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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

I might have been in my thirties the first time I watched this movie through in one sitting. I watched so much of it piecemeal on television growing up. I was a little afraid to watch it, honestly. The title is so ominous. But you have to remember to mentally read it in Mike Myers' voice. Then it makes sense.


It's funny, when I think about watching a Mike Myers movie, I kind of roll my eyes. He's a lot. I'm sure he's a lovely human but he has so much energy all the time I don't think I could spend time with him. And I think, "oh that movie was fine but it's not that funny." And then I watch the movie and it is. It really is deeply funny.


I find Charlie a little less sympathetic with every viewing, though. He's such a manchild, I just want to shake him. But this movie belongs to the side characters. Charlie's friends and family paint a much lovelier picture of him through reflection. And isn't that true of life? We're all kind of assholes when we're held under a microscope. But the people who know us best do the best job of making us shine. So, good job, movie. That's honestly terrific writing and acting.


I'm wild about Anthony LaPaglia. Who, despite having romantic plot lines with her in both this and Empire Records, never dated Debi Mazar. His interactions with Charles Grodin and the police captain are golden. The fun you can tell he's having playing against Mike Myers in that ridiculous get up playing his own father. I love seeing actors have fun.



The biggest kick in the gut whenever I watch this is the reminder of comedy's tremendous loss in Phil Hartman. My god, he is in this movie for all of 180 seconds, none of them relevant to anything, and he steals the movie. "Ocular cavities" is forever funny because of "Vicky." What a gift. What a loss.


We, culturally, never gave Nancy Travis enough credit. She gives a wild performance in this and it feels a little thankless. She's carrying the entire plot on her shoulders. She does the heavy lifting so Mike Myers can once again mug "HELLO!" into the camera. And she breaks my heart a little bit doing it. (Though, Ralph disappeared four months ago and she's ready to marry Charlie? Girl. Therapy. Now.) Nancy Travis is one of cultural history's unapologetic curly queens and I have a lot to thank her for, if only for that. Thank you for the courage to wear a French twist with flyaways and flats. It's not just for prom. Thank you.


Coffee & ink on paper.



Takeaways:

-This was fun. A silly idea, low stakes, glad I opted for a smaller thing. It took so much longer than anticipated simply because, it turns out, coffee is not an ideal medium. It was great as a wash and then, trying to build it up, it kept... I don't know how to describe it. It was like a water stain on silk? But I couldn't work it out like you can do on silk. In the end, it was a neat textural element and I wish I would have leaned into it a little more. I tried boiling down the coffee to make it a little easier to paint with (if it's thicker, I can always thin it! Right??) but then it was too dark but also not consistent in its coverage. Again, it made some cool "mistakes" that I really like in the finished work. I finally embraced that it wasn't going to be a fully coffee painted piece, right down to the details, and sketched in some details with a fine point felt pen.

-It's overdone but god help me I love how coffee cup stains look. I do.

-It reminds me of 1990s coffee shop art (RIP Sprizzo - I was both too cool for you and never cool enough for you) and honestly, that's the best thing I could have accomplished with art for this movie, the equivalent of a 1990s coffee shop/gallery.

-Thanks, Kwik Trip. Your coffee has never been more useable.

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