Foreword: The Long John Review was born from a bad habit, two friends, and a boring film. During the lull between 2015 to 2016, it was time for my yearly visit to Pin Mill. Two of my best pals live on a houseboat there, and it is the most idyllic, picturesque and chocolate-boxy place in the world. It was near 11pm on this visit that a film was suggested. No one particularly wanted to go to bed, as the evening had promised rum hot chocolate, sofa snÜgaling and brill times. However, as the film started up (it was the Thomas Crown Affair), something rather familiar started to happen…I FELL ASLEEP.
For some reason, I have a bad reputation in regards to falling asleep during films, programmes (favourites to fall asleep to: Hustle, Storage Hunters UK, Girls) and Ashens playlists. I have no idea how I earned this reputation LOL JK! It’s because I love to roll over and mumble “I’m listening, I’m listening” but actually I’m snoozing off to snooze land and need someone to take my glasses off before I crush them.
HOWEVER! It was from this bad habit that the Long John Review was born! So I bring to you, dear reader (that at this moment does not exist) a relatively (hopefully) regular feature of My New Blog™. The long and short of it is ‘how easy is this film to sleep to?’ – the question that nobody asked and nobody wanted to know the answer to. So without further ado, here is my first Long John Review…
DARBY FOREVER (2016)
I’m not sure how I came to see the trailer for Darby Forever, but I remember thinking ‘omg the colours’ and recognising the heroine as the lovely girl who hired Shoshanna to do marketing in Japan at the end of Girls season 4. Available to stream through Vimeo (FOR 99p!!), it’s a treat for your eyes and little heart.
With a run-time of 18 minutes, it’s a lovely little amount of pink, grey and sparkly. You could watch it whilst something is baking, or you’re in the bath, or if you’re waiting for someone to pick you up.
Darby Forever plays through a working week, the jolly old Monday through to Friday. A shy girl who works in a haberdashery (so full to the brim and spilling over with little bits and pieces that I want to scrabble under my bed for little bits and pieces and make, make, make!!!!) eats her illegal sandwich amongst rolls of fabric the way that Cady Harran eats her lunch in a toilet cubical on the first gruelling day of high school. She’ll find time to adorn ephemera with thread and glitter and buttons, but she’ll be in the grey staff room wearing her grey apron and eating her grey food possibly forever.
It’s only when Super Sexy and BAdAss Natasha Lyonne makes an appearance with her equally Super Sexy and BAdAss Band Mates (let’s call them SSBABM) appear that Darby seems to come into her own – kind of.
As the SSBABM strut about and look for fabric, a dialogue is heard “…Stevie Nicks, Gary Glitter, not pedophiles…witches going into battle, switch blade witches” – the kind of look that these SSBABM are looking for – “it’s black and that good for us”.
Poor old Darby tries to play it cool, but ends up feeling a bit silly. Can you blame her? It’s easy to be tongue-tied around Natasha Lyonne (I imagine), especially if she has two SSBABM with her. So she goes back to her grey lunchroom and pops something grey to eat in the microwave and allows herself to daydream whilst the timer is counting down.
Oh Captain my Captain! What’s this? Darby is RAD and ROCKIN’ out a HARD ONE. Suddenly the scene is full of pink neon and riot grrrl, and Katy Goodman (of La Sera and Vivian Girls) and Ali Koehler (of Best Coast, Vivian Girls and Upset) and it only lasts all of about 30 seconds but those 30 seconds are GREAT. I want to be in these 30 seconds with a little leather skirt on although we all KNOW that a little leather skirt would clash with my granny attire.
Darby in these small seconds is now in a band – Darby and the Bad Girls. “Black boots, cigarettes, lip stick and fishnets // I’m a b-” EEP BEEP BEEP goes the microwave, ending her brill fantasies for today.
It’s Tuesday, and in comes her love interest. Not to give too much away, but he seems like a lovable boy who refills the water in the water dispenser – I believe it’s known as a ‘water cooler’ in America. PLOT TWIST: he IS a lovable boy who refills the water in the water dispenser, but he also loves baseball.
Darby (knowing this – clever, clever Darby) has rather thoughtfully and beautifully put together a display of fabric, patches, sequins, pompoms and other haberdashery materials.
So many questions are born from this small scene. Are they going to kiss? Are they going to play baseball? How do they get through so much water? Darby? Are you listening? Darby?
It’s Wednesday, and after spending some time jazzing up her work uniform, Darby is faced with two customers. A mother and a daughter seek fabric in order to create a carrot costume. After attempting to riff with the daughter of the pair and being denied that privilege (“I’m not that young”) we’re treated to a pastel and perfect-mother meeting in a garden of flowery splendour. When Darby attempts her carrot-based joke the second time around, she is praised with tinkly laughter. Everything is great in this Mother Garden. Some subtle bragging ensues about Gardina Rose, the fictional daughter O’ Darby. This then triggers a song sequence in which she boasts “I made you by making love with your father” and it’s brilliant. It’s probably the best bit. I’ve included an extra screen grab of the scene because it’s so lovely. Here it is below.
Suddenly, the garden and the daughter that the Imagination Of Darby™ worked so hard to achieve is snatched from her, leaving her in a mushroom-coloured room in which she blends so well into. Everyone looks washed out compared to the haven they were just seen in and you can almost hear the florescent bulbs buzzing above her. Goodbye Wednesday.
When Thursday comes around, it becomes apparent why the Water Cooler Love Affair™ has to come around so many times a week – I won’t give anything away though. You’ll have to watch it to discover the #mystery.
It’s Friday, and Water Cooler Love Affair™ is here to replace water and to notice the hand-stitched additions on Darbys uniform. Can she manage to be witty and pretty and lovely this time? Of course she can – she’s daydreaming about baseball that entails no running, everything is pink and cute (of course) and her baseball coach is a DOG.
At the end of this fantasy, she’s hit in the face with the shop keys and her manager (played by Retta, no less) is trusting her to do things. Plus she oversees Water Cooler Love Affair™ not being very good at his job and in that second she knows that she could have it all. What a lovely ending, truly.
But how sleep-able is it?
Darby Forever, being 18 minutes long, is impossible to sleep to!
I would give it 1/10 for the easiness of sleep-able-ness!
I was very excited to watch it, therefor I couldn’t sleep to it!
If you’re looking for a film to sleep to, do NOT watch Darby Forever.
However, if you’re looking for a short film about a nice girl who is brilliant at day-dreaming, I thoroughly recommend it.