I'm Mary Katharine Ham. I talk about politics, but I like other things, too. I try not to be a blowhard.

Diary of a Hate-Shred, Day 8-10: Confessions to Jillian

It has come time to inform all of you (and Jillian) that though there will be 30 days of Shredding, they may not all happen within 30 days. I am ashamed, but not as deeply as Jillian would like me to be, no doubt. Perhaps this is to be expected from anyone who is not actually Jillian Michaels. I mean, you're gonna miss a day every now and then, right? I had to go to New York for this work thing, and you know how it is! Traveling, amirite?

But I exercised even though I wasn't doing the Shred, Jillian! I jogged in 14-degree wind chill!

Yes, run. That's what I did. Jogging is lame. I run like I'm being chased by a beautiful, brunette hyena with caramel highlights. BECAUSE I AM. I should have been clearer. On another day, I ice skated! Woo, baby, my hip flexors took a beating.

And, I've only missed three days total.

Ooh, I can quit if I puke? I was not informed of this out.

Will do, Jillian! Maybe I can squeeze in a two-a-day. But I do have this chronic problem with my IT band. Makes lunges a little uncomfortable.

You see, it's in my left leg.

Right you are. I'm gettin' back on that horse, Jillian!

I think you've made your point.


I want to punch you in your pretty, snarly face.

Grrr. Promise to do more working out and more blogging this week, guys!

Diary of a Hate-Shred: Day 4 with Jillian Michaels

Day 4: There's a thing called a plankjack

Oh, Jillian. Today, you actually said to me, "I want you to feel like you're going to die." I don't think I've ever wished such a viscerally nasty thing upon an adversary out loud, and I do cable news for a living!

Camera's over here, Jillz.

Camera's over here, Jillz.

Serves me right, I suppose. After several work-outs on Level 1, I got cocky (a little ADD?) and decided to step up to Level 2. And, what awaited me there? Did you know there's such a thing as a plankjack? Imagine Rube Goldberg created torture devices. "Oh, this Iron Maiden alone just will not do. Shall we not also put our subject on The Rack and add a Pendulum?" It's like that but for exercise.

Learning from Natalie and Anita: Everyone deals with hating Jillian in her own way, and as I move through this journey, who better to take tips from than these ladies? Sure, they look calm as they glisten. But if you look long enough, which you will if you DO THIS WORKOUT FOR 30 DAYS STRAIGHT, you will spot the roiling rage beneath their placid exteriors.

Natalie: That smile, tho.

This is the look on Natalie's face through every workout. It reaches its height when Jillian is standing by her side poking at her quads. The smile says, "I am super-enjoying the activity in which I am engaged," but the eyes say, "I shall murder you in the style of the mythic Chupacabra and turn your blood into a fashionable martini."

"Seriously, y'all. I will stretch her sports bra so far that it'll slingshot her ass to Santa Monica."

"Seriously, y'all. I will stretch her sports bra so far that it'll slingshot her ass to Santa Monica."

Anita: Those abs, tho.

Sometimes the best revenge is being one of three things in the world rock-harder than Jillian, along with Bruce Banner and the face of El Capitan. Seriously, the rolls in Anita's tummy are smaller than my crows' feet.

Anita: "Is this a frat party?"
Jillian: "Huh?"
Anita: "Because I brought all the six-packs! Where's yours? BOOM!"

Anita: "Are we womenfolk down by the crick in the late-18th century?"
Jillian: "Wha?"
Anita: "Because somebody's got a washboard!"
Jillian: "Dammit."
Anita: "It's me. I have one."

Anita: "Do we have a first-aid kit?"
Jillian: "Yes! Do you need it?!"
Anita: "Yeah, because I'm SO CUT."
Jillian: "Goddammit, Anita."

Body: Level 1 definitely got easier over just a couple of days. Level 2 is harder, but more challenge makes the time go by faster. Toes remain numb. The connective tissue that holds my ribcage together is sore. Good, because rib connective tissue was one of my problem areas.

Equipment: I stepped up my weight level, too, because I couldn't find my Sorels. What was nearby today?

These happen to be heavier, much to my arms' chagrin.

Highs: I found the only thing Jillian Michaels doesn't look tough doing! Check out this delicate flower:

No, I would not say that to her face. Sure, she still looks fabulous, but slightly less cool than she usually does. Embrace her flaws!

Also, I found my kid's toothbrush while doing a walk-out push-up. Who knew it was under the entertainment center? And, in what I can only assume is some kind of karmic payout for working out, my child took a 2-and-a-half-hour nap today. THE GREATEST REWARD.

Lows: Did I mention there's a plankjack?

Diary of a Hate-Shred: 30 Days with Jillian Michaels

Day 1: Should my toes be numb?

  • Start Date: Jan. 7, 2014
  • Age: 34 (Mom of 1)
  • Body Goal: Nothing specific, really, besides feeling stronger. I have a 3rd-floor walk-up and a late-walking toddler.
  • Emotional Goal: Recapture that sense of camaraderie and discipline I had when playing team sports as a young woman by recreating my favorite parts—sweating while bitching with other women about sweating.
  • Fitness personality: Manic Depressive. I'm either training for mountain climbing by running a marathon or I'm on my couch for months at a time watching every season of "Dallas" available on Netflix, WHICH IS TRAGICALLY ONLY 11 of 14.

This is not an inspirational story of change. This is not a quest for post-baby abs. This is not a journey to physical and spiritual health in the new year. If I gain any of those things, fine. But this is a bitchfest. And, its target is Jillian Michaels.  

Do not weep for her. She looks like this in cut-off sweatpants. 

Jillian Michaels, center, has arms in real life, but even if she didn't, she would kick your ass.

Jillian Michaels, center, has arms in real life, but even if she didn't, she would kick your ass.

I think we can all agree that part of what we pay trainers for is to hate on them liberally, and I just paid Jillian Michaels $9.99 on iTunes. Plus, Jillian wants me to succeed, and this will help me succeed.

I never understood why people did video work-outs in their homes. "The world is such a beautiful place! Get out there," I thought. "The living room is for watching 'Dallas'!" Then I had a kid, and in the name of actually working out instead of just planning to, I looked for a work-out I could theoretically do quickly, on a bed of Fisher Price farm animals, with a toddler hanging on my leg.

As I started this video, I admit to having some serious flashbacks to mercilessly teasing my mother as she did Charlene Prickett videos in the living room, circa 1984. I'm probably going to pay for that when my kid learns to talk. (Although, who am I kidding? My kid's gonna be buried in an iPad, not watching me work out. My mom was using the ONLY TV IN THE HOUSE. We had no choice but to stay and mock.)

Actually, that's pretty rad in retrospect. Watch out, Jillian! We also definitely owned this album:

How does that even work? Do you watch a video while listening to a record? Maybe attempting this should be my next experiment, after 30 days. Most of the work-out will be trying to find a VCR. But back to Jillian: 

First impressions: Jillian, can we not use my $9.99 and the fortune you've made berating reality-show contestants to license some music? The Casio keyboard you've got running on Demo under one of those yoga balls in the corner is not cutting it. 

Also, I swear this is Charlene's studio. What did you DO with her, Jillian?! She's in the lockers behind Anita and Natalie, isn't she? Isn't she?!!

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 3.47.19 PM.png


Body: My toes are numb. Should my toes be numb? Something about jumping jacks is cutting off circulation to my toes. HASHTAG OLD. My hip is clicking. I'm gonna blame that on the kid.

Equipment: I have no weights. I used to go to the gym to find those. I'm using these because they were nearby when I started this video. One in each hand. Like a boss.

These are heavy. For shoes. But not for weights.

These are heavy. For shoes. But not for weights.

Highs: Getting started. That good sore feeling you get from doing things instead of the sad sore feeling you get from sitting in the wrong position playing Candy Crush while streaming "The Mindy Project." 

Lows: An old friend told me, "You're gonna need to get to Level 3 to really get a work-out." This friend has not worked out with me in a while. Having to end my first day at minute 18 with a toddler straddling my stomach while I tried to do bicycle crunches.

Promises: Jillian says I'm "well on my way to beinging shredded." Uh-huh. I promise you I will bitch about it every step of the way, though maybe not a post per work-out. I encourage you to join me, both working out and bitching! If any of you decide to join me this week, I'll stay with the program for as many extra days as it takes you to finish up. Also, I will buy some proper weights. 

The idea is to entertain myself and whoever's in into staying off our asses. Help me!

"Frozen" is just Disney's "The Shining"

The movie is not about ghosts but about madness and the energies it sets loose in an isolated situation primed to magnify them.
— Roger Ebert
Arendelle and the Overlook Hotel

Arendelle and the Overlook Hotel

Exhibit A: Elsa and Jack

Let's talk about a movie in which the menacing main character is a danger to family members, whose volatility increases after a long isolation inside a giant, ornate, high-ceilinged building in a cold, desolate landscape. Perhaps the acquisition of a brand new leadership position set off an unraveling this character cannot control.

All work and no play makes Elsa a dull girl.

All work and no play makes Elsa a dull girl.

Exhibit B: Anna and Danny

An innocent protagonist, touched by the supernatural, is locked out of a forbidden room inside a giant, ornate, high-ceilinged building in a cold, desolate landscape, and forced to play childlike games alone in its incongruously cavernous hallways.



Exhibit C: Olaf and Wendy

Hm, a somewhat goofy supporting character who knows our principal characters better than anyone and will sacrifice anything to protect our innocent protagonist from danger.

"Some people are worth melting for."

"Some people are worth melting for."

Exhibit D: Anna and Danny's injuries

As we are introduced to Jack Torrance and his family in "The Shining," the aspiring writer is preparing to take a job as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. But before he arrives at the hotel, we are given a foreboding glimpse into Jack's character and past by his wife Wendy, who divulges the story of their son Danny's dislocated shoulder. The incident caused Jack to give up drinking, according to Wendy.

"Well, it's just one of those things. You know...purely an accident, um. My husband had oh...been drinking and he came home about three hours late, so he wasn't exactly in the greatest mood that night. And, well Danny had scattered some of his school papers all over the room...and my husband grabbed his arm, you know, and pulled him away from them. It's...it's just the sort of thing you do a hundred times with a child—you know, in the park or on the street—but on this particular occasion, my husband just...used too much strength and he injured Danny's arm."

As we are introduced to Elsa and her family in "Frozen," we learn that as children, Elsa injured her sister Anna with a frozen shot to the head, which forced Elsa to give up her cryokinetic magic powers.

"Well, it's just one of those things. You know...purely an accident."

"Well, it's just one of those things. You know...purely an accident."

Exhibit E : Kristoff & Sven/Hallorann & Snowcat

Oh, sure, you say, but what of Kristoff and Sven? Surely the similarities end here. Kristoff is a snowsuit-clad rescuer whose family experience with the supernatural (the trolls) gives him a special bond with Anna (once healed by the trolls). His years of experience in the snow allow him to bring Sven to whisk Olaf and Anna away from danger.

And, Overlook chef Dick Hallorann is but a snowsuit-clad rescuer whose family experience with the supernatural (the clairvoyant "Shining") gives him a special bond with Danny (also has the "Shining"). His years of experience in the snow allow him to bring a Snowcat to attempt to whisk Wendy and Danny to safety.

Imagine Elsa hitting Kristoff in the chest with a fire ax as he enters her fancy ice palace, and we have a match! But who can imagine Elsa so scary? She doesn't mean to hurt anyone. Right?

"No escape from the storm inside of me!"

"No escape from the storm inside of me!"

"Light, of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya...I'm just going to bash your brains in.  I'm gonna bash 'em right the fuck in."

"Light, of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya...I'm just going to bash your brains in. I'm gonna bash 'em right the fuck in."

For those who are really familiar with both "Frozen" and "The Shining," I will note the parallels between Elsa's sanctuary—her ice palace on the North Mountain—and Jack's, the Gold Ballroom, whose walls and bar back are covered in iridescent, mirrored tile of some sort. Icy, one might call it. If only Elsa had had a bartender as good as Lloyd.

Exhibit F: Hans and Grady

This one's a little more figurative, so stick with me. Delbert Grady is the seemingly refined but evil, murderous caretaker of The Overlook who came before Jack Torrance. He killed his wife and two daughters. Hans is the seemingly refined but evil caretaker of Arendelle after Elsa runs away to the North Mountain. He is intent on killing his fiancé and her sister.

" I feel you will have to deal with this matter in the harshest possible way."

"I feel you will have to deal with this matter in the harshest possible way."

In "The Shining," Grady is pretty clearly a symbol of Jack's struggle with himself during his descent into madness. Their conversation in the bathroom of the Gold Ballroom pushes Jack to acknowledge and embrace his inner psychopath. And, when Jack has been locked away in the pantry by Wendy, it is the specter of Grady who pays him a visit before the culminating scene in which he chases Danny and Wendy.

In Hans' final confrontation with Elsa he adopts the brutal tone of Grady in forcing Elsa to reckon with the real damage of which she's capable.

Hans: You can't run from this!
Elsa: Just take care of my sister...
Hans: Your sister? She returned from the mountain weak and cold. She said you froze her heart. I tried to save her, but it was too late. Her skin was ice. Her hair turned white...Your sister is dead... because of you.

It is also Hans who visits the locked-away Elsa before the culminating scene, in which her icy power closes in on Anna and Olaf.

Exhibit G: The Escape

When Anna and Olaf realize they are stuck in the Arendelle castle as Elsa's power begins to throw icicle daggers in their way, Olaf throws open an upstairs window, and sends Anna sliding down the snow to the ground. Olaf follows.

In "The Shining," as Jack corners Danny and Wendy in an upstairs bathroom with his ax, Wendy throws open a window and sends Danny sliding down the snow to the ground. In this version, of course, Wendy cannot escape as easily as Olaf does.

You're starting to believe me, aren't you?  Credit to arendelle.weebly.com and kissthemgoodbye.net for screencaps.

You're starting to believe me, aren't you? Credit to arendelle.weebly.com and kissthemgoodbye.net for screencaps.

Exhibit H: The End

An act of love?  Credit to arendelle.weebly.com and kissthemgoodbye.net for screencaps.

An act of love? Credit to arendelle.weebly.com and kissthemgoodbye.net for screencaps.

You'll notice the characters who meet their icy demise at the ends of these movies don't match up. Because love. When Anna sacrifices herself to save Elsa—despite the fact that Elsa almost killed her twice—she is able to save them both, teaching Elsa that love can conquer a cold death and help her control her dangerous wintery outbursts.

I mean, it's not "The Shining," y'all. It's Disney's "The Shining." So, Kristoff doesn't get an ax plunged into his chest, Olaf doesn't have to face "Heeeeere's Johnny!" and Anna and Elsa and Olaf and everyone can live happily ever after.

Maybe if Danny had taken one for the team, "The Shining" could have ended a lot more happily. But that's not gonna bring Scatman Crothers back, now is it?

I rest my case. And, now I can take my rightful place among the crazy people in the documentary "Room 237," which chronicles wacky theories about "The Shining." My theory is of course that Stanley Kubrick, in his genius, was predicting with eerie accuracy the highest-grossing animated film of all time, 33 years before its release.

17 Rad Outfits from Classic '80s Movies You'd Totally Wear Tomorrow. Don't Lie.

License To Drive

A young, disgruntled Heather Graham enters a typical '80s high-school party fed up with her older suitor's condescension and ready to be ogled by some Coreys of her own age, whom she will rope into her transparent plot device, I mean, the machinations of young love.

A young, disgruntled Heather Graham enters a typical '80s high-school party fed up with her older, Italian suitor's condescension and ready to be ogled by some Coreys of her own age, whom she will rope into her transparent plot device, I mean, the machinations of young love.

In this spandex, black-and-white, polka dot number, you too will be attracting the admiring gazes of multiple teen idols, but only if properly accessorized. Not only does sweet Mercedes (you see what they did there?) wear a polka dot bangle, but her meticulously embiggened hair sports a charming, chunky clip of black and white oversized buttons (not pictured). Take that, Paolo. License to drive me crazy!

The top, the jacket! She must be an agrarian, 'cause she got crops, y'all! The booties speak for themselves.


You could not ask to look sharper than this while your Formica countertop is channeling the occult, could you? I barely noticed the foreshadowing in the foreground because Sigourney is rockin' this comfy yet chic belted career dress and lilac striped scarf that transitions seamlessly from day to night hauntings with just a change of heels!

Sigourney is always what's hot, though she might have guessed there was a catch to this rental when the realtor showed her this comically large Manhattan kitchen.

Obvi. Created by legendary costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge, who won an Oscar for the Redford/Farrow "Great Gatsby," this tangerine and gold lame gown is the perfect look for those nights when you're possessed by a demon in front of a new love interest and want to look sexy but also need the freedom to levitate, bark, and writhe as needed.

Can we get another angle on that? Perfect. I love the way it falls. Zuulicious!

National Lampoon's Vacation

Ellen and Audrey Griswold , the cutest accessories to kidnapping and false imprisonment evah. White slacks and breezy button-up? Would wear. Rainbow striped blouse and pink shorts? So there.

Can't Buy Me Love

Yes, the iconic "Can't Buy Me Love" outfit is the doomed white suede, shoulder-padded suit with practical fringe bikini top, but if I know my audience, you're into deeper cuts. The establishing shot of this entire movie features these boots. You're welcome. Suck it, Cindy Mancini.

All of this. If you lament that there are fewer occasions for public leotard wearing now than in the '80s, I empathize. But it's not the times that are to blame. It is us. Occasions for public leotard wearing don't just make themselves, ladies.

"Ohai, guys. It's me, Shindy. No, Cindy. Cindy Manshini. MANCINI. I've had a lertle bit to drink. This suit is actually not that cool, but good ol' Shindy wants to take a moment to tell all of youuuuu you can't keep HER down! Did I wear my mom's white, suede suit to a high-school party and ruin it, precipitating my fake, disturbingly transactional relationship with Ronald Lawnmower? Yes, and I bet you didn't think I could pull off that sentence, but I diiiiiid. But is any of that gonna keep me from wearing anotherrrr white suit to anotherrrr high-school party? Nosirreee! Because when I drunkenly denounce erryone in a 3rd Act blow-up, I likes to look fab. Hiccup."

Formal wear. I would wear the hell out of that dress.

Major League

Major 1.png.jpg

Rene, you are looking how I feel about your wardrobe in this movie. I suppose you are meant to be the classy, somewhat demure foil to our ball club of charming misfits. They can't have you prancing around in the sartorial equivalent of Wild Thing's fade, but this is the only thing that even came close to making this list. Yawn. The movie's villain, on the other hand:

Gurl. Say I were stuck between '80s Wesley Snipes and Charlie Sheen in a locker room, scheming to rip Cleveland's sports spirit out of its chest and move it to Miami. If I were an eerily prescient, super-hot metaphor for LeBron James, I'd definitely want to be wearing this. Looks good coming and going.


Again, let's dispense with the icons and move on. Obviously, we all should be wearing this, and probably have been since we took safety scissors to our Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts in 1st grade. And, we've already been over the need for more leotard activism.

Flashdance 2.png

This is the outfit everyone remembers, but does anyone remember what she was wearing before she alluringly disrobed in front of a rabbit-eared Zenith? You should.

The skirt is leather or leather-like, depending on a welder's salary circa 1984. The jacket:

Yep, I'd be smiling, too.

Down and Out in Beverly Hills

The Divine Ms. Jumpsuit, belted with platinum-dipped wings taken from the god Mercury himself.

The Breakfast Club

Solid, Molly. By the way, in perusing the '80s canon, I've discovered that Ally Sheedy is the Brat Pack icon most likely to be styled like Mrs. Doubtfire meets Delta Burke. "St. Elmo's Fire," "The Breakfast Club," and even her star turn in "Short Circuit," all marred by an endless parade of caftans, bulky sweaters, and twee lace details. She deserved better.

I mean, really:

St. Elmo's Fire

St. Elmo's Fire 1a.png.jpg

The director made a serious mistake in assuming we could pay attention to this dramatic break-up scene when Demi Moore is wearing that dress that is everything right behind them. It's a euphoric, pre-crash, coke habit in dress form.

EVERYTHING, I tell you.

And, one for the men

BEHOLD, everything Rob Lowe wore in "St. Elmo's Fire." That's all you need, guys.

And, that concludes this journey into the past. Dare to use these as your inspiration and go...back to the future. Crap, I forgot to do that movie. Leave your favorites and suggestions in the comments. Do I have comments? I think I do. Who knows? This blog is new. Anyway, holla!

Butch to the Rescue

I've known Joseph Campbell since elementary school, and as I remember it, he's been over 6 ft. tall the whole time and built like The Bus. We used to hang around together in the after-school program, playing that stupid pencil break game (he was unbeatable) or thumps (I'm pretty sure he was too nice to use his full strength on any of us).

When we got to middle school, our social worlds grew apart, as they do. I was a buck-toothed, 55-lb band nerd and he was, well, substantially cooler. One day of 6th grade, still pretty unsure in my new, tougher school, I headed to lunch. Clarinet case in hand, I wore the uniform of an early-90s tween—neon biking shorts loose on my spindly legs and an oversized Gap turtleneck cinched at the hip in one of those clips. I'm sure I had a side ponytail, just to heighten my coming embarrassment, but I don't actually remember.

All of 6th grade was hurtling down the central stairway to the cafeteria when I lost my footing, skidded down half a flight of stairs on my shins and knees, and came to a stop on the landing, my ankle folded underneath me. As I thumped down, so did my clarinet case, bursting open and spewing the instrument's pieces skyward. I watched them rise above my head, a bright symphonic symbol of my low social status. A giant, neon Vegas arrow flashing "NERD" above me would not have been more clear than the mouthpiece and array of reeds of varying strengths now crashing to the floor around me.

And, then came the pointing and laughing. Sixth graders are not known for their subtlety, and I found myself smack in the middle of two flights of stairs, surrounded above and below with literal pointing and laughing. I determined quick escape was the best solution, scrambling on my knees to gather my clarinet, shove the pieces back in the case, and retreat...somewhere. The plan didn't really go beyond "GET OUT OF HERE."

But then I tried to stand. My ankle gave, and I fell again. I know! I know! Sometimes I wonder if I should leave out this part of the story because it's so truly pitiful. But I fell again. More pointing and laughing, with the cartoonish cruelty of the anonymously evil opposing teams of the Mighty Ducks trilogy.

I was trapped, no possible escape or redemption. Until. My old friend Joseph, who had since earned the nickname "Butch" for obvious reasons, parted the stream of guffawing classmates. Towering over all of us, he came down the stairs, easily picked me up in both arms, and carried me back up the stairs and all the way down two corridors to the office so I could call my dad. I remember a sort of sheepish silence as we went up the stairs.

He didn't have to do that. He could have left his old, nerdy friend sitting at the bottom of the stairs. It would have been safer and easier for him to join in with the others or politely ignore me. Frankly, in the cutthroat world of middle-school social survival, I would have understood and I would have survived. But wow, I was so lucky he was a bigger man than that, both inside and out. And, I don't think I've said thank you since that day.

So, thanks, Butch! Happy birthday! I hope I'm not embarrassing you by telling our middle-school business. Now, Joseph is raising a beautiful family of his own, and I'm glad there are three little Campbells running around Durham doing what's right. Their actions won't be forgotten, either.

"Reality Bites" Revisited

Let me tell you a tale of 1994, as seen through the lens of "Reality Bites," as seen from way on the other side of angsty adolescence. First, you could smoke, inside, everywhere. In restaurants, in editing bays at TV shows, in hospitals! Depression has been upgraded by technology. Back then, when you had lost your job and were lying on the couch, you had to watch whatever happened to be on your standard-definition TV and rack up bills on a land line phone. Ethan Hawke (seriously, I'm not going to use their character names, which none of us know) is a whiny, whiny baby, and not nearly as attractive as I remember him, thereby rendering Winona Ryder's attraction to him even less advisable. If I imagine he's as hot as I used to think he was, he is still a giant mistake, but the kind of mistake it's okay to make when you're 22. 

I know I'm supposed to think Ben Stiller is douchey but he's clearly sweet and doing his best by Winona, and is not intimidated by the prospect of her success, unlike some greasy-haired guy I know. Speaking of which, Winona is awfully high on herself and her Camcording skills to turn her nose up at an offer from Michael's TV network for her documentary. Doesn't she know there were only, like, nine channels back then? Not a lot of opportunities for distribution, hon. After the network ruined her artistic vision— where was she during the editing process, by the way?— she could have stuck with the project and probably could have massaged it into something she'd have liked. Ahh, well, she'll figure it out later when she's done making mistakes like Ethan. 

 This is Ethan's declaration of, what, exactly? I don't know. "You can't navigate me. I may do mean things, and I may hurt you, and I may run away without your permission, and you may hate me forever, and I know that scares the living shit outta you 'cause you know I'm the only real thing you got." Run away, gurl, he's not even close to hot enough for that mess.

With the glaring exception of the apparently unprotected sex with multiple partners, Janeane Garofalo has a decent head on her shoulders what with the holding down a job, getting promoted, and telling other people to stop acting like losers. Steve Zahn, I'm sorry but you have been brought into this script solely to fill out the sacred '90s trifecta of grungy sex symbol guy, AIDS scare, and coming-out story. Sadly, this movie doesn't give you enough. I want to know what happened with your parents! But happily, the movie is self-aware enough to make jokes about its attainment of the '90s-drama sacraments.

Janeane: "Every time I sneeze, it's like I'm four sneezes away from the hospice, and it's like it's not even happening to me. It's like I'm watching it on some crappy show like "Melrose Place" or some shit, right? And I'm the new character, I'm the HIV-AIDS character, and I live in the building and I teach everybody that it's OK to be near me, it's OK to talk to me, and then I die. And there's everybody at my funeral wearing halter tops or chokers or some shit like that." 

I also wish there were more of Janeane and Winona together in this movie. Their moments—dancing in the gas station, fighting over The Gap, and making up at a diner—ring truer than most of the it. Also, their clothes are surprisingly unhideous and could be easily repurposed into hipster cuteness today. And, despite their counterculture cred, you kinda believe Winona's telling the truth when she says, "'Melrose Place' is a really good show." I can respect that.

Surprise cameos: Whole Foods, of which we knew nothing in 1994, but is referenced because the movie's set in Texas, Andy Dick seemingly sober, and David Spade playing the same character he always plays. Fun facts: Winona owes $400 to a psychic line, which would be $700 in 2013 dollars, and charges $900 to her dad's gas card, which would be $1,400 in 2013 dollars. In the end, color me surprised that I did not end up hating all these characters, and even saw the possibility of them living relatively satisfying lives. I still enjoy the soundtrack more than the movie itself (and even more now that I don't have to wrestle that effing impossible transparent tape strip of a chastity belt off a jewel case to get to it). But hold on just a second…I don't think "Stay" even plays during this movie!