Reviewed by Alicia Glass
It’s generally an accepted fact that high school, no matter what age you happen to hail from, is a kind of Hell. The disaffected movie from the 80’s, starring a young Winona Ryder and Christian Slater as a pair of high school kids who end up plotting to literally end the revolution of popular ‘Heathers’ girls at their school, is a black comedy usually found relatable to a lot of people. Take a selfie and dive into the revamped miniseries ‘Heathers’ from the Paramount Network!
So like any typical high school show, Westerburg High is ruled by the popular kids, in this case the three Heathers: Duke, the screamingly flamboyant male gay Heath-er; McNamara, the black self-proclaimed lesbian who has affairs with her teachers; and Chandler, the plus-size gangsta shark leader of the bunch. Veronica Sawyer, while not being named Heather, has been a friend of theirs for a long time, and dutifully follows the Heathers’ insistent instructions on how to remain rulers of the school. And then there’s JD, not part of any clique or club, and yet Veronica coins a morbid fascination for him.
The Heathers personify the absolute worst of today’s PC culture cliques one can think of, especially after Chandler’s miraculous death and resurrection and her determination to become the ‘face of suicide’. Really, girl? Heather Chandler (Melanie Field) stalks the school like Missy Elliot on bad rainbow acid, giving benevolent and saint-like touches with one hand and pointing the demanding accusatory do-it-NOW-or-I’ll GUT-you finger with the other. While it may be true Chandler’s home-life is far from exemplary and she is surrounded by enablers at school, her messianic complex has a tendency to get on my last nerve. And that is likely precisely the point.
Heather McNamara (Jasmine Mathews) is barely in the show, as she decides to be the ultimate trendy and be the first major girl to take her own life, at the end of the very first episode. The pretty little black self-proclaimed lesbian who happens to be having affairs with her considerably older, white male teachers is an interesting twist on a standard trope, but even that can’t infuse this Heather with a ton of personality. Heather Duke (Brendan Scannell) on the other hand, screams personality and demands to be seen and noticed with his utterly fabulous ways, darling, and yet his little drag-apalooza is often over-shadowed by the shallowness of his heart. Because your sexual orientation doesn’t matter when you’re truly an asshole, capable of anything and everything to get what you think you want. It doesn’t help that Heather Duke’s stepmother (Selma Blair) is the worst kind of trailer park noveau riche trash one can think of, too.
JD (James Scully) is of course the disaffected standoffish bastard like many of us, hating the rat race that is his high school experience, annoyed at his rich never-there father and his eternal parade of ever-younger girlfriends, the poor little rich rebel without a cause or a clue. The oppressed violence that seems to lurk in many teenagers these days is given license in JD, especially once he discovers Veronica not only shares his tastes, but can do him one better, too. It sure doesn’t help that JD’s missing mother, played in flashbacks by the redoubtable Shannon Doherty, encourages him to live freely in his dark impulses, like she did.
Annnnd, then there’s Veronica (Grace Victoria Cox) herself. She keeps the same strange affectations the original Veronica did – the monocle for writing in her ever-present diary, the bloodlust and bloodshed, the hormonal madness given whirling dervish form. She obsesses over the Heathers and her part in them, she righteously turns the tables on JD as far as crazy goes, and she all but gleefully goes tripping about committing murder. But in all honesty, the angst that the original Veronica suffered, even while she was happily joining JD in murder, was more realistic and enjoyable.
It’s a very brave move for the Paramount Network to not only remake the ‘Heathers’ movie into a TV series, given all the very real high school violence and suicide that happens these days. The show was originally scheduled to have a certain number of episodes, and an entire episode was scrapped from showing on TV due to the Sante Fe and Parkland school shootings. The show’s premiere was actually pushed back a few times due to school shootings, but eventually went ahead with it, to generally positive reviews. And there are still talks of a second season, which yeah, I would watch.
Check your privilege with the new ‘Heathers’, on the Paramount Network now!
Joy Ride Is An Extremely Raunchy And Hilarious Comedy
Joy Ride is an extremely raunchy and hilarious comedy that takes the mantle of ensemble risky
comedies that at times, leave your mouth on the floor. Joy Ride focuses on two best friends
Audrey and Lolo (Ashley Sullivan and Sherry Cola) end up getting roped up into a trip to Asia,
they end up on gals pal cross-continent trek to find Audrey’s long lost birth mother so she
doesn’t lose a huge business deal.
The chemistry in this movie is superb. Every character has their moment to shine and there’s
rarely a scene where you don’t get a belly laugh. I was shocked at how crazy and bold this
movie got, continually pushing the line to get a laugh. The movie does a good job of getting to
the point and getting to the scenes that really make you chuckle. There are some editing choices where the story flies by some stuff, and it feels a little incomplete, but never at the expense of really enjoying being around for the journey.
I thought that this was a sleeper for this year and certainly a movie worth watching with your
friends some weekend. It’s great to throw on if you want a laugh and really just enjoy some
great actors riffing off each other. The focus on culture was a nice touch and really elevated the movie to another level. While I would say if you’re easily offended, this movie is not for you – if you’re looking for a no holds barred comedy, Joy Ride is a trip worth taking.
Who Doesn’t Want To Wear The Ninja Suit Of Snake-Eyes Or Dress Like The Mandalorian?
Hasbro has had their pulse app out for a while now. It allows for access to items to buy, preorder, and a look into future projects and releases. It also allows for a very cool thing most nerds (a group of which I am a proud card-carrying member) have always wanted, the ability to make yourself into an action figure. I’ve contemplated making one for a time but, I finally got my chance to get my hands on one at Comic-Con this year. Now, of course, I had to wait in line as it was a pretty sought-after item. Who doesn’t want to have themselves wear the ninja suit of Snake-Eyes or dressed like a Mandalorian? I was approached by one of the booth staff as I was showing my nephew all the cool ways we could get him his own MIles Morales action figure with his face (as he’s a massive fan) and invited to take a seat and scan our faces into the Hasbro Pulse app with the help of their awesome team and make this dream a reality. My wife was with us, so of course she got in on the fun too. We scanned our faces in and it was very simple and quick. Then we all selected our figures to add our heads to. We all chose Power Rangers(Me as the Black Ranger, my wife chose the pink ranger and the nephew got the red ranger). Then we were told that we needed to wait about 4-6 weeks and we’d have our custom action figure team in our hands. This was a major part of our Comic-Con adventure and definitely, a memory my wife and nephew won’t forget (as it was both of their first Con ever). Thank you to Hasbro for being so generous(also getting me brownie points that home) and I highly suggest checking out Hasbro Pulse and all the cool stuff it has to offer.
The Last Voyage of the Demeter: Double-knock on wood!
Adapted and written largely from the Captain’s Log chapter of Bram Stoker’s magnum opus Dracula, The Last Voyage of the Demeter tells the story of Dracula’s journey by ship from Carpathia to London, and what happened to her crew in the interim.
So here we are in Bulgaria, middle of 1897, and Captain Eliot (Liam Cunningham) of the Russian schooner Demeter is here to take on some strange cargo from some unknown client and transport it to Carfax Abbey in London. In need of some extra hands, the Captain sends out his capable Second Wojchek (David Dastmalchian) to scout for some, and initially the roving black doctor and aspiring philosopher Clemens (Corey Hawkins) is passed over in favor of more work-roughened men. The adorable cabin boy of the Demeter, Toby (Woody Norman), narrowly misses being crushed by the mysterious dragon-marked crates being loaded onto the ship, saved by Clemens himself and switched out with the superstitious sailors running from the Demeter like they had been poisoned by the sign of Dracul. And now, armed with some nine or so crewmen, Doc Clemens, and Captain Eliot himself, the twenty-four strange what looks like coffins adorned with dragon signs brought mostly safely aboard, the Demeter can make for open water and the Hell that awaits them there.
The duty of showing Clemens around the ship falls to a cheerful Toby, who proudly shows him the living areas, the Captain’s quarters, the very-large cargo hold, the galley and kitchen where the overly-devout Joseph (Jon Jon Briones) cooks the crews meals, the various above decks, even the sails, and the rigging are all at least touched on, and the livestock pens that Toby himself is in charge of, including the handsome good-boy doggy Huckleberry, or just Huck. We the audience get a very clear feeling of what it’s like to actually be aboard the Demeter, just how large she really is, and what living on a ship for months at sea is really like, the reality and practicality and the dangers of it.
Everyone more or less settles in for a hopefully uneventful voyage, taking mess around the common table and exchanging ideas or aspirations for when they arrive in London early thanks to the fair winds, and receive a handsome bonus for their troubles. But that involves being alive and making it to London to spend said bonus and pay, and the coffin crates spilling dark soil from the motherland and disgorging all sorts of other nasty secrets, have some serious plans to the contrary.
First, it’s the livestock, innocent and shrieking in their locked pens as a monster takes great furious bites out of their necks, and of course, the creature just straight up ruins poor doggy Huck. Then there’s the fully grown girl that gets dislodged from an open coffin-crate, covered in bite scars and as pale as death, she eventually starts interacting and talking after several blood transfusions from Doc Clemens, Toby learns her name is Anna (Aisling Franciosi). And then, as the weather turns foul and the winds begin to be a serious problem, the attacks turn toward the remaining humans onboard the Demeter.
Most people these days are familiar with Dracula, that gorgeous cunning vampire Elder who can supposedly transform into a bat or a wolf, seducing women to voluntarily offer up their veins like an unholy sacrament, a being at once beautiful and powerful, but also horrific and murderous if given half a heartbeat to smell your blood. This is not Dracula.
Instead, the creature that hunts the humans occupying the Demeter is an absolute monster, not a single human feature left to it, barely even recognizable as humanoid-shaped, instead boasting not just full-length bat wings but an entire exo-skin of bat membranes that can be used for feeding, a mouth full of needle-like teeth akin to a predator of the deepest darkest parts of the ocean, those yellowed Nosferatu eyes that will not tolerate light in any way, and of course giant pointy bat-ears. This is a thing, a grotesque straight from the depths of Hell, and no amount of glamor magic can make this Dracula (Javier Botet) seem like anything other than what he, is – a parasitic demon who only wants your blood. There is no reasoning with it, no trapping it, not even really any talking to it (kinda hard to talk when your throat has been ripped out), and, like the much more frightening Dracula stories of old, no amount of pure faith behind a symbol does anything other than give false hope.
Coming face to face with an actual abomination does different things to different people. The formerly delightfully foul-mouthed Abrams (Chris Walley) dissolves into a blubbering mess; poor Larsen (Martin Furulund) didn’t even get to see his own death coming; and it turns out Olgaren (Stefan Kapicic) wants to live so badly, he’ll suffer becoming a blank-eyed Renfield if that’s what it takes. All of Cook Joseph’s purported pure faith didn’t stop him from trying to take the coward’s way out and didn’t save him anyway when the sound of unnatural bat wings descended on him. I find that kind of irony delicious. Dear Anna, resigned to her fate to be eternal food for the horror that terrorized her village, nevertheless wants to try and save whoever is left of the Demeter with her own sacrifice, and there aren’t many. Wojchek of course wants to kill Dracula, but for all his logic and solid practical nature, has no experience whatsoever with this sort of thing, and sure doesn’t want to sacrifice the Demeter, the beloved ship he called home that was promised to him by Captain Eliot himself, in order to destroy that demon. Even poor sweet Toby isn’t safe from the creature’s clutches, and what happens to the cabin boy of the Demeter is what finally sends Captain Eliot over the blooming edge. And who could blame him? For this sort of thing to happen during the last voyage of such a proud, solid ship as the Demeter, is some serious bullsh*t.
To leave such a film open for a potential sequel, especially when called the last voyage of something, was a pretty hefty ask, and somehow the filmmakers managed it. I personally think a different version of Van Helsing, the infamous vampire hunter, teaming up with a certain black doctor who nurses a serious grudge against Dracula, could be a kickass sequel. Until then, experience the doomed final journey of the Demeter and her poor crew in all it’s bloodstained glory, in theaters now!