Category Archives: Science Fiction

An Open Letter to the Guy Who Unfriended Me Over Ghostbusters

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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.

 

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“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.

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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

.

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“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.

 

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“Let’s bust some Ghosts!”

 

 

Movie Review: Thale (2012)

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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.

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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.

The Final Frontier

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When I was a little girl I discovered something wonderful. To others it may have seemed inconsequential, perhaps even trivial. A television show about space travel. I don’t recall the exact moment when Science Fiction became my go-to genre of choice for books, movies and TV shows, but I do remember my remarkable fascination with this old rerun that I watched after school called Star Trek.

Here was a world in which all the people were of different backgrounds and heritages working together to explore the universe. The charismatic Captain Kirk, the old school southern gentleman Doctor McCoy, the charming Sulu, the effervescent Uhura. (There was even Ensign Chekov! A Russian! That Roddenberry had such an egalitarian vision for the future in the midst of the Cold War blew my little mind!) This vision of the future inspired hope, setting an example that people with such vast differences could come together with a common goal for the good of all mankind (to borrow from the language used at the time).

What fascinated me the most was the character of Mr. Spock. To my memory, he was the only alien character represented as a main cast member. With his pointy ears and monotone voice he stood out from the rest of the cast, and his use of logic created a dynamic foil to Kirk’s brashness. As the show progressed the friendship that developed between these two men kept my attention. Kirk followed his instinct, but often sought out the advice of his First Officer. Spock often received mocking from the others, more specifically McCoy who often chided him for his differences, his green blood and odd placement of internal organs. Spock hid his emotions, relying heavily on his Vulcan coolness. Longstanding viewers of the show, know that Spock ran deep. A conversation with his human mother revealed that even as a child he received taunts to his dual nature for which he suffered. Having just moved from Switzerland to the U.S. I felt this way myself sometimes. An American born, but a resident for the first time. Outcast. Other. Different. Trying so hard to fit in, but not quite getting it right.

I never told many people. When I was young, super young, before I had the chance to understand all the nuances of this particular thought path, I had heard about the Make a Wish Foundation, an entity that grants the wish of children with potentially terminal illnesses, I had decided that should it ever happen my wish would be to meet and spend the day with the original cast of Star Trek. That wish has long since faded (for which I am ultimately grateful as that means I have never had a potentially terminal illness). But the years go by, and one by one the original cast flies away to the true Final Frontier.

Leonard Nimoy portrayed Spock with such nuanced grace. Fighting against and eventually accepting the human side of his heritage, what Spock perceived as his weakness. He personified what each of us has felt at some time in our lives. That is burying some part of ourselves in order to be who we think we must be. Never has a character been so richly portrayed to mean so much to so many. Thank you for all that you have done.