Archive for April, 2011

“She even torments him by mocking the fact that he still has to sleep in modified baby furnishings because his family can’t afford to upgrade his bedroom set. This is just adding insult to injury, though, as suffering through Tiny Furniture is certainly punishment enough already.”

Tiny Furniture is a 2010 semi-autobiographical independent film by auteur Lena Dunham, with a supporting cast of family members played by family members. Recent post-graduate Aura (Dunham) returns to New York City to live with her family after college, finding herself in a self-imposed rut. In the film, her mother, a successful artist, spends the film photographing dollhouse furniture and other tiny things in her atelier.


“Jason admires the new additions but finds himself uncomfortably drawn to the mirror, despite possessing neither a digital camera nor a MySpace account.”

– Myspace, previously mentioned. Profile pictures for social networking websites are notorious for being taken directly in front of a mirror or from the most flattering angle possible (with the help of the looking glass).


“They assure him that it’s a “scary” one, but Jason wisely opts out of watching Topaz.”

– Hitchock’s 1969 film Topaz, a Cold War espionage thriller, was ill-received by audiences. The plot involves a French intelligence operative’s family troubles; a defecting Soviet agent and his family; the eponymous Topaz; a spy ring inside the French secret service; and Cuban missile launch sites. From what I remember of Topaz, it was a bit of a disjointed affair that rapidly introduced characters and then dropped them just as abruptly.

Upon opening the door, a red-eyed creature leaps out at him, causing him to respond, “Oh no, not an esoteric representation of the impermeability of death in Thai culture! Turns out it’s just Sister Claudia Who Can Recall Her Past Halloween Costumes…”

– a reference to the 2010 film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Boonmee, played by Thanapat Saisaymar, is visited by his wife’s spirit and his son (in the form of a red-eyed monkey) during his reminisces as he dies of renal failure.

“Fred reappears at school the next day, only, like Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn before him, he’s… different.”

– The tagline for the 1961 drama picture The Children’s Hour, starring MacLaine and Hepburn, was an insinuating “Different…” They starred as the heads of an all-girl boarding school whose professional and personal lives are ruined when they are falsely accused of lesbianism by a malicious student. It was directed by the prolific William Wyler and based on the successful play of the same name by Lillian Hellman.


“His sports abilities go from Lane to Kobe Bryant”

– Lane Bryant is a franchise retailer of plus-sized women’s clothing. It was established by one Lena Bryant in 1904 and given the misnomer by a banking clerk who switched the letters of her first name during paperwork. Kobe Bryant (b. 1978) is an accomplished NBA player for the Los Angeles Lakers. He has the current record for second-highest number of points scored in a single game (2006) and is consistently rated high in player rankings.


“And the rule of threes applies”

– Common and contrived folk legend asserts that tragedy comes in threes, usually the deaths of celebrities. Alternatively, the comedy and rhetoric technique by the same name also asserts that this number has the most impact or inherent humour of all the values. It’s just a big popularity contest. The Rule of Three was what I imagine the Gang of Four called themselves before Jiāng Qīng joined the group and it all cocked up.

“To be fair, maybe he though someone had brought a DVD copy of The Green Hornet into his room, which would certainly threaten the well-being of even the bravest among us.”

– The 2011 movie The Green Hornet is the latest superhero movie and latest incarnation of the 1930s-1940s radio and serial vigilante. It stars Seth Rogen as the Hornet and Jay Chou as the valet-bodyguard-superhero of malleable ethnicity Kato. The character was created by Fran Striker, also responsible for the Lone Ranger.


Late 90s Cultural References

Jason has some sweet WWF posters on his wall– it’s eventually revealed to be the wrestling one, but for a while there I was having fun picturing this kid bragging about having some kick-ass panda pix up in his room.”

The wrestling entertainment organisation WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) was called the World Wrestling Federation during the 1980s and 90s. After a legal dispute with the environmental and conservational organisation World Wide Fund for Nature over use of the “WWF” initalism in 2000, it was changed to the current name. The World Wide Fund for Nature logo is a panda of cuddly contrasts.


“We’ve traced the bark, it’s coming from inside the mirror!”

The cold closing punchline, “the calls are coming from inside the house”, from the well-known urban legend about the babysitter who constantly receives threatening phonecalls. She calls the police, who stay on the line and prepare to trace the next call. After the next phase of threats, the officer frantically tells her, “Get out of the house! The calls are coming from upstairs!” The ending is usually left open to the imagination. The story and phrase have been used as a foundation for countless films and television shows, the most well known being the original versions of When a Stranger Calls and Black Christmas.

While visiting “HorrorLand”, keep an eye on your valuables, don’t leave your children unattended, and just… just stay away from the Bat Barn.

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“I asked him to kindly return my pipe to the side table where he found it. He declined and attempted a poor René Magritte reference.”

– ‘The Treachery of Images’, one of surreal artist René Magritte’s most famous works, is simply an image of a pipe above the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” (This is not a pipe.) Magritte more-or-less makes the comment that a representation of a subject is not the same thing as the subject itself. Magritte’s usual theme was re-appropriating ordinary, everyday sights and objects into visually disorienting places. See works like ‘Golconda, ‘Okapi’, ‘The Son of Man’ or ‘Personal Values’.

“(The patient then heaved pipe across the room. I later found it wedged between the leaves of one of my many office ficuses)”

– Small ficuses, otherwise known as fig trees, are common pot plants in offices.

“listing the dull things that he’s into, which are bland enough to double for the Facebook interests of anyone who graduated from state college with a business degree.”

– ubiquitously popular social networking website, founded in 2004 by four computer science students, the best known being Mark Zuckerberg.

Doctor: Is it possibly meant to be some sort of anorexia commentary? Patient: Bulimia maybe, because you’ll definitely want to throw up after a few pages of teethed-armpit-eating.”

– Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are common eating disorders. Both are associated with self-image obsessions and the conditions are often co-morbid with each other. Anorexia commonly involves withdrawal from and careful monitoring of food, overfrequent exercise, dining only in private, and denial of the condition. Bulimia is typically over-eating (“bingeing”) and then forced ejection through vomiting or consumption of laxatives (“purging”). Overexercising and fasting after the binge is also common.

Patient: …fend off the insects’ assault with high pitched singing. See, here’s where I’d make a reference to a musician with an unusual or unappealing voice. …Doctor: So, for instance, if you were to say that the two kids were anxious to thank Judy Holliday for coming to their rescue– Patient: Exactly. See, this stuff writes itself.”

– Actor-singer Judy Holliday (1921-1965) affected a squeaky, quavery Noo-Yorkah voice as Billie in Born Yesterday, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress.

“RL Stine loves non sequitur dream sequences like Tumblr users love Skins. Ack, see, I can’t stop!”

– UK drama series Skins (2007-) and its American-Canadian remake of the same name (2011-), set in teenage environments, warts and all, are presumably popular with the crowd of microblogging site Tumblr.

Patient: …And if that means that occasionally I have to do a self-indulgent meta entry, then so be it. Doctor: Well, would anyone even want to read that? Patient: Of course! There’s a reason why everyone’s favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie is Lady in the Water.”

– M. Night Shyamalan, probably previously noted, made the 2006 childish fantasy film Lady in the Water. Although his previous film, The Village, was also badly received, Lady in the Water really began his downward slide. Open acknowledgement of stock characters and fairytale tropes, the inclusion of a film critic character (who is then killed off), and his own expanded role as a messianic author were taken as self-indulgences.

Doctor: I snee mut you did mere.”

– The phrase “I see what you did there” has become one of the internet’s more popular shibboleths over the last few years.

I just parked in your garage while I went to go see Hanna across the street and didn’t realize that the theater didn’t validate parking. …Patient: Well, she shoots Cate Blanchett.”

– the 2011 black-ops action film Hanna stars Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous child super-soldier. Hanna is trained from birth to assassinate Cate Blanchett’s character, a task she accomplishes at the end.

“After our session ended, I sought out the rest of the story online, in the form of a Wikipedia entry on the novel.”

– Previously mentioned.

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