The Latte Drinking, NY Times Reading Three-Pak: Jennipher Goes to the Art House

Reviews of the Films:
  • Vera Drake
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • A Very Long Engagement


Directed by European Politics
"All right, deary. Senator Tom Coburn just wanted to meet with you for a few minutes. This won't take long. He wants to discuss the 2nd Amendment or something."
Being a Liberal is Really Messing with My Hormones! by Jennipher Van Horn

Editor's Note: While fully aware of Jennipher Van Horn's infinite popularity on this web site, I have been reluctant to let her write any columns since our "Let's take a break from our relationship, oh wait I'll just break up with you after you do all of these favors for me" period in mid-May until early August. But I'm not mad and to prove it, I have asked her to weigh in on a few movies going wide here in late January. Part of it had to do with my busy schedule right now. Some of it had to do with guilt over how the relationship ended. Ultimately, I think Jennipher has the right voice to tackle these earnest and rather liberal art-house flicks. Oddly enough, we see eye-to-eye on these films but her opinion is far more...audacious than mine. As a matter of fact, I will apologize for any offense unleashed on the reader. But these reviews say a lot about the current state of liberal Democrats. Follow me down this dark trail to find out. -Jimmy O

Oh. My. God. I am soooo stressed out right now. Most of you haven't heard from me since my precious Brad Pitt was in that Alexander movie (Jennipher's last review was actually Troy. Ed.) which totally blew ass. And then that conservative little bitch Jennifer - no relation to me since eshe doesn't spell her name the same way - broke up with him because he wanted to have kids.and she just wanted to make crappy movies like Picture Perfect and Along Came Polly. Hey Brad, we can have kids anytime you want. And they would be so cute! I just think about what a rough year me and Brad have had. Here's an update: I am in my third-year at Washburn Law School. I have got all of my hard classes out of the way and now that fine institution has unleashed me upon the Topeka community of lower-class citizens. I participate in these things called clinics where we set up a little office down by the Social Services office and help people with their legal problems. And it is so sad! These people get their children taken away from them because they're on drugs. And not good drugs like pot. It's like meth and all this other gross shit people can make with pills from Wal-Mart. I mean, some people should not have children at all! I sometimes think society would be better off if men had to solve some puzzle or answer a trivia question before they could have sex. I betcha most of the guys I've fucked couldn't handle that. (But Brad, I saw you looking through that microscope at those stem cells. You can put a beaker in my bacteria dish anytime. Owwwww!) But I go to these sessions and listen to these people complain about getting beat up by their husbands or how they got screwed on some bad check and I think: These people don't need a lawyer. They need, like, Dr. Phil or someone like him. They just need a good, swift kick into shape and I think society would be much better off. Some of the advice I've given has really worked out. This one woman was saying that it's hard for her to find a man that doesn't abuse her kids. Well, I suggested that she stop smoking and not wear as much make-up. I even gave her a pack of Nicorettes and my Free Facial coupon to the Ad Astor Day Spa. She came by not a month later saying that her new look worked like a charm and she met a nice guy on a Baptist Singles web site. She justt needed a new pack of Nicorette gum. Luckily for me, I carry four or five packs in my purse. Boy, that stuff is addictive but effective. I'm down to only one pack of cigarettes a day and five packs of nic gum a week. And I've never felt better. My supervisors at the Legal Aid Clinic have suggested that my unorthodox methods in the law would be better suited to therapy (or perhaps to day-time TV!) but I don't ever get in trouble because I do awesome paper work and I'm a hell cat in Drug Court or Child Support Payments hearings. Those judges just can't get enough of me!

Working to solve the poor's problems also gives me one of those warm fuzzy feelings that I don't get from those big, asshole law firms. I clerked for (Law firm name deleted by administrator)'s Tobacco Litigation division last summer and what a pig sty that place turned out to be. I showed up every day prepared to be professional. I had just bought three pant suits from Donna Karen and two pairs of Coach pumps. Hey, I'm a girl who knows how to look good on a budget. But my boss was this total spooge stain named Ben who kept trying to guess what kind of underwear I had on. He always guessed purple thong because that's what I wore the one night I had sex with him. We all went down to the Booze Fish and I had a few too many martinis and, before you know it, I've got Ben's you-know-what in my you-know-where. After he made a few jokes about it, I filed a claim with the firm's internal affairs office and they gave me a nice, fat paycheck to shut up and get out. So I did. Now, I'm getting ready to take the Kansas Bar in July and to start my job as an Attorney for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee right here in Lawrence. I'm not totally sure what I'm supposed to do but someone said that Leonard Peltier was an Indian. That doesn't seem right because that name sounds French. But I think that Indians - or "Native Americans" - kind of have their own set of laws. For example, they have table limits way lower at the reservations than the riverboat casinos in KC. And cigarettes are way cheaper there, too. If I plan ahead, I can totally get cartons just north of T-Town for less than twenty bucks. I can't wait to work with these Indians...I mean "Native Americans".I'm glad that I have a legal education to help people with these problems because I think this whole political thing will never work! Ughhhhh, who are these people voting for George W. Bush? He is so dumb and dangerous and evil. And I really, really liked John Kerry. He seemed really nice when he was with John Edwards. And did you see Jack Edwards? He was so cute the way he bounced around and I loved the little outfits that Elizabeth picked out for him. That's what my little boy is going to look like. I really wanted them to win but I didn't have a whole lot of time to do anything. I put a few bumper stickers on my car and brought some sandwiches down to the Democratic HQ. It was this fun little Cucumber Tuna Sandwich I found online. Delicious!

Anyway, Jimmy O acted like such a bastard because he kept saying that I could do something more useful in politics rather than spending six hours working on a sandwich recipe. Jimmy O used all of his spare time this fall working on a campaign and was always trying to get me to help. But there were two problems with this: First, I think he forgot that we broke up and I don't need to listen to his "advice" anymore. If he wants to complain that I'm not doing anything significant, he needs to understand that I am really busy. I've got to fight my conservative dad who always calls and asks if I've started listening to Sean Hannity's radio show. I tell him that only places like Chesterfield (Missouri. A suburb of St. Louis. -Ed.) have that Nazi on the air and then I have to explain why people like Hannity are bad. My father is soooo impossible. And secondly, it was a local campaign. I mean, who cares about that? Everyone's heard of the President. Anyway, I was waaay bummed out on Election Day. I even went to class dressed in black to protest. I felt fine about everything until last week when I was watching Access Hollywood. I've gotten back into that show lately because they're really done quite a good job with covering the Brad-Jennifer split and all the work these celebrities have been doing in Southwest (sic) Asia. George Clooney is a real sweetie. But then, they spent all Wednesday night talking about the Inauguration! What was Laura going to wear? Would Kid Rock go to any of the balls after getting cancelled from Jenna and Barbara's concert? Who cares? Besides, I hate those little twin bitches anyway. Has anyone commented on their large "slut asses"? They're disgusting. They remind of these twin sisters in my sorority who thought they were so hot because their dad ran a plastic tip company. Those twins really play the Daddy girl role to a tee. Anyway, I got so upset that me and my roommate Chrisee took the next day off from school, snuck some Haagen-Daas into our purses and caught some movies. And did they really cheer me up. They were really liberal and had a lot of things to say about abortion, war, and genocide. I admit to some mixed reactions but I think everyone should see these movies and send a message to Hollywood that us Democrats are still going to the multiplexes.

You Want to Put that Hose Where? A Review of Vera Drake

I hate to start on such a glum note, but I didn't think Vera Drake was very good. This is a movie about abortion, but its approach to abortion nags at me like some of my friend's pro-choice stances. Look, abortion should totally stay legal. I know a few people who have gone through it and that was way traumatic for them. One summer in undergrad, I was an unpaid intern for this local group called Hope Without Hangars that provided advice for women who were considering abortions. I'm been in some pretty hairy situations but these chicks were really up shit creek. I always tried to help them with all of their options but everyone else at the group acted like abortion cheerleaders; like having one was the best thing since sliced bread. With me it's safe, legal, and rare just like my boy Bill Clinton likes to say. Vera Drake treats the issue in such a matter-of-fact issue. There's this woman in 1950's England named Vera Drake - duh! - who cleans chimneys and mops people's floor all day. As played by Imelda Staunton, she's like a frumpy and ugly version of Mary Poppins. She's like Mary Poppins if Mary Poppins performed abortions. This movie is set in the days when abortion was illegal and people who need them go to Vera for help.But I cannot believe how she does this. She'll go up to someone's house, puts on a pot of tea in that really quaint British sort of way, makes up some hot soap water, shoves a hose up their cooter, and pumps them up. OH. MY. GOD. How crazy is that? No drugs. No controlled, sterile environment. And certainly no way to perform one of these. I guess director/male liberal Mike Leigh is trying to make some sort of commentary on the need for legal places to perform abortions, but then he acts like his main character isn't putting these girls at any kind of risk. She's portrayed as some sort of holy saint who could do not wrong and is just a victim herself. Because she is completely busted halfway through the movie and the rest of the film involves Vera crying with this sad look on her face. She tells the cops that "only a few girls have had complications." Only a few girls after she shoots hot water in their stuff and tells them just to crap it out in a few days? I really have my doubt. Seems to me like there would HAVE to be more harm than that. Leigh brings up all of these challenging and complicated issues and then just assumes that they'll be accepted as a morally acceptable stance. Uh, that means that this Mike Leigh dude already thinks he knows how the audience will feel so there's nothing interesting about the material. Like he's preaching to the choir. Well, this girl is NOT buying it. If you're going to make a movie like this, don't be so freakin' flip with the material. Don't let an important subject go to waste on some sort of Masterpiece Theatre dog-and-pony show.

This Movie Makes me Feel So Sad! A Review of Hotel Rwanda

A film that DOES work even though it's a total bummer is Hotel Rwanda. I remember doing a current events article about the Rwandan massacres for my World History class in High School. I got pretty high marks, but I took most of it out of that Time Magazine cover story. My teacher was also my volleyball coach and she really didn't give a shit. The whole deal seemed really bad at the time but I just kind of forgot about it. Now, its come back to haunt me in the form of this movie. This looks at the Tootsies (sic) and the Whotos (sic) and their bloody battle for control of the country. Joaquin Phoenix - who does not look hot in a beard and with a gut - explains how all of the tribes were formed. I guess the Belgium's ran the country for a while and put some black people into a group and put other black people into another group based on their looks. Ga, I never read that in my high school research. But I guess it's true so it leads me to this question: Is that a dumb way to classify people into tribes or what? I mean, wouldn't it be easier to divide them up by geography? At least from a managerial position anyway. And why did they get named after Dr. Seuss characters? All the same, there's this guy named Paul (Don Cheadle) who runs a fancy hotel for Europeans. It's funny but I can't imagine why anyone would want to vacation in Rwanda. Two tickets to Fallujah, please! Come on. Paul does a really good job with the hotel: It always looks nice and all of the big wigs seemed pleased with their treatment. But all Hell breaks loose and Paul sees these really terrible things happen to his neighbors. I guess he's from one tribe and everyone around him is from another. Don Cheadle is so cute and adorable in this movie. He always wears nice clothes and has a really sweet family. But everyone is so mean to him! All the black people treat him like an Uncle Kracker and the white people think he's a sell-out. Nobody's worse than Nick Nolte, who plays a Canadian soldier that really sucks at his job. He says that Paul is is "worse than an n-word; he's an African." What a bad guy! And all this time I thought Africans were n-words. Nonetheless, Nolte belongs to the United Nations who look at lot worse in this movie than NPR makes them out to be. They stand around and watch people get chopped up with knives. Then they leave like a bunch of losers. Maybe they should fire the Koffi guy.

Paul likes to stay out of politics and I can't blame him. At least I'm not getting chopped up by W supporters. Not yet anyway! But he finds all of this too awful too ignore. He comes up with a way to keep about 1200 people in his hotel away from the bad Rwandans. He finds humanity in this act and a purpose for his life. It's really great and really sad. I cried so hard after it was over. And I felt terrible for being a Westerner after watching it. I asked Chrisee what I could do. She spent the election cycle working for an organization called, formed during the Clinton impeachment. You know, "'so what' if he got blown by an intern". They did all sorts of work designed to antagonize Republicans into voting for Bush. Or that's what Jimmy O says. She told me I could donate to the American Red Cross's Sudanese campaign. I should have done that, but my credit card number got taken off the Dean for President web site and I lost $1000 because of some douche bag volunteer in Iowa. I DO NOT trust the Internet. So I went out and bought U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It's soooo spiritual and all that stuff about Bono's dad also made me cry. If you're up for a good duct rinsing, Hotel Rwanda is the perfect film.

Do Not F@$% with the French. A Review of A Very Long Engagement

I was NOT expecting this movie to be a downer. I know this was a re-teaming of director Jean Luc Picard and Audrey Tautou. They made Amelie and that is one of my favorite films of all time. Amelie was so cute in the way she got all of those people together but couldn't bring herself to ask that one boy out. It had all of these bright colors and fun characters. What's not to love? Of course Jimmy O found plenty not to love. He called it slight, sub-Jane Austen Euro-trash for perverts who "got off" on Tautou's child-like behavior. How about you take a pill, Jimmy O! Anyway, I was hoping for something along the same line with A Very Long Engagement. Boy, was I wrong! This is a film about a woman named Mathilde (Tautou) who is searching for her lost fiancee in the after-math of World War I. Did you know that the French lost over 1 million soldiers during that war? I certainly didn't. My dad always called them p-words and said I should call French fries "Freedom" fries like Hannity does. But when I mentioned the fact they lost so many guys against Germany, he was quiet for a second. Then he said: "Well, that means they should know how dangerous someone like Saddam Hussein is. Besides, that was 80 years ago. They haven't done anything for us lately." Why is he so mean to me? Anyway, her boyfriend Manech (Gaspard Ulliel) was marched off with other war criminals and left for dead on the battlefield. In her search, Mathilde has all of these quirks that reminded me of Amelie except that they seemed desperate and pathetic here. Maybe that was the point. She meets all of these people like Jodie Foster, who plays a bit of a slut if you ask me. But the whole film captures the sad poetry of love and war in the same sweep. It look great and has some really harrowing stuff. I really dug it, even if I wasn't expecting something else.

We were going to catch The Motorcycle Diaries but I passed because I know Che Guavara was a murderous thug who passed his message of "peaceful revolution" through the barrel of a rifle. Ga, now I'm starting to sound like Jimmy O. But these movies reminded me of purpose in life. Even if the system fails - like it did with those ATM machines in Ohio - there's still reason to march on. Liberal messages make for really great movies. I went back to my Legal Aid Clinic with a new sense of meaning. This woman was complaining about all the creditor's hounding her and she was having trouble keeping up with new debt. I told that nothing made me feel better than a good afternoon at the movies followed by a back massage. She got a look on her face that's indescribable with words. I may not be able to get John Kerry elected, but I've got my own ways of saving the world.


The Real Pitch for Vera Drake
1 Michael Palin + 1 Dirty Dancing = 2 for Vera Drake
The Real Pitch for Hotel Rwanda
2 Oskar Schindler + 2 Sam Brownbeck = 4 Hotel Rwanda
The Real Pitch for A Very Long Engagement
2 Amelie + 1 and 1/2 Saving Private Ryan = 3 and 1/2 A Very Long Engagement
See Them For:
Cheadle Carrying Brett Ratner's Directing Career Through Yet Another Crappy Film.