Issue #18: Midsommar and Sugababes

Fists out for the boys.

Hi kiddos,

Happy 4th of July to my American readers. I hope you are with your loved ones/drunk and not checking your email on a holiday.

These little preambles keep getting me into trouble so let’s jump right into the #content.

HIGHBROW

Megan Thee Stallion warned you hoes. It’s a Hot Girl Summer and we’re drop-kicking every scrub that doesn’t serve us.

Much to my surprise, Ari Aster echoes this gospel in his latest film Midsommar. I say “much to my surprise” because it is a very gory horror film set in a remote Swedish commune made by a white American dude. That’s not usually where I expect to get a dose of radical feminism, but that just goes to show that I am prejudiced and therefore must be canceled.

#CancelSimone2019 #ButFirstSubscribeToHighbrowLowbrow

Midsommar is a follow up to Aster’s first feature film Hereditary, a stunning and disturbing tale of family and grief (in which Toni Colette gives me my whole entire life). If you’ve seen Hereditary, you know that Aster does not shy away from upsetting imagery. He seems particularly fixated on mutilated bodies. Midsommar is no different. But these mangled forms aren’t simply there to shock. They are a reminder of human fragility. They are also—and I can not stress this enough—very gross and upsetting. If you can’t handle gore, then stay away. THIS IS NOT A FILM FOR EVERYONE.

Now, if you’re still on board, let me tell you about what Midsommar delivers beyond properly horrifying horror. This is not a jump-scare movie. It’s also not a suspenseful movie. It’s an unsettling journey into the heart of anxiety, followed by a return to grace through community and self-love. 

At the center of the film are Dani and Christian, an American couple on the verge of breaking up. They seem to be tethered together simply because they have been. Christian isn’t present enough for Dani. Dani is a chore for Christian. They end up following their friend to his hometown in a remote corner of Sweden, where the community will hold a festival that comes around once every 90 years. As the Americans start to participate in a series of increasingly disturbing rituals, the true purpose of the festival begins to unfold. But, as it’s summer in Sweden, all these dark deeds take place in bright daylight. It’s hard to know when is morning, when is night, when is today, when is tomorrow. Time is distorted and everything, truly everything, is shown.

The aesthetic details of the film are all beautifully conceived, from costume to art direction to score. But for me, the most gratifying part of the film is Dani’s character arch. Watching her transform from girlfriend-in-need at the start of the film to something… else is so rewarding. I can’t say much without spoiling the rest. But just know that, in Midsommar, Bad Men get what’s coming to them.

Midsommar opened this week and is in theaters now. I went to a midday screening on a weekday and the theater was packed. See this one at the movies, kids.

LOWBROW

I miss the Noughties! Paul Frank! Boleros! Pink and Green as an acceptable color combination! Yes, this was the height of culture, the best of times.

But here’s a question for you. When you think “the Noughties,” what do you hear? Who, in your mind, had that quintessential 2000s sound? Are you thinking Britney, Xtina, Pink!? Or Gnarles Barkley, Outkast, Black Eyed Peas? Michelle Branch, Stacie Orrico, Vanessa Carlton? Maybe even My Chemical Romance, Fallout Boy, and Green Day? 

Well, those are actually all wrong answers. I would have accepted Christian Rock icons Relient K OR this week’s LOWBROW recommendation, British girl group Sugababes.

Sugababes went through many configurations in their time, but they always followed a tried and true formula: put 1) three hot women with 2) three different skin tones and 3) sickening vocals in 4) teeny skirts. My personal favorite iteration of this trio was the 2002-2005 version of the band with Keisha Buchanan, the Jamaican one, Mutya Buena, the Filipina one, and Heidi Range, the White one that used to be in Atomic Kitten. Together, they released the iconic bop Push the Button, a sexy lil’ song about being very obviously horny for someone that isn’t getting the message. I myself have never experienced a situation like this*, but thankfully I am still able to take pleasure in the music.

The music video for Push the Button delivers on all front. The color palette is unmistakably 2005. The outfits SLAP. There’s some good old fashion bumpin’ and grindin’. There’s even a belly button piercing! But where Push the Button really excels is in its lyrics. Forget “in God we trust” and start printing “My sexy ass has got him in the new dimension” on all American bills!!!

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Before we wrap up, I want to give a quick shoutout to Natalie Morin. She writes about Kpop for Refinery29, so if that’s a world you’re interested in exploring, check out her work! She is also my Lord and Savior for bringing me to the Got7 concert in Newark last week. It was a religious experience. 

Unfortunately, this also means that my aforementioned illness is back in full force as JB insists on acting up on tour. Guess that North American air just hits different.

This boy wants me dead????

“Simone, can you tone down your public display of sexuality?” you ask. “I am your boyfriend/family member/former coworker/hiring manager at a potential employer/complete stranger!”

What can I say… thirst is a part of my brand. You don’t have to like it. I sure don’t. But it’s who I’ve always been and who I always will be.

That’s all for today. Same place, same time, next week?

xoxo,

Simone

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*Excluding the period from my first crush (at age 5) till about hmmmm... maybe present day?