Category Archives: movies

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Unfriended Me Over Ghostbusters

ghostbusters-rebook-2016-03

Yes, I’m talking to you now, but don’t think it’s because you are special in any way. I’m singling you out, even though you conducted yourself like nothing more than a common internet troll, because once upn a time we were friends, real-life, face-to-face friends. Something I assumed to still be true, right up until the moment you unfriended me. Over Ghostbusters. I want to be clear, I was perhaps a bit stunned at first, but I have long since moved past that, since you have so clearly shown your true colors.

Prior to that moment, I made the obviously erroneous assumption that we operated on an equal playing field. That if you commented with brash boldness, that I could reply with brash boldness. If you began name calling, I could reply in kind. After all, it’s all in good fun, right? You posted to my wall, and I posted to yours.

I’ve posted about a lot of things on my Facebook timeline. Some of it had to do with feminist stuff. Some of it has to do with fandom. I’ve posted about Star Wars. I’ve posted about Firefly. I’ve posted about the Dark Tower movie coming up staring Idris Elba. I’ve posted about how people are outraged that Rowland is cast by black actor, Idris Elba, when it is assumed he is white in the book. I’ve posted about the outrage aimed back at the original outrage. I’ve posted about how the media skews headlines to meet an agenda regardless of what the truth may be. I’ve posted about #blacklivesmatter. I’ve posted about Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and I have even stated that I think we might face another holocaust if Donald Trump is elected. I have posted about lots of things. Yet, out of all these things, it is Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters! Which pushed you over the edge.

For whatever reason, the presence of a post about Ghostbusters seemed to offend you to the point of mouth-foaming frenzy. You claimed that “we” made this about “us” (Us being feminists, I guess?) Even though it is wildly documented repeatedly across the internet that this movie, much like other movies with female leads, was targeted by anti-feminist groups.

You stated that if something is to be equal, then men must be included too. Okay, sure let’s examine that for a minute. Women make up 50% of the population of the planet. That’s half. That means there are an equal amount of women existing as there are men. You with me so far? Good. Yet, they only take up 30% of speaking roles in movies. That is out of a survey of 7000 characters out of 300 movies, and only 15% in lead roles. So we’re still seeking that elusive equality of which you speak. This is of course, ignoring the fact that men were “included” way back in 1984 when Ghostbusters was released starring an all male cast.

 

scifi-movie-diversity-gap1
“Circle, circle, dot, dot! Now I got my cootie shot!”

If by chance, you were referring to being included in the discussion itself, you were plenty included in that as well. You began with the name calling and the accusations. When I responded to them, (see above) you then claimed that I was incapable of responding to a critical discussion. I am fully capable of that.

 

You, however, did not invite critical discussion. You name called. You posted pictures of phallus-shaped objects. You insisted that me and my friends show you our vagina because all feminists are all about showing off the vag, you said. (Why do people think we have some kind of hive mind? We are not bees.) You called us fat and ugly (an outdated and, quite frankly, lazy attempt at insult). And yet, you said I was the one incapable of critical discussion.

tinafeyeyeroll.gif

And then, when things got too hot to handle, you shared my post to one of your other accounts, which I guess you forgot I was following. This prompted the beginning of the threatening language from your friends, followed closely by the unfriending. After all, I assumed a level playing field. Guess not.

All this becuase I posted stuff akin to what I usually post. A little bit of fandom. And a little bit of critical discourse. Why did that bother you so much, I wonder.

What is even more laughable is you actually used the sad argument that this remake ruined your childhood. Ruined. Your Childhood. That’s some serious gravy right there. You marked yourself when you said that. You claimed solidarity with all the legitimate trolls who flooded Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and other sites to bash and downvote the movie before it was even released. It is one thing if someone watched it and legitimately did not care for it, but to go out of your way to sabotage a film which may not pander directly to your market is nothing less than that of a little boy throwing a fit and nailing the “no girls allowed” sign on his tree house

.

no-girls-allowed
“Except Mommy”

 

This may be tough for you to understand, what with having the majority of media represent you in a positive light and all, but the new Ghostbusters was made just as much for you as the old one was made for me.

Take that in for a moment. If that makes you feel left out somehow, then welcome to the club, brah. Think about it.

No one excluded you… except you.

For the record, I enjoyed the old Ghostbusters. Why? Because I possess the capacity to idenfify with characters who exist in a different demographic than myself. Women, minorities, gay people, trans people are constantly exptected to look to the white teethed CWM manly hero types as the driving force. In fact, if we want to take part in a fandom we kind of don’t have a choice in the matter. So when we do get a snippet of representation, we get a little bit happy. The playing field is not level. Not yet. So stop pretending it is.

Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my fandom. Just as outloud as I do any other fandom. Not participating in any way is an okay option for you. I genuinely wish you well. Sadly, I don’t expect the same from you.

 

gunlick
“Let’s bust some Ghosts!”

 

 

Advertisements

The One About David Bowie

I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.

Ah, yesterday the King of the Misfits’ returned to the stars.

Today I have regained the ability to form sentences to some degree. Grief sometimes makes no sense. We were not friends. My daily routine is not affected in any way by the loss of this icon. My husband is still here. My children are still here. I am in relative health. So it would make sense that my seven-year-old son should ask me why I am crying.

“There is nothing upsetting happening right now…” he claims with some puzzlement.

You are right. It’s just a reminder. That is all.

A reminder that sometimes a person can be touched by a moment, something that can change a person, get in deep and under the skin, becoming part of who you are from that day forward. Art in many forms can transfer that meaning between people who have never met, and who never will. It is for such a moment that I want to remember you by, Mr. Jones.

I remember sitting in my high school bedroom, listening to the borrowed vinyl “Space Oddity” being mesmerized by the sadness of the lyrics as if he were speaking directly to me. Just coming out of the super saccharine sugary lyrics of 80’s pop radio, and not yet cresting the cultural horizon into the 90’s grunge scene, I began to realize that there is sadness, there is heartache, there is that strange weakness within us to sometimes want to take that step from the safety of one’s tin can, to float in a most peculiar way. And that sometimes feeling that way was okay…  

But that is not the moment.

There are people in the world who seem to be born to performance, who hold within them a spark, a light which draws to them the eyes of every person in the room. Call it charisma, charm, beauty, inner light. Whatever it was you had it. Through the course of your career you embodied the ageless, the magical, as you did playing the iconic Goblin King in the movie Labyrinth.

For anyone living under a rock since 1986, “Labyrinth” is a magical tale of a young girl who accidentally wishes away her baby brother to the realm of the Goblin King. He appears and commands her that she must solve the imposing maze to save her brother, or the baby will become one of his goblins forever.

But the Evil King was no monster. Your performance of Jareth embodied everything that could tempt a young girl into turning away from her task at hand. You were beautiful, brimming with power, magic, glamour, pretty boubles, sparkling enchantments, the promise of castles, dresses, eternal devotion. And then…

And then…

You became defeated by an ordinary girl.

sara

This was a benchmark moment for all of us ordinary girls watching, when Sara uttered those now famous words, “You have no power over me!”

It made a difference that you were so dynamic, so magical, so charismatic, so powerful, so strong…

But Sara was stronger. And becouse of that moment we all became stronger. And the defeat in your eyes as she spoke those words, breaking the spell. We knew it was true.

db with globe

If Jareth had been played by any other actor it just would not have worked. Anyone else would have come across as just a man wearing eyeliner and a wig, but you, sir. You stepped into it, as you did with every character making it fully realized. You brought with it every nuance and beat, the bricks which build a performance. You never hesitated.

You became the Goblin King. Larger than life.

And for that I thank you… Rest well, Starman. Until we meet again.

david with cig

 

If Other Beloved Cartoon Reboots Had Been Treated Like “Jem and the Holograms”

I had thought about writing a great big scathing post about how this movie is an affront to women everywhere, since the target demographic is either teenage girls or middle aged women. (And we all know our opinions don’t matter and we don’t have any say in market activity.) But instead I have decided to wash my hands of it. I’m done. I’m out. I’m not going to go see it. I cannot help but imagine what the other movies would be like if their plots had been mangled to the extent that Jem and the Holograms has been. Cue the dramatics! =)

jem-pink-crying
Truly outrageous….

Transformers: Abandoned robot, Optimus Prime must struggle with his sudden meteoric rise into government recognition due to his ability to transform from a truck into a large robot. The emotional turmoil nearly breaks up his family of Autobots, but in the end they discover what true loyalty means. Also, there are no Megatrons and the Allspark is a pack of gum.

Scooby-Doo: Shaggy, a young man with everything to gain, secretly records a video of his talking dog, Scooby-Doo. When he posts in on Youtube with the hopes of it going viral. He is overcome with disappointment when he finds that his beloved pet may not be as unique as he originally thought. Can he and his friends survive the anonymity or will the pressure be too much for their friendship to survive?

The Smurfs: Smurfette, under the pressure of her new human friend Gargamelina, sets out on an epic quest to become the next great pop star. She is faced with the option of abandoning her tribe or losing everything she has ever dreamed of. Can she find success and still remain loyal to her friends and family? Also, they live in shoes, not mushrooms, and they are six feet tall.

Spider-Man: Peter Parker, successful CEO and owner of Parker Corporation, swats away a pesky spider that he finds crawling on his arm while visiting one of his laboratories. The end.

Bat-Man: Billionaire Bruce Wayne lives in a large house. He makes a bad investment and looses everything. He must find a way to survive with nothing but a tuxedo and a hand written sign that reads, “Ka-Pow”.

Any more? Feel free to leave your version in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jem Watch 2015, the video.

So this was released a few days ago.

Oh, live action Jem and the Holograms movie, you never cease to disappoint. I have already waxed on about how the plot of the original cartoon has been stripped to the bones and then put through a blender poured out and preformed shaped product. They took filet mignon and turned it into Spam. I have already dissected the plot elements here. Go check it out.

My first thought was that if the movie is as terrible as it seems maybe the music is good. There might be some pop gems that rise to the surface as some kind of saving grace. After all the majority of the cartoon was cheesy-fun music videos featuring Jem and the girls traveling the world, fighting to save Starlight House, or facing off in a battle royale against the Misfits. If the above video is any indication, this new movie is sadly lacking in dynamic music as well.

Nothing against the talent of these young girls. I have seen Audrey Peebles in other venues and she is a fine performer in her own right. In this video she just looks bored. (I’m looking at you Production Team!) Maybe it is because the audience is full of extras and she knows that the cheers are not genuine. Maybe she is trying not to externalize her reaction to the cringe worthy sleepover karaoke antics that they have the girls doing on stage. In the original cartoon the girls actually PLAYED the instruments, instead of flouncing around in front of random other people.

Jem and the Holograms are supposed to be the only ones on the stage, because they DOMINATED the stage. I can’t for the life of me figure out WHY Universal has stripped this movie of everything that appealed about it. Time and time again audiences had proven that a strong female lead CAN carry a movie. Have we learned nothing from Mad Max: Fury Road, The Hunger Games, Divergent?

I don’t know what they are thinking, but every time I read a plot summary of the new movie it is unrecognizable. IMDB describes the plot as follows:

“As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.”

Let’s compare it to the plot summary of the original.

“Jerrica Benton is secretly the leader of the glamorous and exciting music group, Jem and the Holograms.”

In just these few words one can already see the difference. Universal has taken a character and pigeon-holed her from a dynamic active participant in charge of her own fate, to one that is passive. She “catapults” , literally thrown into stardom. “Journey of discovering”, internal and emotional. The cartoon describes Jem as a “leader”, “glamorous and exciting”. The thing is, children watched the original show because Jem already knew who she was. None of this namby-pamby find yourself nonsense. Plus the added dynamic of having to face off against Eric Raymond and his band of evil Misfits, with the added pressure of trying to save a house full of foster children. All of this paired with the recent loss of her father, and any teenage girl would have crumbled under the pressure.

Jem did not.

She rose to the occasion and she looked good doing it. There was not internal struggle about “oh can I handle being famous” or “oh should I betray my sisters and go solo”. No. The previews so far show this portrayal of Jem crumbling at the first sign of pressure. In fact that is the whole conflict of the film. Audrey Peebles is a talented girl, as I am sure the rest of them are too. I can only hope that she finds another star vehicle to show off her skills after this movie fades into oblivion. This movie will not do well, and I am sad to say so. I had high hopes.

Movie Review: Thale (2012)

Thale (2012)_00

In an effort to expand the influence of our media input we stumbled across a little gem on Netflix, the 2012 Norwegian Thriller, Thale. We were first introduced to the joys of Norwegian Independent film a couple of years ago when we watched the runaway thriller, Troll Hunter. If you have not seen that one yet, go see it. Now. Since we had so thoroughly enjoyed the first we decided to check this one out. Thale did not disappoint in any way. So far Norwegian films are two for two, so thumbs up to Norway. (No seriously. We want to check out more films from there, so if you know of any good ones, leave it in the comments for us.)

At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Elvis and Leo, two members of a crime scene clean up crew. Things get gruesome early on. Fair warning for the squeamish. Leo is the senior of the two and it is established fairly early that Elvis is filling in for someone else and this is not his usual assignment. When they arrived at a cabin in the middle of the woods to collect the remains of the deceased, they discover a series of evidence that unravels more questions than answers. Starting with the discovery of a hidden underground bunker the two men stumble across a collection of old canned goods, stacks of medical dictionaries and a mysterious young woman hidden within.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the movie is impressive on multiple levels. We were instantly hooked, and the themes ranged from delving into Norwegian Folklore (quite heavily), to the two men dealing with their own personal issues threaded throughout the film. One of the reasons I have always loved indie films is that the filmmakers have little to work with and must choose where they want their talents to shine. Thale is no exception. Set in a small underground setting the film captures the claustrophobic feel that the characters must be experiencing, the tedium, anxiety and confusion of Elvis and Leo is undeniably felt by the viewer, but it is the character of Thale that is the true prize of the film evoking both sympathy, mystery and terror.

thale2

The title character is played in brilliant form by the mesmerizing Silje Reinamo. What struck me the most about her performance is how much she says without saying a word. Traumatized by her ordeal she remains for the most part mute throughout, unable to share her story with the two men who find her. Just about every scene that she is in she demands the centrality of the movie with just her presence and expression. She is for the most part of the film, silent, naked and outnumbered, but not for a moment did the filmmakers treat her as anything less than a powerful entity in her own right. Watching her made me have one of those moments in which I wanted to fall into the movie and give myself completely to the story. Unfortunately I could not help but wonder if the film were to become Americanized or remade, how would they go about ruining it, sexualizing the character and making her a victim. In this film Thale is anything but. I shall spare the readers my internal rant.

There is a good bit of nudity but no sexual scenario whatsoever. Filmed in Norway the movie does contain subtitles, but most of the best movies have subtitles anyway. There are some elements of subtle humor. At one point I felt like Elvis was having a Dante moment reminiscent of Clerks. (“I’m not even supposed to BE here today!”) So if you like foreign films, films with strong female characters, Indie films, Fantasy Thrillers with a little bit of mystery, have a look at Thale. You will not be disappointed.

Overall I give Thale a solid 9 out of 10 popcorn boxes.

Jem Watch 2015

Okay, so yesterday the long anticipated trailer for the live action Jem and the Holograms movie was released. Yaaaay! Said throngs of fans awaiting the much hyped event, that is until they watched the it, when the internet cried out with a great collective “Really!!??”.

For those of you not in the know, Jem and the Holograms was a cartoon series aimed at viewers between the ages seven to twelve (and up. Let’s be real.) The story starred a young girl named Jerrica Benton who tragically looses her father and inherits the music company Starlight Music and the foster home for girls, the Starlight Foundation. She also is given information which leads her to a secret underground room, revealing the large computer A.I. called Synergy. Through the magic of technology, Synergy had the ability to project a hologram onto Jerrica allowing her to become Jem, the truly outrageous pop star and lead singer of the band, Jem and the Holograms.

Of course one of the CEO’s of Starlight Music, the dastardly Eric Raymond, wants nothing more than to unseat Jerrica Benton and take over the music company for himself. He did this by coming up with various schemes involving his own star vehicle, the Misfits (Their songs are better). The resulting show consisted of wonderful chemistry between the Holograms and their enigmatic leader, fighting to keep her company while raising money to keep the home open for the poor orphans, against the archvillians the Misfits, the self centered fame hungry starlets.

Add to that the, secret identity aspect of Jerrica and Jem as only very few know that they are in fact the same person. It was Hannah Montana before Miley was even born. There was her somewhat confusing relationship with Rio, who had no idea that they both one and the same. It always made me wonder why Jem/Jerrica never had a problem with the idea of him cheating on her with herself. But it made for good television, so whatevs.

But the secret identity thing was a huge part of the show. Huge. It created tension which drove the story. Several episodes consisted of the ‘will she make it in time’ plot line in which one girl is expected to be in one place while the other has an engagement across town, or even better, when they are both expected to be in the same place at the same time, leading the viewer to wonder, what will they do??? (It’s showtime Synergy!)

Skip ahead about thirty years. We are presented with this:

Of course, this is just the trailer, and it could be misleading. But right off the bat, there are SEVERAL things very, very wrong.

One: Jerrica is an ordinary girl living a most unexceptional life. As of yet, there is not indication of any tragic backstory other than a veiled reference to absent parents. She lives with her aunt (who seems fairly attentive and caring) along with her various foster sisters in what appears to be an ordinary house (not any kind of foundation for girls or anything so high-falutin’). When Jerrica’s music is discovered, they are flown to a very L.A.-esque city (I’m assuming) to be transformed into Jem, her famous alter ego. Thing is, EVERYONE KNOWS THEY ARE THE SAME PERSON!!!! This takes away a key element of dynamic tension within the show. The relationship with Rio can now be classified as Boring McDullsville because there is no more “Who does he actually like?” The specifics of Jem/Jerrica being at odds with herself is being internalized creating a very angsty vision of the character, completely different from the confident, dynamic Jem of the original cartoon.

Two: Erica Raymond, gender flipped and played by Juliette Lewis, will probably turn out to be more evil than what this trailer hints. In the original cartoon, Eric Raymond had known Jerrica’s father as they worked together at Starlight Music. His ongoing plans to foil Jerrica’s inheritance made him that much more dastardly, as his actions betrayed the legacy of Jerrica’s father because he was his former associate. In the live action trailer, it appears that Erica is simply a regular old evil record producer, with no familial connection to the Bentons. Also, Starlight Music does not seem to be in anyway affiliated with the Benton family name or the foster home. I could be wrong. Time will tell. Removing this element of the story takes away from Jerrica’s drive to keep the foster home open and to run Starlight Music. The original Jem showed that girls could aspire to be shrewd business women and philanthropists (as well as drenched-in-pink fabulous pop stars).

Three, where the heck is Synergy? The early eighties represented a time when the nation was on the cusp of a technological boom. The dawn of the computer age presented us with dreams of new possibilities that previously had seemed impossible and magical. It was the representation of magic through technology that allowed Jerrica to turn into Jem through the use of a pair of computerized earrings. This device allowed her to communicate with the super computer Synergy and transform herself into Jem. In the trailer, there is a very brief scene in which she touches her earring and whispers the famed line “It’s showtime, Synergy.” Time will tell what that is referencing, but so far it just seems as if she is a girl with a haircut and a change of clothes. The magic has literally been eradicated from the story.

Four, where the heck are the Misfits? Every hero needs a bad guy. Batman has Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. Jem and the Holograms had the Misfits. You can’t have one without the other. This trailer indicates the equivalent of Superman roaming the streets of Metropolis wrestling with his inner turmoil of “Who am I, Clark Kent or Kal El?” That does not make for an interesting movie. The conflict has gone from Person vs. Person, to Person vs. Self. They are going to lose the supposedly targeted audience if they haven’t already.

At the end of the day, the movie may end up being scads better than the first trailor indicates. I would hope. If not, then what they have done is taken a beloved story with many appealing and empowering messages and story lines, and they have completely gutted it. They have attempted to make a movie for today’s tweens and preteens and I’m assuming girls. Problem is they have failed to recognize what today’s girl wants, a good story. I was ten when I watched the original cartoon. I knew then what a good story looked like. Today’s ten year olds have not been given as much credit.

Truly outrageous. And I don’t mean that in the good way.