"It was like I was living in my own personal horror film," young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) says of returning to school following her big breakup (can you break up with someone if you were never officially dating?) with Sebastian Kydd (Austin Butler). The analogy is apt, as Carrie's are wont to be, as Halloween has come to Castlebury, Conn. And, even as Carrie whisks off to celebrate the ghoulish holiday undercover as her mature New York self at Larissa's SoHo loft party — leaving memories of Sebastian behind in the 'burbs — she is stuck asking herself: during a holiday where everyone pretends to be someone else, how easy is it to lose oneself?
For her big All Hallow's Eve out on the town, Carrie chooses a costume close to her heart: The People's Princess, Diana Princess of Wales. And her Prince? Walt. As soon as the two arrive at Larissa's downtown loft, they realize they are over dressed and in over their heads. They're not too fancy, Carrie tells Walt, they're wearing too many clothes. But, while half-naked hunks decked out in lamé crowd the space, this scene — much like last week's performance art exhibition — isn't near crazy enough to be New York in 1984. Why isn't everyone on the ground, overdosing on heroin? Ah, well, Larissa's got some Ecstasy for Carrie and Walt, so that's a bit better. Walt pops the offered pill, while Carrie tosses hers on the ground; and in doing so, Carrie dubs herself the night's DD: Designated Doter.
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After shamelessly flirting with Bennett Wilcox, Larissa's Kubrick-loving cohort who clearly only has eyes for Walt, Carrie comes to realize that Larissa may be having a little bit too much fun at her own party. Luckily for Carrie, who quickly becomes Larissa's babysitter, the effects of mixing Ecstasy, Acid, and alcohol are minimal for Larissa — instead of going into shock, she just wants to fly away, like the bird of paradise she's dressed as. Once Carrie talks Larissa down from the roof and makes her a nice cozy nest of designer duds, the two discuss John Donne and Manhattan living until Larissa falls asleep. (Really. I wish I was joking.)
Meanwhile, Bennett is taking good care of Walt. In a speech filled only with platitudes and thinly-veiled allusions to coming out of the closet, Bennett explains that, in New York, you can be anyone you want to be. Quarters are so tight privacy melts away — and being open should be celebrated! Maybe it's the E, or maybe it's hormones, but Walt's heart is beating uncontrollably. Walt grabs Bennett's hand and places it on his chest... to feel his heartbeat. Reading the signs, Bennett leans in for a kiss. And it's the moment of truth, will Walt finally admit that his love of Interview magazine goes beyond journalistic aspirations? No. No he won't. Walt jerks away from Bennett's embrace, yells, "I'm not like you — I'm not a fag!" and runs away. So much for openness.
After conveniently stumbling across a hate-crime in the making, practically tailor-made for a moment of tragic revelation, Walt decides he wants nothing to do with homosexuality. "I'm not like them!" he asserts once again, this time to a pair of thugs, and then sinks down to the curb, where he waits for Carrie to find him. And so she does. "I realized being a princess isn't what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a good friend," Carrie narrates, right before she inadvertently denigrates Walt for being gay. "It'll wear off," she tells him, speaking of the drugs. But, unfortunately, you can tell that Walt hopes she's referring to something else.
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Back in Castlebury, Maggie convinces Mouse to accompany her to a shindig Sebastian is throwing. You know, to keep an eye on Sebastian — definitely not because Maggie is bored. Sebastian warmly welcomes the girls to his party (man, he really is a nice guy) and then Maggie gets familiar with the bar while Mouse gets lost in a game of Pac-Man. Her winning streak is interrupted all too soon, however, by a lonely Sebastian. The two share their parental woes and a sweet, totally platonic moment (Mouse to Sebastian: "You really are a good listener") as well as a joint until their bonding is so rudely interrupted by the police.
Luckily, the police detail consists solely of Maggie's statutory rapey officer. Maggie pulls Officer I-Like-High-School-Girls into the bathroom for a little persuasion. But things don't exactly go as planned for Maggie behind locked doors. Maggie's cop is suddenly acutely aware of Maggie's age, and isn't down for any canoodling. He's also not down with underage drinking on his watch. But as he prepares to get all policey on the bad, bad, drinking kids, Maggie reminds him that he had no problem with screwing her before. Blackmail, FTW!
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Safely back home in Connecticut once again, Carrie finds a baked Mouse and a handsome bad boy waiting for her on her doorstep. Sure, Sebastian just wanted to make sure Mouse was in good hands. That's totally why he winks at Carrie and affectionately calls her "Bradshaw." I knew these two had a ways to go yet!
But the episode doesn't end on the hopeful Carrie and Sebastian reunion. Instead, it closes with Walt running back to Maggie. As the two lie unclothed in bed, Walt says, "I need you. I need my girlfriend." And, in the ultimate demonstration of dramatic irony's tragic capacity, we know that Walt isn't just talking about love.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: The CW]
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This weekend plenty of people will be flocking like zombies to go see Resident Evil: Retribution, a movie that is kind of based on a video game. That got me thinking, why aren't there more blockbusters based on video games? Sure, there is the occasional Max Payne and Prince of Persian: Sands of Time, but I'm talking about non duds here. Video games are a billion dollar industry (yes, that is billion with a B, just like "bucks") and the only thing that Hollywood loves more than Tom Cruise is making money (and it only loves Tom Cruise because he makes money). So why haven't they tapped into this?
Some of it is the impossibility of turning a game like Halo into a multi-million dollar film (even with a pedigreed director like Peter Jackson) and some of it might be the lack of creative direction. I can't really turn myself into Peter Jackson (though I would like access to his bank account), I can give plenty of creative direction. Here are some simple suggestions for how Hollywood can capitalize on video games.
Ms. Pac-Man: It's a year after her divorce from Mr. Pac-Man and Ms. (cause she's nasty) is hitting the streets of the big city to find love. It's hard out there when she has an addiction for designer clothes, hot night spots, and power pellets, but she has her four best sister friends to help her through. If only she can be done being chased by her demons (or ghosts) from her past relationship and find a way to devour them for good.
Tetris: IMAX 3D: Yes, it's just shapes and colors but they are flying right at your face and they are bigger than a taxi cab! Holy crap. That one just missed your nose.
Angry Birds: An animated family film about the various and assorted foul and the fowl moods that try to free the hogs by using their special talents. They learn they have to stop being so mad and band together in order to accomplish their goals. Please, this already has to be happening, right?Oh, girl!" That would be pretty awesome.
The Legend of Zelda: Sure, The Hobbit is going to be in theaters later this year, but we haven't had a good elven adventure in a long time. We should probably call this Link and have it be about a dungeon-dwelling sharp shooter (with arrows, of course, because archery is really hot right now because of The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen) who is trying to save his girlfriend from an evil dragon and restore order to the kingdom. This could be sprightly Joseph Gordon-Levitt's first big tent pole.
Pong: This is more of an indie art piece. It is about a ball. It goes back and forth. And back. And forth. And back. And forth. And back. And forth. And back. And... You get the picture.
Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianJMoylan. More:'Wreck-It Ralph': Video Game Nirvana Just in Time for 'E3''Assassin's Creed' Video Game Being Developed as a Movie Rovio Launches An 'Angry Birds' Movie
The romantic action comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is like nothing — and if you’re a person between the age of approximately 18 to 35 everything — you’ve seen before. British director Edgar Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead Hot Fuzz) adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley graphic novel is so densely laden with pop-culture references it often times feels less like a movie than a mixtape. Those who share the tastes of the film’s 31-year-old writer and 35-year-old director will find the experience to be exhilarating; those who don’t however will likely be at a loss to comprehend what all the fuss is about.
The list of ‘80s and ‘90s video game nods in Pilgrim alone is daunting: Tekken Super Mario Bros. Tetris Zelda and even retro titles like Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man are represented just to name a few. To fit all of it in Wright must practically invent a brand-new kind of filmmaking. Using techniques and iconography culled from the holy fanboy triumvirate of comic books video games and anime/manga and armed with a clearly generous effects budget he splatters the screen with a dazzling array of CGI visual aids as the action unfolds: informational pop-ups supply key details on each character as they are introduced; words like “Boom!” and “Pow!” burst forth when blows are landed during fight sequences; a “Level Up!” graphic indicating increased levels of key character attributes appears after the film’s hero triumphs in battle. Even the old Universal Studios logo has been revamped by Wright rendered in the rudimentary graphics and sound of the old 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Call it easter-egg filmmaking.
At the center of this digital maelstrom is Scott Pilgrim a 22-year-old Canadian hipster waif played by 22-year-old Canadian hipster waif Michael Cera. Unemployed and in no great rush to find work he splits his time evenly between jamming with his middling band Sex Bob-Omb (a Super Mario Bros. reference) combing thrift shops for new additions to his near-limitless collection of ironic t-shirts and pining for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a beguiling New York City emigre whose signature attribute is her constantly-changing hair color.
After a few abortive encounters Scott finally gets Ramona to reciprocate his affections. Thus begins the quest — or "campaign " as gamers call it — portion of the film as Scott soon discovers that in order to secure Ramona’s hand he must defeat each of her seven evil exes (six boys and one girl) in spontaneous death matches of decreasing novelty. (A few of them could easily have been excised without harming the narrative but that might invite the ire of comic book fans who typically demand nothing less than absolute adherence to the source text.) With a variety of found power-ups and an entirely implausible collection of fancy kung-fu moves he faces off against among others a pompous vegan straight-edge (Brandon Routh) a self-absorbed action star (Chris Evans) a spiteful lesbian (Mae Whitman) and a smarmy record producer (Jason Schwartzman).
I expect Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will polarize audiences and not just because of Wright’s distinctively dizzying directorial style. (Which I thoroughly enjoyed even though it occasionally overdoses on manufactured quirk and is a bit too proud of its cleverness.) The film glosses over Scott and Ramona’s wooing process in its rush to commence with its succession of comic-book battles which grow somewhat tedious toward the end. It’s simply assumed that Ramona would fall for our protagonist as it’s likewise assumed that we already have. But not everyone will embrace Scott’s castrati hipster affect which too often comes across as grating rather than charming. (The movie’s funniest moments come courtesy of Scott’s sassy gay roommate played by Kieran Culkin who is never without a clever barb for his lovelorn pal.) And beneath Cera’s self-effacing sheen exists an unmistakable whiff of pretentiousness that isn’t entirely justified — at least not yet. Far less debatable is the appeal of Winstead whose spunky Ramona appears every bit worth the hassle of fending off seven or more ex-lovers.
God knows what she sees in him.