Hi everyone! I decided to try a new thing here: every so often I’ll post particularly funny or entertaining Letterboxd reviews from movies I’ve seen recently. If you’ve never heard of Letterboxd, it’s like Goodreads but for movies (feel free to add me if you’d like!) and there are plenty of interesting reviews. I’ll usually sift through them after seeing a film, which is how I got the idea to share them! A lot of these reviews will have spoilers, so feel free to skip through only to films you’ve already seen if you’d like to avoid being spoiled.
The Staircase begins by setting the scene of a horrific accident: a woman, Kathleen Peterson, who had fallen down the staircase of her own home while her husband Michael was outside, far out of earshot. The emergency services call made by Michael upon the discovery of his wife is downright harrowing and raised goosebumps on my arms. It was clear he was devastated, hysterical even. While I found the story itself to be quite tragic, it all seemed to be rather cut-and-dry to me and I had to wonder how this was worth making a 13-episode documentary about. The Staircase’s biggest weakness is the lack of punch it brings to its beginning. Had I not heard people rave about it, I probably wouldn’t have even continued with the series but I just needed to know why it seemed to fascinate so many people.
While in cases like these it often seems easy to assume the husband is in the wrong, I just didn’t get that feeling here. I was confused as to why the police even thought something was amiss. To be honest, this is something that doesn’t clear up for me as the story continues. While the medical examiner stated that she didn’t find the wounds to be consistent with a fall, I never really understood why. There are conflicting testimonies surrounding this so-called fact and it seemed odd to me that a consensus couldn’t be reached. Without even substantial evidence that this was not the result of an accident, it was difficult for me to turn Michael Peterson into a perpetrator of what could not even be proven to be a crime.
The second episode set my anxiety in motion and made the whole series a lot more personal to me. The prosecution discovers that not only is Michael Peterson bisexual, but that he has had one-night stands with men throughout his marriage. Every person in Michael and Kathleen’s lives had vouched that they had a solid, loving marriage and had never witnessed anything less than pure devotion between the two. For some, this information proves that this was nothing more than a facade; after all, how can a marriage be truly blissful if one of the partners is seeking sexual satisfaction elsewhere? They alleged that this was proof that Michael had killed his wife.
The thing is, Michael shared that while he and Kathleen never explicitly spoke of the matter, there was a silent understanding. She knew he was attracted to men, she knew he sought out men sexually, and she was okay with it. While this seems to come down to whether or not you believe Michael Peterson is a liar, a male prostitute who Michael had solicited is later brought in to testify and seems to confirm this story. He shares that he had been involved with many married men and that most of the time, these men’s wives seemed to know and accept their husbands’ transgressions. He testified that Michael had not only told him the same, but also that Michael spoke highly of his wife and seemed to be deeply in love with her.
I was terrified that this documentary had set out to demonize a bisexual man in an allegedly open relationship of sorts. As a polyamorous bisexual woman, this really hits home for me. Luckily, while that seemed to be the prosecution’s argument, the documentary explored more of Michael’s side of the story and the defense tackled the subject quite matter-of-factly. Sadly, this seemed to turn Kathleen’s family on Michael. They truly believed there was no way Kathleen would have allowed this, that there was no way she could have known. In fact, one of her sisters even says in essence that if Michael could lie to them about being bisexual and sleeping with men, then it isn’t the least bit unbelievable that he could have murdered Kathleen. Statements like this got my blood boiling. While I can understand their point of view to a certain extent, a man not wanting to out himself does not equate to murder.
The prosecution also pulls out another surprise: Elizabeth Ratliff, who had been a close friend of the Petersons when they lived in Germany, died in a similar incident years earlier. While this seems damning in name, none of the evidence supported it as a homicide. The doctors in Germany had ruled this the result of a cerebral hemorrhage — Liz had been experiencing headaches for weeks beforehand and blood was found in her cerebrospinal fluid. The same medical examiner who had announced Kathleen’s cause of death as homicide also said that Liz had been murdered. I already didn’t trust this ME, and most of the evidence seemed to indicate otherwise, so this wasn’t a clincher for me.
There’s a bit more to the series, so I’d recommend watching it if you haven’t already. The above points were what drew my interest the most, though. I also found the “owl theory” quite compelling. Regardless, as Michael Peterson himself said, “Truth is lost in all of this now… This has become a show.” Don’t come to The Staircase looking for answers, come to The Staircase if you have an interest in true crime and the inner workings of the criminal justice system. You are not going to find out without a doubt who killed Kathleen Peterson, but you will see how a (relatively privileged white male) defendant moves through the system.
I’m a little biased because I’m writing this after listening to the Brunch review, but I do agree with a lot of their points. Their main issue with this sequel was that it lost sight of the original movie. In a way, I agree with that. It skips from horror to sci-fi, with some thriller elements. Still a dark comedy, but not in the same way the first one was. There is a hefty bit of suicide that comes across darker than intended. And honestly, the whole thing ended up pretty jumbled. They never made it clear how any of the science actually worked. The multiverse theory is briefly explained, but there are so many questions surrounding most of it. I’m not looking for scientific accuracy here, but a cohesive explanation would be nice. Also — you find out that she only lived through the same day 11 times in the first movie. I just don’t find it believable, it had to have been more than that. Especially with how hard she fell for Carter.
On the other hand, there were a lot of elements I really enjoyed! The humor was still there in a big way. I laughed out loud multiple times in the theater, something I rarely do. I’m sure I’ll re-watch it. I still enjoyed Tree a lot as a character, and think Jessica Rothe was just spectacular as her. I really liked the examination of her relationship with her mother and her grief, which I think went underexplored in the first movie and were used more for filler than anything else. I’ll be real, I almost cried watching this. That is not something I could have anticipated.
Overall, I liked it. There were a few bits that dragged on too much and plenty that could have been cleaned up, but it’s a fine addition to the franchise. I’m not sure I liked the idea of the possible third movie hinted at, but I guess we’ll see what happens.
With the Oscars coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about the movies I intended to see in 2018 and didn’t. I rarely make it out to the theaters, so I mostly end up watching whatever is included with Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. I also usually end up watching movies with my sister, so most of the time we choose horror movies or comedies (a weird combo, but oh well). So, I figured I’d take some time to share with you all a few movies I’m hoping to watch this year. A lot are from 2018, but there are some older ones in here as well!
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse  is everything everyone’s been talking about for the last month or so. This is one I’ll probably try to get to while it’s still in theaters, since I think it’ll be worth it to see it on the big screen!
My sister and I watched the original Halloween in preparation for Halloween  and then… never saw it in theaters. Hopefully we’re able to find it streaming somewhere soonish.
I’ve been meaning to see the original Suspiria  for quite some time now, but the remake definitely makes it feel a little more time-sensitive. So I’m hoping I manage to get to this one sometime in 2019!
I really don’t know how I haven’t seen The Shape of Water  yet. I meant to see it in theaters, and then missed it, and then just… never saw it. Part of it is definitely that my sister has absolutely no interest in seeing it. So hopefully I’ll get to it sometime when she isn’t around, ha.
Gimme that gay shit!!! I’ve been wanting to watch The Miseducation of Cameron Post  since I heard it was getting made into a movie, but just haven’t known where to find it. BUT! It looks like it may finally be on Amazon Prime, so I’ll have to check it out.
How many of these are on your watchlist? Feel free to add me on letterboxd, as I am always looking for new friends and have been in quite the movie-watching mood lately.
Lady Bird  directed by Greta Gerwig
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rotten tomatoes: 100%
I recently saw the previews for Lady Bird and knew it was something I was going to have to see. The scenes selected for the trailer made it look like a comedic, emotional coming-of-age film. Going into the theater I was very excited, and this movie definitely delivered!
I haven’t been a teenager for a little while now, but I found Christine (“Lady Bird”) to be an extremely relatable character, when I thought about myself at her age. She was awkward, naive, and certain she knew everything she needed to. Also refreshing is the fact that Saoirse Ronan actually looked like a teenager. Too often we see teenagers in media portrayed by much older adults, and it’s usually pretty obvious.
The whole film felt so authentic to me, from the settings to the actors. It felt like it was all pulled straight from real life. Usually I don’t love movies with slow-moving plots that are character centric, but this was so well-done that I didn’t mind at all. It did feel like it dragged on just a little too much, but maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, I highly recommend y’all give this a watch! It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in the entirety of 2017.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women  directed by Angela Robinson
cw: homophobia, kink
Recently, I was scrolling through the Fandago app looking at current movies when this one popped up. I hadn’t heard of it and initially almost scrolled past, thinking it was just the new Wonder Woman movie, until the title caught my eye. I selected it and the summary read:
The unconventional life story of Dr. William Marston, Harvard psychologist and inventor, and the relationship between his wife and his lover, who became her lover after his death, that inspired the iconic super heroine Wonder Woman.
I was immediately intrigued. I hoped for a nice lbpq f/f relationship, and maybe a bit of polyamory. What I got was so much more than that.
I went to a matinee showing at 11am on a Sunday, and there were only a handful of other people in the theater. For the next two hours, I found myself wrapped up in the kind of story I never thought I would see on the big screen. The film is so much more than the blurb implies. In fact, that summary is actually kind of inaccurate. I would rephrase it as “[…] and the relationship between his wife and their lover, who remained together after his death.”
This is not the story, as it initially seems, of a man who took on a lover and then left his lover to his wife. It is the story of a man who brought these two women together. I would argue that the relationship between the two women, Elizabeth (his wife) and Olive (their lover), began sooner, burned stronger, and was more important to the story the film told. Professor Marston did play a role and was part of their triad (a mutual relationship between three people), but the focus was much more heavily put on the women.
Y’all better believe I cried in the theater watching this. As a queer polya woman, this is the kind of representation I never thought I would see in a major theater, on the big screen. It was beautiful to see how deeply in love Elizabeth and Olive were, every scene between them had such incredible chemistry. And to see such a healthy, loving polyamorous relationship portrayed as just amazing. This may be my favorite film of the year, for these reasons.
There has been some talk of historical inaccuracy. I haven’t done a great deal of research, but there seem to be a lot of conflicting reports on the topic. I’m definitely reviewing this film through the lens of cultural importance and enjoyability and not as a documentary or a historical document of any kind.
All in all, this was just a beautiful film and I am so glad I got to enjoy it. It’s not doing very well in the box office, so I encourage you all to go see it and to support it in any way possible, to tell the film industry that movies like this are important, and are wanted.
Although the majority of my content is and will remain book-related, I’ve been on a bit of a movie kick lately! So I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the movies I’ve seen. I also made an account on Letterboxd and I encourage y’all to join me if you’re interested! It’s kind of like Goodreads for movies, and I find it fun and interesting — you can rate and review movies, create lists of movies, and keep track of when you saw them.
Happy Death Day  directed by Christopher B. Landon
rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ cw: (besides blood & death) ableism, fat-shaming, bi erasure
Now, I’m going to start off by saying that this isn’t a good movie. Don’t go into this if you’re looking for a cinematic masterpiece. Don’t go into this if you want a scary movie. Go into this if you’re looking for something goofy and fun. In my opinion, the best way to describe Happy Death Day is “Groundhog Day with cheesy horror” and if you like the sound of that, I’d say it’s worth a shot.
I had a couple of qualms with it, but I also wasn’t expecting a perfect movie. My biggest issue was probably the bi erasure–in the movie the main character sees another character watching a porn scene with two men in it, and then later says that he’s gay and doesn’t like women. Not the worst thing they could do, but kind of annoying. The love interest’s most redeeming quality ends up being… that he’s not a rapist. Kind of a low bar there.
I will say that there is a montage with Demi Lovato’s “Confident” that I just loved (I kind of have a thing for montages featuring great songs). I genuinely had a good time watching it. I laughed plenty, and find myself talking about it a lot. If this sounds like it’s your thing, I highly recommend you watch it. But if it sounds like something you wouldn’t like, I wouldn’t bother.