This Is Halloween – Part *Boo*

Welcome to the second post chronicling the various Halloween costumes I have crafted and in which I have strutted about over the years.  I don’t even care that that last sentence is really dense, so go back and read it again if you have to.  That’s right, here on Psychobabble, I make you work.  Or you can just skim.  Whatever.

In case you missed it, slink on back to my first Halloween post to see the blogging debut of my peanut head I had as a toddler, as well as some kickass costumes brought to you by the 80s and 90s… and a dash of whoreish makeup.

This one time, at band camp… – When I first got to college, some random dude on my dorm floor told me I looked like ‘that band camp chick from the American Pie movies.’  I said, ‘Gee, thanks, drunk guy!’ and then I looked in the mirror and knew he was on [to] something…besides the drugs.  That, my friends, was where I got the idea for that year’s Halloween costume.

aaaaand that’s my recorder I got at Girl Scout Camp, for serious.

I dyed my hair an awesome shade of red, I borrowed running shorts from my crazy runner roommate (because all runners are automatically crazy in my diagnostic book), and I ironed on the band camp letters to the shirt that I still wear to this day.  Don’t worry, I made sure to wash off the recorder.  Safety first.

Silly Caucasian girl likes to play with Samurai swords – When I was in college, there was no cooler badass chick in the movies than Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.

all I need now is the yellow motorcycle.

This is my version of The Bride’s yellow leather motorcycle suit.  You know, the one where she wipes the floor with the Crazy 88.  My mom and I searched for what felt like for-ev-er for that yellow jacket.  I think we finally found it in a Forever 21, and it actually has “Italia” embroidered across the chest, and so we hid the letters with various patches we found at a local army surplus store, then we sewed on the black stripes.  We searched in vain for yellow pants, and so my mom actually made these for me because she’s a rockstar.  The shoes were mine, and the sword was plastic.

I dyed my hair blonde(r)…or as blonde as I could get it, short of bleaching it.  I looooove playing around with makeup, and since I couldn’t bring myself to douse my new yellow jacket and pants with fake blood, I made sure my face looked as realistic as possible.  This year, I won second place in a costume contest.  The following year, I wore this same costume in the Netherlands during my study abroad program, and my makeup was realistic enough, and Halloween was foreign enough to my Dutch professor that he actually tried to get me to leave class and see a doctor until I shouted out “Happy Halloween!”  His response:  “Oh you silly Americans…”

At this point in the game of life, Brian was forced joined in on the Halloween fun!

This is one doodle that can’t be undid, homeskillet – I was obsessed with the movie Juno when it came out.  Diablo Cody, I wish I could pay you to script my life, and Ellen Page, your delivery was like Daria came to life for me.

No, this is not a food baby all right? I’ve taken like three pregnancy tests, and I’m forshizz up the spout.

Brian and I bought our shirts online, and they were the actual shirts the actors wore in the movie: Dancing Elk Condors for Brian, and Slinky for me.  It’s fun for a boy or a girl!   I dyed my hair brown (I think I like any excuse to dye my hair).  We bought gold gym shorts and then my mom hemmed them up super short.   I think the best challenge was figuring out how to make my pregnant belly.  Believe it or not, under there is a Spiderman pillow held in place with and old tube top my mom had.  Not shown are props of orange TicTacs for Brian and a jug of SunnyD for me.

Those girls with their fishnets and sexy nicknames – So my obsession with Ellen Page continued after I went to see the movie Whip It.  Even though I wasn’t very recognized that year, I still had a blast dressing up as her roller derby character, Babe Ruthless.

Be your own hero

What made this costume especially cool for me was that her roller derby team was called the Hurl Scouts, and I rocked the Girl Scouts for 11 awesome years.  Their derby uniforms were sexy, modified versions of a scouting uniform.  I found my dress in a department store and got real Girl Scout patches left over from when I was in scouts.  Fun fact – the red 22 numbers are actually Boy Scout numbers, so I ordered those directly from the boys in charge.  I wore green tights and my knee pads from when I played volleyball.  My helmet looks super rad (not even close)…it’s my bike helmet made to look as round as possible with the yellow jammer star on the side.

Brian was an awesome version of Razor, the team coach, played by a Wilson brother.  And, sadly, we both went sans skates because we didn’t want to seriously injure ourselves trying to get into character.

Off with their heads!! – This was the year Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland came out, and I created my own version of the Queen of Hearts.

a need a little pink pig for my feet.

I found a red and black bridesmaids dress with pit stains at a thrift store, and then I bought more black and white fabric.  My mom helped me sew on the black side panels and then we ironed on the black and white hearts.  We ironed stabilizer onto some white fabric and fashioned the stiff collar which we pinned to the shoulder straps of the dress.  My mom made my crown by pinning felt around a plastic water bottle that had been cut in half.

Brian went as the Mad Hatter, and I fought him to be able to put makeup on his face.  Such a good sport, this guy!!

we’re so good at (pretending) to be crazy

I want you to help me catch a killer of women – Last year, I went as Lisbeth Salander, aka The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Again, I dyed my hair, but this stuff was only spray on and wash off, because I only wanted to be a badass for one night.   The best part about this costume was custom making the temporary tattoos.  I bought temp tattoo paper online and printed out the two images I wanted – Lisbeth’s dragon and wasp.  They came out perfectly if I do say so myself.  After doing this I could totally understand why people get the real variety.

Wasp.

I bought fake piercings at a costume store and put them on my nose and ears.  Holy crap did those things hurt!!  And then I basically walked around that night punching people in the face.

So, I hope you enjoyed the chronicles of Melissa’s Halloween obsession.

Happy trick-or-treating!

Kicking Ass and Taking Names (in more ways than one)

Since the boyman has been hunkered down in his hole working on his thesis, the two of us haven’t been to many (any) movies recently. So now that he’s all good and gradumacated (pause for applause), we’re going hog wild!!

Basically, we struck a deal. I love women kicking ass and taking names, and Brian loves history and war where men are kicking ass and taking names. This means we went to go see Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and War Horse.

SPOILER ALERT! I reference a few details of these movies, but I don’t spoil any endings. Hopefully you’ve either already seen these movies cuz you’re superfly, or you don’t care about them being minorly spoiled because, hey, it’s better than getting your toes gnawed off by a rabid clown.

TRIGGER ALERT as I reference events of sexual violence.

Both of these movies are about wild, spirited creatures who are being controlled by others more privileged than they are. Both of these movies involve intense violence, perseverance, devotion, and justice. It’s very possible that this is where the similarities end, although if I was in a pinch I could probably drag this on for a few more paragraphs.

Have you ever wanted to watch a movie so moving, so beautifully stunning, so captivating, but still have that constant reminder that you’re in a movie theater surrounded by cranky old people??! Then see War Horse!

I don’t understand why older folks feel it’s ok to talk through movies while at the theater. Do they even realize they are doing it? Do they realize it and not give a fuck? It was all I could do not to turn around and ironically ask them if their parents had ever taught them any manners.

Not only did these cranky-pants folks comment throughout the movie, the things they said were in no way contributing to the richness of the entertainment (although, now that I think about it, unless you’re at Rocky Horror, commenting at the screen will in no way improve the experience). The asinine comments can be placed neatly into 3 categories. Some examples:

1. My personal life and hopes and dreams should be heard by everyone

“My arm hurts…it’s been hurting me all day.”
If you keep talking, more than just your arm will hurt, sister.

“This movie has been everything I had hoped for.”
That’s nice, lady. I had hoped for a movie free of bitching and moaning, but I guess we can’t both have what we want now can we?

2. Captain Obvious to the rescue!

“Whoa, there’s the horse!”

“Ooh, he’ll be competition!”

“Oh look, they’re in love!”

Let’s see if I understand. Either you don’t quite get what’s going on and you’re attempting to confirm your current comprehension level by indirectly asking for input from your fellow moviegoers, or you very much do understand and you are selflessly translating the difficult content so that those around you can catch up. Either that or you have no filter and can’t keep your trap shut. Not sure, though.

3. Maybe if I yell loud enough, Spielberg will hear me

“No, don’t kill him!”

“He’s not dead, he just needs medicine!”

Ok, so that last one was from Lord of the Rings, but still, I admire your sentiment and I actually agree with you that the horse still had more life left in him, but hows about we give the cute horse our moral support in controlled, mature silence?

[Edit: contrary to popular belief, these last two statements do not give away the ending of the movie.  It’s the kind of movie where you’re left guessing til the end.]

Bottom line is that if people want to talk during a movie, then STAY THE FUCK HOME and wait for Netflix.

So I guess that was my review for War Horse. I recommend it, especially if you like horses or war. And the story is an Odyssey story, in that it follows the horse through the war and through various owners, places, and predicaments. My only caution is if you have this rare disease where you’ll die from overactive tear ducts, then don’t see it. And also, if you’re like me and you can’t stand to see animals in pain, then there will be one heart-wrenching scene where you’ll have to look away while your body is heaving with sobs. Needless to say, I felt very cleansed and vulnerable in the aftermath. My therapist would be proud.

————————

Now for Dragon Tattoo.

I read the books, saw the Swedish movies, and now I am licking my chops for the American versions.  I am a huge stickler for staying true to books in the movie versions, and any significant deviation from the original plot warrants a strongly worded letter in my book.

I thought Noomi Rapace’s Swedish performance as Lisbeth in the original movies was pretty well done, and I was skeptical that any second attempt could improve on the character, especially when left in the hands of Americans.  David Fincher  and Rooney Mara did not disappoint!  In fact, I thought that Lisbeth was indeed made much more three-dimensional, we could see a few more layers to her, and there was even some time devoted to giving a peek into her traumatic past, tidbits of the story yet to unfold.  Yes, Lisbeth sometimes chooses violence, but she does so only when she’s provoked and only when she sees no other option.  When we see Lisbeth mugged on the subway, she first hesitates and then runs after the guy and fights only to get her bag back and then runs away.  After her escape, we see her heave a sigh of relief and not one of satisfaction.

In my personal opinion, Lisbeth suffers from severe PTSD (post traumatic stress). The books describe her ability to cut herself off from all emotion and often stare back blankly when she chooses not to answer a question (that choice is yet another way she is able to fight back against her imposed narrative of being victimized and having power taken away from her).  I feel that this vital piece of Lisbeth’s behavior hasn’t been expressed fully enough in either movie version.  The American version did a slightly better job in that Lisbeth avoids eye contact and physical proximity, but the Swedish movies had Lisbeth responding with too many quips, too normal, too wordy, too talkative.  I wish some director out there would have the balls to put that gut-wrenching silence up on screen.  Let her eyes and that defiant silence do the talking.

I very much preferred Daniel Craig as Blomkvist to the actor in the Swedish version for the same reason as Mara – Craig was more human, more 3D.  In this version, Blomkvist was warmer, sweeter and less stoic than in the Swedish version.  He was also a bit more passive and humble.  His reaction when Lisbeth first comes on to him in her no-nonsense fashion was endearing, with his wide-eyed, stammering, chivalrous concern.  And plus, Daniel Craig is an awesome piece of ass to look at.  Thank you, casting director!

Another concern going into this movie was how Americans might portray the rape and sex scenes.  On one hand, I appreciate Europeans being able to portray sex and sexual violence with more transparency, rawness, and in graphic detail.  The books were certainly in graphic detail, and so there’s that part of me that wants the movie versions told as closely to the book as possible.  The American scenes were not as graphic as the Swedish ones, and maybe it was because I have already seen the Swedish scenes that I didn’t feel like anything was lacking from the American scenes.  The fear and pain and anger were all still there.

In closing, an ode to Lisbeth.  I fucking love Lisbeth Salander. She is a tortured soul who doesn’t play the victim.  She uses violence only when she doesn’t see any other options, but when she does use violence it’s with awesome warpaint that would scare the shit out of Hitler, let alone pathetic rapist pigs.  She’s not a maneater or oppositional-defiant in a negative clinical sense.  She’s not empowered by the violence she inflicts, she merely wants to level the playing field that has been tipped against her favor even before she was born.  People like me relish watching her take her power back from her abusers in any creative way she can think of, like tattooing their heinous acts on their chests.  She does the things that I sometimes wish I could do and she says the things I sometimes wish I could say.  She doesn’t abide by gender norms or sexual norms, she does what she wants, when she wants, and basically just asks people to leave her the hell alone.  My inner angsty-feminist teenager squeals with pleasure when Lisbeth comes on the screen.