Tag Archives: weird

Nine Perfect Strangers Is a Wild Ride – Here’s What to Know Before Hulu’s Adaptation

By | May 6, 2021

When Liane Moriarty writes a book, I’m the first in line to buy it. As the author of the wildly successful Big Little Liesas well as a few of my other favorites like The Hypnotist’s Love Story and What Alice Forgot – Moriarty is a master of delightfully relatable characters and page-turning suspense. That’s why I’m so excited that her latest novel, Nine Perfect Strangers, is being adapted as a Hulu miniseries by David E. Kelly and Nicole Kidman. This novel is about a very unique health resort, led by Masha (played by Kidman) and featuring nine unsuspecting guests. The movie also stars Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Bobby Cannavale, Regina Hall, and Samara Weaving.

If you are as excited as I am about this gripping new release, then take some time to read (or re-read) Nine Perfect Strangers. Although the adaption may be different from the upcoming miniseries, there could still be similar plot points. Here’s a refresher of what happens in the book, below!

Meet the Characters

Nine Perfect Strangers starts from Yao’s perspective. He is a trainee paramedic, treating an overweight corporate bigwig named Masha, who went through cardiac arrest and had to be rushed to the hospital. Fast-forward ten years later, and we’re introduced to 52-year-old Frances Welty, a former bestselling romance novelist who is suffering from back pain, a terrible cold, and depression after finding out she was just conned from her fake internet boyfriend named Paul. She’s on her way to a relaxing retreat at the “boutique health and wellness resort” called Tranquillum House. Frances signed up for the Ten-Day Mind and Body Total Transformation Retreat along with eight other guests.

Lars Lee is a 40-year-old divorce attorney and health retreat junkie who regularly attends these as part of a wellness routine. Ben and Jessica Chandler are a young couple who are always fighting and decided to go to the retreat to fix their marriage. Ben is obsessed with sports cars and Jessica is obsessed with her looks, and both of them have a hard time understanding each other after winning the lottery. Napoleon Marconi, his wife, Heather, and their daughter, Zoe, are a tall, beautiful family who are at the resort together to get through the anniversary of when Zoe’s twin brother, Zach, died by suicide. Carmel Schneider is a 39-year-old divorced mother of young children with low self-esteem due to sharing her kids with her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Tony Hogburn is a grumpy 56-year-old divorced man who doesn’t talk to his kids much and is here for weight loss.

Also at the retreat is the therapist, Jan, the wellness consultants, Yao and Delilah, and the director, Marsha Dmitrichenko, who is now fit, healthy, and believes herself to have died and been born again after her cardiac arrest. She loves running the health retreat, but hates that clients keep coming back. She is deciding to try something new with this group, to help them find the healthy path forward with a new protocol.

About the Retreat

From the very beginning, Tranquillum House seems a little weird to Frances. Her bags have been searched, with all her emergency wine and chocolate confiscated. She had blood taken as part of a comprehensive medical exam, and she is a little fearful about the upcoming five days of “noble silence” that all the guests must partake in to clear their thoughts. The guests all meet each other and Masha at their guided meditation, which is in a room with no windows or natural light that Frances describes to herself as a “dungeon on an isolated property with a group of strangers, at least one of whom was a serial killer.” Although the last bit was definitely an exaggeration (the man was gruff and offered to help her in the midst of one of her hot flashes), it is a bit creepy. Masha lets the guests know that they will be different people when they leave, with unexpected changes and surprises along the way.

At mealtimes, each guest receives a different meal tailored to them, along with smoothies delivered to them throughout the day. The first night, the guests are woken up in the middle of the night for a starlight mediation, followed by a dawn tai chi class, walking meditations, exercise, remedial massage, more guided mediations, yoga, and free time. When the staff meet to discuss the next steps, Yao is willing to do anything Masha wants because he’s secretly in love with her, whereas Delilah is a little more worried about it.

Things Get Weird(er)

When the silence ends on the fifth day, the guests finally introduce themselves. They recognize Tony as a former athlete, and Zoe reveals that her brother hanged himself. Then, Heather realizes something is not quite right and asks Masha if she’s been medicating them. Masha admits that she’s been “microdosing” her guests with a tenth of a normal dose of LSD in order to heighten their creativity, focus, and spiritual awareness and lower their inhibitions. But the last smoothie she gave the guests had both a dosage of LSD and a liquid form of psilocybin, known as “magic mushrooms,” and she gave Ben and Jessica ecstasy. The guests are about to embark on the next stage of the experience, which they’ve never done before, called psychedelic therapy.

Everyone’s thoughts are getting jumbled and confused, and the wellness consultants are directing the guests to lie down and put on headphones with classical music. The guests seem to be having a breakthrough, with Zoe and Heather admitting that they felt responsible for Zach’s death, Ben and Jessica kissing, and Carmel starting to appreciate her own body image. But nothing is as Masha planned when things start to take a turn. Jessica reveals she’s pregnant, Napoleon is full of rage with his family’s secrets, and all the guests wake up to discover they’ve been locked in the meditation studio.

After the guests had been fasting and locked in the room for 48 hours, Delilah decides to grab her stuff and leave. She feels weird about drugging the guests and knows that any “breakthroughs” are manufactured and not real, so she takes Ben’s Lamborghini and escapes. Meanwhile, Masha and Yao are getting increasingly frustrated that the guests are not having a transformative experience like they themselves did when they tested this therapy. They also haven’t solved the puzzle that will allow them to escape.

When Frances thinks about looking up, they discover a hidden package in the rafters. Inside is a Russian doll, but the last doll is missing. From Masha’s office where they are watching the guests, Yao is confused why the last doll with the code isn’t there. The guests are supposed to discover it, escape, and be treated to a feast where they can all share their experiences. But instead, Masha had an epiphany and decided that she wants the guests to surrender and accept that there is no solution to their situation. She believes that terrifying them is the only way to help them, and she creates a “dark night of the soul” that they must go through in order to be reborn.

Dark Night of the Soul

The lights are suddenly turned out, and everyone gets scared when Masha greets them on a large video screen. Yao is slumped over not moving on Masha’s desk, and she tells everyone that Delilah has left – so the nine guests are alone with Masha. She tells them that they are going to play a game called Death Sentence, where they have to pretend they are sentenced to death on Death Row and they have a chance at clemency and have to argue for their lives. She then gives each guest a lawyer who will defend them to Masha.

Back in her office, Masha is reflecting on her past, and her 11-month-old baby who died many years ago in his crib and the pain it still causes her. She is hurting and not herself, since she also took LSD. She is feeling crazy and having a hard time differentiating reality from her trip with no one to watch over her, since Yao is sedated. She takes out a cigarette lighter and is playing with it while listening to the guests fighting for their lives. Right before the video screen goes black, she asks them if they can smell the smoke.

The guests start gathering towels to wet as they prepare for a fire that will soon engulf them. They are panicking as they hear the fire above them. As they huddle in the corner together, they realize something strange: the fire-cackling sounds keep repeating. It sounds like it’s just a recording – there’s no real fire after all! Frances decides to try the door again and it opens; it’s been unlocked and they are free.

Happily Ever After

There is no fire, so all nine guests simply walk out the door and up the stairs. Yao approaches them with a huge platter of fruit and lets them know they have breakfast prepared. Everyone is confused, why is he acting so normal? Then Masha appears, and Heather starts threatening her, so she attacks her with a letter opener. Napoleon leaps in front of her and Frances drops a candelabra on Masha’s head to stop her. A policeman shows up – it is Jan the therapist’s boyfriend. She called him because she had weird suspicions about Tranquillum House after the rest of the staff had been asked to leave in the middle of the retreat. More policemen show up and discover illegal drugs on the premises. An ambulance takes Masha to the hospital. Because it’s late, the guests spend another night, where they host an impromptu party for Zoe with cake and pizza and wine.

Later, Jessica discovers she isn’t pregnant, and she and Ben get an amicable divorce. Carmel realized that she doesn’t actually miss her ex-husband and does get along with his new girlfriend, who works out a co-parenting plan with her to help with the kids, offering Carmel some relief. Lars decided to go through with having a baby with his long-time partner, Ray. Frances starts writing again and decides to try out a relationship with Tony. Zoe and Heather seem more at peace, and Napoleon has been seeing a psychiatrist to help him work through his depression. After spending 14 months in prison, Yao is now happier with his own 2-year-old daughter. Masha achieved fame after writing a book about her experience and is now running tailored programs in secret. Finally, Frances and Tony get married, and Frances’s latest book is a success, giving her the happy ending she deserves.

I Can’t Stop Thinking About Timothée Chalamet Playing a Flute in This Hilarious SNL Skit

By | April 11, 2021

Saturday Night Live paid tribute to weird little flutes in a hilarious sketch, and it’s kinda a bop? During the show, Pete Davidson and Chris Redd were joined by musical guest Kid Cudi for a sketch that still has me scratching my head and laughing. As the trio talked about bringing their flutes with them everywhere they went, including at the club and the airport, it became increasingly clear that they might have an unhealthy obsession with the musical instrument. As if that skit couldn’t get any weirder, actor Timothée Chalamet made a quick cameo to play his own flute.

It may seem completely random to have Chalamet join the skit, but the actor and Cudi actually go way back. Chalamet has been huge fan of the rapper since he was a teenager, and he previously told James Corden that Cudi inspired him to be an artist. In addition to popping up at one of his shows to recite words from Cudi’s “In My Dreams (Cudder Anthem),” Chalamet was also in attendance at the rapper’s birthday party in 2019, which included Davidson, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian. See the hilarious skit above.

WandaVision’s Kick-Ass Reference Is Just a Fun Easter Egg – No Hidden Meanings Here!

By | February 14, 2021

WandaVision is packed with references to other superhero properties, but we definitely did not expect a reference to Kick-Ass to show up! The 2010 superhero movie (and superhero movie satire) is technically based on a Marvel property, but its presence in WandaVision is purely a joke about casting, not a hint about anything we should be theorizing about.

The scene is so quick, you might miss it! During a trick-or-treating sequence, Tommy is particularly delighted at his uncle Pietro’s suggestion that they go trick-or-treating together (with the implied advantage of Pietro’s super speed). “Yeah, kick-ass!” he exclaims. As they head off together, Wanda is left behind, repeating “Kick-ass…” to herself. It’s framed like a classic ’90s sitcom trope of a mother being exasperated at her kids learning more mature language, but the repetition highlights that this is no throwaway line of dialogue.

In fact, it’s a reference to the fact that playing Quicksilver isn’t the only thing that connects Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Evan Peters. Both starred in the 2010 movie version of Kick-Ass: Taylor-Johnson as wannabe vigilante Dave Lizewski (aka “Kick-Ass”) and Peters as his pal Todd. Amusingly, there’s a recast twist involving Peters in that franchise too. In Kick-Ass 2, Todd tries to become a vigilante like his friend, but he’s no longer played by Peters; at the time, CinemaBlend reported that Peters’s involvement with American Horror Story may have caused a scheduling conflict that required him to drop out of the sequel. This time, it’s Peters who is the “recast” version of an old character!

In a weird way, it’s almost nice to have an Easter egg in WandaVision that doesn’t require too much overthinking or theorizing! While most of the little hints and allusions to other superheroes have us trying to figure out what it could mean for the show and for the Marvel universe as a whole, this one is just a silly, fun casting joke!

Kate McKinnon Is Slowly Losing Her Mind Over the Weirdness of 2021 in This SNL Cold Open

By | February 1, 2021

If the transition from 2020 to 2021 taught us anything, it’s that a new calendar year doesn’t keep weird things from happening. We have QAnon-sympathizing politicians in DC, soaring GameStop “stonk” values, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers headed to the Super Bowl. Is it any surprise that Kate McKinnon is “slowly losing [her] mind” along with the rest of us?

During the Saturday Night Live cold open on Jan. 30, McKinnon asked “What still works?” in a talk show of her own devices. Spoiler: very little makes sense these days. OJ Simpson can get the vaccine before teachers and social media moguls are losing control of their own platforms. We have to laugh to keep from crying, right? Watch the cold open above to get a glimpse inside McKinnon’s mind recently. At least we know her humor still works.

JoJo Siwa Thanks Fans For Their Support After Coming Out: “I’m the Happiest I’ve Ever Been”

By | January 25, 2021

Image Source: Getty / Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

JoJo Siwa is the “happiest [she’s] ever been” as a public part of the LGBTQ+ community. On Jan. 22, the 17-year-old performer and former Dance Moms star shared a Twitter photo of herself wearing a shirt printed with “Best Gay Cousin Ever” on the front. She also joined the “Pride House” members for a TikTok video. Her posts brought in messages of support from celebrities and fans alike, as they assumed JoJo was coming out. The following day, she addressed the conversation and opened up about her sexuality during an Instagram Live with fans.

“Personally, I have never, ever, ever been this happy before, and it feels really awesome,” JoJo said. “I’ve been happy for a little bit now. It’s just so, so, so awesome.” She thanked her network for all of the love and encouragement she received after her social media posts. She continued, “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been; that’s what matters.”

During the Instagram Live, a fan asked JoJo if she subscribed to any labels. “I have thought about this, but the reason I’m not going to say this answer is because I don’t really know this answer,” she responded. “I think humans are awesome; I think humans are really incredible people. Right now, I’m super-duper happy and I want to share everything with the world, but I also want to keep things in my life private until they are ready to be public.”

She used the opportunity to support her fans of all sexual orientations, especially those who are struggling to come out. “Right now, what matters is that you guys know that no matter who you love, that it’s OK. It’s awesome, and the world is there for you. There are so many people that are there for you. I know everyone’s situation is different and it might be harder for some people and easier for some people to come out or be themselves, but I think coming out has this stigma around it – that it’s this really, really scary thing, but it’s not anymore.”

JoJo continued, “There are so many accepting and loving people out there that it’s OK. Of course people are going to say it’s not normal, but nothing is normal. Literally not one thing about anybody is normal, and it’s OK not to be normal, it’s OK to be a little different, it’s OK to be a little weird, strange, different. That’s something we should never, ever be afraid of.” Watch her full Instagram Live below.