Frankie & Alice

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Frankie & Alice is a drama film set in the 1970’s relating the true story of a young African American woman named Frankie (played by Halle Berry) who has Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID (which used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder). Frankie works in a strip club as a go-go dancer and prides herself on her ability to step outside her body while she performs so that it’s not really her doing the stripping. This dissociation is revealed further when Frankie gets into a fight with a lover after being triggered by a doll on the floor. She seems to take on a completely different personality and ends up getting committed to a psychiatric hospital. Laying half-nude in the middle of a busy street is going to cause attention, after all. In the hospital, Frankie meets Dr. Oz, who’s convinced she’s not just another druggie on the streets having a meltdown. He ultimately diagnoses her with DID after uncovering her other two alters (names for other personalities), Genius and Alice. Genius is a super intelligent child who’s afraid of Alice, the white older woman who’s racist and despises her host Frankie. Frankie & Alice is definitely not a boring film.

I was drawn to this film because I love psychology. Dissociative Identity Disorder has long been an over-talked about topic because it’s so controversial. Anyone remember the film Sybil? I recall watching it in shock and I think that’s why it’s such an infamous disorder. The revelations fascinate people. There was shock value in Frankie & Alice, but I knew there would be and I eagerly anticipated the source of Frankie’s trauma. Not a super original concept for a film, but Halle’s acting was superb. It’s not easy to portray three vastly different people within one film and she pulled it off.

Frankie & Alice originally came out four years ago, but was only released to a wide audience recently. I thought Halle looked super young in the film and figured out why when I started researching it. Critics seem to hate the film, but I disagree with them. The film wasn’t outstanding, but I was entertained. Watching Frankie’s treatment progression, her interactions with the other patients, and her job at the strip club was fun. Frankie manages to get herself in trouble often when she transitions from one personality to the next. The viewer never can tell what will set her off.

I expect that Halle will be nominated come award season. She deserves recognition for her portrayal of Frankie. I recommend Frankie & Alice to anyone who has an interest in psychology or enjoys a comeback story.

Eloise: The Film

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In the back of my mind, I always believed that the story of my second home, Eloise Asylum, would make a great film. And I just learned that’s it’s actually happening! Holy shit!

Eloise

I want to tree-branch for a moment before I go into the film. I try to pay attention to which of my posts get the most views or searches. My posts on Eloise Asylum and Eloise Cemetery have consistently been at the top and I expect that to spike a lot higher once the film actually comes out. (Free promotion is never a bad thing. Sorry I’m not sorry.) I am not a historian or an expert on Eloise, but I have done extensive research on it. I have physically visited the asylum numerous times. Unlike most people who go there, I’m not really interested in the ghost stories or illegally breaking into the buildings for a good time. That’s not what Eloise should be known or remembered for. I only have positive intentions. I just wanted to make that clear before I continue because in the past people have believed my intentions were not pure. Honestly, I’m still upset about that.

Filming will soon begin for Eloise, a psychological thriller starring Eliza Dushku from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Chace Crawford from Gossip Girl. I actually love them both and I think they were perfect cast choices. The movie will be filmed in the old asylum (only one building of which is still used to this day) in Westland, Michigan. The subject matter aside, how rad is it that a movie is being filmed so close to where I’ve lived my whole life?! The premise of the film is that four friends break into Eloise to find a death certificate that would lead to a large inheritance for one of them. They don’t expect to discover the horrors that occurred here or to learn about their own unfortunate histories. Sadly, real-life break-ins are very common at Eloise. Dumb teenagers are curious and want to get a good scare. But, the remaining buildings from the massive complex are falling apart and not fit to walk around in.

Stairs

I’ve never seen the stairwells before…that’s creepy.

I was happy to learn that the artifacts on display in the asylum museum have been removed prior to filming. I definitely didn’t want them to be damaged by a clumsy cameraman or special effects gone wrong. Some of the film will also be shot at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, which is right next door to where I attend meetings for work. A lady from the Westland Historical Commission is collaborating with crew members so that the positives of Eloise are highlighted. I think that’s very important because while horrible things happened here, the intent of the staff and creators was never malevolent. People just didn’t know what they do now about mental disorders. There’s no excuse for the horrid treatment that many patients received, but I’m just trying to give some perspective.

fire

The old abandoned fire department…

Of course, I have mixed feelings about this film. Eloise is very special to me. It’s become my secret place and a massive inspiration. I mean, the name of my blog and my name “Asylum Attendant” came directly off of a badge that the staff at Eloise wore. I almost don’t want people to find out about the asylum. That makes zero sense, as I’ve only tried to raise awareness about it since the start of this blog. I feel like a part of me is disappearing. Everyone will soon know about Eloise. It won’t make me unique anymore. My identity will be gone.

asylum attendant

I know, I’m probably overreacting. Who knows, awesome things could come from the film. I just want the legacy of Eloise to be honored and cherished. I don’t want a crappy horror movie to destroy its image even more. Eliza and Chace are great actors and I trust them to take their roles seriously. The subject matter that will be addressed deserves respect. Many people were tortured, locked up and died here. It’s not a joke.

I look forward to seeing the final product. I will keep all of you posted. Whatever happens, please remember the original Asylum Attendant. They can’t take my home away from me. I’m here to stay.

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

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I really enjoy reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Intervention, True Life, and Gypsy Sisters. If you blend those all together, take away the censors, and greatly amplify the shocking antics, you’d get The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. It’s a documentary following four generations of the Whites, a family of outlaws from Boone County, West Virginia. This could quite possibly be the most dysfunctional and entertaining family I’ve ever encountered. 

I’ll introduce you to some of the members:

Bertie Mae White:  She’s the matriarch of the White family at 84 years old. Bertie Mae doesn’t like it when her children blow pot in her face and crush up and snort pills. They do it regardless. Bless poor Bertie Mae.

Jesco White:  The wildest White in my opinion, he’s one of Bertie Mae’s children. He’s a “famous” mountain dancer who huffed gasoline growing up, followed in his deceased father D Ray’s dancing footsteps, and legitimately frightens me. The film White Lightnin’ is based loosely on Jesco’s life.

Mamie White:  Mamie is my favorite member of the family. She is Jesco’s older sister and she likes to party. Mamie sings a mean “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and seems to be a prescription drug dealer. She wants her funeral to be a wild party. I respect that.

Mamie White

Sue Bob White: The self-proclaimed sexiest White, Sue Bob is Bertie Mae’s youngest child. Her son Brandon shot a man’s face off and almost killed him. He’s in prison. Apparently she’s in jail now, too. Don’t take her to Taco Bell. I repeat: Under no circumstances should she ever be taken to Taco Bell.

Kirk White: Kirk is one of Bertie Mae’s grandchildren. CPS took her baby before she could even leave the hospital with it. I think it might have been because Kirk and another woman were snorting pills in the hospital room right after she gave birth, but what do I know. Kirk goes to rehab and gets clean by the end of the documentary. But, not before flashing her boobs on a night out.

Those are some awesome names, right? While this documentary is very funny, it’s also eye opening. The culture of Appalachia is very different to that of the rest of the U.S. Coal mining is still a popular and dangerous job there and poverty is just a way of life. Boone County doesn’t seem like an easy place to succeed. I can’t really blame the Whites for resorting to crime to survive. Getting social security checks for all of your children by claiming they’re all crazy is some next level shit, though.

It’s clear that the little kids in the film weren’t raised in the most innocent atmosphere. Kirk’s son Tylor drops f-bombs and says he’s going to kill her ex-boyfriend. He was literally bouncing off the walls after drinking 6 cans of soda. It’s inappropriate behavior for any age, but it’s extra alarming coming from a child. The insane part is that the parents see nothing wrong with their kids swearing and doing whatever they please. That’s how they were raised and the cycle continues.

There’s a rumor floating around that the Whites were supposed to get their own reality TV show. That would be epic! I don’t know what channel could show it, seeing how explicit it is. Mamie claims that Johnny Knoxville, the executive producer, didn’t give the family as much money as they were promised for the film. She feels like her and her family were used and I can definitely agree with her. Throughout the documentary, it was obvious that producers were egging the family on. Shock value sells.

If you love drama, obscenity, and picnic table clogging, then this documentary is a must-see. It kept me enthralled and I’ve watched it numerous times. I swear my Southern ancestors draw me to this stuff.

kirk

Stoker

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Stoker

Initially, I was leery to watch this movie because I thought it was about vampires. I’m just not that into those creatures of the night. However, Stoker turned out to be a smart and mysterious psychological thriller with a very strange girl named India (Mia Wasikowska) at the center of the twisted plot. Keep your pencils away from this girl!

The film begins with the death of India’s father Richard on her 18th birthday. India doesn’t seem extremely upset over this. If anything, she’s apathetic. This is the first indication that India is not your normal teenage girl. India also doesn’t have a close bond with her mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). India always spent more time hunting with her father, leaving her mother out. At Richard’s funeral, the two are reunited with India’s long lost Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). His thick layer of charm and good looks are rather unnerving. Charlie decides to stay with India and Evelyn during the difficult time. Let the odd events begin.

Evelyn falls for Charlie’s sly tricks instantly, but India is very standoffish at first as Charlie relentlessly tries to win her over. He buys her ice cream, offers her rides to school, and cooks lavish dinners, but India isn’t having any of it. Soon after Charlie’s arrival, people close to the women begin to disappear. The truth about Charlie’s past eventually comes out and once it does, India has to make a decision. Out with the old or in with the new?

There is so much to talk about in this film. Symbolism is very important here. Charlie’s belt, the spiders, India’s shoes…they all add to the mystery and drama of the plot. Every year on her birthday, India gets a new pair of the exact same black and white flats. These represent her childhood. Near the end of the film, Uncle Charlie gifts India a pair of black high heels, signaling her transition into womanhood. She cannot go back to simpler times. Also interesting is how India attracts spiders. One even crawls up her leg. India is much like a spider with the honed senses she used to hunt animals for years.

India's Shoes

Mia Wasikowska managed to portray the awkward, complex India with ease. I didn’t know that she also played Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never seen that version. After seeing Mia’s striking performance in Stoker, I just have to see her as Alice.  The dark visuals and eerie atmosphere of the film are similar to a Gothic fairy tale. The evil uncle, tragedy, and a loss of innocence are all themes that can be found in authentic fairy tales. Though, I don’t think Stoker would be appropriate to be made into a children’s story. It’s much too sexual and violent for that.

I kind of have a crush on crazy Uncle Charlie. There’s a ridiculous scene in the film where India refuses to take a ride from Charlie and all the girls on her school bus swoon and giggle over how handsome he is. Matthew Goode is certainly easy on the eyes. He dresses impeccably in Stoker and is always the perfect gentleman. His character reminds me of someone I once had a thing for: beautiful on the outside, but cuckoo bananas on the inside. Uncle Charlie spent some time in a psychiatric hospital, so maybe that’s why I like him. You know I’m drawn to the crazies!

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Nicole Kidman was also awesome in this film. The scene in which she wishes life would tear her daughter India apart is probably my favorite from the movie. So badass. It’s definitely a turning point.

I would highly recommend this film to my gothy readers. I think you’ll fall in love with India like I have. 🙂

The Quiet

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The Quiet

I contemplated whether or not I would post about this film. The subject matter is disturbing and not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s highly sexual, violent, and shocking. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

The Quiet revolves around the worlds of two very different, yet similar teenage girls. However, their similarities aren’t revealed until the film progresses. Dot is a deaf orphan who gets adopted by an extremely dysfunctional family. Dot is rejected by her peers in school because of her disability and lives life invisibly for the most part. Nina, her new stepsister, is everything that Dot isn’t. The pretty cheerleader Nina is not pleased with the addition to her family. But, the tension between Nina and Dot is the least of this family’s worries.

Nina’s mother Olivia is addicted to prescription painkillers and the two are quite distant. Olivia is often passed out in her bedroom or barely coherent. On the other hand, Nina and her father Paul are way too close for comfort. Their sexual relationship is appalling. It’s like in the absence of her mother Olivia, Nina has stepped into the role of homemaker and wife to her own father. Paul tries to control everything his daughter Nina does and keep their incestuous relationship a secret. But, Nina eventually reaches a breaking point. And she’s not the only one with a secret…

Yeah, we’re going there. The Quiet is one of those movies that you can’t forget about. I first watched it years ago and recently watched it again. I’m still just as shocked and disturbed. Secrets keep people sick and perpetuate pain. At least there is a resolution once bringing secrets to light. The Quiet shows that we all have secrets and we can’t hold on to them forever, no matter how badly we might want to.

I would recommend this movie to a mature audience. The shock value alone makes it entertaining. I couldn’t believe some of the things that came out of the character’s mouths. The Quiet is humorous at times, too. Nina’s sex-crazed friend Michelle is hilariously inappropriate and adds some comic relief to the heavy nature of the film. Don’t watch if you want to protect your innocence! Luckily I shed mine long ago…

Prozac Nation

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I love coming across a good movie by accident. That’s exactly how I ended up watching the film Prozac Nation. I was flipping through the channels and I landed on this gem as it was just about to start. The title alone caught my attention since I am fascinated by society’s obsession with medication. I’m weary of medications myself, but others seem to pop a pill for anything and everything.

The film chronicles a depressed teenage girl named Lizzie (played by Christina Ricci), her spiral out of control, and her rise back to the top. Lizzie gets into Harvard on a scholarship for her talent as a writer. Her childhood wasn’t exactly ideal as her parents got divorced when she was young, but she seems to have moved past that. Lizzie flourishes at Harvard at first. She becomes super close with her roommate Ruby, gets a boyfriend, and one of her music articles gets awarded by Rolling Stone. Everything seems great. Then Lizzie’s depression comes back. She can’t seem to write anymore. She gives her roommate’s boyfriend an “accidental blowjob” (haha), causing their friendship to fall apart. Lizzie starts to fight with her mother again and engages in reckless behaviors with sex and drugs. In essence, Lizzie turns into a mess of a person.

Concerned, Lizzie’s mother sends her to a psychiatrist, Dr. Sterling (Anne Heche). Lizzie resists treatment at first and gets a lot worse before she gets better. By the end of the movie, she seems to be back on the right track due to the antidepressant Prozac.

I enjoyed this movie. I thought Christina Ricci accurately portrayed the struggles associated with depression: pushing people away, quitting things you enjoy doing, and self-destructing. I could feel her pain, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want to be her friend. No one hangs around a depressed person for too long. It’s depressing and exhausting! Christina is one of my favorite actresses. She always ends up in weird roles, but they suit her. Who didn’t love her as Wednesday Addams or Penelope?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The film was based off of a book by the same name. I haven’t read it, but it is an autobiography written by Elizabeth Wurtzel. She is very successful and still writes, so there’s proof that depression only runs your life and keeps you down if you let it.

I read some reviews on this film and I was a little surprised. A lot of people complained that the movie was terrible because Lizzie was annoying and unbearable. Yes, depressed people suck to be around. But, this is a movie about depression. A depressed person isn’t going to be friendly or the life of the party. Go watch a comedy if you want a laugh. I think this movie might have been too real for some critics. Depression is hard to look at, I suppose. I guess that’s why people suffer in silence.

I’m glad I gave Prozac Nation a chance. It’s not all doom and gloom. There are many funny moments throughout to keep you entertained. And if that doesn’t entice you, just watch the first 5 minutes. You may just see something you like. 😉

Dirty Girl

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So this movie is fucking amazing. It’s set in the 1980s and the main character is the high school slut pictured above. She gets put in special ed because she doesn’t give a crap about school and meets this gay kid. They become partners on a parenting project and inherit a sack of flour for a baby. And they go on a road trip and get themselves into a whole lot of trouble.

It’s a pretty raunchy movie. There is a lot of male stripping if you are into that. And it’s so funny. Watch it. Now.