The Curator of Schlock #212 by Jeff Shuster

The Invitation

RSVP: No!

In lieu of a proper review this week, The Museum of Schlock will provide some advice on when to leave a dinner party early. Of course, your humble curator tends to get kicked out of dinner parties regularly, due to arguing over the superiority of Punky Brewster over Silver Spoons.

But who needs personal experience when you have the movies.

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2015’s The Invitation from director Karyn Kusama gives you all the experience you need to decide when to leave a dinner party.

Your Ex-wife Slaps Your Best Friend

So your name is Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and your ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard), is throwing a dinner party at her swanky place in the Hollywood Hills after you’ve been estranged for two years. Something about her resembles Morticia Addams. She keeps going on about how her pain has gone away after spending time with some cult–I mean self-help group–in Sonora, Mexico. She talks about expelling fear and anger from your body. Your goofy friend, Ben (Jay Larson), jokes that he “didn’t know pain was optional.” Eden slaps him across the face and tells him that until he takes things seriously, no one will care what he thinks. You should think about leaving.

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Pruitt

Some guy you’ve never seen before shows up. Your ex-wife’s new husband, David (Michiel Huisman), introduces him as Pruitt (John Carroll Lynch). He looks like the kind of guy that sucks all the fun out of room.

John Carroll Lynch  Best Movies and TV Shows

He’s wearing a bad tennis shirt and chooses diet soda over the hard stuff. There’s also some hippie girl named Sadie (Lindsay Burdge) who giggles a lot. You’re ex-wife and her new husband met them down in Mexico. You don’t know them and they make you uncomfortable. Remember that French loaf you left baking in the oven back in your apartment? Better get back home. You really need to consider leaving.

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Locked In

David insists on keeping the front door locked on the inside and out. Yes, David has an inside lock to which only he has key. David goes on to say how a neighbor was home invaded and that the extra lock is for your protection. You insist that he leave the key in the lock in case there’s a fire. He acquiesces, but reminds you that this is now his house. Also, cell phone service is spotty at best in this area. If there is a fire, you may not be able to call 911. Just leave.

Recruitment Video

David and Eden play a video for everyone on their laptop about their self-help community down in Sonora, Mexico. Some doctor talks about the power of the brain to heal and positive energy and the like. Then another video plays featuring a woman from said self-help community dying on her deathbed. David and Eden tell them everyone it was cancer and that the young woman wanted to share her last breath with the world. Your girlfriend, Kira (Emayatxy Corinealdi), looks uncomfortable. Actually, most of your friends look uncomfortable and you ask David and Eden why they would show something like that at a dinner party. The snuff video alone should make you want to leave, but still you stay.

The Want Game

David decides to lighten the mood. It’s kind of like the Never game you used to play in college except this is called the Want game.

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Your friend Gina (Michelle Krusiec) says she wants some of that good Coke that David used to do before he went into rehab. David hands her some Coke right away. Pruitt wants to tell them about his wife, Margaret, about how beautiful, creative, and generous she was. Then he tells everyone how he had beaten her to death while in a drunken rage. This is the point where you just need to leave. Seriously, get out of there! Break out a window if you have to do and don’t expect David’s key to still be in that lock!


Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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