Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lazy Movie Weekend: Does Elvis talk to you?

This post is in no way shape or form about the great television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm a huge fan of the show but couldn't even begin to write anything about the it with any authority (especially given that one of my favorite episodes is "Once More with Feeling" - the one where they all end up singing the whole episode) and there are other people better suited to write about the show than me. Instead, I'm going to take us back to a wild time before we ever met Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy or thought about how much we love Spike (seriously, I prefer Spike over Angel every day of the week) and before Joss Whedon was the boss of all things ever (I'll basically watch anything he creates).

That time is 1992 and in 1992, Kristy Swanson was our Buffy. And it was awesome and hilarious. I can't even remember the first time I saw this movie but I know that I immediately loved it. It was one of the first non-Brat Pack/80s movies that I truly loved. So here we go, Island readers, the definitive list of why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the best.

  1. Kristy Swanson as Buffy. First, this is Duckie's Duckette from Pretty in Pink so already this is the greatest casting ever. Second, do you remember the movie Deadly Friend in which Kristy's character is murdered by her abusive father but then "saved" by her nerdy neighbor friend when he replaces her brain with his robot pal? Yeah, go ahead and check that one out of Netflix (it's one of those only could have happened in the 80s horror movies). Swanson's Buffy a great combination of vapid teen and kick ass superhero. Remember, it's her keen fashion sense that saves the day (more on this later).
  2. The soundtrack! It's like a little present from the 90s: C&C Music Factory, Matthew Sweet, Susanna Hoffs, The diVinyls, and Toad the Wet Sprocket. Can I live in the soundtrack for a bit? Between this and the Singles soundtrack, I could OD on nostalgia right now.
  3. Seriously, it was 1992. People did crazy, crazy things. Like hang out with David Arquette.
  4. I know Joss Whedon doesn't consider this the canon for Buffy. I appreciate that and agree but this is the beginning of a singularly kick-ass character and even if the movie is fluffier and sillier than intended, Buffy still rules. I would still want to be a vampire slayer even if this was the only Buffy I had ever seen.
  5. This is Hillary Swank's first movie (she plays Buffy's most irritating friend, Kimberly). When she won her first Oscar for Boys Don't Cry and was all of the sudden a "serious actress" all I could think of was her saying "sitch" and the end credits when she thinks she's Miss America. 
  6. When Buffy punches Merrick and "doesn't even break a nail." I have never punched anyone but I imagine I would break a nail and possibly my hand. Because I am not the Slayer.
  7. A large number of the male cast was in the movie School Ties (Randall Bantikoff, Andrew Lowery, Ben Affleck- yes he is in this movie). I often wonder if they were trying for like a 90s version of the Brat Pack but it never worked out.
  8. Buffy's Mom (Candy Clark) was Mary Lou in the David Bowie "masterpiece" The Man Who Fell to Earth. Rikki Lake is a waitress, Ben Affleck is on the rival basketball team, and Greuller was Don Dawson in Dazed and Confused. And Kristy Swanson's dad is the ref. Let's pack as many odd people into one movie as humanly possible. It'll be fun. David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Cary Elwes were all supposed to play vampires as well but this was cut due to budget and time. (Fun fact right?)
  9. Two words: Luke Perry. It was the 90s. Everyone watched Beverly Hills, 90210. I hated Brenda but loooooved Dylan and wanted him to realize what a waste of time Brenda was and move on (maybe my first real attachment to tv characters). I was so excited that Luke Perry was in this movie. And he's awesome. He rocks a vest, acts like a moron, saves the day (sort of) and there's that lovely dance at the end (more on this later). He's a dream. Except the facial hair - your weird soul patch has got to go.
  10. Easily one of the most quotable movies I've ever seen (up there with Empire Records and Anchorman). "Pike's isn't a name, it's a fish." "You threw a knife at my head." "You're floating!" "Oh yeah, but you'd never call me." "Kill him a lot." "Does the word duh mean anything to you?" I could go on (and probably will) but you get the point. 
  11. Paul Reubens is in this movie. When I first saw this movie all I could think of was "La-la-la-la-la. Connect the dots." I also really wanted a secret word during this movie (because it could have been duh and that would have been awesome). Paul Reubens will always be Pee-Wee Herman to a specific generation of people and I know he probably hates that. He's such a scene stealer in this movie and has the longest (into the credits) death sequence of any cinematic vampire of all time.
  12. Rutger Hauer as Lothos, the Master. Fun fact about Rutger Hauer: Anne Rice always pictured him playing Lestat if any of her books were made into films. Probably would have been better than what we got (at least with Tom Cruise). Lothos sort of bothers me in this movie, mostly because he's hard to understand and doesn't seem very threatening even for a villain in a comedy. He looked a little too much like Edgar Allan Poe in the movie and I wanted him to be more, I guess.
  13. "Does Elvis talk to you? Does he tell you to do things? Do you see spots?" Buffy to Merrick on finding out she's the Chosen One. This is my favorite quote! I used this all the time in high school and may need to bring it back to my life now because it's perfection.
  14. Remember Doritos Light? 
  15. Let's talk facial hair for a moment: Luke Perry's awful soul patch, Amilyn's (Paul Reubens) disastrous attempt to bring his old time-y fashion into the 90s, Lothos and Merrick both look like creepy old men (not in a scary movie way). The facial hair needed to be more seriously considered. It was a great moment with Luke Perry shaved his off. Collective 90210 fans everywhere sighed in relief.
  16. I love the basketball coach. It's so 90s to have this "you're okay and special" kind of coach. "I am a person. I have a right to the ball."
  17. So much fashion, so little taste. Jean jackets and short dresses, neon yellow leather jackets, chunky boots (why can't these come back in style?), chartreuse. 90s fashion slays me - pun intended.
  18.  Question: Who gets to decorate the insides of lockers in movies? Is it the props people? The actors? I would be exceptionally good at that job.
  19. Doesn't David Arquette look like a demented elf when he gets turned into a vampire? They all have weird ears, but he looks the most like a demented elf. 
  20. When Buffy is sitting on the fresh grave (because she goes to a graveyard with a strange man on a school night) and asks Merrick for gum. He doesn't have any and she gives him this look. It's a look that every parent with a teenager has seen and now that I see it I want to apologize to my parents for being a jerky teen.
  21. "All I want to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die." That's all anyone wants to do.
  22. Let's talk about Merrick: Donald Sutherland is a great actor but I can't stand him in this movie. Apparently, he rewrote most of the dialogue (which explains a lot) and was difficult to work with on the set (this comes from multiple sources including Joss Whedon's own comments). He's the appropriate kind of person to be a watcher but there's something too creepy about him and it doesn't work in a comedy. But I do enjoy him a little later in the movie when Buffy is training and he starts to see her potential. He's less creepy and it's better.
  23. The song "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" by The diVinyls. I looooooooove this song (by the way, it's a cover of a Young Rascals song). Anyway, this is Buffy's training song and it makes me want to do cartwheels and handsprings and toaster kicks too. And now you know two songs by The diVinyls.
  24. Stephen Root as Principal Gary. Yes, it's Milton from Office Space in yet another bumbling, hilarious role. His rambling about taking acid at a Doobie Brothers concert and being a toaster is hilarious. And then Buffy kills a fly by spitting a thumb tack at it. 
  25. Do you think Pike would have ended up living in his van? You know, down by the river? (It's just so easy to make 90s references work in any occasion.)
  26. Buffy calls Merrick a "sconehead". Now, I don't watch Downton Abbey but when I was watching the movie, I got this image in my head of Maggie Smith calling some random character on that show a sconehead and I couldn't stop laughing. 
  27. Do you think that every time Merrick is reborn as a Watcher he looks the same? Does he get to pick what he looks like or any of the parameters of his life? 
  28. Did you know that both Seth Green and Chi Muoi Lo were in both the movie and on the tv show? Both play vampires at the dance at the end - you can barely see Seth Green (you know it's him because of the hair) and Chi Muoi Lo is the vampire that says something like "We want Buffy." You're welcome.
  29. "Get out of my facial." This is the reason I hate Hillary Swank. I just can't with her. I don't even want to try to like her. Don't try to make arguments about her being a great actress or whatever. It won't work.
  30. Buffy's keen fashion sense: I question this because of the horrible dress she wears to the dance (like Molly Ringwald - failing teen girls always) but then the dress sort of works and she uses hairspray and fire to get away from Lothos. I will say that I love the pink polka dot dress in the beginning, the green polka dot shirt when she meets Merrick, and her ability to wear jean jackets and not look weird. Slayer fashion should be a thing.
  31. "You broke up with my machine?" Really Jeffrey? Really?
  32. And then the Toad the Wet Sprocket song comes on at the dance. And Buffy is alone until Pike comes in and they dance. Is it wrong to have wanted a high school dance moment exactly like this when I was in high school? Or to want a high school dance moment exactly like this now? The song is called "Little Heaven" and I would like to dance to it exactly like in this movie (without the vampires and the terrible dress). Does anyone even listen to Toad the Wet Sprocket anymore? I love them.
  33. Pike's jacket = Slayer badassness is about to happen. I love it when main characters in movies get awesome jackets and it somehow makes them even cooler. I watched The Matrix and couldn't wait for Neo to get his jacket. That was really all I cared about.
  34. "Forget them. Live forever. We could start a band." Benny to Pike during the fight at the dance. What would a vampire band be called? What kind of music would they play? 
  35. SPOILER ALERT (as if there haven't been a ton of those already): Lothos dies and then Pike actually asks Buffy to dance and they dance to no music and it is lovely.  And then a Susanna Hoffs song plays (it's called "We Close Our Eyes").
  36. And then Pike and Buffy hop on his motorcycle and ride off into the sunset (although the sun isn't up but that's what they're doing I guess). All to a Susanna Hoffs song. Because it's 1992 and that's how we rolled.
Watch the end credits because there's a fun section that includes a slam on Young Republicans, the Hillary Swank Miss America moment, and Paul Reubens still dying. Also, if you sit through all the credits you can hear The diVinyls song again. It's so worth it.

So what have we learned today? That I spend way too much time thinking about movies. That we'd all rather be vampire slayers than cheerleaders. That just because it's not the canon doesn't mean it's not good. And that lazy movie weekends are the best weekends of all.

We all geek out about something - enjoy your geek moments. I know I do.


    "Once More With Feeling" is my favorite episode too! And abso-freaking-lutely love Spike. He is way better than Angel. So bad ass and yet adorable at the same time.
    Great movie, great post!

  2. Yes we are! We should really find a way to stage "Once More With Feeling" because that would be really amazing. I know all the words and have the soundtrack. We should only cast it with people we know instead of holding auditions.

    I have a Spike magnet on my fridge because I love him.