ragman cuts a deal to get to heaven: a short play

in the distance the ragman
leaping across the desert in huge bounds
his pack flaps on his back
his weapons rattle against his sides
his voice is hoarse from sand
he shouts over and over to the sky

ragman: I’ve made it! I’ve made it now! I’ve found a way to bring it all back to life! I’m on my way! I’m done with earth! I’ve found a way to trade myself to heaven!

naturally I was curious and I drew him aside into an internet cafe
we stood by the door, pretended to watch the kids play real-time strategies
building tanks aircraft research temples placing them in the grid
I asked him

lev: I have to ask my friend ragman, and I mean no offense, but how a creature such as you has located himself such a prize?

ragman: I have because I did and it was in the dawning days in a heavy building where there was little joy, but now there shall be

lev: but why aren’t you in heaven now?

ragman: I have one last task before I go all the way – I must go to each of my lovers and inform them that I have syphilis and they should get themselves checked out.

Gwen Malkin, the ubiquitous heroine


image by robyn grafkin

It’s still a mystery to me why anyone would read this blog, though according to google stats, a fair few people stumble across it while searching for ash gets assaulted 2004 and leighton meester blue dress in the movie country strong and that is right and proper and as it should be, but still, for me I like to imagine that this is a space in which I can discuss and reflect upon my work as an artist. My process. And such. As a playwright, what it is that I do. Like Jo Erskine’s excellent Cluster blog, but whereas Jo reflects upon her practice as a playwright in order to draw useful lessons that we can all apply to our work and ends most posts with the kindly blessing of ‘Happy writing’, I tend to tie myself in solipsistic knots and end most posts with a frank exhortation to buy shit from Nestle, go on, why not, what have they done recently that’s so bad, have a fucking kitkat.*

And. So.

In the slow and emotionally draining trawl I’ve recently been taking through my back catalogue of scripts, I keep seeing a few familiar faces crop up. George Bekken, for one. Manson Lane. The board-game girl. Annon Caesar. Glenn Drake. Amcitia. Mack Finch. But above all, over and over, in a huge swathe of scripts from 2000 to today, Gwen Malkin.

The reason I reuse characters is simple: I know them. They’re familiar to me, and when I’m writing a new script with a new setting and starting to populate it, I can quickly and easily get a handle on them. If I place George Bekken and Manson Lane together in a scene, I know roughly how they’re going to behave and I have their language patterns already ready in my head. Then as the script takes on more shape, they will take on forms that are more appropriate to their specific situation in this new play. Gradually they will diverge from the archetypal Bekken and Manson in my head, and eventually they will belong completely to that script and no other. However, when I come to write a new piece and decide to drop those two characters in, I will now be able to draw on all the new characteristics that they have developed in the last project.

I’ve been criticised for this practice in the past because it is lazy and confusing – but then, there is no shortage of lazy and confusing in my writing, so it doesn’t stand out especially. Sometimes people have asked me whether the Gwen Malkin in this play is the same Gwen Malkin as in that other play, and the answer is, yes. In my head, I’m talking about a small group of people who are revisited in a variety of contexts, not a disparate collection of characters who happen to share names. The stories fit together. So long as you’re not too anal about the details.

Gwen Malkin is without doubt my favourite character ever. I have a lot of love for her and I don’t honestly know what I’d do without her. She may not feel the same for me, given the amount of awful shit I’ve put her through, but I suspect she’d look at me with a kind of weary acceptance. (Weary acceptance is a speciality.)

So as a weird exercise, because I at least am curious as to what it will reveal, I’m going to do a quick overview of The Life Of Gwen Malkin, as revealed by the variety of scripts in which she appears.


gwen malkin unhappy on a bed, image by Felicity Pollard

Quiet Time (2001)
Co-written with Jackal Lloyd, Gwen Malkin’s first appearance was in this sci-fi existentialist horror one-act riffing on Cube and No Exit. Gwen Malkin was named after Michael Bailey’s then-email address (greymalkin@hotmail.com, I don’t think it’s still valid sorry) which I think was named after the cat in Macbeth. In this incarnation, Gwen (played by Gina Guirguis) was a recently-dead blues singer who was more than a little irate to find herself in a kind of processing chamber for the afterlife. She yells a lot (at this point in our scriptwriting career, Jack and I used to signal the emotional peaks of a script by putting in a lot of exclamation marks) and we discover that she has recently overdosed on heroin. This is young, angry Gwen Malkin, all frustration and vehemence.

Arcade Play (2002)
This unproduced piece (it is doing my head in that the majority of the Gwen Malkin scripts have actually been produced, she is clearly some kind of good luck charm) opens with a teenage Gwen Malkin awakening in a bathtub full of ice with tubes coming out of her and a note informing her that her kidneys have been stolen. Anyway it is all a computer simulation and it turns out that Gwen is actually a wealthy duke’s daughter who is slumming it by playing virtual reality computer games in the kitchen of a prawn shop. She ends up playing an online version of the Tam Lin poem (a 14th century poem / myth about a human man escaping from Fairyland and also a pretty intense rape fantasy) and emerges from it as a catatonic victim in the style of Borges’ The Zahir. A lot of cyberpunk references bundled together in an uneasy package, with Gwen as a tragic heroine whose lust for life more or less guarantees her death.


Hanna Cormick as blind huntress Gwen

Vampire Play (2004)
Here we see a different side of Gwen. The undead Malkin owes a lot to Hanna Cormick’s characterisation, which lent her a very different edge to the bratty persona she’d previously had. In Vampire Play, Gwen Malkin is a blind vampire roughly a century old, whose repressed sexuality and obsessive need for control leads her to form an all-female gang called the Caecus Venatricus, of which she is the authoritarian mother figure. (At the time of the play, her entire gang consisted of herself and Georgina Bekken, whose character description in the first draft simply reads ‘useless’, but you take what you can get I guess.) Anyway Gwen gets her throat torn out by the Finn in a battle on an underground subway train and that’s the end of that, really.

Dance Dance Revolution (2005)
The battle for the hearts and minds of Fluoro High’s Year 8 students is kicked off when rogue history teacher Mr Caesar condemns new student Sarah to be friends with Gwen Malkin, ‘the least popular girl in school’. Malkin here is a bit of a sad case – worn down by adversity with a crush on the wrong boy, even though she triumphs in the end (sort of).

Jellyfish Play (2006)
Malkin at her most worn down, all of the worldweariness and none of the spark. Jellyfish Play sees Malkin as a street vendor, selling jellyfish on the sidewalk outside a supermarket. Harassed by security guards, her neighbouring vendor and an old lover turned guerilla activist, Malkin is desperately concerned with protecting her patch of sidewalk, which gets gradually and inevitably eroded away on all sides by various forces. It’s a pretty downbeat meditation and I can’t say for sure that it’s very good.


chris lloyd is commando soldier-scientist and film-maker gwen malkin

Oceans all boiled into sky (2008)
Started in 2004 and produced in 2008 by barb barnett and serious theatre, Oceans is a post-apocalyptic road-trip in which Malkin is the leader of a cadre of mangled freedom fighters. This is almost the canonical Malkin, with Chrism Lloyd’s performance being more or less the keystone of how I’ve thought about the character ever since. Malkin in this iteration is a self-described ‘world-weary soldier scientist’. She is mostly blind and badly wounded for the majority of the play, though she drags herself through without much complaint. Most importantly for me, she has a kind of weary acceptance of the incompetence and insanity of her companions and the world around her, which annoys but does not stop her. And that’s kind of the characteristic I keep coming back to. Self-aware, cynical, fatalistic, but still up for it. My plays will always need a bit of that.


Matt Kelly as young teen Gwen Malkin on the cusp of losing her virginity

Underage House Party Play (2010)
In a weird departure, Malkin appears in a play which is set roughly in the real world, has vaguely realistic things happen to her, and is neither dead nor dying throughout. In UHPP Gwen is a reasonably popular teenage girl who hooks up with a boy called Lane at a party. They make out and end up losing their virginity to each other. Awkwardness ensues. Points to Matt Kelly for being the only male actor to ever tackle this character (and really beautifully, too) – and for capturing one of those weird additions that will forever stick in future iterations of the character: Gwen Malkin has two tiny chains hanging from her upper gums. Her canines didn’t grow in properly so the dentist attached these chains to weigh them down and encourage them to grow.

Takeaway Play (2012)
So Malkin appears in this most recent piece which I’ve been scratching at over the last few weeks. This is a play within a play, set in a takeaway set on a boat, and Malkin is the director. She is back to being blind and is certainly at some kind of difficult point in her life, because this directing job is not one which you would accept out of choice. And the new addition: she has two teenage children and an ex-husband. Both of her kids are actors, though one is more successful than the other. And is she a good mother? Well I’m only halfway through the writing (I’m only ever halfway), but so far, no.

So piecing all that together, what have we got?

Gwen Malkin was born in 1997, was the least popular girl in school, was one of the more popular girls in school and lost her virginity at a party, didn’t go to school because she was a princess in the future who played blackmarket virtual reality games and got incurably sick from one of them, sang in a blues band until she died of an overdose, hooked up with a political activist but he left her and she wound up selling jellyfish on the street, went blind, joined the resistance and fought in the war to save the human race until she was mortally wounded, directed some theatre on a boat featuring her estranged kids from the marriage I forgot to mention, became a vampire and led an all-female gang of the undead for almost a century until she was killed in the tunnels under Dickson Shops in 2004

CLEAR AS FUCKING CRYSTAL.

That was me attempting to use my blog to examine and assess my creative practice. Let us never speak of this again.


this is us never speaking of it again

* As Pip pointed out the other day, while I was shaking my head in horror at the litany of human rights abuses that Nestle have perpetrated over the last couple of decades, I was sipping a cup of delicious Nescafe Blend 43. Human misery in liquid form, enjoyed by the heater on a cold Melbourne night, it is a tangled world.

stripping the saints


The Pasig River, viewed from the looks of it from Intramuros – Salamat Sir Mark for the image

A flicker from an old script. The opening lines from Stripping the Saints, part of Sagrado sa Loob (Sacred Inside), the play I co-wrote in 2006 with Rogelio Braga as part of my residency with Tanghalang Pilipino in Manila. Tess Jamias directed the production, which took place in and around the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

ANYWAY I found it in my ongoing quest to read all of the scripts that I’ve ever written, and I liked these opening lines.

SCORE:  Behind every smile
LUCKY:  Nestle
BEKKEN: Good food, good life
SCORE:  www dot nestle dot com dot ph.
LUCKY:  Nestle.
SCORE: Down by the river the ruined stumps of time. The road bends in circles carrying police on motorbikes
BEKKEN: trucks of firewood
LUCKY:  musicians heaving from Quezon City to Malate and back again.
SCORE:  They circle past the river
LUCKY: crawl over the top of it
SCORE: past the high black walls of Fort Santiago,
BEKKEN: the sheepish dumped stacks of rhythm and shrieks that throb
LUCKY: across the milky blue water from the slums of Intramuros, the grey brown and red shacks, the streaked brown concrete towers that hang above like huge sleeping bats,
BEKKEN: claws gripping the muddy clouds, heads buried firmly in the dust and stone while trucks and bicycles and undressed soldiers with shotguns run over their outstretched wings.
SCORE: They sing, they sing with their mouths full of white water
LUCKY: and the dry notes of their music reach across the Pasig river,
BEKKEN: smash against the walls of Fort Santiago
SCORE: fall uselessly amid the cardboard
BEKKEN: glass and trees on the banks of the river.
SCORE: Behind every smile
LUCKY: Nestle
BEKKEN: Good food, good life
SCORE: all we own are the roots of trees,
LUCKY: mud from the river
BEKKEN: and the river itself, a pale blue milky highway with rafts of torn fresh green trees skidding by on its surface.
SCORE: When it rains our whole world rushes down into the river,
LUCKY: we grip the branches of the trees and the fingers of the old bronze statues while the mud turns
BEKKEN: bubbling rapids under our feet.
SCORE: www dot nestle dot com dot ph.
LUCKY: Good food, good life.
SCORE: We’re being punished for something we have forgotten.

Like most of my scripts, it’s a blatant promotion for Nestle, but given their track record they could probably do with it.

Tokyo Tween Knife Brawl


A still from the Selena Gomez vehicle Monte Carlo

Sometimes (rarely but sometimes), people on this planet get things right. Disney Studios is the most profitable film studio on all of planet earth (the whole planet!) and as far as I know, it is run by a cabal of doe-eyed, loved-up men and women from all walks of life who have come together to share their unbridled passion for the finer things. If that’s not what Disney is like, I simply can’t imagine the reality.

But even a glowing stripmine of glee and wonder sometimes fails to hit the mark. Every year, Walt Disney’s bleary-eyed scions turn out more than 950 films (there were 1,721 in 2011 alone)*, and they can’t all be Mean Girls or Camp Rock. There has to be room for failure, even in the high-ceilinged board rooms of Hollywood – and where there is failure, there is room to learn.

In the year 2012, Jess Bellamy, Hadley and myself set out to see what we could learn from Disney’s ‘second-tier successes’ aka their failures. Jess Bellamy studied mid-period Lindsay Lohan vehicle Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, I examined Selena Gomez’s something-fest Monte Carlo, and Hadley investigated the tail end of the Mean Girls franchise, Mean Girls 2. The result of our efforts was a tryptich of essays (a three-part tryptich, which is the most common kind) entitled TOKYO TWEEN KNIFE BRAWL.


Lindsay Lohan confronts her rockstar idol over his hard-living ways in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

Tokyo Tween Knife Brawl first saw life as a performance as part of the 2012 You Are Here festival, in the jiving locale of Lonsdale Street Roasters. You can check a video of the performance here, or get amongst Lauren Strickland’s BMA review:

At the end of each speech the crowd screamed like the trio were rock stars. Tokyo Tween Knife Brawl was exactly what was promised: a visceral, emotional response to some of the most uninspiring Disney films in existence.

Let’s not speculate how things got to the point where a review of a Disney film gets a rock star response – March 2012 was not a good month in Canberra, leave it at that.

Now, however, the true purpose of this project has come to fruition – the Tokyo Tween Knife Brawl zine is now available for download! Here it is, for free, as a pdf which you may download to your computer and then transfer on to your ebook reader such as a kindle. OR CAN YOU? I don’t know, I don’t own an ebook reader – but it certainly seems like the sort of thing you ought to be able to do.

Also the pdf is 28mb, which is pretty badass for a pdf and reflects the amount of FULL-COLOUR STILLS from the movies which will liven your experience of these reviews. In 1996 a 28mb file would have been quite challenging to download but 16 years later, it should be with you in merely the blink of an eye!

Download Tokyo Tween Knife Brawl.pdf (28mb)

Now. Get to your spaceships.

*probably


the cast of Mean Girls 2

was the hannah montana movie worth it? well. you see,

As friends, collaborators and above all scientists, Jess Bellamy and myself decided that there was nothing for it, really, at this stage we had literally no choice but to watch a Disney film together last night and simultaneously review it. What follows is my interpretation of the proceedings – to witness the same events from Jess’ perspective, get thee to Would Jess Like It NOW.
Before breaking into THE HANNAH MONTANA MOVIE, which Jess absolutely rented from the DVD rental shop because she is not a criminal, we decided to clarify what we hoped to learn about life, about Miley, about ourselves, by watching the film. Jess thought about it for not even a second before saying, ‘Maybe the question is: Is it worth it? Is it worth giving up whatever she gave up, to make this, whatever it is?

Indeed. Can’t fuck with that. And with that in mind, we kicked the fucker off.

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-21-33-pm

The opening sequence features hordes of running teenagers intercut with Billy Ray Cyrus staring vengefully at wigs.

jess: it’s a mirror
david: billy ray just looks shitty
jess: he is fed up
david: miley cyrus just got refused entry into her own gig
jess: as if this bitch on the door wouldn’t consult the guestlist. I hope she gets fired.

I don’t know what happens next but somehow Miley and her bland best friend are driving down corridors chased by a security guard. They crash through a Hannah Montana poster and Hannah Montana’s face sticks to Miley’s.

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-22-29-pm

david: I missed the symbolism
jess: me too

the credits happen and then a concert and then

jess: when did this transition happen? we’re now on a beach
david: what the fuck, why did she get hit by a coconut?

the devilish sleaze reporter from a british tabloid named Bon Chic has planted a camera in her dressing room

jess: I feel like bon chic would be a pretty classy mag
david: I want to be dan berendsen the writer of this film or study at the academy he no doubt has

the reporter from Bon Chic is trying to find out hannah montana’s ‘secret’ and now she is in volleyball class getting hit in the face by a ball

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-23-28-pm

jess: maybe her secret is that she keeps getting hit in the face by balls all the time

miley’s brother is smashed on codeine in the middle of the street yelling at billy ray cyrus that he wants to go to college

jess: you are too stupid to go to college.

meanwhile miley cyrus and tyra banks are having a fight fuelled by the cocaine jitters. miley throws a high heel at tyra banks and it smashes into the wall next to tyra’s head and it could have literally put her eye out.

jess: this is embarrassing for them
david: there are cameras everywhere!
jess: miley your best friend and your brother are calling you on your phone you piece of shit!

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-23-50-pm

some confusing shit happens in a taxi and jess’ housemate tom explains to us that Hannah is Miley’s secret identity and no-one knows that they are the same person, except most of the characters we’ve met so far, but some of them don’t. this slightly clears up some shit and then hannah is doing a gig at her best friend’s birthday party. a small boy makes a cake explode for no compelling reason. then we are on a private beach and miley’s manager vanessa williams is there with an umbrella and billy ray cyrus and miley

billy ray cyrus: you got into a stinking shoefight, miley!
miley: I need to go to the music awards in new york
manager: I can get her a private jet
jess: you’re spoiling her, you bitch!

miley and billy ray get on the plane to new york but, shockingly, the plane lands in a field. it was a trick! billy ray is forcing miley to do a detox from hannah montana by flying her to this shitty southern state where there are nothing but trees and meth labs. miley’s brother is here too making out with a dog in the back of a truck

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-24-31-pm

jess: he hasn’t gone to college!
david: I predict this boy will spend the entire movie mournfully saying the word ‘college’

miley throws a tantrum and billy ray abandons her to her old horse. miley wants to ride bluejeans so she takes off her swanky city clothes in the field and underneath she is dressed in ordinary country shit

jess: she had that outfit on underneath this whole time!
david: she’s remembered her country roots
jess: so the movie’s resolved now, it’ll just be fun horse times the rest of the movie

but we are wrong! it’s not that easy, miley’s horse runs away and a boy has to come and lasso it romantically. sweeping strings suggest that he is our romantic male lead, and then we see him close up

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-25-19-pm

jess: oh I don’t know about this guy

jess is right to be concerned, ‘Travis’ is an uncharismatic waste of screenspace, but speaking as a straight male, between miley and her scheming grandma I am sorted for eye candy in this film so I don’t care

‘travis’ (fake name?) takes miley home on the horse

jess: I think the producer has told her not to press her boobs against him
david: are they gonna talk in this accent this whole film?

at the farmhouse we meet some available single chick around the right age for billy ray to seek to get his lecherous fangs into her

jess’ housemate skye: you know who that is, right?
david: someone who didn’t have enough self respect to tell their manager they’re not playing billy ray cyrus’ love interest?
jess: it’s jan from the office. she’s gone from steve carrell to billy ray cyrus.
david: where’s the next stop on that trajectory?

miley is looking at photos of her dead mother.

jess: oh no, dead mum brooke shields!
jess’ housemate tom: is that a giant rabbit?
david: is that giant rabbit moving?
jess: the photos are alive!

then the grandma comes up to talk some deep shit about miley’s dead mother brooke shields and tell miley what a selfish slag she’s being

grandma: i just miss my miley
miley: why does everyone keep saying that?
grandma: maybe you should ask yourself that question
jess: grandma is full of bitch! why is everyone being so passive aggressive to miley?
david: why is this movie so full of farmhouse scenes?
jess: I feel we’re about to see a chicken feeding montage
miley: I’m going to feed the chickens!

miley does a song and dance number feeding chickens in the barn but then she puts all the eggs in the pockets of her overalls and falls over on them

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-25-49-pm

jess: there is yolk running down her ass.
david: what is that symbolic of?

INTERLUDE: What The Fuck Is Up With Miley’s Brother?
At first I was afraid there would be a whole subplot featuring Miley’s brother and maybe there was, but it 90% got axed in the editing room. What was left was some cubist shit, where you really have to make your own meaning from the collage of shots because there’s no narrative there to help.

Miley’s brother first appears dancing on the street in front of traffic like a teen who’s just discovered the transformative delights of heroin, yelling the words I’M GOING TO COLLEGE. The next shot is him making out with a dog in the back of a truck. The third time he appears he is face to face with an ostrich in front of a crowd of tiny children, telling the children that the ostrich is the fastest thing on two legs. Is this college? Has someone told him that he’s in college and this is a tutorial? It doesn’t matter, because at this point a skinny yokel emerges from his bathroom meth laboratory and orders Miley’s brother into the river to be killed by an alligator. Miley’s brother obediently climbs into the river and to shouts of glee from the children, he is killed by an alligator. This is halfway through the film.

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-26-20-pm

BACK TO THE MAIN PLOT

I’m skipping over the bit with miley and her grandma at the country town fair with the sleazy reporter, suffice to say that miley wanders off when she’s supposed to be protecting the watermelon, she poisons a journalist and upends a truck full of walnuts in order to murder a man, and all of this sounds a lot better than it plays out in practice

the next important thing that we give a shit about is miley and ‘travis’ the love interest in a barn while she is writing music on her guitar and then he says some confusing shit while building his new barn to start an egg selling business

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-27-22-pm

david: that’s a weird line
jess: what?
david: ‘life’s a climb but the view’s great’
jess: that’s the name of the main single from the soundtrack
david: well it wasn’t worked well into the script
jess: I figure most of her fans probably know her music so it wasn’t lost on them

later that night at the charity concert in some fucking barn somewhere, billy ray cyrus appears onstage with a band to play a new Billy Ray composition – he’s still perfoming, guys! – and it’s a turgid lump of Achy Breaky Heart-vintage country dreck infused with a decade’s worth of inspiration from lynchpins such as Creed and Nickelback. No-one can love you, Billy Ray! and then thank christ taylor swift appears

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-27-35-pm

jess: holy shit. but I guess she wasn’t that famous back then
david: that’s a damn lie. she was madison square gardens sell out famous
jess: I guess I’m a damn liar
skye: I love her
david: she’s so squinty and pure

no-one seems that impressed that taylor swift has shown up to this event, no-one acknowledges her presence in any way, and it’s not clear whether in the world of the hannah montana movie, miley cyrus and taylor swift know each other tlike they do in real life – anyway miley dances with her country boy and then gets up on stage –

miley: I’m gonna add a little hiphop to the mix.

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-28-04-pm

and then Miley begins teaching them all the hoedown fucking throwdown. let me quote Jess’ review of the christmas miracle that is the hoedown throwdown, because even after forcing Hadley to watch it five or six times in a row on youtube I still can’t make it make sense:

OH MY GOD it is incredible. The whole room rolls effortlessly into this thing and it’s like magic is happening in front of our eyes, and every time I try to look away it’s like my soul yells “GIMME MORE” and I am now FULLY in the heart region, brain left behind. If all of their budget went into this scene, it was worth it. 500 out of 10. .

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-28-14-pm

and then in the midst of all this party time walks the developer who is planning to build a block of nonsensical apartments in the middle of some field somewhere and he basically mocks all the community participants

david: this is like a coal mining magnate coming in to a greenpeace rally and throwing down a challenge to all the crusty anarchists – it’s kinda admirable

anyway more confusing shit happens and then suddenly hannah montana has arrived and somehow that will save the town, and it’s miley’s bland best friend pretending to be hannah – now miley is watching her dad make out with his new girlfriend on the bed while what he thinks is his daughter lies there passive with a towel over her face – before her ladder falls into the patch of squashes and she has a giant squash on her head –

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-28-37-pm

david: I feel like this movie shifted gears in the last couple of minutes
jess: yeah I’m not feeling it

now miley is pretending to be hannah and ‘travis’ has asked miley out for dinner at the same time as hannah is supposed to be at dinner with the mayor AND MILEY ACCEPTS BOTH INVITATIONS

jess: as if your publicist would let you go out with that guy oooooooohhhhhhhh

(this was jess sighing involuntarily as ‘travis’ walks past a window combing his terrible hair)

so miley is flicking between her date with ‘travis’ and her big important dinner where a ferret is loose – she keeps lying to ‘travis’ about needing to answer the phone and so on while he is trying to work up the courage to tell her how much he wants to make gentle love to her by the river where the water runs cold and wild and free

david: this is actually what it would be like going out with miley – fleeting.
jess: so many lies and excuses!

all the lies come unravelled in a poorly executed revolving door sequence in which nine or ten people get trapped in the same revolving door going in slow motion with a tiny child eyeballing both miley/hannah and ‘travis’ is there looking sad, then ‘travis’ yells at her

travis‘: you lied to me – I would never treat you like this –
jess’ housemate tom: this would be a good nida audition piece

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-28-59-pm

the next morning some random girl walks through the set and sees a rainbow painted chicken coop

jess: that’s pretty beautiful. and, can I say, flaming?
david: who is that girl?
skye: it’s miley’s best friend, she’s been in every second scene this whole film

but all of that is nitpicking leading up to the big finale which is  THE HANNAH MONTANA CONCERT – the same group of extras who has been in every crowd scene in this whole movie gather to do one more stint as the hometown folk for this big charity concert, which goes to hell when miley breaks down onstage and confesses to who she is and apologises for all the people she’s hurt and lied to

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-29-17-pm

jess’ housemate tom: this is a better nida monologue

miley starts singing ‘the climb’ and it is soft and beautiful to begin with but you know it’s going to build to a swelling climactic finale

jess’ housemate tom: I don’t believe this tennessee high school orchestra can play this song without ever hearing it
jess: did anyone else get involuntary goosebumps?
david: yeah disney can play the shivers up my spine like a fucking violin

now my notes run out but what I roughly remember of the finale is that when miley finishes singing the climb she is all like ‘I guess I can’t be Hannah Montana any more’ and the crowd is all like BUT YOU HAVE TO BE

FUCKING PUT THE WIG BACK ON
STOP TRYING TO BE YOURSELF
WE DON’T GIVE A FUCK

and the crowd starts howling ‘Hannah! Hannah!’ at her and miley can clearly sense a lynching in the works and she is afraid, afraid, and so she puts on the wig and pretends to be hannah montana again, and briefly appeases their lust for her celebrity alter ego

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-11-29-31-pm

so, was it worth it? well. you see,