"Shit, Actually" by Lindy West
December 8, 2020 2:21 PM - by West, Lindy - Subscribe

I love making fun of movies. I love turning a piece of criticism into a piece of entertainment. I love pointing out a plot hole that makes a superfan write me an angry e-mail. I love turning my unsophistication into a tool. I love being hyperbolically, cathartically angry for no reason. I love being flippant and careless and earnest and meticulous all at once. Shit, Actually is inspired by a series of essays I started at Jezebel, in which I’d rewatch successful movies from the past to see how they hold up to our shifting modern sensibilities... What do we do now with beloved cultural works that don’t hold up?
posted by The corpse in the library (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Top Gun review is 100% accurate and perfect:

"We’re clearly supposed to resent Iceman for trying to stifle Maverick’s unbelievably bitching bad-boy flying skills in the name of 'SAFETY' and 'REGARD FOR OTHERS' (boooooo!), but, you know what? I actually think being exceptional is bad. It’s dangerous and unfriendly and it prevents us from building robust systems of aid and care. It precludes forethought and planning (oh, a hero will save us!), and it undercuts accountability when talented people do bad things (oh, but he’s so special). My Norwegian mom always told me, 'You’re not special—never think you’re better than anybody else,' and I’m glad she did! Now I listen to other people and treat them with respect and wear a mask at the grocery store! Exceptionalism is a grift!"
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:29 PM on December 8, 2020 [14 favorites]

Damn it, another book I must read. (Thank you for this. It looks amazing!)
posted by miss-lapin at 3:01 PM on December 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I listened to the audio book, read by the author, and it was exactly the delight I needed in a difficult month. For anyone on the fence, I believe that all you need to know is that every movie is given a score on a scale of ten DVDs of The Fugitive (which itself scores 13/10).
posted by northernish at 9:45 AM on December 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

The next morning, Keanu goes to his local coffee shop and says hey to his favorite bus driver, and…did buses really look that antique in 1994????? Am I…old? If you asked me to date that bus I’d be like, 'Sure, as long as it’s not a SAGITTARIUS'—HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA—no, I’d be like, 'Uh, 1963?' but apparently that is a full-on 1990s bus like I rode to the bead store before piano lessons every Tuesday. Does anyone else feel like everything was 1970 until 2008 and then it abruptly switched to 2015 until 2017 when it became 2020 and has been ever since?

(My book group isn't meeting these days so instead you guys get the bits I would've shouted in the bar.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:08 AM on December 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Hey, when will “mochaccino” die as a joke? Like, I get it, your high school shop teacher needs a way to be vaguely homophobic on Facebook, and drinking anything but the shittiest black coffee in existence is extremely homosexual and Marxist, but for FUCK’S SAKE, coffee snobs are not ordering “half-caf extra-hot no foam triple-pump rooty tooty fresh ’n’ fruity crème brûlée for a day fudgy white extra whip coconut mochaccinos” at Starbucks!!! Are you nuts? I actually live in an effete liberal urban center, and we dicks are drinking single-origin pourover from coffee shops that don’t even believe in milk. If you want a really good “mochaccino,” you gotta go outside the city limits to Red State Real America because they’re using heavy whipping cream, they’re giving you 128 ounces of it, and they’re sticking Almond Joys and Oreos and whole cherry pies and other smaller mochaccinos on top, hail Satan. “Mochaccino” is a self-own, please stop.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:10 AM on December 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

That last quote sold me. Sounds like a must read.
posted by WhenInGnome at 2:52 PM on December 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is so weird, because I only know who this person is because a friend of mine used to torture me with her music video that was called "Body Rolls" or something and had like an oompa loompa in it. It was horrible, just absolute...I can't even explain it, it was physically painful to watch. And yet these quotes are very funny.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:25 PM on December 12, 2020

I listened to the audiobook and ... it’s a solid smile throughout for me but not much more. She has a few comedic devices she leans on hard enough that they flatten a bit over time, and she might have benefitted from not doing a linear recap in every instance. I also think she writes in a style that reads as conversational in print, but oddly enough doesn’t quite work that way in her own spoken voice. Still some enjoyable moments, and I’m grateful for the recognition that 90s movies are distant enough now to look dated.
posted by argybarg at 11:29 PM on December 12, 2020

Yeah, I can see how this would be better as a book in print than as an audiobook. I skimmed the chapters I wasn't as interested in and lingered on the ones that appealed to me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:56 PM on December 13, 2020

The review of Honey I Shrunk the Kids made me laugh so hard I woke my husband up.
posted by MaritaCov at 10:25 PM on December 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thank you The corpse in the library for this. This sounds likes a must read.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 1:40 PM on December 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

(Coming in super-late, but I just finished this, so!)

I think this works best if you read it in little chunks, just delightful treats at the end of the day. I binge-read Shrill and expected the same for this, but it was better reading just one or two chapters a day. Her shticks are very funny! But...repetitive, I think? Too much leaves one feeling a bit full.

That said, I liked this very very much for what it is, and also had to stop reading the Reality Bites review every few paragraphs and do some kind of laugh-wheeze-breathe very very deeply hybrid, because every word was a dagger of truth straight to my heart and it was beautiful and perfect and, um, painfully accurate. (I am exactly Lindy West's age and obsessively watched this film over and over in high school. Rarely have I been so happy to not be 15 years old anymore.)
posted by kalimac at 9:51 AM on February 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

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