dress is very Mary Richards which is why I always get lulled into trusting her untrustworthy idea thief self (totes messed up though that the two "career women" are pitted against each other as opposite sides of good and evil).


And, these glasses which are impossibly great. I want them, but in a shade of green. Here she offsets her colorful glasses with an ensemble which can only be described as very Miss Marple-esque. It works.




And, we are gonna bid adieu to Sigourney, for actually the rest of the post, because I forgot to take any more screenshots of her as I became preoccupied with cataloguing shots of Harrison Ford drinking things grumpily. She is going out in literally epic style though.



Of course, we cannot neglect the true style icon of this film: Joan YOU KNOW HER NAME Cusack.
We are not worthy, and I want all of her earrings/secretly her eye make-up/okay, I did that to my eyes once.





Oh, yeah, and Harrison Ford is in this movie too. He plays the confused ingenue role, and is perfect as it. His style is pretty much completely non-descript, and his hair manages to escape the ravages of hairspray and pure grease that infected too many.

He gets away with wrinkled shirts though.


And, there is this moment where he and Melanie are like chilling like they're in some 1988 film noir or something. Or maybe Harrison is like off-script chilling and Melanie is just coming back from her job moonlighting as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator circa Seven Year Itch. Who could say?





Okay, at this point, I have to admit that I really forget to take Harrison Ford style shots. Sorry, man. Here is a photo of you making the confused ingenue face.





And, back to more Melanie style.

So, first thing she does after realizing the truth about Sigourney's idea thief nature--it to steal her clothes, apartment, identity, and accidentally, her boyfriend (he is culpable here; not her). Most importantly, she steals her actual glasses.



MELANIE AND HARRISON WILL CUT YOU FOOLS.




She also wears other glasses, but they are not as great and also don't taste of the sweetness of revenge (that is kinda, totally regressive story-wise).


Melanie also steals this dress, which I have pondered and decided that I would wear--but only with Joan Cusack's parrot earrings.






Now, this is all actually incredibly creepy, and mostly completely not-okay, but we only accept it as film-viewers, 'cause we trust Harrison Ford. And also because it is actually absurdly funny to hear him talk to an unconscious person for five minutes: including begging forgiveness for the possible mess in his house and asking if she wants herbal tea, before remembering that he has no herbal tea. Again though, REAL LIFE/ANY MAN=Do not do this!



We also have cazh Melanie. I like these looks; although, I prefer a darker wash of jeans in both cases. You can also see a fleeting glimpse of Alec Baldwin, BUT HE IS THE WORST SHUNNN HIMMMM.



And, now, I REALLY, just want to talk about what we all know is the best scene in the film: the wedding shenanigans. That has so many fun 1930s screwball comedy beats--that all I want is for 1988 Harrison Ford to star in a remake of The Awful Truth with 1988 Sigourney Weaver.

I feel bad for this actor who spends the whole scene with just their feet displayed underneath the stall door. Do you think they was told they were going to be filming a scene with Harrison Ford and Melanie Griffith, and they were excited about their possible big break--only for this indignity to be foisted upon them?

Let's venture outside our carefully constructed safety zones, and talk about hair for a moment shall we, because it is truly upsetting, and I couldn't bear to linger on more than a few shots in order to capture them.

Melanie, no.


And then, suddenly, a vintage style showed up. It was a very reminiscent of SOMETHING!?



 And, in continuing with your concluding wrap-up the style of Working Girl, here is the truly terrifying bridesmaid dress that Melanie is forced to wear. It would be unforgivable, but the bride is none other than Joan SHE WILL ALWAYS BE BETTER Cusack, so always forgiven. Also, Melanie still looks better than that joker Alec Baldwin *booohissss*


In conclusion of odds and ends, there is this:


But, there is also this; which is gloriously cathartic. And hi, baby Kevin Spacey:

And, Harrison Ford does NOT appreciate your disrespectful female gaze, JOKERS.



And also, this jacket is great, and if I could pull it off, I WOULD EVERY DAY. I WOULD BE ALAN LADD AND INVESTIGATING EVERYTHING.


Also, the scene at the end where Harrison packs Melanie her lunch to take to work is kinda subversive (in relation to the rest of the film), AND IT IS ALSO PERFECT.

Well, gang. It looks like I just wasted a truly unacceptable amount of allotted-sleeping time screencapping and posting about the fashion of Working Girl. I HOPE YOU APPRECIATE THIS, CAUSE MY ALARM IS LITERALLY GOING OFF IN 1HR32MIN.


^The bitterest same of them all.

In other words, I will not be reading much less editing this post before clicking publish. Okay, have a good life. Bye.










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