I have been a busy girl these past few weeks. Busy! Moving into
my new house (Y’all! Guess what! I moved into my new house!
Feel free to send expensive gifts), Easter, Ziz coming into town –
it’s been crazy around here. I feel like I haven’t had a spare
second to just sit on my (new) couch and watch my (new)
television. Which is sad. Woe!
Except that I am lying a little, because apparently, I HAVE had time
to sit on my (new) couch and watch my (new) television. And let me
tell you a little something about this. I signed up for the expensive
cable package, the one with HBO, because I will not be without my
HBO. But when you sign up for HBO, you can’t just sign up for
HBO. No. You have to sign up for sixty-three HBO’s, all of which
are different and some of which are in Spanish, plus you have to
get this large black box which requires an entirely different remote
control from the one I am always holding when I am trying to
change the channel. And because I have all these special perks of
another remote control and big black box and sixty-three HBO’s not-
all-of-which-are-English, I get to pay more. Much, more more.
More than the coffee table cost.
So I feel like I am obligated to watch that damn HBO. I must get my
money’s worth! So even if it is 3 a.m. and I have to get up for work
in three hours, I will still plonk myself down on the (new) sofa and
turn on the (new) television, and figure out which remote control
changes the channels, and see what’s on HBO.
Usually, know what is on HBO? Nothing. Nothing is really on HBO
at 3 a.m. This does not stop me. Nothing will stand in the way of
me getting my money’s worth!
Which is why, in the last two weeks, when I have been as busy as I
have ever been in my LIFE, I have seen the following programs:
HBO Families in Crisis (two separate episodes! One time
where Calista Flockhart has an eating disorder! She throws
up in tupperware!)
The Secret Garden
Doc Hollywood (twice. In a row. BACK TO BACK.)
And, most horrifying of all:
What a Girl Wants. Two times. In full. Please come kill me.
The thing about What a Girl Wants, which was so bad that I was
mesmerized (Mesmerized!), is that it has a tendency to be on all
the time. So one afternoon, while I was going through boxes, I
turned on the HBO to get my money’s worth, and started watching.
Casually. I was not yet addicted; I was just doing it for fun. I was in
control. I could stop ANY TIME.
But then I realized, quite by surprise, that I had stopped going
through boxes. In fact, I was sitting on top of the boxes I was
supposed to be going through. And staring, slackjawed, at the
This is the first sign of a problem. The second sign would be when
I did not immediately begin screaming at finding myself in this
position, but rather, settled in on the couch to finish watching the
movie. It got me, y’all. It got me.
But that is not the worst of it. Despite the feelings of guilt and
shame I felt after watching the movie, when Ziz and El Dukay came
over on Sunday night, and we turned on the (new) television and
sat on the (new) couch, with the intention of maybe watching a little
Iron Chef or something else that does not indicate the Death of
Culture, the channel was still set to HBO. And...y’all. It was on
again. And it was...it was just starting.
And almost immediately, both Ziz and I let out ear-piercing screams.
“Oh, my GOD. I watched this movie the other day,” I admitted.
“Sweet Jesus, so did I,” hollered Ziz. “It was on HBO!”
“Exactly,” I told her, sadly shaking my head. “Exactly.”
But then, people. Guess what we did not do? We did not
change the channel, is what we did not do. We started watching
the movie again, carefully filling El Dukay in on pertinent
background information, to make sure he fully understood the
movie, because it’s SO FUCKING COMPLICATED, AND ALL.
After about sixteen minutes of us explaining, and watching,
and (sigh) remembering the dialogue BEFORE IT WAS ACTUALLY
SPOKEN (“An impossibly large bird! Just fell off that wall!”),
something occurred to me. While we were complaining, loudly,
about how hideous this movie was, and how god-awful terrible, and
how we would rather be having hot pokers inserted into our eye
sockets than have to watch Colin Firth dance around like a spaz in
leather pants (do not get excited. I love me some Colin Firth, and I
cannot tell you how terrifying that scene is), we were, nevertheless,
“We’re still...we’re still watching.”
“Oh, dear God. We are.”
“We haven’t changed the channel.”
“I know. Good lord.”
“We’re not...we’re not changing! The channel!”
“You’re right. You’re so very right.”
“And yet..yet we have already seen this movie.”
“I know. It sucked us in once before.”
“It is sucking again!”
“It is! It is sucking anew!”
“WHAT IS THIS FREAKISH MAGNET OF A MOVIE THAT IS
MAKING US UNABLE TO TURN AWAY. WHY ARE WE
POWERLESS IN THE FACE OF WHAT A GIRL WANTS?”
At which point, I am not lying, El Dukay snapped that he was
trying to watch the movie, and couldn’t hear, what with Ziz and I
talking the whole way through. Which was just about the last
straw, and after we blinked at him for about two seconds, we all just
completely lost it, and laughed so hard and so loudly that the dogs
became terrified and one peed a little bit on the floor.
But then we...we went back to watching the movie. We totally did.
But, because we’re so cool, we did so with irony. We composed a
list of Miss Doxie’s Least Favorite Cinematic Conceits. And
know what? This movie has them all. This movie has every last
bad film cliche known to God or man or Hollywood. This is the
prime example of a movie where the writers were phoning it in.
From their phones.
Anyway. Want to know what Miss Doxie’s Least Favorite
Cinematic Conceits are? Here they are. We also kept a
concurrent list of Major Fucking Problems in Continuity, but in
the interest of the two of you out there who have not been similarly
sucked in by this film, because it is clearly an epidemic, I will not
share them here. Also, I can’t remember them, possibly because
by the end of the movie, I will freely admit that I was drunk.
CINEMATIC CONCEIT I HATE, NUMBER ONE.
Seventeen-year-olds who need their independence. She’s clearly
old enough, okay? So what if she doesn’t pay any rent or go to
college yet and still lives at home eating your food and using your
utilities for her long-ass showers? You’re not the boss of her.
You’ve got to STOP living her life FOR her, MOM.
In related news, I would like to announce that I am forty. Seems to
have just happened.
CINEMATIC CONCEIT I HATE, NUMBER TWO.
The eighteen-year-old boyfriend conceit. He is pretty. He is
sensitive. He writes poetry. He likes shopping. He is perfectly
content to watch her try on clothes.
That is GREAT boyfriend material. Perfect. If, you know. You are
another BOY. Because sister, those are not the actions of a
teenaged straight man. And as a woman who has dated not one,
not two, but three teenage men who later came out of the closet
(yes, I thank you. It’s true), let me give you a little piece of advice:
IF HE KNOWS HOW TO CURTSY, YOU NEED TO GET THE
EVERLOVING FUCK OUT OF THERE. This will not end well,
Amanda Bynes. This will not end well.
CINEMATIC CONCEIT I HATE, NUMBER THREE.
This may not strictly be a cinematic conceit, but I hate it anyway.
Picture this. There is a large chandelier, and then there’s all kinds
of boring backstory about the chandelier being important and
historical, and there’s a party going on, but it’s boring! So she
turns up the bass because that is CLEARLY what wild American
children do, and then people start can-can dancing, because that,
too, is CLEARLY what wild American children do, and then
everyone dances in a circle under the chandelier, but not directly
under it, more around it, and still in circle formation! And then,
things start shaking, and the glasses on the table start vibrating,
and then everyone looks up at the chandelier. The very important
plot point that is the chandelier. That has its own backstory. And is
now vibrating. Because of the bass.
What do you think happens next?
I know! I’m stumped, too. I have no fucking clue.
CINEMATIC CONCEIT I HATE, NUMBER FOUR.
Ways to demonstrate that dad is loosening up:
He will try on his old leather pants and dance in front of the
He will get a temporary tattoo.
He will drive a motorbike. Fast! And not safely! But he will
wear a helmet.
Use liberally. Mix and match. Shake and bake. All together = this
CINEMATIC CONCEIT I HATE, NUMBER FIVE.
When one person? Is talking about another person? About how
responsible she is? And grown up? And every time he says
something? They totally cut back to her, and she’s all going
CRAZY! She’s JUMPING on the BED! She’s SKIDDING across the
FLOOR! She’s...she’s...DANCING! You guys, she is NOT
responsible and GROWN UP! But he totally thinks she is. And
he’s totally saying she is, at, like, the exact same time that she’s
jumping on the bed!
Oh, my gosh. That is just so ironic. Don’t you think?
CINEMATIC CONCEIT I HATE, NUMBER SIX.
People like you better when you’re Just Being Yourself.
HA! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! You crazy writers, with the lying.
Anyway. I could go on and on. If you can imagine a twee little
movie cliche, I promise you, it is there. Evil stepsister? Check.
Dad loves her so much that he takes her shopping? Check! The
musician poor-boy boyfriend turns out to be the wealthy grandson
of aristocrats, who, at sixteen, saw the hypocrisy of it all and
dropped out of high society? Checkity check CHECK, bitches!
It’s sickening. It’s disgusting. Y’all, it’s fucking AWESOME.
So if you need me, I’ll probably be sitting on my (new) couch. In
front of my (new) television. Watching What a Girl Wants. And
mourning the death of my soul.