If you were the creator of Lexcorp, you would have created Lexcorp

While I obviously didn’t join in the collective rending of garments that ensued when Ben Affleck was cast in Man of Steel: Wait That Guy?, I am starting to wonder what exactly Zach Snyder is planning for this movie to be. Because with today’s news that Jesse Eisenberg will be taking on the role of Lex Luthor, I find myself thinking, wait, really?

I mean, really?

I mean, really?

I like Jesse Eisenberg, a lot. And in fact, if he plays Lex Luthor the way he played Mark Zuckerberg, this is going to be an interesting movie. Actually, I think it’s going to be an interesting movie none the less, with Holden McNeil as Batman, a Superman who kind of blends into the background, and Israeli Wonder Woman and a thirty year old character actor as the main bad guy. Like I said back when Affleck was announced, I’m really excited about the sort of out of the box casting choices, but this one really came out of left field. And unlike Affleck, who’s work I really love, and Gal Gadot who’s a wild card, I’m just not sure I can see Eisenberg taking on this character, who is, frankly, kind of difficult to pull off.

But, as I’ve said, there’s a reason why I write a blog about this stuff and the guys that make this stuff make it. And as I’ve said a million times, I really liked Man of Steel, so I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, but I’m just starting to wonder if Man of Steel: Zuckerberg’s Revenge isn’t going to be kind of a mess. (I’ve also stated that I’d be happy to watch the train wreck as well.)

In tandem with this announcement came the news that Jeremy Irons is going to be playing Alfred. Being that Irons is British and over 50, this is less of a surprise and more of a, “Yeah, OK, that guy.”

Also, Eisenberg as Lex Luthor does allow you to rewatch The Social Network as a movie about Luthor double crossing Peter Parker…so that’s kind of fun.

The Social Network

Obviously, that was Sorkin & Fincher’s Original Intent.

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Literally, the weirdest actor pattern of them all

Hey guys, it’s been a while since we identified a Weird Actor Pattern. This is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while and decided it was time to flush it out.

Rob Lowe leaves shows that he’s great on before the show is over.

I’m a big fan of Rob Lowe. Having been an integral part of both The West Wing and Wayne’s World means that I’ve spent a lot of time with the characters that he played and they were a big part of my growing up.

Also, he looked like this, while I was in the throes of puberty, sooo...

Also, he looked like this, while I was in the throes of puberty, sooo…

Anyway, let’s talk about The West Wing. Rob Lowe played Sam Seaborne, the brilliant, talented awesome speech writer who wanted to maybe be president some day. What’s interesting about early episodes of The West Wing, is that it’s very clear the show was supposed to focus on Sam, but it became increasingly about President Bartlett and Josh Lyman because they were just more interesting as characters. But Sam was still pretty great. And then halfway through season 4, he was gone. Sam ran for congress, wound up losing and then, I think went into private law practice? He wound up coming back as Josh’s deputy chief of staff for President Santos. But for a good long while, there was just no Sam.

After The West Wing came Brothers & Sisters. I was a big fan of Brothers & Sisters, even before Rob Lowe showed up, because it made me fall in love with Emily Van Camp, but Lowe played Robert McAllister, the love of Kitty Walker’s (Calista Flockhart) life. Kitty and Robert were the only Republicans in the staunchly liberal Walker clan, they got married, they had a kid, they were politically active and he again ran for congress. This time he won! But Kitty and Robert started having marriage problems, and I saw the writing on the wall. But rather than getting divorce and him disappearing like Sarah Walker’s husband, Robert was killed in a fiery car crash ten minutes after he and Kitty made up. (Because that’s how Brothers & Sisters rolled.)

And now there’s Parks And Recreation. I’m no end of sad that tonight Chris Traegar and Ann Perkins will be departing Pawnee. I know a lot of people who aren’t huge fans of Ann, but I’ve always loved the more balanced energy that she brings to the show. But this isn’t about the underrated genius Rashida Jones this is about how we’re now losing literally the best character on the show. Well, maybe not really, but losing Chris is going to be a blow to Parks & Rec, his manic energy fits so well with the rest of the gang, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the show moves on.

Really, I see this whole thing not being great for Ben and Leslie’s marriage, their best friends leaving when they’re already having boundary issues.

Why Veronica Mars Wins at Feminism

We used to be friends

We used to be friends

Over the past few days I’ve been rewatching Veronica Mars, this way when I go see the movie in March, it won’t have been years since I last checked in with V and her gang, so I can pay attention to things like, say, plot, rather than trying to remember who everyone is and what they did over the course of the 3 seasons. I mentioned that until the trailer hit I was kind of refusing to believe that the movie was actually happening, and I love that it is because unlike a certain other group of people who’s show got taken away from them. (They wear coats, that are brown…) Veronica Mars fans were very cool and Veronica-ey about it. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the theory behind the neo noir genius.

The high water mark when it comes to discussing feminism and teen TV has always been Buffy The Vampire Slayer. There’s a good reason for that. Buffy’s life as metaphor style lends itself very well to a non threatening discussion of women’s issues. Veronica Mars wasn’t like that. There was no metaphor, no “high school is hell,” no physical demons to stand in for the metaphorical. So there was nothing to hide those discussions behind. Just an angry little girl, who’d been through some traumatic shit and didn’t want to take it any more.

When people talk about Veronica Mars, they talk about the cool plot structure, and the witty one liners. They talk about Kristen Bell. Here’s what they don’t talk about, the fact that Veronica is a rape survivor.

This is a show about a teenage girl who was drugged at a party and left in a bedroom and then sexually assaulted. When she tries to go to the proper authorities she’s laughed out of the room, and she’s then labeled as a slut and a trouble maker and is socially exiled as she rebuilds her life.

Veronica Mars is about a girl who was murdered by the older man she was having an affair with, and how he got away with it because he was wealthy and famous. It’s about a girl who got pregnant and who’s agency was taken from her by her controlling family at the expense of her life. It’s about young men who are abused sexually and physically. It’s about a series of rapes on a college campus and a million little stories in between, all of which get some Hollywood shine treatment but aren’t beaten around the bush. Veronica Mars may take place in the SoCal sunshine, but it was really really dark and really really important in that darkness.

When you think about it that way, it’s not that shocking that Veronica Mars only got three seasons on network TV, it’s shocking that it even made it to air and amazing that they kept the tone up. And while yes, the way was paved by Buffy, Veronica acted on that legacy in a huge and distinctly more direct manner. Veronica Mars dealt with rape, abuse, slut shaming, teen pregnancy, single parenthood, socio economic class distinctions and realistic depictions of grief and on top of it gave you characters you couldn’t help but love.

There’s a reason why it wasn’t until I watched it again that I even thought about these things. Because when I think about Veronica Mars, I’m not thinking about the tough issues that they dealt with. I remember “Annoy little blonde one, annoy like the wind!” I remember Logan and Veronica showing up to his birthday party and him telling everyone that “If you have a problem with Veronica, you have a problem with me.” I remember Keith not showing up at the airport after graduation. I remember Weevil’s “Lilly” tatoo. It’s a testament to how well crafted the show was that it addressed serious issues without ever feeling like “a very special episode of Veronica Mars.” 

So, while I know that Veronica Mars, the movie, has less time to deal with these underlying issues that made the show something special, it it is still dealing with violence against women, and I hope that they approach it with the same attitude they did on the show. Because that would be something really amazing and worth watching.

Not that seeing Veronica and Logan get back together won’t be worth watching…it totally is. Also, I am watching an episode now, while reading Batgirl: Death of The Family. So, I’m winning at girl power at the moment.

DC Animated Movies: Green Lantern: First Flight

First Flight

I’m really into Green Lantern at the moment. Like, really, really. So I’m pretty psyched that there’s a good number of GL stories that are presented in these movies, because it means I get to spend a lot of time with the Corp. I think my favorite thing is that there is a reason that the Green Lantern Corp is called “Space Cops” colloquially. At their heart, all Green Lantern stories are about solving crimes and bringing criminals to justice. It’s like Law and Order: Space Victims Unit, which is why it was such a great idea to cast Christopher Meloni as Hal Jordan this time around.

First Flight is a space opera, but like most space operas it has an earth bound counterpart. Most link up with Westerns. It’s logical. But not Green Lantern: First Flight. The planet Oa is a police station, The Guardians the CO and Hal is a new recruit. He’s partnered for training with Sinestro, who’s the respected sergeant, but when it turns out Sinestro’s dirty, Hal, with his fresh newbie eyes, is the only one who can see it. It’s a pattern that never fails, and rather than focusing on Hal’s earth bound life (which is also super interesting) this time around we see the colorful and interesting Green Lantern Corp. In particular we spend a lot of time with Kilowog, who’s a character that I like a lot. We also spend a lot of time with Sinestro, who’s a great villain and voiced here by Jesus himself, Victor Garber. The story is basically sets up their life long rivalry and the founding of the  yellow powered Sinestro Corps.

While we don’t see Hal’s life on earth, it’s there. He’s working for Ferris Air, there’s some relationship between him and Carol, and he comes upon the body of Green Lantern Abin Sur, and becomes the first human Green Lantern. Once he gets to Oa, he an Sinestro chase down Abin Sur’s murderer, who is in league with an intergalactic crime boss named Kanjar-Ro. Ro and Sinestro are trying to harness the energy of The Yellow Element, which is just as powerful as the green, but it’s opposite. (The old joke about GL is that his weakness is the color yellow, which actually used to be true, though it’s a little more nuanced than that.) There’s an epic action packed battle, lots of GLs die. In the end, of course, the Corp prevails and Hal leads them in “The Green Lantern Oath.” It’s a nice little moment.

I’ve made the decision not to rank these movies, but First Flight, wouldn’t be high on my list. While the movie does well by the action peices and features two really stellar voice performances, it’s not as captivating as those that came before in the “DC Universe” series that it’s a part of. It’s hardly bad, I mean this isn’t Mystery of The Batwoman level of apathy, it just didn’t spark with me the way that The New Frontier and Wonder Woman did.

Up next, Batman/Superman: Public Enemies. DVD should arrive tomorrow. But I’m also rewatching Veronica Mars right now, so may be a few days before I watch it. Also, I’m heading down to Florida for a long weekend. Generally, I do good work while I’m down there, but we’ll see how it goes. I may be just way too happy to be in the sun to care about much else.!

You wouldn’t understand, but Fangirl totally does

FANGIRL_CoverDec2012

As I’m sitting in my bedroom, and Sarah Brightman is hitting the last few notes of her version of “Music of The Night,” I finish up the end of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. I’m starting that way because I want to remember that. It feels so appropriate. I’ll get to why later. There’s not a lot to say about this book that hasn’t already been said. It seems like pretty much every blogger and site that I read talked about it when it came out a few months ago. I can say that I haven’t devoured a book like this in a while. Not one that wasn’t a part of a series that I’d been waiting for, and I even slept and worked in between starting and finishing The House of Hades, Clockwork Princess and City of Lost Souls. No, I cracked open Fangirl and did not stop except to get out of the tub and get dressed for four hours.

I forgot what this felt like.

Fangirl feels both personal and universal in only the way that the best writing can. God, could I ever relate to Cath, and her desire to disappear into a fantasy world, of getting so into your fic that your other projects wither. Seriously, my Littles Saga, in which I chronicled the love lives of Jimmy and Kelly Riley, the younger siblings of Rick Riley, the Eden Hall varsity captain in D:3 The Mighty Ducks is 6 stories long, and is some of the best writing I’ve ever done. Jimmy was in love with Julie Gaffney, you see, and this was problematic because, well she was Duck and his brother and father were trying to get the Ducks kicked out of school. Kelly was in love with Scooter, the varsity goalie, which was problematic because he was her older brother’s best friend. That was just the basic premise, it spun off in a million directions and I loved the shit out of working on that story. The unending crush of Julie’s best friend from before she met the Ducks? Important plot point. Jimmy’s middle school rival beating the crap out of Tammy Duncan in an alley? Took a while but it made sense once it was written. (And was not my finest hour, even by fanfic standards.) The introduction of Elena Cole, another made up sibling of a minor varsity player character, and her subsequent super dramatic relationship with Dean Portman? While it broke my shipping little heart to not even have Julie and Dean in each other’s orbit this time, it was how I taught myself how to write a decent B story.

I understood having to try to explain this to someone else, when they accidentally found out about it. “No but, I mean, it’s not for real, it’s just fun. I don’t know why, it just is.” I’ve never been a huge slash fan, when a couple isn’t canon, or one of them isn’t an OC, well, I have trouble making that leap. Ducks stuff is different, since the characters are only fourteen when canon ends…anyway. But seeing, laid out in an actual book, terms like “slash” and “canon” and “Mary Sue” and “beta,” well, I couldn’t stop laughing out loud. Fangirl just gets it.

Ostensibly, Fangirl is about growing up. It’s about endings. Main character Cath is racing towards the end of her fic saga, Carry On, Simon Snow, based around the popular Simon Snow book series, which seems like it’s what would happen if Harry Potter had a baby with Twilight and that baby spent all of it’s time reading Gossip Girl. Basically, it sounds like it would be my favorite series of all time. Cath ships Simon/Baz, which I would probably hate, because apparently these two characters are supposed to be involved in a love triangle with a girl named Agatha. She and sister Wren used to hide in Simon Snow fandom to escape their mother’s abandonment and their father’s mental health issues. When they go to college, Wren escapes in more traditional ways. (Lots of partying) And this sort of breaks Cath’s heart. But Cath soon creates her own college life, befriending her roommate, and her roommate’s charming ex boyfriend Levi. By the end Cath has fallen in love, finished Carry On, and the eighth and final Simon Snow book has hit shelves, and Cath and Wren have made up. It’s amazing, and I kind of love that I accidentally chose the right soundtrack for it.

I don’t think much about music. With the exception of musical theatre, I tend not to think about it at all. I like country and Top 40 pop. I like classic rock like Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen. If my sister tells me to listen to something, I do, and I’ll usually like it, but I don’t think about it. Lately I’ve been listening to my Disney Pandora station because I’ve just kind of felt like it. Because of what I’ve liked and disliked, that station plays a lot of Andrew Lloyd Weber and a whole lotta Wicked. Since Wicked and Phantom of The Opera are what got me into fanfiction to begin with, well, it felt somehow right. Also, Weber is probably the most successful fic writer of all time, putting his spin on The Bible, classic literature, movies and even his own work. (Sorry, but Love Never Dies isn’t a sequel, it’s a fanfic.) So hearing Sarah Brightman sing the song that was his ultimate love letter to her, as I finished up Rainbow Rowell’s love letter to a certain kind of quasi art, felt absolutely perfect.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to work on the fic I started last week. (I still write fic occasionally but I don’t post…) It’s a Frozen story, where one of Hans’s brothers shows up to Anna and Kristoff’s wedding and falls in love with Elsa. I also have an idea where they turn Olaf into an actual human and it turns out he’s Elsa’s soul mate…this is just how fangirls think sometimes.

DC Animated Movies: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

There seems to be some kind of block when it comes to Wonder Woman and, I don’t want to say it’s in the mainstream, because people that love superhero movies are frothing at the mouth for her to get the big screen treatment. Even comics writers don’t seem to know what to do with her, as her New 52 version is kind of eh. (But not Odyssey, seriously, I’m all about Odyssey.) For some reason, “hot chick kicks lots of ass and spouts feminism with some basic trappings of Greek Mythology and American Patriotism,” isn’t complicated enough, or is too complicated. I’m not sure which, but somewhere along the line people just stopped paying attention to how she was being treated.

Wonder Woman isn’t hard to do well and Wonder Woman shows that. Over the years, Diana’s origin has gotten murky. Just un-murky it. After a grand war with Ares, Hyppolyta takes her Amazons to the magical island of Themyscira, where they pass unnoticed by time and history. They are also keeping Ares prisoner. One day she shapes a baby girl out of clay and the gods strike the clay with lightening, giving her a daughter, Diana. Diana grows up brave, strong and restless. One day, an American pilot, Steve Trevor is shot down over Themyscira and Diana finds him. The Amazons hold a tournament to decide who will escort Steve home. Diana wins. She gets her three magic items, tiara, bracelet and lasso. They go to America. Ares escapes. Ares attacks America to find Diana. There is a battle. Steve and Diana fall in love. She decides to stay behind and fight crime as Wonder Woman. The End.

It’s really that simple. Yes, there’s more nuance to the plot, including a back story of sour love between Hyppolyta and Ares, a small but awesome conflict between amazon sisters Alexa and Artemis and of course a double cross by Hades. But those basic beats are all that any Wonder Woman story needs. Use that basic frame work to create a live action Wonder Woman movie. Maybe give her pants, because you have the comic book precedent of Odyssey to take that from.

Anyway, my pushing for a live action version shouldn’t take away from how really great Wonder Woman is on it’s own. It was written in part by Gail Simone, which probably helps, because Gail Simone rocks. It’s cheery and fun but doesn’t skimp on the kind of gore and flat out violence that sets Diana apart from Clark and Bruce. Well, that and her vagina, but as far as a fight goes, she was trained as a warrior, and isn’t afraid to go for the kill when necessary. Any halfway decent modern Wonder Woman story should be littered with bodies and no one would say boo about it destroying her character. There’s a screwball comedy element to Diana and Steve’s relationship that’s completely charming. The scene where he takes her to a bar and she drinks him under the table might be my new favorite.

Voice casting is, no surprise, exceptional. Kerri Russel is not who I would have considered for Diana, but only because I’ll always hear her whine from Felicity. But she acquits herself well here. Virginia Madsen is Hyppolyta and Alfred Molina is Ares. They’re both great, and seem to be relishing the over dramatic faux epic lines they have to speak. Rosario Dawson is Artemis, and I’m a big, big fan of hers. (I wanted her to be Catwoman in the Nolan movies.) But of course the big gun here is Nathan Fillion’s performance as Steve Trevor. It’s a precursor to his later work as Hal Jordan but very different, because while Hal and Steve share many surface characteristics (pilots, mostly), Steve’s real job is to be “The Male Lois Lane,” he compliments and contrasts to Diana perfectly. Steve is kind of a mess, but it’s endearing and Fillion plays those particular beats better than anyone just about ever.

Overall I enjoyed this one, and I should be required viewing for anyone who has anything to do with the development of this character moving forward. She’s not that complicated you guys. Just let her be herself.

Up next, Green Lantern: First Flight, I’m skipping Tales of The Black Freighter, since Watchmen isn’t technically a DC title.

Sex and The Thursday Night Sitcom

Here’s the thing about my relationship with Community, which I was reflecting on as the show said good bye to Donald Glover last night. I hope his departure leads to him playing Lando Calrisian in the rumored “Young Han Solo” movie. Think about it. Anyway, I have a pretty complicated relationship with Community. I mean, as complicated a relationship as you can get with a half hour long comedy that you do consistently enjoy.

I can't count the reasons I should stay

I can’t count the reasons I should stay

I really want to love it. It’s like, I’m Carrie Bradshaw and Community is Aiden, and it’s like, I should love it, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a TV show.

If Community were a dude, I would be super into that dude. Community is quirky and loves Doctor Who. Community tells long complicated jokes about Batman. Community gets that deconstructing Chevy Chase’s comic persona is genius. Community appreciates the unique beauty and talent of Ms. Allison Brie. Nerds love Community so much that they were momentarily OK with the idea of a black dude playing Peter Parker.

Basically, Community is a source of good in the world.

But I just don’t love Community.

I don’t. I want to, so badly. Community is so right for me in so many ways. But I don’t know what it is, I’m just not in love with Community. If I went shopping for a wedding dress after Community proposed to me, I’d totally break out into a rash. I’d cheat on Community with my married asshole ex boyfriend, I don’t know who that is, I guess The Big Bang Theory.

Mr. Big Bang Theory?

Mr. Big Bang Theory?

I’m always going to go back to The Big Bang Theory, I’m going to be thrilled when The Big Bang Theory comes to find me in Paris because I made the mistake of moving there with Glee. (Glee is totally the Petrovsky. Seducing me with it’s promise of comedy and music and then it turns out it’s just a big jerk who only cares about it’s own agenda.) I’m going to go totally overboard and freak The Big Bang Theory out while planning our wedding, so that it leaves me at the altar, and then forgive it and marry it because it drives my pregnant friend to the hospital when her water breaks. Then I’ll run into Community while I was on vacation in Abu Dhabi and The Big Bang Theory and I were having problems. Then Community and I would kiss and things would be weird, but I’d still make up with The Big Bang Theory at the end.

So sorry Community. I know you’re better for me. I know that a decade later people will still be saying, “Why didn’t you pick Community?” But I’m just not going to.

Of course Parks and Recreation, that’s a different story. Parks and Rec and I are Charlotte and Harry. We got off to a rocky start, but now, we’re True Love Forever!