Mystery!: Eric Reads the Week, #46

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

I saw the movie about the mustache that solves crimes this weekend. It was very exciting! I'm very interested in the facial hair detective genre.

Murder on the Orient Express is just so much. Look at Kenneth Branagh's face, y'all. What am I supposed to do with all of this? In one scene, he's awoken in his sleeping car and he's wearing a mustache holder. It's like a do-rag meets Hannibal Lecter's mask. I screamed! And the movie filmed in 65 mm which is also known as Ultra Panavision, a really wide aspect ratio that gives you stunning vistas with incredibly rich detail or, in the case of Murder on the Orient Express, a mile of mustache. I spent half the movie inspecting Kenneth Branagh's face wig glue like I was judging a drag show. It was everything I want in a movie experience.

I went to one of those movie theaters where they also serve you dinner. I don't know why I did this. It was extremely confusing. First of all, you have to choose a seat--which, I guess I like because I am too old to pretend I'm going to show up on time to things so I'd rather just purchase my space and go on with the rest of my tardy life. But, I went alone so I had to make sure I was purchasing a single reclining chair (also, all the chairs are overstuffed reclining chairs--is this a movie or a transcontinental flight? I'm concerned). Most of the chairs were doubles with no arm rest between them. Great for cuddling, I guess, but who wants to cuddle when there is a mustache interviewing suspects on screen? There has been a mysterious death! Keep your hands to yourself!

I found a single seat but when I got there I still felt too close to the people next to me. Turns out, when you add reclining chairs and a little tray on which you can eat chicken and waffles, the experience becomes very intimate. I don't want to hear the couple next to me chit-chatting whilst masticating! I'm trying to focus on the mustache!

They give you a menu! The server gives you a long spiel about how things work (just in case you've never been to a movie theater or a restaurant or anywhere in public before.) The server has a receipt printer hidden behind their cumberbun! That was the most exciting part to me. I like magic, especially when there is a small mechanical sound accompanying the magic. It was like my server was a robot who was gifted in slight-of-hand.

All of this happened before the movie even started. I was overwhelmed. I really considered just leaving. Dinner and a magic show is a complete experience for me. Let the mustache solve crimes on its own.

The movie was fine, I guess. (Who can compete with the Be Our Guest movie theater?!) I'd never seen the original or read the Agatha Christie book so I was ready to be surprised. For the first third I tried to pay very close attention so that I could try to solve the mystery. Then I remembered that I have a full beard, not a mustache, and as a result solving mysteries is not one of my spiritual gifts. I love mysteries and I never have the wherewithal to figure them out. I don't even try anymore. I've been working on a comedic YA novel about two black teenagers who stumble into a political mystery and even I don't know what happens! My plan is to finish most of the draft and them give it to a friend who has a mustache so they can tell me whodunit.

All I know is that it has to have that ridiculous scene at the end where the mustache gathers all the suspects in a room and tells them which one of their creepy asses is a killer. We've talked about this before. I live for that scene. It's so insane. In Mustache on the Orient Express, that scene takes place in a train tunnel! Outside! The whole cast is seated at a big long table like it's the Last Supper. Michelle Pfeiffer is in the middle Jesus position because, obviously. They're all not wearing enough layers. I got very concerned for everyone's health while the mustache gave a fiery St. Crispin's Day speech. I had to recline my chair from the anxiety. I called the server to bring me a Xanax.

In the book, from what I can tell, everything happens on the train. It's in the title, so... But when you make a movie, I guess you have to give the viewer different things to look at. I don't see why this means dragging Dame Judi Dench out into a train tunnel, but I guess that's a mystery for another mustache.

This week's columns were full of mysteries! Why is Keith Urban singing a tepid faux-minism anthem? Why hasn't the Black Panther movie come out and taken all of my money yet? Why is Lisa Bonet walking around with a donkey? But perhaps the most important mystery of all: why hasn't Julie Andrews been cast as Frank Underwood yet?!

A Petition for House of Cards to Recast the Role of Frank Underwood With Julie Andrews

True, Julie Andrews has played some of the most beloved characters every seen on stage or screen, so putting her in a villainous role would be a surprise. But she's British; she can do anything. Literally anything. If you asked Julie Andrews and Idris Elba to perform every role in Legally Blonde, they'd be off-book and perfect by tomorrow. Julie Andrews must be cast as Frank Underwood. If it doesn't happen we should march on Washington (and by Washington, I mean downtown Baltimore where House of Cards is filmed). Admit it, don't you absolutely want Julie Andrews to peer directly into the camera and purr menacingly at you? [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Every Black Panther Character Poster Is The Best Thing I Have Ever Seen

Marvel released a line of character posters for much of the cast of their upcoming film Black Panther, also known as "The Best Film You Have Ever Seen." Every single poster is better than the last and I am currently in the process of getting them all tattooed on my body. Let's take a look! [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

11 Female Stand-Ups To Stream Right Now

It might seem, to a myopic viewer, that the options for a getting a good laugh with a clear conscience have become increasingly limited. But good news! There are literally hundreds of other people who are professionally funny, many of them women. It's time to find new favorites; it's time to recognize (and fund) the talent of women who have the chops. We don't have to accept bad behavior just to get good art. [READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

Why Did This Happen? Keith Urban Has a "Weinstein-Inspired" Song


Keith Urban just debuted a new song inspired by the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and I have literally never heard a worse idea in my entire life. How does that sentence even exist? Why are those words together? Why would you put those words together when you could just not? This is the musical equivalent of a guy wearing a shirt that says "Male feminist." Like, why and also stop. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

The 2018 Met Gala is Catholic-Themed Because Everyone Loves The Young Pope

Bless me father, for this feels sin-adjacent. Catholicism is a really having a moment. Or, like, a millennium. Everything old is new again. Forget dadbods and boyfriend shirts; this year everyone is a Holy Father. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Maybe Don't Go On the Internet Today or Even This Week

Facebook Memories? Forget 'em. TimeHop app? Hop-fully not. Sure, avoiding the internet this week probably won't prevent you from remembering all the things that happened on November 8, 2016 and thereafter, but how can you know for sure unless you try it? That's just science.

The saying goes "Those who forget the past are doomed to relive it." But no one has actually proven that, have they? I mean, how would they know? If you've forgotten the past then how do you know if you're reliving it? You're just walking around like, "What a fascinating, totally new experience I am having right now that has never occurred in the past. I will definitely do my best to forget this but who can say?!" [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Lisa Bonet Took the World's Luckiest Donkey for a Walk

I am pleased to announce that the erstwhile Denise Huxtable and the forever "Best Celebrity Friend You've Never Met," Lisa Bonet, spent the day walking a donkey. Please hold your questions until the end. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

The President's Bodyguard Used to Regularly Fetch Him McDonald's and It's All I Can Think About

Politico writes that on occasions when the White House "couldn’t match the satisfaction" of fast food, the bodyguard was dispatched to the streets. I'm screaming. Imagine training as a chef all your life, getting a job in the kitchen of the White House, having access to Michelle Obama's garden and having some dude send his plate back because it doesn't taste enough like a centimeter-tall burger that is prepared in the time it takes a person to drive their car from window one to window two. I would eat my hat. I really would. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

You Won't Believe This But Diddy Changed His Name Again

The artist who changes his name more times than most people change their hairstyle is back at it again. Diddy, also known as P. Diddy, also known as Puff Daddy, also known as Sean Puffy Combs can't come to the phone right now. Why? Because he's Brother Love now. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Random Thing from the Internet...

The mustache mystery movie also features Daisy Ridley who I keep confusing for Keira Knightley. I would pay good money to see the two of them play siblings to solve mysteries through crisp annunciation. Also featured in small role is Sergei Pollunin, an absolutely stunning ballet dancer. He has this tattoo which raises like a bazillion questions for me.

Did he get in a dance off with a tiger?!

He also has this tattoo, which indicates to me that maybe I shouldn't ask questions about his tattoos.

Anyway, he doesn't dance in Mustache Uses the Power of Deduction on a Train, unfortunately, but you can revisit his fantastic dance to Hozier's "Take Me To Church" here.

Hair today, gone tomorrow,