You Don’t Know How That Feels

Cars 3 is an interesting animal. I mean, all of the Cars movies are sort of interesting and a little bit weird, but also quite enjoyable.

I had a feeling that I was going to like it, because it’s basically the plot of Rocky 3, and I really, really like Rocky 3. (It’s my favorite Rocky…) Lightning McQueen wants to come back, but it seems like racing has moved on, and his mentor is dead, and his partner is supportive, but unable do much for him, and there’s outside pressure that has nothing to do with why he fell in love with the whole thing anyway.

The movie itself is sweet, touching, and not overly long, which made for a nice change. I adore new character Cruz Ramirez, as well as several quite sweet tributes to Paul Newman.

There are fun cameos as always, although I think Lighting’s new corporate boss being a Cadillac named “Mr. Sterling” being voiced by Nathan Fillion and NOT John Slattery is a waste of a perfectly good easter egg. (Not to take away from Fillion, who is as always, flawless.)

Cars 3 is worth checking out, Pixar usually is, if only to see what they were able to do visually, and this one has a fun story and some nice new characters to go along with it.

Short:

Lou, about the sentient, loving Lost and Found being is straight up adorable, with a touching bit to say about bullying, and attachment.

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  3. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  4. Cars 3
  5. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers

Despicable Me 3: This is coming up. I’ll probably go see it. Unlikely I’ll see it opening night.

Ferdinand: I knew this was happening, I did not know that John Cena was voicing Ferdinand. That’s kind of ridiculously perfect.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure: Oh my goodness, can I not wait for a short of Olaf running around learning about Scandinavian Christmas traditions. Also, Else and Anna’s Christmas dresses are everything.

Coco: OK, this is going to be great, or at the very least beautiful. I don’t know a lot about Dios De Los Muertos, except that it’s also my birthday, and in Ireland we call it All Souls Day.

They Do Not Deserve You

wonder_woman_ver5

When I was waiting for my car last night on the way home from Wonder Woman, I texted my brother, “Wonder Woman is perfect by the way.” His answer: “Well they took long enough I would hope so.”

I loved this movie. I went in ready to love this movie and it’s perfect and wonderful and I want to hug it and also I want to see it a million times. Aless summed it up, “I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching that movie.”

Patty Jenkins and the team at DC and Warner Brothers have created something really special, and it’s not like they had any pressure on them to do it right or anything. (HAHA) And through a coup of casting Gal Gadot, who I think might actually be Wonder Woman, like hiding out or something, and a singular focus on telling a strong story with defined characters, they cleared the very high bar that had been set for them.

Let’s talk about Gadot. I was in the “Who?” “She’s too skinny.” “I’m not sure about this.” camps three years ago when her casting was announced. But she’s amazing, she understands this character in a way that’s hard to articulate, her every move and word embodies Diana and it’s just so wonderful.

There’s a moment in this movie, the first time we see Diana in Wonder Woman’s costume, where she pushes herself over the top of a trench in Belgium and runs through No Man’s Land, deflecting bullets with her shield and bracelets, taking the fire as the men who follow her chase through to the other side. I was crying the whole time. Happy joyous, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING” tears, streaming down my face. It’s a wonderful moment.

Chris Pine is great in this movie too, which does incredible things with Steve Trevor, who is brave, funny, interesting and DAMN IS THE BOY FINE. I mean, look, I’m not saying the rest of the movie could have been crappy and the scene where he takes a bath and then he and Diana have a conversation about his dick would have mad the whole endeavor worth it, (yes that happens, and yes it’s better than how I described it) and I don’t want to dwell on the fact that the image of him in a fedora walking through the streets of 1918 London, (SWOOON) is my new image of male perfection, but seriously, he’s a very attractive man and has passed Hemsworth to become the third best Chris. (He’s even inching up on Pratt…none will touch Evans though.)

I could keep going on about how much I loved this movie, but I’m just going to say one more thing, this a movie where Bruce Wayne does not appear and it still managed to get across the part of his personality that I like the best from versions other than movies. He finds the original copy of the picture of Wonder Woman with her war buddies, and sends it to her, with a note that reads, “I found the original, maybe someday you’ll tell me your story.” A little bit cranky, but deeply invested in the people he cares about.

Because this movie is perfect.

Rankings!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  3. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  4. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers

Transformers again.

The extended Dunkirk look was fabulous. Good lord is that movie going to be good. I hope it wins Nolan his Oscar. I kind of don’t see how it couldn’t…though it would be sweet sweet irony if Logan wins.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: How do we make this thing most people love better? Add Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum!

Thor: Ragnorok: *Aless and I practically collapse into giggles on the floor of the theater in anticipation.*

Wonder Woman: A Reflection

Isn’t it amazing? 3 posts in a week, and I wasn’t even in Disney World! (Might I be getting my groove back? I hope so!)

But I thought it was important, with today being the opening night of Wonder Woman, for me to post something today, specifically, what Wonder Woman means to me. A lot of women are probably writing this piece this week. It’s the nerd woman’s version of the “leaving New York essay.”

When I started this blog six years ago, I didn’t really know Wonder Woman. I mean, I knew who she was, I knew her basics, and I hoped to someday see her in the movies. I was still mourning the version written by Joss Whedon with Lauren Graham in mind that we never got to see, but I didn’t know the character well at all.

I had to make a conscious effort to get to know her, as I fell deeper and deeper into nerd life, comics fandom, and specifically, DC Fandom. Unlike her peers, Batman and Superman (They are her peers, by the way. The Holy Trinity of superheroes!) she’s not as around. People don’t know Diana the way they know Clark and Bruce. Hell, most people probably don’t know her name is Diana.

It took a while, but then I found Wonder Woman: Odyssey. There’s something about that book, which is about Diana figuring out who she is, and when I read it, at twenty five, at a huge crossroads in my own identity, it really spoke to me. It was about embracing your past and facing your future all at once and it’s really beautiful.

Odyssey

This also might be why I’m so obsessed with giving her pants…

So after that, I fell in love with Wonder Woman. I read more comics runs. Gale Simone’s being a top favorite, though I’m a huge fan of the first chunk of her New 52 run as well. But I’m a sucker for modernizing Greek Myths. I found myself trying to explain what I loved about her to other people, and I realized, it’s something that I loved about a lot of women I admire in real life too.

Diana is going to get the job done. It might not be pretty, it might be bloody, but she’ll do it. And if she can get the job done without a fight, she will. She leads with her heart, with love and compassion, but she understands that sometimes, it isn’t enough. She’s practical that way.

I’ve mentioned before how watching the trailers for Wonder Woman have filled me, more than anything else with an overwhelming sense of calm, which I understand is a strange reaction, but there’s something deeply comforting about her, that steadies me in a way that other heroes that I love (The founding fathers of this blog, Batman and Captain America for instance) don’t. But today, I find myself feeling more than a little bit anxious.

There’s a lot riding on this movie for people like me. Wonder Woman, the movie, is a referendum on a lot of things, DC’s film initiative for one. But it also feels a little bit like our last chance. Marvel hasn’t begun filming on Captain Marvel yet. Gotham Sirens and Batgirl are equally “planned,” but nothing having yet been executed. Black Widow remains a tease beyond anyone’s comprehension.

If Wonder Woman isn’t a smash, if it isn’t perfect, that’s the end for comic book movies about women. It will be Catwoman and Electra all over again. “They don’t sell,” they’ll say, “no one likes them.”

But then I think about Diana, I think about her courage and her love and what she’s come to mean to me over the past half decade, and I feel calm.

Wonder Woman gets the job done. It’s what she does.

 

Watching Wonder Woman: A Primer

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So, maybe you live under a rock and you’re wondering, “Hey, what’s this movie coming out this weekend? You know, that one with the lady and the sword?”

Or maybe, you’re like me and you just cannot wait another day for this movie. (Aless and I are going Thursday night.) So, you’re looking for something to watch to hold you over, or introduce you to Princess Diana of Themyscira.

Also known as Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman

A good a primer as any if the 2009 animated movie. Co-Written by Queen of All Superhero Awesomeness Gale Simone, and starring voice talent like Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Virginia Madsen, Rosario Dawson and Alfred Molina, gets you up to date on Diana’s traditional origins, as well as having a really cool battle in the streets of Washington D.C.

Justice League: Season 1: Episodes 1-3: “Secret Origins”

Meet the Justice League as they join forces. Diana leaves home here and it’s a fun alternate origin for her. Plus it has a really great scene where she is baffled by a department store.

Justice League: Season 1: Episodes 14 & 15: “Fury”

Diana and Sheyara (Hawkgirl) team up to save Themyscira from a rogue Amazon, and while I don’t remember the episode in detail, I believe this is the one where Hawkgirl makes fun of Wonder Woman for being a virgin, which is why I included it. Also, I like watching ladies team up to fight other ladies.

Justice League: Season 2: Episodes 7 & 8: “Maid Of Honor”

While this episode is a big ol step in the Wonder Woman/Batman ship that I hate so very much, it is also a Diana spotlight episode that comes as close as any non comics anything to confirming Diana’s bisexuality. (Although Gal Gadot has stated that Diana in the films is. SQUEE!) It’s also really, really good.

Justice League Unlimited: Season 1: Episode 4: “Hawk And Dove”

Diana fights Ares. This is important because Ares as an enemy is pretty important to the overall mythos of Wonder Woman, and this is definitely the only time in JL or JLU that it happens…I think.

Justice League Unlimited: Season 1: Episode 5: “This Little Piggy”

OK, so Wonder Woman isn’t actually in this episode much, and it showcases the dreaded ship, but it’s also a really fun episode, where she gets turned into a pig. And then Batman has to save her by singing a song for Cersi. It’s great, and Kevin Conroy croons “Am I Blue?” Also, Zatanna is in this episode a lot and so it showcases both of Aless’s top cosplays. (Also, I know it’s one of her favorites and she’d be mad if I didn’t include it.)

Justice League Unlimited: Season 1: Episode 18: “The Balance”

Diana learns her heritage, and also she and Hawkgirl make up after having a fight. And that’s where this picture, that is my favorite comes from.

Wonder Woman Sword

SWORD!!!!

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice: The Grand Total of 20 minutes or Whatever that have Wonder Woman in Them.

I went on HBO go last night and fast forwarded through the boring and kind of terrible rest of the movie and just watched Wonder Woman’s parts, and they are great. I would never suggest anyone watch the whole movie, but just watch the Wonder Woman parts. Gal Gadot is awesome and she and Affleck are good together. (I am less opposed to this ship here. I hate it in the DCAU, however, I WILL ALWAYS HATE IT!)

I’ll be back on Friday after seeing the movie. Guys, I’m really excited for this one. Who’s ready for the

The Dead Rule The Sea

pirates 2

Once upon a time, a fourteen year old girl who thought she understood how the world worked rolled her eyes at the prospect of a movie based on a Disney ride.

Now, it’s 15 years later (gross) and that girl thinks that that movie is great, it’s just that the things that came after aren’t so much?

Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl is a really good movie, and there’s hints of that greatness in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but only hints.

There’s a decent ghost story at it’s center, which echoes it’s origins. A pirate hunter drawn to his doom by Jack Sparrow’s shenanigans returns, determined to have his revenge. This message is carried to Jack by Henry Turner, the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, which is a decent way to start fresh while connecting to the old story (spoiler, this movie kind of squanders that chance.) Henry is determined to find the Trident of Poseidon, a mystical maguffin that breaks sea curses or something and would free Will from his vow to serve as the captain of the flying dutchman. (The bargain Will made in Pirates: At World’s End still stands and Henry thinks it’s bullshit. So do we, Henry, so do we.) They’re joined due to plot shenanigans by Carina Smith, an astronomer who everyone thinks is witch for some reason. (She doesn’t even get weighed with a duck, so like, I don’t know how they tested it.) Oh, and Captain Barbosa, because sure, whatever.

There are some decent set pieces and Captain Salazar, the bad guy, is pretty freaky, and played by Javier “I Can Out Weird You In My Sleep Depp” Bardem. Brenton Thwaites looks eerily like Orlando Bloom, who basically looks the same as he did when he first stepped into The Council of Elrond. ( Depp sleepwalks through the movie, which is too bad, because 14 years ago, Jack Sparrow really was an interesting character. Hell, 6 years ago, in On Stranger Tides he was at least entertaining. But it’s pretty played out by now. Kaya Scodelario is lovely as Carina, though she doesn’t get much to do, and as compared to Elizabeth she’s pretty thin as a character. (Kira Knightley pops up in the last 20 seconds of the movie, and mostly I was annoyed that you know, the consumate badass Elizabeth became is flat disregarded.)

Overall, I will probably watch the movie again when it inevitably plays on cable on some sleepy Sunday, probably in marathon with the other 4 movies.

Pirates could have returned to the surprising fun of the first film, the potential is there in the bones of this movie, but it simply doesn’t deliver.

Rankings

  1. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  2. King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
  3. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers:

Transformers: The Last Knight: 
Me: See, Optimus has a sword now, and I think he’s the bad guy this time.
Mary: That’s stupid, Optimus isn’t a bad guy.
And thus the spell this trailer seemed to have over me is broken. Thanks sis!

Cars 3: I don’t think that I ever saw Cars 2 when I think about it, but this one appears to be paying tribute to Rocky 3 so, I’ll probably see it.

Blade Runner: 2049: Mary again, “That looks cool, too bad I hate Blade Runner.” I haven’t watched Blade Runner since freshman year of college, so I need to watch it again before this comes out. I don’t remember liking it much, but you know, Gosling and all.

I’ve Searched Through Every Open Door

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I love Dirty Dancing. Like, truly love. I’ve gone off on drunken rants about how if the world of pop culture celebrated the things that teenage girls love the way that they celebrate the things that teenage boys love, people would talk about the perfection of Dirty Dancing as a romance movie the way they talk about Die Hard’s perfection as an action movie. I once ran across a party to shout down someone who dared to say that Bodie from Point Break was Swayze’s iconic role. (HOW DARE YOU DISREGARD JOHNNY CASTLE??? NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER!) (Point Break is also really great.)

So, last night, I obviously settled in to watch the ABC remake of Dirty Dancing. I was ready to hate it. And I didn’t. So that’s a thing. To quote my sister, “I am opposed to this thing on principal, but it’s better than Havana Nights.” (I saw Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights two times in theaters. I really love Dirty Dancing. Is that clear?)

So, here are the things that the remake did right.

  • Supporting cast! Nicole Scherzinger is an underrated treasure. She did a really good job with Penny, and seemed to be one of the only actors who understood that this movie was about a specific time and place. Debra Messing was always an excellent choice for Marje Houseman, having that same it factor that Kelly Bishop does. Well, not exactly the same, but it’s there. Katey Sagal was also there, as Mrs. Pressman, the lonely lady who’s sleeping with Johnny at the beginning, and that’s just the perfect part for her.
  • A few decent covers of the 60’s songs. Really, they were fun. Particularly I loved Scherzinger and Abigail Breslin’s “Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On.” And Sagal singing “Fever,” which didn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s the perfect song for her, so I’ll allow it.
  • Costuming Sarah Hyland. She looked uber cute in all her 60’s clothes.
  • Billy Dee Williams is in it! Always happy to see Lando!
  • The lift. I mean, it was there, it didn’t quite pack the punch, but it was there which is important.

Here are the things that were not so good.

  • There’s an overall lack of specificity that makes the original movie great. This isn’t as vague a critique as it sounds. Mary and I both noted that Debra Messing is the only cast member who seems even vaguely Jewish, and that’s sort of an important cultural context for the story. It felt weird, like if someone had made The Godfather again, and they willfully didn’t reference Italy. OK, not that bad, because the original isn’t that explicit, but it’s still WEIRD.
  • The new versions of the originals songs are not great. I don’t have “Hungry Eyes” stuck in my head today, which is bizarre, as usually anytime I watch Dirty Dancing I have “Hungry Eyes” stuck in my head for at least a week. “She’s Like The Wind,” featured exactly no saxophone, which should really be a war crime. “Time of My Life,” was OK, but the dance was underwhelming. Which we’ll get to.
  • Abigail Breslin like, really, cannot dance. And it’s a huge bummer. Especially for the finale. You should not have to cut around Baby during the finale of Dirty Dancing.
  • This Colt Prattes person is a very good dancer. He is however, not Swayze. This is not really his fault. It is his fault that he defaulted to “obnoxious jerk” rather than “protective and brooding sensitive dude.” It was a bad choice that kind of ruins Johnny Castle. Which, I mean, how dare you?
  • They felt the need to make all of the subtext text. Seriously, every character had to spell out their motivation. You don’t need to do that, whoever wrote this script. When Dr. Houseman pulls the check he wrote Robby out of his hand after learning that he was the one who got Penny pregnant, the moment speaks for itself. He does not need to make a speech about integrity and demand he pay Penny back. It’s all there. That kind of thing happened a lot.
  • Neil is actually a good guy? Or he’s not? Whatever, Neil should be a weaselly little nothing of a person, and I almost felt bad for him, and kind of wanted Baby to give him another shot?
  • The weird framing device that Baby was watching the Broadway musical version of the book she wrote about that summer, that Johnny was the choreographer, and that awkward epilogue where they see each other and were all weird? What was that? I mean, like obviously, they didn’t make it work. They came from different worlds, they had different goals, YOU DON’T NEED TO MAKE IT EXPLICIT! This is about a golden perfect moment in life. Focus on that moment.

Here are some things that were just weird.

  • They made Lisa, like a person. It was good, it was just strange. Also, I would much rather watch a movie that focused on Lisa spending her summer falling for a black dude and learning to play Bob Dylan songs on her ukelele than whatever this movie was. Like, “Yes, Baby was boinking a dance instructor and funding back alley abortions, but I was doing this other also cool thing! Let’s focus on this.” Instead it was just a strange side plot that didn’t really go anywhere.
  • The musical numbers performed by the cast. I never saw Dirty Dancing: The Musical, and I understand this choice was motivated by that, but it was confusing.
  • The final dance, and not having that great moment where Johnny leads the staff in that cool solo dance up the aisle while Baby awkwardly bops on stage. I think this might be because you can’t pull that off without Swayze.
  • Cutting Baby’s monologues. Like, why?? The scenes that replaced them were fine, but those are good speeches. Use them. At then end, when Johnny said that she was fearless, Mary and I actually started reciting, “Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of who I am, of what I did! And most of all, I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling again, for the rest of my life the way I feel when I’m with you.”

Overall? The thing was watchable, and it made me want to watch the real Dirty Dancing again, not that it takes much, but it’s not good, and not even bad enough to be fun to watch and make fun of.

Balance Is The Answer

King Arthur

I like to visit Camelot every few years. I’ve mentioned this before.

I think Guy Ritchie is one of the greatest working action directors. I’ve mentioned this before.

I’m not sure that Charlie Hunnam is actually a good actor, though I have consistently enjoyed his work. I’ve mentioned this before

So, with all of that out of the way, it should be a foregone conclusion that I really really enjoyed, King Arthur: Legend Of  The Sword. But I was  nervous going in because this movie has not been tracking well, and it made not nearly enough money last week to be considered a hit, which is a shame, because this movie is a complete and utter delight. Obviously, I knew that this movie was probably going to have my favorite stylish action of the summer but goddamn do I love how Ritchie handles fights.

From Arthur’s brawling as he grows up on the streets of Londinium to the stunning magic assisted sword fights to the incredible opening battle featuring giant elephant demons (Yup, that’s a thing. AND IT WAS AWESOME), all of the action was superbly fun. And only two of the scenes utilized slow motion.

Hunnam is kind of perfect here? I don’t know how else to say this. I’ve been onto his schtick since about season 3 of Sons of Anarchy (stare intensely at his co-stars until it’s time to shout) but it’s actually deeply effective for Arthur, and even more surprisingly, he handles the wisecracking required of a Ritchie lead miraculously.

Jude Law does well as the villain. (Arthur’s uncle Vortigan, who’s new to me.) An unnamed sorceress plays Merlin’s role (I kept waiting for someone to call her Morgan or Vivienne, but it never happened) and I squeed a bit when one of Arthur’s street buddies rose as a new knight, “Sir Tristan.” (Everyone else had their normal names, but this guy had gone by the street name “Wet Stick” the whole movie).

Overall I think it’s a bummer this movie didn’t hit because it’s a whole lot of fun, and it’s vaguely educational, because I bet some kid is going to see this movie and get into Athurian legend.

I hope so at least.

I also hope that either this or The Man From UNCLE get sequels, though that seems unlikely.

Trailers:

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Lord does that look good. The first one was so special, I hope they keep it going.

Transformers: The Last Knight: Guys, I can’t decide if I’ve just seen this trailer a bunch of times and I have stockholm syndrome, or do I actually want to see a new Transformers movie?

The Hitman’s Bodyguard: I have never heard of this movie before, and it looks PRETTY dumb, but using Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” in the trailer is genius.

Wonder Woman: We’re so close. It feels close right? Anyway, this trailer is bank, all of them have been.

Rankings:

  1. Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  2. King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

Quick unrelated note: Today is the 6th Anniversary of The Fangirl’s Dilemma! A lot has changed and lot hasn’t, but thanks to everyone who’s read for the past 6 years!

Yours in love, nerdiness & girl power – Reenie