It’ll Be Important If You Write It

I am not to be trusted when it comes to stories that I love and criticism, and I more than love Little Women. 

Little Women is my favorite book ever. Little Women is me in so many ways, it’s shaped the way I think, the way I feel, the way I interpret stories and especially how I feel about adapting stories I love. (But we’ll talk about that later in the week)

Greta Gerwig is a talented writer and director and she’s found a great collaborator in Saorise Ronan. This Little Women feels vital and new and yet stays faithful to it’s source. The March sisters are rowdy, loving and full of life, Laurie Laurence feels of them and apart from them at the same time. They learn, they grow, they love, they lose. I wept through most of the film, but that’s not a surprise. Timothee Chalamet is the Laurie I’ve always wanted, both dreamy and dorky, brooding and awkward. Ronan is born for Jo, Emma Watson is charming as Meg (Meg is the least challenging of the girls, really) and Eliza Scanlan is heartbreaking as Beth. But this is a version of Little Women that belongs to Amy March in many ways and Florence Pugh runs away with the flick. Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk and others aquit themselves well.

Rankings

  1. Knive’s Out
  2. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  3. Jo Jo Rabbit
  4. Frozen 2
  5. Little Women
  6. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  7. Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker
  8. Avengers: Endgame
  9. Rocketman
  10. Detective Pikachu
  11. Zombieland: Double Tap
  12. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  13. Downton Abbey
  14. Joker

Trailers

I Still Believe: I’ve been listening to the podcast Good Christian Fun, and I really can’t wait for them to review this movie, but I’m not going to see it. KJ Appa’s natural hair is disconcerting.

Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge on The Run: Is this the fourth or fifth Spongebob movie?

Respect: 2 OSCARS FOR JENNIFER! Let’s do it!

Ghostsbusters: Afterlife: Did we not just go through two weeks of gnashing of teeth at unnecessary grandpa connections? DO I CARE ABOUT EGON SPENGLER’S GRANDKIDS BUSTING GHOSTS? I do not.

In The Heights: This did not help…with the crying. You are going to have to mop whatever theater I am in when I see this. I am going to cry buckets.

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandolorian“Chapter 8: Redemption”

I’m assuming that Mando is off to find Luke Skywalker (although the ending of this episode is something else)

Let’s go back. After learning that Moff Gideon’s Storm Troopers Jason Sudekis and Adam Pally (!) are guarding Baby Yoda, Mando, Cara, Griff and IG-85 go to get the baby. Moff Gideon knows who they all are, and it’s really creepy, also, Cara notes that he was supposed to have been executed for war crimes so what’s happening there?

Anyway, they fight him and flee, Mando is wounded and IG-85 heals him which is the work around we get for him to remove his helmet. He can’t remove it in front of a living being, IG reminds him that he’s not a living being. So he gets healed, and we see Pedro Pascal’s beautiful wonderful face. HOORAY!

After looking for the Mandolorians, and learning they were slaughtered by the client, Mando has a conversation with the armorer, who tells him that Baby Yoda needs to be returned to his people. Mando is skeptical before being told that this is the way, he agrees.

I present a hypothetical scene that happened in my head:

Me: So I guess they’re going to be looking for Luke’s new Jedi academy. If we learn that Kylo Ren killed Baby Yoda I will find Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau and slap them across the face.

The Mandolorian: Reenie, you seem to have forgotten something, there are other Jedi at this point in history besides Luke and Leia.

*Moff Gideon Emerges from his ship with The Dark Saber*

Me: AHSOKA AND EZRA! FILONI YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN YOU BEAUTIFUL BASTARD.

End Scene

Look, I’m all for finding the home planet of the Yodas. I will be very into that, if that’s where we’re going. But I think, by adding such a specific detail from Mandalore, as the Dark Saber, which was so important to Clone Wars and Rebels and the stories of this culture, when you’re looking for Jedi in order to surrender the baby, perhaps it could be to a young Jedi who disappeared into the unknown regions on a Space Whale, and one Not A Jedi who has reached Force Nirvana via time travel and confronting her evil former master.

What I’m saying is, I think Mando should hand Baby Yoda over to Ahsoka and Ezra and then he and Sabine can argue Mandolorian code adhearance like a couple of Rabbis.

I’m still not sure about the overall storytelling of The Mandolorian, I appreciated almost everything it did, but I don’t know that 8 episodes works for what they were doing. Twelve would have been better. My two favorite episodes, Episode 2 & Episode 7 were both directed by Deborah Chow, which I think is pretty important for me personally, since she’s going to be running Obi-Wan and I like what she does. Hooray!

That said, we won’t know this for over a year. We know season 2 is coming next fall, in the meantime, I’m not leaving this world behind. The past six months have given me so much and I’m not ready to move along. The next Fangirl Loves Star Wars will be in a few weeks, where we’ll talk about The Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig.

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

All creators have preoccupations, certain themes that most of their work circles back to. In reading reviews and thoughts on The Rise Of Skywalker people kept talking about nostalgia as JJ Abrams’s particular niche.

As I watched it for a third time on Saturday, I tried to see that, and I understand why people think of that for Abrams, if you look only at his film work.

But that would be ignoring a pretty big and important piece of his creative output, and frankly one that I think informs what he was going for with The Rise of Skywalker and Rey’s story in particular much more than anything he’s done on the big screen.

It’s ignoring Alias.

Sidney Bristow’s story, as convoluted as it got, was always thematically about having to untangle herself from the web of lies and violence left as a legacy from her parents and mentors, and standing on her own two feet as her own person at the end of that.

I don’t like the decision to make Rey a Palpatine. I think it’s hugely unnecessary, and creates more questions than it answers. But I get it, as a story decision, especially, when I had the realization about Abrams, Alias and the theme of building your own identity both within and without a legacy.

Rey’s moment of triumph comes when she embraces the Jedi way, the “thousand generations” that live in her, and the voices of the Jedi come to her. It is my favorite moment in the film, not just because it’s movie acknowledgement of Ahsoka, but because it’s the moment that to me provides the most context for Rey’s journey. She’s already rejected her Grandfather’s path for her, she’s already provided Ben Solo his path to redemption, she is choosing in that moment which legacy she wants to continue, the path of the light.

There are plenty of things wrong with The Rise Of Skywalker. I mentioned not loving Rey’s heritage reveal, the retcon of Poe Dameron’s past to make him a smuggler, no real role for Rose Tico and no confirmation of Finn’s force sensitivity (Plus, all those ships in the Hidden Regions and no Ezra riding in on a Space Whale? What gives?) are all writing choices I’m not crazy about.

But Rey’s story is good at the core, the fight against a destiny chosen for her by others to carve her own way is great and fits with a pattern of JJ Abrams’s work. Felicity though a very different genre is also about young people figuring out who they are, rather than who everyone expects them to be. It’s even a little bit there in Star Trek, where he basically says, “this is not the story you know, these characters are making their own way,” Lost was always more Lindeloff’s than his, but it still has themes of identity over destiny deeply embedded in it.

And I think this is the part that got to me. I like stories about family and legacy and finding your place in the world, so I liked this story for Rey and for Kylo Ren, they both carved out a place on a path that had been trod before, but it wasn’t the place prepared for them. I think that’s good.

Next week is the finale of The Mandolorian, and as I said a few weeks ago, Fangirl Loves Star Wars isn’t going anywhere. Next year we’ll have season 2 of Resistance the return of Clone Wars and I’m going to do some EU reading. I love our Galaxy Far Far Away, and I don’t ever want to leave it.

 

Rise, Rey, Rise Up

There’s a lot going on in The Rise Of Skywalker, and I’m actually having trouble articulating how I feel about this movie. I groaned at a lot of it, cried through more, loved it almost completely. It’s thoroughly predictable, and yet manages to satisfy regardless of that.

I’m not a big lover of twist endings, I think they’re often cheap. The predictability of a formula is not something I consider a fault in narrative. Tropes alone aren’t cheap, though they can be employed cheaply. And The Rise Of Skywalker uses tropes that it’s earned and a few that it hasn’t. It’s a mixed bag of a movie.

Like all Star Wars films it lives and dies on it’s performances. Daisy Ridley gives her strongest in this trilogy, Adam Driver gets less to do than the previous two outings. Oscar Isaac and John Boyega are a damn delight and here’s something that I never ever expected to write, Anthony Daniels really runs away with the thing.

And the score, as you may have heard is incredible. People are calling it the best Williams has done in the series. I don’t know about that. Empire and Phantom Menace are pretty high marks, but it gets close. (I need to listen to it without the film.) But it’s very good. Rey’s theme and Kylo’s theme both get mixed with The Imperial March and Force Theme’s in ways that are wonderful. Leia’s theme is also pretty prominent.

I really, really enjoyed myself.

Rankings

  1. Knive’s Out
  2. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  3. Jo Jo Rabbit
  4. Frozen 2
  5. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  6. Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker
  7. Avengers: Endgame
  8. Rocketman
  9. Detective Pikachu
  10. Zombieland: Double Tap
  11. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  12. Downton Abbey
  13. Joker

Trailers

The Jungle Cruise: This trailer does not have enough puns. It otherwise looks acceptable.

Onward: I really can’t wait for this. It looks so lovely and fun and kind of scary. Really great.

Wonder Woman 84: GIVE ME YOUR TIME TRAVEL SHENANIGANS AND CHRIS PINE IN A FANNY PACK!!!!

Anway, y’all ready for Spoilers!  THEY’RE HERE NOW

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

Long Live Annalise of Cammadan

Finally finished with Annalise: Year One!

She’s crowned now, what comes next?

The Marina Chronicle

I’m crowned now and I know I should be greeting my guests, but all I can do is lay on my bed and breathe deeply. I want to scream. I want to laugh. I want to cry. But I just breathe. I’m still in the simple green uniform dress I wore for the ceremony though the more ornate ballgown is staring at me, hanging outside of my wardrobe.

I dressed myself this morning, for the first time since we got to Dovetail. I’m going to insist on it more I think. At least on more casual days, I don’t want to become spoiled or useless. An ornament. I’m not just a figurehead, I’m the sword of the goddess.

“Lisette,” Olivia said walking in, I sat up. “I thought I’d help you dress.”

“Marina?” I asked.

“She’s taking a nap,” she smiled and sat down and pulled a comb from her…

View original post 781 more words

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandolorian “Chapter 7: The Reckoning”

PROTECT LITTLE BABY YODA! YOU MUST PROTECT HIM!

I’ve mentioned that there are elements of The Mandolorian that aren’t clicking with me on Monday. But this second episode of the week. (SO MUCH Star Wars THIS WEEK!) feels stronger. I like the team that Mando puts together in an attempt to outwit The Client and save LBY and himself from running around with a price on his head. The return of Cara Dune and IG-11 is good. Their plan to get The Client off their butts is a good one, except it turns out the imperial presence around him on Nevarro has been beefed up.

Also it turns out, The Client isn’t in charge at all, it’s Moff Kargin (GIANCARLO ESPESITO) pulling the strings. While we’ve been trained that there’s nearly always a man behind the curtain with Imperial types, I’m glad the big bad has been revealed.

And watching this episode and being in to it. (THAT ENDING! Thank god we only have a few days to wait and see what’s happening. Also the sneak peak of The Rise Of Skywalker we get was also great. The movie is getting mixed reviews, but if there’s more of Poe making reckless decisions while flying the Falcon I’m all in.) I realized that while I like the old fashioned TV approach to the story here, that is each episode being relatively self contained, except for the ones that aren’t, (Monsters of The Week/Myth Arc, if you will!) it’s not an approach that’s particularly effective with only 8 episodes.

I love episodic TV and miss it very much, but frankly, you need at least 12 to make it work and that’s in the HBO one hour episodes each sense, for 40 to 45 minute episodes you need 20 or more for it to do what it does best. When you only 5 or so hours verses thirteen, and 2.5 of those hours aren’t contributing to the narrative, everything feels like wheel spinning.

And also, I’m just not feeling this show. Maybe this project was a mistake, maybe I’ve OD’d. (It’s happened before, remember last year when I barely did any Superhero stuff because I’d done too much the year before? Or the beginning of this year when I couldn’t even look at a speculative fiction book?) I don’t know, tonight might tell. I’ve never walked out of a Star Wars movie anything but totally hyped. (Yes, even Episodes I and II, second viewings were immediate let downs there, but I was psyched on first viewing.)  I doubt this will be different.

That said if they don’t save that baby next week, I will be very upset. I love that baby.

60 Books In 2019 #60: Merrick By Anne Rice

I don’t often get scared while reading, it’s why I’ve always been able to read horror when watching it was out of the question.

Anne Rice’s novels are the exception, at least the best ones, and I think that Merrick is on of the best ones. There’s always at least one chapter in the ones I love that terrifies me, my heartrate up and sends shivers down my spine. (Obviously, the sillier ones, Memnoch, Lasher and Taltos didn’t do that.) In Merrick, it’s the scene where Merrick Mayfair, from a cut off slave raped branched of the Mayfair family uses voodoo, Santeria and other unknown magics to raise the spirit of Claudia for Louis and David Talbot.

The ghosts tortured conversation with Louis is scary on an existential level, but the scene of the raising, through David’s disbelieving and terrified eyes is perfect.

The novel around that scene is good too. David recounts his relationship with Merrick, who he and Aaron Lightner adopted into the Talamasca at 10, became his lover many years later and then who he and Louis seek out in New Orleans many years later to put Claudia to rest.

Lestat is in his Memnoch and God induced coma at this point. He wakes up at the end though and is perfectly exasperated with both his boyfriends, don’t you worry.

There are paralells a plenty between Merrick and Claudia, and David and Aaron and Louis and Lestat, which I think is an interesting choice on Rice’s part. While I’m deeply over her whole “erotic beautiful child” thing. (I’ve been since Lasher) I do think the fact that all of her characters are so deeply obsessed with one another is an interesting facet of her work that deserves a deeper look than I can give it right now.

But this finishes my reading goal for 2019! HOORAY! And transitions right into my next project, which is all, fantasy and sci-fi series based. I’m putting together a list, but we’re starting off a few weeks early, with finishing out The Vampire Chronicles and The Tales Of The New Vampires. (So, I’ve got, Blood And Gold, Blackwood Farm, Blood Canticle, Prince Lestat, Prince Lestat And The Realms Of Atlantis and Blood Communion left, plus Pandor and Vittorio: The Vampire.) My Goodreads goal is going to be lower (maybe 40?) and I’m not going to be reporting it, as I’m going to read straight through the series.

But first I’m rereading Little Women for In The Shadow Of Adaptation. I won’t write it up until I see Greta Gerwig’s new film. (Mary and I have plans to see it together if at all possible, so it could be a while.) And The Lord Of The Rings because I rewatched the Extended Editions this weekend and I miss Middle Earth.

The other aspect of the project is going to be non fiction. I’m going to read one non fiction book (memoir or otherwise) for each fantasy series I finish. The first of those is going to be The Race To Save The Romanovs by Helen Rappaport which I borrowed from my mom maybe 6 months ago?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this project. Hope you all will enjoy it too, deeper dives will be fun, I think, and committing to finishing series that I start will also feel good.