film

Saturday Night Fever

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I’m lucky enough to live in one of the five cities with a Sundance Cinema. Isn’t that weird? Seattle, San Francisco, West Hollywood – these cities all make sense. But Madison? And even weirder to me, Houston? I suppose Houston could be a hotbed for independent film. I’ll likely never find out, as my chances of visiting Texas are about .04%.

In the recent past, Sundance Madison has held a classics series, which consisted of showing an older film once a week. This series always brought in great movies, but because of the weekly showing being on a Wednesday, I rarely made it. One film in the classics series that I went out of my way to attend, on a Wednesday night for crying out loud, was Saturday Night Fever.

Before I get to the predictable situation I encountered at Sundance that evening, let’s take a moment to really think about the film. How many people have really watched this movie and have taken in all of its societal and subcultural context? It’s easier to identify with the more memorable soundtrack, thereby selectively recalling the movie in relation to the music, i.e. John Travolta strutting on a multicolored illuminated dance floor with ladies swooning in every direction. In reality, Saturday Night Fever is a darkly melancholy film, delving into complex issues that foreshadow irrepressible issues for decades to follow: racism, casual sex, drug abuse, date rape, teen pregnancy, sexism, suicide. In short, Saturday Night Fever is not really a movie about dancing. It’s a movie about the underbelly of the disco era in New York City. I trusted that people who went out of their way to see Saturday Night Fever on a Wednesday night would have a mutual fondness and respect for the movie in its entirety, not just some silly dance scenes.

Clearly, I was wrong. To make a long story short, the Saturday Night Fever screening was used by some local 40-somethings as Ladies Night Out. Woo hoo! They showed up late, drunk and squealing. I was hopeful that their vigor would dwindle once they became more aware of what was actually showing on the screen. Funnily, as the movie progressed, they only seemed to become confused and agitated. Needless to say, I walked out, requested a refund, and left. While I am fully aware of myself and my limitations, and I know that seeing a movie on a Wednesday night is a risk simply because I have to leave the house, I can safely say that I think the concept of Ladies Night Out (or Date Night for married couples) is a bit sad and contrived. In any case, I hope those particular ladies were able to get through Saturday Night Fever without the movie itself killing their buzz. Sundance does serve mini bottles of white wine though, so I’m sure they were fine.

Cyndi Lauper

My first exposure to Cyndi Lauper was Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, the 1985 movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt as girlfriends who audition for a television dance competition. As expected, shenanigans ensue and integrity prevails. It’s an 80s feel-good movie, after all, even if it’s not very good. I first saw the movie at Debbie Przykucki’s birthday slumber party. I don’t remember much about the party, but strangely, I remember how to spell Debbie’s last name.

For me, the song by Cyndi Lauper isn’t one of her greatest. Sure, it’s a catchy pop song, but I prefer the sadder True Colors and Time After Time. Besides, I don’t think girls really do just want to have fun. They want wages that are equal to their male counterparts. They want affordable and easy access to contraception. They want to be free from antiquated gender roles. They want to never again hear, “you’d be prettier if you smiled”, from a random guy on the bus.

I know. Not everything has to be a feminist rant. So, I’ll leave you with Cyndi, a bad ass in her own way, adorning a doily with some afternoon tea.

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The Shining. Again.

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It might sound strange, but I find The Shining to be an incredibly comforting movie. Maybe I just want to land such a cooshy gig as being the caretaker of a swank hotel in the mountains during off-season. I only know that when I feel wound up, it helps to crawl under a blanket and watch The Shining.

A couple years ago I knitted up a hat series based on this film. In retrospect, I could have made a few dozen hats inspired by the visuals in the Overlook Hotel. Since I tend to enjoy embroidery over knitting these days, I jumped back into it with my needle and an old doily. While many would argue that Jack Nicholson sneering “Here’s Johnny…” through the chopped up door is the most iconic image, I find Shelley Duvall to be much more interesting. In fact, I love this movie in spite of Jack rather than because of him.

I predict I’ll be stitching more scenes from The Shining, even if they don’t prove to be lucrative. A girl’s gotta get her laughs wherever she can, after all. I will try to include characters other than Wendy, although I can’t make any promises.

 

 

Fargo

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I have a slight obsession with Steve Buscemi at the moment. That mustache. Those teeth. His glorious bugged-out eyes. What’s not to love?

Although I started my Buscemi marathon with Reservoir Dogs, my heart belongs to Fargo. The comfort and familiarity that movie instills in me has gotten me through some really tough times, like when I lived in Des Moines and was working as a collector for a bank. My days were full of back-to-back phone calls where I’d say things like, “your vehicle is in jeopardy of being repossessed”, and my nights were full of “we stop at pancakes house”. A girl does whatever is necessary to get by. Oh, and I drank a lot.

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As we enter into winter, a season full of potential depression and increased suicide, I offer some Buscemi to help you get through. If you have a better coping mechanism, please share, but only if it’s funny. I can’t handle any realism right now.

Reservoir Dogs

I hardly ever use color in my stitches. I like the clean look of black on white, and I like to be neurotically consistent. I made a minor exception for this project, because how could I not? Without further ado, a slideshow with eight little nuggets of joy:

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It took a full pint of cheap wine (Bota Box “nighthawk black”) to get rolling on Reservoir Dogs. Action shot –>

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Then it took some Smirnoff to get through stitching Tarantino as Mr. Brown because it felt so meta…stitching a character played by a man who directed a movie that I’m stitching…12074499_889286584454621_5608179025502575907_nDespite all of that, I laugh whenever I look at Joe and Nice Guy Eddie. I think of Chris Penn yelling, “Don’t point that gun at my dad!”. He was so emotional about it. And Joe – has he always looked like The Thing, or is it just my version of him?

Although I will always respect Reservoir Dogs, it is not my go-to Tarantino film (at this point, that is Jackie Brown). This project did, however, make me wonder why I find it increasingly difficult to watch. I know I’m getting soft in my old age, as I recently had to turn off Bad Lieutenant when Harvey Keitel went into full frontal while doped up  and weeping, but I honestly don’t think it’s the violence. I could have stitched the cop’s severed ear, for example, but I chose not to. So what is it? I don’t know, but there isn’t really a hero, and maybe I’m constantly looking for one.

 

Chewy – What a Wookie

I made another goddamn pillow. All through this one, I sang the Chewbacca Song. Luckily, it’s just a bunch of yelling and Chewy noises, so my “singing” didn’t offend anyone. Click the link. It’s only a minute long, and it will change your life. And now I present to you, the Chewy Pillow, or “Chillow” if you will.

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Saturday Night Fever

il_fullxfull.789878699_fkavIt’s all over. I have forayed into the realm of decorative pillows, and there is no return.

Actually, it’s fine. I’m not so far gone that I’ve covered the couch in plastic wrap or put carpeting down in the kitchen. Yet. I just worry about my sanity sometimes, and I always have the decorative gourd article from McSweeney in the back of my mind when I feel like I’m crossing crafty lines.

This is Decorative Pillow No. 2, the first being Star Wars themed because it made me feel safe. Due to the groovy color scheme on this sham, I had to do something more flashy; hence, I give you my first Saturday Night Fever project. I’m not sure what the hell took me so long.