May We Humbly Present Supervillains and CSD

This week we got two big villain announcements, that were of course hugely eclipsed by the fact that Miley Cyrus did something called twerking on The VMAs.

I watched it, and I still don’t quite know what it was, except that it was terrible.

Anyway, this week we found out that in The Avengers 2 James Spader will be playing Ultron, and Brian Cranston will probably be playing Lex Luthor in the sequel to Man of Steel, that lest, we all forget is actually supposed to be a Superman movie and not just about Holden McNeill playing Batman.

This is great, because they’re both terrific actors, but it’s also difficult, because of my CSD. (Character Separation Disorder, if you’re new. A pop culture disorder in which you are not able to separate an actor from a character that they once played.)

Now, since I don’t watch Breaking Bad, I still basically think of Cranston as Malcolm’s Dad.

Cook all the meth and win all the Emmys you like sir, the antics of your teenage sons will always come first.

Cook all the meth and win all the Emmys you like sir, the antics of your teenage sons will always come first.

God? Remember how AWESOME Malcolm in The Middle was? Whatever happened to Frankie Muniz? Is he still around? Agent Cody Banks was sort of the shit. Hilary Duff was in that too. She also kind of went away. So did basically then entire cast of Lizzie McGuire. Too bad. They were great. Disney Channel used to be so awesome. Like The Famous Jett Jackson. I’m sad that Lee Thompson Young killed himself. He was also good on Smallville, oh right, I’m watching a Superman movie right now. Bryan Cranston, Lex Luthor, right. 

I have just described what will happen in my brain every time Cranston appears on screen in this movie. That being said, between Cranston and Affleck, Henry Cavill is going to have to up his game considerably to not be blown away by their considerable charisma. He can’t hide behind Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner anymore. And Bruce and Lex are kind of characters that overwhelm Clark anyway, regardless of who’s playing them, so this is going to be a very interesting movie.

Now CSD can be tough to live with, but when you’re a member of “The Brat Pack,” well, it can haunt your life.

You can't come back from this level of douche-baggery

You can’t come back from this level of douche-baggery

James Spader is a fine actor and since Ultron is technically not a person so much as a giant Android, we probably won’t be seeing him much, I kind of think I’ll be OK. But I also won’t be able to escape the fact that there is a bizarre Less Than Zero reunion happening here, because if only Tony Stark can defeat Ultron, which, let’s face it, is the likely outcome here, we may get to see that happen.

They were both super hot in that movie

They were both super hot in that movie. RDJ still is, Spader, not so much.

Anyway, I’m just saying, that’s going to be fun. If Andrew McCarthy wants in on the MCU action though, I think that’ll be a tough sell.



Introducing The Ultimate Fangirl Council

Last week, I attended The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones with Aless and another fangirl friend from the hotel, Ivy. Ivy doesn’t work with me and Aless, she works in one of the bakeries in the hotel, but she’s also awesome. During dinner before the movie, we named ourselves (I named us, because I like labels) “The Ultimate Fangirl Council.”

You have to understand, I’ve spent a lot of time in a nerd girl vacuum over the past year. I love my friends, very much. But with the exception of Chrissy and our love of Doctor Who, I don’t have many girl friends I can just geek out with. It’s one of the reasons why I started this blog. I was tired of seeing the glazed over look of boredom on my family and friends faces as I babbled on about super heroes, or whatever stupid YA magic novel I was reading. I didn’t like boring the people around me, probably anymore than they liked being bored.

In her brilliant book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling talks a little bit about this phenomenon, for her it comes with comedy. “Most people who do what I do are obsessed with comedy…I think we all have that moment when our non-comedy obsessed friends or family are like: ‘Nope. I’m at my limit. I can’t talk about In Living Color anymore. It’s kind of funny, but come on.'” This was how I was feeling, but replace “In Living Color” with “the various iterations of Robin and why Dick Grayson will always be the best,” and you’ve got an idea of how I felt until Ivy and Aless came into my life.

I have plenty of “geeky” guy friends to talk about the technical points with. I can talk super hero adaptations with John for hours, and Mouse and I will quote underground comedy to each other causing actual fall out of the chair laughter. My friend Greg knows more about Sci Fi than anyone else I know.

But if I were to tell one of them that I woke up in the middle of the night after an intense sex dream about the tenth Doctor, they’d probably just get uncomfortable. Or ask for details which would make me uncomfortable

That’s why having girls like Ivy and Aless in my life is such a huge blessing.

One day this week, at work, Aless said, “I wanted to talk to you. I had a dream about Batman last night, and it was great because he had Kevin Conroy’s voice.” And I said, “that’s so funny, because at my church yesterday they baptized a little boy named Grayson!” And then we laughed and went back to work. Talking about how The Dark Knight is haunting our lives is completely normal for this friendship, and so routine that we can make passing comments like this and continue our day.

While we were eating lunch together the other day, out of just about nowhere, Ivy said, “if I could marry any DC character it would probably be Dick Grayson,” then she paused, “or Roy Harper.” Apparently Roy’s heroin addiction is not a problem for Ivy. I know this because I said this ruled him out for me. Also his attitude problem and single fatherhood are kind of strikes against him in my book. Too many issues. I’m not saying Dick doesn’t have issues. He absolutely does. Which is why if could marry any DC character it would be Wally West.

These aren’t conversations I can have with my nerdy guy friends, and as well intentioned as my old friends are, they don’t have the interest to carry on this kind of talk beyond the basics. (Though my friend Cha and I did once spend an hour deciding that having sex with Captain America would be better than any other Avenger. She gets points for that one.) I also don’t like boring them anymore than they like being bored.

Here’s a quick summary of why the three of us make a good team:

Ivy is a straight up fangirl, with gut reactions, lots of squeeing and a big fan of, “who’d you’d do?” type questions, and one of the biggest cases of CSD I’ve ever seen. (Even bigger than my own!)

Aless is a little more rookie. She knows her stuff and is eager to learn more. She’s also something of a purist, and likes her source material to stay her source material and her adaptations to send her someplace unexpected. She loves cosplay.

Then there’s me. I’m the analyst. When I find something I like, I’m going to dive in. I’m going to research it. And of course, I’m going to write about it.

What I’m saying is that being around these women is making me better at what I do here. And I’m grateful for that.

The Ultimate Fangirl Council is not an exclusive group, you’re welcome to join up if you think you have something to offer us. (Love for Dick Grayson and Jace Wayland is probably our only real requirement.)

Ben-Man: The Greatest Announcement I have ever heard

He can rock the tux. He's halfway there

He can rock the tux. He’s halfway there

When I heard last night that Ben Affleck was going to play Batman, I was not conflicted. I was not even conflicted in a vague way. I was not upset. I was so happy about it I almost burst into tears.

This is the kind of out of the box, unthinkable casting that I was hoping for in this movie.

I also just flat out love Ben Affleck.

If you watch my facebook page (which you should), I said that I was going to be writing about Batman again this week. This wasn’t what I meant. I meant I was going to post a piece I’ve been working on for months and saving. (I will still probably post it.) I meant I was going to write about how I was finally reading the “Knightfall” storyline. I meant that I reviewed JLU “Epilogue.”

I didn’t think that they were going to announce the new casting this week. I really didn’t. I absolutely didn’t think that it was going to be Ben Affleck.

How do you like them apples?

How do you like them apples?

But here’s the thing I love Ben Affleck. I love Mallrats. I love Good Will Hunting. I love Pearl Harbor, and I really love his work in the past five or so years since he decided to get serious.

And he was the bomb in Phantoms!

And he was the bomb in Phantoms!

I love that he seems to live by my personal philosophy when it comes to entertainment , “take what you do seriously, but don’t for a minute imagine that it’s serious.” I love that he seems to really love his wife and children, I love that he loves his friends. I loved Argo and the way that the whole world seemed to root for him this past year, when I’ve been rooting for him since I was about 13.

Do I think he’ll be a good Batman? I really can’t say at this point. It’ll have to wait. We need a clearer picture of what this movie is going to be before I can rule on that.

But right now? Right now I’m just really excited that one of my favorite actors ever is going to be playing my favorite character ever, I’m going to just bask in that for a while before I start analyzing it.

Also, if one more person says, “But Daredevil was awful!” I’m going to throw things at them. Matt Murdoch is not Bruce Wayne. Daredevil was made in a pre Iron Man, pre Dark Knight trilogy world. The stakes are higher now, and the people making the movie know that.

And that’s all the analysis that you’re getting from me. Enjoy this joke from the Mallrats opening credits that is now much funnier.

Kevin Smith? Funny chubby guy, or pop culture prophet?

Kevin Smith: Funny chubby guy, or pop culture prophet?

All The Stories Are True: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

City of Bones

When I reviewed Pacific Rim a few weeks ago, I talked about how it was a very good example of the kind of movie it wanted to be. It was the best possible movie about giant monsters and robots that fight each other.

The Mortal Instruments both the book series and now this movie, are kind of like that. It is a ridiculous concept about an order of half angels who fight demons and an absurdly complicated love story between two beautiful but mostly idiotic demon hunter children. One of them is the greatest demon hunter in several generations (the only person better than him was his great great grandpa…it’s a long story), the other one has magical drawing powers. For two books in this six book series, they think that they’re brother and sister.

It’s all pretty stupid. It’s a stupid teenage paranormal romance. But it’s so very good. And the movie did an amazing job adapting it.

Like so many adaptations, it comes down to picking the right people to fill the characters shoes, something that City of Bones was aces on. Let’s start with Lilly Collins as Clary Fray. Clary, like most heroines of these kinds of stories is a bit of an every woman. You know, pretty but not conventionally so, and completely unaware of it. But Clary does distinguish herself by being aware that she’s deeply talented and homicidally brave. Collins hits Clary on the head. She’s bright, funny, engaging and struggling, but willing to accept the new magical world blooming around her.

I had my doubts about Jamie Campell Blower as Jace Wayland, the boy Clary loves. (Not actually her brother. Though she thinks he is for a while.) Basically, Aless and I both were not sure if he was pretty enough. Jace is supposed to be the most beautiful boy in the world. Blower, isn’t really, thoughhe is gorgeous. But he was incredible, after his physical looks, Jace’s defining characteristic is his razor sharp wit and his deep, deep sarcasm. The script gets Jace’s attitude right and the one liners that define him. When he delivers the line, “I like to reject myself occasionally, just to keep it interesting.” This to me sums up Jace perfectly, and Blower delivered it perfectly.

Robert Sheehan played Clary’s best friend Simon Lewis. Simon is one of my favorite characters ever, and we did get a hint at his future as a vampire here. The seeds are sown, Clary saw that he was bitten. He doesn’t turn until Book 2, so I’m looking forward to getting  a sequel and seeing how they show it. Sheehan gets Simon’s sense of humor, his whole hearted love for Clary and of course his pop culture sensibilities. If Jace’s self rejection defines his character, Simon is defined when Jace introduces himself. “Jace Wayland, demon hunter.” “Simon Lewis, I’m the keymaster.” Any boy who’s first instinct when meeting an actual demon hunter is to quote Ghostbusters at him, is a winner.

Kevin Zegers, Jemima West and Godfrey Gao round out our young cast as Alec and Isabelle Lightwood and Magnus Bane. City of Bones really only touches on these three, so I didn’t mind that they were downgraded, but I really hope their stories don’t get bypassed. Zegers is intense and broody and self loathing as Alec, a character I’ve never really loved. But Zegers does a good job, showing Alec’s unrequited crush on Jace, and his hostility towards Clary because of it. Gao captures Magnus’s easy sex appeal and again sense of humor. Humor is crucial to Mortal Instruments, it’s really what separates it from other work in this genre.

Jemima West gets her own paragraph because she was that good. Isabelle is one of those feminist victories that I love. She’s beautiful, confident, feminine and a stone cold bad ass. We didn’t get into her inappropriate dating life. (Isabelle has a thing for downworlders and mundanes, mostly to try to piss off her parents.) But we do see her single handedly defend the institute from a demon attack. West was clear and focused and gorgeous and Aless and I have decided that we’re backing her to play Wonder Woman. (Our opinion is obviously the most important.)

The adults in Mortal Instruments are great too. Lena Headey plays Jocelyn, Clary’s mother, who to be fair, is unconscious for most of the movie. And the entire second book. But she’s good, Headey is such a phenomenally talented actress. Our main villain, Valentine, is played by Jonathan Reese Meyers, and his few scenes, scowling and snarling his way through them are good. I thought he played him a bit too violently. In the books I saw Valentine as more calculating, a mad scientist who’s less mad and more scientist. Aidan Turner played Luke Garroway, and again, fit the role perfectly. And finally Jared Harris as Hodge Starkweather, the Lightwood and Jace’s tutor, who betrays them all to Valentine.

Plot wise, things stayed true to the book with a few necessary twists. The main one being Clary and Jace. While the movie does end with them believing they’re siblings, we as the audience know that they are not. (Not just because I’ve read the books and know, but because Hodge and Valentine say that they’re going to lie to them to break Clary’s spirit.) This is a decent way to fix a problem that Aless and I couldn’t figure out. It’s one thing in a cult teenage book to have a hefty portion dedicated to your two main characters fighting off incestual attraction. It’s a whole other ball game when it’s a mainstream movie.

Of course when Lena Headey is playing the mom, you could just solve it by her saying, “Eh, it’s totally OK to be with your brother. Just watch out for that first born son.”

Seriously, just watch out.

Seriously, just watch out.


Romeo and Juliet! Ed Westwick as Tybalt. I literally DO NOT CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS MOVIE! ED WESTWICK AS TYBALT!

The Book Theif Right in the feels. God, that book was amazing and I hope the movie is.

Carrie. Not really my thing, but Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz are both so good, I’m sure that this movie will be too.


1. Pacific Rim

2. The Great Gatsby

3. Kick Ass 2

4. The Butler

5. Man of Steel

6. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

7. The Wolverine

8. Iron Man 3

9. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

10. Despicable Me 2

11. Star Trek Into Darkness

12. Monster’s University

13. After Earth

“You can’t just tumble into a girl sideways”: Shipping with Mr. Sorkin

To talk about shipping is, for me, to open a can of worms that will never end. It gets particularly bad when it comes to television shows that I like. I could and have had hours long talks about why it totally sucks that Lucas Scott and Peyton Sawyer ended up together, why Veronica Mars always belonged with Logan Ecchols, Rory Gilmore and Jess Mariano clearly deserved a real chance at a life together and the fact that Serena Vanderwoodsen and Nate Archibald didn’t ever really get it together is criminal.

But unless you really want me to bore the pants off of you, don’t ask me about the collective television work of Mr. Aaron Sorkin and the many, many couples that have quickly walked and talked at each other while falling in love on his watch. Oh God, the epic uncomfortable nerd love! The unending analysis and rippling consequences, there’s nothing else on television like it.

There’s always so much of it, it’s always woven so beautifully into the stories and when it’s done right, it’s some of the most incredible relationship based television ever. When it’s done wrong, it’s Jim Harper and Maggie Jordan.

I used so much energy wishing for them to get together. Now I just want them both to fall off a roof!

I used so much energy wishing for them to get together. Now I just want them both to fall off a roof!

But, oh, the glory of when it’s done right! When it’s right we get Josh Lyman and Donna Moss and their seven year long flirtation. The quote that titles this post is from Donna about Josh’s dating habits, regarding Joey Lucas, who was another amazing Josh Flirtation. It was brought about again when Josh was with Amy Gardner. When I first watched the show, I didn’t care much for Amy, but I’ve come around to her. Josh wasn’t ready for Donna in season 2.

When it’s good, it’s Matt Albie and Harriet Hayes. I don’t just love this relationship because it’s loosely based on Sorkin’s relationship with Kristin Chenoweth.

I've read her book. I understand that their relationship toxic. They were still totally adorable.

I’ve read her book. I understand that their relationship was toxic. They were still totally adorable.

Matt and Harriet were funny, smart and she was a complicated Christian female character. (I love these. There aren’t enough of them.) They ended ambiguously. Of course, everything about Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip ambiguously, because well, it didn’t really end. But still, I would have liked to see him work out his Chenorkin issues over our TVs. Alas, it was not allowed, because Studio 60 was not actually that good a show. But Harriet and Matt were great.

When it’s done right, it’s Casey McCall and Dana Whittaker. It’s two old friends that have loved each other for a long time and are just coming to realize it. It’s that feeling of worry that if the relationship part doesn’t work you’ll wind up trashing the friendship that means so much to you. But in Sorkin-land it’s always worth it. The pay off is witty sexually charged banter, and cute dresses and fancy restaurants at implausible times of the day. Oh, for Casey and Dana it was so worth it.

Sometimes it’s tragic, because sometimes, it’s C.J. Cregg and Simon Donovan. She’s being hunted, he’s protecting her. They’re attracted to each other, but can’t be together. They catch the guy, they kiss. He gets gunned down in trying to stop a convenience store robbery before he can file the paperwork. I ship C.J. and Simon so hard that I get teared up just thinking about them. Luckily, there was the convenient back up of C.J. and Danny. I rarely ship more than one couple over the course of a show. I tend to be very loyal. C.J. was the exception, because she was so damn awesome.

But with The Newsroom, there are so many of them. The show is such a clusterfuck of Sorkin awkward relationships, that my fangirl head can’t keep anything straight, it changes so much. Do I want Will and Mackenzie to be together? Yes, no, I don’t know. I love Jim and Maggie together, I hate Jim and Maggie both together and as individuals. I want Neal to be with the Occupy Wall Street Girl, no, I want Neal to be with Taylor Warren! (Shut up, I couldn’t have been the only person watching on Sunday who wanted to see that happen!) I want Don and Sloan to be together!

It makes me ache inside when I think about how much I want Don and Sloan to be together. I want them to giggle and hold hands in the newsroom, in front of Jim and Maggie. I want Sloan to give smug new happy relationship advice to Mac about her and Will. I want them to get into awkward misunderstandings and go to dinner parties at Elliot’s house, if only so that we can meet Elliot’s wife and children.

I just don’t want them to go away. Because sometimes these things just go away.

Sometimes these things are Sam Seaborn and Mallory O’Brien.

How great would that have been?

Ordinary and Great Moments: The Butler

The Butler isn’t like any other movie I’ve gone to see this summer. It’s more serious, more grounded and of course, based on a true story.

Now, that’s a moniker that obviously always has to be taken with a grain of salt. I don’t know anything about the real Cecil Gaines, but the portrait of him painted by Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and Forrest Whittaker is beyond compelling. His wife Gloria, played incredibly by Oprah Winnfrey is a complicated incredible woman. His two sons, one killed in Vietnam and the other a noted civil rights activist and congressman are also well drawn, as are Cecil’s coworkers in his job at the white house.

The movie is structured phenomenally, as Cecil reflects on his life while he waits to meet with President Obama. He was born on a cotton plantation in Macon, Georgia, and after a tragic day, where his mother is raped and father killed by the youngest son of the white family that owns their means of making a living (and by extension, them) he’s pulled out of the cotton field by the matriarch of the family and trained to be a servant. He runs away as a teenager and winds up working in a hotel in North Carolina, then at the Excelsior Hotel in DC and then the White House.

He was hired during the Eisenhower administration, and Gaines works until The Reagans are in there. It’s clear that Gaines deeply respects the men he serves and that he believes that they have the country’s best interest at heart.

Even Nixon.

Seriously, this movie is nicer to Richard Nixon than my crazy Republican grandfather, and really hates LBJ. To be fair, Nixon was a power mad paranoid criminal, but I doubt anyone would ever accuse him of being a racist. LBJ was a noted racist.

Saint John of Massachusetts (a sarcastic moniker that my mother and I use for JFK) is still surrounded by that golden glow that will follow him throughout history, although they do talk about his pill popping. (Everyone always talks about the womanizing, never the pills). And (rightfully) his awakening about the Civil Rights movement comes mostly from the unseen voice of Bobby Kennedy.

The performances are outstanding, and like I said, the structure of the movie is intriguing. Rather than follow a straight narrative, it’s told through moments. Cecil has a brief conversation about school integration with Eisenhower (played powerfully and with nuance by Robin Williams) not long before Eisenhower sends the National Guard in to Little Rock. He reads Madeline to Caroline Kennedy as The Freedom Riders burn in Alabama, mixes Nixon a martini the night before he resigns. To be fair, the movie doesn’t make it seem like Cecil Gaines talked these great men into doing the things they did, more like, he happened to be the guy in the room while they were contemplating.

But when that guy in the room is a man like Cecil Gaines, who refused to be broken by the Jim Crowe era south, sent both his sons to college and served his country for fifty years? (Also quietly fought for equal pay in the White House, something not achieved til Reagan.) That’s when it’s something special.

The actors portraying the presidents and first ladies were well chosen, if a bit unexpected. Williams in particular as Eisenhower was fantastic. James Marsden’s JFK was eclipsed my Minka Kelly’s Jackie (I’m a little obsessed with Jackie Kennedy right now, but she did a really good job.) Liev Schrieber as LBJ was intense and funny, John Cusack played Nixon as a man, serious and driven (like I said, the film was kinder to him than I ever expected. I say this not because it was a big part of the movie, just it was shocking. Hollywood is never kind to Nixon.) And the Reagans, while I still think having Jane Fonda play Nancy was a huge gimmick, she can rock the suit and the attitude, and Alan Rickman plays Ronald Reagan as a man conflicted, but by then Cecil no longer is.

WInfrey’s performance as the woman left behind is especially powerful. Gloria Gaines is an alcoholic housewife, who kicks the bottle, has an affair, and stands by her husband and children. Cecil’s fellow butlers Carter Wilson and James Holloway are excellent foils for him. Wilson, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. is a bit of a clown, who comes through for his friends, and Holloway by Lennie Kravitz the first of the three of them to speak up.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, and I was captivated by the performances and small moments. Strong also wrote Game Change which I still haven’t seen, and played Jonathan on Buffy, so there’s that. I also didn’t see Precious which was Daniels’s biggest outing. But I enjoyed their work here, so I’m interested in maybe checking out what else it is that they do.


Different batch than I’ve seen before! (Some carry over from Gatsby)

Saving Mr. Banks, about Walt Disney’s acquiring the rights to Mary Poppins from P.L. Travers looks like it’ll be fun, if only to see Jason Scwartzman and B.J. Novak play the Sherman brothers and watch two of my favorite actors ever, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson play off of one another.

Captain Phillips looks incredible. I’m glad Tom Hanks is doing his thing again.

If Julia Roberts wins anything for August: Osage County and Juliette Lewis gets ignored even I will give up on awards shows. Although probably not.

Rankings: This was a tough one because it was so different from the others, but I think I was fair.

1. Pacific Rim

2. The Great Gatsby

3. Kick Ass 2

4. The Butler

5. Man of Steel

6. The Wolverine

7. Iron Man 3

8. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

9. Despicable Me 2

10. Star Trek Into Darkness

11. Monster’s University

12. After Earth

Real World Consequences: Kick Ass 2

Kick Ass 2

Kick Ass 2 is probably the least expected super hero sequel of all time. Let’s face it, Kick Ass was brilliant, funny and original. The story of an ordinary kid who decides to become a super hero and gets his ass handed to him on a regular basis isn’t like anything else. Throw in a real vigilante ex cop and his trained since birth daughter, a mob boss’s kid and you’ve got one of the funniest movies of all time.

Kick Ass 2 picks up with Kick Ass himself Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) retired from superhero life and just being normal. He’s bored but normal. Meanwhile, Hit Girl, MIndy Macready (Chloe Moretz) is continuing to train and patrol, honoring her father Big Daddy’s life’s work. She willfully deceives her guardian, Detective Marcus Williams.

Eventually, Dave goes to Mindy and asks if they can team up. Mindy is reluctant, but does agree to be the Batman to Dave’s Robin. (The exchange between them when they agree on this dynamic is completely classic.)

Eventually, Marcus finds out and makes MIndy promise to give up the superhero life and cut Dave off. She agrees and the ensuing conversation leads to most of their high school thinking Dave just got dumped by a freshman. (More classic.)

Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico, (Christopher Mintz-Platz) or Red Mist, is enraged that Kick Ass got away with killing his father. He wants revenge but his mother and their body guard, Javier (the amazing John Leguizamo) tell him to forget it. Then his mom dies and he reinvents himself as “The Mother Fucker” and decides to become a supervillain.

When Dave and Mindy part ways is when things get really fun. MIndy gets brought in to the high school it crowd but crosses the queen bee when her sick gymnastics skills get her picked as captain of the dance team. This ends with Mindy deciding to be herself and a normal high school girl. It’s pretty cool.

Dave meanwhile, joins up with a team of other home made super heroes called Justice Forever. The other heroes include Colonel Stars and Stripes, Night Bitch, Professor Gravity and Battle Guy. It’s fun and they do good work.

The plot gets real and twisty fast, and the whole point of the movie is that even though they’re all living in a sort of super hero fantasy, there are real world consequences to their actions. The ending is very powerful and the whole movie is very funny, and if they do a Kick Ass 3, it’s set up very well.

Moretz is the kind of treasure of a young actress you really hope doesn’t screw up her life and career, Johnson is a more convincing geeky everyman than say, Adam Brody of Penn Badgely and Mintz-Platz remains one of the better comic actors of the past decade. I also really liked Hit Girl’s costume redesign.

I enjoyed it. Also it was the first outing for new fangirl dream team me and my friend Aless from work. Hi Aless! (We will be going to The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Wednesday. Yay!


Vampire Academy: Didn’t read the books, probably won’t see it.

Bad Grandpa: Dear God why? It does look pretty funny though.

Riddick: How is it possible that this movie hasn’t come out yet? I feel like I’ve been seeing trailers for it forever.

Thor: The Dark World: Oh Sweet Baby Jesus is the new trailer amazing. More of Jane’s plot function, more Loki, Thor taking down some kind of robot thingy with just his hammer. This is the stuff my fantasies are made of friends.

Movie Rankings:

1. Pacific Rim

2. The Great Gatsby

3. Kick Ass 2

4. Man of Steel

5. The Wolverine

6. Iron Man 3

7. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

8. Despicable Me 2

9. Star Trek Into Darkness

10. Monster’s University

11. After Earth

The World of Men: Wonder Woman in the DCAU

I've waited too long to talk about her, and I'm sorry

I’ve waited too long to talk about her, and I’m sorry

I’ve been watching Justice League on Netflix lately, and I have to give it a lot more credit than I ever really did before. I’m really enjoying it. But it still subscribes to one of the biggest problems I have with the DCAU, when it could have really used Wonder Woman as a way to remedy that problem.

I was talking to another fangirl/feminist friend once and said “The problem with women in Batman: The Animated Series is that they can be divided into two categories, evil, or in love with Batman.” And I get it! If I lived in that Universe, I would 100% be in love with Batman. (Hell, I live in this one and I sort of am…) But that there isn’t a single woman who isn’t a sociopath who isn’t? That doesn’t make any sense. Oh, wait, there’s the lady who was engaged to Harvey Dent. But she’s kind of it.

I’m not saying that there aren’t strong female characters in Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, and The New Batman Adventures, but all of these shows are very guilty of a casual form of misogyny. There are female charactersin abundance. Lois Lane, Barbara Gordon, Kara Zor-El, Selina Kyle, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Live Wire, Talia the list goes on. But in Batman in particular, these women are window dressing. Functional, of course, but mostly just there to look good. This isn’t entirely the fault of the creators of the DCAU, but they never did quite right by these ladies. I mentioned this when I talked about the times the shows crossed over, the episode “Girl’s Night Out” is particularly problematic for me. I enjoy it immensely, but hate the silliness and dismissiveness of the plot.

Barbara Gordon could have been the exception. Her relationship with Dick could have been written off as puppy love, and then moved on to her being an independent character. Or they get married, have babies and train those babies to be bad ass crime fighters. This is always the place my mind goes first. (Think of what a better show Batman Beyond would have been if every now and then Terry had to deal with Dick and Barbara’s way better trained progeny getting in his way!) But then Mystery of The Batwoman Batman Beyond had to come along and confirm her and Bruce’s romantic involvement and she loses a bit of her agency.

This is fine, when it’s Batgirl. I mean, it’s not great. It still pisses me off, and is really, really creepy. (To quote my friend John, “It’s not just the age difference, but that she dated his foster son. BOUNDARIES, Bruce.”) When it’s not fine is when a similar dynamic is created between Batman and Wonder Woman.

Oh you read that correctly. There’s a romance between Bruce and Diana that’s a very big part of Justice League Unlimited. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, necessarily to have members of the Justice League hook up. The original Justice League series had a serious relationship develop between Hawkgirl and Green Lantern. It was amazing, but that’s because it was presented as a developing relationship between two equals.

Wonder Woman and Batman’s relationship is more like, “Ah! She has to be with someone! Heaven forbid we have a SINGLE WOMAN portrayed here! Crap, we already made her normal boyfriend, Steve Trevors a WWII spy when they went back in time and now he’s mega old. We can’t break up Lois and Clark, not this far along in their story, and we’ve shown her being disgusted with Flash. I know! Bruce Wayne is a big whore, she can hook up with him!”

It’s really insulting to both characters but also does a huge disservice to Diana. This version of Bruce is kind of used to pushing these sorts of thing aside for the greater good. (See, Gordon, Barbara and Lane, Lois) So when he blows her off and then is sad about it, it’s a little bit stupid but at least characteristic. When she follows after him pouting like Bella Swann and whines about how he doesn’t have legitimate reason to not be with her, it’s annoying and completely out of character.

I’m not saying that it doesn’t make for some great moments. The episode “This Little Piggy” is great and it’s entirely about this relationship. When they all get turned into eight year olds in “Kids Stuff” (My new all time favorite episode of anything.) and L’il Diana is terrible at hiding her crush and L’il John Stewart can’t stop teasing L’il Bruce about it, I nearly wet myself. Also, L’il Clark was not aware there was anything happening. Poor Clark. It must be hard to be in a committed relationship and hang around with those guys.

Look how cute they are!

Look how cute they are!

But those fun moments don’t make up for the arbitrary feeling the relationship has, and the fact that it weakens Diana’s character a lot.

Before I got to Unlimited, I had every intention of being excited that for once we had a main female character in this universe who wasn’t evil or in love with Batman.

There is of course the episode “Maid of Honor,” where it’s made very clear that Diana is into another woman.

So from a feminist perspective that’s pretty cool. But talking about how Wonder Woman may or may not be a lesbian is a topic for another post.

And even when she’s pouting because Batman doesn’t love her, she still kicks a whole lot of ass.

Kind of all the asses.

She kind of kicks all the asses.

Back in The Game: Despicable Me 2 continues the cute

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me was one of the best surprises I’ve ever had. I expected the movie to be a sort of loud, colorful distraction.

Which it was, but it was also heartfelt, and really very funny. Steve Carrell’s voice performance as Gru is one of the best comic creations from this genius.

Despicable Me 2 follows in the same vein. Gru has settled in to life as a single father to his adorable girls, Margot, Edith and Agnes. The girls are getting a little grown up. Sharp as a tack Margot is starting to get interested in boys, tom boy Edith has developed her ninja skills, and imaginative little Agnes has started to understand that unicorns and fairies aren’t real, but still thinks that it’s fun to pretend.

After throwing a princess themed birthday party for Agnes, that ends with Gru dressing up as a fairy princess (the actress he hired cancelled at the last minute and he couldn’t stand to see his little girl disappointed), our hero/villain is abducted by Agent Lucy Wyatt of The Anti Villain League. The AVL has decided to recruit Gru to help them investigate and detain someone who has been developing a dangerous mutagen. They need someone who can understand how a villain thinks.

Lucy is voiced by Kristin Wiig, and she’s very lovable. She and Gru of course end up together after some complications. I enjoyed Wiig’s performance, even though, as an SNL watcher, I grew tired of her schtick about three years ago.

(Seriously, by the time Bridesmaids came out, I was like, “ugh, more of this?”)

Gru’s little yellow minions remain the stars of this show, though. Their antics are just funny enough to not be annoying, and they are central to the villain, El Macho’s plot.

There’s a lot of fun to be had in this movie, and the ending, where Agnes gets up, clears her throat and announces that she “would like to make some toast,” is one of the most accurate portrayals of little kid behavior I have ever seen.


Missed them AGAIN, this time because I walked into the wrong theater in the multiplex and got myself settled in. My show started at 11:15, and it was 11:20, and the theater was still totally empty…then I looked at my ticket.

I did catch Ender’s Game again. I’m still psyched for it.


1. Pacific Rim

2. The Great Gatsby

3. Man of Steel

4. The Wolverine

5. Iron Man 3

6. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

7. Despicable Me 2

8. Star Trek Into Darkness

9. Monsters University

10. After Earth.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Great Prophecies and Retconning

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters

To say that I “like” the modern mythical world that Rick Riordan created for Percy Jackson and The Olympians series and then continued in The Heroes of Olympus and expanded in The Kane Chronicles would be kind of an understatement. A more accurate one would be that I am wholeheartedly obsessed and love every bit of these series. I’ve written about them before, here if you want my primer on the subject, and here, talking about The Mark of Athenathe most recent installment. I was hugely disappointed in The Lightning Thief, the film adaptation of the first book.

It wasn’t that the movie wasn’t good. It was. It was funny and cute, and the action was great. The problem was that these stories are meant to be in a series and The Lightning Thief is really only supposed to be part 1. So it’s hard to make it stand on it’s own as a narrative, and to do so, you have to take away a lot of stuff and make characters that are deep and complicated into 2 dimensional cut outs.

I’m referring of course, to the villain of Percy Jackson and The Olympians, Luke Castellan. Luke is an incredibly well drawn character in the books, filled with rage, confusion, split loyalties and of course some evil.

In The Lightning Thief the movie, he’s just kind of a whiny douche bag.

Sea of Monsters does a slightly better job with Luke and with the epic narative of the story in general. It also manages to capture the fun kid friendly tone of the books, without the pandering silliness that sometimes gets confused. It’s visually beautiful and Logan Lerman continues to lead a perfectly cast group.

I love the way Lerman plays Percy, as slightly cocky and always in just a little bit over his head. The script does a wonderful job of showing Percy’s angst and loneliness as the only child of Poseidon. Rather than relying on voice over, which is only used as book ends. Most of it is shown by Percy sitting on the beach and talking in vain to the Long Island Sound, trying to reach out to his father with no response.

Hooray for good casting!

Hooray for good casting!

He gets a response, just not quite the one he was looking for. Poseidon sends Percy a half brother, in the form of Tyson, a young cyclops. Tyson’s origins are played with a little bit. In the books he’s a homeless kid who attends school with Percy. Here he’s been living on his own in the woods of upstate New York. But in intent, he’s the same. Tyson is an innocent, is absurdly strong and it takes Percy a while to come around to the idea that they’re brothers. Tyson is played by Douglas Smith, who I’ve never seen before, but who I liked a lot.

Back were Alexandra Daddario and Brandon T. Jackson as Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood. One of my big problems with the movies is that they don’t really do Annabeth justice. Annabeth is fierce, intelligent and driven. In the movies, she’s just kind of Percy’s girlfriend. This time they did a little bit of a better job, dealing with her guilt over her friend Talia Grace’s death and her rage at Luke for turning against them. I was disappointed that they skipped over Percy and Annabeth discussing their fatal flaws. Annabeth thinks she can fix everything and Percy would burn the world down to save the people he loves. But Daddario does a really good job with her and infuses her with feelings and nuance that the script doesn’t really give her.

Brandon T. Jackson plays Grover very differently from how I interpret the character when I read, but I still like it. I think of Grover as a kind of nerd, until he comes into his own in book 4. But Jackson plays him more like that guy in middle school who was really cool, but wasn’t like the other guys so he was kind of a misfit, and then when everyone grows up a little they realize how cool that guy was. It’s an interesting take and I really enjoy it.

Also back, Jake Abel as Luke. Luke’s motivation to serve the Titan Kronos and that he’s being manipulated are brought in here, so he becomes a more complex villain, which was all I really wanted from him. Yay!

New to the game is Leven Rambin as Clarisse LaRue, a daughter of Ares. Rambin does a great job with Clarisse’s stubbornness and arrogance, and I like the way that her and Percy’s rivalry is portrayed, but annoyed that again it loses a layer. Here it’s playful and fun, in the books it’s a blood feud caused by Percy’s insult to her father. Also Rambin is too pretty, but that’s another fight entirely.

We also get a quick cameo by Nathan Fillion as Hermes. I was so excited for this scene, it was really the main reason I went out of my way to see the movie today. Hermes is running OPS (Olympic Parcel Service). Generally I loved the way that they brought the larger Greek world into this story. We see the special ATM cards the demi gods carry that allow them to get drachmas. We met the Fates, and we saw OPS. Fillion is funny and witty, has no time for Annabeth and tell Percy not to give up on his family. Also he makes a Firefly joke that I laughed way too hard at.

Hermes: This is a collectible from Hercules Bashes Heads.
Tyson: Hercules Bashes Heads?
Hermes: Best show ever! But of course they cancelled it after one season.

Remember last week when I had a totally inappropriate weepy reaction to The Wolverine? I laughed wayyyy too hard at that joke. It’s not even a great joke.

Anyway, Anthony Head took over for Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, the centaur that trains the heroes of Camp Half Blood and it was a welcome change. I do love Brosnan, but seeing Head teaching teenagers about magic and fighting again was a great joy. He and Lerman was particularly great together as the discussed The Great Prophecy and Percy’s destiny.

As for the Great Prophecy itself, in the book it reads:

A half blood of the eldest gods

Shall reach 16 against all odds

And see the world in endless sleep

The hero’s soul, a cursed soul shall reap

A single choice shall end his days

Olympus to preserve or raze.

The prophecy is gently changed, since in the movies, Percy is already past 16. Basically, it says it will come true when he turns 20.

The ending gets a tweak, to again allow the movie to be a stand alone sequel but I hope it isn’t. Mostly because after seeing Paloma Kwiatkowski as Talia Grace, even just for a moment, I really very badly want to see her become a Hunter of Artemis, and I really, really want to see Nico and Bianca DiAngelo.


Missed most of them, due to a long snack line. But saw Frozen teaser again.

Also, the Rio 2 trailer is super cute. Rio is an underrated little gem of a movie, and I’m interested in what the sequel will do.

Movie Season Rankings:

1. Pacific Rim

2. The Great Gatsby

3. Man of Steel

4. The Wolverine

5. Iron Man 3

6. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

7. Star Trek Into Darkness

8. Monsters University

9. After Earth