The Ultimate Grease vs. Grease 2 Song Off

This weekend, we decided to pit Grease and Grease 2 in a duel and judge each song individually – free of bias, emotional attachments and story and character development.

This was not an easy task. After repeated childhood viewings of Grease 2, my friends and I knew every single word and every single dance move.  I was a Pink Lady (and possibly still am at heart). Michelle Pfeiffer was one of my heroes. Our obsession led us in fourth grade to be called into the office of Ms. America Novas, our very big and intimidating elementary school principal whose asthma spread across the loudspeakers every morning during assembly, for a lecture about the fact that “gangs” would not be tolerated in our Catholic school.

This didn’t mean that we ignored the original.  It just didn’t connect on a meaningful level – Olivia was no Michelle and never would be.  Believe me, I know these are controversial opinions – that Grease is held in incredibly high esteem and most people blow off the sequel as a joke.  In fact, that very difference of opinion resulted in this song off.

The results are below and averaged from a careful analysis by a male Grease fanatic and, well, me!


Grease: C

This is like being asleep at the wheel.  Not a great way to kick off the movie, and, in retrospect, probably one of the reasons Grease has always been judged inferior by my “gang” (as a fellow member recently said).

Summer Nights:  A

A fun-filled he said/she said with humor and heart.  It pulls an A for the ending itself – John Travolta’s dramatic sigh (“but…’oh”). Just, please, accept that this song is a karaoke killer.

Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee: B

A quick and funny ditty proving that girls can bite, too.  Stockard Channing shows off her ballsiness with a badge.  Still, this feels more like an interlude than a full number and because of that fades away.

Hopelessly Devoted:  A+

Agreed to be the King of All Grease Songs and, really, the only one that can stand alone – melodically and lyrically – apart from the musical.  If we’d heard this song on the radio and never seen the movie, it’d still be a hit.  I dare you to listen to this once and not get it stuck in your head for days to come.

Greased Lightnin’:  B-

You think you like this song but you really don’t.  The words are too fast and Travolta’s voice too deep.  No wonder I don’t know (or care about) half the lyrics.

Beauty School Dropout:  C+

Our initial reaction was to fail this one because …who ever cared about Frenchie?   Yet, we both had to admit that it is a decent tune that we’d love to listen to on vinyl.  Still, the questionable intro and outro chain it to mediocrity.

Sandy: B+

Our notes refer to the “explosive chorus” and the Beach Boys-reminiscent castanets.   Travolta’s voice is much better suited to this pace.

There are Worse Things I Could Do:  B+

Again, we both cringed when this one started and then realized this is a solid 50s girl power ballad and a starring vehicle for Channing.   I want to hug and high five her after this performance, which is the perfect length and has the perfect flow.  Someone should cover this (Kelly Clarkson?  Lady GaGa?) and give it new life.

You’re the One That I Want:  A

Not only catchy, but powerful, fun and sporting great harmonies.  Raise your hand if you’ve tried to master the little hand-in-the-pocket shimmy when they walk down the stairs.

We Go Together:  A-

This is a party I want to be invited to!  A rambunctious way to end the movie and a surprising follow up to You’re the One that I want; instead of winding down, the movie ramps up and you speed off the cliff into the sunset.


Back to School Again:  B-

The energy of this opener kicks Grease to shame and it does a great job of introducing all the major players and personalities.  Still, the song suffers from overindulgence.

Score Tonight:  A-

This is a Latin-rhythm infused good time with a killer breakdown – “You bowl me over!”  Here, you notice what a superior singer Lorna Luft is compared to her peers and can’t help but chuckle at Adrian Zmed’s screeching, over-the-top, on-his-knees howl.

Cool Rider: A-

Pfieffer achieves total coolness in her black-outfitted, solo performance.  If just one more voice was introduced it wouldn’t have worked as well – a rare moment of subtlety for the sequel.

Reproduction:   B

Grease 2s version of the he said/she said with the raunch factor turned up.  Could have been cut short in both length and number of vocal parts, but the bass turnaround point (“Where does the pollen go?”) is a good one.

Who’s That Guy:  C

The chorus far outshines the verses here.  The Cycle Lords’ group singing is laughable and, again, there are just too many vocals that suffer even more from awkward transitions.

Let’s Do It for our Country:  A

This cohesive and catchy tune would have been doomed by second character indifference if it weren’t for this face off.  What we uncovered was a great melody that overcomes the silly lyrics and plot.  Please, keep an open mind.

Prowling: C+

While it’s nice to have a little bit of Rock & Roll representation, the verses are too weighed down.  This sounds like stomping your feet in mud.

Charade:  C-

This could have (should have?) been sung by Jack Wagner.  It seems like the producers weren’t even sold since the song just sort of sneaks into the scene as if wasn’t welcome to begin with.  Super boring, cheesy and out of place.

Girl for All Seasons:  A

This is probably the most fluid of the Grease 2 offerings and a great example of how various vocal parts can work when done right.  But, damn the producers for cutting it off with…

Turn Back the Hands of Time:  C+

Sorry, this is just too much cheesiness for one song to bear.

Rock-a-Hula-Luau: B

It’s like the producers decided to rip off and split off Grease’s We Go Together.  The first part is this Luau, which just begs you to hand jive and drink a daiquiri.

We’ll Be Together:  B-

Part II is the weaker rip off.  It starts off strong, but should never have slipped into secondary character territory.  The lyrics are embarrassing: “I like what you got.  I guess it’s ok, if you want to show it.”  Or:  “Will I ever score?  There’s nothing wrong with just liking each other.”  And the electric guitar is cringe worthy.

RESULTS: GREASE (B+ ; 3.2); GREASE 2 (B; 2.9)

Yes, it pains me to write that.

Posted by: Mariela (with help from David)

Just Did It: A Streetcar Named Desire

In Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece, the lustfully married Stella asks her sister Blanche:  “Haven’t you ever ridden on that streetcar?”  She’s talking about Desire, that “rattle-trap streetcar that bangs through the Quarter, up one old narrow street and down another.”  But, the truth is, Blanche has seen more than her share and it disgusts her.  “It brought me here. Where I’m not wanted and where I’m ashamed to be,” she says

Well, I feel desire, too.  And it’s in the form of Cate Blanchett, Liv Ullman and the spectacular production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the BAM Harvey Theater.  I desire that all productions I spend money on be just as emotionally-charged, thoughtfully-directed and unselfconscious as this one.

We were treated to an artist’s talk with the cast immediately after the performance where we learned that this was a labor of love by Blanchett and Ullman, who originally wanted to bring an adaptation of “A Doll’s House” called “Nora” to the screen, and instead decided to concentrate on this very American play with arguably the most iconic characters and memorable lines around…but do it with a Norwegian director and an Australian cast.  Blanchett said she had always shied away from the role of Blanche and it scared her.  But, she admitted, she’s “always scared.”

Joel Edgerton, who played Stanley Kuwalski, chimed in:  “Marlon Brando made a lasting impression in people who haven’t even seen the play.”  After six weeks of rehearsals, the cast dropped their accents, conquered their nerves, liberated themselves from the past and “brought the play home.”

The set – mostly a studio apartment divided with tacky flowered curtains – enhanced the claustrophobic nature of the production and set the scene for one of the great showdowns in fictional history:  the town princess-turned “town character” Blanche vs. the “Survivor of the Stone Age” Stanley.  Clearly, a studio apartment just isn’t big enough for the both of them and the climactic drunken rape scene was devastating in showing just how lost these two really were:  him, stumbling around violently in his wedding night red silk gown; her, makeup smeared, dress ripped open and mumbling under a shroud.

Shrouds, darkness and corners played a major role in the production.  Blanche has much to hide.  She has fallen far from grace and love, which she feels is the only thing that can restore her to the confident Grand Dame she once was.  That’s why Russell Kiefel, who played the Strange Man who at the very end comes at Stella’s request to take Blanche away, was asked to play the role like “the man she’d been waiting for.  It was like setting a bird free.”

It’s true:  Here, a lingerie-clad Blanchett, skin and emotions bare of all pretenses, looking to the Strange Man for her rest.  “I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers,” she says with relief and with a light shining overhead.

Posted by: Mariela

This Week’s Top Five: Answers to the Proust Questionnaire

As we round up the year 2009, we here at Matterful thought we would take stock of ourselves with the age-old Proust Questionnaire. Named after Marcel Proust, the esteemed French writer who passionately answered these parlor questions time and time again, the Proust Questionnaire has been made popular by its back page inclusion in Vanity Fair magazine. Here are questions 1 through 5:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Mariela:  The waves and a sunset

Mariola: Warm weather, a sunny beach, cocktails, all shared with people I love

Autumn: Half-awake on a Caribbean beach with sun on my skin and wind in the palms

Jenni: Watching a lovely sunset, be it in the Caribbean, Hawaii or Florida, with an ice cold cocktail in hand and family/friends close by

Jen Mae: Perfect happiness for me is being on vacation with my husband and daughter. It’s about 72 degrees outside, just brisk enough for a light sweater.  The sun is shining in a clear blue sky and we’re rolling around on a cool blanket of green grass under a blooming tree.  A Jacaranda or Saucer Magnolia would be nice. Something like this:

Lisa: Visiting a place I’ve never been with someone I love

2. What is your greatest fear?

Mariela: Losing a loved one

Mariola: Mediocrity

Autumn: My parents’ deaths

Jenni: Going grey, oh wait that’s already happening … I guess I’d have to say losing my son.

Jen Mae: I fear I’ll make the wrong decision.

Lisa: Developing a fear of death later in life

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Mariela: Too quick to react at times when I should take a breath and think

Mariola: My inability to network

Autumn: I am an immediate and harsh critic.

Jenni: Lack of self-confidence

Jen Mae: My indecision. These questions are killing me. I have several possible answers and can’t decide which to declare.

Lisa: I bad at admitting when I’m wrong.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Mariela: Disrespect, in its many shapes and sizes

Mariola: Cowardice

Autumn: Willful ignorance

Jenni: Pompousness … or back hair, it’s a tough call

Jen Mae: The inability or lack of desire to see through the eyes of another

Lisa: Insincerity, not following through

5. Which living person do you most admire?

Mariela: J.K. Rowling

Mariola: Joan Didion

Autumn: Agnes Varda

Jenni: Anyone who overcomes huge obstacles in life, such as substance abuse

Jen Mae: There’s no indecision here. It’s my husband.  He’s the only person I know well enough to truly admire.  He’s strong, forgiving, patient, giving, compassionate, witty, and intelligent. He inspires me to be a better person and I’m pretty sure I do the same for him. Cheesy? Maybe. But, it’s the truth, Ruth.

Lisa: Our president: smart, graceful and someone I am proud to have represent America to the world

Charlie Day Time! Season 2, Episode 6: The Gang Runs for Office

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Charlie care so much about anything before this episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” “These are, like, an investment. This is my future here,” Charlie says about his immaculately kept album of Garbage Pail Kids. It’s the first time, I feel, that he’s ever meticulously catalogued and taken ownership for anything.

I wonder if we’ll learn anything from this information.


definition 2b: a person primarily interested in political office for  selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons.]

I did not make up that definition. Merriam Webster did. “Selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons” seem to be the sole reason that The Gang does anything, so it was only time before they attempted to become politicians. Mac claims that they’re being ‘blasted in the ass’ by taxes and Sweet Dee’s retort is to go vote. This enrages not only Charlie, but the rest of the gang. Frank says ‘you have to be a real low life piece of shit to get involved in politics.” Think The Gang qualifies?

After being overpowered by both Mac and Frank as Dennis’ campaign manager, Charlie slips into the pub’s office to do a little backdoor wheeling and dealing to win Dennis over. He convinces Dennis with the flare of a 40s muckracker. Phase one complete.

While Mac is trying to solicit a bribe from union reps and Sweet Dee is getting all whored up to run too, Dennis and Charlie hit the mall to press the flesh of their constituents.

Then, in typical Charlie fashion, we find him embrace his demented, creative side while shooting an advertisement for Dennis’ campaign. Here is the speech he scripts for Dennis: “Hello fellow American.  This, you should vote, me.  I leave power.  Good!  Thank you. Thhhaaankk you!  If you vote me, I’m hot. Taxes, they’ll be lower.  Sun. The democratic vote for me is right thing to do Philadelphia, so do!” That coupled with the fact that Dennis is standing in front of two beach towels–one, a million dollar bill, the other an American flag–equals total political success, Charlie surely thinks.

It’s from this scene that we learn a few more things about Charlie: that he is dyslexic and that he shares the crusty ol’ futon with Dennis’ dad. It really just keeps getting better and better with him.

In obvious Deep Throat fashion, he meets with Frank in a dark parking garage to settle a bribe only to learn that the one thing he really cares about is at stake: his meticulous collection of Garbage Pail Kids. Charlie’s selfless side surfaces again because the next thing we see is Frank holding the album–Charlie gave it all up for Dennis! His dreams, his future! Whatta guy. Whatta idiot.

As soon as his hands are on the smear tape that Frank was holding over their campaign, Dennis just gives up on the campaign and we see Charlie finally flip. Like, for realz. He twitches, he pokes his head in and out like a lizard, he slams his shoe on the bar destroying the tape and he all around looses his shit. He gave up EVERYTHING, “my blood, sweat, tears… my Garbage Pail Kids.”

We have learned a valuable lesson about Charlie in this episode: he cares more about Garbage Pail Kids than reading, more about Dennis’ comptroller campaign than his Garbage Pail Kids and not at all about himself, his self esteem or the fact that he shares a couch with an old, sweaty bald man. Oh, and that he’ll always come out on the bottom of The Gang’s shit pile.

Class dismissed.


Just Did It: The Pixies’ “Doolittle” at Hammerstein Ballroom

“Got me a movie, Ah ha ha ho, Slicing up eyeballs, Ah ha ha ho!”

“Don’t know about you, but I am un chien Andalusia!”

The Pixies performed the second of four shows last night at the Hammerstein Ballroom here in NYC to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their mega-successful album “Doolittle,” playing the record in its entirety from start to finish. Jay Reatard opened and played his long, loud, and widely-grafted re-creation of the best of all rock n’ roll music from the 70s on. Then a few video screens projected some of the re-edited and re-formatted black and white imagery from “Un Chien Andalou,” a film by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali shot in 1929. Notorious for its slicing of an eyeball with a razor blade, the film inspired The Pixies’ first song “Debaser” off their 1989 album.

Yet the band started their set with four B-sides. Clever, I thought, because once a record starts there ain’t a lot of room to deflect the listener from presupposing the next track. Then came “Debaser” and the crowd knew where to go from there.

Last night was the first time I have seen The Pixies perform live. They disbanded in 1993 while I was still in high school so it’s no real surprise that I missed them during their heyday. Black Francis’ vocals were spot-on strong and Kim Deal brought adorable excitement for the band, which stayed remotely quiet throughout. Her vocal parts/songs have always been some of my favorites. Lovering’s drums were far from rusty, in fact at points they were the absolute highlight, and Santiago provided the surf rock-solid foundation. For all the criticism they are receiving for brazenly capitalizing off an old album’s years long success with steep ticket prices, I think they rocked it and maybe it is because of the fact that I’ve had 20 years to harbor enthusiasm and memories for this album.

I have learned, through this show and seeing Built to Spill perform their entire album “Perfect from Now On,” that there is something familiar and honest about playing a record live as it was recorded. As a fan, I know what I’m getting and the surprise comes in finding out how much I really enjoy that.

Posted by: Autumn.

The Weight of Sotomayor

Born in the Bronx to recently transplanted Puerto Rican parents, Sonia Sotomayor grew up in a housing project and, as the most recent addition to the bench of the Supreme Court, encompasses the true American dream.  So, who better to throw the first pitch of the 2009 Yankees season (in the new Yankees stadium in the Bronx, no less)? Could this have been a premonition that the Yankees would win the World Series this year?

But, the most pressing point about Hon. Sonia Sotomayor is how she will rule in upcoming Supreme Court cases.  With any judicial appointee the question becomes how will this person affect the “balance of the court,” i.e. will he/she tend to have liberal or conservative leanings?  Will he/she be an activist judge who assumes the role of shaping legal policy or will he/she apply the law evenhandedly regardless of politics?

To answer this question we have to look at Sotomayor’s own politics and experiences as well as the Justice whom Sotomayor replaced, in this case Justice Souter.  Certainly Sotomayor’s race and socioeconomic background have played a pivotal role in forming how she applies the law and what kinds of cases she is sympathetic to.  However, she also worked as a prosecutor in New York for five years and, while not overzealous, she nonetheless may have a more staunch view on criminal cases.  As for Justice Souter, he typically sided with the pack of more liberal leaning Justices on the Court, but he did not sit on the far- reaching liberal end of the spectrum (Justice Ginsburg, for example, has berated the Court when they have made particularly conservative opinions).  For example, in his last opinion, Ricci v. DeStefano, Souter joined a dissent that agreed with minority firefighters that they were being discriminated against by their employer.  So, my guess is that Sotomayor will rule more liberally on social issues, more conservatively on criminal ones and, in replacing Souter, the overall balance of the court will not likely shift much, but may become stauncher on criminal procedure cases.  But it will also be interesting to see how, as the first Latina/o appointee, Sotomayor’s personal and professional nuances will influence the overall dynamic of the bench.

Currently, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments for a criminal case out of Florida where the issue is whether a juvenile can be sentenced to life in prison for a non-homicide crime.  The defendant is African American and was thirteen at the time of the crime — defense is arguing that there was racism at the trial and that the defendant is innocent.  I am anxious to see how Sotomayor and the rest of the court come out on this case and the many others on the 2009/2010 docket, including cases addressing the death penalty, animal cruelty and gun control.

Posted by: Jenni

Just Did It: After Miss Julie

After Miss Julie

Ben Brantley of the New York Times started his review by saying, “Let me just say up front that I was rooting for Sienna Miller.” Let me just say I wasn’t rooting for Sienna Miller. Maybe the better statement is: I wasn’t expecting much from Sienna Miller. As “movie stars” are showing up on Broadway more and more often, and many times it feels uncomfortable and forced (Julianne Moore in The Vertical Hour, anyone?), I didn’t expect much from Miller. I was pleasantly surprised by her and After Miss Julie.

Miller (as Julie) and the other Miller—Johnny Lee Miller as John—do “crazy” its justice. They both do neurotic, spiteful, sad, needy, fearful, mean…very well. Their range was impressive. One of the most titillating dialogues:

JULIE: Am I your conquest? Nothing more?
JOHN: Don’t force me to be cruel.
JULIE: Tell me what I am.
JOHN: A fuck.
JULIE (childlike, to herself): I’m all dirty.
JOHN: So wash.
JOHN (He stands): Which one, Madame? There were so many.
JULIE: You’re still a servant, you scared little squaddie, you’re still a servant.
JOHN: And you’re a servant’s slut.

Weaknesses: Miller was stretching to fill the shoes of her bourgeoisie character, a little like she was playing dress up. The segues between the fits of rage and passion felt a little quick, forced. But maybe that was just how crazy and scattered the characters were supposed to be.

Unexpected delight: Marin Ireland who wowed me in Reasons to Be Pretty as the third part of this on-stage trio.

Good show, well worth my discount ticket price, and I’d have to say it’s given me a little more faith in both Millers—and maybe even the plethora of big names on Broadway.

Posted by: Lisa

Will the Real Women of the Year Please Stand Up?

It could have been Sonia Sotomayor, who went from a Bronx housing project all the way to become the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice and only the third woman Justice ever.  She kept her cool under ridiculous charges of racism during her confirmation hearings and singlehandedly changed the landscape of the highest judicial body of the country.


It could have been Salma Hayek, who breast fed a starving baby when she visited Sierra Leone.  This sucking heard round the world — spread virally by an incredibly human and touching video — changed people’s opinions about breast milk, which boosts immune systems (particularly important in third world countries).

It could have been Xerox’s Ursula Burns, who in July became the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company.  And, guess what?  She started there as an intern!


Instead, one of the 12 Glamour Women of the Year  and one of the five corresponding December covers is none other than Rihanna.  Rihanna…who was severely beaten by her boyfriend Chris Brown this year.  Rihanna…who for nine months remained silent on the issue.  Rihanna…who only now is speaking out and (coincidentally?) also has an album dropping this month.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think she should speak out and she probably needed some time to physically and emotionally heal before she did.  However, Glamour’s signature program claims to celebrate “inspiring women who are changing the world.”  So, why didn’t they wait until she opened shelters for victims of domestic abuse, booked high school speaking engagements to raise awareness for the epidemic of violence or embarked on a tour in which all proceeds support victims?  Why didn’t they wait until she actually used this horrible tragedy as an opportunity to affect change?

It’s a mystery to me, except the obvious reason that they wanted to strike while the publicity fire was hot — no matter how off-brand the choice.

Here’s Glamour’s full list of 2009 honorees.

What I’d love to know is who you would have chosen in Rihanna’s place.

Posted by: Mariela

This Week’s Top Five: Scary Movies

In honor of one of our favorite holidays, we present you with our Top Five Scary Movies!


1. V.

Ok it is not a movie, but I watched the tv show as a kid and it scared me. I remember being home alone on a Friday night and watching this show, and being unable to turn off any light in the house. Diana was scary fierce, though watching this clip now seems a lot less frightening.

2.Rosemary’s Baby

It is not really scary, but one of the best films in the horror/suspense genre, along with Polanski’s earlier film, Repulsion, which I still think was a huge influence on Lynch. And Mia Farrow really did eat that raw piece of liver.

3. Jaws

We are all scared to go in the ocean thanks to Steven Spielberg.

4. Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me

I mean David Lynch, but the icky guy at her bed…and the general confusion of the film.

5. Watcher in the Woods

I watched this movie as a kid at a family slumber party. And other than being young, I think all of us girl cousins helped make each other even more scared. But let’s admit Bette Davis as an old woman is creepy enough.


1.  John Carpenter’s The Thing.
The first time I ever saw this film I watched it alone in my apartment, during daylight hours.  After it was over, even though it was still daylight and nothing spooky was going on, I was scared!  I think I checked under my bed that night.  I believe I was around 25 years old.

Besides, it is scary seeing Wilford Brimley as a relatively young man.


2.  Nosferatu, directed by F. W. Murnau

A silent but creepy!  Max Schreck as Count Orlok is one of the most iconic images in cinema’s history.  This vampire is not sexy and DOES NOT twinkle in the sun.  He just scares the bejesus out of you and sucks your blood.

3.  I Spit On Your Grave, directed by Meir Zarchi

This movie isn’t necessarily scary for all the gore that happens later on in the film, but for the violet act that occurs to cause such gore.  Besides Ms. 45, this is probably thought of as one of the quintessential rape/revenge movies.  It is the ultra-violet gang rape that occurs to the female lead that really turns your stomach, though.  The rape scene is so long and so brutal, that you actually cheer on the lead and she targets and kills each of her attackers (even the mildy-retarded one).

4.  Last House on the Left, the original 1972 film directed by Wes Craven

Wes Craven is a horror God.  His early films are nothing short of brilliant.  This films involves not just everyone’s own worst nightmare (especially women’s), but also every parent’s worst nightmare.  The story of two young girls who go out for a night on the town only to be captured by escaped convicts.  The girls are held captive, rape, beaten up, humiliated, and eventually killed.  Chance of fate has it that they are killed right outside one of the girl’s home.  Her parents then find their daughter’s body floating in the river nearby.  The revenge that then takes place on the killers is goretasically beautiful.

5.  Night of the Living Dead, directed by George A. Romero

The founding father of zombie movies.  Enough said.

Jen Mae:

1. Faces of Death

I should begin by saying, except for on very rare occasions, I was not allowed to watch television, movies, or listen to secular music until I was about 13 years old. My mom was a bit of a religious nut, so I had to be crafty in finding entertainment.  After watching ‘Faces of Death’ on VHS at a friend’s house, I sort of understood why Mom wanted to keep me so sheltered. I’ve since become somewhat desensitized to violence, but I was only ten when I watched this and didn’t know that much of the footage was fake. I was terrified.

2. The Exorcist

This one made me think I was going to hell, for sure.  At the beginning of the movie I could really identify with Regan. The sacrilegious imagery, that creepy demon voice, and the notion that it may have been based on a true story really scared the bejesus out of me.

3. The Shining

This is possibly one of my top ten favorite movies ever.  Isolation, madness, blood gushing elevators, shiver inducing shrills, psychic powers, and Scatman Crothers for a mentor…what more could you ask for?

4. 28 Days Later

I enjoy zombie movies for their social commentary, but generally don’t find them scary.  This was an exception.  I think the quick editing and the speedy, tweaky, zombie movement helped keep me frightened.

5. Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear

Although this isn’t really a scary movie, per se, it freaked me out. In my adolescence, I developed a bit of a thing for older convict types and this movie set me straight. I found Deniro’s performance captivating, and his chemistry with Juliette Lewis very believable.  I can safely say I jumped a few times during this flick.  I suggest you watch it at home, in the dark, by yourself.  Haven’t seen the original yet, but it’s on queue.


1. Single White Female:

It just keeps getting more and more out of control and no one notices it happening. I remember seeing at as a kid and being so scared to ever have to live by myself.

2. The Shining:

Typical terror at its best.

3. The Pursuit of Happyness:

Definitely not scary is typical horror movie style, but this movie terrified me. I found it soul-sickening. For weeks I was panicked about how easy it could be for my life to fall apart and end up the street.

4. Cape Fear:

Robert DeNiro is CREEPY. Bad dream, pervy old man creepy.

5. Blair Witch Project:

I saw it right when it came out when there were still rampant rumors that it was a real documentary. Even though you knew it couldn’t be, it still felt like it was more real than anything I’d ever seen before.


For most of my life, I haven’t really been a ‘scary movie’ lover. In fact until recent years, I sucessfully avoided Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist and Friday the 13th. Wendy would probably call me a pussy at this point in the conversation. Of the few that I did watch, these are the ones that F’ed me up.

1. Jaws

I remember seeing this opening scene through the crack of a door in my friends basement. We were spying on her older brother, as we often did, and needless to say I was NOT prepared for what I was about to see. A girl stripping one, and two, watching her flop around like a rag doll until she was pulled into the abyss. Is it the original that also cuts to her hand washed onto the shore with the crabs?! guh. This one didnʼt scare me in my dreams as much as it did when I body of water Iʼm in til this day.

Picture 1
2. Psycho

Let’s just say my shower curtain is set up so that I can see the bathroom door in case of THIS:

Picture 3

3. The Ring

When my roommate in college and I rented this, I was ‘over the hype of the ring, but yeah I’d watch it.’ We paused occasionally to confirm the noises we were hearing were coming from the washer/dryer in the basement and that it was only the tree branches brushing up against her window that were making the sounds from outside. I felt I had to make it though, and as we were discussing the film and how I hated the fake resolve… the 13″ TV/VHS combo that was black, all of a sudden turned on and all we saw was snow. I’ve never screamed so loud at a TV or jumped up that fast to turn one off. It didn’t even help that I knew that they automatically rewind and turn the VHS player of when the tape reaches the end. And I slept in her bed that night while my room, three feet away remained empty.

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4. Candy man

I get freaked out if I say candyman more than three times in my head. In fact, as I type this I’m trying not to repeat it. ARGH! HATE THIS MOVIE!!

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5. The Room

Even though this is number 5 on my list, I’d say its number one overall. The fact that this was even made is scary on so many levels that it’s best seen in its original form. Please enjoy.

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Posted by: Autumn.

Just Did It: The Kitchen’s COMMES TOUJOURS Here I Stand

BIG DANCE THEATRE’s production of ‘COMMES TOUJOURS Here I Stand’ intrigued me not for its dance or theatrical components but solely because they were using Agnes Varda’s 1961 film ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’ as a found object. I was really interested in how that would work.


Agnes Varda’s film ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’ follows through the streets of Paris a young chanteuse who fears she has cancer and is awaiting a biopsy result at 7pm. From the beginning of the film where she has her Tarot cards read, the only part shot in color, through to the end she encounters friends, colleagues and strangers and reflects on fate, mortality and herself.

Performed at New York’s THE KITCHEN, ‘COMMES TOUJOURS Here I Stand’ takes Varda’s film and uses a set of three swirling screens to catch and reflect video (some being recorded and projected live, other recorded before) while the actors bob and weave throughout their interpretation of the film. The set’s constant re-invention reflects the varying scenes from the film not in real time (as the film constructs itself) but abridged and adapted to fit in multiple costume changes, character switches, side stories and dance.

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The choreography was demanding and exact; the actors flexible and fluid. The re-invention climaxed into a massive video screen of falls leaves with an almost empty stage, save for the heroine and the stranger walking towards her destiny.

Comme Toujours Here I Stand at The Kitchen from Big Dance Theater on Vimeo.

I look forward to future BIG DANCE THEATRE performances.

Posted by: Autumn.