Everything’s Going To Be Different Now

Movie Post Season: Round 8

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Inspires Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire

In which we all learn that the world is a little bit bigger than we thought.

There are a lot of reasons why I think that Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire is the most important story in the series. The idea that it finally zoomed out on the world we’ve seen in the past, the idea that it finally brings about the return of Voldemort, fully corporal and in terrifying power, (I truly believe that “Flesh Blood And Bone” is the best writing that Rowling puts forward in the series.) and of course, the death of Cedric Diggory, a burned bridge beyond any before.

There was death in the Wizarding world before but never so direct, so impactful on our main character, never in his view. It was in the margins, but with Cedric, he’s dead, and it’s over. There is nothing else, no way to bring him back, no last moment of clarity. His death is useless, petty and sad. It can’t even be called tragic, there’s no narrative to clean it up. He was a good person, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Tragedy is to be saved for the next iteration and Sirius Black)

And this changes things. It changes the tone a trajectory of the series. It changes Harry’s opinion about who he is, why he is, and what he can do moving forward. It’s this moment that moves him from being a passive protagonist, someone who plot happens to, to an active one, someone who acts thus creating plot, and it’s a brilliant spot to put him in.

So, why does this make it a good match with Fantastic Beasts? Mostly the world expansion, it’s unlikely anyone would have wondered “what’s up with Wizards elsewhere?” in anything more than a passing fandom way if we hadn’t been introduced to Beauxbatons and Durmstrang here. It’s an important change in the way we all see the series.

I Don’t Know When, I don’t Know How

Movie Post Season: Round 2

Moana inspires The Little Mermaid

I have a lot of history with The Little Mermaid. It was the first movie that I ever saw in a movie theater. I was two years old and my Aunt Mary brought me. I don’t remember that viewing, nor the countless after that specifically. But I do remember car sing a longs to “Part Of Your World” and couch dance parties to “Under The Sea.”

The Little Mermaid isn’t my favorite Disney movie, but I think it’s an important one. It’s considered the first film of the “Disney Renaissance” and therefore has a special place, also, “Part Of Your World” make me cry reflexively, and Ariel was my favorite Disney Princess to meet on my trip in last April. (We talked about my “thingamabob” which was my necklace that’s a beach badge…she was really great. Good job random Disney cast member!)

Anyway, there is something very special about The Little Mermaid, that I can’t quite put my finger on this time around, but I’m definitely glad I chose it for this. Ariel and Moana simply feel more akin than any of the other princesses. Yes, they want literally exact opposite goals, (Ariel wants out of the ocean and Moana wants on it) but something about their defiance of expectations really feels at home. Not to mention that there’s something distinctly Hei-Hei like about Scuttle and something distinctly Sebastian like about Maui.

Going back to this movie felt like getting a warm hug, though, which is why I think it works best in this context. I felt connected to something bigger when I saw Moana and I think that same connection comes through in The Little Mermaid. 

 

Tale As Old As Time

I don’t know who exactly at Disney Studios I’m supposed to thank for these live action movies, but they deserve thanks, if only for the stunning images they create.

Yesterday a new trailer for Beauty And The Beast hit and if nothing else, this movie looks absolutley stunning. Every image looks breathtaking. There are a few things that really stand out to me.

  • I’m much more excited than I realized for Kevin Kline as Maurice. Like, unresonably excited, I love Kevin Kline.
  • Maurice is caught when the Beast finds him clipping a rose. This is, unfathomably important to me. In the original fairy tale, this is what Belle asks her father for. (She also has two vain and silly sisters, I’ve always been glad Disney excised them.)
  • Emma Watson really was such brilliant casting, and she looks so at home running around the castle. (Can’t imagine why)
  • I’m still obsessed with the yellow dress, I think they did a wonderful job with it.
  • Emma Thompson’s voice is always the greatest comfort.

So we’re a few months away, but I’m really excited to see the movie. Before that there’s Moana, and you know, my trip to Disney World…so I’ll be full up with magic when the movie hit.

Looking forward to it!

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil Season 1: Episodes 1 & 2

Hey everyone! It’s time for a new rewatch project. (You  missed it these past few weeks, admit it!) The timing may feel weird for this. It kind of IS! But I realized that two episodes a week (finales get their own post) gives me a full six month of posts. AND finishes up a second watching of Iron Fist in July of 2017. (still going to binge when it hits in March!) If The Defenders winds up with an October drop date, like Luke Cage, or a November like Jessica Jones (either is likely) it gives me a few months to organize my thoughts, rewatch episodes that I think link well together, or just full on binge again!

The other thing that is I need some inspiration right now, and I think this will do it. These are stories about standing up for the people around you against those who would exploit and disregard them. Granted, the heroes do it with super powered punching, but the principle of the thing.

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes.

I really was trying to wait until it would line up exactly.

Also it might move to Wednesday when West World Ends. Who knows! We’re flying by the seat of our pants here.

We start with Daredevil Season 1 today. If you’re interested in my first reaction to this season of television, you can read it here, SPOILER ALERT, it might be my favorite season of anything ever. (I love it a lot). This is the first time I’m revisiting, so, deep breath, here we go.

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Daredevil: Season 1: Episode 1: Into The Ring

About ten seconds into Daredevil there are two things we know about Matt Murdock, he was in a tragic accident with some chemicals, and it happened because he was saving an old man from that same crash. We know immediately that Matt Murdock is a hero. The little boy rubbing his eyes as his lights go out forever is not the defining thing about that moment. It’s such a small thing but it’s so perfect and so defining.

I also love the kinetic feel of this scene. The confusion that Jack Murdock feels looking for is son is so palpable in this moment. It’s so good.

We’re ten seconds in and I’m already gushing. This project is going to go well.

When we next see Matthew Murdock, he’s grown up, sitting in a confessional and impossibly dreamy. This confessional scene means a lot to me, but I’ve outlined that before. It’s also pretty good writing. Matt clocks his own faith, his family history, his fear of his anger and his difficulty accepting the violence of his life choices. He’s so afraid of the anger, of “the devil in the Murdock boys.”

We then get the first of so many brutal, brilliant amazing fight scenes. But all I could focus on was how good that costume looks. I love the Daredevil suit, but the black mask and outfit are really, really effective. But I also forgot that this is the first place we see Turk, which is weird, because he’s terrifying here, forcing three women into a shipping container, and he’s basically comic relief in Luke Cage. 

I love these opening credits. They’re so Catholic, man. I heard a lot of people teasing about the dripping liquid because they didn’t understand the candle wax imagery. But it’s so good.

The next scene is where we meet Foggy, and my notes express my excitement at this development quite succintly. Also Matt is shirtless in this scenes. All of this equals, I had some trouble focusing. Then Foggy bribes Officer Brett Mahoney, who is my favorite, non Claire recurring character. So, we’re barely ten minutes into this and we’ve gotten a lot of what I really, really love about this show. Matt and Foggy tour their office, and Matt flirts with their realtor, they talk about “The Incident,” which is still a term that I love.

The hard cut to Karen standing in a pool of blood with that knife, just as Matt insists they’ll only take innocent clients is so imossibly perfect. This is just such DAMN GOOD TELEVISION. Anyway, her arrest, Brett calling Foggy and Matt, and their swift move to represent her all happens so seemlessly. And seeing the three of them together makes me so happy. The heart of this show is their relationship. We also get one of my favorite Daredevil tricks here, the human lie detector thing, where he listens to heartbeats.

After this we meet Wesley and I didn’t realize how much I missed him in season 2 until this scene where he threatens the prison guard who then tries to kill Karen. And let’s talk about that scene, which is so brutal and so violent, in a way that the fight scenes aren’t because there’s no aesthetically cool choreography here. Just a large man, going after an unarmed, scared young woman, and it’s brutal and terrifying.

I also kind of forgot that the whole Daredevil story starts because Karen noticed the company she worked for moving money around in a shady manner. It seems so, small, compared to what it becomes and it’s kind of genius. Anyway, Matt takes the terrified Karen back to his apartment and there’s a very tense scene where he tries to get more information out of her, that I really love because, I noticed there is no music which is always eerie, until Matt realizes that Karen’s lying and her heartbeat races.

The big meeting between all of the bad guys makes me giggle, mostly because of Nobu, who is not yet an immortal ninja man, and because both Owlsley and Wesley are deeply missed on this show as midlevel bad guys.

When Karen sneaks out of her apartment and is attacked, it’s shot like a horror movie and that’s pretty cool, but that she doesn’t know that Matt is The Devil of Hell’s kitchen (a name he doesn’t yet have) is just a huge jump in superhero credulity. I don’t mind, it’s just tough.

Matt’s passed out flashback to his childhood is chilling and wonderful. I really love John Patrick Hayden as Jack Murdock, he brings this brilliant vulnerability to the character, and it’s well done. Matt coming back to life as his father says, “come on Matty, back to work,” is so inspiring, and this fight is so good.

When Foggy and Matt and Karen regroup after Karen is cleared, and she gives them a caserole, is the scene is what made me fall in love with the show back at Comic Con 2014, so I have a deep affection for it, but I also just love the friendship between these three characters, but the actual finale of the episode, a montage of Hell’s Kitchen mayhem, while Matt beat’s the crap out of a heavy bag at Fogwell’s gym is a masterpiece. And as that little boy gets dragged away from his father, and Daredevil hears it, diving into action, I was overwhelmed with excitement to watch this series again.

Daredevil: Season 1: Episode 2: Cut Man

Back when Luke Cage premiered, I made an off the cuff statement on a friend’s facebook status that Luke Cage is about blackness, Jessica Jones is about rape, and Daredevil is about ninja fights. Obviously, that’s a simplification of all three series, and I’m gonna try this time around to hone in on another theme, and I want to say it’s about the cycle of violence. But also DAMN those ninja fights.

Obviously this episode ends with the most infamous of them all, dubbed “The Hallway Fight,” where Matt fights off like ten guys in a hallway to retrieve a kidnapped child. It’s an exceptional bit of stunt work and thrillingly shot. It’s been written about ad nausiem and it’s no less impressive watching it again.

But that isn’t all that goes on in this episode. Most importantly to the Defenders universe, we meet Claire Temple. Fucking Boss Ass Nurse Lady, Claire Temple. She’s the best. Just the absolute best. Her taking Matt in, fixing him up and helping him torture that Russian is easily the most pivotal moment in Daredevil season 1, and probably in the Defenders (Luke and Jessica would be very dead, if Claire hadn’t decided giving medical help to superheroes was her calling.).

This episode also features Jack Murdock’s death. His decision to not throw a fight, to bet on himself to give Matt a safety net and every small detail of this story, from Matt learning to read in brielle, to Jack calling someone (Matt’s mom Maggie? We’re two seasons in and we haven’t heard from her) to Matt’s role stitching Jack up, which to me creates this connection between helping with injuries and an act of love. There’s something there, or maybe it’s just that Rosario Dawson could have chemistry with an actual door.

The final bit of this episode is Foggy and Karen getting drunk which is so adorable, I can barely stand it. Also, Karen is wearing a very pretty flowered dress.

This episode is exceptionally emotional and wonderful.

Other Stuff:

  • Matt’s powers that we know of: Can hear heartbeats, super smell, super hearing, ability to constantly have 5 o’clock shadow, looking good in a suit and pectoral muscles.
  • I wrote a lot of notes about how hot he is. Charlie Cox is a deeply attractive man.
  • What America needs right now is a Foggy Nelson to get it drunk and make it smile. I’d volunteer but I’m not as beffuddingly charming as Foggy.
  • Here are some notes that I wrote down about Claire: “Claire as known Matt for five seconds and is already done with his shit,” “Claire’s hood in the torture scene is creepy,” “Claire keeps Matt human.”
  • Architect Nobu is not as interesting as immortal Ninja Nobu
  • Wesley is great.

Try To Stay Whelmed

So in the craziness that has been the last few days, there’s a piece of pop culture news that I didn’t get to properly celebrate.

Young Justice is coming back!

Young Justice

YEESSSSSS!!!!

Young Justice is a perfect beautiful cinnamon roll of a show, focused on the teenage sidekicks of the Justice League. In it’s second season it expanded out to include just about every teenage hero in DC’s arsenal (Yes, Arsenal was also a very important character.)

It was also unceremoniously cancelled by Cartoon Network due to not capturing their desired demographic of boys ages 8-13. You know who did love the show? Girls ages 12-18 (and everyone with a modicum of taste.)

Yeah, this show was cancelled because too many teenage girls liked it and traditionally speaking, teenage girls don’t buy toys. They do buy just about every other branded piece of crap out there though, so it was a pretty stupid call.

Crack

I give you, Exhibit A

Anyway, DC fans have lobbied loudly and with gusto that we wanted a new season of the show, as season 2 ended on kind of a big cliff hanger, and this week, we learned that we’re getting the show back.

Now, as long as they save Wally West from the Speed Force, I’ll be happy. I also wouldn’t mind an full on exploration of Jason Todd (who we know exists in this continuity, as there’s a memorial to fallen team members and it includes him.) but I don’t expect it because while the Bat-Family are certainly a part of Young Justice, really only Dick is a main character. (Barbara pops up a few times and Tim has a couple decent episodes…but mostly, just our boy.)

I’d also like for Supergirl to get her due here, as she was conspicously absent during the expansion. I mean, it made sense, season focused largely on Superboy (Conner Kent, Clone of Clark and Lex Luthor version) and the second season was mostly about alien invasion. And they definitely didn’t skimp on the female characters. (Bumble Bee is a character in this show. BUMBLE BEE) But especially now, I feel like Kara deserves a spot on The Team.

Anyway, I’m glad it’s coming back! Now the waiting comes.

Anything Other Than Me: One Tree Hill Rewatch: Season 8 Episodes 12-16

Quick schedule change this week because I’m going to see Hamilton tonight and I don’t think I’ll want to write about anything else for tomorrow!

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Episode 12: “The Drinks We Drank Last Night”

It’s the court mandated Hangover episode. It’s the day after Brooke’s bachelorette party and the group must piece together what’s gone on the night before. They know it involves Brooke losing her engagement ring, Silvia crashing the party, Haley leaving early (hence no one remembering, as pregnant Haley wouldn’t have gotten blackout drunk), Dave Navarro and a skateboarding dog.

They track down the ring, and as it turns out at one point in the reveries, Brooke called Julian, kissed him (a waitress pointed out that she made out with someone, turns out, it was her fiancé) and he took the ring for safe keeping. The dog belongs to Nathan’s cranky professor and Dave Navarro is playing somewhere and they had a water filled condom fight with him. Oh, also Millie got a tattoo and drank a bunch of alcohol out of an old boot.

Peyton calls Brooke and tells her that she’s not going to make it to the wedding because Sawyer is sick and so Brooke asks Haley to be her maid of honor. (I have never been OK with this development, as it was reported to me by Katherine when it happened. I understand why, but it’s still a major, UGH.)

Episode 13: “The Other Half of Me”

It’s Brooke and Julian’s wedding day and thus we get all kinds of good stuff. The episode opens to a scene from Brooke’s childhood, where sitting outside her big house with the red door, hiding from an argument her parents are having and a bride driving by tosses her a veil. This comes back later, where Victoria comes by Brooke’s house while she and Haley get dressed and gives Brooke the veil as a gift.

Julian, meanwhile, relates a story about a childhood crush and a belief in love brought about from the exact situation of Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That,” (The barbeque stain on a white tee shirt is in fact left out…but otherwise). Jamie then uses this story in his best man speech and it’s adorable. Haley, meanwhile, recounts to events of “Every Night Is Another Story,” which reminded me of a time when this show was the best instead of mediocre.

Meanwhile, Skills has taken it upon himself to make sure that none of the Tree Hill wedding disasters come upon Brooke and Julian. Thus, he makes sure that Julian is who he says he is by running a background check (Keith and Jules), that all people entering the church are invited (Lucas and Lindsey) and that no one interrupts the ceremony with objections, (also Lucas and Lindsey). Brooke isn’t pregnant so her going into early almost deadly labor is not a factor. He arranges alternate transportation so that no one can steel and then drive the limo off of a bridge (Nathan and Haley).

Also there’s some drama with the Alex/Chase/Mia triangle and I can’t believe I don’t care about this. Clay and Quinn are in the episode, as is Nathan, but they basically do nothing.

Everything is lovely, I cried a few times, and it’s a perfectly serviceable. It’s just not blow you out of the water great, as this show once was.

Episode 14: “Holding Out For A Hero”

So Brooke is bored and has been watching Kick Ass and thus decides that she, Haley and Quinn should become superheroes. Look, we weren’t fully into Berlanti-Land but I’m pretty sure Arrow had hit by now, so I guess it makes sense. Either that or the show predicted the network’s future, either way, this plot is bananas, but it does get the girls dressed in super cute costumes and Brooke’s superhero identity of B-Dazzler is kind of completely genius. Anyway, they wind up defending a girl who’s getting bullied, so that’s a thing.

Julian and Mouth make a commercial for a community college and it goes really well, and it’s all terribly sweet. Nathan is still having trouble with his dickish professor, and Clay comes and saves him with some speech about integrity and how theory alone doesn’t cut it in the real world or whatever.

Chase has volunteered to be a big brother and gets assigned to Chuck, who is such an asshole kid, but whatever. Turns out Chuck’s home life is kind of a dumpster fire, and Chase is going to be there for him. It’s very nice.

Episode 15: “Valentine’s Day Is Over”

It’s Valentine’s Day and everyone’s getting sexy, except Nathan and Haley. Brooke and Julian spend the whole day role playing sexy scenes. It’s adorable and funny and really just an excuse to get Sophia into some killer lingerie. It’s very cute and the whole thing ends with Julian saying that he thinks that they should look into adoption. Considering they got married like 5 seconds ago, I mean, I guess they should jump right to having kids.

Chase continues to big brother Chuck, who, as it turns out is a musical theatre genius. He wrote a perfectly serviceable show tune song about lost love and longing. Also, he helps Chase transform Tric into a romantic date spot exclusively for Clay and Quinn. After Clay pretends that he’s just not into Valentine’s Day.

Nathan and Haley agree not to do anything, but it’s also a fake out. This is cute, but not exactly revelatory. Jamie takes Madison to a carnival…which I bet is a move he got from Julian. Mouth and Millie make an audition tape for him to try out for a field reporter position.

Episode 16: “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here”

Haley is going a little stir crazy, and she’s bugging Quinn a lot. And Quinn and Brooke are trying to organize a surprise baby shower for Haley, so this is a problem, I guess? Anyway, at the shower, everyone sends love at Haley and Haley feels good, and then everyone starts asking Quinn when she and Clay are going to get engaged. I feel sort of bad for Millie in this scenario, since Quinn does not want to talk about it, and Millie drops a big giant, “HEY! I MIGHT GET ENGAGED SOON TOO! I AM ALSO IN A LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP HERE!” convo bomb and everyone sort of ignores her.

Clay and Nathan have been scoping out a baseball player to sign and he’s the son of Nathan’s dick wad teacher, and has a season 1 Nathan size chip on his shoulder. He does come to Jamie’s baseball practice and teach the kids some stuff though, so that’s pretty fun and cute.

Brooke and Julian meet with a pregnant girl who might give them their baby. They try to come off as perfectly normal and stable people, and while they are stable, they are not normal and the girl, Chloe picks up on that but decides she likes them anyway. Yes, Brooke and Julian are the best people ever.

In the end Quinn and Clay go to a garden that they both dreamed about when they were in their weird sideways coma world. So, you know, that’s fun.

Overall Analysis of This Arc

I will get through this series. I will get through this series. I only have a few weeks left. I will finish. I’m ready.

I am actually excited to see the Brooke and Julian start a family stuff. They are the best. I’m deeply over all things Naley, which makes me sad, because they used to be the best.