Mary HK Choi: OK, did you watch the last movie ever again after the theater? I did not. Not even on the plane or VOD.
Natasha Vargas-Cooper: NOPE.
MHKC: RIIIIGHT? No desire, right? Like, zip?
NVC: Zero! And I know why: 1) Zero camp 2) Too much bad teenage acting 3) No hot teen sex scenes. Once you've seen Spring Breakers the world is DIFFERENT. IT IS DIFFERENT NOW.
Our paranormal epics, action flicks, and monster movies are stuffed with metaphor. The billion-dollar success of Christopher Nolan’s bleak Dark Knight alerted studio executives back in 2008: metaphorical thinking was in. Summer blockbusters could grapple with bigger themes and darker allegories without turning off their sebum-soaked ticketholders. This gimmick has seeped across all the blockbuster industries: graphic novels, television, young adult books. You’re surely familiar with the biggies by now: The mutant struggle for assimilation is about gay civil rights. Vampires represent our anxiety about dying alone or, worse, never dying alone. Zombies, their uprising, and our anticipated armed struggle against the undead horde is metaphor for plague—specifically, AIDS.
Mallory: Has Crash suffered enough? Sure, it won homecoming queen at the Oscars, but then no one would let Crash sit with them at lunch for the next eight years. Ta-Nehisi Coates named it the worst movie of the decade; Natasha Vargas-Cooper referred to it as a "white guilt manipulation-a-thon." Even Slate wouldn't throw it a contrarian bone. It's The Most Popular Girl That Nobody Liked.
Anne Helen: No, it has not. This movie needs to keep suffering, because it will not stop hurting us. When it came up on Twitter the other night, someone suggested it's a PowerPoint presentation posturing as insight—and that feels true. [...]
After a long captivity, Mary HK Choi was liberated from the Rihanna plane, and now she and Natasha Vargas-Cooper are here to render verdict on the final installment of the Twilight series. Read the previous chat for Breaking Dawn here.
Natasha: I feel like this movie was essentially about outerwear?
Mary: I have so many opinions about the clothes.
Natasha: It was like a Nordstrom winter sale. NOT NEIMAN MARCUS.
Mary: Agreed. It was Burlington Coat Factory. BCF Holiday Sale for frenz and famz.
Natasha: This was definitely more of a coda to the series than an actual ending.
Mary: True, though I would approve of [...]
You can't really control what you dream about. And of course, you can't control who you have dream sex with, either. If I could, then my dreams would feature nothing but Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling, together. Yes. But the subconscious has its own ways, and sometimes the most random person will pop into our dreams for an intimate encounter. We asked these people to share the sordid details of their weirdest celebrity sex dream with us.
I don't know how "embarrassing" this registers as, but I did recently have a sex dream about Angelina Jolie. And it was one of those dreams where you're actually somehow [...]
The first in a series about youth.
When you're a kid, there are no limits on the world—everything seems possible. When he was seven, my brother truly believed that one day he'd wake up to see a T-Rex peering at him through his bedroom. (Yes, he had just watched Jurassic Park.) He also talked about inventing a plane that could withstand the strength of a tornado enough to fly within its wind currents, for a real bird's-eye view of the storm. To find out other would-be inventions and asked an assorted group of tech- and science-minded folks, "When you were young, what did you want to invent, discover or [...]
You're totally freelance now, is that right? I've never been offered or gone out for a staff job. There’s a lot of outdated dues paying I won’t abide by. I also don’t dig on having to deal with other personalities in an office setting or as a day to day thing. It wears me down and out. I worked as a union organizing and policy analyst for six years, and there was a lot of focus on having harmonious relationships with co-workers and members to make the organization function better. A lot of personality tweaking and processing that felt worth it for the sake of a much greater and loftier [...]
In honor of today, the first day of summer—the summer solstice—the day the northern hemisphere gets more daylight than any other day of the year, the astronomical first day of summer (as opposed to the American first day of summer, which is Memorial Day), we celebrate that seasonal genre of music known colloquially as the "Summer Jam." I asked some Awl contributors to name their favorites, and it turns out that the scope of the Summer Jam is much broader than I anticipated. There are four distinct types of Summer Jam: the Bouncy Summer Jam, for dancing at barbeques; the Languid Summer Jam, for falling asleep in the grass; [...]
Mary HK Choi: Let us make discussion! First Q: did you read the books?
Natasha Vargas-Cooper: I did not! On principle! I was like, “Make it work for me, Lionsgate."
Mary: RIGHT. Interesting. I did read the books! Second Q: did you read any reviews?
Natasha: NO. Mary, I wanted to love this, love it with my whole big heart I wanted to join a team, a district, pick a teen-lit boyfriend. I DID NONE OF THOSE THINGS. Q for you! Have you seen Battle Royale?
Mary: Of course! Racist.
Mary: Have you read The Lottery?
Natasha: Of course! Racist.
Mary: See, I liked it but that logline [...]
Natasha: Okay, what did you think of Techno Roman Madonna and her 13th legion last night?
Julie: Well, to me, Madonna is like the Catholic Church or Penn State. I’ll defend anything she does, even when she's guilty. I’m loyal to the institution.
Natasha: What did you think of her football fruits?
Julie: I thought they were great.
Natasha: DON'T LIE!!
Julie: I thought she should have worn different shoes.
Natasha: This is like when the Catholic Church or Penn State blamed a sex abuse scandal on a couple bad apples!
Julie: The medley was tight, the concepts were good, it looked great and I'd say she sounded [...]
Natasha: Did you love Breaking Dawn? Did you die during it? I DID.
Mary: I mean… CAN YOU EVEN? Because I maybe cannot. I went to a midnight showing on Court Street in Brooklyn with all of the Eighties babies. And we all DIED.
Mary: We were STARING at each other like we weren't COMPLETE strangers.
Mary: Let's begin with the wedding as this movie does… QUE CELLO.
Natasha: This is the wedding every young girl pictures, right?
Mary: Yes. Outside. With all those plants I can't name.
Natasha: Let me just say, I SWOONED.
Mary: OH IDK what this swoonage refers to because ME TOO 360.
Around 8 p.m. on Wednesday night, the 300 people who have been occupying the lawn of Los Angeles City Hall for the past three weeks split themselves into two hostile camps.
Occupy LA’s decision-making body, the General Assembly, has been responsible for conducting the encampment’s business. As in most other cities, the participating members handle everything from ensuring the nightly meeting take place to doing financial research on Los Angeles-based bankers to cleaning up the trash. But on Wednesday, a large group of dissenters decided to occupy the General Assembly’s usual outdoor meeting space and assert themselves as the new regime. One man, standing at the center of the swirling [...]
Cat shows are far more populist events than dog shows. Having a show dog can cost a fortune. Beyond paying large sums for the creature’s pure bloodline, there’s also training, kennel fees, handler salaries and all sorts of other costs. Less so with the kitties. You can get a purebred cat for well under a thousand dollars and because cats aren’t bred to do much more than live in total domesticity (lying about, sunning themselves, sprawling out inappropriately on piles of work papers, kneading air muffins) the rest comes rather cheaply. The owners of show cats mostly consider themselves to be hobbyists and regard an event like the Cat Fanciers' [...]
Tonight! Unless you're going to The Hairpin's drink session tonight in New York, then you must be in Los Angeles, because no one lives anywhere else, and so good news!
• 7:00p.m.: Matthew Gallaway reads at Book Soup, plus a Q&A with Natasha Vargas-Cooper, 8818 Sunset, West Hollywood.
Natasha: Oh, Julie, remember 1999, wobbling along the edge of a millennium, when the word ‘aught’ was nothing more than an arcane dictionary entry — we, the accountants of pop-culture, lamented about the future like two lugubrious characters from a Tony Kushner play? The cinematic runes spelled doom for us: American Beauty, The Matrix, and, god help us, The Green Mile. It seemed as though the fires of virility and danger of the mid-‘90s, you know, the kind that involved Chloe Sevingy’s nipples, were snuffed out under the mawkish gauze of the Ron Howards and Sam Mendevis. When it seemed that we would all have to endure another decade of [...]
Julie: Where do we start, Natasha?? How do we begin? There is no origin story for this triad, there is only legend as it has always existed: a solstice, a sword in a stone, a shadow on concrete getting longer, shifting its angle but always there, every day, from when you could first notice shapes that bodies made on the ground when they were lit by the sun.
Three kings, as it goes this time of year, are under consideration, and all three are mighty, formidable, ‘70s men of the revolution.
I’ll start with Jack Nicholson, and OF COURSE I would fuck him. Any era, any age, any weight, [...]