Just Make Sure We’re Fighting The Battle In Front Of Us

Guys! Movie season is back! The past month has been too busy to go see movies that I was only lukewarm about, but I’m pretty sure from here on, there’s something I want to see every weekend again!

As I sat on Tuesday night watching Antoine Fuqua’s new version of The Magnificent 7, I tried to remember the last time I watched the 1963 movie, (sometime in high school, I think,) and when the last I watched the Kurosawa’s original Seven Samurai, (probably college), when I decided that The Western was a genre I actually gave a shit about, (definitely college), when I realized I’d go see Chris Pratt in anything (halfway through season 3 of Parks And Recreation) and when Denzel Washington became a constant presence in my 5 favorite actors (middle school, though I didn’t realize he had the official title of Greatest Actor of All Time Period until about 2 years ago.) So that’s a lot of baggage to bring into a movie, that, on it’s own is pretty fluffy.

Don’t get me wrong, I like fluff, especially fluff like Magnificent 7, which is good looking, exciting and fun fluff. If you don’t know the story of The Magnificent 7 you probably haven’t ever watched movies before, so I suggest you get on it, but basically, in this variation, a robber baron has begun victimizing a small town of hardworking farmers, they recruit a bounty hunter, Sam Chisholm (Washington) to defend them and send the guy running, he gets together a band of six ragtag friends, (Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio and others) and they chase of the bad guys.

Of course what makes the story special is that the heroes are kind of bad guys themselves, who’ve decided to do something good, for the money, but still.

Overall the movie is great. It’s stunning visually, and the cast jibes well, and the action is clean and the quips are there. It’s not anything special though and can’t touch the magic of it’s source material. (That’s really unfair, I know…but still…) The whole enterprise is worth it to see Denzel, in all black, on a black horse, riding through the desert. That’s an image that the world deserves.

Rankings!

  1. The Nice Guys
  2. Don’t Think Twice
  3. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  4. Pete’s Dragon
  5. Ghostbusters
  6. Captain America: Civil War
  7. Kubo And The Two Strings
  8. Star Trek Beyond
  9. The Magnificent 7
  10. X-Men: Apocalypse
  11. The Legend Of Tarzan
  12. Suicide Squad
  13. Finding Dory
  14. Independence Day: Resurgence
  15. Alice Through The Looking Glass

Trailers

I don’t think there was anything new…Inferno looks like, really, really bad though. Rogue One still makes me cry.

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Rewatch: Season 8: Episodes 17-22

OK, we’re at the end of season 8! AT LONG LAST. Only thirteen episodes to go before I move into the next phase of things here. (To drop a hint it may involve a family of witches…)

200px-oths8

Episode 17: “The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get”

OK, so Haley is testing everyone’s baby preparedness. It’s hilarious the first few times and then it just gets old. Although Clay and Nathan hearing about the test and thus not paying attention when Haley actually goes into labor was pretty funny.

Meanwhile, everyone is obsessed with toaster strudel. Or something. It was a weird runner. Brooke gets to know Chloe, her and Julian’s baby’s biological mother a little bit and something comes very clearly into focus.

Nathan gets an A on a test and Kellerman asks him to stop representing Ian. He decides to dig his heels in and he and Clay get Ian to sign a contract that includes a morality clause.

Guys, Ian is very obviously the father of Chloe’s baby and the reason why Kellerman doesn’t want him around Nathan is that he’s happy Chloe is giving the baby up, and he doesn’t want them to change their minds, because Nathan and Haley make young parenthood look so awesome.

Also, Chase and Chuck bond some more, and Millie does a story about street signs, almost gets fired but then doesn’t. Or something.

Episode 18: “Quiet Little Voices”

Lydia is being born and everyone is reflecting on the past. My theory about Ian as the father of Chloe’s baby was way off, but, she wound up not giving to Brooke and Julian, because the father really was just some dude.

Serious missed opportunity for some convergence there.

Anyway, I enjoyed watching this episode since large swaths of it were made up of clips from season one, and I really, really miss season 1.

Anyway, Lydia is born, everyone tells Jamie how great Haley is and Brooke and Julian don’t get Chloe’s baby.

And that’s the episode.

Episode 19: “Where Not To Look For Freedom”

Nathan found a bottle of bourbon in Kellerman’s car, which is the same car that crashed into Brooke and Jamie. He and Julian decide to confront Kellerman about it, and he winds up taking responsibility and quitting his job. Of course this turns out to be premature because Detective Nathan eventually puts together that it was Ian who crashed the car, not his father.

Quinn is running Tric and Red Bedroom while Haley is out on maternity leave. She books Owen and The Moon and Alex opens for them and kicks all of the asses. She and Chase flirt some more and I’m totally trying to be open to them getting back together. Who am I kidding I love them together.

Clothes Over Bros offers Brooke a job in New York as Vice President. She decides, after consulting with Victoria and talking it over with Julian that this would be a good move for her. She’s having trouble dealing with losing the baby, and it would be a clean start so she decides to take the job.

Oh and someone is building a bunch of condos on the river court. Millie is going to do a story on it.

Episode 20: “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul”

So, with the new found knowledge that it was Ian not August who was in the car accident, Nathan agonizes over what to do next. He even considers talking to Dan. He does talk to August and learns that he’s sober, so you know, whoops? Anyway, Nathan, Clay and Julian confront Ian, who is basically a sociopath, and completely remorseless. They wind up shoving him into the river for reasons, and that relationship ends. Also, Professor Kellerman goes away on a boat, and Nathan does not talk to Dan.

In the most contrived plot in the history One Tree Hill, Chase asks Alex to pee in a cup for a drug test so that he can join the Air Force. (He accidentally smoked pot with Kid Cudi, so he can’t pass the test.) The results come back and whoever’s pee it was is pregnant! Turns out it’s Brooke’s! Brooke is pregnant! YAY! She also decides to stay in Tree Hill, because she doesn’t want to raise a kid in New York.

In Quinn needs to do a thing I guess. (I feel bad, she’s a useless character…) she’s getting ready to go to Puerto Rico to shoot some supermodels, so she works out a bunch and gets a silly spray tan.

The episode is framed around Jamie’s first baseball game, at which he recites “Casey At The Bat” in his head and then hits a home run. It’s very nice.

Episode 21: “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”

So, I don’t quite understand how there’s one more episode after this, but, you know whatever. Quinn, Brooke, Alex and Lauren (hey! Lauren!) all go to Puerto Rico for Quinn’s photo shoot. They party a lot, especially Lauren, who has to be put to bed early. This is exactly like almost all of my friends who are elementary school teachers. Meanwhile, Alex continues to cover for Brooke, as they go out for sushi and drink a lot of alcohol. Things that Brooke can’t do because she’s pregnant.

The guys go to camp out by the river court and find an endangered bird that might save it from being turned into condos. They find a nest and also, Chuck drives a bulldozer after throwing a fit when Chase tells him that he’s moving away to join the air force.

Haley and Brooke decide to re open Karen’s Cafe, which is incredibly sweet and nice and I guess gives them a way to actually stay together and being connected story wise, which they just haven’t been lately.

Episode 22: “This is My House, This is My House”

OK, I see the point of another episode. This is yet another perfectly serviceable series finale if they hadn’t gotten those extra 13 episodes. We see everyone’s lives tracked over the course of a year. Brooke and Julian have twins, Haley and Brooke get Karen’s Cafe working again. Chase and Alex drift apart and come back together. Jamie learns how to be there for Madison. Quinn and Clay talk about their future together. (I kind of love that they’re not married, this show is very happily ever after minded and that they just kind of are is pretty special. But they are otherwise useless…)  Mouth and Millie have a morning show.

The twins are born, Nathan goes to see Dan and gives him a picture of Lydia and the ball from Jamie’s first hit.

I think there’s nothing better though than the wrap around narration of Jamie talking about how Tree Hill is a magic place and he was born in a magic time. My heart, it can’t take it.

Overall Analysis Of This Arc

I liked this stretch more than any other in the post Lucas and Peyton era. There was a lot of heart and love injected and the cast was actually interacting beyond their typically assigned units. In general I’m not into how comedic this season was though. It was one thing when the show was incidentally funny, but this is more, like, trying to be funny, and it’s never been as good at that as it’s mirror twin The OC, so it all just lands kind of flat.

And Quinn and Clay really don’t have much to do and that makes it very hard to invest in them.

Overall Analysis of This Season

This season is tough man. It’s unbalanced, it’s not great but in the end it pulls itself together. I am definitely ready to finish up the show though. I’ve decided on 3 more weeks for the remaining 13 episodes. Two blocks of 5, then 3, a sum up of the arc, season, and what this project has meant to me.

 Stranger Things: Late Watching and Why Nancy Wheeler Is Important

I waited a little while to watch Stranger Things, for a lot of reason, I wanted to wait until the hype died down, I wasn’t feeling well, and I didn’t have a lot of time, and I was a little worried about it freaking me out (it did, but in the good way.)

Once I finally dug myself out of the self imposed “One Tree Hill is the only thing I can watch, because I have doomed myself to a life of sadness” hole. (I am almost done with it though! I’m very excited!) I started watching an episode here and there and on Saturday I finally finished!

But since I was late to the party, I also missed a lot of the think pieces. Which makes me both sad and relieved. Anyway, I’m going to talk about Nancy Wheeler, the 16(?) year old sister of Mike Wheeler, our story’s hero, who sort of becomes a hero in her own right at one point.

Nancy begins the show in the early dating stages with a popular dick-bag named Steve, and in fact her best friend, Barb (poor Barb) is dragged into the Upside-Down and killed by the demi-gorgon while Nancy has sex with Steve at a party, thus abandoning her and beginning Nancy’s arc.

Nancy then teams up with Jonathan Byers to find his brother Will and Barb, (they find Will, but Barb is dead), and still, for reasons passing my understanding, ends up with Steve. Season 2, will, hopefully, repair this grave injustice. (I am not saying that I want Nancy with Jonathan…I mean, I kind of do, but not by default. I’d be perfectly OK with Nancy going to college and not being with some dude from high school…)

Anyway, this piece is about why I think Nancy is an important character for female representation. (As is Eleven, by the way, and Joyce) But Nancy is not the kind of character that you get to see in a teenage girl very often. Nancy is clearly popular, she’s a good student, she’s pretty, she’s girly, she has a crush on a less than worthy boy, and those things aren’t portrayed as making her shallow, unrelateable or incapable of being a hero.

Teen girl heroines, particularly in genre stories, are supposed to be strong, they’re supposed to be selfless, and most of all they are not supposed to be like those girls. You know the girls I mean. They’re not supposed to worry if the popular boy actually cares about them or is just trying to get into their pants. They’re supposed to be above even liking that popular boy. They’re not supposed to wear pastel cardigans, or peter pan collars or ballet slipper necklaces.

But Nancy Wheeler is one of those girls.

They’re not supposed to be simply avenging their friend, there must be a grand purpose to what they’re doing. They’re not supposed to get annoyed at their families, or get scared when confronting the monster, or not know what to say when they’re publicly humiliated.

But all of these things describe Nancy, but she’s still a hero. And I think that’s important and worth discussing.

 

What up Once Upon A Time?: Season 6: Episode 1: “The Savior”

Hey! I found something for the Monday spot!

So, for a bit of background. My family has been watching Once Upon A Time together since it’s second season. Which, incidentally is about the time that the show stopped following any kind of internal or external logic. But we still watch and we still try to understand, although, there’s really not much point. (Remember when Emma’s foster mom was also Elsa and Anna’s aunt or whatever?)

But, we truly love the show, and True Love conquers all, this is a consistent rule on Once Upon A Time. You know, unless you’re Regina, in which case, true love just causes your boyfriend to die in the underworld and possibly have his soul obliterated because the only actual rule of this show is that Regina is not allowed to be happy. Ever.

So, I’m going to ask questions, some every episode, some just because they just come up

Who’s The Dark One Right Now?

It’s Rumplestiltskin. I honestly couldn’t remember if Emma and Hook were still co-dark oneing it up, but it’s Rumple. He’s made some sort of deal with Mr. Hyde (yeah, that’s a thing…) to wake Belle up from her sleeping curse and save their baby, who pretends to be Morpheus, the god of dreams (and Neil Gaiman comics…but not.) to save Belle also. Anyway, they’re broken up right now, because she is awake, and she is also sick of his shit. So, yay?

What’s Emma’s Problem?

At the moment? She’s got hand tremors and is having visions of a sword fight where she gets killed. Oh, also, all the saviors (yes there have been others, and one of them was Aladdin!) tend to see their own deaths. And there’s a weird creepy oracle girl, who tells Emma she can’t run from this or fight it.

Lady, she dragged her boyfriend back from the underworld. So, you know, get bent.

Why Can’t Regina Be Happy?

At the moment? Zelena had a feather from one of Robin’s arrows but she lost it before she could give it to Regina. Also, she ripped out half of her personality and presumably killed it. But she didn’t actually kill it, The Evil Queen is hanging out at Zelena’s house making Appletinis.

Which no one has drank since like 2009, but sure, fine, whatever.

regina

She can’t be happy, but she can absolutely be FABULOUS!

Do Charming and Snow have anything to do?

Nope. Well, Snow talks to Regina about hope being a choice, but still, not really, no.

How old is Henry exactly?

Yet another year has passed in the real world, and Henry is another year older and it does not appear a lot of time has passed, like, on the show. So, yeah, that’s a thing. He’s also really only in one scene here, where he tells Regina that Robin is gone and she should give up. (Nice, kid, really. You’re the writer, why isn’t your mom allowed to be happy?)

Did We Meet Anyone New?

Well, we met The Oracle, “Morpheus” aka Rumple/Belle Baby, Jafar (now being played by Not-Sayid from Lost, as he was on Once Upon A Time In Wonderland), and Aladdin. Plus a bunch of faceless extras from “The Land of Untold Stories” which is where Jekyll and Hyde came from, and it’s Steampunk fab and all.

Cosplay Corner: WORK!

Hey all, Renn Faire got bumped again. (I was able to take pictures this time, but, well, something came up.)

What did happen this week was that I saw Hamilton. So, I decide to pay tribute to it via my closet cosplay this week, and…because of Lora, I’ve very much felt the need to up my game.

I decided the Schuyler sisters were the best way to go, so let’s start.

Angelica Schuyler


This is what I wore on Tuesday to the show. So, I went with a black flippy skirt, a pink tank top with some macrame on top.

I decided to do some focus on jewelry for these in a big way. Angelica got some Tory Burch style earrings (You just know that the Schuyler sisters would be preps.)  and a necklace that was a gift from my friend Cha that says, “Nothing is impossible to a determined woman.”


I wore my riding boots (again prep!) because they also look straight out of the Hamilton costume closet.

Eliza Schuyler


Eliza felt the need to be softer and a little more traditional than Angelica. So, I went with a breezy blue crop top and my pencil skirt, super feminine and very sweet. I also did combat boots though, because she’s sweet but also tough as nails.

Eliza’s jewelry is my oversized pearl earrings and a small necklace with a blue stone and pendant that says “ma soeur” (my sister in French) that my sister got me for Christmas a few years ago.


Peggy Schuyler


Peggy’s the yellow one! Anyway, for Peggy I wore a yellow peasant top and jeans and my frye boots. Again, I’m pushing the prep factor.

Peggy’s jewelry is a pair of stone set earrings and a blue a yellow colored glass pendant that my uncles gave me for Christmas one year and a yellow wooden bangle.

Anyway, that’s what I did this week. I had a lot of fun with it.

 

Ready To Run: Back To Work & Food Stuff

Running Work:

This past few months have been both busy and plagued by a low level of depression. (I did however keep going to work, AND being productive at said work…plus socializing. I walked around in a funk and only have some memories from the time, but hey! I didn’t self destruct, soo…progress!) I wasn’t exactly…training for the big race that I’m supposed to run in February. Anyway, that changed this week. I’m back on the treadmill 6 days a week. (Tuesdays are shaping up to be my rest day.) I’m also not drinking on weeknights, so as to sleep better and possibly be able to shift my runs from evening to morning.

Anyway, I’ve lost some momentum, but I’m doing much better than I thought I would be. I’m running an hour per run, five minute intervals, 2 walk, 3 run. My pace is at 15:30 now, I’m hoping to get back down to 13 by November.

So, that’s what’s happening there.

Disney Planning:

We got all of our dining reservations! We’ve got 2 Be Our Guest picks (one dinner, one breakfast…that way anyone who wants to can get into the castle…) California Grill on Sunday night, Tiffins on Saturday and Spice Road Table on Friday. I’m trying not to dictate too much of what other people should be doing, but also everytime I ask what people want I get the “I don’t care, you pick!” So, we’re doing things my way, at least for now…(That said I left a lot of open space so people can fill in as they will.)

My newest obsession is special occasion cakes. They all look amazing, and I feel like it would be a fun thing for the big family dinner at California Grill on Sunday…on the other hand…those cakes are mad expensive, and that dinner is gonna be expensive anyway…I dunno, I’m thinking about it most of the blogs and things suggest that you can wait until a few weeks before your trip to order a cake…I don’t know. I do think that the idea of a couple of mini cakes to celebrate Kristi and I doing the race (Maybe one Cinderella Themed, one Aurora themed…) I don’t know, but I’m loving looking at pictures of the cakes. So gorgeous!

Planning on booking flights and getting on the phone to Magical Express and getting that all worked out sometimes this week. I’m pretty excited about that.

The Room Where It Happens

hamilton

So, nearly a year exactly (give or take a few days) since I first sat in my office and listened in awe to the Hamilton original Broadway cast album, I found myself sitting a seat in the Richard Rodgers Theater, sipping on a “Dueling Sangria” (I got the white, Mom got the red…) inhaling sharply as Brandon Victor Dixon ran onstage and began to recite Alexander Hamilton’s life story.

A million thoughts crossed my mind.

“Oh God, I’m finally here!”

“I can’t believe I missed the OBC.”

“That doesn’t really matter. You’re here, live in this moment.”

“What if it doesn’t live up to what’s in my head?”

“What if I’ve been hyping this up for a year and my family doesn’t like it?”

By the time Javier Munoz declared that there were “a million things he hadn’t done,” that was long gone. I was entranced. To crib from an early review, “yes, it really is that good.”

I was really excited to see Mandy Gonzales as Angelica. I was lucky enough to see her as Nina in the original cast of In The Heights, and a few years back, when I took my cousin Bobby to see Wicked, she was our Elphaba. She killed as Angelica as well. Honestly, I don’t want to single out any single cast members, the show is so thoroughly an ensemble piece.

I do want to talk about costume design. HOLY SHIT DO I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE COSTUME DESIGN OF THIS SHOW. I mean, it helps that I was raised by a costume designer, but I love the whites on the ensemble, I love that each character gets their own color scheme, I love that the duels are fought in black cloaks. I love that James Madison is wearing a prototypical Confederate uniform. (The rise of The Confederacy can be linked almost directly to the rivalry personified by Hamilton and the Southern Mother Fuckin’ Democratic Republicans!) It’s all fantastic.

The staging isn’t revolutionary, which is actually preferable. There’s enough revolutionary about this show, the music, the casting, that a straightforward (though still incredible) staging grounds the show in the musical theater tradition, in a bigger way even than the many theatrical references in the libretto do. (Easy call outs, Burr stating that, “You’ve got to be carefully taught,” from South Pacific, Hamilton stating that “nobody needs to know” about his relationship with Maria Reynolds, from The Last 5 Years, the best cheating song ever written, and of course Hamilton calling out “Sit down John,” as a criticism to John Adams.)

I cried, a lot, though not as much or as hard as I thought I might. It’s hard not to get choked up during “It’s Quiet Uptown,” but I also found myself swelling with pride and unable to stop the tears during “One Last Time.” If nothing else this is a deeply patriotic show. Lin-Manuel Miranda clearly loves this country deeply, and it comes across beautifully.

I could keep gushing, (honestly, I could!), but I think Joe’s comment at intermission is the best think that could describe the show, “I just want to stay in my seat and wait for them to do the whole show again.”