He’s In A Rough Place, Emotionally

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I finally saw Ant-Man And The Wasp last night! Hooray! (I’ve also decided to sign up for Sutbs A-List, so that I can get through the rest of movie season with relative ease. Double hooray!)

I really, really loved Ant-Mana lot, it’s probably the most rewatched MCU movie for me. (At least post Avengers…) due in no small part to Paul Rudd’s lovely performance, it’s heart being about fathers and daughters, and Michael Pena as Luis. (Sadly not as well used here)

Ant-Man And The Wasp is not as good as Ant-Man, but it’s still quite good, and makes use of a Partridge Family song, which is a delight. Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer are delightful in both their kinda creepy de-aged versions (prep for a full movie of this effect in Captain Marvel folks…I wonder how it will sustain?) and as their distinguished perfect selves. (Lawrence Fishburn is also good.)

I didn’t think the villain, Ghost, was as disconnected as I’d heard (She’s pretty well tied in to Pym, his legacy and SHIELD.) (Also, like, I love Howard and Peggy, but DAMN, SHIELD SUCKS you guys.) And Evangeline Lilly does well enough, and Paul Rudd is still great, but this is a lower tier one. (This seems to be happening with the second parts of Marvel trilogies regularly. The Winter Soldier being the exception that proves the rule…)

Worth seeing, as it stands alone in a few ways, and it has a damn charming cast, but not going to move mountains or anything.

POST CREDITS!

First in the mid credits, as everyone gets ready to enter the Quantum Realm for some experimenting, only Scott makes it before Janet, Hank and Hope all get poofed. So…yeah…we’ll see what happens there.

Rankings:

  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Ocean’s 8
  4. Infinity War
  5. Ant-Man And The Wasp

Trailers

The House With The Clock In The Walls: This looks like a delight, and since I now have A-List, I will likely actually see it. (I discovered if I even only go to one movie a week, not even the 3 allotted, the thing will pay for itself.)

Creed II: I would have gone to see this even if it wasn’t about Adonis avenging his father’s death by fighting Drago Jr. But since it is about that, well, now I’ll go see it seventeen times.

Alpha: This movie looks so dumb, but PUPPIES!!!!

Bumblebee: I hope it’s good, since it’s writer is now making the Batgirl movie, but I’m not super confident…

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms: I’ve talked about how excited I am for this movie before, but the new trailer makes me even more so. Seriously, it looks kind of wonderful.

Dumbo: “Baby Mine” will make me cry no matter what, so there’s that, I guess?

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BIRDS OF PREY!!!!

It’s happening you guys.

Warner Brothers has officially green lit a Birds Of Prey movie.

I’ve spent the past 24 hours freaking the frak out about it.

The BOP lineup is apparently set. Margot Robbie is going to be producing as well as featuring as Harley Quinn, and apparently there’s going to be a villain, “we’ve never seen on the big screen before” (This is both exciting and kind of a bummer, because I was really hoping it would be the Birds VS Harley and Ivy)

I’ve wanted this for a very long time, but let’s get into the lineup:

The Huntress -Helena Bertinelli

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It appears they’re going Helena Bertinelli, which is fine? I like both versions of the character, but I prefer Helena Wayne. Her backstory is much more fun, and her relationship to both the vigilante world and the crime world a delight. (Bruce Wayne is her dad, Selina Kyle is her mom) But Bertinelli’s good too, and hey maybe they’ll go with her Grayson  spy backstory rather than her “mob kid decides to fight crime” one? That could be cool

Batgirl – Cassandra Caine

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YYYEEESSSSS! While Cassandra is the Batgirl I know the least about, this gives me a good excuse to dive into her stuff. What I do know? She’s a straight up BADASS. Raised by her league of assassin parents to be the perfect weapon, she was also kept from speech and verbal communication. This makes her a body language expert, and kind of weird about like, people.

Also, she’s Asian, which means it’s a representation win.

Renee Montoya

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We don’t know whether Renee will be Detective Renee Montoya of the GCPD or The Question but either way I’m on board. Renee’s a great character with some fun stories to tell and like Harley, I’m pretty sure she’s a BTAS original, which is fun.

AND OF COURSE!

Black Canary – Dinah Lance

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Look, y’all know how I feel about Black Canary. She’s my signature cosplay, a character who pushed me to look beyond the A-List to DC’s deep and fascinating B-List characters. Dinah’s a great fighter, has a really cool power, a distinct and fun costume look. (If they skip the fishnets a la Arrow, I’ma cut a bitch) Not to mention she’s been leading the Birds for most of their best iterations.

I’m very very excited about this movie. Like dance around my room excited. Pull out my platinum blonde wig and give a Canary call excited. I was already planning on bringing the costume back this year. (HOORAY FOR SIGNIFICANT AND CONSISTENT WEIGHT LOSS!) Of course DC has taught me to be cautious with said excitement, but I have faith in Margot Robbie as a producer. She has very good instincts.

I Like You, Just As You Are

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The thing about Mr. Rogers, and Mr. Rogers’s Neighborhood is that it’s one of those crazy full on cultural memories that’s hard to parse. We all simply, know this man and his show and how it looks to us. It’s comforting and real, and beautiful and that’s what the really interestingly constructed Won’t You Be My Neighbor is examining. That feeling of comfort and, even more specifically, the man who inspired it.

A quiet biography of a great a can get dull, feel like hagiography, or be simply uninspired. But that’s not the case here. Everything you’ve heard about Won’t You Be My Neighbor is likely true. From the way it brings this larger than life figure back to earth, to that cathartic cry you will have in the last few moments (if not before) (I cried like six times. )

I have fond memories of post pre-school and home sick mornings watching Mr. Rogers. Memories of King Friday and Lady Elaine and Daniel Striped Tiger and the trolly. Daniel of course, now carries on his creator’s legacy, and is used to amazing effect here, as an eerie animated avatar of Rogers’ childhood psyche.

Interviews with cast and crew and family and friends illuminate this great man, and the much discussed conversation about Francois Clemmens being kept in the closet by his employer is such a blip, that’s actually kind of lovely. (And takes the context of the times and socio-political position Rogers was in into account. Something that I think young internet writers don’t want to deal with…but I digress.) That’s not a story about oppression (entirely) it’s a story about how compassion and open dialog lead to changing minds and norms.

And while I get that calls to civility and calm are hard right now, (And often extended hypocritically! ) it’s impossible for me to not think kindness is the way to go on a one to one basis, and that seems to be what the film is arguing for. Fury at institutions is not discounted by the way. Roger’s righteous anger at the establishment’s exploitation of children and disregarding of their feelings and safety are stunningly portrayed.

  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Ocean’s 8
  4. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  5. Avengers: Infinity War (Weird how low this is ranking)

Trailers

Johnny English: Huh, I remember when this movie happened. It’s nice that it’s getting a sequel I guess.

My Fair Lazy, Culturing Up, and Six Months Of Lovely Accidents

So, a lot of people are writing, “it’s halfway through the year, here’s a check in posts.” I wasn’t planning one, but last night I has a realization that made me very happy.

A few years ago my favorite non fiction writer Jen Lancaster, wrote a book called, My Fair Lazy that was about a year long project to expand her horizons and get a bit more cultured. The project included exploring fine dining, attending theatrical performances and reading “important” books.

Y’all, between The Epics Project and The Best Theatrical Year of My Life, this sort of happened to me by accident, I realized as Aless and I picked up our champagne at the second intermission of ABT’s production of Don Quixote. (Partially, realizing that this wasn’t a terribly unusual outing for us anymore. We’ve come a long way since those $5 margaritas on 34th Street!)

Here are the cultural milestones I’ve had this year:

  • Read: War And Peace, Ulysses, Middlemarch, Don Quixote, Dune, David Copperfield, The Alchemist and Lincoln In The Bardo. As well as several other books that are probably not as culturally important but I have enjoyed quite a bit. That I’m reading a lot again is good. It means I can read things that are important and literary and the crap that I’d been consuming for the past few years. And I’ve got six more of the biggies (and a few smallies I’ve been putting off) before I’m through that project.
  • Watched: I’m still not good at watching things that are good for me. I’ll hit an occasional indie film or documentary, but for the most part, what I’m watching is still junk food. Often very well crafted junk food, like those sundaes from Serendipity or whatever, but still, empty calories
  • Attended: BEST THEATRICAL YEAR OF MY LIFE! It’s amazing how no longer participating in theater has made seeing theater feel essential to me. The Children, Children Of A Lesser God, Once On This Island, My Fair Lady, Angels In America, La Boheme and Don Quixote. I’ve still got a revisit to Hamilton and Springsteen On Broadway coming up and likely a few more.
  • Food: Most of my food exploration has come from cooking rather than eating out and my skills are still basic but improving. I can make Chicken Korma, which is exciting (Though I’m still tweaking my spice mix. It comes out a little too sweet for me every time…)

So that’s my culture year so far. It’s been good.

Somewhere There Is An Eight Year Old Girl, Dreaming Of Being A Criminal

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Hey all! I’m gonna do my best to get caught up on movie season in the next week! (Incredibles 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor coming soon!)

There are few movies that I love the way that I love Stephen Sodeberg’s remake of Ocean’s 11. It’s such a perfect movie, slick and funny, and sexy. So I had mixed expectations walking into Ocean’s 8, which I wanted to love but that I had heard was only OK.

Anyone who thought this movie was only OK clearly does not like heist movies. It’s a delight, taking as much from The Sting as it does from it’s predicessors. The performances are all amazing, and while everyone is rightly talking about Anne Hathaway, more people should be talking about Helena Bonham Carter who is fabulous and hilarious is in this movie.

But I loved all of them, Sandra Bullock has some very fun moments (when she literally practices a speech in a mirror, a wonderful callback to Clooney and Pitt I burst out giggling.) Cate Blanchett is so sexy I almost fainted, until I saw Rhianna in that red dress (HOOOLLLLYYY CRAP!) Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina and delightful and Sarah Paulson is very good. (I liked the concept of her character, a housewife who gets her kicks from fencing stuff that “fell off a truck” more than Paulson’s performance…which again, fine.) A few key cameos from the original 11, although it’s very clear that Danny faked his death, you guys…like SUPER clear.

My July Camp NaNoWriMo project is a heist. (I’m not gonna get to into it here.) So I’m diving into this genre at the moment. (It’s such a good one, that I love so much.)

Rankings

  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Ocean’s 8
  4. Avengers: Infinity War (Weird how low this is ranking)

Trailers:

Operation Finale: Sad movie about the Nuremberg trials…but also Oscar Isaac…soooo

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: ARE CHER AND ANDY GARCIA GOING TO BONE IN THIS MOVIE? Also Cher singing “Fernando.” *DIES* Also, where’s Donna? Also, this movie is required to be seen in Dine In, and not alone, because I must be drunk and mocking it at all times.

Widows: More Lady Heists!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald: OK, let’s make something clear…THE TRAILERS give Rowling an in to make Dumbledore’s sexuality explicit. “I cannot confront Grindelwald…he and I have a past, we were in love and I’m not strong enough.” IT’S RIGHT THERE JO! GET IT TOGETHER! Otherwise, looks super dope.

The Nutcracker: The Secret Of The Four Realms: I’m actually really stoked for this? Like in a very odd way. I kind of love that Disney has just accepted “Tim Burton and Baz Luhrman had a baby and it was a fairytale nightmare-scape” as a filmmaking aesthetic. The movies aren’t always great. (Or ever? Beauty And The Beast and Cinderella were pretty good. I know other people like Maleficent…the Alice movies are awful) But they’re cool to look at. And I like Kiera Knightly

A Simple Favor: In which Anna Kendrick continues to live out all our dreams, this time by killing Blake Lively because of her perfect life, maybe? (Also that this isn’t Leighton Meister seems like a mistake in the casting department, but I love Anna too. Get the girl back to her creepy stalker roots.)

A Star Is Born: Unless this movies completely poops the bed, and Gaga whiffs “The Man Who Got Away” (HIGHLY UNLIKELY) it’s gonna be favorite of the year, I bet.

Remake The Last Jedi: Wait what?

These people now exist.

It’s hilarious.

And unless their remake is just one hour of Finn and Poe saying, “No you hang up first” and smooching, and then the Rey and Kylo storyline EXACTLY AS PREVIOUSLY PRESENTED  I am deeply uninterested.

But seriously, this is hilarious.

You can read my thoughts on how I can’t really relate to Star Wars fandom anymore from two weeks ago. And what’s even stranger is a few days ago, I mentioned to Crystan something about it and she said, “it seems like a weird fandom to be in.”

And my reply was simply, “it really, really is.” Because, no one hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans. And they think they’re this weird minority for “loving” (their form of love is to talk about everything wrong with it) it when like most people that have seen Star Wars really, really like it.

It’s not a niche interest.

Like at all.

It basically is the mainstream.

It’s the french fry of geekdom. Some people really love it, and take it seriously, some people care less but aren’t going to turn it down when served to them.

UGh, I could continue ranting but I won’t.

This is hilarious. If it was created as a joke, hats off, because we’re all laughing.

If it wasn’t, I hope you understand that the whole world is laughing at you.

May the force be with you.

Toxic Fandom, Star Wars, and Me

I’d been thinking about toxic fandom for a while lately, even before the conversation about it sort of exploded this week.

I have several half finished rants about it in my drafts, from trying to understand where it comes from, to my own participation in it, to the fact that  OH MY GOD YOU PUSHED A YOUNG WOMAN OFF OF INSTAGRAM BECAUSE OF A MOVIE YOU GODDAMN MONSTERS.

I have mixed feelings about most of the media I love. There’s problems everywhere, and there’s toxicity everywhere, and sometimes you trip over it. I do my best to run the other way when I find it, or confront it. Or whatever. Sometimes, I’m just tired.

I do know this, I am often in the exhausted “ugh, I can’t with fandom” bucket, which also makes me sad. Fandom has brought me some amazing moments of connection and some of my best friends. It should be fun. And like 80% of the time, it is, very fun. When things get toxic, when you decide not liking The Last Jedi means that you can tell Kelli Marie Tran how awful she is.

You guys, I think about this with Star Wars, like a lot. Jake Lloyd quit acting and had a mental breakdown at 11, at least partially because of Star Wars “fans” spent so much time talking about how much he sucks. He was a child. It was a bad movie. Get it together people.

I don’t get outraged like that over movies, or comics, I just don’t have the energy, I barely have the energy to get outraged about the things that are actually important to me. About human rights, and immigration, and our shit show of a government, and everytime I hear a  horrible #metoo story.

I have mixed feeling about The Last Jedi, I think it was oddly paced and strangely executed. I thought what Johnson was going for was interesting, but I’m not sure he pulled it off. I think that Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver gave star making performances and the throne room battle was a top 3 Light saber fight. I think he dropped the ball on Finn and Rose who were well performed but spinning in place most of the time. I think Holdo was an awesome character.

But I have all these thoughts about it, none of which compel me to yell at an actress or even Rian Johnson, about them. If I met him, I’d probably bring up the stuff I like, (after I stopped emitting the high pitched squealing noise) maybe ask for clarification on the muddier stuff. Then I’d ask how time travel works in Looper, because really, man HOW DOES TIME TRAVEL WORK IN LOOPER?

Anyway, fandom can be fun, but it can also be scary. But let’s do our best to keep it fun. Swing the gates open, life’s too short to sit around obsessing about something alone, it’s much more fun with friends.Thi