Ingrid Goes West

Fuck-ups Month rages on with a film I’ve watched perhaps a dozen times – and two of those times was this weekend.

An unhinged social media stalker moves to LA and insinuates herself into the life of an Instagram star.

Aubrey PlazaElizabeth OlsenO’Shea Jackson Jr.

*Minor spoilers/TW: suicide attempts*

Ingrid (Plaza) finds herself in a mental institution following an incident in which she attacks a bride on her wedding day. Our pro/antagonist, you see has a bit of a stalking history and it all comes to a head when she’s left out of her new friend’s marital festivities.

After finishing her therapy, Ingrid returns to an empty family home where she’s been caring for her mother. Mum has recently passed away after what looks like a long illness, which might form a lot of Ingrid’s emotional issues.

Ingrid is a lone wolf with no friends and no other visible family. She finds her comfort on Instagram and perhaps this is why I identify with her so hard. She constantly scrolls through her feed, liking posts left, right and center. One evening she reads a magazine article about social media darling, Taylor Sloane (Olsen). After a healthy stalk of her feed – and a reciprocated comment – Ingrid decides to move to sunny California.

Mum’s passing has afforded her a healthy inheritance and she doesn’t have anything else to stick around for so it’s a no-brainer.

On arrival, she finds her own place, courtesy of new landlord, Dan Pinto (Jackson), a Batman-obsessed screenwriter – and sets about meeting Miss Sloane. Which seems easier that expected, though when their first encounter is less than satisfactory, Ingrid is forced to engineer a proper encounter.

Ingrid’s plan works and she quickly becomes a fixture in Taylor’s life. Taylor lives with boyfriend Ezra (Wyatt Russell), a struggling artist unwilling to promote his work. It’s unclear what Taylor really does but she calls herself a photographer and has designs on a vacant house next to the couple’s holiday home in Joshua Tree. She plans to turn it into a hotel-cum-store selling all her favourite things.

Things are great (and photogenic as hell) between the new friends until Taylor’s deadbeat brother Nicky (Billy Magnussen) shows up and Taylor visibly cools. Ingrid’s attempts to keep the home fires burning don’t really work, even when she brings fake boyfriend Dan into the mix. Once again she’s forced to take drastic measures.

Nicky really has it in for Ingrid and when he hacks her phone, he realises just how #obsessed she is with Taylor. Which leads to a shoddy blackmail campaign that backfires spectacularly. Will Ingrid lose everything she currently holds dear?

IGW has a lot to say about fakery and the personas we choose to share with the world. While Ingrid hides her fucked up-ness from her new friends, Taylor has also built an empire on an image of who she thinks people want to see. She’s so different to the person Ezra fell in love with that he hardly recognises her and all her favourite things are his favourite things.

It’s very bleak. Taylor is extremely fickle and has qualities I’ve seen in friends in the past. When Nicky starts hanging out with blogger Harley Chung (Pom Klementieff), Taylor already knows she has ‘over a million followers on Instagram’ and is quick to ditch Ingrid for a new crowd. It makes me feel quite sick.

I’m also not always crazy about morality tales (you know what I mean, Black Mirror: phones are bad-type messaging) so I was quite happy that Ingrid doesn’t really change at the end. After a serious personal incident, Ingrid wakes up and immediately asks for her phone. And she’s delighted to learn that her actions have gone viral.

We explore some very harsh themes and I feel for her but Ingrid is not particularly likable and neither is Taylor. Honestly, the only character I really have time for is Dan Pinto, who brings a certain calm to proceedings.

Both lead actresses are amazing though and play their parts to perfection, particularly Olsen. I love the way her character narrates her social media posts while Ingrid is stalking her. It really drives home how vacuous and foolish we can sound, God knows I’m guilty of that.

Another day, another avocado toast. *Prayer hands emoji*

I appreciate the concept of loneliness so much and maybe that’s why this speaks to me. As a teenager I was crippled with awkwardness and didn’t feel as though I had many friends. If I’d had a window into other people’s lives back then who knows what would have become of me – I may have been one click away from becoming Ingrid myself.

Shit, maybe phones are bad.

Film details:

Ingrid Goes West
Year: 2017
Director: Matt Spicer
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
My Rating: 4.5/5

What does my girl think of Ingrid’s antics? Would she add her on Instagram or block that troubled bitch 4 lyfe? Find out here.

Child’s Play

A mother gives her 13-year-old son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature.

Aubrey PlazaMark HamillGabriel BatemanBrian Tyree Henry

Friends to the End.

*Minor spoilers*

This is one of my most anticipated films of the year and I’m delighted to report that it was heaps of fun and I was not disappointed at all.

The end.

Kidding. There are still a few things to be said about the new-and-not-so-improved Chucky. I need to make it clear first that my love for Chucky runs deep. I’ve been in love with the trashy AF Child’s Play franchise since forever and genuinely found the first few films terrifying. The way the little guy ran around, pushing unsuspecting baby-sitters out of windows, ramming knives into his victims – it was the stuff of nightmares.

Chucky is my icon, my love – and if it wasn’t cultural appropriation, my spirit animal. Perhaps I identify because we’re both ginger and look good in dungarees, whatever – he’s up there in the horror big leagues and he’s my friend to the end. So having him rebooted is kind of a big deal. Thankfully, the creators have brought us a familiar tale while making it just different enough that it doesn’t compete with the originals. As if anything could.

Karen Barclay (Plaza) and her son Andy (Bateman) have just moved to Chicago to start a new life. Karen works retail at the local Walmart-type store where toy-of-the-moment, the Buddi doll is flying off shelves. The Buddi doll is a fully interactive doll created by global giant The Kaslan Corporation – and it seems there’s not much it can’t be trained to do.

One day, Karen blackmails her boss into letting her take home a faulty doll for Andy’s birthday. Andy’s also been struggling to get out of the apartment since they arrived in town and Karen wants to cheer him up. The range is about to be usurped by Buddi 2, the next model so she figures nobody’s going to miss her broken doll.

Did you say Chucky?

Andy’s dubious about Buddi at first, being too cool and too old to play with dolls but mum persuades him to at least have a look. Buddi quickly renames himself ‘Chucky’ and after imprinting on Andy, becomes his shadow. Andy finds Chucky one creepy motherfucker but they soon bond when it becomes clear that the doll actually gets him.

Oh, didn’t I mention that Chuck is faulty for a reason? A disgruntled worker at the Vietnamese factory where the Buddi dolls are assembled has disabled all Chucky’s safety guards before taking his own life. I do hope none of this comes back to haunt anybody…

As Andy and Chucky get friendlier – and start hanging out with some of the neighbourhood kids – Fay (Beatrice Kitsos), Pugg (Ty Consiglio) and Omar (Marlon Kazadi) – things seem to be on the up. Except for Karen’s douchey boyfriend Shane (David Lewis), who Andy despises. But horror movies aren’t usually charmed and happy for long and Chucky begins to display some possessive tendencies which start to have dire consequences for anyone who crosses Andy. Bless.

Also living on the same block is neighbour Doreen (Carlease Burke) who is frequently visited by her son, Detective Mike (Henry). Mike strikes up an acquaintance with Andy and his mother – which is handy when Chucky takes violent action against somebody they all know. With hilarious consequences – it has to be said that I laughed a lot during this murder sequence and the subsequent aftermath. It’s stretched out quite a lot but it fits the childishness of the story, also giving me Stranger Things/Stephen King vibes. You’ll know what I mean when you see it – it’s incredibly macabre and I ADORE IT.

Unfortunately, Andy can’t just be living in sweet harmony with his homicidal best pal and action must be taken. Which betrays Chucky’s trust and makes him mad. Really mad.

If they don’t let us play, they all go away.

The film climaxes at the Buddi 2 launch and I’m afraid it’s brilliant. Disgusting, creepy, tense but ultimately, so much fun. I love the new Chucky, I’m sorry Classic Chucky. Nobody’s ever going to replace you in my heart but Buddi Chuck is pretty adorable. The A.I. has a very saccharine look and I thought it would jar on me but oddly enough, I settled quite quickly into the new aesthetic.

Child’s Play: Reloaded succeeds in making our antagonist a sympathetic one which is impressive given he’s essentially just a hunk of plastic and metal. His reasons are pure and true – he just doesn’t have boundaries.

While I did miss the supernatural angle, this was lighthearted and silly, making me LOL several times. Hamill’s voice work is lovely and subtle, Plaza is her usual gorgeous kooky self – and Bateman as Andy is really good. In contrast to Jackson A. Dunn in Brightburn, Bateman is a natural who easily carries the film. The children are all great and they’re the main fixture for me. The A.I. is bad messaging is irritating though it has to be said.

I want more and I also really want to watch the originals again. STAT. Bravo, team.

Film details:

Child’s Play
Year: 2019
Director: Lars Klevberg
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
My Rating: 4/5

What are you watching?

An Evening with Aubrey Plaza 💜

This week we hosted movie night at our place and the title of choice was the long-awaited (by us), An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn. We had James and Gary over because the three of us went to a Q&A session with the film’s director Jim Hosking back when he released his first feature, The Greasy Strangler so it’s fast becoming a tradition of ours.

The film itself was wonderful and weird but my main takeaway is how bloody fit Aubrey Plaza is. So this is my tribute post to the woman herself (and of course the sublime style of her BLL character, Lulu Danger). 

My favourite AP moments to date:

Child’s Play (2019)

The CP franchise is one of my all-time favourite things and the original Chucky is my homeboy – so I’m in two minds about next year’s reboot. HOWEVER, it does feature Miss Plaza and also Brian Tyree Henry so I am going to remain open-minded. 

I haven’t seen too much by way of teaser images from the movie yet but what I have seen snatched from behind-the-scenes looks positive. AP plays a young mother who gives her son a cute doll for is birthday and absolutely nothing whatsoever goes wrong. Ever.

Ingrid Goes West (2017)

IGW is one of the bleakest movies I’ve seen in recent times wrapped in the perfect Instagram filter. AP is the titular Ingrid, a troubled woman with a tendency to stalk her prey relentlessly. When she stumbles across Insta famous Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), she is no exception. Ingrid moves to Cali to befriend her and will stop at nothing to get the girl. With consequences. 

Well, this might so far be Plaza’s best role as she unravels before our very eyes, a grieving messed up protagonist who makes you assess your own social behaviours and never really learns her lesson. I actually feel like watching this again today (and I probably will) but it is very far from a feel-good movie and not the Christmas classic I had envisioned for my afternoon of present wrapping. 

*Shrug*

Legion (2017-2019)

Don’t expect me to explain any of this show to anyone at any point because I don’t think I really understood it but Lenny Busker (Plaza) is my stand-out.

BFF of lead character David Haller (Dan Stevens), A LOT of shit goes down for her and I haven’t seen Season 2 yet so there’s a heap I still don’t know. All I know is that when AP is onscreen, I don’t really care about anyone else – and that’s a super power in itself. 

An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn (2018)

Lulu Danger is dead pan AF but underneath her stony exterior lies a woman on a mission. A mission to get back to her former lover, the mysterious Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson). Teaming up with love-sick Colin (Jemaine Clement), Lulu runs away from her horrible husband Shane (Emile Hirsch) to track down and confront BLL, a man presumed dead years before. 

Lulu isn’t particularly pleasant to anybody but she rocks the dopest outfits and has a heart underneath it all. Will she end up with her former beau Beverly, return to her douche bag husband or start a new life with a new prospect? All that matters is Plaza tbh but the film is hilarious, treading a very fine line between oddball and hysterical. 

Cue the slideshow, bitches.

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What are your favourite Plaza moments?