Monday, January 4, 2010

For Sadako: May (Plus, THE GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!!!)

This week, I close out Reader Request Month with a review for Sadako of Dibbly Fresh.  After enjoying my take on Ginger Snaps, Sadako requested that I watch another "feministy horror film" and report back.  Some heavy Googling conjured up a title that's been on my "to rent" list for a while now: May

(By the way, May has a connection to one of my all-time favorite indies, Brick: Brick director Rian Johnson edited May, and the title character makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo appearance in Brick.)

Not sure if I'd term May a "feminist" film, exactly, but it's certainly female-centric, with a fascinating, fragile protagonist, some very recognizable supporting actors Before They Were Stars, and buckets and buckets o' goo. 

Needless to say, I liked it!

Plotarooskie: Since childhood, May (Angela Bettis, winner of the Why Aren't You in More Movies? Award) has been cursed with a lazy eye, leading to outcast status and maximum social awkwardness.  As a young woman, May works at an animal hospital by day and sews her own clothes by night, in a cavernous California abode with only her doll collection for company.  However, when she befriends lunkhead mechanic Adam (Jeremy Sisto--more about him in a bit) and responds to the advances of purring coworker Polly (Anna Faris in her dark-haired Scary Movie days), May's life seems to be taking a turn for the . . . normal.  But as May soon learns, people are fickle, and even a lazy-eyed misanthrope doesn't have to take it lying down.


Here's my issue with the Sis.  He's a fairly good actor.  Pretty attractive.  I'm sure he's a nice gentleman in real life, and the fact that he grew up in Chicago makes me want to like him more (I'm a sucker for a hometown boy made good). 

That said . . . when I see anything, anything featuring Jeremy Sisto, all I can think of is Billy, his character from Six Feet Under.  If you've never watched the show (which you absolutely should, because it's a television masterpiece and the finale alone will leave you crying for days), Billy is completely insane.  Granted, he's a product of a very screwed-up family environment, plus he's bipolar, but the guy is also an unwashed obsessive douchebag who keeps going off his meds.  Did I mention that he also wants to screw his sister?  (I know, I know, I love Wasteland, but Lex is a self-aware teenager wracked with guilt about feelings he knows are inappropriate, whereas Billy's just . . . gross.)  And I guess I could attribute it to Sisto's effective portrayal of a largely unsympathetic character (not easy to carry off), but . . . God, every time something bad happens to a Jeremy Sisto character, I can't help but yelling at the TV (or yelling in my head if I'm in a public movie theatre), "Haha, BILLY, you deserve it!"


So yeah, buckets of blood in this movie.  Ginger Snaps has nothing on May.  Also, reeeeeaaally cringe-inducing moments from a young woman who genuinely has no idea how to behave in an acceptable fashion.  Finally, the film moves very slowly for the first forty-five minutes or so...but there's quite a payoff, so it's worth sticking around for.  Also, I like my heroines bespectacled!

I'm still pondering the meaning of May.  Did director Lucky McKee set out to make a darkly funny social commentary on the eventual crackup of lifelong outcasts, or a purely fun, female-driven slasher-fest?  Hard to tell: May carries a bit of film-school-grad lack of focus.  However, along with blood, there's also karma, schadenfreude, and even a little twisted empowerment. 

Worth the rental.

And now (drumroll, please), the WINNER of the Reader Request Month Giveaway!

As you recall, anyone who suggested a topic (whether via email, Facebook, or comment) was eligible for a drawing to receive a cool prize from yours truly. 

After a totally-random drawing of names by my roommate, the winner is...


Congratulations, Ana!  Email me this week with your address so I can mail your prize!

And thanks to everyone who suggested a topic...I'll definitely do another RRM again soon.


  1. The Jeremy Sisto thing is hilarious! 6 Feet Under is one of the few shows I watched regularly, and Billy is such an indelible character.

    I remember reading about did sound pretty interesting.

  2. Thanks for posting this! I actually saw May a few years ago already and really liked it (so you seem to have my taste level right on!).

    I liked it, and it really grossed me out. I also did like the feminist viewpoint though not sure what it was trying to say really. Still, you see a lot of "Guy gets rejected by girl and goes crazy" movies--rarely movies about awkward girls snapping.

    The director of this also made the Masters of Horror ep called Sick Girl, which also stars Angela Bettis.

  3. "May" is on one of my lists. Guess which one.

  4. re: Jeremy sisto: I also can't get the creepy billy out of my mind, but I detest J.S. because years ago, there was a domestic violence case/call against him. I honestly am appalled that he's married and has a kid. I believe the charges were dropped, but any abuser is not cool in my book.

  5. i do the exact same thing about "Billy" haha.

  6. I absolutely love this movie and yes, Angela Bettis should be in more movies. She makes an excellent scream queen (she was in the remake of Carrie and did a great job).

  7. Sadako: I also liked how May consistently wore glasses throughout the movie. She only really wore contacts when she wanted to be "hot" and seductive--and it was a conscious, almost manipulative thing. I don't know if that's how the filmmaker intended it, but I liked how the "glasses make you ugly" cliche was sort of turned on its head.

    Nick: I bet I know what list! Everyone else: Nick and I write for a great website called The Film Yap (, and Nick is doing a special "365 Movies" feature all year. Go check it out!

    EB: I didn't know that about the Sis! EWWWWW. What a jackass.

    Heather: Scream queens rock. The VH1 reality show "Scream Queens" was a guilty pleasure of mine--I'm really happy it's coming back for another season.

    Everyone: that is hilarious how I'm not the only one turned off of Sisto because of Billy! Nice to know I'm not alone.

  8. this is Jeremy Sisto. There has never EVER been a domesticic violence case/call against me. You should check you're sources before you spread harmful gossip. It is irresponsible and mean! I was raised by a single mother and if you new me you would know what a ridiculous claim that is. Shame.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Hi Jeremy,

    If this is really you: I stand corrected. Granted, I was not the one who made this claim, but if it's false, it's false, and of course you would know. My sincere apologies, and no one on this blog intends to rumor-monger. P.S. Six Feet Under was really good.

    If it's not you: dude, check "you're" spelling. I may not have checked my source but I "no" my homonyms.

  11. Whoa. Weird. I bet it was just some weirdo being mean, though. Anyone could be "Anonymous"!


  13. This is May. I'm not socially awkward. If you new me you would no that.

  14. yeah, i have always had a problem with the your/you're thing.

    Perhaps I shouldn't have said anything but it's pretty disturbing to read something like that about your self.

  15. Jere-Bear, what say you we call a truce? You won't yell at me on my own blog, I won't pick on your grammar. I'll even see your next movie without yelling "BILLY!" at the screen.

    Friends? :)

  16. Etiquette Bitch,

    Post your source when you're going to post such a terrible thing about someone. "I read it somewhere on the internet or my friend told me" is not good enough when it is such a nasty accusation. The internet is a vicious place and it just takes one post like yours for such an ugly rumor to spread. It's a terrible thing to be labeled as an abuser, especially when it is not true.

  17. Hi Jeremy,

    I think we have all learned a valuable lesson about checking our sources. I mean that.

    Have you checked out my new post?

  18. If I were him I'd have sued Etiquette Bitch for defamation, that's a pretty vicious accusation without anything to back her up.

  19. I just loved what you did... I think Sadako is one of the best in this category and it'd be nice if you can add more about it, specially in this blog because I've been following this entries since the first edition and I couldn't understood the plot below the second paragraph. 23jj

  20. I must admit I got no idea what you are talking about, but since I love horror films and learning about new directors, I will try to download it and watch it at night with my girlfriend.