Just a couple of writers on a road trip through life. Hop in, hold on, and don’t forget your rain boots.

F Files

You've heard of Oprah's Favorite Things? Well, this is kind of like that, but not really. No, we don't give away schools or Hump Back Whales, or even shiny new cars, but we do want to share things with you that are just too awesomely splendiferic to keep to ourselves. File away these freak favorites fastidiously for fellow freak-kind.

February 3, 2013

Image Courtesy of  sugarluxeblog.com

It seems that EVERYONE holds contests and giveaways these days. What’s up with that? You go into a store and at the end of your receipt there is a code to enter on the store’s website for a chance to “win a $5,000 shopping spree!” The cashier makes it a point to tell you about it and even circles it with a red pen to make doubly sure you saw it, understand what it is, and are enticed. What do most of us do? We go home, and promptly throw away the receipt scoffing at the silly little contest that you just KNOW you would never win. Seriously? Who are they kidding? These stores just want to SPAM you in the end. I've entered to win once. Just once. That is all I needed. What happened? They got me on their “list.” This means they send you coupons for junk you will never need. But the deals are so freakin’ amazing that you go ahead and buy that two in one vegetable peeler, banana slicer kitchen gadget. Then, months later when you are riffling through your kitchen utensil drawer, you curse yourself for having bought such a stupid invention. Sure, it was only five bucks, but you've never used it and it gets wedged in the drawer so that you spend a half an hour trying to open said drawer to get the spatula out. Then you remember that darned contest and vow never to give in to those stupid receipt contests and giveaways again. Well, I've got news for you. Writer Freaks is gonna have a REAL giveaway, with real odds, with something way better than a coupon because we don’t do spam, we don’t do that at all. Stay tuned for our big giveaway reveal coming to you this blog very, very soon.

Stephanie D. Birch loves a good fried SPAM sandwich because she would rather devour something tasty that read something pointless in her junk folder. If you are a fan of SPAM, share your favorite recipe with us. To contact Stephanie, email her at birchwordnerd@yahoo.com

Januarly 21, 2013

The Law of Trilogies

In case I haven’t mentioned it before, my parents are pretty wicked awesome. I do really sincerely like them a lot, and not just because I’m required by DNA. I don’t think I’d be the interesting, fascinating, totally nutso girl I am without them. In fact I know it, because it’s a family thing. Not only are my parents total weirdos, but my brothers are, too. One of them has  successfully devoted his entire life to being different from everyone else on the planet, in cool and interesting ways. The other is Steve Martin and Danny DeVito’s love child, with a little Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino thrown in for extra disturbing-ness and awesome. The kid is a born comic with miles of personality. And then there’s me. Oh yeah, we all know I’m special. My brain works in ways that normal people fear and cannot fathom. But not in a snooty way. I’m nothing if not humble, without being presumptuous. It’s just that not everyone gets my weird. And I’m cool with it.

The reason I have to put a little blurb about my parents is that this whole Law of Trilogies thing actually came from my dad. He makes up names and stories and theories a lot. So I completely stole this from him, but I feel like he’d be okay with it. 

So the Law of Trilogies (my version, not my dad’s—conceptually similar but with my own take) is this: the second movie in any trilogy is always the worst.
I know what you’re thinking: that’s a matter of opinion, and opinions are different. But no. You’re wrong, I’m right. This is not my opinion, it’s fact. I will now demonstrate using concrete examples. 

Star Wars      There’s a sub-clarification when it comes to Star Wars. 

Han Solo is totally MINE
 1.  Only the original three (Episode IV, V, and VI) count for me. The others might as well have been George Lucas taking a crap for nine hours straight. Besides turning Natalie Portman into Mary Kay Letourneau and trying to make Hayden Christensen ACT, they were just bad nine ways until Sunday.  
2.  ALL Star Wars movies that count as movies (Episode IV, V, and VI) are awesome.  
3.  C3PO should have been left to the Sand People.

All that being said, Empire Strikes Back (Episode V) is the least favorite and therefore qualifies for the Law of Trilogies. It’s slow in the middle, and Luke spends the majority of the movie being  weird in the swamp with Yoda and hallucinating. And nobody makes out in that one, which, when you get right down to it also makes A New Hope somewhat disturbing because all of us are thinking man, Leia kissed Luke ON THE MOUTH and they are twins and GEORGE LUCAS KNEW IT THE WHOLE TIME. I’m not sure which thing is more disturbing but as George Lucas is also responsible for the creation of Jar-Jar Binks, I think it’s safe to say that there are times when that guy’s burner is set to Disturbing.

Indy is also so MINE
Indiana Jones The law doesn’t count the fourth Indiana Jones movie, which will hopefully become the beginning of another trilogy. There can never be too much Indiana Jones. But Temple of Doom has Kate Capshaw as the heroine—yeah, Steven Spielberg, we all know you love her but your wife is annoying and cannot act and never should have been in the movie. We all wanted her to shut up, stop her stupid shrieking and complaining and eating all the sad starving people’s food and choke on a monkey eyeball. And the whole ripping people’s hearts out and drinking blood and Indy getting all possessed and scary thing was not my favorite. Still liked it and STILL counting Indiana Jones as a trilogy even though there’s a fourth movie. 

Lord of the Rings Also a freaking epic trilogy. But I fast forward through a lot of The Two Towers when during a LOTR marathon. Because it’s all doomy and gloomy. Isengard is one of those epic battle scenes that I disconnect from after about forty minutes because I’m bored. I hate to say that but it’s true. And oh yeah everyone seems really miserable. Okay so this one isn’t a strictly fabulous example because all the LOTR movies are long and awesome and they do have some little draggy parts too, and it all runs together for me because I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and just watched one of them at a time so I don’t always know when one movie leaves off and the next begins. But still. Second is the least awesome. 

Back to the Future The second one, where they go into the future to help Marty’s screwed up son and see how basically messed up it is—that one stinks. Old West—good. Fifties—good. Their version of the future—stupid. 

Jurassic Park Um, the one with Jeff Goldblum where the T-Rex gets loose in New York City? What the heck? Personally I love the original but the third one, with Alessandro Nivola is the best. Because he’s hot and I like him. And oh yeah—Sam Neill should always be in the Jurassic Park movies. There might be a fourth one coming along but for now, three is good. 

X-Men  X2 is definitely the worst, by far. But I still love them all. 

Die Hard (original trilolgy, before they just got silly). Number 2 is set in the airport in Washington DC and it’s just not as good as the other two. 

Lethal Weapon Yeah, they tagged on another crapfest fourth one where Riggs is the one 'getting too old for this' but I’m talking original trilogy here. Number 2 is not good. Three is the best, when Renee Russo makes her appearance. Bonus: the sex scene that starts off with Renee Russo and Mel Gibson comparing scars-- so the best way to get someone nekkid.

Way better swashbuckler than elf
Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest was definitely the worst. Oh, and I know that’s not a trilogy any longer either. But come on! I once rewrote the entire second film with a different plot, and mine was way better and used the Davy Jones legend to the fullest extent. 

The Matrix I just wanted to fast forward through Reloaded to get to Revolution, thank you. 

The Bourne Trilogy (originals with Matt Damon)—Supremacy was the least good, but that’s like saying vanilla is my least favorite ice cream flavor. It’s still tasty and sometimes I’m in the mood for some vanilla.

You may notice some conspicuous holes in this list. The Dark Knight Trilogy, Godfather Trilogy, Terminators, Millennium Trilogy, Blade, Apocalypse, Alien (also no longer a trilogy, thanks Prometheus. But the second one is called AlienS? Really? It’s too close to AlieN, people. Be more original in your naming of sequels, man), Night of the Living Dead, Spider-man (the Tobey Maguire ones), Superman (any), the Evil Dead Trilogy, Resident Evil, The Oceans Trilogy. All of these were excluded for a reason. Either they don’t fit my data so therefore I’m leaving them out (I’m not a scientist so I’m allowed to do that) or I haven’t seen all of them, or it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen all of them, or they're messy and mixed up with other add ons and such that make them too much trouble to include. Like Blade—I’ve seen one and three but not two, so I can’t in good conscience say it’s the worst. People didn’t like Blade III, but those people are nuts. Because Ryan Reynolds is dead sexy.

January 5, 2013

The F- Files- Unexpected Insomnia Winners

Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. I used to try really hard to sleep, but now I have a new thing I do. If I haven’t fallen asleep after and hour, I get to watch Netflix. I have rules when watching in the middle of the night. Nothing scary. Only stuff I am relatively certain my husband won’t care about missing. And always pick movies that I (think) will help me sleep. Light, silly-- movies I wouldn’t go back and watch the end of later if I actually do fall asleep. But there have been a couple that were so interesting and good that I stayed up watching them even though that was not the point of watching them. I know. It makes no sense.

 My husband and sister-in-law both have dubious faith in my opinion of movies. I like things that they think are horrible.  Stephanie and I have similar disagreements with what movies/books we like. We have enough in common that it works, but once in a while I’ll say something I love and she’ll be like what? Are you hallucinating? Awful book/movie/song Jules. Just wretched. But in a nice way, because if anything Stephanie is nice to me even when she thinks I’m nuts. That’s how she rolls.  Lately in my insomniatic mists I’ve hit on a few gems that I felt worthy of documentation. Nope, this isn’t a comprehensive movie list. Just stuff I’ve watched in the last couple weeks that was really, really good.

1. Young Adult. Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswald. Tagline: Taken aback when she receives a letter from an old boyfriend announcing that he's just had a baby with his wife, divorced fiction writer Mavis Gary decides to return to her small hometown and reconnect with her former lover. 

     I remembered when this movie came out and I thought it looked funny, like a comedy. It’s not. It’s closer to Adam Sandler’s Funny People, where the behind-the-scenes look at the life of a comedian shows he’s not so funny and kind of messed up. Charlize Theron’s character Mavis is a writer. She writes young adult literature for a series that has been canceled, something akin to Sweet Valley High. They never really say. She writes bits and pieces of the last book throughout the movie, but she’s a ghost writer. Anyway, Mavis gets the birth announcement, and she decides he’s the love of her life and she’s going to go win him back. Train wreck. She’s a completely delusional alcoholic. It should have been super depressing, and parts of it were, but after watching it I felt good for being not a train wreck. I take my positivity where I can get it. Patton Oswalt was an exceptional character. He’s one of the side characters on King of Queens, that’s pretty much all I recognized him from, and about three feet shorter than old Charlize. But man, that guy has some chops. They don’t even mention him in the synopsis but his character Matt is the one Mavis keeps running back to. He’s got all kinds of quirks but she views him as a pathetic loser from high school. He’s about the only one who has any real depth.  But he’s also a mess. A nice, sympathetic, helpful mess. He’s the only one who sees the real side of Mavis. I liked watching Mavis self-destruct. Not like Leaving Las Vegas self-destruct, but a self-realization form of it where at the end I felt like she actually did learn something from the experience, and maybe even after that became a better person.

2. Waiting for Forever. Rachel Bilson. Matt Davis, Tom Sturridge, Blythe Danner. Tagline: Contentedly jobless, wanderer Will Donner (Tom Sturridge) decides to focus his energies on reconnecting with the girl he loved as a child, Emma Twist (Rachel Bilson) -- who is now a 20-something television actress living in Hollywood -- and spending the rest of his life with her.

 I saw Rachel Bilson in there and thought meh, whatever. Teen girl flick probably. The tag line is just a gross misrepresentation of this movie’s plot. But you can see how I thought that it would be lighthearted rom-com to cure insomnia. I figured I’d be asleep in seconds. But the first thing I realize is that the hero in the movie, Will (Tom Sturridge), is totally crazy. He’s homeless and he wears pajamas and follows Emma  (Rachel Bilson’s character) around from city to city without her knowledge. But you know, not in a creepy way. He’s got some screws loose. Had I known the true plot I probably would have watched it much sooner, but between the tagline and the title and Rachel Bilson, you can see where I got confused. It’s got a good Benny and Joon feel wrapped up with some Garden State and a touch of Portlandia thrown in for good measure. Blythe Danner and Richard Jenkins are a side note of awesome as Emma’s parents, whom she visits in the town where she and Will grew up. Really worth watching. 

   3. L!fe Happens. Krysten Ritter, Rachel Bilson, Kate Bosworth, Justin Kirk, Geoff Stults.Tagline: Hipsters from the trendy Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles contend with adulthood in this woman-powered comedy. When one of them gives birth to a baby, her roomie resolves to not let this new responsibility hamper their lifestyle.

      I wasn’t really on some kind of Rachel Bilson kick, I swear. Netflix will pull up this category—since you watched Waiting for Forever, you might like Life Happens. And I happen to also have a major thing for movies about 20-something girls who get pregnant and have to figure out how to be twenty and a single mother. Leave out that I did it myself, but before ‘hipsters’ existed. And I moved back in with my parents, because when you watch this movie you realize that a 20-something college girl is not equipped for motherhood right out of the gate. It takes a lot of learning and effort and adjusting and realizations that your life is not how you thought it would be. Really liked the title of this movie for that exact reason. It’s a good summation of what it’s like. This one was more lighthearted and less angst-y and depressing than the other two. I was constantly concerned for the baby’s welfare, but not in a Permanent Midnight sort of way, where you wonder why anyone would allow a drug addicted Ben Stiller to watch his baby for any length of time. This one was much more happily-ever-after-ish, and an added bonus of Justin Kirk being freaking awesomely hilarious and Geoff Stults being sexy and all that despite the unfortunate spelling of his first name.

 4. The Rebound. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Bartha. Tagline: A single mother living in New York City surprises everyone when she becomes romantically involved with a neighbor who's many years her junior.

      I watched this movie once and immediately wanted to watch it again. I don’t really know why. It was pretty standard romantic comedy stuff. Not super involved like the others on this list. But I just liked it. Maybe it’s like No Reservations, or maybe I just have a girl crush on Catherine Zeta-Jones. Not that anyone could blame me. But I’m always drawn to stories where people have to overcome something and learn something new and turn into better people. And Justin Bartha is flat adorable. Bonus: Art Garfunkle plays his dad. So. Much. Awesome.

5. Timer. Emma Caulfield, Michelle Borth, John Patrick Amedori. Tagline: In this comedic fantasy, biotechnological implants count down to the moment one is supposed to meet his or her soul mate.

The idea of soul mates is so compelling that if you type the phrase into a Google search, you get 6.5 billion results. Yep. We’re fascinated at the idea of finding the other part of our soul. I’m not even going to get into my own philosophy on the subject, but this movie was an interesting take. It’s not a boy-meets-girl scenario. The two sisters, Oona (Caulfield) and Steph (Borth) struggle with philosophy more than anything. Steph has a timer that shows she won’t meet her soul mate til she’s 40-something. Oona’s is blank, which means her soul mate doesn’t have a timer. Trying to figure out which scenario is worse torture took up a lot of my concentration. When you create a universe with givens, like the idea that every person does have a soul mate out there somewhere that they will cross paths with at some point in their life, you bring up all kinds of questions. Do you bother spending time with someone who is fun even if you know they’re not your One? Can you fall in love with someone who isn’t your soul mate? Both sisters go through variations of different philosophies. It really makes you think about fate, destiny, and it brings up a lot of existential dilemmas. And I really like that.

I liked all these films for different reasons. If you hate them or love them, leave a comment below. Really love to hear what other people think. Really. I'm not just saying that. 

Julie Simmons-Wixom will watch just about any movie, including Bubba Ho-Tep, if you promise her chocolate. Email her or comment below and she might mail you a ferret. But probably not. 

The F Files Archive:

December 2012
Holiday Gift Guide December 2012


  1. Sometimes a plastic rain bonnet may come in handy. You just never know!

    1. I suppose it could, but I feel like they are the near equivalent to a shower cap. I mean, don’t get me wrong, dry hair is important, especially to those whose hair takes on a life of its own during high humidity, but rain bonnet and heirloom jewelry as a side by side comparison? Kind of a major let down. But it does give me an idea for a flash mob! Rain bonnet flash dance! Oh yeah!.

  2. I have to admit I have not seen any of these films, but putting Timer, The Rebound and Waiting for Forever on my immediate list. Thank you for the insomniatic suggestions!