3 movies for grown ups

I like my movies like I like my books: weird, edgy, fucked-up, controversial; funny in an unconventional way that plays more on absurdity, irony, and darkness than ordinary humor; provocative in theme and delivery. Yes, it’s pure coincidence that Monday’s post was about sex, yesterday’s post was about TV, and today’s post is about sex on TV. Well, sex in movies. But movies that you watch on a TV. Semantics. Also, it’s Hump Day. So I kind of had to post this today.

Here are three movies we watched this week and enjoyed:

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01: NYMPH( )MANIAC | There’s a lot in this movie. On the surface it’s about sex, clearly (becuase get it?! …a nympho is a sex addict, and the ( ) as the “O” looks like a lady’s *ahem* parts…). But there are other themes at play here, too (most of them competing): math + science, psychology + philosophy, love + hate, pain + pleasure, delicate-ness + roughness, acceptance + rejection. There are parallels drawn between things you’re unlikely to have ever related on your own (like: sex and fly fishing — playing on themes of “the hunt” and “predator v. victim”, through verbal and visual imagery of sensuality and fluidity); some such parallels are explicitly narrated, others only alluded to in order to allow you to draw your own conclusion.

Sex begins as a reluctant game for Joe, the female main character, but eventually becomes a tool of power, manipulation, gratification; and an act of complete selfishness. At its core, I feel like vol. 1 of this series caters to themes of self-discovery, self-awareness, and the use of sex as a method of masking mental pain v. sex as a source of physical pleasure; sex as a passive act of recreation v. sex as an intentional act of love.

It all sounds very cliché, but I promise it’s not. It’s well-written, well-produced, and the performances by the cast leave you feeling. Also, the sex scenes are real. So. There’s that.

Starring: Shia LeBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Connie Nielsen 
Read more: IMDB // Rotten Tomatoes // Official movie site
Run time: 2h 25m (← does not feel that long)

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02: PALO ALTO | Did you guys know that James Franco wrote a collection of short stories that were turned into a movie that Gia Coppola directed and that he starred in? I didn’t either. But it happened. And it’s good. Really good.

The blurb on Netlfix for this movie is misleading. Yes, homegirl falls for her soccer coach and they have an affair, but that’s not the main plot of the movie. At least, that’s not what I got from it. The movie is more about coming of age than it is about the coach of a girls high school soccer team fucking one of his players.

I haven’t been in high school for over a decade but this movie felt exactly like my youth. It’s hazy and confusing and chaotic and awkward — but also warm and honest and fun — and it brought me right back to sophomore year. I identified with every single theme the movie tackled, from the proverbial angst-y, existentialist teenage crises of purpose and worth, love and belonging, illicitness and innocence to the illusion of invincibility, the questioning of authority, and the eventual realization that you actually don’t know shit and should just stop trying so hard.

The depiction of youth in Palo Alto was my normal, which made the plot of the movie feel timeless. Be it 10 years ago or 15 years from now, teenagers are faced with same shit, generation after generation. The landscape of society might change, but the themes centralized around The Great Growing Up haven’t, and they won’t.

Starring: Jack Kilmer // Emma Roberts // Nat Wolff // James Franco // Val Kilmer (yep, as in Jack Kilmer’s dad)
Read more: IMBD // Rotten Tomatoes // Official movie site
Run time: 1h 40m

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03: CONCUSSION | A forty-something wealthy housewife who lives with her spouse and their two kids in the suburbs of NYC has a calculated rendezvous with a “high class” prostitute, then decides to become one herself. Sounds a bit sensational, doesn’t it? It’s not. The twist with this one is that the wealthy housewife is married to another woman, and she doesn’t search out sex with others out of boredom. In fact, she doesn’t search it out at all. It’s propositioned to her, and she follows through with it — and continues to pursue it — out of a profound unhappiness and loneliness.

Her first encounters with women outside her marriage are awkward and uncomfortable — so much so that they left Shannon and I squirming on the couch, even turning to each other at one point and declaring that we felt uncomfortable in our own living room just from watching the scenes. That is good acting. And the movie is packed full of it. There isn’t always a lot of dialogue (or fucking, actually), but it isn’t needed. The acting — and the cinematography — is just that good.

Concussion is very much a “grown-up” movie. It’s heavy and dark; emotionally raw and realistic. It’s the shortest movie we watched, but it felt the longest. It’s a good movie, but you definitely have to be in the right mood to sit all the way through it. And you have to be patient. There’s no humor. There’s no lightheartedness. It’s a true drama with a phenomenal performance by Robin Weigert, the actress who plays the main character.

What we appreciated most about this movie is that it depicts our demographic, our community, without being cheesy or cliché. We can’t speak to the accuracy of the whole being unhappy + lonely/sleeping with other people outside of our relationship/becoming a prostitute stuff, but it was really cool to see a spin on the typical formula of the unhappy housewife who seeks sex outside of her marriage by adding in the whole lesbian “thing”. And it was fascinating to see the depiction of the difference in the dynamic between two wives versus a wife and her husband.

This movie is mature in every sense of the word, and that’s a big part of what makes it so good. After it was over, Shannon and I spent a few minutes on the couch talking about it; speculating about some of the questions the movie presented but didn’t directly answer: At what point does a mutual and exclusive love supersede a lust for others outside of that love? Does it at all? Can it be justified, or accepted? At what point does the search for validation through sex with people outside of your relationship become more than that; at what point does it become cheating? Is it cheating from the beginning? Is it cheating at all? Can a real grown-up relationship survive when both parties are in love with each other, but aren’t fulfilled by each other? Can’t hate on a movie that makes you feel and think.

Starring: Robin Weigert, Julie Fain Lawrence, Jonathan Tchaikovsky, Maggie Siff (from Mad Men!)
Read more: IMDB // Rotten Tomatoes // Official movie site
Run time: 1h 30m

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Your turn! Have any good movies to recommend? They don’t have to be about sex, they just have to be good.

How we do | (tantrum-free) TV time

As we’re all aware, toddlers can be assholes. They whine and cry and argue and fight over everything, and what makes it worse is that they’re literally incapable of understanding the logic or reasoning behind certain decisions that you make as a parent, which exacerbates them, and then the situation, and then you, even more. In our house, TV time used to be one of those situations.

Tantrum free TV time // Kelsey, Esp. blog

There are four factors at play with TV time in our house:

  • HOW much TV time the kids get each day
  • WHAT the kids are allowed to watch
  • WHEN they’re allowed to watch TV
  • WHO gets to pick what they watch

HOW, WHAT, WHEN:

The kids don’t get a lot of TV time in our house. During the week they top out at an hour a day, maybe. Depending on how slow they’re running in the morning, they’ll catch between 15 and 30 minutes of a show (Disney Jr. or Nick Jr.) while I finish getting myself ready, and after bath in the evenings they’ll get one 30-minute show before bed (again, Disney Jr. or Nick Jr.). Not one 30-minute show each. One 30-minute show total.

On weekends, TV time is dished out a little more liberally (I may let them eat pancakes on the floor in the living room while watching cartoons, or might let them watch a movie int he afternoon instead of taking a nap) but my general rule of thumb when it comes to the TV is: when the sun is out, the TV is off. This standard is easier to implement during the spring and the summer, when we spend more time outside, but it isn’t impossible to implement during the colder months. Instead of TV time we have craft time, play time, story time, puzzle time, “letters” time (writing practice on mini lined whiteboards), or dance parties (brought to you by YouTube, Pandora, or Spotify).

WHO:

Emma and Madden used to constantly fight over what they were going to watch — Monsters! No, Minions! NO, MONSTERS! NO, MINIONS! MOOOOOOOOOMMMMM! — or whose turn it was to pick. Since there’s only two of them, we used to roll with the “every other night” thing: “Emma picked last night so tonight it’s Madden’s turn.” But then we (I) kept forgetting who actually picked the night before, so we scrapped the random-esque element of the “every other night” routine and replaced it with a little bit of logic and impossible-to-forget-whose-turn-it-is-ness.

Emma was born on a Monday and Madden was born on a Tuesday. That means that Emma gets to pick the morning and evening show every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Madden gets to pick the morning and evening show every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Too easy, right? Sunday is usually “grab bag day” — maybe they’ll get a movie, maybe they’ll both get to choose one show (if they’re good and eat all of their dinner and I’m feeling nice), or maybe they get to play after bath instead of watch a show. However, now that it’s fall, Football dominates on Sunday so they don’t get a show at all Sunday evenings.

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This “every other night” routine — infused with a bit of order with the M/W/F + T/T/S set-up — has been working really well for us. Not only does it keep things easy for me to remember, but it’s helping teach the kids a host of things, too: routine, respect, reasoning, patience, “fairness”/compromise. There were a few rough transition days in the beginning, but they get it now. And because their daycare is amazing and actually teaches them things, they understand the whole “days of the week” thing, which helps makes explaining to Madden why it’s Emma’s turn to pick instead of his (or vice versa) so much easier. The only thing they fight about now is who gets to turn the TV off on the way out the door in the morning, or on the way upstairs in the evening. Seriously. They even bicker about that shit…

“So like, how do you guys have sex?”

How lesbians have sex: a primer for the curious // Kelsey, Esp. blog

“So like, how do you guys have sex?” is a pretty common question we get — our friends have asked us; family have asked us; RJ has asked us; strangers have asked us. Most people assume there’s a lot of scissoring, and that we use toys. Wrong and wrong.

So, how do we have sex?

01 | Hint: not like this (seriously, Cosmo publishes the most ridiculous shit)
02 | Uh. Pretty much how everyone else has sex, except without the guy and his *ahem* manhood (even you straight girls can attest to the fact that you don’t need a dick — or any phallic toys — to get off, amirite? (Yes.) You don’t need a dick to get off, and you don’t need a dick to have sex.)

We use fingers and mouths and tongues, and rubbing and thrusting and friction with knees and hips. We flail around the bed, rolling around and intertwining our bodies. There’s lots of touching and squeezing and grabbing and rubbing and kissing and licking and biting and sucking and fucking. Sounds pretty normal, right?

Occasionally we use flavored or sensation-inducing lubes, but we never ever use toys. Not once, not never (+100 cool points to whoever knows where that line comes from). They just aren’t our thing. To each her own (other lesbian couples absolutely use toys), but personally I feel that using phallic toys — vibrators and dildos and strap-ons — defeats the entire purpose of having sex with a girl. I mean, for us it’s kind of like: if you’re into phallic penetration, why don’t you just go fuck an actual dude and his actual dick?

Just like straight couples, lesbian couples aren’t limited to just a single, boring position. Missionary works just fine, but we can “do it doggy”, or reverse cowgirl, too. We can be parallel or perpendicular to each other; one of us sitting up or both of us sitting up. Shower sex is a thing, too, and because we don’t have to align our nether regions in order for shower sex to be successful, it’s much less awkward and cumbersome for us than it can be for a straight couple. And because we’re both girls, there’s no latency or recovery period, which means that no matter where we have sex or how we have sex or in which position we’re having sex, we can keep going until we run out of time or energy (and it’s easier to get away with bathroom or dressing room sex…).

Slow sex, fast sex, rough sex, sensual sex — they all happen, and sometimes they all happen in the same encounter. It’s not uncommon to start off slow and sensual — with fingers and tongues tracing silhouettes while bodies softly press into each other — and end fast and rough — with hands around ponytails or necks, teeth — instead of tongues — on skin, and bodies moving forcefully but in time with each other. Basically, lesbian sex is exactly like straight sex, except — spoiler alert — the sex is between two women instead of between a man and woman (or two men).

A few things to keep in mind for great lesbian sex:

  • Scissoring isn’t a real thing
  • 69-ing is
  • Long fingernails are a no-go
  • And so are rings on fingers during sex
  • Speaking of fingers, you can play “just the tip” with them
  • And fingers on the inside + tongue on the outside — at the same time — is absolutely a thing

Well. Not as exotic or exciting as you guys probably thought it would be, but that’s it.

 

IMAGE | via

Cool story, bro | vol. 4

Cool story, bro // Kelsey, Esp. blog

Me: Madden, guess what?!

Madden: WHAT?!

Me: I love you!

Madden: Mommy, guess what?!

Me: WHAT?!

Madden: Chicken butt.

Me: YOU’RE a butt!

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While splashing around in the pool a few weeks ago,

Madden: Mom. This water’s name is “The Pool.”

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Madden: Here, mom. Hold my sticker.

Me: *takes sticker*

Madden: Thank you.

Me: You’re welcome.

Madden: SAY IT LOUDER!

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Me: Madden, what do you want for dinner?

Madden: Dinner.

Shannon: But what for dinner?

Madden: Umm…Saturday. And Wednesday.

Us: …?

Working out: what do you want to know?

Working out: what do you want to know? // Kelsey, Esp. blog

I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday, along with the question of whether or not people would like to read about workout-y, fitness-y things here on the blog. As it turns out, (some of) you guys do. Not only did a few of you comment back on this photo yesterday, but there’s been a handful of you guys that have emailed or texted or commented on Instagram before yesterday, expressing a pretty enthusiastic interest in reading workout-y posts from me. I am 1,000% on-board with the idea of writing about fitness in this space, but before I dive in a start spewing off at the mouth, I want to know: what do you want to know? 

Are you looking for workouts you can do at home or on the go? Do you want nutrition information and advice? Equipment suggestions? Product reviews or comparisons or recommendations? Explanations of complex fitness principles? Breakdowns of different supplements? Cliff’s notes of some of the more confusing health and fitness reports making their rounds in the media? Easy-to-understand primers on foundational elements of health and fitness and exercise? Demo videos of movements? None of it? All of it? Something else I didn’t think of?

Use the comments to let me know what you’d like to read/see/watch from me on the topic of fitness. Take the weekend to mull it over if you have to. The more detail you can provide me on what you’re looking for, the better. Don’t worry if your comment is the length of a term paper. Really. I want as much information from you guys as you can provide, so that I know where to run with this idea. Deal? DEAL.

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