So Here’s The Thing

I mentioned on twitter yesterday that my feelings about The Interview getting pulled by Sony, were too complicated for a tweet, and thus this post was born.

They’re actually 3 fold.

Here we go.

As a consumer, I’m bummed out. I was looking forward to The Interview. Seth Rogan and James Franco have never failed to make me laugh. I was looking forward to having a new movie to sit around with my cousins quoting. Granted, it we’d probably just wind up with us just quoting Wayne’s World, because we always wind up just quoting Wayne’s World, or maybe Holy Grail, but we like to shake it up with new stuff occasionally.

But, as a human being, who values her safety and the safety of other human beings, I get it. If one person was hurt or killed because Seth Rogan and James Franco just had to satirize a ruthless dictator in a large public dictator and use his real name etc. I’d be horrified. Just horrified, it would be terrible. So I appreciate that Sony and AMC and all those other big companies are doing what they think is best, I get that.

As a person who wants to make things, I’m pissed off. The Sony hacks really upset me from the beginning. This was a crime. Do I think that some of the Sony executives were behaving childishly and a little bit idiotically in those emails? From what I’ve seen totally. But I also have gone out of my way to not read those articles, because that information was obtained illegally. Now Sony has caved to the demands of, we’re not exactly sure who. Trolls? Hacktivists? North Korean nationalist terrorists? NO ONE KNOWS. We do know that apparently the FBI thinks that this is a big ol overreaction. Which means maybe they shouldn’t have done it. They’ve given in to the demands of criminals, which sets an awful precedent for this sort of action in the future.

So that’s where I am. I’m bummed, I wanted to see this movie. I get it, because I like myself (and others) not blown up. I’m pissed because of crime and cowardice and bullying.

When if they had released the movie I would have simply been you know…vaguely happy because of a funny movie.

Am I Non Compliant?

It took me longer than I’m proud of to read issue #1 of Bitch Planet, my relatively new shero Kelly Sue DeConnick’s feminist comic opus.

And by “longer than I’m proud of,” I mean that I didn’t rush home from the comic book story and read it immediately, because, I don’t know, life happens.

But I did read it. I sat in my office yesterday the door closed and sat and read it and I was floored. I was floored the same way I was earlier in the month when I read Bad Feminist. I was reminded of sitting in classes arguing about bell hooks, about Mary Wollstencraft, about the implication of the patriarchy and the idea of dismantling things.

Bitch Planet is a really remarkable piece of work. The general idea is that in a dystopian future, the battle is lost, the patriarchy rules full speed and any women deemed, “non compliant” are shipped off to an off planet prison facility, colloquially called “Bitch Planet.”

The book is amazing. It’s incredible, the kind of crazy that very few people in my life would like or even relate to. (Which is what you’re here for!) But I’m so glad it’s here.

But as usual, I started thinking about my own feminism and how often I fail to live up my priciples. I don’t know that I am “non compliant” or if I want to be. I generally keep quiet about things that push my buttons, because I live in a house where tempers often run high, and I’d rather just be left alone. I blow up occasionally, when things just push me to my limit, although it’s something that I’ve been working on.

I’m not an assertive person by nature, I’m fairly non confrontational. I’m also, well, I’m kind of lazy. Sometimes, it’s just easier to not be bothered.

I have this feeling that Bitch Planet is going to be challenging for me, in a lot of ways. It’s certainly a more complicated narrative than I’m used to in comics, and I’ve generally stayed away from serious feminist text since I graduated. But I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to engaging in it, to thinking about things and expectations that I haven’t thought about it a long time.

Hearing Kelly Sue DeConnick speak at New York Comic Con set me on fire. It reminded me about why I love cultural feminism as much as I do, when I self identify as a cultural feminist. Stories can change people, can engage people, can change the world.

I hope that this story does. Or at least one little corner of it.

Roads Go Ever On and On

Hobbit

It’s funny the way certain things take on big meanings.

Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, and Peter Jackson’s adaptation are such things for me. I was eleven when my father handed me a paperback copy of The Hobbit, not long after I finished the Narnia books and promised that I would love it.

I did.

Then (as were the rules) I read the original trilogy in a rush before The Fellowship Of The Ring came out. My world and imagination came to life.

Eleven years ago, the day my Uncle Billy died, my sister and I hid from our grief in a dark movie theater and watched The Return of The King. For three hours we were somewhere else, feeling something else, safe.

The weekend after my first college finals, I marathoned the movies with my new friends, learning to be OK with loving genre.

Last year, out of work and depressed my father insisted that I come out with him and see The Desolation of Smaug. “If you don’t come with me, I won’t go, and we’ll always regret it.” He said, he pushed to go to the IMAX instead of basic and I’ve never been more grateful

When my Uncle Mark and Uncle Richard got married I read, “Roads Go Ever On and On,” at their reception.

These stories are important to me, I guess is my point. So, I really can’t objectively review The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. I loved it. I love this world. I will always love this world. It can’t touch the Lord of The Rings movies, it can’t touch it’s source material. It can’t even touch it’s first chapter, which I really adored. But for two and a half hours tonight, I was in Middle Earth again, and happy to be there.

So, there’s that. Sorry this wasn’t really a review. The movie still gets ranked. There was an Orlando Bloom swordfight. Which was awesome. I also didn’t cry, not even once, so it wasn’t that good.

There’s that.

  1. Top Five
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy
  3. Big Hero 6
  4. Mockingjay: Part 1
  5. Interstellar
  6. Godzilla
  7. Birdman
  8. Chef
  9. The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies
  10. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  11. The 100 Foot Journey
  12. The Judge
  13. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  14. Lucy
  15. The Boxtrolls
  16. Jersey Boys
  17. Maleficent
  18. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Trailers:

Ohhh, the trailers. The wonderful, wonderful trailer.

Kingsman: Yes please. Please more Colin Firth as a stone cold badass. All of that.

Jupiter Ascending! Remember at the beginning of movie season when I talked about this movie ALL THE TIME? And then it got pushed back and my heart broke? Yeah, so there’s that. It still looks awesome, and hey, we got more plot now! There’s weird mystical reincarnation happening. (Please be hit. If only because then I’ll PROBABLY have an easier time selling my manuscript if reincarnated intergalactic royalty becomes a thing people want to you know, consume or whatever…)

Ummm…were there others?

HAHAH! JOKES!

See The Force Awakens trailer in IMAX, if you can swing it, do it. It’s amazing and stunning and I can’t wait for this movie. We’ll talk about it this time next year.

Terminator: Genysys, despite it’s truly dumb title, had an awesome trailer. It looks like Arnold is in it organically, which is kind of cool.

Jurassic World also very cool in IMAX.

I will not see The Walk. I am deathly afraid of heights, and just the trailer made me want to throw up. It’ll probably be a good movie though, because Robert Zemeckis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (I’m now picturing an awesome alternate universe where JGL was Marty McFly…head canon accepted.)

Kim Possible: Season 1 Episodes 5 & 6

Hey guys! It’s time for this week’s Kim Possible recaps! Hooray!

Kim Ron Rufus

Season 1 Episode 5: “Downhill”

Ugh, DNAmy….not my favorite KP baddie. She’s fine. I mean, she’s not terrible, she’s not The Bebes level of stupid, but she’s just not up to snuff with the rest of Kim’s rogue’s gallery. Anyway, let’s talk about the actual episode.

Kim, Ron, Bonnie and the other kids are headed out on the school ski trip. Kim is mortified when Bonnie asked The Dr. P’s to chaperone at the last minute and she’s having trouble dealing with her parent’s constant oversharing about her childhood foibles.

I’m not a fan of this subplot, because while I generally love Kim vs Bonnie action, and I also love that Kim is a deeply flawed as a hero she’s a little too shallow and unlikeable here. She’s straight up insensitive to Mr. Dr. P at several points and while in the end, Mrs. Dr. P pulls out the win, by calling Bonnie’s mom (classic) it’s still just not Kim’s best.

The other plot however consists of Ron and Coach Barkin going big foot hunting because, they’re the best. While on the hunt they encounter a woman named Amy, who takes an immediate shine to Barkin. Turns out she’s a crazed genetic scientist who is creating animal hybrids, to resemble “Cuddle Buddies,” one of which went wrong and has been mistaken for a snow beast.

There’s lots of fun snow action, and there’s absolutely some fun Rufus action. (He’s turned into a genetic combo of himself and Barkin at one point, which is pretty great.) But overall this isn’t one of my favorites. Amy’s fun because she’s got that whole “Cute and cuddly but still TOTALLY NUTS” vibe but also, her subsequent appearances (when she’s pursuing Drakken) are a lot more fun than this one.

Episode 6: “Bueno Nacho”

So, I’ve noticed that Drakken and Shego are basically showing up every other episode. I’m not going to complain about it, because they’re great, but I mean, we’re 6 episodes in and we’ve seen them three times. It’s pretty amazing.

This is a big episode, as far as world building is concerned. We’re introduced to a lot of stuff, but we’ll get there later. Kim is determined to get a trendy new leather jacket from Club Banana, but she doesn’t have the money. When her parents shoot her down for a loan they then suggest that she get a job at Bueno Nacho. She does, and applies for Ron against his will.

Turns out, Kim? Not great as a fast food employee. This is one of the first times that we see that Kim is not really a great team player. It’s something that I always related to her on. Ron on the other hand, is fantastic at this job. Kim resents it and snaps at him several times and even quits, when the quickly promoted to assistant manager Ron refuses to let her off shift to go on mission.

The mission? Drakken has stolen a giant drill which he installs in the largest wheel of cheese in Wisconsin. Shego, meanwhile, has the jacket Kim wants and that doesn’t help Kim’s focus.

One of my favorite aspects of this serious is how unabashadly girly it is. Kim and Shego rag on each other’s style, but mainly, they’re ready to kick each other’s butts. The trash talk they through at one another just happens to be extremely gendered, not in a bad way at all.

In the end, Kim and Ron work together after forgiving each other for their bad behavior and kicking butt (also melting the cheese.) Kim didn’t earn enough for the jacket but Ron bought it for her, because he’s a really good friend.

Nacos And Booyahs!

  • We meet DNAmy, who I’ve mentioned is not my favorite. But she is voiced by Melissa McCarthy. SERIOUSLY? Best. Voice. Cast. Ever.
  • “Downhill” also presents us with Cuddle Buddies, a Beanie Baby stand in that Kim was once obsessed with. Her favorite was Pandaroo, who I imagine is half panda and half kangaroo and probably all adorable.
  • Barkin is willing to cut Ron and Rufus in on his bigfoot reward, and also has a side deal with Wade. I like the idea that Barkin is in contact with Wade, for his own financial gain.
  • Mrs. Dr. P. is my new favorite character this time around. When she calls Bonnie’s mom, it’s pretty genius.
  • In “Bueno Nacho” Ron invents The Naco, we also learn how truly excellent he is at customer service.
  • “Bueno Nacho” also introduces us to Club Banana, Kim’s favorite store and “The Puppy Dog Pout,” which is her most manipulative facial expression.
  • Wade hacked into Kim’s diary and her bank account. If Wade ever decided to use his powers for evil, they’d have all been screwed.
  • “Is that a large cheese covered building?” “Gosh no, you’d be surprised how many people think that.” The Giant Cheese Wheel lady is also Nicole Sullivan! She does double duty here.
  • “Phase two of my plan, which you did not guess…” I’ve also been watching Futurama lately, so I’m drawing many Drakken/Bender parallels.
  • We also meet Ned, the manager of Bueno Nacho. He is Ron’s nemesis as we move forward, which says so much about Ron.
  • Rufus actually saves the day here, with his sick button pushing abilities and his love of cheese!

So that’s this week! See you next week!

What’s your Top Five?

Top Five

I’m really not sure where to begin when it comes to Top Five which might be my favorite movie of the year so far. (But unless it’s Sweeney Todd level of disappointment, everything comes down to Into The Woods.) I mentioned in last week’s “Things I’m Obsessed With,” that Chris Rock has been capturing my attention in a big way lately, so I was really looking forward to this movie.

The plot (such as it is) concerns comedian Andre Allen (Rock) on the day that the movie meant to legitimize him (Uprize, which tells the story of the Haitian slave rebellion) is opening and a journalist, Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) who is shadowing him to do a piece in The New York Times. Allen is also three days from marriage with his reality star girlfriend Erica (Gabrielle Union, who I forgot how much I LOVE).

There were a lot of things about this movie that I loved, it’s full of hilarious actors and comedians that I really adore, Jerry Seinfeld’s cameo is a particular treat, a sweet romantic comedy plot that feels instantly classic without being dumbed down, and a vision of New York that feels actually familiar. When in cafes and restaurants, it’s crowded and loud, it’s multicultural and clean, hotel lobbies look otherworldly and beautiful, there are food trucks, all that stuff.

Chris Rock wrote and directed this movie, which is probably why it feels like his stand up expanded out into a world. (As did Everybody Hates Chris a criminally underrated show.) It deals with Andre’s anxieties about staying relevant as a sober, rich, famous, black man, instead of a drunk, broke, anonymous, black boy. Chelsea is whip smart, independent and grounded. Erica is shown as a little bit desperate and shallow, but never stupid or shrewish. Andre’s life long best friend is his bodyguard and provides some of the biggest laughs.

If you’re not into largely shapeless character comedy, then you’re not going to be into this. But if you are, then it’s going to be the best thing you saw all year. (Seriously)

  1. Top Five
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy (You had a good run at the top there)
  3. Big Hero 6
  4. Mockingjay: Part 1
  5. Interstellar
  6. Godzilla
  7. Birdman
  8. Chef
  9. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  10. The 100 Foot Journey
  11. The Judge
  12. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  13. Lucy
  14. The Boxtrolls
  15. Jersey Boys
  16. Maleficent
  17. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Trailers:

Into The Woods: I actually cried. Real tears, not just choked up.

Get Hard: Why did no one pair up Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell before? I’m not sure I’ll like this movie but GOOD LORD is that a good move.

The Wedding Ringer: Also, probably not my thing. But probably sorta cute. Also, is Kevin Hart in everything? I don’t object, but wow.

Annie: I GET IT! You’re going to be wonderful and I can’t wait to see you.

Selma: I’m a sucker for Civil Rights era historical movies. I love ‘em.

Men’s Voices

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about male voices.

I don’t mean voices in the sense of “saying something.” I’m not talking about men saying something, that’s not what I mean. I mean the physical men’s voices, men’s singing voices.

This started when I put together my playlist for writing during National Novel Writing Month. There were women on that playlist.

But not many.

The songs that inspire me were written and have been sung by men.

And the range of voices is also interesting.

Aesthetically, there’s no overlap between Brian Stokes Mitchell and Bruce Springsteen, except for that they both make me feel like I need to make something. I feel equally ready to take on the world when I hear “The Impossible Dream” and “Promised Land.”

That playlist is insanely important to me. What I write to is insanely important to me. But it felt off to me that I was walking into this project with men’s voices in my head, except that they’re the ones that inspire me. I grew up listening to these voices and I’m grateful for it.

There was a lot of Paul Simon on that playlist too.

I mean, what could possible make you want to get up and make something beautiful more than the lyrics of “Graceland” in that soft little voice of his? It’s a thing of beauty.

I like the range of men’s voice and glory in them. I’ve never fallen for a guy who couldn’t sing. It just hasn’t happened to me, there’s something about it that I just love. I can sense nuance in men’s voices more, as opposed to women’s where I know what I like, and if the don’t fit in that I can appreciate it, but I’m not going to like it.

I know it’s kind of weird.

I would post the playlist, but it was 7 hours long, so I’m guessing you don’t actually want that.

But it included a lot of Ragtime I can tell you that much.

“Wheels of A Dream,” man, it’ll make you want to change the world.

Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now: Christmas Time Edition

Hey all! It’s a lazy blog day! Things I’m obsessed with right now (Some one them are Christmas-y others, not so much):

  • Michael Buble’s Christmas. This is a perfect Christmas album. His interpretations of “Santa Baby” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” are brilliant reinterpretations of traditionally feminine songs. Particularly when he asks, “Santa, buddy, fill my stocking with Canucks tix, for kicks, throw me on the first line.” Adorbs. Also the original, “Cold December Night,” is probably my favorite artist specific Christmas song, except…
  • Jimmy Buffett’s “A Sailor’s Christmas” which actually might be my favorite Christmas song ever. It’s a beautiful little ditty where Jimmy puts his special talents to work on Christmas, a sweet ballad about Christmas in The Caribbean.
  • Chris Rock’s New York Magazine interview. I’ve mentioned growing up in a comedy house before and 90’s SNL was a big part of that. I’ve always loved Chris Rock, but GOD this is so good. Read it.
  • All the Into The Woods trailers. Just all of ‘em. I can’t wait to see this movie. (Still not sure WHEN I’ll get to it. My Christmas week is pretty packed, but I need to find space for Into The Woods and Annie…)
  • My family’s inter cousin secret Santa, which for my mom’s side I’m running this year. This is less now that the drawing side of it is over and it seems like everyone got their names without incident, but for a good week, I was EXTREMELY preoccupied by it.
  • The Legend of Korra season 4. OMG, it’s so good. I even liked the much maligned clip show. Because I mean, it was lame, but they did a good job commenting on fandom with it. (Mako’s section dealt with shipping, Korra’s with ALL THE FEELS, and Varrick and Bolin’s with headcanon.) And we’ve seen awesome moments from both Katara and Toph, so I’m hoping we get something from Zuko and Spirit Aang at some point in the final two episodes.
  • Speaking of my new favorite fandom, The MarySue’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Newbie Recaps, having just felt all of these things just a few months ago, along with the “HOW DID I NOT ALWAYS KNOW ABOUT THIS?” aspect of them, they’re a fun read.
  • The brand new Wolf-Pop podcast network. Paul Scheer’s little pet project is pretty amazing. So far, I have 3 of their podcasts in my regular rotation (the only station that has more is Nerdist, because it’s Nerdist), Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor of All Time, Period With W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery, which analyzes each of Denzel’s performances and is just brilliantly funny, Maltin On Movies with Leonard Maltin (duh) and Baron Von, where they pick a new release and a theme related to it each week, and choose three movies in that theme to discuss, one that they love, one that they hate and one that was a “sleeper” that most people wouldn’t think of. And then finally Crybabies, in which Susan Orlean & Sarah Thyre talk about pop culture things that make them cry. I relate very strongly to this. (And fits into my ongoing, listen to more podcasts hosted my awesome ladies project, double win!)
  • Any “Geek Girl Gift Guides” and not just because of the alliteration because I just love almost all of the merchandise shown in them.

So that’s what I’m loving these days!