Of big summer movies and velociraptors

Sooooo…

The last few entries have been a wee bit depressing, no? Let’s cheer things up in here a bit. What better to cheer things up than discuss the BEST. MOVIES. EVER. There are 2 in particular that I’m stupid excited for.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron

Where to start? First – James Spader voicing Ultron. He’s going to be absolutely freaking amazing. The thought makes me squeal with glee. His “OMG you people are CRAZY” reaction during the ComicCon panel was fantastic. The first Avengers is one of my top 5 movies. Where most sequels disappoint, I have absolute faith that this one may even outdo the original. I’m looking forward to meeting the two newest members of the team, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. I also have to laugh a little that Sony and Marvel got into a huge spat over the Quicksilver character. End result? Cast a different actor & never mention that the other franchise exists. Told you he moved fast. ūüėČ

If I had to have a superpower? Quicksilver. My actual superpower? Hulk (you won’t like me when I’m angry). Thank God purple is my favorite color.

Jurassic World

It’s a fucking T-Rex with fucking ARMS! I saw the original Jurassic Park in the theaters when I was 8. I guess I annoyed my dad so much that he finally caved and took me. I made it through the scariest part of the movie (the T-Rex escape), but then bailed after Nedry got shot in the face with the goop by the dinosaur’s name that I can never spell. Missed the velociraptors (yes, yes I know they’re actually Utahraptors, but whatevs) entirely. Not this time around. Watching Chris Pratt teach the raptors how to play well with others? All over it. I would love to see cameos from as many of the original cast as possible. I kind of want to see Jeff Goldblum reprise his “I hate being right all the time” line. Again, I squeal with glee. I’m also glad Chris Pratt’s character gets to keep the actor’s sense of humor. Why so serious?

Team Velociraptor for life.

So that’s my nerding out. I’ll post actual reviews when I’ve seen the actual movies. My dad & I are going to see Unfriended this weekend. It will probably be total crap and the ’10s version of “The Blair Witch Project” (which I’ve never seen, btw). The concept looked decent & I’m all about a little revenge from beyond the grave. Don’t piss me off because I will haunt your ass. And possibly get you to stick your hand in a blender. That is neither here nor there.

Everyone have an awesome weekend, laugh your asses off at nothing, and don’t do anything in public that would embarrass your lovely author.

And I’m just going to leave this here. Because it’s my blog and I can.

XOXO!

Of 50 Shades of Beating My Head Against a Wall and Colin Firth with a bulletproof umbrella

Hello fair readers! I have not abandoned you! I have merely found this obnoxious thing called life getting in the way. ūüėČ

Happy Valentine’s Day and not so happy 50 Shades of Grey release day. As the reviews roll in, everyone comes to the same conclusion. The movie blows and not in the fun way.¬†The New Yorker¬†concluded that all Mr. Grey wants is a pony. From the other side of the pond,¬†The Guardian offers probably the most entertaining review. Warning – do not consume a beverage during reading. It will come out your nose.¬†The Aussies also had their take and the only reason it got 2 stars instead of 1 was because one of the critics liked the soundtrack. Finally, and the coup de grace, is the stars themselves didn’t like it. Spoiler alert – Jamie Dornan admitted to taking a shower after he got home before he would hug his wife and daughter. Yeah.

However, it will still make millions of dollars because women, apparently, don’t understand the difference between abuse and romance. As a survivor, after I’m done with the satirical reviews and synopses, found it incredibly disconcerting. I had forgotten that he flat out rapes her in one scene. How is that okay?! Clue – it ain’t. Their relationship literally hits on every single indication of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Romance, ladies and gents, is buying your partner a gift *because you want to*, not to manipulate them into doing something they’ve previously stated they aren’t comfortable with. Romance is busting out the bubble bath with candles and rose petals if that’s their thing. It’s not mine and probably not most dudes’ things, but I don’t judge. If he wants rose petals and candles, more power to him. Abuse is doing something nice for someone else with the intent that they’ll “return the favor” regardless of their feelings on said reciprocation. Romance is doing something for your partner WITHOUT the expectation of something in return whether it’s fixing a leaky faucet or really awesome oral sex.

Naturally, I’m coming from the perspective of a straight female. The story also does men a disservice. Boys, that’s not how you treat your lady. If she says no, she means no. If she says she needs space, respect it. Be the dude who actually listens. Stalking her is not romantic. It’ll just get you a restraining order. I know most men are NOT this creepy cad, but it bears saying. Intimidation techniques should be left to the battlefield, not the bedroom.

Last fall when I was working DragonCon, there was a BDSM panel where people who were in the lifestyle talked about what it’s like, how to become part of it, etc. They flat out refused to address 50 Shades of Grey. Just because you may have been abused previously doesn’t automatically mean you become part of the lifestyle. People with standard histories can be just as into it as those who had abuse in their pasts. Ironically, BDSM relationships are some of the most sane because everyone has to know going in what’s going to happen before they start the scene AND agree to what is proposed. Depending on how hardcore it is, it could result in serious injury. One of the men spoke up saying that he had injured a partner and he felt guilty about it for weeks. There’s a level of communication that doesn’t exist in a lot of “normal” relationships. Pro tip: Whether or not your sex life involves whips and chains, talk first.

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve already heard this. For everyone who buys a ticket to this steaming turd of abuse glorifying, they should be required to donate twice the ticket price to a group which assists rape survivors and victims of domestic violence.

You can also just go see Kingsman. It involves Colin Firth using a bulletproof umbrella. ¬†Samuel L. Jackson does an excellent job as a riff on a traditional Bond villain. Boy and I got to see an advance screening and it’s SO GOOD. Run, don’t walk to support well hidden weapons and an evil tech genius.¬†It’s all the soul bleach you’ll need.

XOXO!

Twilight Thursday: Watching the movie or That’s 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back

In a moment of pure insanity, Boy & I decided to watch Twilight. Yes, I know. Hear me out first.

We’re both fans of RiffTrax. It’s the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 doing running commentary of assorted films. Watch this before moving forward.

With that in mind, we figured some witty outside banter would make the movie bearable. Thusly we embarked.

I’ve never seen Kristen Stewart in anything else, or if I have, she made no lasting impression. I used to get her confused with Kristen Bell. Too bad, as Kristen Bell actually has talent. I saw Robert Pattinson in his brief role as Cedric Digory in the Harry Potter universe. He was little more than cannon fodder in that. Going in, I had a fairly clean slate upon which to judge their acting. If one can refer to it as acting, of course.

The acting lived down to what I’d heard. Teenagers frequently stare awkwardly at each other, especially when facing their crush. This was way overboard on the awkward stare followed by some mumbling along the lines of “yeah, sure, totally, definitely”. The rest of the cast was no better. There wasn’t any one actor who stood out in the sea of mediocrity. Sometimes a crappy movie can be saved by a decent actor who outshines the rest (pun intended). Speaking of shiny –

What the hell kind of sparkle was that? I was expecting full on blind you make a drag queen look like an overly faded tee shirt level sparkly. Nope, I could barely tell the dude was anything other than needing to put some powder on his oily skin. Go big or go home, goddammit. The piggy back ride up the mountain made it a little better, but only because the Benny Hill theme was being hummed in the background.

If I thought the pacing of the book was slow, the movie more than delivered. Boy & I looked over at one point and realized we were only halfway in. AND THAT WAS WITH WITTY BANTER.

The movie dropped a few hints about the villains fairly early on. I’m seven chapters into the book and not a whisper of an antagonist, other than Bella antagonizing the rest of us. I honestly couldn’t tell what Blackeyed Peas was after. They show up and are like “Hey! Mind if we play some ball with you?” and the Cullens are all “Yeah totally!” and then Blackeyed Peas goes “Wait a sec, you brought a snack!”. They did not, however, bring enough for the whole class. Douche move, Team Cullen. Ponytail is especially disappointed. Why? I have no clue. Absolutely no motive was given. I guess he was just really, really hungry.

That’s another thing, there was no motivation at all. On anyone’s part. Ever. If the protagonist has no motivation (i.e. end goal), then how is the antagonist supposed to antagonize? Toss Bella around a dance studio like the worst ballroom dancing competition ever? I was really, really hoping he’d just toss her through the window and we’d be done with it. Sorry, no, you’ve lost. Next contestant please.

Boy & I frequently have conversations about our various suspensions of disbelief. He yells at the TV or a movie about their crappy security. I frequently yell at the TV or a movie about how they’re killing someone incorrectly. If Bella’s femoral artery really were severed, she would have bled out in approximately 3 minutes. It probably would have been faster considering her pulse was higher from, you know, being tossed around like a rag doll. Of course, to save her, Edward takes even more blood out of her! Apparently vampires are like poisonous snakes in this universe. He tries to suck the venom out like you would with a snake bite. Except for the minor detail where that’s an urban legend, she still lives in spite of losing about half of her blood. Why, gods, why! Why is she still living? For whatever sins humanity has committed, I will repent! We shall repent! *hits knees wailing*

Then there’s the denouement which really shouldn’t be classed as such. Edward takes her to the prom where they bust out the cliche of the gazebo lit with Christmas lights. The gazebo isn’t the only one getting lit by this point. There’s more staring and a voice over that I had something along the lines of “I love Edward! I shall never leave him! We are destined for each other!”. Of course, that’s pretty much the whole movie. I would go throw up, but it’s a waste of my time, much like the movie itself.

After it ended, Boy and I simply stared at each other. There were no words.

Back to the books next week, kiddos!

XOXO!

Of Disney villains and unwitting allegories

Spoilers ahead for Maleficent:

Boy & I saw Maleficent last weekend. I’ve been pretty excited for it if nothing else for the costuming. As a friend of mine aptly put it, it was essentially¬† a 90 minute MAC commercial. Overall, I really enjoyed it. Maleficent definitely wins for the best Disney villain. She turns into a dragon. ‘Nuff said. I haven’t seen the animated version in probably 20 years, so I didn’t remember a whole lot of the plot. I love the idea of origin stories. I’ve seen a lot of complaints floating around the Internet that Disney missed the mark by making her all too “nice”.

What Disney managed to do was present an excellent example of recovering from rape trauma. It’s a standard setup. She falls in love with a boy. He says he loves her. Then he drugs her and rips away her identity by cutting off her wings. ¬†He shamelessly exploited her feelings for his own gain. Once the shock wore off, she was out for revenge. Revenge is something that’s a good idea in theory, but a terrible idea in practice. There’s a reason it’s a fatal flaw in just about every work of literature. Instead of empowering someone, it leaves them open to all kinds of poor decision making. They’re so blinded by the motivation to hit their abuser right where it hurts, they don’t notice what’s going on around them. Maleficent set out to exact said revenge by cursing the king’s daughter. For argument’s sake, let’s say the animated version captures her during this point in the recovery cycle.

The animated Maleficent is borderline sociopathic. She’s all for torturing and cursing innocent bystanders with no remorse. Again, this isn’t at all uncommon for survivors. Three years ago, if someone had told me I could dish out whatever punishment I saw fit without any legal consequences, I would have done it. After a little time, I wouldn’t have been able to look myself in the face. I would have allowed myself to stoop to his level. Tempting as though it may be, once the high wears off, you’re left with whatever regret and pain that resulted. In the process of ensuring Aurora stays alive to fulfill the curse, Maleficent begins to see the error of her ways. Aurora’s only fault was being born to a rapist. She watches this little girl grow up only to realize she screwed up by cursing the wrong person. The animated Maleficent didn’t have this kind of empathy and it ended up killing her. This version gave the viewer an alternative. While she sees her mistake and tries to lift the curse before it’s too late, she can’t. Aurora falls into the coma just like Maleficent promised 16 years earlier. This is a very important turning point. In recognizing your humanity and the humanity of your abuser; good, bad, or ugly, it makes the wound a little easier to close. If you continue down the path of revenge and no remorse, it will kill you.

This is also where Disney turned the true love’s kiss trope on its head (Boy says Frozen did it first. Hipster). Maleficent makes her apologies to the comatose Aurora, kisses her on the forehead, and walks away. As she’s walking away, Aurora wakes up. In the final battle when Maleficent gets her wings back, her identity is restored. By this point, the king has totally lost it and it results in his own death. See what I said about revenge, kids? Then, as they say, they lived happily ever after. ¬†She got back the part of herself she lost and kept going. While most of us will never literally get back what we lost, it’s a step.

Well played, Disney. If it wasn’t intentional, I tip my hat anyway. Maybe someday the target audience will realize the parallels. Until then, I’ll be borrowing that epic hat.

XOXO!