Saturday, May 17, 2014

Quirky "Tiger Lily Road" Is All Dirty Sex, Romantic Lies, & No Kinky Videotape

"Tiger Lily Road" film poster.
Tiger Lily Road is a twisted little gem that deserves recognition for focusing on women over a certain age, especially in pertains to rather erotic subject matter. The dark, witty dramedy contains humorous one-liners and candid offbeat moments that weave magical touches of irresistible sweetness into its whimsical web. Quite commendable that Michael Medeiros's first full length feature screenplay celebrates heterosexual intercourse whilst dismantling ageism taboos. Let's applaud that.
Now the film centers on Annie and Louise- best friends who couldn't be any different than the other. Bold and assertive, Louise is the self-annointed town slut school principal, having had her way with any man she finds desirable. That happens to include Annie's on again off again boyfriend, Russ, the town deputy. Annie is a kind and docile veterinarian. The reclusive lily of the story, Annie speaks with softened tones and her facial expressions are often tender, subdued, and compassionate. She contemplates a lot. Certain scenes focus on water- a pure, sensually stirring element that seems to metaphor her muted nature. Annie is simply a closeted hermit whereas Louise is promiscuous and flaunts worldliness. Conflicting personalities could only mean opposing views on imperative matters like sleeping around. 

And there's a lot of sleeping around. Implied and otherwise.

Enter Russ- the first of two slap-worthy male characters. He has always jerked Annie around and has shacked up with Louise on numerous occasions. At an uncomfortable dinner, he brings Annie and Louise identical jewelry boxes (ASSHOLE!) and announces astonishing news- he's marrying a chick half his age. Afterwards, the pissed duo take a blood oath, vowing to swear off all men and be alpha feministic bitch goddesses.

Sadly, this empowerment pact is short lived. Broken within twenty-four hours.
Louise (Karen Chamberlain) and Annie (Ilvi Dulack) easily capture the victim at gunpoint.
Enter Ricky- another man they would soon intimately share. Except he's younger and much more virile than Russ. After accidentally killing Russ, Ricky, a real piece of work jerk is rewarded with a tranquilizer dart in the derriere. It leads to an unorthodox kidnapping by Annie and Louise. Is this just desserts for the young dangerous loose cannon who recently slathered a woman's face with ketchup and mustard and then proceeded to slap that same face with a hotdog? The cold, heartless villain who dumped a woman's head in a toilet days later? His reign of lecherous assault on women would come to an end thanks to being snowed in on the home of what appeared to be a quaint, cookie cutter lady's residence.
But appearances are the most easily deceived notion...
It is a hilarious predicament. Ricky embodies youth, strength, and agility, but has become overpowered by women twice his age. Downright hysterical this whole age factor. He searches for an escape route via perceptive hazel eyes. Yet he is stuck. Stuck. Stuck being held at gunpoint and handcuffed to a bed. Predatory Louise is on Ricky like white on rice. Her bright, vivid gaze greatly implies whetted appetite for depraved bodily contact. She licks pink lips in provocation, watching the man pee with greedy relish. In fact, it is disturbing. Makes one scratch their heads and wonder about such perverse candidness. Then it comes. It actually comes. A horrendous rape revenge scenario that is utterly shocking- a woman taking advantage of a vulnerable man. Short, grotesque scene stained with revulsion. Should this empower women? Should this brand of vigilante justice be applauded? 


Should Louise be considered a vigilante? 
Ricky (Tom Pelphrey) cannot get privacy- not even in the bathroom and Louise (Karen Chamberlain) seems to have forgotten the Blood Oath.
"If it was one of us in there, they wouldn't think twice!"
She uses above argument to justify her own violent curiosity.
In this act, Louise has drugged the captive and proceeds to unleash unabashed prowess, striding atop him like a fiery alleyway cat in heat. Ricky protests, telling her to "get off" and piteously tugs on his handcuffs. Yet in a helpless situation, powerless and at her mercy, he receives lecherous punishment.  It is rather comical that Louise speaks about MILFs when she's not actually a parent. Her own moral compass is a bit misconstrued, lopsided even. Rape certainly solves no problems and it dirties an otherwise complicated situation. Sure he killed Russ and spat scrambled egg into her hair, but nothing gave excuse for Louise to overplay the vengeful vixen. Her actions are not honorable.

The scene ignited alarming tendency to wash hands clean and forget that such aberrant compulsiveness ever existed inside a person.
Ricky (Tom Pelphrey) stares at off screen Annie (Ilvi Dulack)- intended target.
On the other hand, dear sweet vulnerable Annie refuses to save Ricky from Louise's wrath. That tarnishes her halo just a bit. However, that doesn't diminish her purpose. She is the softer of the two, sole representation of feminine weakness. She represses physical desires by making every scenario about work-in-progress. Ricky uses Annie as an instrument, starting up conversation, lying casually, lifting lines from movies, going as far as feigning abusive past. Despite Louise's warnings, Annie laps up all of Ricky's manipulations, eating from his hand like an impuissant puppy needing sustenance. He cranks up the charm and she cannot resist alluring temptation. Over romantic candlelight, the mood for seduction is set. Is there anything sexier than a man in eggplant Jezebel glittered t-shirt and heart decorated pajama pants? I think not. While Louise controlled Ricky in crude aggressively charged manner, Annie lets the opportunistic man take advantage of her, lying underneath dominating figure, defeated in the alluring game of one-armed horizontal tango. He initiates the whole damn scenario and she lets him, breathing out a raspy “okay” as the deed gets cracking. It is creepily reminscent of an earlier scene of a little girl underneath a boy on the playground, a symbolism of how “sex is supposed to be-” aggressor (man) on top, complacent (lady) on the bottom.  

Still, Annie enjoys herself and who could blame her?

Bang. Bang. Bang. 

Suddenly her water visions symbolize urgent freedom. Sex is magical.
Betty (Rita Gardner) has discovered dildos!
Tiger Lily Road goes beyond double teaming Louise and Annie. Unforgettable moments include an eccentric elder lady who purposefully walks down the street too slow and hilariously kooky Betty- Annie's ailing mother. Sure, Betty loves her puzzles and overly attentive daughter, but watching her unearth dildo satisfaction was well worth movie ticket fare. I had no shame in shouting out “that's right! Do your thing!” to Betty. Cheer leading might be uncomfortable to a select few, but if men like Hugh Hefner can flaunt his fervent randiness at 88 years-old and be celebrated for it, why can't Betty have raucous fun too? Plus, she doesn't need a man to do it either. She mentions Russ fixing the washer a couple of times (something he doesn't even do!), but the great thing about Betty is that she is rarely in scenes with a male character. As for dildo enjoyment, it is a secret only the audience knows. Except, the whole awkward fact that Louise owned this dildo troubles the mind. These women tend to over share. Let's just hope it was brand spanking new and move on.

Towards the climax, Ricky tells the cops that he had been raped. They laugh it off, taking him away and shake their heads in disbelief.

Although summarized as a modern day fairy tale, there is nothing Hans Christian Anderson about Tiger Lily Road's narrative. With its mischievous snaps and nefarious whips, Brothers Grimm would be a more viable comparison. It is imperative to point out a glaring flaw. Fairy tales have an annoying tendency to concentrate on the youth as though that defines beautiful. It makes for terrifying notion that wrinkles equal powerlessness and loss of physical attraction. Medeiros concentrates on both the cruel and graceful side of maturity. These three women (Annie, Louise, and Betty) take on the age gods and win or lose some piece of dignity. It is an intriguing focus, viewing how each responds to their own personal awakening and how they come to grips with that nature.
Annie (Ilvi Dulack) and Louise (Karen Chamberlain) know that cookies (and possibly off screen orgies) will always melt some part of a delivery man (Kevin Kane)- heart or whatever.
I have known about Tiger Lily Road for quite a while and not ashamed to admit originally tuning in for the kidnapped eye candy. Tom Pelphrey, hailing from my old favorite soap opera Guiding Light, fits nicely amongst the cast, playing sarcastic, potty-mouthing, bad ass Ricky. Overall, he enacted with all the brilliance well known by many who have seen his versatile work. He just keeps getting better. I did get a lot more than bargained for. Performances from Ilvi Dulack and Karen Chamberlain are quite splendid treats- an added bonus. Dulack breathes warm humility into Annie while Chamberlain's Louise is troublesome, wild, and bitchtastic! The way these two women interacted with each other on screen- whether it be emotional sisterly bonding or over the top fighting (at least they threw plates and not fists) made for a believable friendship. Medeiros' also cameos as Deputy Bob, a notably funny scene stealer. 
Besides the thoughtful "don't be a lily all your life" sentiment, here is another moral of the Tiger Lily Road tale: surpassing twenty, thirty, forty, and so forth doesn't mean that a woman stops having sex, thinking about sex, or masturbating. Basic human inclinations don't die. They at times can manifest and grow larger than a beanstalk. In the end, everyone controls their own destiny. No romantic qualms. No silly pipe dreams about love. It's all about eating cookies and using men in a disposable manner. They don't even have to be kidnapped at gunpoint.
Except well, the ladies still share and inquisitive minds wonder if they let Betty join in.


  1. If I didn't want to see the film before, this review just made me want to see it this very second. Of course, I've wanted to see it for months, but alas, I shall only see it through your eyes and words, and for now I sit waiting for a glimpse of Tom in his next project aside from the teasing pics. Brilliant review!

    1. Oh thank you so much Jessica! I'm over the moon by your generous praise! It's so so good! I do hope the film gets a wider release and that you and so many others get to see this special treat soon! For now we can continue supporting Tom- watching this week's Black Box episode and the upcoming new season of Banshee.