Westworld Wednesday: I can’t help you

Sometimes I really hate the internet.

I’ve been doing my best not to follow Westworld theorizing, because I really enjoyed watching the twists unfold as I watched the first four episodes while catching up. I am, however, somewhat plugged in to various media sites, and thus some of the stuff seeps into my brain.

I am now almost 100% certain that William is The Man In Black and that Dolores is Wyatt. I’m curious how this all comes to a head in the final episode of the season, and what the “5 year plan” looks like and why in the hell the internet is so damn good at guessing what’s going to happen on this show!!!

Seriously, I read several threads about how Bernard is a host version of Arnold, which I dismissed immediately. (I am wrong about this show a lot…) and the only thing that I can pinpoint is that the storytelling on Westworld is very, very good.

Here’s a thing that the internet ruined. Narrative twists should not come out of nowhere, the job of a writer is not to trick their audience and blow them away with a wild out of the blue sky ending. That’s bad writing. It is also not the job of audience to dissect every inch of something to figure out the twists. It’s not the only job, I should say. It’s not the only way to enjoy a story.

I like seeing the strings sometimes, I enjoy on a second or third go round of something seeing hints to the ending, figuring out the formulas. It’s a lot of fun. But I also like seeing something unfurl, or come together, or as I’m finding in the case of Westworld, do a little bit of both.

So I’m trying to stay away from internet chatter on this show, as it seems to be dedicated exclusively to figuring out what comes next and what the secrets are. And that’s fine, but it’s not what I want.

That said, Dolores is absolutely Wyatt, and Maeve’s robot army is gonna be BALLIN.

And Elsie lives! (OK, not that last one.)

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It Calls Me

Moana.jpeg

I had very high expectations going into Moana that I tried very hard to temper so as not to be disappointed.

There really wasn’t a need. Moana delivers something so special and well, magical, that I’m having trouble quantifying it. I know this music is special, I know these characters are among the best I’ve ever seen, I know I just saw a cleaner more perfect version of The Hero’s Journey than I’ve seen in a while.

Let’s start with the music. I’m biased because, as I said to Kristi the other night while we ate dinner, “I think that Lin-Manuel Miranda might be the best person to ever live, like on the earth?” I was exaggerating, but I really do think he’s incredible, and this music is insanely good, the way that only someone who’s such a nerd about musical theater could create. Frozen has good songs, but often failed dramatically as a musical, which is why I likened it more to Aladdin over Beauty And The Beast. Moana, is Beauty And The Beast level in it’s success as a musical. No song is wasted, and Moana’s assertion of herself in “I Am Moana” makes “Let It Go,” feel like a quiet squeak of burgeoning confidence. “How Far I’ll Go,” is by far my favorite of the bunch, but “You’re Welcome,” is as charming a piece of music we’ve seen come out of Disney since Menken stopped his output and “We Know The Way,” is exceptionally beautiful.

Moana herself is a treasure. She’s torn between her duty to her family and village (as the Chief’s daughter, she’s in training to take over one day) and her mystical calling by the ocean to save the world. When she finds the way to reconcile it, well, it’s heartwarming and more than a little surprising. As for Maui, well, he’s great, voiced by The Rock, singing Lin-Manuel songs, artfully animated, and thoroughly human, he’s going to be an influence on a lot of people.

The plot is a standard Hero’s Journey so lightly and beautifully executed I’m at a loss to describe it. Everything old Joe Campbell taught is is present, the call to adventure, the vision in the cave, the leaving home, the obstacles to overcome and even the return home.

Moana is wonderful. I don’t have anything left to say about it.

Rankings

  1. Moana
  2. The Nice Guys – REALLY long run at the top. The longest any movie has had in the past 3 years…but well, yeah…I don’t have anything else to say.
  3. Don’t Think Twice
  4. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  5. Queen of Katwe
  6. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
  7. Pete’s Dragon
  8. Ghostbusters
  9. Captain America: Civil War
  10. Kubo And The Two Strings
  11. Star Trek Beyond
  12. The Magnificent 7
  13. Doctor Strange
  14. X-Men: Apocalypse
  15. The Legend Of Tarzan
  16. Suicide Squad
  17. Finding Dory
  18. Independence Day: Resurgence
  19. Alice Through The Looking Glass

What’s Up Once Upon A Time: “The Changelings”

We’re back this week! And Oh, boy are we ever back! All kinds of Bonkers shenanigans.

So that’s what’s with the baby snatching!

So, of course Rumple’s mother is a fairy and that’s why he hates fairies. (Did we know that he hates fairies, I feel like this is new information. ANYWAY, he steals babies so as to traumitize The Black Fairy (his mother, and like I’m 90% she’s the one under the hood now…) or something, and Belle is done, so she makes an agreement with The Blue Fairy to give away her son, so that Rumple can’t get to him. I has a sad.

Why Can’t Regina Be Happy?

She can’t forgive Zelena! She explains that she wants her sister to find redemption and happiness, but she’ll never be able to forgive her or have her in her life.

Yet another sad.

What’s Emma’s Problem?

She found the sword that’s going to kill her and the vision are getting worse. She luckily has the world’s most supportive boyfriend, who does things like get choked out by Rumple for her, and go on weird sword hunts.

Did Snow And Charming Have Something To Do?

Charming was for sure in sleepytown, but Snow and Jasmine had a little chat that lead to her and Aladdin deciding they needed to find a genie who could grant them the wish to find Agrabah.

My Boyfriend’s Back!

He turned himself into a genie. Hmm, I don’t see this ending terribly well, but I bet he’ll look good doing it. (Cue my sister, “ew.”)

 

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil Season 1 Episodes 5 & 6

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, if you were celebrating! I assume that you’re watching

daredevil

Episode 5: “World On Fire” 

I remember calling this, “the shipping episode” as it’s divided pretty clearly into a Matt and Claire section, a Foggy and Karen section and a Fisk and Vanessa section. It is, also, however one of those kind of weak filler episodes that all of these shows have. It’s about moving the pieces to get to the next spot, which is naratively necessary, but not always super compelling.

After her kidnapping, Claire and Matt talk about his powers, his “world on fire” vision, she tells him she thinks he’s skirting too close to the edge of darkness, which mostly just pisses him off, but she’s probably right. Matt asks her to stay with him until he settles things with The Russians and Fisk, she agrees but is not thrilled about it.

Meanwhile, Matt and Foggy take on the case of Mrs. Cardenas, a woman who’s being pushed out of her apartment building. Matt goes to Officer Brett Mahoney (YAY!) and asks for information on the landlord, while Foggy and Karen go to the big old fancy law firm that the guys decided not to work with and Foggy dismantles his ex girlfriend. Karen and Foggy are then adorable, fixing up the apartment and eating food together, and they’re perfect, the end.

Fisk and Wesley tell Vladimir that it was the man in the mask that killed Anatoly, which sets him down a path, but also, they wind up blowing him up while Fisk and Vanessa have dinner, and he strikes a new deal with Owlsley, Nobu and Madame Gao. Matt beats up some people to get more information about Fisk, but doesn’t really get much of anything.

Like I said, pieces moving.

Episode 6: “Condemned” 

“We’re not so different, you and I,” the villain says to the hero. It’s a little bit of a cliche, but when you’re doing the groundwork to set up an epic rivalry, having a protagonist and antagonist who mirror one another isn’t the worst thing you can do, and this episode actually executes the trope pretty well, when, after Fisk has half of Hell’s Kitchen blown up, Matt takes Vladimir to a warehouse and fixes him up, trying to get more information on Fisk.

In the end the hero and the villain wind up talking over a walkie-talkie, Fisk trying to stall in order to get enough false evidence together to make the explosions look like they’re Matt’s fault. It’s a wonderfully well done scene, just, you know, a little hacky. Meanwhile, Ben URICH (I said Carson last week because I’m an insane person? Who knows…) is trying to figure out what’s actually happening, Foggy is in the hospital and Karen is freaking out because they can’t reach Matt.

Claire is also freaking out because her kind of boyfriend is trying to save the life of the man who kidnapped and beat her, and also that whole explosion thing. But it is nice for Matt to have someone to talk to.

Other Things

  • Matt’s super smell comes into play here, he explains that he can smell copper in the air when Claire’s stitches open up. Also he explains his “world on fire” super vision, and it’s really cool, and actually one of my favorite scenes in the show.
  • Foggy and Karen FOREVA!!!! I’m still a little mad at the show for pushing her and Matt together, because they’re amazing.I mean, I get it, but it still sucks.
  • Vanessa brings a gun to her date with Fisk, because she is a stone cold badass.
  • I know there’s a lot less Claire from here on out, and I’m braced for it, but it’s still a bummer.

 

Westworld Wednesday: I Remember You

Guys! A couple of big things happened this time around.

First things first, Teddy now remembers The Man In Black and his attack on Delores. He want to kill him, but of course he can’t, which he still thinks is because of his morals not because of his being a robot. But The Man In Black is now being taken hostage by a woman who’s involved with Wyatt, who I think we’re meeting next week and who I have a creeping suspicion might be William.

Unless The Man In Black is William. But who the hell knows at this point.

Maeve is now playing the game on God Mode, and it’s amazing. She’s rewriting storylines, she’s remembering that The Man In Black killed her and her daughter, and that was the first time that she couldn’t shake a memory. This is played out beautifully, cut between Maeve, The Man in Black and Ford. Also, music is so important to this show and while Maeve subtly plays with Hector’s raid on Sweet Water, we hear music from The Nutcracker, which, if you don’t know, is a story about toys that come to life and fight their own battles.

Hmm…

Oh, also, Board Member Tessa Thompson enlists Lee Sizemore to help her foil Ford, who, probably won’t be foiled. Oh, and Other-Other-Hemsworth (Luke?) tries to be nice to Bernard, who is having a bit of a crisis, and can you blame him? But he basically brushes him off. While I’m excited to see what happens with Bernard, if it’s not helping Maeve lead the robot uprising, I barely care.

William and Delores also do a thing, and she has a vision of shooting herself in the head, and OMG THIS IS SO BORING.

Two more episodes. I hope we get some convergence soon, or at least confirmation that there are multiple time lines, other wise, bad story telling.

We need to talk about Supergirl Season 2

I was worried about Supergirl season 2. Mostly because Calista Flockhart left and the idea of Supergirl without Cat Grant sounded preposterous. And also, because the show’s move in network and location might spell doom. I lived through the WB/UPN merger into The CW, I saw what happened to shows I loved. Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars both lost their identity in that transition. One Tree Hill as well, but I think we’ve covered that.

I shouldn’t have been worried. The show has done a number of things to make sure that it stays afloat and after last night’s episode, I kind of can’t believe that it’s done as well as it has. The introduction of new characters (Mon-El, M’gann M’Orzz and Lena Luthor) have filled in the Cat shaped hole (it does take all three to do it, which is saying something.) and the coming out narrative for Alex Danvers has been beautifully and lovingly handled.

I’m less thrilled about James Olsen’s decision to become Guardian, though love what it’s done for Winn’s storyline, which was getting bogged down a bit into what I call, “Caitlin land” where they get nothing to do on their own.

Next week Kara heads over to Earth-1. (What number is Kara’s earth? 3? Can someone tell me this.) And I can barely contain my excitement. Almost as excited as I was when we learned that Batman is almost certainly a thing on Kara’s earth.

See, while Kara was denouncing Guardian she mentioned a vigilante that Clark once worked with, who had, “a lot of gadgets and a lot of issues.” That’s the only one person who that could be right?

I mean right????

You should understand, I’m less concerned about Batman himself interacting with Kara as I am about others who are related to him. You know, ex sidekicks. One in particular, and maybe not the one you think.

yessss

Very important.

Now, I understand that Kara of Supergirl and Kara of The New 52 are like, not even a little bit the same. And actually, TV Kara would fit better with Dick or Tim than Jason, but ever since this issue of Supergirl came out 2 years ago, I’ve been fixated on these two together.

And it could theoretically happen, now! I mean, I know just theoretically, because apparently The CW isn’t allowed to touch Bat characters, but hey, a girl can dream right?

You Need A Giver

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them

I knew that I was going to at the very least enjoy Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and I walked out feeling satisfied but not overwhelmed. My exact word was “cute.” But the more I think about the movie, the more I think it’s one of the most beautiful entries in The Wizarding World.

It’s not because of the plot, which like most of Rowling’s work amounts to “a group of misfits chase after a Maguffin that is linked to a Dark Wizard” but in it’s small details which gives us glimpses of this world we all thought we knew so well.

The movie takes place in New York in 1926, where New Scamander has arrived, hoping, as it turns out to get out west and set a poached Thunderbird free. He quickly becomes entangled with Tina Goldstein, a former Auror, now working a desk job after she confronted a group of anti magic cultists. This entanglement also brings him into contact with curious and big hearted No-maj (American for Muggle) Jacob Kowalski and Tina’s sister Queenie.

They chase after some of Newt’s escaped creatures, and get lured into a larger mystery involving the sinister seeming Auror Graves and the same magic hating cult, which deals with an phenomenon of child witches and wizards surpressing their magic and being consumed and unable to control themselves. This of course calls to mind, at least for me, the fate of poor Arianna Dumbledore.

Revealing more than that would spoil the twists which makes the movie’s plot anything special, so I won’t do that. As I said, what really impressed me were the myriad of small details. Albus Dumbledore gets a name drop, and we learn that at Hogwarts, Newt was involved with one of the Lestrange girls. We learn that even the Wizarding community was brought into the chaos of World War I (Newt worked with Dragons on the front.) A few of the differences between American and British wizarding culture are interesting, the one that stands out to me most of all was the use of House Elves. Obviously, we know their British deal, but in America, they appear to take on the tasks that in the No-Maj community would be done by people of color in the period (A jazz singer, shoe shiner, elevator operator.) Just really interesting.

Anyway, Fantastic Beasts is a worthwhile addition to the Wizarding World canon, and I’m sure that I’ll analyze it plenty more as I watch it a few more times. But for an intial watch, I greatly enjoyed it and the cast, Eddie Redmayne especially are all wonderful. I’m rarely let down watching Halle Berry and Colin Farell though, so that’s not hard.

Rankings:

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

Trailers

Still no Wonder Woman? Like, what the hell dude? There was good stuff though.

Beauty And The Beast looks so exceptionally beautiful, and I was of course, crying through the whole thing.

Sing – Some new stuff in this trailer, I’m still intrigued by this movie, like not enough to run off and see it, but enough to watch it someday.

The Lego Batman Movie – I’m so in!! I can’t wait for it.