Finn Meta Linkspam

Here are some discourses on my favorite character from Star Wars:

Star Wars, Finn, and Fandom Racism

 

We start with an admonishment to not be “That Person”.

thesovereignempress:

the-bi-writer:

this is a post for my fellow white star wars fans: we gotta do better. the treatment of Finn in the fandom at large has been dismal, both in obvious and insidious ways. so let’s talk about this.

quick note before we start: if you’re only here to argue, move on. if you’re already typing out a response beginning with, “not all white people,” don’t. however, if you’re interested in challenging your own biases, welcome aboard.

here are some harmful things white fans do, in regards to Finn:

1. we ignore him in fan works.

a quick check of ao3 stats shows that Hux (who has approx. 3 min of screen time) shows up in two thousand more works than Finn.

before you get defensive: no one’s telling you what you can and can’t write. however, as white fans we need to consider why we’re willing to go to the effort to imagine a rich backstory for a minor character we know almost nothing about, while ignoring the *actual* protagonist who already has a rich backstory of his own. (that protagonist is Finn, in case i was being unclear. Finn is a protagonist of Star Wars: Episode VII -The Force Awakens. Finn is a main character and co-lead. it’s Finn.)

2. when we do include Finn in fan works, we treat him poorly.

i’m going to stay in my lane on this one, and refer you to Writing with Color for more specifics on how *not* to treat black characters in harmful and/or stereotypical ways.

briefly: Finn is often hyper-sexualized (BBC, etc.) or pushed to the side by the narrative. additionally, very few fics, even ones with Finn in the main pairing, truly treat Finn as the protagonist of their fic.

i’m guilty of this myself, and i’m working on it. which is all i’m asking you to do: educate yourself, be willing to change, and then do it.

3. we underestimate his role in cannon

go read this post, and then tell me you haven’t been underestimating Finn from the moment he stepped on screen. i’d noticed almost everything the post points out, but chalked it up to plot holes, instead of considering that Finn (again, a protagonist) had been awake in the force since the beginning of the film.

that, right there friends, is racism.

tl;dr fellow white fans, we gotta do better. let’s take the energy we spend trying to convince people we aren’t racist…and actually be less racist. it’s our responsibility to examine our attitudes and change our actions. now is the time.

further reading:

here’s some excellent finn meta

here’s 5 tips for being an ally (video) by chescaleigh (Franchesca Ramsey) – her channel has a ton of other videos about race too.

here are a whole bunch of resources from Writing with Color, a tumblr “dedicated to writing and resources centered on racial & ethnic diversity.”

(feel free to add links + resources)

The thing is, if Reylo is your pairing and that’s the characters you choose to focus on – since that is how shipping works and as a reader I’m definitely going in for Reylo and other characters are secondary – what qualifies as “ignoring” or “pushing to the side”? That’s my issue with these talks about erasure and sidelining around Finn.

Lest it be misunderstood, I totally agree that we can be better at treating Finn in our fan works. I’ve seen him used in some uncomfortable ways. But there are some contradictions in this endeavor that tend to get glossed over.

I mean, no one is saying Finn should be the focus of fanfics about Reylo or other non-Finn ships. That doesn’t make sense. When we talk about Finn erasure, we’re talking about the bigger picture.

For example, if I go to the main TFA tag or the Star Wars tag, Finn is often nowhere to be seen. If I look for Finn (or even Finnrey or Stormpilot) fics, few that come up in the search are actually about Finn, making it difficult to find actual Finn content where he’s not a background character. When the title for Ep 8 dropped, There was a lot of speculation that The Last Jedi might be Ren and Rey as if Finn doesn’t exist. It’s not just in individual ship fics, if you look at many fan spaces, you would think Finn was a very minor character, not a main character. And that’s a problem.

We have to ask why Reylo and Kylux are the dominant ships while fics about Finn are the least popular. The question is not why aren’t Reylo and Kylux fics about Finn, it’s why are these ships exponentially more popular than ships including Finn and fics where Finn is actually a main character.

After a year’s worth of justifications that historically ONLY apply to white characters (fandom loves villains, the blank slate, etc) plus the fact that white heroes/protags are shipped like crazy, it’s clear that Finn’s blackness contributes heavily to his minimization.

Source: the-bi-writer fandom racism star wars finn
jawnbaeyega luminousfinn

skywalkerapologist:

luminousfinn:

The narrative arc The Force Awakens create between Finn and Kylo Ren is an interesting one. Visually it begins in the very first scene they appear on screen together at the assault of Tuanul village after the execution of the villagers that FN-2187 refused to participate in. When Kylo Ren is returning to his shuttle, he stops and stares at Finn for, at the time, no discernible reason.

In doing this the movie draws a visual line between the two men, connecting them in the audience’s mind and in-universe. One is dressed in black, the other in white, both are helmeted and faceless, but already we have witnessed the distinction between them and the movie spends the rest of its time emphasizing it: Kylo Ren will murder on a whim, while FN-2187 refuses to kill unarmed civilians.

After this “meeting” Kylo Ren maintains a distinct interest in FN-2187. So much that he not only knows that it was the same trooper which aided Poe in escaping, but that when he learns that Finn has got away with BB-8 he throws one of his two destructive rampages.

The other he has when Rey escapes captivity.

After this their stories part for a time, but only to be rejoined on Starkiller Base after Kylo Ren murders Han Solo.

After Chewie shoots Kylo, blows up the oscillator and everyone including Finn and Rey starts shooting, we see Kylo Ren kneeling on the bridge looking up. .

The camera cuts to an angle behind Kylo Ren’s head so we now also have Finn and Rey in the shot, both standing on a balcony in the background

Another cut, closing up on our two leads. This shows them both standing, looking down on Kylo Ren. Both look shocked and Finn is stepping forward on the balcony, towards the audience and more importantly, towards Kylo.

Once again the movie cuts and again it zooms in so that now Finn is in focus. His face merges from the shock and fear he has so far displayed, into grief, anger and determination. And throughout the shot he steps further and further forward while the camera zooms in on him, visually emphasizing him stepping into the conflict with Kylo Ren.

Rey is barely in the frame here and by the end of the shot she’s entirely gone, leaving her literally out of the picture.

Next cut is back to Kylo Ren, who is staring up at Finn. The way this sequence is cut together makes it startlingly clear that this is where he is looking and who he is looking at. Kylo’s face merges from surprise into unmitigated fury and hatred at the sight of FN-2187, the Stormtrooper who defected, who is everything he is not.

The whole sequence mirrors their first encounter with the two men staring at each other, though they’re now unmasked and we can see the mutual enmity clear on their faces. Finn is no longer running away, he’s stepping forward and the camera zooms in on Kylo’s face drawing him into conflict with Finn as well.

The movie sets up this conflict not just for the coming battle in the forest, but also for the next two Episodes as the battle between the two men is a draw. Finn is defeated by Kylo, but the Dark Sider does not obtain the lightsaber and is in turn defeated by Rey. Neither of them emerges a victor and the narrative conflict between them remains unresolved.

So whatever Episode VIII and IX brings, it is clear that Finn and Kylo will cross paths again and Kylo had better beware. To borrow John’s words: “Finn ain’t playing no more”, that much is clear from the scene in the oscillator.

Next cut is back to Kylo Ren, who is staring up at Finn. The way this sequence is cut together makes it startlingly clear that this is where he is looking and who he is looking at. 

This part is so important and yet flew over like 90% of the fandom’s heads in favor of focusing on Rey (gee I wonder why).

The shift in Finn’s expression from shocked grief to quiet rage reminds me of Luke’s reaction to seeing his aunt and uncle’s burnt corpses in ANH. Obviously Rey and Kylo will be squaring off again in VIII but TFA also made it clear that there’s some serious bad blood between Finn and Kylo that’s entirely separate from wanting to protect or recruit Rey. Which is why I roll my eyes when I see people claim that Finn is going to be shunted off to a B-plot opposite Hux (a character he never interacted with in TFA) and Phasma (who he literally threw in the trash).

Also, it’s worth noting that for the first time, Rey has to take Finn by the arm and pull him away.

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Kylo was stumbling up towards them and I’m not convinced that Finn wouldn’t have tried to take him down right then and there.

finn meta to read
rebelfinn

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*Look, as far as I’m concerned Finn is Force Sensitive, and that’s that. He will be a  Jedi. I will wrestle you out of of your underwear, with your pants still on, if you disagree. Here, have some receipts:

Also, I just love this gorgeous essay on the parallels between Finn’s narrative and Arthurian legend.

jawnbaeyega adagalore

luminousfinn:

Maz giving Finn the lightsaber is noticeable for many reasons, not least of which because it happens twice and for all the Arthurian parallels surrounding the scenes.

 

The first time takes place just after the destruction of the Hosnia system which is what makes Finn return to Han (and implicitly to the fight against the Dark Side). At this point none of them knows that they’re about to be attacked themselves by the First Order, not even Maz.

Despite this she immediately upon Finn’s return  takes him, Han and Chewie into the cellar where she keeps the lightsaber. When she takes it out of the chest Han recognizes it and asks where she got it, she brushes him off and focuses on Finn.

Why Finn? Last she saw him Finn made it clear that he was leaving. Hosnia’s destruction marked a tentative return, but so far it is tentative. And wouldn’t Han a man who might not be a paragon, but someone she’s know for years, make more sense?

Her words as she passes it are ambiguous. “Take it. Find your friend.” And do what exactly? Give it to her? Use it to protect her? What? Recall, no one but Maz and Rey herself knows that Rey can use the Force at this point. In fact Finn is never told this in TFA.

In assorted other things the fact that Han’s attention shifts off Maz and onto Finn the moment she tells him to take it, but before she stops talking is interesting. His intent gaze on Finn as he makes the choice to take the weapon is mirrored in the second “giving” by Maz.

Maz too is looking rather expectantly as Finn reaches out and takes the lightsaber from her. The music that has so far been playing softly in the background swells dramatically the moment Finn’s hand touches the saber and mixes with the diegetic sound of an approaching TIE fighter as Finn raises the lightsaber as a young Arthur might Excalibur. The scene ends in a dramatic boom as the castle is struck just as we see Finn look at the saber with a serious face.

It is noticeable that Finn is so entranced by the lightsaber that he doesn’t seem to hear the incoming TIE. Not long before at Niima Outpost he jumped at the first sound of it, but here he’s oblivious to the noise.

 

Now before I go on to the second “giving” I’m going to make a small detour around Arthurian myth.

Much have been made of the Arthurian parallels in TFA. Kylo Ren as a Mordred like figure. Luke as either a Merlin or a fallen Arthur himself and of course Rey pulling the Skywalker lightsaber out of the metaphorical stone. But the Arthurian parallels have been ignored where Finn is concerned, especially when it comes to the giving of the lightsaber/Excalibur, because in Arthurian myths there are two kinds of givings of that sword. One is Arthur pulling it out of the stone which declares himself the true king of Britain, in the other it is given to him by The Lady of the Lake.

In both versions Arthur starts out as a youth of unknown parentage grown up fostered by strangers, just as Finn is. In the second versions Arthur runs into Merlin, often portrayed as an older, wiser man. Depending on the version Arthur either asks Merlin for help or about his future, in either case Merlin takes him to The Lady of the Lake.

The Lady depending on the version of the tale is either a powerful magical being or a High Priestess of Avalon. She proceeds to ask the young Arthur several question and put him through a test which he fails, but she sees that though he is not perfect he has a good heart and a true spirit. Realizing this she bequeath him Excalibur, the sword of the true king and the mark of a hero.

Maz is in a quite literal sense The Lady of the Lake. She a powerful alien, strong in the Force who has made her home on a lake.

Her initial interactions with Finn runs parallel with The Lady’s testing of Arthur, complete with Finn “failing the test” by choosing to leave. But in deciding to return to the fight Finn proves to The Lady of the Lake that he’s heart and spirit is true and so she gives him Excalibur (the Skywalker lightsaber) to wield.

 

That she means for him to wield it and not just as a caretaker becomes clear in the second “giving”.

When they exit the now ruined castle the dark forces are upon them and battle is joined. Maz once more tells Finn to go find his friends.

This time Finn has no intention of leaving proving him once more worthy of Excalibur and this time Maz’s words are unambiguous, she intends, and always intended, for him to be a wielder of the blade, not just a carrier.

As Finn again lifts the Skywalker lightsaber and this time ignites it, Maz look on with great expectancy clearly meant to mirror the audience. Will “Excalibur” accept Finn as its wielder? And will Finn accept the lightsaber as his?

At first we see doubt on Finn’s face, it’s an unfamiliar weapon and a Jedi’s weapon to boot. How can he wield this? But Maz believes he can and Finn is nothing if not up for whatever challenge life throws at him so he ignites it. The blade flashes to life in his hand, accepting him as a worthy wielder, and the moment it does Finn’s decision is also made. He may not be a Jedi (yet), but the sword is his.

 

tl;dr. There is a lot of Arthurian coding around Han (Merlin) bringing Finn (a young Arthur) to Maz (The Lady of the Lake), Maz testing him and in finding that he has a good and pure heart gives him the Skywalker lightsaber (Excalibur). The sword allowing itself to be ignited (drawn from the sheath) confirms Finn’s worthiness as its wielder.

Source: luminousfinnLISTENTHIS IS THE CONTENT FOR WHICH I AM HEREGOOD SHIT RIGHT HERE OKfinn factsfinn metafinn is force sensitiveboth rey and finn are gonna be jedi okchoke on THAT
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*I have a friend who insists that Finn was nothing more than comedy relief and refuses to move from the position that he is a “coon”, no matter how many valid points I bring up. I just don’t get it. Its obvious that she and I were not watching the same movie at all. But then, she and I aren’t in the same place on the idea of representation, either, which might be some type of generational thing. Also part of the problem is that a lot of Black people were expecting Shaft in Space. We already got all that with Mace Windu’s  purple lightsaber, so why copy that?
lj-writes

Finn’s subversive decency

Choosing to be kind is not choosing to be passive. It’s choosing to end the cycle of abuse… . It’s a courageous act in itself.

-Melissa Grey on Cinderella

It’s amazing to me how some parts of the Star Wars fandom have no sense of nuance when it comes to Finn’s character, seeing him as either a naive child who can hardly function in the real world or a ruthless killer who showed no regrets or conflicts whatsoever about killing his former comrades.

Both extremes are fairly dehumanizing and distorted portrayals of the actual character, because the core of Finn’s character is that he is innocent when he has no business being so. He’s a character whose innocence and purity are not oblivious naïvete but qualities he had to fight to keep and attain. His morality is not based on an ignorance of life’s harsh realities, but rather on an intimate knowledge of brutality and the will to break free of it.

Keep reading

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Oooh! More theory!

https://youtu.be/YByg2UoncBs

The Final Girls (2015)

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Normally, I plan my Horror movie reviews,  for October, well in advance of Halloween, but this one surprised me. I’d never heard of it until a few days ago. I originally confused this movie with another movie about serial killers, with the same title, called Final Girl, which was released the same year. Final Girl is also a comedy but the two movies are very different.

The Final Girls is a rather broad parody of serial killer movies from the eighties, with all their various tropes, specifically the  Friday the 13th movies, and  the movie Sleepaway Camp. There’s also some elements of the Scream  movies. Some modern day teenagers get trapped in an eighties horror movie and have to try to survive to the end of it. To that end, they use their knowledge of horror movies, in general ,and the specific horror movie they’ve landed in, to try to navigate their way through the movie. Nothing goes as planned.

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About 25 years ago, Max’s actress mother, Amanda, starred in a horror movie called Camp Bloodbath, and can’t seem to live it down, as she’s having difficulty finding other roles. After one such audition, Max and Amanda are involved in a car crash and Amanda’s mother dies. Three years later, Max is still grieving for her, but has some new friends, and a crush on a guy named Chris.

All of them get invited to a special screening of her mother’s old movie and its new sequel, Camp Bloodbath II. When the theater catches fire, Max, Chris, her best friend Gertie, a bitchy girl named Vicki, and Gertie’s stepbrother, Duncan,  try to escape the fire by tearing their way through the movie screen, only to find themselves stuck in the movie. Duncan is an expert on serial killer movies and Camp Bloodbath specifically. One of the funniest moments is them sitting by the side of the road, trying to figure out where they are, and if they are indeed, in a movie.

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In a moment of prime surreality, Max meets her actress mother, years before she became her Mom, as the nice girl stereotype named Nancy. Max spends the rest of the movie trying  to save Amanda’s life, even though on some level she knows these aren’t real people. Its a bittersweet moment, as you can tell that seeing her mother alive and well again is having a real effect on Max. She tries to advise and guide her without telling her that she’s Amanda’s  unborn daughter.

The Camp counselors consist of the usual throwaway characters including a randy horndog, named Kurt, who everyone thinks is disgusting, except for the girls in the Bloodbath movie. There’s Tina, the camp sexpot, and the actual Final Girl of Camp Bloodbath, Paula. The Black guy of course, is killed almost immediately. Since one of the rules of serial killer movies is that whoever has sex dies, the  modern crew spend most of the movie trying to keep what characters they can from having sex. After Duncan gets killed, they learn that their own lives are fodder for the killer, named Billy.

Billy is played as a straight killer, in the mold of Jason rather than Freddie, with much the same backstory.  We learn this when the modern day teens get caught in a flashback, within the movie, in the movie (and believe they’ve gone colorblind.) Billy  doesn’t crack jokes, or cackle menacingly. He’s actually pretty terrifying, really, which just makes the movie funnier, as no one takes him as seriously as they should with Duncan deciding he wants a selfie with him.

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One of the funniest moments, for me, is when they put Tina in restraints, kitchen mitts, and extra clothing to keep her from having sex or taking her clothes off. Tina, who is best classified as a very dim bulb, doesn’t understand any of it. Bless her heart! At one point, Vicki tries to explain  that her cellphone is actually a  phone, and Tina just laughs at her.

When Paula gets killed, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Without Paula to be the Final Girl,  they elect Max as the only virgin. Her job is to kill Billy just like in the original film. Killing Billy is probably the only way they can escape the movie. So they lure Billy to the camp by using Tina as bait, by allowing her to take off her clothes, and booby trapping the entire house. During Billy’s siege of the camp, most of the other characters get killed. Only Chris, Nancy and Max escape, and Chris is wounded, when Billy kidnaps Nancy.

Max is desperate to save Nancy and goes after her . She manages to free Nancy but is wounded in the attempt. In order for there to be a Final Girl, one of the girls must die, though. Nancy sacrifices herself but not before Max confesses to her that she is the movie counterpart to her late mother. Now, as the Final Girl, Max has the superpowers to defeat Billy. After killing him with his own machete, she wakes up in the hospital to find all her friends are alive again, but unfortunately, they are all now  stuck in the sequel.

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I had a lot of fun watching this movie. I loved the dialogue, the sight gags, all of it. I especially liked the character’s relationships with each other. Normally these types of movies are full of people you are hoping will be killed, but with the exception of Kurt, who is kinda “rapey”, and thereby disgusting, most of them are sweet, but not too bright. Even the modern characters, while snarky, are not actually mean, and some of them even make fun of which stereotypes they are, with Vicki making cracks about being the “mean girl”. I laughed the hardest at some of the throwaway lines the modern teens lobbed at the movie teens, who were too dim to understand.

I especially liked Max’s relationship with Nancy. The two of them spend some amount of time bonding, and you can see all of Max’s grief and longing, when she talks to Nancy, while  trying not to reveal who she is.  Nancy asks her, a couple of times, why she cares about her so much, and Max stutters to come up with a reason for why she’s attached herself to this girl. I like that the women aren’t just sexy floor lamps. They affect the plot as much as they can, considering their circumstances, and manage to contribute a lot of one-liners to the discussion. The movie teens have no idea how funny they are. They play it completely straight, while the modern teens are deliberately snarky, because they can’t believe the situation they’re in.

 

There are several girls in the movie and they all  talk to each other, support each other when they can, and are largely non-judgmental about one another. For example, no one considers Tina’s cat-in-heat behavior, to be at all remarkable. They just take it in stride that she’s gonna try to hump anything that moves, and/or take her clothes off. They try to stop that because it attracts Billy, not because they judge her as being bad.

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The modern teens are surprisingly intelligent, and some of the funniest moments is watching them come up with a plans to defeat the movie they’re trapped in, but it doesn’t matter because, according to the laws of teen killer movies, there can be only one survivor, so everyone keeps having horrible accidents, as the movie attempts to correct itself.

This strongly reminded me of the movie Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, as it has much of the same kind of silly, slapstick humor.  The kind of humor that’s  not predicated on people being bitchy or unlikable. As an example, I give you Grizzly Park, which is a movie about a bear, hunting and killing teenagers, at a summer camp. The people in that movie, are quite possibly some of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever watched  in a movie, and at some point, I wished all of them would hurry up and be mauled by the bear, so the movie could end. I watched that movie with my Mom, an old veteran of these kinds of movies, and even she cheered for the bear.

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And it was very refreshing to watch a movie made in 2015, where you care about the people being killed. Ordinarily, the killer seems to be the focus of any  movies made after Scream, and you root for  him, or the people he’s killing are so annoying that you pray for their deaths. And its also quite a contrast to movies made in the 80’s, where the teens seemed to like each other. Teens were annoying in the movies back then, and the movies were deeply sexist, but the teens weren’t bad people, and I didn’t spend the movie wishing for them to die.

Since I saw this on a family oriented network, I can assume its mostly safe for teens, but not for little kids under a certain age maybe, as there is a certain amount of gore, language, and sexual situations.

This movie was a surprise like for me, as I wasn’t expecting it to be so good, and I’m adding it to my comedy/ horror list, along with Tucker and Dale, Shaun of the Dead , and The Addam’s Family.

Train to Busan (2016)

I was wowed by this movie. This is one of the best zombie movies Ive seen all year. If you like The Walking dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake, you will like this movie. Once it gets started, and it gets started almost right away, it doesn’t let up til the end.

Now lets get this out of the way. The movie contains fast zombies. They run,  twitch, growl and scream. So if you don’t like fast zombies, or hated 28 Days later, you can probably skip this. It also has a young child, and teenagers, who are constantly in danger. If you have trouble watching that sort of thing (sometimes I do) then  I’m going to suggest skipping this, or watching this with a great deal of caution.

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This is a harrowing movie, and every bit the movie that World War Z should have been, with some great setpieces. I got so attached to these characters, so fast, and spent several breathless moments wishing for their safety. Its been a while since I’ve been scared during a zombie movie, but this one is very effective. The zombies sense by sight, so there are more than a few suspenseful moments when the train passes through long tunnels,  and it gets dark enough the zombies can’t sense the passengers, who find several ingenious ways to get past them in the train cars, like crawling above them along the luggage racks. You have to see this movie for the passengers as much as the zombie action.

Seon-Woo is a busy manager, who doesn’t seem to have much time for his daughter, so decides to take her to see her mother in Busan. During their trip by train, there’s a zombie breakout, the train is quickly overcome and Seon and his daughter spend most of the movie fighting their way through the train, off that train, onto another train, escaping a crashed train. Basically, its trains all the way there.

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Seon is accompanied on this harrowing expedition by several people including a tough workman named Sang-hwa, a character I totally fell in love with, and his very pregnant wife,  an elder businessman, who is a complete asshole because every zombie movie has to have at least one, a homeless man who followed the other passengers  when they got off the train, and attached himself to Seon and his daughter, and the teenage members of a baseball team. Yes, they get to use their bats during a crucial scene.

I really enjoyed the message and characterizations in this movie. Earlier in the movie Seon had an opportunity to help Sang, and didn’t. Later Seon gets called on his behavior by his daughter, who questions why they aren’t helping others, and  that’s not nice. When Sang meets up with Seon, he continues to give him shit for what he did to him and his wife, needling him for his selfishness.

Seon becomes more selfless as the movie progresses. The parallel with the villainous businessman is not lost on the viewer. In the beginning Seon’s focus is more on saving himself and his daughter, but he comes to care for others besides himself. This is not true of the selfish businessman, who is really just kind of a  cartoon villain. He throws people to their deaths, leaves others behind to be eaten, and at one point, he screams a rant at a teenage girl, and  gets the other train passengers to turn on Seon, and his little crew of survivors.

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The movie is filled with touching moments of bravery and sacrifice. I rooted for Sang through most of the movie and wished he’d been the focus of the film, as Seon is a rather bland character, but that was the point, I think. Sang is brave and selfless from the moment we see him,  fighting the zombies hand to hand to save the life of his wife, unborn child, and other passengers. At one point using his own body as a break against the zombies invading one of the train cars.

Seon  has the greatest character arc, though. The kind of man who has nothing but contempt for the homeless, at one point, goes out of his way to save that man’s life, he fights side by side with Sang, goaded by Sang’s needling of his selfish behavior, when they first met, and goes toe to toe with the villainous businessman. Along the way his goal becomes making his daughter proud of him.

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The only problem is that in the world of the zombie,  none of this selflessness comes without a price, and selfishness doesn’t pay off too well, either. One of the most tearful moments was when a teenage boy gets bitten, and instead of leaving him, his girlfriend chooses to stay by his side, as he dies. She knows that when he turns, she’ll die, but she makes that sacrifice because she doesn’t want him to die alone, and he was bitten while saving her life.There’s a similar scene in the Dawn of the Dead remake, but in that movie, its much less effective. What starts as a train full of people finally gets whittled down to the villain, Sang’s pregnant wife, Seon, and Seon’s daughter.

The action is fast and frenetic, and the only quiet moments are at the beginning of the movie, or when the zombies get quiet, but that’s not much consolation because the tension  just ratchets up during those moments. I can’t list all the great moments in this movie.

Now, its a zombie movie so there’s plenty of gore, and if you have anxiety issues, you may want to watch this in bits and pieces because it doesn’t ease up very much. It clocks in at two hours but its so fast paced that it just doesn’t feel that long.

I’m fully prepared to call this the best zombie movie of 2016, and its definitely going on my favorites list. This is an excellent choice for a Halloween Zombie marathon.

Wer (2013)

I’m horribly behind in my Halloween reviews. (But not my movie watching. I can do that. Its one of my skillz.) But here’s one of my recommendations for movie watching this Halloween.

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I only saw this movie about a year ago, and its a straight Horror movie. Its not a satire, or played for laughs, and its not bad. In fact its one of the more underrated werewolf movies floating around out there. No, its not as good as Dog Soldiers but it is better than the bigger budgeted Wolfman.

I don’t know any of the people involved in this movie. The director, William Brent Bell, is someone I’ve never heard of. The actors, A. J. Cooke, and Brian Scott O’Connor are  unknown to me. I liked the acting here. The actors approach this with the reserve and calm the plot deserves, although I could’ve done without some of the soap drama in the middle, as I felt that was unnecessary. It’s kept to a minimum so I wasn’t too irritated.

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A family on a camping trip, in Lyon France, is mauled  by some unknown creature. The mother is the only one to survive the attack, and it looks very harrowing onscreen. Not quite as gory as expected, which is to the good, as sometimes gory can be distracting. Talyn, played by Brian O’Connor, is caught almost immediately afterwards and accused of killing the family.

Kate (A.J. Cooke) is called in as Talyn’s defense attorney ,along with her assistant Eric, and a specialist in animal attacks, Gavin. Gavin and Kate have some kind of romantic history, that Eric objects to, as Gavin begins showing interest in Kate during this case. Eric himself has some unnamed scandal in his past involving the misuse of information, and fleeing the US, and he and Gavin butt heads over all of this. Kate who is still in some grief over the death of her father only has her eyes on this case and helping Talyn.

We follow Kate’s investigation of Talyn’s case,which at first appears to be a setup by the government to try to steal his family’s land, but Talyn  throws a monkey-wrench into Kate’s plans by actually being a werewolf. at one of their meetings Talyn attempts to grab Kate by the hand, and Gavin gets scratched on the arm.Guess what happens!

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Talyn is given a physical exam to determine if he has a form of porphyria, which is a kind of cutaneous blood disorder that results in Talyn’s  unique appearance. He looks like a werewolf before he becomes a werewolf. He is extremely tall, his face is covered in hair, he moves and talks slowly, and has unnaturally long fingernails, all symptoms of his disease, according to Eric.

During his physical exam, Talyn goes berserk and kills the entire hospital team, and then escapes into the city of Lyon, and the woods surrounding the city. At the same time Gavin is undergoing some changes of his own, and eventually he and Talyn go head to head, with Kate in the middle of it, as Gavin attempts to defend her from the rampaging Talyn.

Kate is at the center of all this, as she first endears herself to Talyn, by commiserating with him over the recent death of his father. She’s also the center of Eric, and Gavin’s focus as they fight over her attention, but at no point is one given the impression that she is nothing more than a sexy floor lamp.

For one thing, she’s not played for sexy. She makes decisions and has character. She’s not merely a damsel in distress, as she does have backbone. For most of the movie she appears to be fully in charge, standing up for Talyn against a system, and the detective, that has pronounced him guilty, based solely on his looks. You can tell she’s good at her job and takes it very seriously. Although she does  appear strangely unperturbed that her client is actually a werewolf.

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I kept waiting for the twist in this movie, like maybe everything was a dream, or a government plot that created Talyn, but none of those things occur. The plot remains pretty straightforward in that there isn’t much of one. Most of the movie reads like  ” A Day in the Life of Kate, the  French Defense Attorney”, and I rather liked that.

I actually liked Gavin , but I thought Eric was a dick. The detective in charge is played by, Sebastian Roche, someone Supernatural fans will recognize.He is kind of a jerk too, but he’s not wrong about Talyn. This doesn’t benefit him much because he is involved in government corruption to steal Talyn’s family’s land, so he goes to jail. But none of these subplots are the focus of the movie. They’re introduced and then settled, and the movie moves on. So, if you’re looking for some kind of in-depth crime investigation, like the movie Crimson Rivers, you’re out of luck. his movie isn’t about that.

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Its worth watching for Halloween, also  nice and streamlined, clocking in at a brisk 90 minutes, and its suitable for teenagers to watch. There’s a little gore but its not overdone. Its got a lot of action, including some werewolf on werewolf fighting towards the end, which looks pretty graphic, but again, its not overdone.

Its well worth looking at.

Check it out. Its on DVD.

Bite (2016)

 

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I was trying to  review some of the lesser known horror movies that caught my eye,  that I felt were worth watching this Halloween.

This is a 2016, transformation horror movie by Canadian Director Chad Archibald.

Bite is definitely for people who don’t want to watch torture porn but can stomach lots and lots of goop. The special effects in this movie seem to consist of almost nothing but goop. The plot is nothing remarkable, consisting pretty much of girl gets bitten by a strange bug, and turns into a monster.

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On some level , I think the filmmakers are trying to evoke the specter of body horror films like Cronenberg’s  1986, The Fly, but this film doesn’t reach that level. It does have an underwritten theme about the horrors of pregnancy but it doesn’t reach the thematic levels of Cronenberg’s 1975 film, The Brood, either. It has a cast consisting almost entirely of women but isn’t as frightening as The Descent.

This isn’t a great film. Its never going to be a classic, but it is worth looking at just for the spectacle.

Casey is in Costa Rica with her two best friends, Jill and Kirsten, celebrating her impending wedding to Jared when, as per formula, they decide to get off the tourist trail and  go swimming in a remote location. Casey gets bitten by some strange insect. She seems alright but later she passes out. Its all downhill from that point.

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When Casey gets back home, she starts developing some strange urges and appetites, but doesn’t pay much heed to them as she’s distracted by other anxieties, such as her upcoming wedding, her bitchy mother-in-law, frenemy Jill, and Jared’s insistence that she will start popping out babies as soon as they’re married. What kind of man brings his future wife a baby’s highchair, as a wedding gift? All of this is only exacerbated by Casey having recurring dreams  of vomiting up tiny eggs all over her apartment.

The movie has some echoes of It Follows in that it features yet another  pretty White girl,  frightened of what her future might hold, and the existential angst around birth and death.  Just once I’d like to see what one of these movies might say about a young  WoC’s existential crisis.

The first part of the movie, where you get to know the characters goes on almost too long. So long that it  starts to be a bore because none of her friends or family have enough personality to be that interesting and the acting is a little dodgy, too.

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But the movie starts to reach its high point after Casey actually starts vomiting up thousands of eggs, instead of just dreaming it, until every surface in her apartment is covered in them. By the time Jill (the nice friend) comes to check on her absence, her apartment is coated in goo, egg sacs, and webbing. Nevertheless, Jill just waltzes her dumbass right in, and this is how you know your’e not dealing with normal human behavior from the other characters, because anyone else would’ve run screaming. Jill, naturally, pays the ultimate price for her stupidity.

As per formula, people keep wandering into  the apartment looking for Casey, so that by the end of the movie she’s managed to catch everybody who was giving her grief earlier.

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The movie does set itself up for a kind of sequel as the eggs start hatching, producing more of the weird insects that bit Casey, and getting into the outside world.

As I said, this isn’t a bad film. Its definitely worth seeing but its never going to be considered a great movie. It does continue the grand ol’ tradition of body horror spectacle, though, and will tide you over until you can watch that television re-run of The Fly.

Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

Alright everybody! We’re going into  his review with the following information: I am an arachnophobe. I practice this talent every Spring and Summer, and I’m really good at panic attacks, expert at searching parking garage  ceilings for spiderwebs, and freaking the hell out, when a spider is large enough for me to see it with my naked eyeballs.

Neverthelsess, I do watch movies about spiders. I don’t seem to have a problem with really, really giant spiders. In fact, there’s no fear, the larger, and furrier, the spider is. (Tarantulas are kinda cool. ) Apparently it’s only spiders of a certain size that I don’t like. That said, I really enjoyed Eight Legged Freaks. It combines two of my favorite topics, chills and laughs, and does a pretty good job. Basically, you can watch this movie, even if you’re scared of spiders.

Eight Legged Freaks was released at a time when a lot of these types of movies weren’t being put out by Hollywood. It’s an old school Comedy-Horror mashup, like Critters, or Tremors,  with the emphasis on the comedy, even though it does have creepy moments. It has the usual plot of most monster movies ,with a surprising amount of emotion added, which I wasn’t expecting, but then you have to take that with a grain of salt, because I’m a huge crybaby at movies. (I will cry, if anybody on screen is crying, basically.) I was not disposed to watch any movie with David Arquette because: one, I didn’t think he was very funny, and: two, his sister is a mindless boobyhead, and I like to hold him responsible for that. But actually, he’s not bad in this movie, and I got quite a few laughs at his “over the top” reactions to the spiders, although it’s hard to say the reaction is over the top, when it’s giant spiders.


The whole cast is kind of a surprise, and are pretty funny. Most of them play it straight but get good lines, while others are clearly comedic relief. Scarlett Johansson is here, and she’s not bad, as the local Sheriff’s daughter, who is played by Kari Wuhrer, whom I’ve been holding a grudge against since she messed up in the show Sliders, Eileen Ryan who was a real delight, and  Doug E. Doug, who is hilarious, as a conspiracy theorizing DJ, who knows he’s been abducted by extraterrestrials. He gets the best lines and screams in the entire movie.

I don’t think I can list all the funny moments in this movie, most of which I didn’t see coming. The spiders squeal and yell in high pitched voices when they get blown up, there’s a knockdown, drag out fight between a cat and a dog sized spider, which happens entirely through sounds through a wall, and there’s the various puns and one-liners spouted by the cast, which are awful, but still kinda funny. I also wasn’t expecting the spiders to have personalities too. I actually thought they were totally adorkable knuckleheads, who killed and ate people, squeaked out words when they got hurt, and coordinated their attacks with  leg gestures, as if they were military units. This seemed to tickle my juvenile funny bone, and I wasn’t as scared of these spiders, as I was of the ones in Arachnophobia, but then those guys had no sense of humor. 

My niece and I had a grand ol’ time laughing really hard at this movie. There’s also a Queen spider, whose name I forget. I think it’s Consuela, which is a strange name for a giant spider, but she’s a lot more frightening than the Tarantula, even though she’s a lot smaller than that tank-like creature. One of the funniest moments is when Arquette’s character, on the advice of a little boy expert on spiders, spritzes her in the eyes,  with a tiny bottle of perfume. And it works! She just backs off, sneezing uncontrollably. 

 The tarantula was awesome, and the other spiders used it as a battering ram, which was all kinds of cool to watch. He’s like a big, dumb,brute from a hardboiled crime novel. The Muscle! There’s also more than a few disgusting,  and scary moments, which is to be expected, in a movie about giant arachnids, like the scene where a guy swallows a mouthful of baby spiders, and the sight of running people getting jumped on, or snatched underground, by dog sized spiders. But the writers were very clever to make these moments pretty funny, and not TOO scary, by having the spiders punch their  struggling prey into submission, while making boxing noises, and slamming into windows, because they hadn’t figured those out yet.


Arquette’s character comes back home to Prosperity, Arizona, which is on its last legs, ever since it’s  mines tapped out. His father owned them and insisted there was gold there. When the spiders get dosed with toxic waste (well actually they eat contaminated crickets), they grow larger, eat their keeper, and descend into the mines, where they begin preying on the local animal population. The local bigwig, Wade, believes there’s money in Ostrich farming and is so optimistic, he builds a mall, but his ostriches all get eaten by the spiders, and as the spiders attack the town, everyone holes up at the mall for protection, and later, work their way into the mines. You think Wade is going to be the big asshole of the movie, but Wade actually turns out okay, and lives to the end of the movie. He’s never likable, but he’s also not outright evil. Neither is his son, who tries, at one point, to sexually assault Johansson’s character, but changes his ways, after she tases him, he pisses his pants, and she throws him out of the car. Later, he does some heroic redeeming type stuff, to make up for being a shite, earlier in the movie, I guess.

It’s a happy ending, and we get to root for these characters, along the way, especially Harlan, the terrified but brave DJ, and Chris and the sheriff, who renew their old flame. I’ve never been a fan of Kari, but she did so well in this movie, I can get behind her as a character, even if I can’t forgive her for being so awful in Sliders. The spiders are as much characters, in the film, as the people, and I had my favorites.  There are tarantulas, orb weavers, trapdoor spiders, which were pretty scary, and jumping spiders, which are tiny cute little things in real life, but less so, grown to enormous size. Still, they’re the funniest ones in the movie, creating a proper excuse for why nobody’s cell phones work.

I watched this movie with my Mom, and she seemed to like it although she thought the spiders talking was too much. Her tolerance for silly isn’t quite as high as mine, I guess. Nevertheless, it continues to be one of her favorite spider movies, (and I love her for that, even though she tried for years to get me to sit down and watch Arachnophobia, when she knew I was too scared of the spiders to watch it. I still hate that movie.)
If you have a low tolerance for gore and scares, then Eight Legged Freaks is the perfect movie for Halloween night. Yes, your kids can watch it, the female characters are treated with all due respect, and the language is pretty mild.

 And guess what? The Black guy lives all the way to the end of the movie.

Funny Stuff & Link Roundup

 

Humor:

*Pick an Olympic event at which you would most certainly excel. Mine isn’t on here, but I chose Advanced Napping, with a minor in Lollygaggin’ and/or Procrastinatin’. I am very competitive on those. I also happen to enjoy Competitive Falling Over, and Professional Lunging, but only as an observer.

natblida: “ hedaclexa: “ Tag yourself I’m competitive falling ” I’m stabbing people for points ” I’m Water Panic! I could win the gold on that one. Do they have Advanced Napping ? I’m good at that, too.plain-flavoured-english Source: heyhaughtshot

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*I love this little TV Tropes fight. Big Sky Dreaming has many such odd communications on their blog.

bigskydreaming poseyslegtattoo

poseyslegtattoo:

bigskydreaming:

poseyslegtattoo:

bigskydreaming:

sunwukxng:

poseyslegtattoo:

@sunwukxng is dropping trope names like he read the entirety of TVTropes.org yesterday and he needs to stop before I smack him

Don’t Angry Fist Shake at me. What are you saying? Is That A Threat?

Okay but Ced you have to know TVTropes.org well enough to recognize all those trope names so Who Is The True Villain here hmm?

It’s Hypocritical Humor, Because I Said So

Oh look, He’s Back. What next, you going to Destroy the Evidence like you didn’t just Dramatic Drop this Drama Bomb on our Friendly Conversation? We’ve Seen This Episode Before. Rewind, Replay, Repeat.

We Used to Be Friends, Cedric. Where Did We Go Wrong?

As You Know, This Troper is New Meat compared to The Old Master Kalen and the Memetic Badass Adam so Let’s You And Him Fight.

A classic Pick On Someone Your Own Size. *Sarcastic Clapping* Fine. Throw The Fight.

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*Its like the Hotel California. I’ve been in this place before.

hannibalsbattlebot crave-that-mineral

Fanfiction gothic

crave-that-mineral:

  • You wait for an update on your favorite fic. You wait a week, a month, a year. You wait forever. The author never updates.
  • You tell your friend about a fic you loved. A few days later they tell you they couldn’t find it. You look it up yourself. You can’t find it. You can’t find the author. “They must have deleted their account,” you tell yourself. You can’t remember.
  • You have already left kudos here. 🙂” You have no recollection of having read this fic before.
  • Your favorite writer starts a new fic. It gets progressively darker with every update. The last chapter is just a string of random letters and numbers. You want to ask if the writer is okay. You don’t dare to.
  • AO3 doesn’t work again. It didn’t work yesterday. It didn’t work last week. Has it ever worked?
  • Your friend starts writing a fanfic about you. “It’s just a joke,” they tell you. You go check it out. It’s a complete work with a major character death warning. “It’s just a joke,” you remind yourself. You refuse to read the last chapter.

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*This had me crying’, I was laughing so hard. For reasons unknown, I just love weather related humor.

karnythia nethilia

robotmango:

awed-frog:

robotmango:

it’s ninety-nine degrees outside, four fuck-thousand percent humidity, and my husband was like, “i’m gonna go for a bike ride.” and i was like “why. no. why. don’t put us on the news like that. local fool collapses on unnecessary journey. don’t do it.” so he says he doesn’t want to “hide in the house” because the sun is shining. bruh. honeybruh. “the sun is shining” does not cover it. its hot outside. its motherfucking hot as fuck outside. our outdoor plants have been crying into their hands all week. whole cars are melting into the sewer. our fucking patio umbrella developed sentience to ask me for lemonade this morning

@robotmango, you need to work for the weather forecast – this was both hilarious and sovivid it made me stand up and get some iced tea.

this is a great idea, thank you. here goes. my audition tape for the weather channel. dearly beloved. we are gathered here today to have a fucking funeral for the outdoors. it had a good run, with all its creeks and clouds and shit. pretty great. now it’s ten-thirty at night but still ninety-two asshole-sweating degrees and humid as fuck. everything is hot and slimy, like being a “borrower” that got trapped inside a bottle of shampoo and then accidentally microwaved. you can see on my doppler radar that nothing is moving around out there because everything is probably dead.  the only alive thing is the mosquito currently trying to drill a hole in my leg. no surprise that all the shitbag mosquitos are fine, since the thermostat of hell is always at the devil’s preferred temperature. this forecast has gotten away from me a little, but in conclusion fuck the sun.-Source: robotmango

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Bad Puns
rhube: “ So, this may be the best gardening joke I have ever seen. ”

Source: laddermatchthis made my day
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Culture:
Just some general cultural artifacts sitting on my dashboard that made my ears perk up.
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I thought this critique of JK Rowling was interesting. It sparked an unexpected world-building discussion of what magic in America would actually be like.

mylovelylittleobsessions:

standbyyourmantis:

cepheid-variable-star:

patroklov:

jkr doesnt understand anything about america if she thinks the northern and southern states will share the same wizarding school lollll. like the south would have formed its own school anyways after, if not before or during the civil war?

hell east coast and west coast magic has got to be different (european settlers on the east, mexican/hispanic in the whole new mexico, arizona, cali area).

not to mention historically black wizarding schools would have absolutely been a thing bc african magic survived thru slavery hello??? not to mention under slavery and jim crow laws i highly doubt black children would have been allowed to study with white students. you could even make the assumption that white slavers forbade them for using their magic at all (african magic = dark magic and all that Fun Racism)

underdeveloped and struggling to thrive native american reservation schools of magic in the dakotas?

texas has to have its own school on its own school. like its just a given fact. TEXAS WIZARDING SCHOOL QUDDITCH (like texas high school football #texasforever)

and obviously you have the elitist new england schools which everyone assumes is the pinnacle of american magic education lol

The U.S. would have tons of day schools in every region and zero live-in boarding schools.

The U.S. simply doesn’t have the same history of live-in “public schools” that England has and they make no sense at all in an American context.

PLUS all the stuff listed in this post.

J. K. Rowing has zero understanding of American culture or history.

The thing is, America is so heavily colonized that there’s no way the magic here would look similar at all to a European or British wizard. First off, you’re telling me Aztecs, Hopi, Seminole, and Lakota peoples (to name a few) would all have the same wizarding traditions as each other? No, I do not buy it. There would have been a substantial diversity between larger tribes.

Now we have first contact and you’d have Spanish and Mesoamerican magical traditions interbreeding heavily into probably a pretty solid fusion. The French tended to trade openly in the Northeast, and likely wouldn’t have assimilated as thoroughly as the Spanish but more so than the British who tended to just go “ours now, you leave.”

Then come waves of immigration, including the African Diaspora/the slave trade and focusing heavily in the south and northeast. Alongside that, you have French Canadians (Acadians) moving down the Mississippi into Louisiana and giving it a heavy French and Caribbean influence. You have Scotch and Irish immigrants moving into the Appalachians where (in some places) they’re in close contact with Cherokee and similar tribes, and in others with slaves. We can assume those groups would trade magic thoroughly amongst themselves in the few hundred years of living in close contact. You have Latin American immigration coming up through the south west and bringing their Mesoamerican/Spanish hybrid magic where it would be informed by Creole traditions formed by hybridizing French, African, and Native techniques along with the dominant British traditions. The Midwest tends to be Scandinavian, but again their magic is influenced by people they would have had trade with such as plains Indians and French trappers in the north.

Then, of course, Chinese and Japanese schools of magic coming into California where it blends with traditional Mexican schools. You have Puerto Rican, Italian, and Jewish immigrant communities living in close contact with each other as well as whatever hybrid Dutch-British-African hybrid is going on in NYC. That’s not even getting into more recent waves from Vietnam, Laos, and the Middle East, for example.

What I’m saying here is that not only would American magic look like an unholy hodgepodge to a European wizard, but there would be regional variations within the country that would be almost impossible to even work around.

I mean, say what you will about the French and British, but they’ve spent most of the last thousand years in close contact with each other and you can assume that French and British wizards and witches would probably at least know what their magic looked like. We’re talking now about cultures spread across the entire globe taking up residence in one area where they’re now surrounded by people with entirely different traditions. After a few generations, there’s going to be a lot of adaptation and adoption of techniques to the point that your grandparents wouldn’t recognize your wandwork because you’re now using something adapted from a Hmong style with a distinctly Norwegian flare and youre casting it with Incan words.

I mean Jesus, just look at the variations in American food from region to region if you don’t believe me.

I keep reblogging different versions of this post because it just gets better every time I see it

*Let’s not even get into the various regional environmental differences that require different types of magic. The wetter swamplands of Louisiana (with its French-Creole underpinnings) and moist  Delta river land of Mississippi (with its high concentration of rural Black people) is going to require a very different kind of magical ability than what’s required in drier, hotter, conditions like the Nevadas, Arizona and other desert places. 

I’ll also mention that magic practiced above the snowline would probably be very different than magic practiced in warmer climates. One would have to make allowances for the fact that, for about 4 to 6 months of the year, certain vegetation and wildlife wouldn’t be available. The air above the snowline gets cold and dry, rather than hot and dry, and maybe magic would have to be practiced differently in Chicago, vs. Las Vegas.

I like to think that a lot of the magic practiced in the north would also involve the energy of specific cities. NY for example would have its own unique flavor of magic on account of its age, location and history, and be wholly unlike anything practiced in say, Dallas Texas.

Colorado, due to its higher elevation, would probably require one to perform magic very differently from rural Maine. The Appallachians style of magic (forested, temperate environment) is going to look very different from Northwest Pacific magical styles (cool, with lots of rain in winter)  and a lot of these magical styles would be based on how to practice magic in an area with a lot of rainfalls vs. an area that receives almost none.

Certain things in the Midwest, that no one worries about, like earthquakes and hurricanes, wouldn’t even be addressed in magical systems developed there, not like in California and Florida, for example, where such events would have to be taken into consideration, and probably magical systems might spring up to prevent such events from happening, altogether.

Jkr definitely neglected to take geographical locations and environments into consideration.

 

finnnorgana Source: patroklov
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*Oprah and Ava – I think Oprah is going to play (one of the)  Ms. Witch or somesuch. That would be cool. I read the hell out of A Wrinkle in Time when I was a kid. I always imagined myself as Meg. I can’t wait for this. Ava has already called for a mixed race, interracial cast.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/oprah-winfrey-ava-duvernay-black-920196
*I thought this and the accompanying photos was awesome. I’m against the pipeline. We don’t need another Flint Michigan.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/katebubacz/lakota-standoff?utm_term=.fyGRXNoLk#.xd8BvgML0

*This is Allan G. Johnson. I love his website. He’s so insightful.He mostly writes about the intersection of Toxic Masculinity, and Racism.

https://agjohnson.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/and-now-orlando-manhood-guns-and-violence/

 Movies & TV:

This is just some meta and analysis about some of my favorite movies and TV shows. Some of these are a little academic,while  some are just posts on people’s blogs.

 

Women and Superheroes:

http://www.btchflcks.com/2016/05/superheroines-week-the-roundup.html#.V7YaWvkrIeE

Mad Max Fury Road:

https://theawl.com/the-startling-humanism-of-mad-max-fury-road-84294de4d64#.umqk7hkt9

Intervention – “Finding Hope Without Salvation in Mad Max: Fury Road”

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/05/emmad_maxem_and_the_dreamwork_of_homosexuality.html

The Faith of Fury Road

Who Killed the World? – The Complicated Feminism of Mad Max: Fury Road

Geek Culture:

Exclusionary Geek Culture Misunderstands Diversity on a Fundamental Level

Hannibal the Series: https://www.overthinkingit.com/2014/02/03/hannibal-economics/

 Original Star Trek:

https://timeline.com/star-trek-interracial-kiss-ba0948687788#.s02fznr5i

Oz the Series:

“Oz”: Ten Years Later

Alien:

Essay: Women in the Horror Film – Ripley, the Alien & the Monstrous Feminine

Fanfiction:

Fetishizing Homosexuality

Fight Club and Media Consumption

*I’m going to put this entire discussion here about why it is so important to critically question the media we consume. 

I have a niece who just turned eleven. She and I watch TV together pretty often, and sometimes we watch movies others would consider questionable for an eleven year old. But my attitude is like this, I will treat her the same way my Mother treated me at her age. She let me watch whatever I wanted, as long as I understood it, and we discussed it. If I was confused about anything, I could ask her, and she would tell me as much of the truth as she thought I could handle, at whatever age.

I never let my niece watch anything without asking questions about what she’s viewing, what’s happening on the screen, how she feels and thinks about what she’s viewing. These are never deep questions, because what I want her to do is just get into the habit of asking questions. What did we just watch? What did she like about it? Why does she like certain things? Why didn’t she like about the story, the characters, the images? Why didn’t she like those things?

I also don’t believe in giving her answers, or telling her what to think about a show or movie, either. I want to listen to her answers, understand her responses, as she learns to articulate her thoughts,  let her know I’m interested in what she thinks, and let her know that what she thinks is important to me. Sometimes we disagree and that’s good too, because that teaches her to stand by what she thinks, and articulate her arguments for, or against, something.

I do understand that every parent doesn’t have the time or effort to do this with their children. I know her Mother doesn’t, but she is fortunate to have someone like me, and my Mother, in her life, who are teaching her to think critically, and have informed opinions, about the world around her.

I don’t want her to grow up as one of those people who unquestioningly accepts whatever they’re told by the TV.

sleepynegress bankuei

bankuei:

eshusplayground:

expo63:

lierdumoa:

lierdumoa:

bloodpopsicles:

prokopetz:

leofdaeg:

prokopetz:

Hold up – you mean there are people who watch Fight Club anddon’t realise that Tyler Durden is meant to be full of shit?

I mean, his doctrine of radical individualism is a sham that ultimately reduces his followers to faceless conformity. This isn’t deep metatextual wankery – it’s the literal text of the film.

How do you see the film and not get that?

My ex didn’t get this. He loves Tyler durden. I’ve never seen fight club so I DIDN’T KNOW.

Yeah, in the film he’s a total con-man. His grand speeches sound good if you don’t think about them too deeply, but they’re not meant to be insightful – they’re meant to be a snake-oil salesman’s patter, calculated to bamboozle dumb, angry young men into doing his bidding.

Trouble is, they’re sufficiently well-written that apparently they work on the dumb, angry young men in the audience, too.

I’ve actually written about this academically! There’s a really specific genre I call bro cinema that includes fight club, all of kubricks work, some Scorsese, and Tarantino (all of which I love TBH.) These directors don’t explicitly condemn toxic masculinity and instead trust the audience to have COMMON SENSE and realize that Alex from A Clockwork Orange or Tyler Durden or Travis Bickle are horrific misogynists. But without the film telling the audience how to feel about these characters, men misinterpret the objectivity as glorification. Fight Club is about how shitty masculinity is, but it’s been warped by men grasping for justification for their misogyny

The real issue here, I think, is the passive consumption of media, and moreover, creators and critical viewers underestimating just how passive the average audience member is in their consumption of media.

In the book Nurture Shock, which is a child psychology book that identifies common parenting mistakes, the author spends a chapter on children’s television. The author specifically talks about how media designed to teach morals often backfires – children who watch morality lessons express *more* behavior problems and become *more* cruel.

Now the author says it’s because of how these programs are structured. First they depict bad behavior, and then they explain why the behavior is bad, showing consequences, and tying up the program with a moral.

Small children aren’t smart enough to understand the moral. Small children learn by emulating behavior they see. They see a bad behavior and they learn the bad behavior. Just exposing children to bad behavior is enough to make them internalize that the behavior is something lots of people do, and therefore something acceptable for people to do to do.

If you try to explain to them after the fact that the behavior is harmful and to be avoided, that message is too complicated and goes right over their heads. You can’t tell little kids “do as I say, not as I do.”

Now the author of this book says “small children aren’t old enough to understand the moral.”

But honestly? Adults have the exact same problem.

Tyler Durden loses in the end. That’s the moral of the movie. Unfortunately that moral is too complicated for the vast majority of the audience. The typical adult audience member does not think critically enough about film media to process this moral.

A critical viewer thinks – the point is that Tyler is wrong! The point is that Tyler is doomed by his own hubris! HOW CAN AUDIENCES HAVE MISSED THE ENTIRE POINT IF THE MOVIE?!?!?

Easily, considering the movie only really devotes 5% of its screen time to explicitly denouncing Tyler’s behavior, and that explicit denouncement only arrives at the very end of the film.

The other 95% of the screen time is spent watching Tyler Durden jerk off.

Look – you can’t film two hours of bareback sex followed by a five minute tutorial on how to correctly use a condom and a 30 second montage of miserable teen parents changing diapers, then call your film a safe sex PSA.

You did not make a safe sex PSA.

You made a porno.

You can try to argue that the bareback sex is an ironic subversive metaphor, and that the “real point” of your film is proper condom usage and an anti-teen pregnancy message, but the fact is, the majority of your audience is going to change the channel the moment the cumshot finishes.

Audiences, outside of our special little corner of fandom discourse, are by and large just straight up lazy. They can’t be bothered to think that hard about the media they consume.

via @sarcastrophesam  #THIS IS WHAT I WAS TRYING SO DESPERATELY TO PIN DOWN IN MY ESSAY ON EX MACHINA #AND HOW THE DIRECTOR HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO CLEARLY SPELL OUT TO THE AUDIENCE#THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUPPORTING A CERTAIN BEHAVIOR BY DEPICTING IT#AND CRITICIZING IT BY DEPICTING IT #BECAUSE USUALLY THE AUDIENCE DOES NOT PICK UP ON SUBTLE CRITICISM OR MORALES AT ALL

This is why I loved Fury Road so much, and also what I felt was so profoundly revolutionary about the movie. Fury Road is a movie about women escaping violent misogynists. Yet editor Margaret Sixel had the SHEER BRILLIANCE and AUDACITY to cut all the footage of misogynist violence out of the movie.

Mad Max: Fury Road proved that it is possible to denounce misogynist violence without depicting it.

Mad Max: Fury Road showed that refusal to depict misogynist violence is in and of itself a denouncement of misogynist violence.

We don’t need to show what victims went through to make victims sympathetic. In fact, voyeuristically depicting acts of cruelty only further objectifies victims. George Miller and Margaret Sixel understand this.

Similarly, George Miller made a point of using telling his videographers to use camera angels that focused on the action of the scene, instead of voyeristically zooming in the female castmember’s breasts/asses/legs  – because he understood that when the camera ogles the female characters in an objectifying manner, the audience, who views the movie through the camera’s lens, is forced to ogle and objectify. George understood that sexist camera work creates a sexist perspective, and a sexist perspective tells a sexist narrative.

The thing is that the narrator is always sympathetic. Intimacy and familiarity breed sympathy. The audience is primed  to feel sympathy for the narrator simply because they are speaking more than any other individual character.

No matter how unreliable, or morally dubious you make the narrator, they are still the hero or the story. Every villain is the hero of their own story. And when the villain is the narrator, the audience is hearing the version of the story in which the villain is the hero, and the audience is moved by that perspective.

We can give Fight Club the benefit of the doubt and look at Fight Club as an intellectual experiment to see whether or not it’s possible to tell a story from the villain’s perspective and still denounce the villain’s actions.

But the fact is, the experiment didn’t work. It was a statistical failure. The vast majority of the audience did not recognize the film as a criticism of toxic masculinity, but rather, a romanticization of it.

Perhaps the author’s goal was for Tyler Durden’s death to be interpreted as a cautionary tale, but the author failed in that goal. He failed. Because by the time Tyler Durden dies in the movie, he has already been painted a hero in the eyes of the majority of the audience, and heroes don’t become cautionary tales when they die; they become martyrs.

A further layer of this issue: Fight Club was made in a different era (as well as with a different sensibility) from, say, Mad Max: Fury Road. ‘The real issue here … is the passive consumption of media’ – yes, exactly. But also, Fincher made Fight Club at a cultural moment when postmodern moral ‘blankness’ and ironisation ruled – a moment which also ‘happened’ to coincide with the rise of (‘old enough to know better, but we don’t care’) lad culture and the (lad-related) knowingly uncritical celebration of ‘bro cinema’.

Rather than spelling out an ‘unfashionably’ direct critique, or moral lessons, to their male audience, the cool moral detachment of films like Fight Club requires a critical, thinking, supposedly sophisticated, viewer – the viewer who knows ‘The point is that Tyler is wrong!’ – while playing a double game. The cool mode enables bro cinema to have its cake and eat it, commercially speaking: it can simultaneously profit from (A) the ‘majority of the [male] audience’ who don’t want to have their misogyny challenged and even celebrate misogyny, while gaining acclaim for (B) its subtle, yet meant-to-be-understood-as-critical, depictions of toxic masculinity…

The esteem for bro cinema then gets boosted higher and higher by male critics who pay lip-service to (A), while in many cases enjoying the films because (B).

Question: can someone discuss the role that race plays in all this? Most of the movies being discussed here are really, really white.

For a lot of white men, the idea of why something is wrong is an intellectual exercise – when you’re not actually the one constantly victimized, it becomes a matter of ideas and not survival.  For them, depicting horrific things is cool and edgy because it’s not “real” for them, which is why the morals hang so weakly in the media.

Also, to the comment about 95% celebration vs. 5% “morals”, it’s really about what you show in terms of character reaction and consequences immediately that tells the audience whether this is good, or bad.

When a character does something and other characters are repulsed and react immediately (or the same character realizes they’ve messed up and you can see them regret it right away), no one sees this as something to enjoy or celebrate.  When it goes without comment or is treated as good, you can’t later get to the moral and say “Actually it’s wrong” and expect it to sink in.

This is even true of villains – they may see nothing wrong with what they’re doing, but the characters whose emotions you center and frame are the ones that paint events as right or wrong.

Tying these two points together – if you never center or frame the feelings of certain groups of people (marginalized people), then the harm exists as an idea but not as a narrative reality.  It’s not “don’t do x because it hurts y people” it’s “Don’t do x because this other white guy said so”… which fundamentally teaches “do what the white guy says” not “respect people’s boundaries”

I say this a lot – the way media teaches violence is less about the specific violent behavior but rather the expected social hierarchy – when you some people’s boundaries, feelings, and existence do not matter, even if the narrative doesn’t show violence, you still end up with audiences who act violently towards those people because they’ve been taught those people aren’t people, and often should be punished for trying to put themselves on equal footing as “people”.

 

Why “The Magnificent Seven” Upgrade Is Already Iconic — JUST ADD COLOR

I usually don’t go for Westerns. Well, actually, they have to be one (or more) of three things: they are bending the rules of the Western to a ridiculous degree, involve a rarely-discussed racial angle, or I have to watch them for a film class. (Because I was forced to watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid…

via Why “The Magnificent Seven” Upgrade Is Already Iconic — JUST ADD COLOR

The Blob (1958) vs The Blob (1988)

So, I’ve been putting off this post because I’d have to watch both movies again. I’m okay with watching the remake, even though I’m still scared and disgusted by it. What I wasn’t prepared for was my reaction to the original film, which frankly just creeped the screaming heebee jeebies out f me, and I was reluctant to watch it again!

So here’s what I did, in the interests of bringing you guys  quality film comparisons: The original movie is  available on Youtube, so I watched snippets of the parts I wanted to talk about, and went to Wikipedia for the rest of it. How does that sound?

The original film is mostly famous for starring Steve McQueen, in his first movie role. None of the other actors are even memorable. The remake, made exactly thirty years later, stars Shawnee Smith, who was never seen or heard from afterwards, and Kevin Dillon, who we wish we hadn’t heard from afterwards. The trailers lead you to believe that several handsome white dudes are the stars of the movie, but those are misleading.

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The remake was released in 1988, and directed by Chuck Russell, who went on to make Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, a most excellent Freddy movie, and Eraser, a mediocre film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You have to admit that a formless creature that eats people alive is a very unique monster for the fifties, which mostly seem to be stuck in giant insect mode. Giant grasshoppers, spiders, ants, seemed to be the thing. I’d love to have been a witness to the brainstorming sessions that figured out the rules for this creature. This movie is also unique in that radiation isn’t given as a reason for its existence. There’s no explanation for the monster beyond “it fell out of the sky”.

A lot of the differences, from the original to the remake, involve  plot and characters, including a 2.0 upgrade on the blob’s eating techniques. It’s depicted as a giant stomach that’s a hungrier, and much, much faster, alpha predator, that actively pursues its food. Whether you prefer the slow insidious blob, in the original, or the faster, fit-active blob, is mostly a matter of preference. Its like  fast vs. slow zombies. How would you prefer to be eaten? Quickly or slowly? The first film is a lot simpler in plot and the characters themselves aren’t as complicated. There are still mostly the same types of characters in each movie: the pretty girl, the bad boy, the hero type boy, doing pretty much the same things they did in the original film, but they’ve been padded out with extra information.

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Women and girls have bigger roles in the remake, which just furthers my argument that at some point after the eighties, Hollywood devolved when it came to its depictions of women. (Hollywood never had a chance to devolve regarding WoC because we were never featured anyway.) There were a lot of movies, horror movies in particular, that had a lot of strong female characters in them. I would say that was largely because of the influence of  tent-pole films like Alien and Halloween.

One of the biggest differences between the films, and something that every reviewer of the time kept pointing out, was that the guys you think are going to be the fine upstanding heroes of the movie, Paul and his best friend, get eaten by the blob in the first thirty minutes. In the original you know  Steve McQueen’s character, conveniently named Steve, is going to be the hero from the moment you see him and I like how the remake turned that idea on its head.

The setup is pretty clear. Paul is the captain of the football team, who asks Meg, a cheerleader, for a date. (I actually liked Meg because unlike Jane,  in the original film, she has a personality, and I liked her quirky looks). Meg gets a lot of screentime. Meg, Paul and Brian (the local thug), are the teenagers who witness the fall of the meteorite and the blob’s attack on its first victim, a homeless man who, for reasons known only to alcoholics and God, decides to poke it with a stick. That was mistake number one.

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The original movie is entirely in keeping with the tradition of teenagers who see something, and say something, but aren’t believed by the local authorities. In the remake the teenagers never really get a chance to tell any of the adults. Meg attempts to tell the sheriff what happened to Paul, but he, and his deputy, would rather believe that Brian, the local ne’er do well, is responsible for cutting off Paul’s arm, the only thing the blob left behind.

Most of the original plot is kept intact for the first thirty minutes, until Paul gets killed, after which you think that Brian, played by Kevin Dillon, with a mullet (which is how you could tell someone was bad news, back in the eighties),is going to be the one to step up and do some hero-ing to defeat the blob. Surprise! He doesn’t do that. Instead he makes a clear case for getting the Hell out of Dodge, and tries to persuade Meg to come with him, but Meg has a family she cares about, so that conversation is vert short.

After throwing the viewers sideways with the deaths of, not just Paul, but his problematic (possibly rapist) best friend, the movie turns into an entirely new animal, with the introduction of sinister government agencies, and corrupt military officials, trying to quarantine the town. Its strongly hinted that the American government created the blob to use against the Russians, but weren’t expecting the blob to be the result, which if you ask me, is an astonishingly stupid idea, but okay. There’s also a laconic sheriff that you think might end up being heroic but he  gets eaten, too. There’s also a creepy priest who, pretty much, remains creepy for the entirety of the film.

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The original film keeps up the scariness to a point, mainly by upping the creepiness factor. The blob is slow and insidious, quietly creeping up on its victims. The movie but bogs down somewhat in the middle, with the addition of  the  local bad boys, and some drag racing. The new film mostly jettisons the character’s extracurricular activities, and moves pretty quickly to set them all up in situations where they can be eaten, or chased by the blob.

Paul and Meg get chased in a diner, where the blob traps them in the walk-in freezer, and the blob attacks the movie theater. While the theater attack is the main set piece of the original, the remake kicks it into high gear, by having the blob rampage through the streets of the town, grabbing up citizens with its tentacles and attacking the town hall, where everyone has taken refuge.

Actually, one could make the argument that the entire remake is one huge, glorious, set piece – for the blob.  We get a lot of very graphic scenes of people being  attacked, and eaten, by  the blob, using beautiful practical  effects that still hold up to scrutiny today. The movie is full of indelible imagery. Two of the most memorable: Paul’s death in the doctors office at the opening of the movie; a diner scene where  a fully grown man gets pulled, head first, into a kitchen sink’s pipes; and a huge office building sized version of the blob, that flies up out of the sewers, and flattens Main Street. There are numerous scenes of the blob frantically chasing after various people: Meg and Brian at the diner, Meg and her brother at the theater, and everybody, in the middle of downtown Arborville.

The original film doesn’t even try to give an explanation of what the blob is. The only authorities present are the town sheriff and his deputy. The remake ups the ante on the gore factor, (because that was how remakes worked in the 80’s) by making the blob faster, slitherier, and more potent than the original. In the original it looks like a bag of snot. The remake turns it into a giant, drippy, stomach. Its almost sentient, as it has incredible timing, seeming to wait for opportune moments in which to attack certain people, namely the stars of the movie.

In the original movie, the more people the blob ate, the larger it grew and the redder the blob became, which was an interesting detail. In the remake, it just gets larger and more potent, having only to brush against a person for someone to be incapacitated, so we get a lot of effects shots of half eaten, moaning victims, in the theater, and streets.

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In the original, the townsfolk save themselves, through a bit of cheesy, kum ba ya, spunkiness, but when the government authorities show up in the remake, led by the slimy Dr. Meddows, (played by Joe Seneca, who is most famous as Willie Brown from Crossroads) they only muck things up, making everything more convenient for the blob, by rounding everyone up into one huge smorgasbord, at the town hall.

The  remake isn’t a short film, but it is economical. Everything that happens in the first thirty to forty minutes is set up for the last third of it. The ending is feminine friendly, having Meg  save the day, by exploding a snow making truck loaded with liquid nitrogen canisters. It does remain unexplained where Meg learned the bomb rigging skills with which to blow up the nitrogen canisters,  or where she learned how to use a machine gun, but the sight of Shawnee Smith, standing atop an overturned truck, firing into the blob, and screaming like Rambo, gave me life.

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I think I may have mentioned before how sentient snot, that eats people, is one of greatest fears. I should never have watched the original movie as a child. Of course, it would all have been undone anyway, after having watched the Japanese version of The Blob, titled The H-Men, and released one year later in 1959. The H-Men is a pretty effective scare too, involving gangsters, police, and irradiated human beings, who have been turned into sentient slime.(Yeah, okay! That just sounds disgusting!) I think the worst part of this movie is that the monsters were once people and may not actually be malicious.

I’d do a review of The H-Men but I’m too scared to watch it again. I made the mistake of watching a re-run of this move late one night,  a year ago, thinking I could handle it. I couldn’t. I slept with the lights on for days afterwards – and  hadn’t even finished the movie!

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Its really hard for me to pick which of these movie I prefer. (There’s definitely a part of me that wishes neither of them had been made, as  I’d have had fewer nightmares over the years, starring this particular type of monster.)

Ya’ know what? I’m not going to choose either movie. Which movie you believe is better is, like the fast and slow zombies question, entirely a matter of which one you think is more effective. For me both movies,and both monsters are equally terrifying  for different reasons, but the 1988 version isn’t a bad film, at all. It does exactly what its supposed to do as a remake. Up the gore quotient, fix minor problems  of the original (like giving its characters likable personalities), and scare the bejeebus out of the film-goer.

Which one do you think is better? Let me know in the comments!

On the Right: Captain America and Iron Man

Okay. I was really nervous about posting this, mainly because I’ve read a bunch of differing opinions and thought, “What if I’m horribly wrong about this?” But I’m gonna throw this out into the world and quit re-thinking it into a mess.

For the record, I’ve never read any of the individual comic books on Tony or Steve. This is entirely about what I’ve observed about the two of them throughout all of the MCU. In my mind, their general attitudes and motivations are entirely consistent, but I’ve seen arguments discussing their inconsistency. Also the movie isn’t on DVD yet, and my observations could just be mis-remembered stuff.

 

Morality: 

natural feeling that makes people know what is rightand wrong and how they should behave:

. Of or concerned with the judgment of right or wrong of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary.
2. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.
3. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life.
4. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
5. Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory; moral support.

 

Steve Rogers, and Tony Stark, are the two of the  more  consistently written characters in the MCU, (well, they are generally consistent, as regards their motivations), so lets talk about that. The last time  I spoke about how Natasha’s motivations were consistent across all her appearances in the MCU, and Steve Rogers’ grief for his lost life. I have yet to discussed Tony. This is strictly about the MCU versions of these characters.

Unlike Steve, Tony had access to both parents, and I say access, because although they were present, his relationship with his father was a contentious one, although his relationship with his mother seemed healthy enough. Even though both Steve, and Tony, seemed to get on well with their mothers, the presence of Tony’s father seemed to make all the difference, here.The presence of Tony’s father gifted him with a  poverty free lifestyle, but this was offset by his father’s disappointment,  coupled with wealth, intelligence, a wish to not be like his father, and a juvenile sense of rebellion, which wasn’t helped by his father comparing Tony’s  lack of a moral center, to Steve’s moral certitude.

Its not  that Tony doesn’t admire Steve. (Who doesn’t?) But Steve is the man to whom Tony kept being compared and found wanting.  Before he became Iron Man, usually the only person who paid for his mistakes was himself.  It’s not that Tony makes the same mistakes, over and over, so much as he makes brand new ones, because Tony’s moral compass  points to himself.

Tony is an inherently selfish person, whereas Steve tends to approach issues from a place of service to others. Its not that Steve can’t be selfish. Witness his overwhelming need to save Bucky, but that his actions often are of benefit to others, besides himself. Tony does work to try to overcome this selfishness over the course of several films, recognizing that it is wrong, (mostly due to the influence of Pepper and Rhodey,) but without the moral certitude of Steve Rogers, its extremely difficult. I’m going to argue that this is Tony’s only redeeming feature because Tony isn’t likable beyond his redemption arc.

Tony grew up with the idea, like a lot of very wealthy people,  that the world is theirs and they can do whatever  they want in it. He knew no real checks on his behavior, beyond what little conscience he possesses.He feels guilt, recognizes when he makes mistakes, wishes  to atone for those mistakes, and thinks he can save the world, and his friends.

Unfortunately, Tony’s idea of salvation  seems to involve taking away the freedom of others, when he’s the one who fucks up. In Iron Man 3, it is Tony who makes the mistake of impulsively challenging the Mandarin to a public duel, and then locking  himself, and Pepper, in his bungalow, without Pepper’s permission.. In his efforts to keep Pepper safe, he puts her life in danger.  In Iron Man 3, he mostly fails in his  efforts to save Pepper, who ultimately ends up saving herself, from the Mandarin.

In Ultron, his response to having created Ultron, and getting The Avengers asses kicked, is for the Avengers to hide themselves away on Hawkeye’s  farm. Luckily this doesn’t result in endangering Hawkeye’s family, but Steve himself tells Tony that the reason for all this is,  its impossible to fight a war before it happens, which is essentially what Tony tried to do when he created his global peacekeeper, which is a direct reaction to the events in The Avengers.

In Civil War, Tony’s response to the atrocity in Africa, committed by Wanda, is to lock her up for her safety, without informing her, and then rope the Avengers into legal shenanigans with General Ross and the UN. He is perfectly willing to violate the freedom of others, (mostly by locking them up), to save the world from his mistakes. Tony needs oversight but doesn’t want to sacrifice his freedom alone. He wants company.

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Tony understands the need for oversight, because he is ultimately the one who needs it. Due to his moral shakiness, he lacks the ability to police himself, resents being policed by others, yet seems to  crave the oversight, nevertheless.  Like Gilmore Hodge, (who doesn’t respect Peggy until she beats his ass, in Captain America:The First Avenger), Tony is Dr. Erskine’s bully, who has known power all his life, given even greater power, but lacks the moral compass to use it correctly. He doesn’t do this because he’s malicious, but because of his lack of moral center (and innate selfishness). He only sees the choices that are directly in front his eyes. He is astonishingly shortsighted. His disrespectful and offhand manner, with people he considers to be of no use to him, (and even those he does) is what ultimately led to the creation of the Mandarin, in the first place, and even his nemesis in Iron Man 2. Basically, Tony is a dick, who creates his own enemies, (something he learns to his detriment in Iron Man 3.)

Tony fails when  he tries to be moral, and doesn’t seem to learn from that failure. It is Tony who needs to be reigned in, and held in check because he’s never developed a strong enough moral center to do it himself. Tony seeks morality outside himself.

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Contrast that with Steve, who is Tony’s   opposite, in this regard. Steve grew up sickly, and  in poverty. He’s always had to be determined, stubborn, and self sufficient, especially if he was to survive the streets of 1920’s Brooklyn. Rather than a critical father, Steve had Bucky, who was an unfailing example of loyalty and friendship. Bucky shows Steve how to be a man through example, not by preaching or critiquing, and Steve looks up to him as someone to be admired. He learns how to approach the world through Bucky’s example of a firm moral center, and possibly his mother’s example of service to others, as she was a nurse. That there is something in Steve that is innately selfless, helps this process.

Steve continues to serve others by joining the military, (although one could argue that its for selfish reasons, its a selfish reason that benefits others, too) where he learns discipline, and respect for authority, but also learns to question that authority. Steve is very individualistic, unlike Tony, who only appears to be, with his glib and offhand manner. Steve is willing to break rules and commands. His upbringing taught him a certain amount of self-discipline, honed and sharpened by military service,   but  it is his moral compass that guides his actions. Steve generally doesn’t looks outside himself to be told the correct thing to do. He is centered, and righteous, and because of this is capable of making peace with his mistakes, without compounding them or acting entirely impulsively during their fallout.

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Steve has learned to discipline himself. As Captain America, this is second nature to him and he feels no need to seek outside controls on his behavior. This is the reason Steve is  against the  Accords. Steve believes that only  oneself is responsible for the decisions one makes, and will rely on no outside authority to tell him what’s right or wrong.

In The First Avenger, Steve’s sense of loyalty drives him to go against orders to save Bucky. He could have stood down and accepted his orders, but his sense of morality wouldn’t allow him to simply leave Bucky and his unit to their fate.Once again, it can be argued that this decision is a selfish one, but its a decision that ends up ultimately benefiting Bucky and his entire unit.

 

Steve quietly states to Natasha, during Civil War, not just that the Accords could decide to NOT send them into situations he knows The Avengers could fix, but, “What if they send us someplace we don’t want to go?” For Steve ,the Accords simply allows someone else to make his moral choices for him, and he finds that  idea repugnant. Steve has a level of moral certainty in his actions and decisions, that Tony  lacks, and is very used to governing himself. It’s not that Steve doesn’t respect authority. He does. He just doesn’t believe that Authority is  infallible, and he will not worship at its foot. He will accept any, and all, of the consequences of his decisions, which is why he’s  careful when he makes them. This is what his speech to Wanda was about. (She made choices. She must accept that with the ability to make choices she must accept the fallout of those  choices. Doesn’t this sound like responsibility?)

Steve also seems to have an unfailing ability to understand his future actions in a way that Tony does not. He is capable of seeing beyond his immediate choices to act, to what the repercussions of those choices might be, up to a point. We witness this when he decides to go after Bucky in Civil War, understanding that if Bucky is still the Winter Soldier, a lot of people are going to die. Steve is willing to shoulder these burdens himself, while Tony, as was argued in The Avengers, likes to make choices that result in no sacrifice for himself.

Steve understands that any decisions he makes could have negative consequences, and understands this with a depth that Tony doesn’t. Steve is fatalistic in this regard. He believes in the adage that in trying to save everyone, you end up saving no one. He understands that people may get hurt or die, and is willing to make that sacrifice himself. Tony’s experience in The Avengers movie was very possibly his first real  brush with self-sacrifice. Yes, it profoundly affected him, but once again, because he lacks moral certitude, he doesn’t actually learn from this, and it is the fallout from what happened to him in The Avengers, his selfish attempt to prevent that from happening to him again, that results in the creation of Ultron, (and eventually The Vision.)

Steve, unlike Tony, is never  disrespectful to people just because he can see no use for them, or because he can get away with it. Suffice to say, under Steve’s aegis, the Mandarin would never have been created. Even when seeking other’s help, Tony operates from a place of insecure superiority. He basically bribes and insults Spider-Man into joining his cause, while requiring his help. Steve would’ve just asked. (Actually, Steve wouldn’t have asked because he would’ve seen Peter as a child first, and not got him involved in his fight. He also did his best not to harm Peter, once he assessed who and what he was dealing with. It was Tony who put Peter in danger, by bringing him into a fight in which Peter had no stakes.)

Tony, when governing himself, makes horrible mistakes, because although his intentions may be good,  his moral center is simply not there. In attempting to follow one goal, he tramples over the rights of others, and seems only capable of seeing one goal at a time. He is  impulsive, with a tendency to go with whatever choice immediately presents itself to him and then scrambling to keep up with the aftermath, as in Avengers Ultron. And witness his behavior in Civil War, when Rhodey is accidentally injured in a fight Tony started.

Tony could’ve stood down and let Steve explain things and  be on his way, but his ego wouldn’t allow it. In trying to save everyone, (or so he says) Tony becomes little more than the government’s lapdog and the very thing Steve warned him would happen under the Accords.

Tony also impulsively attacks Sam, who was not the cause of Rhodey’s injury. This comes back to haunt him later when he needs to get information from Sam.

His shortsighted rudeness is what created the Mandarin and created the enemies who come for him in Iron Man 2. This shortsightedness is a pattern he follows throughout Iron Man 3, Avengers Ultron, and Civil War, while he frantically runs around trying to clean up the aftermath of  his initial decisions. In the first two movies he rebounds, but it’s the rebounding that seems to negate whatever lessons he’s supposed to learn, and by the time of Civil War, he’s  lost Pepper, nearly loses his best friend, Rhodey, and loses The Avengers, entirely.

Zemo’s plan to tear apart the Avengers was a success because Tony lacks the ability to discipline himself. Contrast Tony’s response at finding out about his mother’s death, with Black Panther’s decision to stop seeking vengeance for his father’s death. Not only does T’Challa stop himself, he learns to do so from observing Tony. He acknowledges the mistake he made in trying to kill Bucky, and  atones for that mistake by offering Bucky respite. Tony’s mother’s death happened decades ago, and the person he believes did it was ultimately not even responsible for that death, (that would be Hydra) but because Tony has never dealt with his feelings regarding her death, and  lacks self discipline, he attempts to displace his sense of guilt onto The Ex-Winter Soldier.

Tony isn’t evil, though. He does understand when to approach certain situations with humility, and he certainly means to do the right thing, but has no idea how to go about it, and the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

It is often loss that spurs Tony to make  impulsive decisions too, and this is something that he does throughout all his films. In the first Iron Man movie, after Yinsen’s death, he destroys the Ten Rings’ weapons, after which he decides we will no longer make weapons of any kind. His righteous indignation to Coulson’s death pushes  him to challenge Loki and fully commit to the Avengers, and his challenge to The Mandarin is spurred by Happy’s near death, in Iron Man 3. When Tony is confronted with the death of Miriam’s son, in Civil War, it is that which informs some of his decision to sign the Accords, and put Wanda in lockdown without informing her. When Tony loses his shit, he makes impulsive choices that are based on the emotion of the moment.

 

Contrast that with Steve, who, when he loses Bucky, and everything he’s ever known, settles into a profound depression, but doubles down on the physical discipline. When things go wrong, when someone makes a mistake, when people get hurt, Steve’s response is to deal thoughtfully with the aftermath, counsel people, (as he does Wanda in Civil War), to do better. Not violate their rights. As in Winter Soldier, when he talks Bucky down from killing him, Steve persuades. Unlike Tony, he doesn’t bribe, coerce or challenge.

I suppose, given who we’re  discussing, that there are all kinds of interpretations of these two characters. In some corners, Tony is seen as either a lovable scamp, or an abusive, manipulative, dick. Steve could be considered a fine upstanding example of moral fortitude, or a joyless dolt, with a stick up his butt.(Yes, I’m well aware that Steve is kind of a dick to a few people, in The Winter Soldier, so there is that.)

This is not to say I’m a huge fan of Steve.  I just like observing the character motivations I see in these movies. Am I only seeing what I’m looking for. Possibly. But I think my argument holds up well to scrutiny. We’ll see how I feel about all this when I re-watch Civil War on DVD.

He Never Died (2015)

Oh, did I mention I was a Henry Rollins fan, and that I liked him long before he starting showing up in some very interesting (and  occasionally pretty bad) films.  I’ve  been a fan since he was the lead singer in, naturally, The Rollins Band, and then he had a show called, naturally, the Henry Rollins show. He would say things I thought were pretty subversive for TV. Things that appealed to the young radical in me and I liked him for that.

You may remember him from bad movies like Jack Frost or Johnny Mnemonic. Some of his better roles were in movies like Bad Boys II, Feast, Lost Highway, and a minor role in Heat (with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino.)

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But now he’s doing  slightly subversive movies like He Never Died (and Gotterdamerung with, of all people, Grace Jones and Iggy Pop). Some of you Hannibal fans will like this movie.  Its about a cannibal  whose been trying to suppress the impulse to feed on people, unlike Hannibal, Rollin’s character is the total opposite of Lecter. He’s not upper-crust at all. He’s not refined,  rich, or looking for love.

Actually, he’s a pretty unhappy, mopey person. I guess you would be too if you lived forever, and had a craving for human flesh. He plays a man named Jack who has a very regular routine of visiting the local diner, and playing Bingo, at the local church. Jack doesn’t wander too far from his lane. If he sticks to this rigid routine he can avoid giving in to his craving for people. But its not to last because Jack’s life is about to be up-heaved, in the form of his daughter, Andrea, and some amateur mobsters named Steve and Short, who are looking for his “blood-dealer”,  Jerry, a nurse who owes the mob some money. There’s also  a waitress named Cara, who has a crush on him, but so far he’s been able  to ignore her.

He finds Andrea at the behest of one of his ex-girlfriends, and the two of them do some light bonding. Jack is still a gloomy-gus, but starts to come out of his shell a bit more after interacting with her. She’s no Manic Pixie Girl, though, and I like her for that. She’s snarky and pragmatic, and just her presence alone makes Jack start deviating from his set routines. They both start seeing an old man in a hat, hanging around near Jack’s routine places, though, where previously only Jack could see this person.

Thanks to Jerry though, Steve and Short are now on his trail and  trying to kill him. During one attack, Andrea witnesses him kill Short and eat his flesh. They’re both horrified but for different reasons. He’s scared he will hurt her, because the craving is back full force, and she’s just squicked out by what he’s done. Jack kicks Andrea out of his apartment, but when her mother is killed, and she gets kidnapped by the neighborhood mob boss, named Alex, Jack has to go rescue her.

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After a series of adventures where he keeps trying to start fights  with people who turn out to be good guys, he stumbles across a small gang and kills and eats them when they attack. He also manages to enlist the aid of Cara, the waitress, to find Andrea, by offering her a million dollars. He and Cara manage to find and save Andrea. Alex confesses to having kidnapped her because he remembers that Jack is the same man who killed his father many years ago. Jack is about to kill Alex and eat him too, when he is interrupted by the old man in the hat, who reveals that Jack is actually the Biblical Cain, and that he’s been cursed to walk the world as a man-eating monster for having killed Abel.

 

Jack curses the old man out but ultimately decides not to kill Alex. Jack doesn’t tell Alex who the old man is ( or even that he’s there) but when he leaves with Cara and Andrea, the man in the hat approaches Alex with an offer, revealing himself to be Satan.(A good sequel would be if Alex made a deal with the devil to get revenge on Cain.)

I had some clear expectations when I saw the trailer for this movie. It looked fun and funny and I enjoy watching Rollins’ nonchalant style of acting, which goes a long way towards making the movie as funny as it is. The actors are pretty good at matching his style, especially  the two amateur gangsters, who act like they’re extras from Boyz in Tha Hood, and Alex, who thinks he’s in The Godfather.I knew going in that the movie would be about Cain because I’d heard the phrase  “he never died”, in reference to to his name before, and Rollins just looks like I picture Cain might actually appear, if he were a real person. I also thought it was going to be about vampires. It’s not, but I was close enough.

The plot is not excessively complicated, and most of the humor, like the movie “What We Do In The Shadows”, comes from the characters attitudes towards what’s happening, and not the actual plot. One of my favorite moments is when Andrea asks Jack what he does for fun and he takes her to Bingo session, and she seems to find it a pleasant activity. Another is when Steve and Short try to pick one of several fights with him, and he keeps warning them not to do that.

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I liked the depiction of the two women, who are at first incredulous, but then very matter-of- fact about Jack’s invulnerability, as they start to take it in stride. There’s a kidnapping, but no beatings or rapes. Yeah, sure the daughter is the damsel in distress, but she’s atypical just in general. In fact, the women are never treated as sexy floor lamps, even thought the movie isn’t about them. They’re just regular women caught up in something very, very weird. Henry Rollins is the star of the movie and he fills most of its screentime.

 

The movie is not especially gory or even very talky, as Jack has almost nothing to say to anyone and is out of practice at being sociable. There are lots of action scenes, which the creators managed to  make pretty funny, as Jack shrugs off various attacks on his person. What I especially liked is that the Biblical storyline wasn’t offensive to me. If you’re not a believer, you won’t be offended by the plot, as you are not asked to believe anything in it, and if you are, the plot isn’t asking you to believe anything that goes against your Christian tenets, which is a thin tightrope to walk.

On the other hand if you are offended by light gore and cussing, its best to miss this one.

 

ETA:

Correction, Andrea does get hurt pretty badly in the film. I remember she’s mostly unable to walk, by the end of it, as Cara helps her to their car. I can’t exactly remember how she gets hurt though, only that it happens after her kidnapping, so if watching characters hurt women is of especial concern for you, please exercise caution at that point in the movie. I know watching women get beaten can be triggering, or bothersome, for some people, so I wanted to give fair warning that the film may have such scenes.

He Never Died is now available on Netflix.

Hollywood’s Problems

This is just another problem in a long list of issues Hollywood has with depicting PoC. For those of you who don’t remember the movie No Escape starring Owen Wilson, here’s some  reviews to refresh you.

Review: ‘No Escape’ is a suspenseful but borderline racist thriller

‘No Escape’ Reviews: Critics Call Owen Wilson’s Actioner ‘Racist,’ ‘Cliche-Ridden,’ ‘Monotonous’

6 Reasons There’s No Escape From Hollywood Racism

And the Impossible, starring Naomi Watts:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2013/jan/02/attempting-the-impossible-asian-roles

IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING: WHITENESS KNOWS NO LIMITS

 

And this is a review of Hollywood’s latest debacle starring Blake Lively. I do notice these types of films seems to star Hollywood’s best second raters.

Yet another white lady in jeopardy: “The Shallows” and Hollywood’s empathy gap

In movies like this, the suffering of local people of color takes a back seat to the plight of Caucasian outsiders

 

 

The Monster: It Follows (2014)

There have been a lot of words written about this movie. About how great it is, how its the scariest thing since sliced bologna (which is delicious and horrible, btw), about its sense of timelessness. I’m going to discuss the monster, the demon that infects people through sexual activity, and what is it’s meaning to the main character. These ideas are not set in stone, this is just me speculating about  the events in the film. I just think its too easy to think of the demon infection as a form of STD, or that the film is only about sex. It is about sex, but the underlying theme of the film is much deeper.I think it’s  about the inevitability of death, and the various anxieties that young people have about being alive.

A conventionally pretty blonde girl, Jay, is infected with the curse from a  young man named Jeff (aka. Hugh), when they have sex. She is cursed to be followed by a demon that will eventually kill her. It can look like anyone, but she’s the only one who can see it.  Although the sex between them is consensual, the aftermath is filmed like a kidnapping and rape scene (which is not  graphic). Jeff ties her to a wheelchair in a carpark, where they await the monster’s arrival. While they do that, Jeff lays out the ground rules about what will be happening to her. How Jeff came by these rules is unclear, but  he still doesn’t make for the most reliable of narrators.

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Jeff dumps Jay on the street outside her house, where she is found by her sister Kelly, and her neighbors: Yara, a friend of Kelly, and Paul, a childhood friend who has a serious crush on Jay. There’s also her neighbor Greg, a handsome young man,  who lives across the street, and loves to wash his car. (Jay once slept with him in high school.) Paul, Kelly, and Yara were sitting on the porch playing Old Maid, (the point of which is to get rid of the Old Maid card by secretly getting someone else to accept it. You lose the game if you die holding that card.) Given the subject matter of the film, this is not a coincidence. Nor is it a coincidence that Yara is reading excerpts from Doestoevsky’s The Idiot for the rest of the movie. The only passages she seems interested in reading out loud are the ones about dealing with the inevitability of death ,which is also not coincidental, considering the book itself isn’t actually about death.

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There are  mild sexual relationships between all the characters, which I believe informs a lot of the film, and has some bearing on the movie’s monster. For example Yara expresses some mild jealousy over how pretty Jay is to Kelly, who agrees. Jay was Paul’s first kiss, after which he kissed her sister, Kelly. Its well acknowledged by everyone that Paul has a crush on Jay, though  she doesn’t seem unduly bothered by it. She truly must not be because the demon never appears to her as Paul. Although Kelly and Yara relentlessly tease Paul for it, he is good-natured about their teasing, and the four of them get along well. There is also the little neighbor boy, who appears to be maybe thirteen or fourteen, who regularly spies on Jay while she swims in her backyard pool. Jay knows about “some” of his spying, and at one point good naturedly calls out that she can see him watching her.

Jay’s world appears very boring, without any  great amount of tension or drama between her and anyone else, but I think what this movie proves is that Jay’s world is full of a great number of deep seated terrors. Some of these are  the conventional fears of pretty young women everywhere, and some of them are unique to Jay. I think the monster is an expression of some, if not all, of these fears. Essentially its an id monster.

The first time Jay sees the demon, is just after her infection by Jeff in the carpark. It appears in the form of a naked young woman. It is unclear if Jeff is seeing something different from what she is seeing, however. I think it appears as whatever fears it can glean from its victims minds. Either that, or Jay  is simply having a very bad nightmare, where the monster chasing her, always looks like something she’s secretly afraid of. I think the naked young woman represents Jay. She just had sex, she’s drugged, groggy, deeply afraid, cold and half naked, in an abandoned carpark. I think the demon shows up as a generic fear of being naked and vulnerable in public, (much like any anxiety dream where you show up at school missing your pants.)  Later, as the demon becomes more attuned to Jay’s mental state, it appears as much more specific fears.

The next day, Jay is examining herself in her bathroom. She doesn’t know that the neighbor boy is sitting on the roof and spying on her through the window. As a pretty blond girl, she knows that people look at her all the time, but this is one of the few instances where she is being gazed upon and doesn’t know it. Her privacy is being violated, not just by the neighbor, but by the filmgoer.

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The second time Jay sees the demon, things get a bit more specific. The monster becomes more detailed in its terrorizing of her as the movie progresses. As Jay attends school the next day, she sees (there are lots of window shots in this movie,windows are symbolic),  an old woman, slowly walking towards her. Although the woman is wearing nothing more than an old hospital gown and slippers, Jay’s reaction to her is entirely out of proportion to her appearance. To anyone else, the appearance of such a person at school would be puzzling, maybe even disturbing, or laughable, but Jay is seriously frightened to the point where she runs out of class. Note: during that scene, the teacher is reading an excerpt from “The Love Song of J. Albert Prufrock”, a poem about a man who is getting older, while he  dithers on about some important thing he was supposed to have done earlier in his life.

The monster (the old woman/the old maid) may be symbolizing Jay’s fear of getting old and not having accomplished what she set out to do in life. It is obvious that Jay is attending some kind of community college, so  she may not even have in mind what she wants to do with her future. She doesn’t seem particularly interested in her future either.  Earlier, on one of her dates with Jeff, she played a game with him called Changing Places, where the objective is to pick a person from the crowd and have  your partner guess who you chose. Jeff chooses a small boy, and when she questions Jeff about his choice, tells  Jeff that he is only twenty-one and has his whole life ahead of him. Jay could just as easily be discussing herself but she allows Jeff to humorously sidestep the seriousness of her question.

Jay, in a panic, goes to see Kelly and Jeff, at their job. She’s having some difficulty explaining why she was so frightened, because her fear doesn’t make any sense to them, or her. Paul promises to spend the night and make sure nothing weird happens, even though Kelly roughly teases him for it.

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I do have to make note of the fact that whenever the  characters are talking in Jay’s house, there’s usually an old movie playing. Even the background dialogue of the movies they’re watching is something that will play into the later plot of the film. For example, before her date with Hugh, Jay stops to speak to her three friends sprawled on the living room couch, watching what I think is Forbidden Planet which is about an invisible entity terrorizing a space station, that appears to be made  of electricity, and hates water. This movie playing in the background isn’t a coincidence either. Everything in the movie, from the soullessly downbeat, electronic synth music, to the background conversations between seemingly unimportant characters, and the camera moves themselves, has a purpose. Clocking in at a quick ninety minutes, nothing in the film is wasted. The film seems longer than it is because it’s so dense with meaning and imagery.

Later that night, Jay sees the demon for the third time, and this instance is much more disturbing, and more specific, in its iteration. Hearing glass breaking, Paul checks to see what happened but can find no one. When Jay goes to check, she finds a girl in her kitchen, who looks as if she’d  recently been raped and brutalized. Her hair and clothing is wet, torn and dirty. She is wearing a single sock, a torn red bra, and appears to be urinating on herself (as  brutal rape can sometimes cause incontinence). She is partially nude and her arms appear to be tied behind her back, while her face appears bruised. She is very obviously a victim of violence. Its impossible to name any pretty young woman for whom rape is not one of the great fears of life. It certainly appears to be one of Jay’s great fears.

Jay panics and runs screaming from this encounter, as well. Once again, she is completely unable to explain what she saw, or why she’s so scared, while Paul and Kelly both insist that there is no one else in the house. When Yara attempts to enter the room, she is followed by an extraordinarily tall man. This is also not a coincidence. The director says he tried to find the tallest person he could for that particular scene. This may mean that one of Jay’s great fears is growing big, (i.e. getting fat).  Jay runs away again, biking to a nearby park, where she can see all around.

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Kelly ,Yara, Paul and now Greg, catch up to her and its at this point she decides to  go on the offensive. She needs to understand what’s happening, and the only person who can explain it, is Jeff. It turns out that Jeff isn’t his real name. His real name is Hugh, which the friends find out, when they investigate the house he rented in town. He left behind some personal objects, along with porn magazines, which lead some reviewers to speculate that Hugh was a rapist and that was how he got infected, when he raped the girl who gave it to him, but I reject that idea. I think the demon can only be passed on by the willing. I don’t think you can pass it on to someone who doesn’t accept sex with you. Its why Hugh goes through such pains to woo Jay, over several dates, and then carefully explains things to her afterward. She needs to know what’s happening to her, because the longer she stays alive, the longer he can stay alive.

The porn magazines are not a coincidence either. Earlier, when Jay confessed to Paul she was having trouble sleeping , the two of them reminisce about finding some porn magazines,  when they were children. When their mothers caught them with the books, spread out on the front porch, they each got the sex education talk, the next day. The movie is suffused with seemingly innocent sexual conversations, and even those conversations that are not about sex, pertain to the characters and plot, in other ways. It is during this same conversation that we learn about the sexual history between Jay, Kelly, and Paul.

The windows of Hugh’s abandoned house are strung with tin cans, to alert Hugh, if anything tries to get inside. The movie is especially terrifying because the creature isn’t dumb. It has a certain level of sly cunning. One of its tactics for reaching its prey, if they are indoors, is to break a window and slither its way inside, as it did at Jay’s house.

They find out Hugh’s real name, and address, by visiting his high school. One of the more interesting parts of the movie is when the camera does long panning shots of whatever environment Jay happens to be in. The viewer spends that time warily looking for the creature. In some sense we have become like Jay. We have been infected too, since we can see it. Constantly on our guard against the creature’s appearance. In some scenes, the demon can be spotted slowly walking in the background, but since it can look like anyone, it may take several viewings to spot it. While visiting the school, the demon can be spotted,twice, slowly walking towards the school, and then Greg’s car, in the form of Jay’s friend Yara. What makes these scenes especially frightening is we can see that the real Yara is in the car with Kelly and Paul.

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The group visits Hugh’s house, and the door is answered by his mother.  The only parents we see in the movie are mothers.  In fact there are no adult males at all in the film. They are all entirely absent. It would be easy to believe that they are all at work, except there are little clues that make me think that most of these teens fathers, if they’re mentioned at all, are dead. We never see Paul’s or Yara’s parents. In fact, Yara spends the entire movie at Jay’s house. Even Greg’s father is absent, although we see Greg’s mother a couple of times in the movie.

The conversation with Hugh is unhelpful. He doesn’t have any more to tell them than what he first told Jay, other than he can still see it, even though its not after him. He urges Jay to pass it on to someone else. Greg is indignant and blustering with Hugh. He wants to protect Jay. You start to get the sense that Jay is something of a hot commodity. Both Greg and Paul would love to sleep with her and this would be a great excuse to talk her into it.

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Greg takes everyone out to his father’s lake house. This is the only  time that anyone’s father is mentioned. We don’t know if  Greg’s father is dead, just that he’s gone. The fourth time Jay sees the creature, it attacks her on the beach. It’s a quiet scene so the viewer sits, breathlessly, waiting for the creature to appear in the background. It walks up behind Jay in the last form we saw, Yara, and grabs her hair. This is the first time when anyone other than Jay can see a manifestation of the creature. Except for Greg, who conveniently chose that moment to go pee in the bushes. All Greg can see is people running and yelling. Paul is the only one who has the presence of mind to attack it by hitting it with a chair. The creature releases Jay and hits Paul, knocking him backward. This is  our first real evidence that the creature is an actual physical thing, just invisible. Every other time the creature interacted with physical objects, it happened off screen. So anyone can be harmed by it, but if they can’t see it, the creature is not interested in hurting them.

The day before, Greg took Jay out to teach her to shoot,  and then hid the gun in the boathouse. Jay and the others run to the boathouse where she retrieves the weapon and shoots at the Yara creature. As I said, earlier, Yara expressed some mild jealousy about Jay, and I think the creature takes Yara’s form because Jay knows about that, and has some anxiety about other girls being jealous of her prettiness. She seems to have no problem shooting at what appears to be her friend, so there may be some suppressed hostility there. The longer the demon stays mentally attuned to Jay, it starts taking  forms that are specific to Jay’s personal  life. Just like in dreams, where the images represent things, and people, that are specific to you. Only in Jay’s case the nightmare is made manifest.

The bullets stop the demon, but the effect is only temporary, as it gets up and continues its approach, attacking the door of the boathouse after Jay locks it. Greg insists that no one is there. He can’t see anything and thinks that his guests have damaged the door. The next time Jay sees the demon, it has changed form again, as it crawls through the broken door. This time it looks like the neighbor boy who is always spying on her. Even though she was good natured about it, Jay may still have some anxiety about his watching her. Its possible Jay may have some general anxiety about being stared at,  made manifest in the form of the neighbor who constantly spies on her. Or that she has some latent desire to hurt him for always watching her.

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As Jay exits the boathouse, the demon follows and switches form to that of her sister, Kelly. Now, we have to talk about Kelly for a moment. Throughout this entire ordeal, Kelly’s behavior has been exemplary and truly admirable. Although she’s the younger of the two, you can tell she really  loves and cares deeply for Jay. She has been kind, loving and supportive, saying and doing all the right things during Jay’s  panic attacks. She repeatedly states that she loves Jay, that she worries about her, and that she’s scared too. She never attacks, scoffs, or attempts to minimize Jay’s fear. She wants to help her sister, and to do that she needs to know what’s happening, and what Jay is seeing. At one point, Jay accuses her of not believing her, but Kelly shrugs that off. That’s not important. What’s  important to her is that her sister is in pain and she wants to help, no matter what. Kelly sticks by her side throughout the rest of the movie, even going so far as to move into her room at night to  make Jay feel better.

That the demon takes Kelly’s form may be an indication that all is not well in their relationship. Jay may have some freeform anxieties about whether or not Kelly actually loves her, or is jealous of her. She may think that Kelly doesn’t believe her and is just humoring her. Jay doesn’t appear to have any friends other than these three, or four people, and Yara seems more Kelly’s friend than Jay’s. Jay may be jealous of their friendship and scared of her feelings about it. During the movie it  becomes obvious that Kelly also has a crush on Greg, and Jay may feel threatened by that as well.

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Fleeing in Greg’s car causes Jay to have an accident, where she passes out. Waking in the hospital she discovers she has a broken arm, and is terrified that the demon is walking toward her in the hospital. This is interesting. The demon is always stalking its victim, but the only time we ever see it get close to them, is during the day. The perfect time for it to attack would be when they’re at their most vulnerable, but that’s not what happens. During the movie Jay falls asleep or passes out but the creature never attacks then. It’s a possibility that it can only track its prey when they’re awake. When they’re asleep, maybe it can’t mentally feel them. But that’s just my speculation.

Jay decides to pass it to Greg while she’s in the hospital. Greg is more than happy to sleep with Jay. He makes it clear, he doesn’t believe in the demon, for one moment, and over the next few days, Greg sees no sign of it. I think the reason it takes so long to find Greg is that it’s harder for it to tune into his mind. Greg is the usual, cocky, self assured, handsome guy. He’s seems pretty laid back, with few insecurities, so the creature may have difficulty latching onto any of his fears. What anxieties he does have, he seems honest about, unlike Jay’s  fears, which she keeps a secret, even from herself.

Several nights later, Jay sees the demon approach Greg’s house in the form of Greg . I think it takes Greg’s form for Jay’s  benefit. The only person who can see it is Jay, and Greg was the last person she slept with. I think Greg’s safety is her most immediate and loudest fear, which is why it takes this form, when Jay sees it break into Greg’s house, through a window. She runs over to warn Greg but is unsuccessful, as the demon takes the form of Greg’s mother and gains entrance to his room, pausing just long enough to give Jay a significant look, as if to warn her that it hasn’t forgotten her. It seems  like the demon found one of Gregs anxieties after all. It’s still unclear exactly how Greg dies, as it happens off screen. When Jay looks into the room, she can see the demon straddling Greg, as if it were having sex with him, but both of them are fully clothed, and Greg is already dead.

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Jay runs from the house, with the demon, now back in its Greg form, hot on her trail. She drives far into the woods and exhaustedly falls asleep on the roof of her car. The next morning, she spies a lake and three young men on a boat. She swims out to the boat and has sex with at least one of them. I say at least one, because to pass it on, she only needs to sleep with one of them, but it’s unclear if she slept with all of them. Having very deliberately passed on the demon, she heads home and barricades herself in her room, where Paul finds her and tries to persuade her to sleep with him. I think she refuses Paul because she’s aware of how badly he wants her, and she’s reluctant to get him killed. She is already full of guilt over whichever of the young men on the boat will die, and is still grieving over Greg.

Paul is the only person thinking outside the box in this film. On the beach, he was the only one to attack the demon, and now he comes up with the idea of electrocuting the demon in water. Since Jay’s  backyard pool has been destroyed, possibly by Jay or the demon, it can’t be used. Much has been made of how stupid Paul’s plan is, even by the director, but you have to remember, the movie operates on dream logic. It’s not supposed to make sense. Just like in dreams, it  has its own logic particular to the dream, and nothing will be explained to the viewer.  It’s also a callback to the movie they were all watching in Jay’s  living room earlier in the movie.

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Jay and the others take a carload of electrical objects to the public pool and wait for the demon to appear. This is its last iteration and it takes the form of Jay’s  and Kelly’s father. Some people have theorized that their father may  left them because he was guilty of molesting one of the girls. When Kelly asks what Jay sees, Jays response is, “I don’t wanna tell you.” I disagree with this theory. It think their father recently died, possibly in the past few months. A recent death could also explains all of the character’s  lackluster approach to living, at the beginning of the film, and everyone’s flattened emotional effect. This also explains why Jay and Kelly’s mom drinks so much. Every time weve seen their mother she has a liquor bottle, or glass of alcohol, nearby. The family may be in mourning. It appears as Jay’s  father because he represents Jay’s  biggest, and greatest fear, the fear of sudden and  unexpected death.

The demon does appear to be reluctant to enter the water with Jay. It’s unclear why. Is it because water is Jay’s safe place? Will the water harm it? Will it be weaker? When the creature decides to throw the electrical objects at Jay, rather than get in the water, Paul forces it in, by shooting it with the gun he stole from Greg’s boathouse. Once again, the demon is only temporarily incapacitated as it struggles to pull Jay to the bottom of the pool, but Paul shoots it several times. When Jay climbs out, and looks back, all she can see is a spreading bloom of blood in the pool.

Jay decides to sleep with Paul after this. It’s unclear if they believe the demon is destroyed, or if Jay is simply being cautious, and making sure at least one other person can see it. Yara gets in one last reading about death from her novel, while lying in the hospital, recovering from an accidental shot by Paul, during the pool skirmish. Later, we see Paul driving by prostitutes. It is strongly implied that he may have passed it on to one, but this isn’t something made clear.

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The movie ends with Paul and Jay, walking slowly down the street, holding hands. Their love doesn’t seem genuine, although Paul seems quite happy. The viewer can see a figure slowly walking towards them, in the background. My theory is that the demon isn’t dead and that the two of them will continue passing it back and forth each time they have sex. On the other hand the demon may not be able to focus on just one of them long enough to kill them, or a monogamous relationship keeps it from killing its prey. But again that’s just my speculation.

Here are some links to reviews, speculation and interviews about it Follows:

http://geektyrant.com/news/the-ending-of-the-horror-film-it-follows-explained-by-director

It Follows exists out of time in a paranoid nightmare

*This person rightfully brings up the constant water motifs in the film along with several other things I missed and some other speculations about the monster. Water is indeed a very important factor , per the the lakes, faucets, pools, and rain, but as of yet, I’ve seen no explanations or fan theories for its meaning.

http://www.backofthecerealbox.com/2015/03/it-follows-FAQ.html

*I found this article to be especially informative. No, I haven’t actually listened to the film’s commentary myself but this was fun to read.

https://filmschoolrejects.com/18-things-we-learned-from-the-it-follows-commentary-3a4c39261ceb#.keyz9mz23

ETA: The first version of the entity, that Jay sees, appears in the form of Hughe’s mother. It’s the reason she looks so shocked when Hughe’s mom answers the door.

The second to last version of the entity we see, is the naked man on the roof. It’s not her father, becasue we see her father last and he’s fully clothed. This man is larger and naked, but I haven’t yet figured out the significance of this character to Jay.  This is also the only time we ever see the creature stationary. (Just like in dreams, there appear to be certain rules, until those rules are broken. One of the rules we’ve seen is that the monster keeps moving, until it doesn’t. )  What’s more interesting, and chilling, is that it’s on the roof, seeking another way into the house, via the window, since Jay has blocked all the doors, and it may have gotten that idea from the neighbor boy, who had climbed the roof to peer at Jay in the bathroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woobification of Tony Stark

I think I mught turn this into a series on the woobification of problematic characters in fanfiction. Now in case you dont read fanfiction or dont know what it means “woobification” is the watering down , or  “chibification, of an antogonist, or problematic character from TV shows and movies.

From the Fanlore Wikipedia definition:

Woobie

Synonyms: woobify, woobifie
See also: Weepy Uke Syndrome, Manpain, wangst
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

A woobie is a beloved fannish character (often a BSO) who evokes in fans the desire to wrap him (usually him[1]) up in a blanket and cuddle him and comfort him.[2] If a character is hard-working, and/or endures difficult circumstances bravely, and/or is often at the “h” end of the H/Cspectrum, odds are good that fans consider him a woobie.

Woobies, especially if they’re the smaller/shorter member of a slashpairing, have a higher risk of becoming feminized and/or infantilized. In fact, some people within fandom think that the process of woobification equates to infantilization and/or feminization of a male character.

A term of endearment (like “baby); someone who is so cute/sad/adorable you want to hug and comfort them.
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So, I’m going to reprint this post in its entirety. Its a very long one, but if  you wish to read  the original, please go the Tumblr where this was being discussed. For the record, I agree that Tony should not be woobified at the expense of the poc, in the movies. I don’t actually have a problem with woobification, because I do have some understanding why its done, but when you have to break down another character to do it, especially a moc, like Rhodey, that’s just racist and wrong:
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Tony Stark Needs A Hug

sunwukxng:

bigskydreaming:

peardita:

jenniferrpovey:

mf-luder-xf:

jenniferrpovey:

femme-werewolf:

donc-desole:

drnerdlove:

Literally all the conflicts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe from 2001 on could’ve been avoided if somebody’d give Tony Stark a hug.

Cracked recently posted an article about plot points the MCU would never go into and brings up the fact that Tony Stark has PTSD and nobody seems to care.

This is true and a good point. But I don’t think it really goes far enough. The author talks about Tony’s reactions and behavior in Iron Man 3 after the battle for New York… and that, I think is where he gets it wrong.

Tony’s been dealing with PTSD since the midpoint of the first Iron Man movie. Y’know, when his convoy was attacked, soldiers died all around him, he was kidnapped by terrorists, watched a man he admired die in his arms and then had to kill a whole bunch of folks to escape.

It’s pretty obvious by the time he has his first post-release press conference that he is completely and utterly fucked up by the experience. His erratic behavior and abrupt changes in behavior? All part of what’s going on… and this leads directly into damn near every major event in the MCU.

Everything Tony has done has been to be proactive. He’s trying to protect people from harm before it happens. Thus the Iron Man and War Machine suits. Thus the Iron Legion. Thus Ultron. Thus SHIELD’s preemptive strike initiative. Thus the Sakovia Accords.

Because all Tony wants to do is make sure nobody gets hurt – including (and especially) him.

I mean, let’s look at things here. Tony has grown up believing that everybody he loves is going to leave him. His parents die when he’s 19. Jarvis – who practically raised him thanks to his absentee father – died before that. Ho Yinsen – a scientist that Tony admires – dies as Tony is trying to rescue him. Obidiah Stane – another father figure to Tony – betrays him and tries to murder him.

Tony has spent his entire life losing people he loves and now he’s trying to save everybody else. Small wonder that his power is building more and more elaborate suits of armor.

But everyone keeps brushing it off as Tony being Tony. By Iron Man 2, it’s pretty clear he’s not sleeping and the only thing that’s keeping him together is being TONY STARK the image, not the man. His erratic behavior isn’t just that he’s being poisoned by his arc reactor, it’s that he can’t handle the guilt and panic and pain of everything he’s gone through. But everybody keeps calling him a fuckup and an asshole, even people who should know better. James Rhodes, Nick Fury and Phil Coulson should recognize that a civilian who’s gone through what Tony has is going to need some serious help.

But then comes The Avengers. And the Battle for New York. And while Tony’s able to process misfits of science like The Hulk and Captain America, the Battle for New York blows his fucking mind away. Now he finds out a) aliens are real, b) there are billions of them, c) they want to murder us all and d) Tony only barely stopped them and that was mostly by luck.

So by the time Iron Man 3 rolls around, his psyche is mashed potatoes. He’s working like a madman because he knows what’s out there and he’s desperate to save the people he loves.

And then the Mandarin nearly blows up two of the people he cares for most in the world: Happy and Pepper.

And then he meets two more people his company’s weapons have destroyed.

And then the Scarlet Witch shows him a vision of all his friends have been killed and it’s his fault because he should have been able to stop it

So what does he do? He turns to the only other person on the Avengers who can understand his trauma – Bruce – and tries to buildanother, bigger suit of armor, one that can protect the entire planet. And then watches as JARVIS dies in front of him. JARVIS – the last hold he had on the closest thing he had to a father.

And then in Civil War, he gets his face rubbed in his failures again. Look, here’s someone else you couldn’t save! This is YOUR FAULT Tony, you asshole!

Of course, by this point, he’s trying to do some self-directed therapy… and it’s pointing in the wrong direction. He’s trying to deal with his relationship to his father and not that he’s gone through shit that makes people break down. And when General Ross comes and says “Ok, here’s what you need to do to protect people and make sure you’re doing the right thing” of course he jumps at it. This is what he’s been trying to do over and over and over again since built that suit IN A CAVE. FROM SCRAPS! It’s why he’s building suit of armor after suit of armor.

And everyone thinks he’s an asshole.

Part of the problem is that people keep shaming him and yelling at him, as though that’s going to get him into therapy. You know what he actually needs? He needs a friend. Someone to ask him “are you ok?” and suggest that maybe doing this thing might help him. Nobody does though. Even Falcon – who is shown in Winter Soldier to be helping soldiers process PTSD and the scars of war – doesn’t seem to notice or care.

Literally the only person who’s remotely sympathetic to him? A little kid. Who tells him “Hey, you’re an engineer. Go build stuff.” Not what he really needs to do but hey, it’s the first person to take his pain seriously and fuck why not?

Yeah, he’s abrasive and pushes people away. Small wonder: everyone he loves either dies, leaves him or betrays him. Even Cap – Captain fucking America, who he both loves and resents because Daddy loved Rogers more than he loved Tony – has betrayed him. Has sided with the man who… well, spoilers.

He keeps people at arms length because he’s afraid to get hurt again. But he cares. He cares more than he can let himself admit. And all he wants to do is save people.

Tony Stark needs a hug and someone to ask “Hey, you ok?”

Thank you! Thank you op for this.  Somebody gets it.

I’m not actually Team Cap. I am actually Team Can Everyone Get Some Good Therapy, a Warm Blanket, and a Puppy.

I’m Team Why Didn’t Somebody Knock Their Heads Together And Make Them Both Grow Up.

But yeah, Tony has major issues.

And…you know…so does Steve.

And they love each other too much NOT to end up hurting each other.

Tony doesn’t have friends. He has employees. Even Pepper is as much employee as girlfriend. (I’m doing a full analysis of the movie on my blogspot blog later). Rhodes…not quite a friend.

Steve is the only person Tony treats as an equal. Steve was the one person who could help him, and he didn’t. Why? Because Tony hid the way he was falling apart from him. Because Steve has his own issues, because Steve has a fair dose of PTSD too.

So, yeah…

I’m sorry, how is Rhodey not quite a friend? He’s been the most consistent character in Tony’s life as shown in MCU. Tony is very clear Rhodey is his best friend.

Let me try and explain this better.

Yes, Tony is very fond of Rhodey, but Rhodey is where he is because of Tony. There’s a dependence there that keeps them from being fully equal.

The original post is an entire mess and the fact that it apparently comes from some kind of advice columnist makes it worse but others are already covering that so I won’t go there (x).

But this. Did I just read this insulting nonsense with my own two eyes in the year 2016.

Rhodey is where he is because of Tony

Are you entirely serious with me right now? I mean obviously you are, and I won’t bother asking how someone can ignore all of the many accomplishments of a character spread across 5 movies because we all know why. But for everyone else out there who ignoring/unable to see Rhodey’s accomplishments/his deep friendship with Tony, let’s break it down:

-they met at MIT and have been best friends for over 30 years. Did Rhodey get into MIT because of Tony? I don’t think so

-Rhodey is an Air Force fighter pilot, a full bird Colonel (x) and has flown 138 combat missions (as of CACW). Is any of that due to Tony? Hell no.

-He works in Air Force Weapons Development (can’t remember the exact title off the top of my head) which means he has at least a Masters degree, probably in some kind of rocket propulsion/engineering (x). Would the Air Force have given him that job if he wasn’t fully qualified? Hell no.

-In Iron Man 2 Tony stages a fight as a way of giving Rhodey the War Machine armor (we know Tony intended to do this because the suits can’t be used unless Tony codes them to you) but the fact that Rhodey is successful as War Machine is due entirely to his own piloting and combat skills.

-In many ways you could say Tony is dependent on Rhodey and wouldn’t be where he is without Rhodey’s help. Rhodey covers for Tony with the military. He covers for Tony with Congress. In IM2 he keeps covering for Tony so the military won’t come try to take Tony’s suits by force. Tony would be in a much more difficult position if he didn’t have Rhodey continually bailing him out.

-Tony also probably wouldn’t be alive without Rhodey. A deleted scene in IM1 shows that after 3 months of Tony being missing the military is ready to write Tony off as dead, but Rhodey refuses to quit looking for him, even if it means his own job is at risk. That’s why Rhodey was there in a helicopter, ready to rescue Tony when he escaped the Ten Rings, because Rhodey was already out there looking for him.

-Throughout the movies Rhodey repeatedly asks Tony if he’s okay and explicitly tells him he doesn’t have to do it on his own, Rhodey is there to help him (one of the many reasons the OP is bullshit.) Tony trusts Rhodey with his suits, Tony trusts Rhodey with his arc reactor (literally the only other person he will let touch it is Pepper) Tony trusts Rhodey with his life.

-I cannot even begin list all the examples of love and support and friendship between the two of them because there are so many. And the fact that that they have so much funand clearly find each other hilarious and take absolute joy from each other like if you can watch all the scenes that all these gifs come from (x) and not see how they are best friends who are so deeply important to each other …. I just don’t fuckin know what to tell you.

TL;DR Rhodey is super smart, super talented, got where he is through his own hard work and if you think he and Tony aren’t really friends and his success only comes through dependence on Tony, frankly that’s a really gross line of thinking and you should sit back and think about why the hell you are devaluing the accomplishments and relationships of a black character that badly.

All of this.

Plus:

OP, STOP ACTING LIKE SNARKY ENTITLED WHITE GUYS’ PAIN IS THE ONLY PAIN THAT MATTERS.

Nothing you said about Tony’s issues and what he needs is inaccurate. It’s just…you know…all of that literally applies to every other damn character in the Avengers franchise from Steve to Sam to Bucky to Wanda to T’Challa Bruce to Nat to so STOP SINGLING OUT THE STRAIGHT WHITE GUYS’ PAIN AS DEMANDING MORE ATTENTION/SIGNIFICANCE THAN EVERYONE ELSE’S THIS IS LITERALLY THE ENTIRE PROBLEM.

Sam: Combat vet who lost his best friend in the war and blames himself, has PTSD as well.

Bucky: Disabled, brainwashed, used as a mindless killing machine for literal decades by the very enemy he fought in WWII.

T’Challa: Watched his father die in front of him and had the responsibilities of an entire kingdom thrust on him less than a week ago and hasn’t had a chance to so much as stop and catch his breath since.

Wanda: Orphaned by weapons Tony helped create and sell, experimented on by Hydra, loses her brother and only remaining family in the last movie, distrusted and feared just for being what she is.

Rhodey: Combat vet, has flown and fought in more wartime missions than Sam and Steve combined, recovering from a potentially debilitating injury, the extent of which is still unknown.

Steve: Fought in WWII, seemingly watched his best friend die right in front of him, sacrifices himself in what he believes is an actual suicide mission (like literally the EXACT same move you’re singling out Tony for needing help for), frozen for seventy years and awakes to a world where there’s nothing familiar to hold on to, finds out the organization he’s been working for since waking up is fully corrupted by the enemies he fought in WWII.

Nat: Raised from childhood to be the perfect assassin, canonically is motivated primarily by guilt over all the things she’s done.

Clint: Mind-controlled by Loki to kill people for him, fight his friends and allies, and help inflict an alien invasion on his world.

Thor: Finds out the brother he’s known and loved his whole life secretly hated him all along and has since tried to kill him multiple times, his mom was murdered in his last movie.

Bruce: He’s the goddamn Hulk, need I say more.

The Vision: idfk, he’s like two, he’s got metaphysical teething issues or something

OP: But what about TONY, he has it so HARD you guys, he’s been through so much and he’s got no one to help him despite having more resources at his disposal than most of the other Avengers combined and his abrasive personality doesn’t have anything to do with his lack of a support system despite Civil War clarifying that it stemmed from long before his parents’ death and can’t be blamed on that initial trauma, no if we’re going to focus our attention on any one single character in need of hugs and love and support instead of acknowledging that all of them are in the same boat, Tony’s clearly the obvious choice for that!!!

…Disregarding the entire gigantic pile of festering shit that OP tried to feed us as objective and the most important thing, I’m still stuck on so many things about this post.

1) Tony Stark is literally not that important. To pin every single event happening on Tony because he didn’t receive a hug and everyone didn’t suppress their trauma to venerate and acknowledge Tony’s, is disingenuous and literally right off the bat demonstrates just how bullshit this entire thing is going to be. Your entire premise is flawed, and surely your analysis was as well.

And holy shit, was it ever.

2) You bring up Tony Stark’s PTSD as though he’s the only one battling mental illnesses, which is also disingenuous and false, so you lose points here. Tony’s not special.

3) “His erratic behavior and abrupt changes in behavior? All part of what’s going on… and this leads directly into damn near every major event in the MCU.”

LOL no. Tony Stark is not that important. You’re trying to bolster him up, make him a lynchpin in the entirety of the MCU as though it falls apart without him, or that any other plot cannot possibly be conceived or executed without the existence of Tony Stark. That’s bullshit. Tony is responsible for a lot of fuck ups, particularly Ultron, and he had the fucking idiocy and audacity to try again even though it fucked up colossally the first time which got them into that mess in the first place, and the only reason it didn’t implode in his face is because the plot bends over backwards for him. Sometimes the MCU does cater to Tony, but overall he is, nor will he ever be, the single most important character in the entirety of the MCU or the cause of “damn near every major event in the MCU”.

4) “Everything Tony has done has been to be proactive.”

LMAO. Vision’s creation was reactive to Ultron’s creation, the enforcing of the Sokovia Accords was reactive to his murder-by-proxy of all those humans when he created Ultron. Tony fucked up and is reactive, instead of proactive.

5) “Tony has spent his entire life losing people he loves”

SO?? SO??? SO HAS LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE?? HE AIN’T SPECIAL. WHERE’S EVERYONE ELSE’S HUGS?

6) “But everyone keeps brushing it off as Tony being Tony. By Iron Man 2, it’s pretty clear he’s not sleeping and the only thing that’s keeping him together is being TONY STARK the image, not the man. His erratic behavior isn’t just that he’s being poisoned by his arc reactor, it’s that he can’t handle the guilt and panic and pain of everything he’s gone through. But everybody keeps calling him a fuckup and an asshole,even people who should know better. James Rhodes, Nick Fury and Phil Coulson should recognize that a civilian who’s gone through what Tony has is going to need some serious help.”

Oh gosh, where to even begin with this festering pile of filth? Pepper and Rhodey are constantly there for Tony, but he can’t even remember that Pepper’s allergic to strawberries. He’s self-absorbed, arrogant, condescending, an all-around fuckboy, and “everyone keeps brushing it off as Tony being Tony” should really be “Everyone, despite how big of a fuck up and asshole Tony is, still somehow manages to tolerate and support him when he rarely if ever extends the same support back”.

“He can’t handle the guilt and panic and pain of everything he’s gone through” LMAO THAT LITERALLY DOES NOT GIVE HIM A FREE PASS TO BE A FUCKING DOUCHE? HOW OFTEN HAS HE TAKEN PEPPER FOR GRANTED? RHODEY? EVERYONE ELSE? NATASHA WAS LITERALLY THE ONLY ORIGINAL AVENGER ON HIS FUCKING SIDE IN THE CIVIL WAR AND HE STILL CONDESCENDED TO HER AND DROVE HER AWAY. Theonly original avenger who sided with him, the only one who opted to support his bullshit that he had no stake in and would affect him in literally no fucking way because at the end of the day he’s still a rich, powerful, privileged piece of shit who acts as though he’s among the poor and disenfranchised that would be affected if the Avengers didn’t sign the Sokovia Accords. Tony is fundamentally wrong but Natasha supported him anyways, even though she has literally no reason to aside from wanting someone to be on Tony’s side, and when she’s there to support him, he talks shit to her and calls her a double agent and asks her what the fuck she knows. She even checks his ego for him, because Tony Stark, who doesn’t like to be handed things, can’t handle his own ego.

James, Nick, and Phil are not Tony’s lackeys. They don’t answer to Tony. They don’t work for him. They aren’t his emotional support. And James and Nick sure as shit aren’t his black little slaves to prop him up and treat his issues and prioritize him above themselves. Tony sure as shit doesn’t do it for them, and the connotation of two black men having to tend to the white man’s needs is fucking racist, just like you.

7) Okay honestly how did you not dislocate your entire vertebrae with this reach? Are you a contortionist, working with Ripley’s because I can’t believe this shit you’re making me read. Tony isn’t the only one who saw aliens. Tony didn’t break down and suddenly become unable to function when he saw aliens. Just like literally nobody else did. They all fought the Chitauri, and not a single damn thing was there to establish Tony couldn’t “process” the aliens unlike how he could process “science misfits” like Hulk and Captain America. I mean, for fuck’s sake, Tony literally met Asgardian gods. He fought an Asgardian god. You think he gives a shit aboutaliens? Tony stans will go to any length to woobify him and it’s quite frankly fucking embarrassing.

AND THE BIGGEST FUCKING BULLSHIT PART OF THIS: “d) Tony only barely stopped them and that was mostly by luck.”

Tony only barely stopped them?? Tony? Not the Avengers? Not literally everyone else on the squad? Only Tony stopped them? You inflate his importance and relevance far too much. I mean, I should’ve expected that when you said he’s responsible for every major event in the MCU, which is blatant bullshit, but to try and act as though Tony is the only one who managed to do anything and resolve the New York Invasion by himself…seriously, are you a contortionist? Can you show me how you twist and turn your way out of all these logical fallacies and false equivalences and omissions and all this other quite frankly mediocre analytical tools you’re not only using, but misusing?

8) “So by the time Iron Man 3 rolls around, his psyche is mashed potatoes.”

*rolls eyes loudly and cantankerously* Still doesn’t excuse all the bullshit, arrogance, and entitlement he exudes.

9) “He turns to the only other person on the Avengers who can understand his trauma – Bruce”

Yes, because literally no one else of the Avengers has gone through ridiculous amounts of trauma and tragic things. Nope. No one else. Only the two white guys. Only Tony and Bruce. Not even Steve, because to admit Steve has trauma is to invalidate Tony’s and this entire post is dedicated to the pontification and edification of Tony Stark. To acknowledge anyone else’s problems would take away from poor little Tony’s trauma and issues, and we sure can’t have that. Nope. Your entire argument falls flat on its face right onto the apartment and shatters into a thousand shiny shards of bullshit because it can’t stand on its own without the dismissal and omission of everyone else’s trauma.

10) “And then in Civil War, he gets his face rubbed in his failures again. Look, here’s someoneelse you couldn’t save! This is YOUR FAULT Tony, you asshole!”

A) Because Tony, despite being successful, is also a colossal failure and B) Ultron was his fuck up and it cost so many people their lives. He doesn’t get my sympathy nor will I acknowledge his man pain because the MCU does that enough already, just to make Tony a tragic figure you’re supposed to feel bad for and love because he’s snarky and that obviously outweighs all the bad deeds and traits he’s done and displayed.

11) “And everyone thinks he’s an asshole.”

He literally recruited a 15 year old boy into fighting a war against super-powered beings and grown adults by blackmailing him, didn’t tell him the whole story, and once the boy was injured and of no further use to Tony, he cast him aside, not because he cared (as evidence that he didn’t even care enough about Peter to know or ask his fucking age), but because he couldn’t be useful in his injured state, and when Peter wanted to still help, Tony again blackmailed him into going home, even though he blackmailed him into coming into a fucking war in the first place.

Not to mention the first thing he does to this poor kid is shame him for his possessions, mock him for having a “retro” set up and suggested he got his stuff from the “thrift store? salvation army?” like the classist, privileged piece of shit he is. The kid is fucking 15 and he’s not rich. But Tony doesn’t care, because why would he care about not condescending to a child when he’s willing to bring that kid into harm’s way and abandon him once he’s injured?

Nobody “thinks he’s an asshole”. Everyone knows that he is.

12) Tony doesn’t “need” a friend. He has friends. He’s the one that pushes them away, he’s the one that fucks up, it’s not their job to babysit him the way it’s not Sam’s job to be everyone’s fucking therapist especially when that’s the only time Klandom gives a shit about Sam Wilson, when he can be of use to the traumatized white boys whose pain is the only ones that matter.

Tony needs a fucking reality check and a colonoscopy to remove the bug and stick up his ass.

13) “Even Falcon – who is shown in Winter Soldier to be helping soldiers process PTSD and the scars of war – doesn’t seem to notice or care.”

You fucking nasty ass racist. Are you for real? Is Sam on call for everyone? Is he everyone’s pet monkey or mammy or nigger or coon or slave, here to dance and come and cater to every white person with problems as they need them? Sam doesn’t even fucking deal or talk to Tony, but here you are, holding him to a standard of being there for someone he’s met like once before Civil War. “Even Falcon” oh my god SHUT THE FUCK UP. Sam doesn’t owe Tony SHIT.

I can’t believe I’m reading this. Tony literally hunted Sam down, had Vision fire at him, and when it hit Rhodey for Tony’s man pain, Sam still tried to save Rhodey, and when Sam, who was being fucking hunted by Tony, apologized, Tony literally shot at him and sent him flying and knocked him on his ass. But he’s supposed to be there for Tony’s problems? Really? Please fuck off.

14) “Literally the only person who’s remotely sympathetic to him? A little kid. ”

What movies did you watch

15) “Yeah, he’s abrasive and pushes people away. Small wonder: everyone he loves either dies, leaves him or betrays him.”

You don’t get to literally spend an embarrassing amount of time writing this fictitious filth talking about how he needs a friend and then undermine your own point with “yeah, he pushes them away, and can you blame him?” If he pushes them away, THAT’S ON HIM. It’s not their job to keep fighting for a guy who doesn’t fight for them. They’re not his personal caretakers. He’s a grown-ass man with a fucking multi-billion empire, privilege, power, and resources to literally whatever the fuck he wants. He’s going to be okay. He has access to resources to get help. It’s on him to get it, not Rhodey or Pepper or Sam to force him or deal with his issues for him.

16) “Even Cap – Captain fucking America, who he both loves and resents because Daddy loved Rogers more than he loved Tony – has betrayed him.”

Lmao except that’s what Tony did when he tried to force everyone to register? He didn’t give a shit about anyone else’s opinion? He literally tried to apprehend Steve and Sam and the others? Held Wanda captive “for her own safety”? Got Sam and Scott and Clint thrown in jail, got Peter injured, got Natasha to be driven away from him, and got nothing for his troubles? Also lol @ this entire pathetic appeal to pathos as though that would dismiss all of Tony’s horrible qualities and deeds.

17) Tony Stark doesn’t need a hug. He needs to stop being a fuck up, and you don’t get to sit there and wax poetic about how he “needs a hug but pushes everyone away but it’s for their own good but Tony really needs a hug okay???” Tony’s actions are his own. His fault. A lot of shit is his fault. He’s a grown man with more money than he can spend in his lifetime. He has literally no excuse for how he acts, and any mental illness does not justify nor dismiss his fucked up behaviour and actions he took against others.

18) “Rhodes…not quite a friend” my antiblack racists are tingling.

19) You literally tried to say that Pepper wasn’t a friend to Tony, just an employee and girlfriend…yikes.

20) “Rhodey is where he is because of Tony” and “There’s a dependence that keeps them from fully being equal” this is how I know you’re an ugly racist @jenniferrpovey. Rhodey has achieved so much on his own and is a character on his own that does not rely on Tony, but according to you, he’s nothing more than a black slave dependent on his white master. Dependent on the white man to provide and guide him like a savage. That’s exactly what you’re saying, and you as a forty-something should fucking know better than playing into this racist antiblack fuckery that subjugates and oppresses Black people and places people/characters like Tony as “white saviours” as though Black people can’t do anything for themselves. How the fuck are you forty but you still haven’t picked that up? Are you kidding me? Did you really try to dismiss everything Rhodey’s accomplished and insist they’re not equals because Rhodey is dependent on Tony, which couldn’t be further from the truth? Do you do black face and place burning crosses on black people’s lawns in your spare time, too? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Suffice it to say, this entire post and my feelings on it can be summarized as a gigantic, heart-felt fuck you to all of the ugly, bitter, and antiblack racists who will do anything to venerate the white man and his problems and relevance but dismiss the black characters and the women who accomplish so much on their own and paint them as the problematic parts of Tony’s life, the ones who aren’t there for him, instead of Tony being a grown man who makes his own decisions that fuck up everything, result in people being jailed and killed, and somehow none of it being his fault.

Can’t wait to do this again with you soon, Klandom. It’s been a pleasure, as always.

Source: drnerdloveOH BOY WAS THIS EVER WORTH THE WAITADAM BACK AGAIN WITH THE EPIC DRAGFORGET EDGES OP’S WHOLE SCALP HAS BEEN S N A T C H E Dfandom racismanti tony starkEAT THE RICH AND TONY STARK STANS
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