Paid in Puke S2E10: Ghost World

In our final episode of Series Two, we fan girl all over Terry Zwigoff’s 2001 film, Ghost World, based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. Amy shares some personal correspondence with Mr. Enid Coleslaw himself.


We also have what may be the longest Eskimo segment since Heathers, and our Lunchtime Poll turns into a discussion about problematic favs, but we do our best to end on a high note.

Paid in Puke returns in May with a Mother’s Day episode about Terms of Endearment! In the meantime, stay safe, healthy and try not to puke!

Paid in Puke S2E9: Josie and the Pussycats

In this episode, we let the cats out of the bag with 2001’s Josie and the Pussycats, written and directed by Deb Kaplan and Harry Elfont (Can’t Hardly Wait) and starring Rachel Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, and Tara Reid. This one’s a bit tough on us oldsters, as it’s targeting pre-teens and hits you over the head with it’s anti-consumerism message (whist occasionally shooting itself in the foot). It’s also a bit of a throwback to a very specific point in music economic history that requires some unpacking. Still, it promotes body positivity (as long as you’re not above 120 lbs) and chicks in rock and roll. So that’s…something.


It also inspires some more t-shirts! Check out our store if you like any of the fictional power pop bands we invent in our Lunchtime Poll.

Girl Power! (Wait…wrong movie?)

Film Review: The Carnivores

the-carnivoresThe Carnivores isn’t about meat. But it’s not, not about meat. The plot of Caleb Michael Johnson’s (Joy Kevin) sophomore feature involves a couple who struggle to maintain their relationship because of their terminally ill dog, Harvie. Brett (Lindsay Burdge, The Invitation) is more emotionally invested in keeping Harvie alive for as long as possible despite the fact that his treatments are taking them beyond their means. Meanwhile, Alice (Tallie Medel) obsesses over their negative finances and how often she and Brett are intimate (not very). Flesh is a recurring theme in this surreal psychological romantic horror film co-written by Johnson and Jeff Bay Smith. What does it mean that we both consume flesh and are made of flesh? Why is some meat precious and other meat food?

The Carnivores also explores how a pet can be a major point of contention in a relationship. Brett has had Harvey the dog for 2 years longer than she has known Alice. The fact that she even mentions this to Alice speaks volumes, since Alice is painfully aware of the hierarchy. Harvey has been sick for a long time. But he is undergoing expensive life-prolonging treatments because Brett can’t bear to let him go. She isn’t even considering how much of a strain his ailment is on their lives. Alice secretly tracks their finances, her sleep, and their sex life, all of which are woefully sparse. To make matters worse, Alice has started to sleepwalk and crave meat despite her longtime vegan diet. Alice keeps her disconcerting thoughts from Brett, but appears to confide in a loquacious, know-it-all co-worker – he references details of her life despite their seemingly one-sided lunch conversations…

Read the rest at Hammer to Nail!

Paid in Puke S2E8: Alien

In this episode, we’re joined by the brilliant Erin Lavery to discuss one of her favorite films: Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi art house classic, Alien. This is the film that inspired the (Bechdel) test that inspired our podcast but it also contains a textbook example of the male gaze! Erin points out that Alien is basically a workplace drama and Ripley is long-suffering middle management.

alien image

We also introduce a new segment: Patronizing Bunny Rabbits. This is what we’re calling it when directors feel the need to trick their actors into giving them an “honest” reaction. Is it part of the process, or just a dick move?

In the Lunchtime Poll, we reveal which members of the Nostromo crew we would make time with to blow off steam at our space job.

Film Review: Union

union still

Whitney Hamilton writes, directs, and stars in Union, a sort of sequel to her 2005 film My Brother’s War (and both films are based on her novel, Firefly). Hamilton was inspired by the over 400 women who disguised themselves as men in order to fight for their side in the American Civil War. Union focuses on one such woman (Hamilton), who assumes the identity of her dead brother, Henry. Hamilton channels directors Jane Campion and Kelly Reichardt for her western romantic saga with a splash of verité. The film suffers from a lack of editing and some spotty peripheral performances, but fans of the genre, and those craving a nuanced queer romance will find much to love.

[The protagonist’s true gender identity is never expressly stated but since Virginia calls her partner “Henry” even when they’re alone together, I will use male pronouns from here on out. My apologies to Hamilton if this is a misrepresentation of the character.]

Union opens with a gritty re-enactment of the battle of Gettysburg. While fighting for the Confederate side, Henry is wounded on the battlefield and calls out to his love, Virginia (Virginia Newcomb), before passing into unconsciousness. When he wakes in a Union hospital, his biology is betrayed, which saves him from hanging, but also lands him an unwanted engagement to the man who stays his execution. Henry escapes and sets off to reunite with Virginia. Along the way, he is helped by some Native Americans who revere his gender duality but haunted by a promise he made to his former paramour who died in his arms. Meanwhile, Virginia also faces an unwanted betrothal at her brother’s insistence, fights to keep soldiers from stealing her farm, and takes in a pregnant widow.

Cinematographer William Schweikert delivers some truly breathtaking shots of the night sky and nature. Liberal use of what I assume are drone cameras gives the micro-budget film an epic quality. History buffs will appreciate the commitment to authenticity. Hamilton basically became a Civil War reenactor to get in good with people who had access to period costumes and the locations she needed. She was able to film in actual historic buildings and locations in Alabama and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, it feels like many of the extras and tertiary roles are played by said reenactors, who aren’t as good with line readings as they are with historical accuracy.

The leads, on the other hands, deliver like gangbusters, particularly Newcomb who brings a young Sissy Spacek intensity to the proceedings. She wears her prairie dresses and hardened scowl like a second skin. Hamilton and Newcomb also have tremendous chemistry and when they’re apart, you feel the hole left by their absent sweetheart. They absolutely glow through their tender, candle-lit love scene, a welcome respite from the near-constant peril these characters face from beginning to end.

The trouble lies in the editing, which employs a confusing non-linear story and too much time spent away from the electric leads. If Hamilton turned around 40 minutes of Union into epistolary voiceover exposition, it would have helped with pacing and kept the focus on the bold women at the center of the story. When Hamilton does employ epistolary voiceover, it works very well with the genre, because this was a time when letter writing was an art. It was very possible that every letter contained your last words to someone you loved.

I very much enjoyed the recurring motif of a Shawnee man telling Henry’s story to his people. This is where some of the more beautiful imagery comes into play and it draws a parallel between two types of marginalized people in the early 19th Century. Union also adeptly addresses how prevalent the patriarchy was in a woman’s life. It was considered every woman’s duty to give themselves over to a man and to child-rearing. Anyone who chose another path risked their very life in doing so. Overall, Union is a valuable addition to the underrepresented genre of LGBTQIA+ historical cinema.

Union is currently streaming on HBO, itunes, VUDU, Fandango, Direct TV, Youtube, Google Play, Amazon Prime and other platforms.


Film Review: Human Capital


Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer) directs this non-linear, Rashomon-style morality play based on a 2004 novel by Stephen Amidon and adapted by Oren Moverman (The Messenger, I’m Not There). Led by a stellar ensemble cast, the story weaves together the lives of three families from disparate economic classes. While a mystery surrounding a deadly hit-and-run accident does the film a slight disservice, the performances are enough to give Human Capital a look on VOD.

Meyers is the second director to bring Amidon’s novel to the big screen, the first being Italian director, Paolo Virzì in 2015. The story opens on a waiter finishing up his workday. He asks for time off to have a date night for his wife’s birthday and hops on his bike to head home. This is all the time we have with him before he is struck by an SUV and left for dead on the side of the road. This accident becomes the centerpiece of the drama that unfolds between 3 families connected by their teenagers only to see the parents clash, both directly and indirectly, over economic disparity.

Read the rest at Hammer to Nail!

Paid in Puke S2E7: Midsommar/The VVitch

On this episode, we get pagan AF, as we dig deep into Robert Eggers’ 2015 film, The VVitch, and Ari Aster’s 2019 film, Midsommar! Wouldst thou like to live deliciously? Of course thou wouldst! We have a little bit of trouble coming up with a Lunchtime Poll, but we get there eventually.

midsommar the vvitch episode art

Our discussion also spawns our first t-shirt! Get your #WitchLife merch in our new store! Black Phillip-approved!

Paid in Puke S2E6: Bring it On

Happy St. Pad’s! On this unrelated episode of Paid in Puke, we’ve got s-loads of spirit for Peyton Reed’s ahead-of-its-time (a few Hot Probs aside) anti-appropriation film, Bring it On, starring Kirstin Dunst and Gabrielle Union.

bring it on epsiode art

We also reveal the songs we would use for our floor routine and there’s a lengthy plug for Baxter’s band, No Refundz.

Paid in Puke S2E5: Like a Boss

On this episode of Paid in Puke, we discuss the myriad ways we were disappointed by Miguel Arteta’s 2020 comedy, Like a Boss, despite the stellar cast. There are some redeeming qualities, including the Lunchtime Poll question it inspired: What small business would you start with your bestie? It wouldn’t be a novelty product makeup boutique, that’s for sure.


At least Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne are delights, no matter what terrible scripts they are handed.

Film Review: DOSED

Tyler Chandler’s directorial debut, Dosed, begins with a frightening statistic from the World Health Organization: 1.6 billion people suffer from anxiety, depression, and addiction worldwide. While you watch this documentary, 127 people will commit suicide. Then we meet Chandler’s friend, Adrianne, a young Canadian woman who admits that opioid addiction causes her to risk her life on a daily basis. She has repeatedly tried to get clean through legal channels, but it creates an unsustainable cycle of methadone, painful detox, and inevitable relapse. Adrianne knows that if she can’t end this pattern soon, she will take her own life as a means of escape. She is desperate to try anything. Fortunately, Chandler has recently heard that plant psychedelics can help…


Read the rest on Hammer to Nail!

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