Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sauced Silverscreen: Girl Vs. Monster (2012) & Lulu B. Pinot Noir

Buddy Holly's youngest brother (he's 12) is spending the night with us and plead a desperate case to watch a movie he'd seen promos for all week. He was very excited about this movie and assured us that it was a "mature, Halloween film." Girl Vs. Monster, a Disney Channel Monstober special. Obviously, a mature film. But, being the loving siblings we are, Buddy Holly and I agreed to watch. And I immediately went out and bought an emergency bottle of wine.

We meet our heroine, Skylar, at that day-before preparations for this year's awesome Halloween party. Skylar is Lizzie McGuire for the 20teens, a confident blonde with rock star potential. Best friends, Henry and Sadie, are boring back-up sidekicks.

And then, there's boy band cutie, Ryan Dean, who Skylar obviously has a crush on but is trying to not own. Within the first few minutes, it is firmly impressed upon us that Skylar is fierce and fearless and has some kick-ass moves. Slightly crooked banners hanging from the ceiling are no match for Skylar. With a springboard from Henry, Skylar launches into full on Buffy the Vampire Slayer mode and slays that banner like whhaaaattt!

Okay, okay, we are not even five minutes into this movie and there is singing. No one told me there would be singing. I am already on my second glass of wine.

Oh good, here comes the nemesis, Myra, a tall, twiggy redhead who wears a ton of blazers. Are blazers back? Do teenagers really wear blazers? What are the kids doing these days? Myra is the singer of Ryan's band and they have had an on and off again relationship. Word from Sadie is that they've recently broken up again and Ryan has his eye on Skylar. Skylar refuses to believe it.

This year's Halloween party is taking place at the creepy old McSomethingsomething mansion. We'll learn more about that later. As Skylar and Sadie head home from the Halloween preparations, passing through the McSomethingsomething private cemetery, we are given omniscient knowledge of the lurking gargoyles coming to life. But the girls pass on safely and it's not until they have gone that two figures, wearing welding masks, arrive and trap the gargoyle. Spoiler, they're Skylar's parents. Skylar's parents are Ghostbusters. They even have the monster sucking machine and everything.

The next morning at breakfast, Skylar is putting out feelers with Mom about getting an extended curfew on the Halloween party. But, oh noes! Skylar won't be able to go because tonight is the annual symposium for Mom & Dad's Toxic Mold business. Toxic mold? Really? That's your cover story? Sheesh.
Me (as Skylar in a valley-girl voice): But Mooom, this is like Ryan's big important Halloween party. I just have to go.
Buddy Holly (as Skylar in a valley-girl voice): Breakfast? Ew. I'm way too cool for breakfast.
But Mom insists that Skylar won't be able to go out on Halloween until she's 16.

That day at school everyone is dressed up for Halloween and a festive spirit is in the air.
Buddy Holly (as Skylar in a valley-girl voice): Costumes? Ew. I'm way too cool for costumes.
Me (as Skylar in a valley-girl voice): It is just so hard being pretty and popular. I hate my life. 

Blahblah, Henry gets threatened by over-sized bullies (Are these kids on steroids??) and, at lunch, Sadie is freaking out about a presentation she has to give tomorrow.
Buddy Holly: Oh, so Sadie is Hermione.
Sadie (paraphrased): I'm so worried about this presentation.
Buddy Holly (in a British accent): It's presenta-SHION, not presenta-SHUN.
Ryan Dean arrives to reestablish himself as a character and provide plot exposition  The McSomethingsomething mansion, tonight's party locale, is maybe haunted and has stood empty since Old Man McSomethingsomething died.

Oh thank God, slapstick. Nemesis Myra, tries to pull a Skylar in order to fix a banner at the school. Except, she launches herself down a set of stairs and, surprisingly, does not snap her spine. She only needs a neck brace but, oh noes!, the band doesn't have a lead singer. Oh, but Skylar could sing for us! Ryan smiles and leans and adorbs Skylar into agreeing to sing with them at the party. Skylar decides she'll just have to disobey her parents and sneak out.

Throughout the day, we learn more about Mom & Dad's work. They are Ghostbusters, I mean, Monster Hunters, and they drive a Mystery Machine, I mean,...mold van.

Dad is a poor man's Jerry O'Connell (which is saying something, because I'm pretty sure Jerry O'Connell is a poor man's someone else). Mom & Dad have a lab in the basement for all their monster hunting, *ahem*, I mean "toxic mold" research. They also keep a twenty-something lab technician, who is training in the monster hunting field with them. After trapping a monster, they return the traps to LabTech (God, I cannot be bothered to learn or remember his name) and the monsters are then stored in a bathysphere, which they keep in the closet. There are a lot of monsters in the bathysphere but everything is extra special wonky this year. There seem to be more monsters than ever and the monsters have been manifesting for days, when they usually only happen on Halloween (symposium!), and are manifesting during daylight, when they are normally restricted to the dark. This is an especially scary year (this will never be explained) and Mom & Dad are worried about their widdle Skylar-kins. So, they set LabTech as babysitter and set the house alarm to deter her from sneaking out.

Skylar, determined to live a little (she is 15, I mean, come on), decides there's only one thing to do. Cut the power. But oh noes!, the bathysphere runs on electricity and cutting the power means Skylar has just released all the monsters inside! Good job, Skylar.

The monsters come swooping out deatheater style. Three monsters in particular, a lady in red, a black-cowled Schoolmarm, and a Scarecrow, taunt and frighten.

Oh, and the lady in red, wants to possess Skylar's soul and live for ETERNITY. But first, she must deal with the hunters, Skylar's parents. So, she'll be back. How...convenient?

LabTech explains to Skylar, Henry, and Sadie (I don't know when the latter two arrived) that the monsters are astral projections of people's fear. Usually, the monsters only exist in our dreams but, at Halloween, fear is strong enough for the monsters to manifest physically. Each monster attaches to the fear of one person in particular. Voldemort, I mean, the lady in red, (I guess her name is Deimata) is an ancient one (one what?) and was Skylar's grandfather's (also a monster hunter) fear monster. At the end of his life, he was too weak to fight her and, when he died, Deimata sought out the next strongest host, baby Harry, I mean, baby Skylar. Skylar's parents, learned from Granddad and modified his weapons to form stun guns, traps, and the bathysphere. They caught Voldemort, I mean, Deimata, while Skylar was still an infant and she has been trapped ever since. This is why Skylar is so fearless, her fear monster has been locked away, until now. But now, she's experiencing weird stomach pains and she doesn't feel too good. What is it? Oh! It's fear!

LabTech sends Skylar to Ryan's party at the potentially haunted house to keep her safe. No one will look for her at a party where all her peers are congregating? LabTech loads Skylar, Henry, and Sadie up with steampunk-Granddad, monster hunting weapons and sends them on their way.

Meanwhile, Mom & Dad, tricked out in Firefly regalia, are led into and easily caught in a trap by Deimata and her two cronies.

The trio sets off for McSomethingsomething mansion. It turns out Deimata's two cronies are the manifestations of Henry and Sadie's fears. Henry's Scarecrow, stems from a field behind his house. Sadie's Schoolmarm is rooted in a traumatizing loss at the school spelling bee, when she forgot how to spell 'goat.' Both comment that, even if they can't see their monster, they can feel them. Despite their growing fear, the three friends agree to remain together and not allow themselves to be split up. The moment monster apparitions attack, they are split like a log. Henry, coming face to face with the Scarecrow, stares down his monster and loses. He is petrified, literally, by fear. LabTech fetches him back to the lab in a wheelbarrow while Skylar and Sadie carry on to the mansion.

Deimata and the cronies, discussing their plans for the evening, decide that the only suitable way to kill the hunters is to scare them to death. But they're so desensitized to fear. They'll have to scare Mom & Dad by hurting Skylar-kins. But Deimata is not a full strength, she needs to feed on more fear. Thankfully, there's a Halloween party just nearby, but she'll need a costume. She decides to possess Nemesis-Myra.

When Skylar and Sadie arrive at the mansion, Ryan is obviously happy to have his lead singer in the house. Oh. Oooohhhh. Skylar's face falls as she faces a crowd for the first time with fear. And not just fear, 15 years of fear and no experience in how to deal with or control it. Ryan's encouraging smile and the beat are enough to help Skylar lose herself in the music. Just as she's hitting her stride and losing her fear, Nemesis-Myra-Deimata steals the show and Skylar is crushed. She runs from the room and hides by the buffet table to eat away her troubles in snickerdoodles. Sadie comes to her, trying to help Skylar understand how to deal with the fear.
Buddy Holly: Ew! Don't eat half a cookie and then put the rest back on the tray!
Skylar (paraphrased): What do I do, Sadie? How do you deal with fear?
Me (as Sadie): live with it, like the rest of us. Everyday.

Skylar, still wimping it up, examines the photographs on the fireplace mantel. What the what?! That's my mom in this picture! With Old Man McSomethingsomething. My mom lived here? Old Man McSomethingsomething is my grandfather?! The revelation is interrupted by an apparition and the girls take out and trap their first monster and then they start going through the house, taking out the monsters as they go. But they're running out of traps and call LabTech to bring them more. Henry, facing his fears, offers to take the traps to the girls. On the way, he meets the Scarecrow again but, this time, he calls down the monster and, as he yells 'I'm not afraid of you!', the Scarecrow disintegrates.

Skylar's monster hunting does not sit will with Deimata. Skylar is gaining confidence.

Well, it's time to up the ante. There are plenty of school kids upstairs to torment. She deatheaters her way upstairs and starts manifesting all the kids' worst nightmares. Clowns are prevalent. Horror and fear run rampant! Everyone is running out into the cemetery! Sadie is losing to the schoolmarm! Skylar is weakening to Deimata! Henry bursts in! Just do whatever scares you! It weakens them! Skylar's eyes fly to the microphone!
Buddy Holly: The shards of your microphone, Narsil, have been reforged!
Me: Skylar! Sing a ballad of your bravery!
Everyone stands up to their fears. Sadie stands up to the Schoolmarm and correctly spells 'goat'. Skylar sings! In a last ditch effort, Deimata possesses Ryan and says mean things to Skylar. Skylar tells Ryan to fight her, tells him to do whatever scares him. Ryan-Deimata struggles with himself, writhing in inner turmoil, until, at last, Ryan yells out, asking Skylar to go out with him! She says yes! He triumphs! The band is suddenly together again, with all of their instruments magically outside, in the cemetery, and, apparently, all wireless, because where is there an electrical outlet in a cemetery? Skylar takes up her song again and an impromptu dance party breaks out. P.S. These kids costumes are so lame.

It's not until Deimata interrupts that Skylar remembers that her parents are in danger and are now being precariously dangled from the roof of the McSomethingsomething mansion. Skylar's fear for her parents and her parents fear for her, are feeding Deimata, making her stronger. Skylar conquers her own tremulations but her parents will need to trust their baby girl to fight He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I mean, The-Ancient-One. Which, obviously, she does with the help of her friends and everything is returned to joy and happiness.

We leave our new friends in the garage of Ryan's band. Ryan and Skylar are singing a beautiful duet. Oh! And we can be friends with our Nemesis-Myra, making a trio.

So in conclusion, Girl Vs. Monster:

Oh my God, this was two hours of my life I will NEVER get back.


  1. Oh man, it's a MUSICAL! That's awesome.

    There are a lot of blazers and strange clothes on Pretty Little Liars. I'm always like 'do kids these days really dress like that?' So old now.

    Ew. On again-off again relationships are stupid.

    Ghostbusters. This took a turn.

    She's not 16? Also, I'm so glad you guys talked to each other in valley girl voices. BAHAHA, presentashion. NICE.

    WHAT? She fell down the freaking stairs and needs a neck brace now. This CANNOT be real.

    Do fifteen year olds know how to use fuse boxes and cut the power? Also, this shiz wouldn't happen if the parents TOLD the kid what they were doing. Wow. Those monsters are intense. I'm quivering, you better believe it.

    You know, I'm pretty sure people are less afraid on Halloween. I mean, everyone's hopped up on sugar and/or booze. I don't think they're worrying about monsters. HER FEAR MONSTER. Mine would be a giant cockroach or bee or something.

    Holy crap. With this close up, I can see just how much she looks like Lizzie Maguire. Weird. Wow, they're specifically targeted to the three kids. That's convenience. Also, fear monsters are apparently matched by gender? That's a little weird.

    Wait. Hold the phone. If she didn't know fear before, wouldn't she have just confessed to whatshisface because she wouldn't have any fear of rejection. I call bullshit on this. She knew fear!

    I want a snickerdoodle.

    What is up with those pants? Is that a costume or is that what she wears all the time?

    So the monsters are boggarts?

    UGHHHHH... barfs everywhere that he just asked her out because it scared him most. GET SOME REAL FEARS, PEOPLE.

    Wait, she and Myra are friends now?


    It was 2 hours? I feel like that could have been done in a half hour.

    1. No that's what she wears all the time. Except for the steampunk gadgetry, the rest is her normal outfit. I don't know what is going on with her pants.

      Yeah, Buddy Holly and I assume that if Joss Whedon and J.K. Rowling could be bothered to give a shit about a Disney Channel movie they'd be outraged at the blatant plagiarizing of their work.

      Ryan Dean is SUPER sensitive, Christina! He's incredibly attractive and a poet and sings with a voice of gold! So, of course, he's super insecure about asking out the girl who hangs out with the two nerds. His fears are MAJORLY valid.

      It was two hours. Buddy Holly TOLD me it was an hour and about halfway through my third glass of wine I told him this was not an hour and that he had lied to me.