Why I Watched The Movie “Annihilation”…

This review contains spoilers!!!

Apparently, the one thing that can get me to watch something I really had no hard plans for viewing is…CURIOSITY. 

I guess I’m just a big nosy-ass, because when the opportunity came for me to stream this, I simply could not resist, even though it was 2AM, and I knew I had to get my ass up out the bed at 7:30. (Extreme curiosity is pretty much my go-to motivation for watching a lot of stuff.)

So,  I watched this, and I have to admit, despite my trepidation, I actually kinda liked it. For my definition, it is more of a horror movie, than a Scifi movie, not because horrible things happen in it, (they do), but because the haunting feeling of melancholy, and dread, from the book, was perfectly captured, so I can’t actually call the movie enjoyable, in that sense. Its a mood that sticks with you long after the movie is over.The best horror movies present as many questions as answers and that ‘s what the director, Alex Garland, does here.

In my last post, I remember asking if this movie was un-filmable, and yeah, it  is, because this movie is not the book, in the sense of the events happening as they do there. The movie, because of its nature, has to present a sequence of events that lead to other events, in a linear fashion. Garland does make a good effort at this by flipping back and forth in time. Unlike the book, we’re not privy to the narrator’s disturbed, and disturbing thoughts, and the director had to substitute with mood, instead.

On the other hand, the mood of the movie  is perfect. Jeff Vandermeer is one of the primary authors in the New Weird literary genre, along with China Mieville, and M. john Harrison,and it’s especially difficult to film and market such a genre, because so many of the stories are simply unfilmable. The purpose of New Weird is to upend stereotypes, and overturn tropes, and movies are kind of built on that type of shorthand. And even if you could film one of these weird novels, you’d have to change so much of it for the audience to understand it, that it would no longer be the book. I mean how do you film, for a mainstream audience, something like Perdido Street Station by Mieville, which involves love scenes with insect headed women? But Alex Garland seems to have captured the spirit and intent of the book, if not the exact details, because the ending is completely different, and if you’ve read the book, the events that happen at the Lighthouse are interpreted very differently. This movie is not for everyone. If you like understandable ,concrete endings, this is not for you.

The movie begins with Natalie Portman’s character, Lena, being interviewed about her escape from what the  characters call The Shimmer, and what the book calls Area X. In the books, the characters don’t have names. They’re known by their roles within the expedition team. Lena is The Biologist. Tessa Thompson as Josie, and Gina Rodriguez, as Anya, are the anthropologist, and paramedic. Ventress is the team leader and a psychologist. And there’s another scientist named Shepard.

The book’s subplot, of having the psychologist control the others with hypnotic suggestions, has been jettisoned, and Lena’s memories of her husband, who previously ventured into the Shimmer, are told in flashback. In the film, all the women have existential reasons for volunteering to go into The Shimmer, all of them are self destructive, and this motivation plays a large part in the theme of the movie. Lena is self destructive over her marriage, Ventress is suicidal because she has terminal cancer, Anya self harms, Shepard lost her daughter and is depressed, and Josie suffers from depression, as well. They are the kind of people who want to opt out of life, and The Shimmer preys on that to some extent.

No reason is given for what The Shimmer is really, or why it’s there, at least not in concrete, nailed down terms, in the first book, which is more concerned with thoughtful exploration. In the movie, it’s an alien life form, not-conscious, not intelligent, whose purpose is to simply change other life forms, merging, reflecting, and refracting them. The team encounter hybridized creatures, like a mutated bear which screams in the voice of the colleague it killed, (Shepherd), and an alligator with a mouth full of shark’s teeth.They also come across the bodies of hybridized and refracted humans, whose bodies have  merged with nearby buildings, or have become plant like statuary. The imagery is fascinating and terrifying.

The first hour of the movie is mostly spent exploring Area X and establishing Lena’s reasons for volunteering.  Thanks to the trailer, I was worried that the movie would be dumbed down, and be another vehicle to have women be chased and attacked by a monster, but that turned out not to be the case. The movie is smarter, and more emotional than that.

You’ll be happy to know these women are also pro-active, and kick some ass. There are no fainting damsels here. Lena has military experience and all the women are well armed. They end up in vulnerable situations because they have walked into the unknown, and have no idea what to expect, not because they’re waiting around to be attacked. The bear sequence takes up only a small part, in the middle of the film, and then its done. That’s not the movie’s focus. I do wish the director had been a woman though, because the relationships between these characters feel somewhat antiseptic. There’s deep emotion on an individual level, but not as they relate to each other. These are professionals doing a job, and I wanted just a little more emotion between them. (Not drama, which lazy writers often substitute, but emotional connection.)

In the book there’s a creature called The Crawler, which writes strange poetry on the walls of the lighthouse, and  kills one of the team members. I didn’t think it was possible but the end of this movie is stranger than the book, and that’s why I feel that the intent of the book was captured so well. We get a lot of answers during the film, and the conclusion appears satisfying, at first, but we’re also left with a big mystery at the end, too.

There are about fifty different words that mean “weird”, and the movie draws on all of them.The most disturbing part of the  movie wasn’t the mutated bear, although yes, that was terrifying. It was the scene where Anya, in a fit of extreme paranoia, takes the rest of the team hostage, and threatens to kill them, after she finds out Lena’s husband was on the previous expedition. She has very obviously gone insane, and  the  helplessness of the other characters is enough to have you sitting on the edge of your seat. I feel like this scene takes the place of the unreliable narrator scenes from the book.

I think the saddest, most unexpected, scene was Thompson’s anthropologist, who just wanders off to become part of the scenery. Literally! She just gives in to the whole thing, and seems entirely at peace with it. I identified more strongly with Lena, than I did with her, but I found that scene especially horrifying. If that were me, I don’t know that I could just give up like that, which is ironic, considering I suffered from my own bout of suicidal depression in my early twenties, where I would’ve been happy to give up. My reaction to that scene is probably informed by my recollections of that time. I think I identify more with Lena, especially now, because she never stops fighting what’s happening to her, all the way to the end.

A large clue to understanding one of the themes of the movie, and what The Shimmer is, is in Lena’s biology speech at the beginning of the movie, and her basic message is that all life came from one source, one cell, and what would happen if we devolved back to that one source. Early in the movie, one of the books she’s caught reading is The immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, about a black woman whose immortalized cancer cells are the foundation of cancer research in America. Lena also has conversations, with her husband, about how humans could never achieve immortality because we have a strong self destructive streak.

The return of Lena’s husband is told in flashback. It’s been nearly a year, when he simply walks into the house, and into her bedroom. He has no memories of how he got home, or where he’s been. He has a seizure and falls into a coma, and that’s when Lena discovers he’s not supposed to be back at all. The current expedition comes across videos left by the previous team, and that’s how they begin not only to understand that something is happening to them, but what happened to the last team, including Lena’s husband.

When the last of the team, Ventress and Lena, reach the lighthouse, Ventress gives herself over entirely to the alien Shimmer, and Lena discovers the body of her husband, and video footage of how he actually died. (He committed suicide.) Ventress’ death has the unintended side effect of releasing a kind of genetic doppelgänger of Lena, that tries to become her, and duplicates her every move. Realizing that the double is a version of her, with her genetic code, Lena tricks it into holding a phosphorus grenade, and escapes before it burns up, taking the lighthouse, and alien Shimmer, along with it. There are a lot of theories out there about what this scene means, with people speculating that she passed her suicidal, self destruction to the alien, and that this possibly makes her immortal, now. I don’t know about that, but at least she’s no longer suicidal, at the end.

She somehow manages to find her way back to the Southern Reach, and her husband, although she realizes it isn’t her husband at all, and he can’t seem to answer that question. For Lena, it ultimately doesn’t matter, because she was infected by the alien Shimmer before it destroyed itself, and she may not be as human as everyone thinks she is either. This is indicated by her and her “husband’s” shimmering eyes before the final credits. Is the alien dead? Are they still human, but changed? Not human at all? Is Lena immortal? And what does this mean for her, her “husband”, and the rest of humanity?

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself if this movie is for you, if you trust my description of it. It’s definitely an acquired taste,and not for everyone. If you suffer from bouts of depression, this may actually trigger it, as one of the movie’s primary themes is depression and suicide, and it’s a cross between The Thing, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s much more thoughtful, and introspective in mood, because the answers aren’t simply handed to you, or over-explained. You have to pay close attention to what’s being said. The feeling of dread is vague, undefined, and quiet, and sneaks up on you as you begin to realize what it all means, punctuated by moments of terror.

Yeah, it’s definitely weird.

I don’t regret having watched it though.


Black Panther : Selected readings From Medium. com

All of these essays come from Medium.com. I decided to do a separate post for this site because I can’t directly link to all the articles. But I can link to the writers and you can look around, after joining Medium, and check out their other writings, as well. There are a few of these articles that sit behind a paywall, but its only five dollars a month, if you’re willing. Later, I’ll do a separate list of essays for fans on Tumblr.

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Black Panther: The King For Our Time

Lessons for America on the Consequences of Isolationism and Burying your Violent History Jay Kapoor


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Meditations on ‘Black Panther’ and the Future of Black Superhero Movies: Why did it succeed where many other black superhero movies have failed?

Eric Anthony Glover


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Black Panther: Lessons in Hollywood diversity and black pride

By: Nicol Turner-Lee


‘Black Panther’: When Will African-American Films No Longer be Considered Unicorns?

After a string of seemingly anomalous box-office hits (‘Get Out,’ ‘Girls Trip’ and now Marvel’s latest), THR columnist Marc Bernardin argues that these hits can be repeated if Hollywood pays attention to the real reasons they succeeded in the first place.

The Hollywood Reporter


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I Went to See Black Panther and Found Myself in Erik Killmonger Jonathan Walton


“Have I Ever Failed You?”

On Black Panther and Battling Our Father’s Demons

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Wakanda Future Do You Imagine? A Critical Examination of the Aesthetics, Culture, Politics, and Symbolism of the Blockbuster Film ‘Black Panther’ Son of Baldwin


What ‘Black Panther’ Teaches Us About When Fathers Lie to Their Sons Zaron Burnett III


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‘Black Panther’ Inspires More Than African Americans  CNN


Black Panther Is the Superhero Every Kid Will Want to Be This Halloween

Why that’s a good thing, and a few other observations about the latest Marvel blockbuster  Tim Grierson


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5 Lessons from Black Panther That Can Save Our Lives — and Transform Black Politics  Frank Leon Roberts


Black Panther is one of the most important cultural moments in American history Shaun King


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How ‘Black Panther’ taps into 500 years of history


Ryan Coogler’s film draws on centuries of black dreams of independence to create Wakanda


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An American Monster In Wakanda: Why I Would Be Erik Killmonger Talynn Kel





Movies I Loved (But Y’all Hated)

You are all wrong, btw!😝

Saying I loved these movies is a strong word.  But I definitely liked them, and watched them multiple times.In some cases I can’t  put my finger on why I liked them, and others, I know exactly why I’m compelled to watch them every time they air on TV. I still do not understand why so many of these films seem to feature Will Smith. Apparently, in my mind, the man can do no wrong, (except I really did hate Bagger Vance and Hitch, so go figure!)

And yeah, some of these reviews did determine this thing, where I’m completely disregarding the reviews of diverse movies by White critics, as being totally justified.


Suicide Squad:

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This movie starred two of my favorite actors along with two of my favorite characters. Viola Davis was a totally cold, badass, Amanda Waller. I’ve been a fan of The Wall since her first run in Batman. She’s the only character who has ever told Batman, to his face, where he could step the fuck off, and although Batman sits in my personal pantheon, I totally ugly laughed when she did that. The Wall was a woman who feared no man, not even The Bat, and Viola perfectly captured that. I liked how she wasn’t just a straight up villain either. She was on the side of good most of the time but she’s also utterly ruthless, and smart as fuck. Like Nick Fury, she’s not evil, and I would classify her more as an adversary, or anti-hero.

Then there’s Will Smith. I will watch Will in anything, even if I know I might hate it. He has played far too many magical negroes for my taste, but he seems to have gotten that phase of his career out of his system, and is killing it in some interesting roles now (including a short cameo as Lucifer in A Winters Tale). I didn’t know shit about Deadshot, other than he was an adversary of Batman, but it’s Will Frickin’ Smith, so I don’t care that I don’t care.

I’ve been a Harley Quinn fan since her inception, (mostly the CN version) and I liked how she was portrayed here. The movie didn’t forget to add her tragic backstory, and if you’ve read the comic books, you know she eventually sets Joker aside, and has some healthier relationships. So I watched the movie with that in mind. And I just liked the zaniness of her character. She was fun! I also liked the relationship she was developing with Deadshot.

Then there’s Diablo. I knew nothing about Diablo before this movie, because I’m not a huge DC fan, really. Had never even heard of him. So when he turned into an Ancient Fire God, at the end of the movie, I nearly popped out of my bunny slippers! THAT SHIT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!!! (Whew! Let me calm down). I was totally not ready for that shit. Why didn’t anybody tell me? You know what, that’s okay because that would have spoiled the joyfulness of seeing it for myself.

I also liked seeing Killer Croc onscreen. He’s terrifying ,and insane, in the comic books, but he’s almost sympathetic in this movie. Almost. He’s still pretty terrifying, though. My favorite scene in the entire movie is when the meta-villains are sitting in that bar talking about their identities. I felt that scene added a great deal of depth to the characters.

I’m also one of five people who actually think the movie is funny, but that is mostly due to the presence of Will Smith, and Margot Robbie. Like most people I hated the villain. She was ridiculous, but the movie has a lot of great scenes, great music, and interesting characters, and I didn’t feel like my time was at all wasted by watching it. I wish there been more Slipknot, and Katana, though.

So yeah, there’s gonna be a sequel because this movie cleaned up at the box office, because audiences loved it, even though most of the (not so diverse) journalists critiquing it, hated it. I don’t know what movie they were watching, but I know what I’m gonna spend my money on next year.

I also heard Diablo is not dead and will be in the next movie. WHOOOOOOT!!!


I Am Legend/After Earth

Here are some more Will Smith movies. I have a longer review in order for After Earth, but I Am Legend is definitely a favorite of mine. I am starting to develop an interesting theory on why these critics hate these films, and it goes a little bit beyond disliking movies not centered around white people, and wanting to see such movies fail by giving them bad reviews.

White Racial Resentment and Implicit Bias are real things that have been studied extensively, that have made their way into every aspect of American life, and its ridiculous to think it wouldn’t have made its way into film journalism, or that journalists would be unaffected. (I consider most of White fandom to be an entire shitshow, and generally limit my fandom activities to Black spaces whenever possible. It’s about the only way I can retain any of the sanity I have left.)

But I consider I Am Legend to be one of Will Smith’s greatest performances, up there with Ali. At least right up until the last thirty minutes. Yes, the ending did indeed suck, but the ending was not enough to keep me from liking the first two thirds of the film. I was totally in my feels watching this movie, and I feel like Will killed it!

I’m going to have to go into greater detail about After Earth in a later post, about that movie is relevant to Black men, and the inadvertent dialogue it appears to be having with other films, like Moonlight.


The Village:

One of the reasons people hated After Earth, is the same reason that The Village was panned by critics. They were hating on the director, and not the movie itself. I found nothing in this movie that was worth the bad reviews this movie got. It was beautifully filmed, thoughtful, and melancholy. I liked the actors, and their performances were wonderful. I loved the characters and their relationships to each other, including a beautiful sister/sister relationship, and some beautiful scenes of love, unrequited.

It seemed like, at some point, people decided to turn on the director and hate everything he made, after a couple of his movies failed at the box office. I Iike M. Night, and wasn’t ready to write him off as a good director just for making a couple of awful films, after he made some really good ones, and I think this is one of the good ones. I watch The Village whenever I’m in a certain mood, and it has never failed to move me. Not only that, but I feel like there’s some type of dialogue happening between After Earth, and The Village, with their themes of father/child relationships, emotional suppression, and the philosophy of fear.


Alien Resurrection:


I’ve been a Winona Ryder fan since her role in Heathers, waaay back in the 80’s, so I’m always gonna fangirl over her, in even some of her worst roles (I’m talking about you, Dracula!) I was delighted to see she’d been cast in the Alien franchise, which has always been heavily woman -centered, from its inception, and I was hoping for some wonderful female to female moments between her and Ripley, and I got this beautiful mother/daughter dynamic, which echoed some of same themes in Aliens, where Ripley bonds with Newt.

There’s also Ron Perlman being an ass, while using grammatically correct English.

Call, the robot Wynnona plays in the movie, is one of my all-time favorite Aliens characters, right up there with Ripley, and Vasquez. I think my love for Call has a lot to do with my age at the time when I saw the movie. I have all kinds of thoughts about this movie, and Call and Ripley in particular, so I should probably review it, huh?


Alien Vs Predator:
Yeah, we talked about this in an earlier post, and if you haven’t been paying attention, there is a trend in the kind of movie I enjoy Vs the kind of movie critics hate. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of movies that I can agree are wonderful, but I’m still feeling suspicious about how some movies end up with really awful reviews, when I’ve not noticed a great qualitative difference between it and any other mediocre film it’s type. Sometimes though, the timing of a movie’s release is just bad, and people are rejecting it in the moment, only to embrace the movie many years later, as with Bladerunner.

And sometimes critics hate something, and they’re right about that, but then movies like that tend to be very obviously awful, too.


And as a special bonus round, cuz sometimes y’all know some stuff that I don’t:

Movies I Hated (But Y’all Loved!)😐

There are only a couple of these movies that I actively hate, so hate is maybe a stronger word, than I need. I should say I’m mostly indifferent  to them, (but the word “indifferent ” doesn’t look good in the sub-title). Also this list was initially a lot longer. It seems I’m apathetic to a lot of movies that other people really, really love.



I think I was one of five people that was unimpressed by this movie. I watched this when I was a teenager, and thought it was really cute, but beyond that my feeling was…meh. I liked Elliot, and the E.T. was kinda adorable, but ultimately this movie didn’t end up on any of  my favorites list. It may also have had something to do with the hyping of the film before and just after it’s release. I do remember feeling sick and damn tired of seeing the ads for it. And once again, it all comes down to timing, too. I probably wasn’t in the right mind frame, or right age to appreciate it. Released a couple of years earlier, I probably would’ve loved it.


Wonder Woman:

I don’t actually hate this movie. It’s a perfectly adequate action movie. I think part of the reason I wasn’t too ga-ga over it is probably because I’m a forty something year old Black woman, whose seen this kind of movie before. I saw it the first time when it was called Alien, and again when it was called Aliens, and again, when it was called Ghostbusters, and Mad Max Fury Road. I am well used to the idea of White women being non-sexualized badasses in movies. This ain’t new to me. Hell, Ripley is my patron saint, and sits in the cinematic pantheon. So maybe I’m just really tired, or the timing was off, or I wasn’t the audience for it.

But you know what? I’ve decided this movie just wasn’t for me, I guess. I respect that some people really, really loved it, so I’m not gonna talk too much shit about it, but really, I wasn’t feeling that. The movie was just alright. I was crazier over Mad Max. If I were a twenty year old White woman, I might be insane over this movie, and wtf, twenty year old White women still need representation too.


The Deer Hunter:

I just hated this depressing-assed movie,which wasnt as awful as Deliverance, but well within spitting distance. The characters are fine, the premise is great, but this is one of those movies that only ever needs to be watched one time, after which you cleanse yourself, and try to recover from the mood it caused. This movie along with

Casualties of War:

…are two of the most depressing and/or horrifying war movies ever made. I have one word of advice for anyone coming across this film, because it stars Michael J Fox, and they think it might be worth watching…


Please save yourself the abject misery of watching this film. Sitting through this movie was an act of sheer fucking endurance,and I will never get the hours of my life back, that I spent watching it. Other than the movie looking beautiful, there is nothing enjoyable about this film. I basically spent two hours watching Fox’s character wish-wash, back and forth, over whether or not to save the life of a young Vietnamese woman, who is never given a name, and had been kidnapped, and repeatedly raped and brutalized by his commanding officer, and the small squad of soldiers he commanded. The movie manages to make it all about his dilemma and guilt over ratting out his commanding officer, for war crimes, rather than the story of the young woman actually undergoing the ordeal over which he feels so conflicted. The most galling moment comes at the end of the movie when he is offered redemption for his difficult decision, by a young Asian American woman he saw on his bus route, whose face reminded him of that long ago victim.
This is exactly what we mean when we say White writers should no longer be allowed to tell other people’s stories. The story is very obviously about her, and her ordeal, but written from the point of view of the lone white man, with a conscience, who is deeply concerned about turning against his squad buddies, and reporting them to upper command.

I hated this movie.

Critics seemed to like it just fine.

Back to the Future:

For the record, I am a fan of Michael J. Fox, and don’t hate all his films, but this movie also misses me. Ive seen it about three times, and watched the two sequels when they came on TV. I thought they were really cute. I do not understand the foaming at the mouth level of glee I’ve seen from movie fans for it, though. It just doesn’t move me that much, even though something about it, I don’t know what, seemed to have thoroughly captured the imaginations of White male nerds. I say that because I’ve never heard, or even read, of a single PoC, woman (or man), who loves this movie like that.

To me, it’s just a fun, not too deep, Scifi movie, aimed at teenagers.


Point Break: 

Patrick Swayze was one of the sexiest men in Hollywood when he as at the height of his career. That said, this ain’t one of my favorites by him. (That would be Roadhouse.) I hated the characters in Point Blank, and thought the plot was deeply stupid, and not in a good way. Roadhouse was stupid too, but the plot was audaciously stupid, and everyone just ran with it, and I couldn’t help but give it two thumbs up. Also, I liked the main character, so that helped.



I remember the huge hype around this movie, but I didn’t go to see this in the theaters. I watched it on cable a few years later. I wasn’t really trying to see it either. It was just on TV. I watched it with my Mom, and we were both mostly bored, although the romance of Jack and Rose was really cute . I didn’t object to the romance and the prologue and stuff, and the movie was very pretty, but I didn’t find any of it especially compelling either. We were almost clinically fascinated by the disaster scenes, with me discussing the physics of it with her, but apparently the physics is not something you tell people that you enjoyed about this movie.



Yeah, this was another movie I absolutely hated. It has the distinction of being the only movie, starring Sigourney Weaver, that I’ve ever intensely disliked. Omg! This motherf… movie is gonna need a whole hate post about it, starting with Sam Worthington, his character, the plot, the aliens. I don’t normally do shitposts about movies. I like to stick with movies I loved, and why I loved them, so don’t hold your breath on that.

Ugh! Lemme stop thinking about it!



This movie was just alright. I liked the characters okay, and Sandra Bullock was a lot of fun in the role, but I wasn’t very excited by this movie. It did have the affect of making me like Keanu Reeves a little bit more than before,and it was thrilling, I guess, but I wasn’t greatly moved to laud it as the second coming of the action movie.


I’m Looking Forward To Watching…(Movies)

I think its very interesting that we all have so much choice out there today, as regards popular media, that some of us PoC are making the bold choice of only supporting films and TV shows which prominently feature other PoC. So there is progress being made as far as diversity and inclusion. Its slow, and hasn’t reached any level of normalcy, to the point where we can just disregard these films, but hopefully we can reach that point.

For myself, I’m just reaching a point where I dont give a flying hot damn what any White fanboy thinks of most movies. I am completely and thoroughly disregarding all of their opinions on movies, (I long ago stopped listening to them as regards music) and most of television. They’ve had their say long enough. It’s time for other people to be heard now.


(9) A Wrinkle in Time

This movie is being released this weekend, and I’m  to take my 12 year old niece to see this. I read this book  as a child, so I’m almost as excited about this movie as she is, even if she has not yet read it. She just likes seeing little girls having adventures in movies, and I am more than happy to provide her with a steady diet of that. And yeah, watch out for the bad reviews until you’ve seen the movie yourself. They’re already getting started panning this movie, (probably because they can’t hate on Black Panther without looking like a fool.)



(23) Pacific Rim Uprising

I’m sort of in love with John Boyega. I plan to take my niece to see this one too, because she isn’t just sort of in love with him, she is crushin’ bad. We both liked the first film, I’m a huge fan of  kaiju movies,  and this looks really exciting. Plus, its  got that whole Power Rangers thing going for it, too.





(20) Rampage

My Mom loves giant killer somethings in movies -dogs, crocodiles, dinosaurs. It makes no difference to her as long as ts based on a real animal, is large, and eats people. The film does receive one demerit from her because she is not a Dwayne Johnson fan. On the other hand, I am a Dwayne Johnson fan, and it also stars Naomie Harris, which gives this movie the distinction of not having any of the Chris-es in charge of this action thriller.





(4) Avengers Infinity War

I got plans!



(18) Deapool 2

I love the trailers for this movie, but I don’t know if I’ll be inviting my niece  to see this one, and the thought of seeing this with my Mom is kinda terrifying. I think it’s just a tad too mature for my niece, so I may have to go this one alone, or not at all. I do like the movie’s version of Domino. She’s so Pam Grier! And of course, my girl-fave, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, (What an awesome name!!!) will be present, so I have to support her.



(25) Solo

This looks like fun, although I do wish the movie was about Lando, rather than Han, and the lead actor has luxurious, cheesy 70’s hair, which is annoying, since I am over that phase of my life..



(8) Oceans 8

The only reason I want to see this film is to see Rihanna. I probably won’t see this anyway. I’ll be all out of money because I have plans to also see…



(15) The  Incredibles 2

Yep! Elastigirl is worth 2 Rihannas, and Edna Mode is worth about a couple hundred of whoever else is starring in Oceans 8.



(22) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Oh c’mon! You know! Giant animals? Check! Eating people? Check! Jeff Goldblum? Check! Running and screaming? Check!

Okay then.




(6) Ant Man and The Wasp

I had no plans to go see this movie, just as I had no plans to see the first film. Then this trailer dropped, and it looks like hella fun, so I’m thinking about it. Just remember, nobody was asking for the first movie. Marvel just decided, for whatever reason, to give us an Ant Man movie, despite our asking for a Black Widow movie. On the other hand, I fully support Janet Van Dyne, (I love her in the comic books) and wish the first movie had been all about her.



(27) Mission Impossible: Fallout

I have never gone to see any of the Mission Impossible movies at the theater, but I’m considering seeing this. The trailer is totally batshit, and Angela Bassett is in it, so…




There are no trailers for these two movies yet.

(3) The Equalizer 2

I only kind of enjoyed the first movie, but I’m interested in this one because the little boy from Moonlight is in this one, I think. I don’t know why people are resting on Antoine Fuqua’s movies, almost all of them starring Denzel Washington, though. He’s no Ryan Coogler, but he’s a Black director who has been quietly going about the business of putting his thing down, and we should probably show some respect for that.


(10) Crazy Rich Asians


I’m almost as excited about this movie as a lot of Asian people. It will be the first movie starring an entirely Asian cast, along with an Asian director, based on a book by an Asian author. Its a romantic comedy , and while I’m not fond of such movies, as a general rule, this movie stars some of my favorite people, like Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Harry Shum,  and Michelle Yeoh. This is their Black Panther moment and I hope people come out in support for it, especially if you want to see more Asian actors in American films.

In their own words:



(14) The Predator

I haven’t seen any trailers for this yet, but I’m kind of excited about it becasue Keegan Michael Key is in this movie, and I’ve never seen him be a badass with a gun, outside of a comedic purposes. It also stars Edward James Olmos, Sterling K. Brown, and Olivia Munn. I really like the Predator franchise, which has a good history of showcasing PoC in prominent roles,  like Carl Weathers from the first film, Danny Glover from Predator II, and Sanaa Lathan in AvP.




(5) Venom

I don’t know what to think about this  movie yet, because the trailer doesn’t actually show anytihng, or tell anything. On the other hand, it does star Tom Hardy, and I have to support his crazy ass. I’m a fan of some of  the comic book versions of Venom, so I’m cautiously excited about this. I also heard that this movie isn’t related to any of the MCU films, so I don’t think we can expect a cameo from Tom holland.



I have not found any official trailers for these movies.

(2) Mulan

I am cautiously excited about this movie. I will be even more excited if there are no White people in the cast. We watched the cartoon version and that  didn’t feature any White people, so I don’t feel we need any in the live action version either. Why would you add White people to this anyway?

Hollywood needs to learn that you do not need White actors to tell a story, or draw the audience in. If the story is good, it can stand for itself. On the other hand, overseas audiences see White people as exotic, and that might be a reason a White character would be added to this movie.


(16) Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald

I’m less than happy that Johnny Depp is in this, and I’m still in my feelings about the lack of PoC in the last movie, even though I enjoyed all the characters, and the plot made no sense. This one, I think, is set in France ,and I’m looking forward to seeing all the characters from the first film, although I probably won’t be seeing this in the theater.


Also: Creed 2; Mary Queen of Scots;Aquaman

I got nothing on these films. They just sound mildly interesting.




The Shape of Water (2017]

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I am a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro. I’ve seen every one of his films, and loved  all of them, with the exception of Crimson Peak, which wasn’t a bad movie , (merely unequal to his other films.)

Guillermo is the kind of director whose films all have meaning. Every image, every line of dialogue, even the costumes and color choices,  have  a  personal meaning for the director,  or propel  the narrative, or examine a character, and he always has something interesting to say, a point he wishes to make, a message to impart to his audience. He makes fantasies that parallel and contrast the real world.

In many of his films, he chronicles how the world of fantasy impacts the real world. In Hellboy 1 & 2, there’s a discussion of real world reactions to the existence of supernatural creatures, and what place someone like Hellboy can make for himself in it. Blade 2, despite all its fantastical elements, takes place entirely in the real world, with the same technology, music, and culture. The vampires in that world have adapted very well to human ingenuity, and in Pan’s Labyrinth, a young girl’s horrifying  real world life, under fascism, is juxtaposed against a fantasy world, in which she actually holds power, and importance, and agency.

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I’ve read many reviews of this film, and not  one of them has mentioned how the fantasy elements of this movie contrast, and impact, the real world, of the sixties Civil Rights environment, in which it takes place. This movie is rich with social commentary that I’m not seeing reflected in any of its reviews. Most of the reviewers focus on the romance between  Eliza and her Fishman paramour, or the set design, or the special effects,  never bothering to go deeper, into what the film actually means for Eliza’s character, or the villain’s motivations. No one has discussed the time period in which it takes place either, which I find frustrating, because the villain’s motivations arise precisely out of the Jim Crow era in which the movie takes place, and informs how Eliza and the Fishman are treated, and the decisions Eliza makes.

The movie sits smack in the middle of the Civil Rights movement, and  although it isn’t something explicitlyshown,  this is a statement, not just about what’s happening with the characters, but a message to us today. As in all his films, Guillermo is telling us something about ourselves right now.  Guillermo says that he chose that particular time period because it’s a direct reflection of what’s happening in the US today, from the re-emergent Cold War, to the various social rights movements like BLM, and the casual racism, sexism, and homophobia, which has reared its ugly head again.

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Just as in the sixties, there is a clash of ideologies, which is often brought about, and exacerbated by, emergent technologies. The internet has allowed marginalized groups to push-back against, and challenge, the narratives of White supremacy, in ways they couldn’t before. Social Media allows marginalized groups to organize, and protest with an immediacy that was once lacking, and online communities allow them to disseminate news and information in real time, as with NoDAPL. In the sixties, it was the handheld camera, that brought the Civil Rights movement, the Korean War, and  the Vietnam War right into people’s livingrooms. It was the Space Program that heated up the cold war between Russia and the United States.

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Michael Shannon, as Strickland, is the physical embodiment of “White male rage, and entitlement”, existing at a period in time in which his cultural supremacy is being called into question by external forces,  that his oppression helped to create. He doesn’t just take his rage out on the amphibian captive, on whom he liberally uses a cattle prod, (his captive does push back against his rage and violence) but takes his hatred and contempt out on both Eliza, and Octavia Spencer’s character, Zelda, questioning her, in a smugly racist tone, why she doesn’t have any siblings (because that’s not common for HER people), which forces Zelda to reveal the tragic loss of her mother when she was born. At the same meeting he loudly asks if Eliza can hear him.

He has the best kind of life there is, with a  loving wife and children, a brand new model car, and a house in the suburbs, yet seems to resent all of it, showing no affection towards his wife and children, even though they dote on him, and he appears to be in a rage at even his “happiest” moments.  This is a man who can’t even find joy in fucking his beautiful, blonde,  trophy wife. The only time we ever see Strickland smile, in the movie, is when he’s contemplating, or bringing harm,  to someone else. Strickland also  lives in a world that is beginning to change, and he can see a future in which he can no longer express his rage and fear at those he deems as less than himself. Just like today, those “people” are talking back to him, and need to be put back in their place of not questioning his supremacy, and again, like today’s form of bigot,  all he has at his disposal is violence. He leads a miserable and rage fueled life.

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Eliza’s neighbor, Giles, is an older gay man who loves musicals, dancing and key lime pie. One of the first musicals we see in the movie is The Little Colonel, starring Shirley Temple, and Bojangles, and is an example of the time period romanticized by the White people of the sixties, just as the early sixties are heavily romanticized today. At one point, Giles entreats Eliza to turn away from the images of civil rights rioting on his TV, to a happier image of  Bojangles,  smiling, and dancing, and happy. Directly after that scene, Eliza and Giles do a little tap dance, while sitting on the couch, and maybe this is Guillermo’s way of pointing out how oppressed people have always tried to maximize what little joy they can find, in the face of so much misery. Eliza and Giles are both single, they don’t own a fancy home or car. In society, she and Giles have nothing, and are nothing. Now contrast Eliza and Giles simple pleasures of pie, movies, and dancing,  with Strickland’s joyless existence.

Dancing is also Eliza’s escape. There’s a surreal daydream about her and the Amphibian dancing in a musical. Guillermo’s message here is about the power of imagination, and how the oppressed find power and happiness. This is something clearly expressed in his movie Pan’s Labyrinth, where the little girl, Ofelia, dreams of escaping her brutal existence, as a Queen of the Fairies,  through the use of her imagination. This is also a statement about Del Toro’s  personal life. He grew up poor and  escaped poverty  through film, through dreams


. Eliza wants to escape the circumstances of her life too, and at the end of the movie, she is more than happy to do so. (Although, I must point out, that though Eliza has managed to escape, and Strickland is gone, Giles, and Zelda are left behind to pick up the pieces.)

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There are several interactions between marginalized people that speak to the lack of unity of that time period. Giles is white and male, but every bit as powerless as Zelda, and Eliza, especially after people find out about his private life. Earlier, Giles is emphatic about not watching racial unpleasantness on his TV, but later, he attempts to defend a black couple who try to eat in the diner he frequents, but get kicked out by the counterman. Giles cares enough to come to their defense, but not in the moment, and we realize just how powerless he is afterwards, when he makes a pass at the waiter, and is kicked out of the diner was well.  Note that Giles is all alone when he does this. Guillermo quietly  illustrates how all these different  outsiders are trying to make it on their own. The message here is that unless  they all unite to stand against their oppressors they can accomplish nothing.

My biggest issue is the lone Black man in the movie, Zelda’s husband David. He is perhaps the weakest character in the movie. He is of no use to Zelda, (who speaks of him often and seems to love him), and he does not come to Zelda’s aid when Strickland bursts into their home and bullies them for Eliza’s whereabouts. He also does not aid in the Fishman’s escape from the lab, tries to talk Zelda out of getting involved, and is so cowed by his environment, that he rats her out to Strickland.

My overall impression is that David gave up fighting long ago, and  that he doesn’t really love Zelda, since he was not only  completely unwilling to fight for her but gave up Eliza as well. I have mixed feelings about this character, and I don’t think Del Toro thought him through very well, or took into account how this would look to any Black men watching this film, who would be infuriated at the depiction. On the one hand, it wasn’t necessary to have the only Black man, in the entire movie, be an example of  what the system of Jim Crow was meant to do, which is drain all the fighting spirit out of Black men, keeping them terrified, and submissive. On the other hand, if he were not those things, it would’ve become a very different type of movie. I feel he could have been eliminated from the plot altogether and the film would largely be left intact.

Strickland wants to destroy the Amphibian, a creature of the natural world that he often refers to as an abomination. He tortures and abuses the creature, to no purpose, but his own petty enmity. When the Fishman is slated for an autopsy table, Eliza teams up with Zelda, a German researcher, and Giles to thwart Strickland. In the end, they all come together to take down Strickland, and I feel like the message here was that only through the unity of  outsiders, can such an overwhelmingly oppressive force, like him, be overcome.

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In all of Guillermo’s films, you have a villain who attempts to destroy the natural world for vengeance, greed, entitlement, and/or short sightedness. In Blade 2, the natural order of the world is disrupted by a quest for power, and the  destruction of humanity is averted by the hero fighting with the very beings he’d made a profession of killing. In Hellboy, the villain wishes to disrupt the order of the world by calling down The Old Gods of Lovecraftian mythology, and in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, faded fairy nobility wants to avenge the destruction of the natural world by human greed. And in The Shape of Water, Strickland is destroyed by the the very sort of people he most hates and fears.

The message of the outsider being more noble, more self sacrificing, and more compassionate is woven throughout many of Guillermo’s films. Since Del Toro himself is a Mexican immigrant, he has always felt himself to be one of the outsiders, and most of his films are seen through such a lens, recognizing the power of those who stand outside the mainstream. All of Del Toro’s protagonists are pieces of himself. Unlike most fantasy film directors, he is willing to address social issues in his films, and reviewers need to give the man his proper respect for doing that, and acknowledge that in their reviews.



Quick question:What is Guillermo Del Toro’s fascination with Germans? Every one of his films has a German character in it. Can you spot them?

*Note: My second review of this movie will be a discussion of sex and disability.



I Saved It From Tumblr

Just another collection of interesting items that came across my dashboard.

Best Insult on Tumblr:

“You Uncultured Common Fly!”


*Putting this here:

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This is a beautiful collection of information, and images from the movie Coco. This movie did as well in Mexico as Black Panther did in the US. I haven’t yet seen it, but when I finally do, I’ll know what to look for. The writers (and I believe many of the animators themselves), are Mexican. This is why it’s so important for people of other cultures to write their own stories. They know their stories and audiences better than anyone. And its just a wonderful cache of information, and had I seen the movie first, most of it, would’ve gone right over my head.

References to Mexican Culture in Coco

By now, you’ve probably heard Coco is one of the most well researched films about Mexico and its culture. There are many small details that make it feel like Mexico: the stone roads in a small town, the traditional embroidery patterns in the shirts of Miguel’s female relatives, an uncle wearing a soccer team shirt, even a bowl of limes in a stand of aguas frescas. Of course, the looks of papel picado, day of the dead altars, and cemeteries are also well represented. The clothes of the relatives Miguel sees in the world of the dead is accurate to their eras. While these are a nice touch, you’re ultimately not missing out on anything by not spotting them, so in this post I wanted to talk about the more culturally based details that show the most research and you might not understand if you’re not very well acquainted with Mexican culture:

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Names and pronouns

1. Coco

This one is the most straightforward, so let’s start with the name of the movie. While the protagonist is called Miguel, we soon learn that Coco is his great grandmother. “Coco” is what we call a woman called “Socorro” (lit. “help” – it’s a very traditional name that’s considered old fashioned).

The Rivera family calls her “Mamá Coco,” which means “Mother Coco.” They also call Imelda “Mamá Imelda,” and so on. Calling your grandparents “mamá” or “papá” instead of “abuelita” and “abuelito” is a thing you can do, though I can’t say how common it is.

In the Spanish version of the film, Miguel’s grandmother, Elena, talks to Mamá Coco with “usted” (I didn’t notice other instances, but they might be there). Spanish has a formal and an informal version of singular “you:” “usted” for formal, “tú” for informal. The verb conjugation also changes depending on which one you use. It is used differently all through the Spanish speaking world, but in Mexico, other than older people you respect (like a teacher), you can talk to older family members with “usted,” which means respect rather than the distance the formality might imply. Nowadays, it has fallen out of use: as someone born in the 90s, my grandparents talked to their parents almost exclusively with “usted;” out of my parents, my mother talked to hers with “usted” and my father with “tú;” I speak to my parents with “tú.” I have cousins on my mother’s side that talk to their parents with “usted,” but I would say that makes them a minority nowadays.

Traditions and beliefs

2. Crossing to the world of the dead on a bridge of marigolds

If you paid very close attention, you might have noticed two children scattering marigold petals on the ground and their mother telling them not to scatter them, but to make a bridge so the dead could cross over. It was easy to miss, but that’s actually something we believe!

There are several types of flowers you can place in a day of the dead altar, but the one you can’t do without is the yellow marigold. Its petals are scattered all around the altar, and at the very front, you’ll form a path surrounded with candles. The bright yellow will help the dead properly make their way to the altar, and the candles surrounding the path will light their way.

3. Crossing to the world of the dead with a xoloitzcuintli

Several prehispanic cultures had a similar concept of the underworld as many other cultures around the world, in which there was a river they had to cross to get there. For both the Aztecs/Mexicas and the Mayas, a xoloitzcuintli would guide their souls so they could cross the river safely and arrive to Mictlan (Mexicas) or Xibalba (Mayas). To achieve this, a xoloitzcuintli would be sacrificed and buried with its owner. Day of the dead altars can have a xoloitzcuintli figure so that the dead can make it back safely as well.

4. Being thrown into a cenote

My screenshot isn’t the best but at some point, Miguel is thrown into a big pit with water. That’s not just any random pit, but a cenote.

Cenotes are naturally ocurring sinkholes caused by the collapse of limestone. The word “cenote” has Maya etymology, as cenotes are commonly found in the Yucatán peninsula, where they (still!) live. In old times, they would sacrifice animals and people as tributes to the gods, and also throw ceramic objects and jewelry as part of the tribute.

5. Alebrijes

I left these for last because they don’t have any deep meaning. Alebrijes are colorful fantastic animals that a man called Pedro Linares saw in a fever dream. He was a skilled artisan, so when he woke up from his long sickness, he brought them to life in his art.

In Coco, alebrijes are spiritual guides, and while their designs are to the likes of the real alebrijes, the film actually gave them a more important role than they have for us.


6. Genres of Mexican music

The songs in Coco all belong to genres we’ve grown up with, so even if someone isn’t that knowledgeable in music theory or genres, we could vaguely tell they sounded “Mexican” (some more than others). Someone who is more knowledgeable of music genres can help me out here, but I think:

– Remember Me / Recuérdame is a bolero ranchero.

– Much Needed Advice / Dueto a través del tiempo is a ranchera.

– Everyone Knows Juanita / Juanita is a corrido.

– Un Poco Loco is a son jarocho.

– The World Es Mi Familia / El mundo es mi familia is huapango inspired.

– Proud Corazón / El latido de mi corazón is a a son (son de mariachi? I’m most uncertain about this one).

6.5 Un Poco Loco

Un Poco Loco starts in English as

What color is the sky, ay mi amor, ay mi amor,
You tell me that it’s red, ay mi amor, ay mi amor

And in Spanish as

Que el cielo no es azul, ay mi amor, ay mi amor,
Es rojo dices tú, ay mi amor, ay mi amor

(You say the sky isn’t blue, oh my love, oh my love,
It’s red, you say, oh my love, oh my love)

This might be a deliberate reference to a huapango called “Cielo rojo,” which says:

Mientras yo estoy dormido
Sueño que vamos los dos muy juntos
A un cielo azul
Pero cuando despierto
El cielo es rojo, me faltas tú

(As I sleep
I dream of us close together
Going towards a blue sky
But when I wake up
The sky red, I am missing you)

Within the universe of the movie, this would make it an anachronistic reference, though. Additionally, Cielo rojo is a song of loss and Un poco loco is about a woman who thinks very differently and likes to say everything backwards, and that makes him crazy (in a good way!). Hence, in English we’ve got her saying to put his shoes on his head instead of his feet, and in Spanish him saying she might think with her feet and also how she keeps playing with his thoughts. Cielo rojo is a pretty sad song.

7. La Llorona

And I purposefully left La Llorona out of that list (it’s originally a son istmeño, though).

There’s a full musical number in Spanish, which seems to have suprised some people. For those of us who watched Coco in Spanish, it wasn’t too hard to guess it was this one: La Llorona was likely left in Spanish because it’s a very old folk song, one of those that are so old it has no known author and there are many different versions of the lyrics.

“Llorona” just means “weeper,” which is not really as unusual of a word in Spanish as it is in English. It’s closer to “crybaby” in use. If you’re curious, the version used in Coco says the following, with “llorona” being the singer herself:

Poor me, llorona, llorona dressed in sky blue
Even if it costs me my life, llorona, I won’t stop loving you
I climbed the highest pine tree to see if I could spot you
Since the pine tree was so green, llorona, it cried upon seeing me cry

What is grief and what is not grief, llorona: it all is grief to me
Yesterday, I was crying to see you, llorona; today, I’m crying because I saw you

Poor me, llorona, llorona dressed in sky blue
Even if it costs me my life, llorona, I won’t stop loving you

Famous people

8. Ernesto de la Cruz

“Isn’t he an original charact-” NO LISTEN STAY WITH ME.

Remember how I said Remember Me is a bolero ranchero? Guess who we associate boleros rancheros with?

That would be Pedro Infante, who happens to have a strong resemblance to no other than Ernesto de la Cruz.

It’s probably not a coincidence at all, as later on we see Ernesto with Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete at his party. Ernesto de la Cruz was explicitly stated to be inspired on both of them and another singer of the same genres, Vicente Fernández.

My parents left the movie saying “Pedro Infante didn’t deserve that burn,” lol.

9. Frida Kahlo (and Diego)

She does have a rather prominent role so she’s hard to miss. For those unaware, Frida is the artist who made the flaming papaya.

The themes in Frida’s are autobiographical, as she had a rather unusual life due to polio and injury. She painted herself and her suffering a lot. That might be why we get performances with many Fridas and things like a crying cactus that’s herself.

Bonus: her husband, Diego Rivera, is also in the same studio where we meet Frida. He was an important artist, specifically a muralist.

10. Other Mexican celebrities

I already brought up Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete as characters that appear right beside Ernesto de la Cruz.

But we also get to see a cameo of many other famous Mexican names in Ernesto’s studio! Excluding the people at the piano, from left to right:

Emiliano Zapata, a revolutionary; (my best guess is) Adela Velarde, another revolutionary; Ernesto and Miguel; (probably) Agustín Lara, composer and singer; (probably) Dolores del Río, actress (in Hollywood too!); Cantinflas, comedian and actor; Pedro Infante, singer and actor; María Félix, actress; El Santo, wrestler and actor; Jorge Negrete, singer and actor.

They kind of looked like this:

Another bonus: this gal looks like the calavera garbancera / the Catrina illustrated by José Guadalupe Posada.

There might be more things I’m missing or forgot; if that’s the case, feel free to let me know! You can also fix my music genres for me since that’s never been my forte.

I hope this was of interest to someone!


*Frankie Trixx came across my dashboard, and I totally fell in love with him. I was just in tears. Now, its my understanding that this guy isn’t actually from Africa. I believe he’s Canadian, but he has an African name, and this is one of his Instagram personas. He is absolutely hilarious though, and has a lot to say about everything. Here, he discusses unseasoned chicken:

Check him out!

“Why is the chef seasoning his chicken with amnesia?!”


*Another one of my favorite comedians is Quinta Brunson, who has her own Youtube channel. Check her out too.


The real comedy here, outside of Quinta’s dancing,  is her boyfriend’s facial expressions. He was not ready!


 *As a parallel to my calls for diversity in  commenters and reviewers, there is a call for people within fandom to step up their game, to be sensitive to media that is for, and by, Black Americans, and any media that holds special emotional, or religious resonance, or speaks on internal issues within our communities. Don’t write fanfic, or create fanart, or meta, without a thorough understanding of what you’re creating. Do your research. Listen to Black fans discussing how the movie affects them, and read, read, read! (The same goes for media that features other poC, and their cultures.)

Do Your research!!!!

Dear White Fandom

Let’s talk for a second.

So Black Panther opens nationwide today. I saw it last night, and let me tell you: it’s absolutely incredible. It’s as good as you’re hearing. It’s gorgeous. It’s compelling. Everyone acts their faces off. It’s also, inarguably, the most complex movie in the MCU.

You might leave the theater super jazzed and wanting to write meta and fic about how beautiful Wakanda is, how badass the Dora Milajae are, or who the real villains might be and why, or over that little cameo at the end (no spoilers). And you’re not wrong – but if you’re white, pump the brakes on that feeling for a few days.

There’s a lot to take in, about Black Panther. It’s an intricate, incredibly well thought-out movie that covers a lot of ground in terms of thorny and important themes. It stares right in the face of generational trauma, the legacy of slavery, conflicts between the diaspora and Africans and what responsibilities and connections each feel to each other, how colonization continues today under different names, and on and on.

And you’re gonna be missing the context for a lot of that. So hit pause on that content creation for a little bit, okay?

There’s a lot of meta, fic, thought posts, personal experiences, and resources already being shared by Black fans. There’s gonna be a lot more. Take the next few days to read them. Get lost reading up on the historical and cultural touchstones that the movie draws from. Follow Black fans and reblog their stuff. Listen before you hit post on that fic or meta.

And maybe you don’t end up posting it at all. Maybe you learn the context of the characters and issues and history you saw up on screen, and that great idea you came out of the theater with seems more and more like a hot take. That’s okay. It’s totally fine just to listen.

I’m not saying that white people aren’t allowed in the Black Panther fandom. I’m not saying that only Black people can write Black Panther fic. First, that would be incredibly hypocritical of me; and Second, I think that white people not putting in the effort to humanize non-white people literally makes us worse human beings.

What I’m saying is, if you wanna do it: it’s worth putting in the work. Not just to create content that isn’t full of microaggressions and outright racism, but participation means you have to put in the work to do it right. If you’re not willing to wait, and listen, and learn, and work – then just don’t.



*This is pretty much my mood whenever I’m experiencing bouts of insomnia.

Don’t trust morning you. Morning you is a dick. Morning you would sell your loved ones if it got them 5 minutes of extra sleep

maybe morning me wouldn’t be such a dick if that flaky bitch evening me had gone to bed instead of tumblring til butts o’clock in the morning

Well evening me might have fallen asleep at a reasonable hour if that dumbass afternoon me hadn’t lain down for a “little nap” that lasted four hours.


*I love this woman’s clapback. I know we called a moratorium  on inviting various White people to the cookout after Trump, but  really, this is how you ally.

As a general rule, I don’t give one flying hot damn about who some random Black guy is fucking, but if you feel the need to scandalize  my name, (i.e. Black women) to justify who you’re fucking, the problem is not us. The problem is your insecurity about who you’re fucking. There’s no need to put us down to declare your love of White women, and Liv was correct to put these men in heir place:


This right here…MOOD!!!


*Yeah, there’s a reason why people didn’t rally around Catwoman the way they did around Black Panther, and it has nothing to do with disliking Black women. The movie was just shit. Even I checked the fuck out halfway through it. When even the movie’s own writers realize the movie was shit, well..

Also Catwoman had nothing whatsoever to do with the culture. It was essentially culture-less, which is how all Black characters are, when written by non-Black writers. The only White director I’ve ever come across, who got it right, was Steven Spielberg, and I suspect his being Jewish informed a lot of what he did on The Color Purple. (Not even Tarantino gets it right, even though I liked Django Unchained.)

I feel like people are making unfair comparisons to other movies, when really the only movie that comes close to doing what Black Panther has done, is the 1998 Blade movie. It had a couple of Black cultural moments in it, but that had more to do with its star, Wesley Snipes, than the director Stephen Norrington.


*I’m obviously gonna have to do another post on this show. I love this show. It’s like a weekly Luke Cage/Black Panther fix. But really, what I like about all these different Black stories, isn’t just the primarily black cast, but how  they truly represent the individuality of our culture,  how  different they all are, in style and flavor. Atlanta, is a very different type of comedy than Black*ish, or Insecure. Black Lightning feels very different than Black Panther or Luke Cage. They’re all telling very different types of stories.

Below: The Iconic Thunder Foot Stomp! straight out of the comic books. You  have nan idea how loud my Mom and I were whooping and hollering, during these scenes.!

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And finally I want to introduce all of you to Shaina West, also known as THE SAMURIDER, a tiny stuntwoman doing her own thing on Youtube.

Black Panther Selected Readings 3

*Since this movie blew up the theaters there have been a metric ton of think-pieces and examinations about it. I’ve tried to collect as many of these as I thought were interesting, leaving out all the contrarian negative stuff. I know I promised to write a review, but there’s nothing I would say in it that isn’t already covered by the three lists of think pieces I’ve collected. (Maybe later, I’ll jot something down about my feelings for the various characters or something.)

*But first up, I thought this essay was related to the idea of Wakanda having never been colonized, versus how we are all taught by popular media to think of the continent of Africa. You can read this first ,and then play a drinking game of how many times the writers do these things in the following articles:

Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Drum’, ‘Sun’ or ‘Bygone’. Also useful are words such as ‘Guerrillas’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Primordial’ and ‘Tribal’. Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans.

Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.

—-   https://granta.com/how-to-write-about-africa/



Black Panther has a lot to say about politics:

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The Revolutionary Power of Black Panther




*I didn’t agree with this review but I’m including it here because some of you will find it interesting, and the author does make other salient points. I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback by the depiction of the lone African American in the movie. I was deeply saddened by Killmonger, while agreeing with much of his philosophy. I get why he was angry. I was also saddened by the fate of the only African American woman in the entire film, and I wish the director had put more thought into it. I get the point he’s trying to make, but it still felt pretty bad to watch that point being made.



View story at Medium.com

5 Lessons from Black Panther That Can Save Our Lives — and Transform Black Politics – Medium.com

Dear Fellow White People: Go See “Black Panther” – Medium.com

Here are six reasons. Do it this weekend. Seriously, just go.


*This article is about people who are trolling the movie. As the movie began to take off last weekend, there were a number of alt-right trolls who posted fake tweets demonising the movie’s fans, and claiming that white people had been beaten up at theaters. 

I put this here to point out the utter futility of their efforts in trying to disparage and destroy this movie. Their efforts will always meet with failure, not because they’re awful, (because yeah,  they are) but because, by the time they are resorting to  efforts to sabotage these movies, it’s already too late. These acts are purely defensive, and only illustrate how little control such people have over mainstream media.

All they have in their arsenal to combat progress is more of the same lies and vitriol against black people that they’ve always espoused. Their messages are not new, and not effective.




*Not all of these essays were written by Black reviewers, but even so, I thought the reviewer, regardless of race, had interesting things to say about the philosophies of, and psychology behind, the film’s characters. Just becasue White reviewers can’t (or won’t) talk about race,  doesn’t mean they have nothing worthwhile to say on other topics.








One Tribe: Black Panther’s Altruism


The Women:

Let’s face it, women are the backbone of this movie, holding it down and keeping it 100. I was surprised to find that my favorite female character was Nakia. (I thought it would be Okoye.)


I was watching and after Okoye was called the general a boy next to me said : “I didn’t know girls can be generals!”
That’s why representation matters


One of the best things about was definitely the women. Shuri, our princess is cheeky, charming and a fcking genius. Okoye could kill me and I’d gladly thank her. If I have even an ounce of Nakia’s compassion, I would be a better woman that I am now.








From Tumblr:


The Making of:

*Everyone wants to know everything about the making of Wakanda, and Ruth Carter’s  major influences on her designs for the film.

Ruth Carter is a Hollywood costume designer who grew up in Springfield. Her career spans a long list of major motion pictures, and she is best known for her work on Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” receiving Academy Award nominations for both films. Carter’s most recent work can be seen in “Selma,” a film about the trio of marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

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Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ is a broad mix of African cultures—here are some of them





“The PanAfrican flag is red, black and green, so when you see Okoye, T’Challa and Nakia in their covert looks, you’re seeing the PanAfrican flag.” – Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther.




Oh, yeah. The hair thing:


The Fans:

*This essay was originally written as a response to Beyonce’s Lemonade but many of the writer’s arguments can be equally applied to any media that is made by, and speaks to, a Black audience, including Black Panther.

Beyoncé’s Lemonade: A Lesson on Appreciating Art That Wasn’t Made for You


*This is what Tumblr fans are saying about representation:

*Took my african dad to see Black Panther


*no spoilers*

He does not like superhero movies and normally he falls asleep in the cinema. But not this time, he was on the edge of his seat and he said that he didn’t wanna miss a single moment. He absolutely loved the movie, the first thing he did when we got home was to call his african friend, yelling at him to go watch it as soon as possible. The second thing he did was ask me when the sequel will be out.

I asked my dad what he liked about the movie and he said everything. He loved that almost everyone was black and that they spoke Xhosa. He was so happy that they captured what life is actually like in many african cities in those scenes when they were walking around in wakanda. Seeing the people sit in cafes, buying food from food stands, kids running around with school bags, just people living their everyday life all the while being unapologetically african. He said he felt as if he was back home. And he was so happy that there finally was a movie where africans weren’t starving, or warlords, or dealing drugs. He told me that this is the kind of movie he has wanted to see for years, not alluding to the superhero stuff but the fact that they portray africans the same way that most if not all movies portray white people and not criminalize or dehumanize them but uplifting them. He loved every single character and especially M’Baku but his absolute favourite was the Queen mother Ramonda because she was so calm and collected while simultaneously being this strong queen. My dad, coming from a culture that really uplifts and value mothers and holds them above all, felt like the movie really captured that in Ramonda and that’s why he loved her.

He loved the soundtrack and how they mixed in djembe drums and traditional african singing with modern western music and he loved the costumes because a lot of the clothes look like the things people are wearing at all the african parties we go to.

The only complaint my dad had was that the sound was to high, which was his own fault for insisting that he sit at the end of the row right next to one of the speakers.

So yeah, representation do matter. I’ve never in my life seen him so happy about a movie. And he wanted to talk about it after it had ended which never happens normally. We joked around with the idea of him being a wakandan wardog stationed here and we did Shuris and T’Challas little handshake saying that is the only way we will now greet other africans. This movie gave my dad pure joy and happiness and it gave us a bonding opportunity because we finally have something that we both could geek out about.

Source: theghostwasblue
*Hollywood needs to start getting itself together:

*This needs to be said…

After Black Panther, and Coco, and all the other great films that have come out and boasted great representation (and great Box Office returns) I hope all movie studios are aware that nothing can every go back to the way it used to be.

Like, you know how when you’ve had something high quality, and you just can’t go back to the bargain brand again because you know what this product is supposed to be?

Well, Black Panther and Coco just introduced an entire generation of people (young and old alike) what positive representation is supposed to feel like.

People aren’t going to stand for “This character couldn’t be X because it’s a stereotype.”

People aren’t going to stand for “This character had a small role but it’s fine because X”

People ain’t gonna stand for “Finn can’t be written well because there’s no place for his story to go”

People aren’t going to stand for “Iron Fist couldn’t be Asian-American because it perpetuates a stereotype.

People aren’t going to stand for “We couldn’t find the right type of actor so we just went with a white person.”

People aren’t going to stand for “Let’s make the black woman a frog for the entire movie.”

People aren’t going to stand for “There weren’t any people of color in this era. It wouldn’t be historically accurate.”

People aren’t going to stand for “Well…it’s close enough, isn’t it? Why’re you complaining?”

Movie studios  thought it was bad before? Honey. Buckle up.


*The Alnur African Drum and Dance Troupe as The Dora Milaje

The Fans


In Africa:

I loved the African reaction to this movie:


*And the windup:





Why I’m Not Watching The Movie Annihilation


I’m a big Jeff Vandermeer fan. I’ve read most of his books, all of which are pretty trippy. (The man has a serious fascination with mushrooms.) So I was  excited to hear they’d be filming his three part Southern Reach series, and while I had no particular objection to Alex Garland as the filmmaker, I had to stop and and ask myself, Is the book unfilmable?

If you haven’t read the book, the best description of it is that it’s an intellectual exercise in horror. Events happen in the book, but the book is not linear, in the sense that the actions you’re reading about have immediate consequences, or lead to other events. This is not helped by the unreliable narrator. Events occur, are occurring, but you have no idea what they mean, or if they did, in fact, actually occur.

In the first book of the Area X trilogy, called Annihilation, an all female team of researchers go on an expedition into what’s called Area X, an area of weird life forms, and bizarre transformations of the natural world, that may or may not be hostile, which grows larger every year. In the movie, this place is called The Shimmer, and it’s probably worth looking at just to see the alien life forms.

These women are the 12th such expedition into the area. Most of the other expeditions didn’t come back, and the individuals who have made it out, either die soon afterwards, or are less than helpful as to what happened.. The narrator is a woman who lost her husband in the previous expedition. He came back but lapsed into a coma.The first book chronicles her journey  into Area X, while still in mourning for her husband. Just to complicate issues, some of the members of the expedition have been tasked with observing the others, and some of them have been given hypnotic code words, to make them do, and say  things.

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I read the first book, and skipped the second and third, because those seemed less about Area X, than about the government organization that studies it, called The Southern Reach. A lot of the second book consists of the backbiting and infighting between the members of this organization.

I don’t know how well this movie is going to do at the box office. I don’t think its going to do exceptionally well, but I could be wrong. Like Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman has never been a huge draw for filmgoers, although she’s a perfectly acceptable actress. There’s also the matter of this movie coming out on the tail end of the release of Black Panther. But then, I think any movie released in the wake of Black Panther is taking a rather bold stance. The creators of this movie must have realized this because they will be releasing the movie to Netflix UK sometime in March, from what I understand.

What I know of the plot of the movie doesn’t sound a whole lot like the book either. There’s a bunch of mutated animals, including a mutated bear, hunting the members of the expedition. This bear isn’t in the book, although a host of other odd creatures are, the most frightening of which is The Crawler.

Image result for movie annihilation the crawler

And then there is the matter of the whitewashing. Natalie Portman’s character is described as being Asian in the book, and a lot of people feel some type of way about that, to the point where Garland has had to makes some excuses for why he chose her. He claims he had not read the book before she was cast. What Portman’s excuse is, I have no idea. It was someone’s responsibility to let people know that the lead character was Asian. He also cast Jenifer Jason Leigh in another role supposedly meant for  a half Indian woman. As usual Hollywood continues to fuck up, when it comes to Asian representation.

Myriad reasons have been cited as to how this happened: The characters’ ethnicities are not explicitly stated until the second book; Garland began working on the adaptation before he was officially attached to the project and therefore before the second book was published. Etcetera. The bottom line seems to be ignorance, as Garland, Portman, and Leigh have all stated that they simply didn’t know. It’s not difficult to believe there was no malicious intent in the casting. But the statements still read like apologies that somehow lack the word “sorry,” and shuck responsibility for what happened onto a nonexistent second part


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In the meantime, Non-Asian American fans are getting really, really, tired of only seeing the same 25 white actresses in everything. I have nothing against ScarJo, she’s an adequate actress, and she’s very pretty, (JLaw, on the other hand, can go kick rocks) but I really don’t want to see her ass in one more damn movie. I’m just  “tahd” of looking at her, and I’m about to feel the same way about Portman. I understand why Hollywood keeps casting the same people over and over, but still. Enough is enough.

In the book everyone dies, and this is an issue for me, because all the other women in the expedition are women of color. I love that they hired Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez for these roles, but I just don’t feel like sitting in the movie theater watching the only WoC in the entire movie get brutally mauled by a giant demon-bear. I feel tired just thinking about it. Apparently Hollywood’s idea of diversity now is to put WoC in a movie, and then brutally kill them (yeah, we’re looking at you Atomic Blonde!) I’d tell Hollywood to just cast some White women next time, but I’m pretty sure that they are also pretty tired of seeing themselves be brutally fridged,


I feel like making the movie about the women being hunted by a mutated animal is kind of dumbing it down, although a lot of critics claim its a very smart film. I just expected more than that because its not just the plot of the book that’s strange. The mood, the dialogue, all of feels uncanny. The book is full of long, quiet, contemplative moments, where the reader is basically sitting with the protagonists and hearing her thoughts. There’s also the added weirdness that she might very well be going insane, and doesn’t know it. It’s because of that, that her descriptions of what the other characters are doing, is suspect. (Perhaps if Terence Malick had been chosen as the director, I’d be more impressed. He seems to specialize in thoughtful voice-over  films.)

Despite my misgivings, I’m still intrigued though, but not intrigued enough to go to the movies and spend money on it. I think I’ll wait for this to come to cable.



Black Movies You Haven’t Watched (But Are Worth Looking At)

Some of these movies, I haven’t  seen because they are hard to find, or didn’t get a wide enough release. Some of them I’m only just hearing about.  Like this first one for example. It looks like a Western, but I think it’s set in South Africa, and looks really intriguing, and I like a good Western. I have no idea where to watch it. (When I find out, I’ll get back to you.)

Twenty years ago, the young ‘Five Fingers’ fought for the rural town of Marseilles, against brutal police oppression. Now, after fleeing in disgrace, Tau returns, seeking peace. Finding the town under new threat, he must reluctantly fight to free it. Will the Five Fingers stand again?



This is another beautiful film that heavily reminds me of the movie Daughters of the Dust, but is set in 1745, of course. I’m not certain that this film has been released yet, becasue when I saw the trailer the creators were still trying to get funding to finish it.

Two sisters torn from their home in Nigeria and sold into slavery try to retake their freedom in a foreign and hostile land, attempting to elude their master in the perilous Scottish Highlands. As they experience the dangerous and transformative power of nature their battle for survival intensifies, and they draw strength not only from within, but from each other and their shared spiritual roots in Africa. Yet can they ever be truly free..?



I’d planned to introduce this movie to my niece, The Potato. She loves movies about little girls, and loves to make up step routines with her friends. She might enjoy it. I always thought of this as a straight up horror movie, for some reason. The last time I checked this was available for streaming through Amazon Prime.

Toni trains as a boxer with her brother at a community center in Cincinnati’s West End, but becomes fascinated by the dance team that also practices there. Enamored by their strength and confidence, Toni eventually joins the group, eagerly absorbing routines, mastering drills, and even piercing her own ears to fit in. As she discovers the joys of dance and of female camaraderie, she grapples with her individual identity amid her newly defined social sphere. Shortly after Toni joins the team, the captain faints during practice. By the end of the week, most of the girls on the team suffer from episodes of fainting, swooning, moaning, and shaking in a seemingly uncontrollable catharsis. Soon, however, the girls on the team embrace these mysterious spasms, transforming them into a rite of passage. Toni fears “the fits” but is equally afraid of losing her place just as she’s found her footing. Caught between her need for control and her desire for acceptance, Toni must decide how far she will go to embody her new ideals.



I have heard, and know almost nothing, about this film, but it looks absolutely gorgeous.

Based on the novel by renowned South African author, Zakes Mda. The seaside village of Hermanus is overrun with whale-watchers; foreign tourists determined to see whales in their natural habitat. But when the tourists have gone home, the Whale Caller lingers at the shoreline, wooing a whale he has named Sharisha with cries from a kelp horn. When Sharisha fails to appear for weeks on end, the whale caller frets like a jealous lover, oblivious to the fact that the town drunk, Saluni, a woman who wears a silk dress and red stiletto heels, is infatuated with him. The two misfits eventually fall in love. But each of them is ill equipped for romance, and their relationship suggests the deeper concern is not so much the fragility of love, but the fragility of life itself when one surrenders wholly to the foolish heart.



I watched this last year, and I’m not certain if its still available on Netflix, but its a much better watch than that sorry movie that was released a few years ago.

Using never-before-heard recordings, rare archival footage and her best-known songs, this is the story of legendary singer and activist Nina Simone.



I saw this movie some time ago, and loved it. Gugu MBatha-Raw turned in a stunning performance. I loved that this movie isn’t simply an exercise in Black torture, and has a positive ending. 

The illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of a Captain in the Royal Navy finds her unique social standing become instrumental in the campaign to end slavery in England after meeting an idealistic young vicar’s son.


Black Panther: Select Readings

*So posts and articles have been slowly trickling in for Black Panther. I’ll try to collect as many as possible and put them all in one place. Here are some readings I found this week. 

On Representation






The Revolutionary Power of Black Panther



On Racism in Criticism/Fandom


*This first title I couldn’t link to because the article is behind a paywall, but if you sign up for Medium.com you may be able to read it as part of your free preview. Yeah, there’s a class of White people (and yes, I mean White women too) who have collectively lost their everlovin’ minds about this movie, but not in any good way. Not only are there  White dudes planning to sabotage the movie’s reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but also White gals writing concern trolling meta about Shuri being in an abusive relationship with her family, to produce tech for Wakanda. 


And the movie hasn’t even been released yet.

Now I would have been the first person to tell them their little plan was doomed to failure, and if they tried it they were gonna get their asses handed to them.These same people successfully pulled off this plan with the Ghostbusters remake (which people didn’t find out about until after the fact), but by the time Wonder Woman was released, everyone had learned a lesson from that, and it wasn’t successfully carried out. We will be getting a sequel to Wonder Woman, no matter how much they gnash their teeth. 

Their plan failed, (will fail) here because first, they’re  coming for Black people and we have a long history of disregarding anything White men say about the things we love, and second, they’re fucking with Disney, and Disney does not like people trying to fuck with their bottom line. This company has put a helluva lot of money into promoting this movie, and they’re not about to let a bunch of disgruntled, racist, fanboys mess their shit up. 

So yeah, their Facebook page got pulled and even Rotten Tomatoes issued a response. What’s even sadder is that they tried to cover up their racism by claiming they were doing it on behalf of the DCEU.


“Black Panther, White Avengers

Movie hasn’t debuted and fan boys have already lost their damn minds”



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First Negative Review

*And this is why I’ve been advocating for more diverse reviewers, and giving the side eye to any  negative reviews from White critics. I don’t know that I can trust them. There’s nothing wrong with a negative review of a movie with a Black cast, and if the reviewer was a person of color, I would give the review some consideration. Some movies aren’t for everyone, and this reviewer should have realized this. Its okay to not get everything in a movie, but this reviewer really needed to stay in his lane.










Black Panther: Can We Just Enjoy It?

 —-The look on a young Black boy’s face when he sees a Black Panther toy commercial or a grown Black man’s face when he sees a Black Panther Lexus commercial is something special that shouldn’t be over-analyzed. There’s no think piece on capitalism that will change the fact that Black girls of all ages will see themselves in a spectrum of intelligent, strong, dark-skinned natural hair-wearing Black women in a major Hollywood blockbuster for the first time. African speculative fiction has finally reached mainstream culture, and it’s a great feeling.


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*And then, for some reason, someone introduced somebody to the idea that Black Americans were appropriating African cultures. 

*Le Sigh*

 I would break down what an absolutely fucked up idea that is except it would take too long, and I got shit to do, but here’s someone else who can do it.


Given that the blipsters who sport African dress very well could be Yoruba or Fulani, it’s not quite fair to accuse them of appropriating the fashions of such groups. African Americans, after all, have the dubious distinction of not knowing what their traditional dress is. For them, wearing African attire has always been more complicated than “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission,” as Susan Scafidi, author of Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law, defines cultural appropriation.


View story at Medium.com









The Sunken Place to Wakanda with Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes





The Superbowl: Movie Trailers

Here are some of the top movie and series  trailers that were shown throughout the Superbowl. Now, I didn’t watch the Superbowl, (I never do), but I did get on the internet to check for any ads I may have missed. I had it on good authority that there would be a lot of movie and TV show ads shown during.  I know that not all of you watched the Superbowl, but you are interested in movies, so I collected as many as I could.

I was out of it all last week with a nasty cold and couldn’t get any posts done beyond the ones I’d already scheduled, so I’m a little behind in my reviews. (Let’s face it, I’m waaay behind.)But I’m doing fine now, and will catch you guys up on things I’ve been looking at while I was sick, like the new Cloverfield movie that was just released on Netflix, along with Altered Carbon,  Star Trek Discovery, and a handful of food shows.


Cloverfield Paradox

I was as surprised as anyone to discover this was being released right after the Superbowl. It’s been said that Netflix had some kind of rule that they wouldn’t release movies or shows that would compete with the Superbowl for attention, but apparently that is no longer true. I have it on good authority that the viewership for the Superbowl was the lowest its ever been, and maybe Netflix wanted to take advantage of that. I don’t know.

Anyway, I was on top of this the moment I found out.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and thought it was pretty damn scary, especially in the first hour when you didn’t quite know what was going on. I thought it was a very effective Scifi horror movie that wasn’t a  total riff off of Alien. The synopsis is that this is some kind of prequel that explains  the how and the why of the first movie in the franchise. I’m satisfied with the explanation and thought this movie was an elegant solution to the questions posited by Cloverfield, and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

The movie is lead by a Black woman, Gugu Mbatha -Raw, and also stars David Oyowelo, and Zhang Ziyi. I’ll review this later this month, if I can.



Avengers Infinity War Trailer #2

I’m almost as excited about this movie as I am about Black Panther.


All my favorite people, all in one movie…How does anybody hate this? This trailer is kickin’!

I cannot explain, though, why I’m inordinately excited to see Dr. Strange interacting with both Tony Stark, and Spiderman. All of the best Avengers books are deeply funny, because of the interactions between wildly different characters, and their reactions to each other. That was one of the best parts of Civil War, so I hope this movie will be funny.



Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Okay, that last movie was alright. Not great, but okay and a mostly fun B movie. This trailer is a lot more interesting because, as I’ve said before, I’m a total sucker for “dinosaurs in the city” movies. Cuz yeah, my first question was: Wtf is this dinosaur doing in this child’s bedroom? Yep, something has gone horribly fucking wrong here, and I wanna know what happened!

I’m gonna see if I can talk my Mom into going to see this, and Rampage because as far as I’m concerned ,you can never watch too many movies about giant monsters, rampaging through a city.



Westworld Season II

Okay, I actually am as excited for this as I am for Black Panther, the movie to which all other movies will be measured this year, apparently, as far as excitement levels. Fortunately for all of you, you can’t see me jitterbugging around in my seat right now, over this trailer.

But in conclusion, I would like to say:

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Mission Impossible: Fallout

I’m a big fan of this franchise, but what’s ironic about that is that I wasn’t planning to be. The movies just kept getting better, and Tom actually looks like he’s having a lot of fun in them. I like Tom Cruise okay, but I wasn’t a fan of the original series, or Tom Cruise, really.When his career first began, in the 80s, I couldn’t stand him, but he kept happening to  be in movies I liked, and I think that’s what happened here,and now I guess I’m a fan, since I’ve watched all his movies.   It didn’t hurt that he kept starring in these movies with some of my other favorite actors, like Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, and Laurence Fishburne. This new movie just looks entirely batshit, and stars Angela Bassett and Simon Pegg.




Okay, this is a good trailer, and makes me interested in seeing this movie, now. I was completely indifferent to the idea of a Han Solo movie, wondering why we needed this, and who was asking for it, but this really looks like fun, even if the lead actor looks cheesy. I still don’t know that I’ll go see this in the theater, but  I’m a little less worried about this movie sucking.



Castle Rock

I’m looking forward to this show, after the success of the movie IT. (Yes, I’ve seen that.) On the other hand, I’m dubious about this show, because The Mist sucked. Well, all I can do is give it a try and let you know what I think. It seems like it’s going to be okay, but then those Mist trailers were misleading, too. (I am glad to see that movies and television shows are remembering that Black people exist on this planet. That’s kinda cool.)



A Quiet Place

This looks intriguing…



Black Dynamite II

And now for something completely ridiculous…

I didn’t’ see the first movie until years after it was released, and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. I did feel an urge to laugh at it, but not quite. Well, I smiled at it, a lot. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. Maybe I’ll know how the heck I feel about after watching this sequel.



Best Scifi Costumes in Film

Barbarella (1968)

I watched this late one night, when I was a teenager, and the only things that really impressed me were, how badly the movie sucked, and how fun and funky the costumes were. I watched it because I was a huge fan of Duran Duran, at the time, and they said this movie was where they’d gotten their name from.

Barabrella, played by Jane Fonda, was an astronaut from the 41st century, who was sent through time to stop a mad scientist, named Durand Durand.

Now, you have to remember that outfits this skimpy were  liberating for women back then, and were a direct backlash against the severe conservatism of the fifties., where the agenda had been getting White women to go back into the home, after having been in the workspace, during the war.

Also, there was the breakdown of the movie studio system after the war which ushered in a new ways of approaching filmmaking, and new ways of depicting both men and women in film. You had the rise of new hotness, like Paul Newman, James Dean, and Sidney Poitier, and  a younger, more virile, casual male expression, to go along with the women’s skimpy attire.

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Oh, yeah, if you think the costumes were only skimpy for her:

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The Matrix (1999)

About every decade or so a movie is released that affects every other movie for the next decade, and The Matrix was it. This movie didn’t just affect other movies, like Inception, it affected politics, and inspired  real world events, and social movements, like the Columbine shooting, and the Men’s Rights Movement, which uses this movie’s dialogue of the red and blue pills, to fuel its agenda.


Oddly, what it did not affect was real world dress. Black people were already dressing this cool, so we didn’t need it, and whenever we saw White guys trying to dress like Neo, we laughed at them. But this shit looked great in the movie. Observe Neo’s, and the Twin’s monkish silhouettes, and Niobe’s bantu knots.

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Dune (1984)

I remember watching this about three years after its release, and loving the costumes. The stillsuits worn by the Fremen were very much exactly the way I imagined them, but I thought the movie excelled in its use of costumes for the female characters, especially the Bene Gesserit’s severe, nun-like, attire, which are reminiscent of the Middle Eastern Chador.

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I remember trying to imitate Jessica’s hairstyle in the bathroom mirror, a style which heavily reminded me of Rachel’s from Bladerunner, which had been released a couple of years earlier. This style is sort of like those 30s  Hollywood glamour shots, with a touch of Elizabethan silhouette thrown in:

Dune - Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica Atreides wearing a white pleated dress with ruffled collar, open work embroidered details on the gathered sleeves and white and silver vest with corset belt. The costumes were designed by Bob Ringwood. / via Chimaerman

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And who doesn’t remember this image?

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Pacific Rim (2013)

Okay, I liked the “nauts outfits just fine, but what I really fell in love with was Ron Perlman’s shoes. He played a disreputable character named Hannibal Chau, who also happened to be a snazzy dresser.

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The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

I’m not a huge fan of this movie, because it’s just not very good, but I will watch it anyway, as  Thandie Newton’s Dame Vaako wears some of the baddest, slinky dresses ever seen in a Scifi movie. No Black woman has ever looked that damn good in outer space.

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This reminds me of the slinky dress scene from Serenity:

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Bladerunner (1982)

I don’t think I even need to go into how influential this movie has been, not just on American Cinema, but Japanese cinema too, as Akira, and Ghost in the Shell are both direct stylistic offshoots.



The costumes were inspired by 1930s/40s neo-noir films, most keenly seen in Rachel’s costumes. Roy Blatty and Pris’ costumes were inspired by the burgeoning punk scene of the 1980s. Bladerunner’s costumes still manage to look cutting edge even in 2017.

Rachel’s broad shouldered silhouette was entirely in keeping with the eighties aesthetic, too. Lots of women were moving into male dominated workspaces, at that time, and were trying to fit in, in some cases, by out-men-ing the men, trying to appear intimidating, using pantsuits and shoulder pads, while also trying to appear feminine by wearing pink, large bows, and high heels.

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As for Rachel’s chinchilla coat. In the world of Bladerunner, it wouldnt be real, since the animals are probably extinct, and even the idea of  killing animals in that world is taboo.

“Chinchilla fur is amongst the most rare and expensive in the world. It takes 100-150 pelts for a waist length coat and at least 250 for a full-length coat.”

– — http://www.chinchillaguide.com/chinchilla-information/history-origin/

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Big shoulders, a cinched waist, and a short skirt was the female power suit of the 80s. Actually that silhouette has been the symbol of feminine power since the Renaissance:

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And these are the women’s work clothes during and just after the war, which Rachel’s outfits are loosely based on, with the cinched waist and big shoulders. As the men went off to war, women moved into the workspaces they left vacant, a parallel to the many women moving into the workspaces in the 80s.

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Rachel’s hair and makeup are straight out of 1930s Hollywood glamour shots:

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The Mad Max Franchise

The Mad Max franchise is also heavily influenced by the Punk scene of the 1980s, combined with the practicality of desert existence. In Thunderdome, and The Road Warrior, we can see the influence of American football in the giant padded shoulders on Auntie Entity’s guards, and most of the “warriors” in Road Warrior.

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The Valkyrie

Incidentally, the hairstyle shown, in the photo below, is called the Fish Spine, or the Mohawk.

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One of Auntie Entity’s men wears a Noh mask as a headdress. Notice the football pads everyone is wearing, and the loose interpretation of Ancient Roman battle helmets. Auntie’s chain mail dress,and stockings are unique unto themselves. There hasn’t been anything like it in film since. Tina Turner states the dress weighed more than  120 pounds.

From Rolling Stone Magazine, August 1985: “The dress Moriceau concocted for Entity is an expressionist classic: a seventy-pound soldered amalgam of dog muzzles, coat hangers and chicken wire, the whole overlaid with gleaming chainmail butcher aprons and accessorized with pendulant auto-spring earrings.

Her earrings were inspired by springs from a car part.

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Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

If you are seriously into costume, and want to know more about Queen Amidala’s fashions, then check out this book. It’s also one of the only ways you can get some idea of the  incredibly rich detail of the  fabric and decorations.

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Most of the costumes were desinged by Trisha Biggar, and were heavily influenced by several Ancient Asian cultures. This first one was  influenced by Mongolian culture, specifically the Mongolian wedding dress.. Its my personal favorite.

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‘These two designs have asian cultural inspirations. The color red, popular in east asian culture (esp. in China), symbolize traditional bridal colour, good luck, celebration, joy, vitality, long life, money, recognition, propriety… etc.’

—- https://hayochifabricfilms.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/queen-amidala-and-her-dress-inspirations/

This article also discusses the origin of the two little red dots on Padme’s cheeks, and the  inspiration for her white makeup.

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This outfit is clearly influenced by Japanese Culture. The headdress is influenced by a Roman battle helmet.

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The Fifth Element (1997)

This was one of Luc Besson’s first sci-fi movies, and it’s a classic. The clothing was designed by the French Designer Jean Paul Gaultier. The movie is kinda meh, for me personally, but the two stand out characters, that everyone remembers, are the non-binary, Ruby Rhod, played by Chris Tucker, and the alien opera singer, Diva Plavalaguna.

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The Black Panther (2018)

A Black woman is the designer for this movies Costumes. I’m loving what I’ve seen already, but I’ll wait until I’ve seen the movie to comment on the Costumes because there’s going to be a lot to say, and a lot of research to determine the cultural influences. There is nothing that you see on a movie screen that isn’t carefully planned, from Costumes to colors, to makeup, and hairstyles, and every single design element. If you can see it, it’s there for a reason, and has a purpose. The creators of these movies put a lot of thought and effort into these things, and I’d like to think they appreciate our appreciation.

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Next up in the coming couple of months: The Design and Themes of Bladerunner 2049, Black Panther, and the Design work of Guillermo Del Toro.


It Came From The Depths Of Tumblr

I love these little gothic themes on Tumblr. I was looking for articles about knitting and stumbled across a bunch of them, and decided to put them all in one place. I even added a few myself:

Knitting Gothic

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You tie on your next color and cut off the last one.  When your scissors snip shut, you think you hear a distant scream.  The next morning you think you hear sirens, but you’re too busy knitting to look outside.

You stop going to your knitting club because when your fellow knitters smile at you there’s too many teeth.  Too many.

The strand of yarn whispers between your fingers.  Sometimes you can almost understand what it’s saying.

You go to the yarn store to pick up more red yarn.  The dead-eyed employee that greets you says he’ll have to check if they have any left in the back.  The co-worker he grabs screams hysterically as he’s dragged away.

Your new yarn drips red all over your car seat.  By the time you get home it’s dry enough to work.

You don’t remember when you last felt the wind on your face, but sometimes you can feel it in the vibrations of the yarn that snakes across the windows throughout your house.

You only have a few more rows left to go.  The next day, you only have a few more rows left to go.  The next week, you only have a few more rows left to go.  Just a few more left to go.

You’re so eager to be done.  So desperate to be done.  When will you finally be done?

You open your mouth to scream, but no sound comes out, only yarn.  Always yarn.  You keep knitting.

  1. – K1 P1 K1 P1 K1 M1 P1 K1 P1 K1 P1 Sacrifice your first born K1 P1 K1 P1. Make sure to follow the pattern precisely.

  2. – You walk into the yarn store. Just one skein. You only need one skein to finish the sweater. You have the dye lot written down, marked on the original wrapper from the old skeins. You can’t find the dye lot. It never existed. It was never real. The arcane sigils mean nothing and pain your eyes to look upon.

  3. – The pattern takes a size 7 needle. Going through the roll, you have all but a 7. 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,10.5,11,12,13. There is no 7. You change patterns. The pattern takes a size 5 needle. Going through the roll, you have all but a 5. 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,10.5,11,12,13. There is no 5.

  4. – Finally, after years, you have found your way to Webs. No more will you buy your yarn from the big box craft store, you swear. As you reach for the 100% alpaca, it melts away. The sock yarn. The cashmere. The bamboo silk. They all fade away to nothing, leaving behind only Red Heart.

  5. – As the stitch drops, you can hear the screaming rush of the universe. The hole in your project grows larger and larger, a gaping maw that calls to you from the abyss. There is no escaping what you have wrought.

  6. – As you approach the counter to pay for your single skein, you look down and realize that you are holding two. Three. Yarn just appears in your hands. Money streams out of your wallet. There will only be yarn. You will be yarn.

  7. – You click to open your email. Ravelry opens. You click on Google. Ravelry opens. You click on Facebook. Ravelry opens. Finally, you click on Ravelry. Webs opens. Your cart is full.

You’ve been waiting for that yarn to come in stock for six months. It has not  been discontinued, but its never in stock. No one else has it in stock either. Is it even a  real yarn?

You dropped your ball of yarn on the floor and now you can’t find it. You know its in this room, because you had it in your hand a moment ago,  but it has  disappeared. It does not want to be found.

You have frogged this scarf three times because the stitch count keeps coming out incorrect. Even though you’re counting every stitch, and using stitch markers, every row is a different size.

When you bought the yarn in the store it looked green. Now that you’ve gotten it to your home it looks blue. You take it outside to see how it looks and its a dark brown. Exactly what color is it?

You have been knitting this scarf for two years. Its still not finished. It just needs two more rows, or one more row, or three. You’ve lost count of how many rows you’ve knitted. You have no idea how many more you need now, but the scarf isn’t done.


I am much  offended, too.


—– The real attraction are the layers, fam. The silky agility with which the show navigates generational black trauma and how it is mined/capitalized upon, is only matched by the stellar way they climax the episode. Hallelujah. Black Museum comes through like the Pell Grant of starter reparations. Black Museum talmbout they can’t give us the 40 acres but they gone slide us this refund check for That Work. Can we talk about the protagonist, Nish? How she’s instantly getting her jersey retired next to Daisy Fitzroy and Nairobi in the Ororo Munroe Fictional Black Women Hall Of Fame? Quite literally not the hero we deserve, but definitely the one we need


I;m always here for accredited dinosaur historicity:

Historical footage of the last T-Rex serving his country in WWl.

*But isn’t that a Jeep? And the T-Rex is holding a…Browning M2? Which wasn’t used until 1933…

So I think this footage is actually of WW2.

Many people think it’s historically inaccurate because the Tyrannosaur doesn’t have feathers, but a buzz cut is pretty standard for military personnel.



we need an authority on this

Totally accurate except that that Rex is a bit bigger so it’s actually a female Rex so she may have been pretending to be a male so she could fight. What an icon she is.


And more in Hollywood’s ongoing war against Asian/Middle Eastern people, and people’s reactions to that. This isn’t remotely funny but I find myself laughing really hard about this. It seems White people are getting just as exasperated with this as Asian people. It is becoming creepily obviuous that Hollywood does not like Asian people.


Most of Hollywood seems determined to die on this hill because our clear and growing preference for diverse casts is making them face the fact that no, they aren’t pragmatists catering to the whims of racists audiences, they’re just fucking racists


This infuriate me so much. It’s not even gratuitous, it’s actually costing them more to disguise white people as asians, it’s inevitably gonna cause a backlash, but hey! It’s worth it if it means fewer PoCs in this movie about middle eastern people, right?


I’m baffled how ANYONE thought this was a good idea like…I’m not shocked that Hollywood is racist, at all but this is 2018…you’d think that the people making this film would know that this would piss people off (And rightly so) and wouldn’t do this just to avoid bad PR if for no other reason…


I should not have found this as funny as I did:



More writing instructions for conscientious people. Just because you’re creating worlds where  there is no racism, doesn’t mean you don’t need an understanding of how racism works, if for no other reason than not unconsciously reproducing racist narratives in your work, Ask yourself, and research questions about how racism works, how it manifests, and how it affects marginalized groups:

Writing without racism: its more than “what”, its also “how”.

Its great that people are asking, “how can we write fantasy worlds without racism?”  Escapism in fantasy is almost impossible for marginalized people, because we’re usually the only ones who have to accept the same bigotries in-text as we do in real life, because its tied to someone’s “escapism”.  For them, we either have a lower place in society that they can openly exploit, or we shouldn’t exist at all.  We need to deal with abuse in order for them to accept that fantasy world as a viable setting.  But I have an issue with just leaving it at “lets keep racist text out of the stories”.

See, the problem with making worlds where there is no racism is that so many people haven’t quite figured out how to do that right. Its like they take this idea of “colorblind racism’ here no one sees skin color, hence its just  “coincidence” that all the black people are subservient, or that all the Asian women are submissive and tiny.

Some examples (using my context as a mixed black person who identifies as black in most settings):

  • They’ll make a world where no one ever utters a single racial slur but still will use the same anti-blackness we see in real life (i.e. whenever they make us mammies or sacrificial lambs, using terms like “dirty” or “demonic” to describe our appearance a la Lord of the Rings, etc.)
  •   Or they’ll make sure that no one ever says “people color should be slaves” but lo and behold, that’s pretty much all you see.  (Like in Exodus, or the earlier seasons of Game of Thrones).  And we’re the only ones who HAVE to take THAT subservient role or else we’re “ruining the accuracy”. And when you call it out they say, “well that what you all were” but they won’t get why that’s just as bad as if they’d just admitted, “Hey, this is pretty racist” from the start.
  • Or (taking from what I said up there) they’ll make people who look black, and are from a culture obviously based on black people, but still claim they aren’t black, because they would rather divorce blackness from their world, instead of admitting we can be complex characters who can carry complex stories (because they still haven’t unpacked their own problematic ideas about black people)
  • Or worse still, they’ll make an entire world based off of a culture belonging to a group of people who they won’t even include.  I.e. the whole issue with Firefly and Serenity, and again Exodus.
  • Or we’ll be turned into white people with special powers or pointy ears.  Racism becomes, “hey this girl has red hair instead of blond hair lets exclude her”.  Meanwhile since there’s “no real racism” they claim there’s no need for “real” people of color (i.e. the problem with Dragon Age).
  • Or they’ll do some “colorblind” setting where everyone is mixed, but well all be reminded that only Aryan features are seen as “rare” and “special” an they’ll treat the rest of our features (i.e. brown skin, ark eyes, dark hair, etc. ) as “meh”.

Your worlds aren’t “racism free” just because make sure no one says the n-word.

Unless you really make an effort to think critically about these things (which includes trying to avoid: dehumanizing marginalized people, failing to include them as a part of the storyline unless the story “calls for it”, reducing them down to “inspiration porn” or metaphors, making them interchangeable, using fictional creatures in order to representation them, while making all humans white by default, etc.) then you run the risk of just being all talk.


And to bring us full circle, have some knitting memes featuring Ryan Gosling. For some reason people decided to create a whole bunch of memes with Ryan Gosling saying “Hey girl…” after they found out he liked to knit. I have to admit I didn’t find these especially funny until after I saw Bladerunner 2049. Then I couldn’t stop picturing replicants in a knitting circle. Well, I am fond of mixing knitting with violence, I guess.


And some more general memes I thought were just funny:


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) Vs. … All The Rest

There have been three other iterations of the original 1956 movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Hollywood keeps rebooting this movie (in fact, there is yet another remake of this movie in the works), despite diminishing returns on its efforts. I blame this on a lack of understanding, by the last two directors, of the core themes.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

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The first film is based on Jack Finney’s novel of the same name, which was written in 1955. I haven’t read the book since I was a very young child, (like 9 or ten),  so I can’t speak to the authenticity of the plot vs. the book, but Hollywood has been fascinated with it for over six decades now, remaking it every twenty or so years, to less audience enjoyment.

The 1956 version was directed by Don Siegel, and starred Kevin McCarthy, and Dana Wynter. This version is very much a product of its time, so to understand its themes, you need to understand something about the era during which it was made.

A simplified version: Just after WW2, America and Russia were not on good terms with each other. The Russians were still reeling from the devastating 1941 German invasion, and America had just used its first nuclear weapons on Japan. So both countries were paranoid from the war, and shit talking each other in the media.

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During this time, the Red Scare, as it was called, was  ramped up to hysterical heights in the American media, by Senator Joseph MCCarthy. Called McCarthyism, there was increased paranoia that America was full of Russian spies, that they were everywhere,  and their goal was to destroy American democracy, and make America a communist nation.

American society was inundated by the media  ‘…with stories and themes of the infiltration, subversion, invasion, and destruction of American society by un–American thought and inhuman beings.’

… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Scare#Second_Red_Scare_(1947%E2%80%9357)

There were numerous congressional hearings, the federal government targeted Hollywood as the bastion of communist thought, popular actors were accused and blacklisted, careers were destroyed by even the smallest whispers of private disloyalty, people were encouraged to tell if any of their acquaintances were disloyal, and many of the movies from that time period reflected, not just the paranoia of the American government, but the fear that Hollywood actors  lived with, that at any time, they could be accused, and have to defend themselves against accusations of UnAmerican Activities. Just associating with the  accused, could put a person in the spotlight.

‘Some reviewers saw in the story a commentary on the dangers facing America for turning a blind eye to McCarthyism, “Leonard Maltin speaks of a McCarthy-era subtext.”[17] or of bland conformity in postwar Eisenhower-era America. Others viewed it as an allegory for the loss of personal autonomy in the Soviet Union or communist systems in general.[18]’The general consensus over the decades, is that the movie’s primary theme was anti-communism, even if the creators say there was no particular political allegory involved.

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In the movie, Dr,Miles Bennell is approached by patients who all claim their family members aren’t really them. Ironically, this is an actual mental illness known as Capgras Delusion, a psychiatric disorder in which a person believes that the people closest to them have been replaced by imposters. While investigating these delusions, he and his companions keep stumbling across pods, and duplicate bodies, and come to the terrifying realization that the delusion is all real, that humanity is being slowly duplicated and replaced by aliens spawned from seed pods.

The original story takes place in a small town in California called Santa Mira, and ends with the lead character, on his own, trying to warn the rest of the populace of the threat.The lead, Kevin MCcarthy, and the director, Don Siegel, both went on to make cameos in the 1978 remake.

The 1978 version manages not only to perfectly replicate the paranoia of the original, but build on it, by setting it in a large city, and  touching on themes of existential dread, mental illness, and urban isolation. It is, like the remake of The Thing, an exceptional example of a film remake.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers is regarded as one of the greatest film remakes ever made.[11] The New Yorker‘s Pauline Kael was a particular fan of the film, writing that it “may be the best film of its kind ever made”.[12] Variety wrote that it “validates the entire concept of remakes. This new version of Don Siegel’s 1956 cult classic not only matches the original in horrific tone and effect, but exceeds it in both conception and execution.”[13] The New York Times‘ Janet Maslin wrote “The creepiness [Kaufman] generates is so crazily ubiquitous it becomes funny.”[14]Related image

This version has an all-star cast of Veronica Cartwright, who had yet to star in the movie Alien, but had been the young star of Hitchcock’s The Birds, playing Nancy Bellicec. A very young, and handsome, Jeff Goldblum, as her husband Jack, whose career was just picking up speed.  Leonard Nimoy, who was still working against being typecast as Mr. Spock, plays Dr. David Kibner, Donald Sutherland is Matthew Bennell, a city health inspector, and Brooke Adams as his co-worker and best friend, Elizabeth Driscoll.

Yes, this is a remake, although McCarthy’s cameo, as a panicked pedestrian screaming about the alien invasion, in the same manner that the first film ended, has prompted some viewers to speculate that this is a sequel to the original film. (No.) All of the primary plot points of the original are replicated in this film, only writ large. Part of the success of this film is the skill, and charm, of the actors who are at the top of their game here, especially the relationship between Matthew and Elizabeth.

One of the more charming things in the movie is the genuine friendship between Matthew and Elizabeth, with more than a little unrequited love on Matthew’s part, although that’s never specifically stated. Elizabeth is already in a committed relationship with one of the first of the pod people, her dentist boyfriend. In any other movie, a romantic relationship between her and Matthew would be inevitable, but that’s not the focus of the film. It has other messages to convey.

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This version improves and embellishes on the original in ways that feel entirely natural, while keeping all of  the basic elements of the plotpoints of the original. When humans fall asleep, duplicate versions of them are birthed from pods, and the original body is destroyed. (So, yes, even though the duplicate has all the memories and thoughts of the original person, it is not them because  all of their the emotions are lacking, and the original body is dead.) The movie  manages to keep the mood and messages of the first film intact, while tweaking and embellishing the relationships and characters.

From  the opening moments, there is the theme of urban isolation, which is the opposite of the original’s theme, which focused on the closeness of a small-town environment, where everyone seemingly knows everyone, an environment which makes it all the more horrifying to find that people have changed, and that what was once known, is no longer. In the remake people are already unknown to one another, no one is really close in the city. This urban isolation is juxtaposed against the intimacy of Matthew and Elizabeth’s friendship, and their relationships to their friends The Bellicecs.

In the remake, the aliens are able to finish what they couldn’t accomplish in the first film. No one knows anyone in the city, and everyone lives in such small personal bubbles, that’s it easy for the pods to make significant inroads into the population. By the time Bennell finds out about the invasion, it’s already far too late to do anything to stop it, and it’s a just a matter of time until he, or one of his companions, falls asleep, and are changed.

I’ll have to do a more detailed review of this movie at a later date, because “I got some thoughts.”

Body Snatchers (1993)

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This version is set up as if it were a sequel to the second film, although none of the characters from the previous remake appear. Apparently, its a parallel story of the invasion, happening on some other front, and according to this movie, humanity is gonna lose, no matter how many pods get blown up at the ends of these films.

The 1993 version loses a lot of the atmosphere, and messages of the first two films, although it does make a game effort.  All of the basic rules of the first two movies, are kept in place. People fall asleep, duplicate versions of them come out of pods, and the original person is killed. This one takes place on a military base,  and there is a vague theme that the aliens are successful because of military conformity, or because people are unhappy, or something, but this isn’t clearly articulated.

Just as in the second film, the aliens get to speak for themselves, stating that pod-ification of humanity will solve all of its troubles, and the screaming and pointing stuff, from the previous remake is kept intact. The way a person is duplicated is every bit as disgusting, involving what appears to be large worms, but unlike in the first remake, it’s not entirely clear how the worms are draining a person’s life essence.

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You have to pay very close attention to infer the themes of this movie, and you are, more or less, left to guess what was the point. Unfortunately, paying close attention to the dialogue (which is actually not bad) brings the actors lack of skills to the forefront. Billy Wirth and Gabrielle Anwar are just bad, and many of the other characters already act like pod people before they get duplicated, so its hard to tell whether or not they’ve been replaced. These particular actors just  are  not in the same talent realm as those of the  previous remake. Theyre too young, for one thing, and simply don’t have the talent, or gravity, to carry this movie, although Christine Elise does turn in an engaging performance as the best friend of the lead character, Marti, played by Anwar.

The core plot is centered around the Malone family dysfunction, as Marti and her family, which consists of her, her father, her stepmother and her baby half-brother, have moved to a new military base. I think we’re meant to sympathize with Marti’s displacement and isolation, from her family, and her surroundings, where she has no connections or friends, and is angry for having to start all over again. I see the parallels the director was trying to make, but I  don’t think it was very successful, because Anwar’s performance is so bad, and she has an annoying, and unnecessary, voiceover, as well.

There’s some surprisingly sedate, and creepy, acting from R. Lee Ermey, from Full Metal Jacket fame, Meg Tilley, and even a cameo from Forest Whitaker, who gives one of the more compelling performances, as an officer who is terrified of being duplicated. Both Whitaker, and Ermey do a great job in their scene together, making you wish the movie had been entirely about them, and leaving out Marti’s family melodrama altogether. These three actors (Ermey, Whitaker, and Tilley) are the highlights in what is otherwise a mediocre film. It doesn’t begin to reach the heights of the previous one.

I get that the pod people are not meant to have strong personalities, but Tilley manages to imbue her pod-Mom with just enough personality to be really creepy, while the rest of the pod people don’t. There’s just all kinds of different acting across this movie, so the pod people don’t seem like so much as a unified group, as much as they seem like a bunch of people who have all been lobotomized.

This movie mostly stars a cut-rate cast, that is very obviously sub par to the 1978 version. Most of these actors, who were unknown at the time, continue to be unknown today, with the exception of the colonel played by Forest Whitaker, and Terry Kinney. who went on to star in the series “Oz”, for HBO, and Gabrielle Anwar later starred in Burn Notice, and Once Upon a Time. Billy Wirth (from The Lost Boys) stars as Tim, a young helicopter pilot, who becomes an unconvincing love interest for Marti. It seems that every body snatchers movie must include a, not-quite-romantic subplot.

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This movie differentiates itself from the first two by depicting the alien invasion from Marti’s point of view. She, and her friend Jenn, are the only two people on the entire base whose personalities seem to be intact.

While the film has some occasionally creepy moments, (as when Marti’s little brother first attends school, and we realize his entire classroom has been duplicated), it is rather lackluster, and  kinda disappointing. The duplication special effects don’t evoke the same fear and sadness that the process did in the 1978 version, the soundtrack isn’t as memorable as the city/heartbeat sounds of the previous movie, and the sonic screaming of the aliens in distress, is mostly all that’s left from the ’78 version. This was directed by Abel Ferrara, who went on to make more violent indie movies in the 90s, like Bad Lieutenant, and The Addiction.

The Invasion (2007)

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In 2007, the film was remade, yet again, this time directed by James McTeigue, and starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The atmosphere of this one is cool and emotionally detached, almost as if the viewer had been duplicated, rather than the actors. The messages and themes of this movies are even more vague and unstated, but a close reading suggests that the messages of urban isolation, and peace through conformity are still intact.

This time Dr. Bennell is a woman (Kidman) and there are some brief feminist themes mentioned because of this change. This time the film is from her point of view, but also viewed through the lens of a parental love, as she seeks to protect her son, who is immune to the effect of duplication.

Everything about the 1978 film is jettisoned from this movie except the occasional name, so this is a clear reboot. Even the aliens themselves get an upgrade. There are no pods in this movie, but rather a kind of sentient virus, brought to Earth from some space debris, like in the movie The Blob. Anyone who is infected with the virus gets possessed by a kind of alien collective, after they fall asleep, but their primary body is left intact.

Dr. Carol Bennell is a psychiatrist whose patients start to report that the people they love are not who they seem. Daniel Craig stars as her counterpart Dr. Ben Driscoll, and they too have a not-quite- romance type of friendship, which is about the only thing kept intact from the original films. Carol has a young son named Oliver who, because of a previous illness, is immune to the virus. The plot becomes a race against time for Carol to save Oliver from one of the pod people, her ex-husband, Tucker, who wishes to kill the handful of humans who are immune.

This is a better movie than the 1993 version, mostly because it has better actors, although I have never liked Nicole Kidman, considering her to be an actress who lacks enough warmth to be engaging. She is too formal and icy for me to care about her plight, or buy her relationship with Oliver, although she does give it some effort. She’s not a bad actress. She’s just too emotionally remote. This is something that worked well when she starred in The Others, but not here.

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In an effort to approach some of the mood of the 1978 version, McTiegue only makes the viewer feel detached , although there are some deeply creepy moments, like various pod people trying  to get people to drink various infected fluids, and a scene where one of the pod people vomits in Carol’s face to infect her,  along with a couple of exciting chase scenes.

One of my favorite moments in this film is when Carol, pretending to be one of the pod people, is invited to dinner by the possessed child of one her friends. While they’re eating you can hear snippets of news shows, in the background, as someone talks about the Middle East Peace Treaties that were recently signed. I feel like that type of political idea should have played a larger part in the plot. Most certainly the political situations of the entire world would change after humanity is possessed by an alien species, and I found that intriguing.

Another scene I found intriguing, was a scene on a bus, with Carol and several other passengers pretending to be possessed, because they don’t know who is or isn’t possessed. I thought it was a very effective scene. This scene also contains some of the few Black people with speaking lines, in any of these movies, (there is Jeffrey Wright, and a Black cop who gives Carol advice in an earlier scene) and I was intrigued at the possibilities of some highly imaginative future director making a movie about how  an alien invasion would affect PoC, and their communities. Would they notice, and would they care if they did? I would love to see a movie where an ethnic community’s reaction to such an invasion is unexpected, positive, or even ignored. There are 7 billion people on this planet and not all of the reactions we would get to  such an invasion would be “fight it out” with guns, and explosions.

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It’s unlikely I will ever see a film about people who have already experienced colonization by a foreign entity, experiencing a second colonization by another. Alien invasion movies are almost always from a  Middle class, White,  Western perspective, are almost always about White people’ s reactions to being colonized, it is always  coded as a negative, and it always involve fighting and explosions. One of the most intriguing lines from the 1978 version is Veronica Cartwright’s character asking why people always expect metal ships. What makes IotB unique is that it is one of the few alien invasions caused by space travelling spores.

Once again, there’s a cameo of an actor from a previous film, Veronica Cartwright, who probably should’ve been allowed to play Dr. Bennell in this one, because she’s the most emotionally accessible character in the movie. Daniel Craig is completely unmemorable in this movie, as a love interest, who is so removed, he barely affects the plot. He barely affects Dr. Bennell. Jeffrey Wright is  a scientist who comes up with a way to stop the aliens. He is never in any danger and is mostly wasted, as he’s only there to give exposition. (I suppose we should be grateful that he survives the movie.)

The themes of this movie are even murkier than the last remake, although I get the focus is on familial bonds. But again, the emphasis on rugged individualism, and its protection at all costs, is something very common in White Western filmmaking.

There is a new version of this movie in development, or so the rumor goes, and I’d like to see some of the above themes addressed in it, but I’m not holding my breath. Chances are, it will be written by, and from the perspective of a White middle-class urban professional, and just reiterate the same themes of paranoia, and the protection of individual identity that were addressed so well in the first two films.  These movies have become less effective over time, and one way of grabbing a new audience is by infusing it with different thinking. What I would like to see is this film, done by a PoC, and what messages they might have to convey.


Weekend Reading From Around The Internetz

 Some people were insulted by the following statement, but I thought it was pretty funny. The writer says that teaching with humor was his intention. 
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Yo! Black people! Listen up!

I already KNOW y’all gonna sneak food into Black Panther. How do I know? Cuz all my friends are. Cuz all my family will. Cuz I’M going to sneak food into Black Panther. I’m going to do that all five times that I see the movie. Cuz theater food is A: not good and B: too damn expensive.

That said, remember, some of us WORK in theaters. Which means that if we all leave our outside food trash in a theater, we’re going to see a lot of our family being fired. Yes, theater employees can get FIRED if they find our people snuck in food.

So first of all, don’t be obvious and don’t get caught. Second of all, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TRASH IN THE THEATER!

This doesn’t mean “don’t just put your empty bag of hot fries under the seat” (though, don’t do that either, act like you have a Mama). This means, do not put your outside food trash in the theater trash receptical. The bosses WILL see that and the employees WILL suffer for it.

Come on y’all, let’s not risk Black people’s jobs while supporting this movie.

Also, just a reminder to not bootleg this movie, and square up with anyone that does.


Black Panther Toy Ad

This is what’s so great about this ad, and about Black Panther in general. I love that they added a little Black girl to the ad, and let her play just like the boys. (Ftr, I have no objection the White boy in the ad, because Black Panther is for everyone to enjoy, and I sincerely hope everyone does. We like to be inclusive here at Chez Lkeke.)

Because characters of color have historically been relatively marginalized in movies, comics, and television, toys and commercials like this simply haven’t existed before which is a shame in and of itself but has deeper consequences. Oftentimes, the first step towards becoming a fan of something or part of a larger fandom is finding a character that you can relate to when you’re young and then seeing your relationship with them validated by the world around you.

Black Excellence & Woman Power Prevails In New Commercial For Black Panther Toys



This post elaborates on larger piece I wrote, about how White writers  tend to think of race,  and how that plays out in alien invasion movies, which is something I briefly touched on in my Invasion of the Body Snatchers reviews. White people have a tendency to believe they lack pathology, but a closer look reveals that much of their thinking plays out in the pop culture created by White, straight, cis-gender, men.


by Robin DiAngelo

Whites are taught to see their perspectives as objective and representative of reality15. The belief in objectivity, coupled with positioning white people as outside of culture (and thus the norm for humanity), allows whites to view themselves as universal humans who can represent all of human experience. This is evidenced through an unracialized identity or location, which functions as a kind of blindness; an inability to think about Whiteness as an identity or as a “state” of being that would or could have an impact on one’s life. In this position, Whiteness is not recognized or named by white people, and a universal reference point is assumed. White people are just people. Within this construction, whites can represent humanity, while people of color, who are never just people but always most particularly black people, Asian people, etc., can only represent their own racialized experiences16.


The above post is also connected to the idea of “Cousin Culture” among PoC, and is related to an article written by Damon Young, for The Root, titled : Do White People Have Cousins?

What is cousin culture, you ask? It’s existing in a family where:

  1. Cousins matter;
  2. There’s no real distinction between first, second and third cousins; and
  3. There are a few people who don’t share any blood with you but are your cousins, too, just because their asses are around all the time and you didn’t even know they weren’t technically related to you until you were, like, 25.




Link to Root.com Article:https://t.co/NREeovQyJD?amp=1

via @ BienSur_JeTaime on twitter


This post was part of a long discussion about racism in Tolkien’s works, whether or not Tolkien himself was a racist, how did this racism play out in his writings, and can Tolkien’s influence be blamed for so much of the racism to be found in fantasy settings. The Hobbit was written in 1937, and since that time, there has been a metric fuckton of  film and literature that was heavily influenced by Tolkien’s books. S

Tolkien may not have been an avowed racist, like H.P. Lovecraft, but like him he had a profound effect on fantasy literature, and he certainly had a blind-spot as regards race, as do most of the people writing in the fantasy genre, and their fans.

Please take the time to visit and follow:   for more on this subject.

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Hey guys my name is SomethingSomething MiddleInitial [Redacted] and today i’m gonna introduce you to the high fantasy world i’ve created! There’s lots of great diversity such as:
-White people that come in flavours of viking, merchant, and magical
-Tall elegant white people with pointy ears
-Short hardy white people with beards and axes

Looking for something other than white people? I’ve got you! On your left you can see:
-Savage, militaristic tribe coded as black or brown
-Honorable asian clan
-A race characterized entirely by negative jewish stereotypes

And don’t you worry: because i’m a coward i’ve also created a variety of non-human races that can be used as allegories for oppression without having to properly represent people of color in my work! You’re welcome!



In a morbid, kind of way it’s interesting to see how the  internalized racism in Tolkien’s time that went unchecked due to the white society he was born in continues to go unchecked and internalized in the Tolkien fandom by white fans today.

The racist tropes that he wrote into his books are quite obviously those cultivated from his time, and because of the time they were written in it was a little more…understandable that readers then  were unable to realize their problematic nature. But still in 2017 white fans are still oblivious (either by ignorance or on purpose) to the deeper racism in his works, and that’s kind of scary.

And a lot of it comes from the fact that the fandom is so “white” dominate, so racism is typically examined from a “white” perspective, where it is whitesplained (Ie: No black people in Middle Earth, which to be fair isn’t quite true).

White fans tend to see racism as “action” as in, you must be doing a racist thing for it to be considered racist, and if you’re not doing a racist thing then you aren’t racist, and fail to realize that in itself racism starts with a mindset rather than an action. So “subtle” hints of racism get ignored.

Instances of racism that would be recognizable by people of color are invisible to white fans only because they haven’t experienced it, and have already solidified a “white” view of racism.

That said, the fact that white fans are more willing to listen to other white fans about racism in Tolkien’s characters and fandoms then they are willing to listen to actual people of color is, I think, is another example of white washed racism in the Tolkien fandom.

Racism is valid when white people are talking about it, but annoying, discourse, or reaching when people of color are talking about it. Why is that so? When did we get to this point?

The fact that I’ve seen white fans talking about racism being more well received than me and other fans of color talking about racism is disturbing, especially for a fandom that’s supposed to be so liberal (but the majority of fans I’ve seen in Tolkien-Tumblr are all white women in their late 20s and above, and thus the award holders for white feminism. And they validate the 16 year old white girls who think a year on tumblr gives them a degree on social justice, so an unhealthy cycle is continued).

If you find yourself drooling over a white girl’s explanation of racism in Tolkien fandom but rolling your eyes when a fan of color talks about it, then you need to reevaluate your life. Because white girls only know surface racism, people of color live it.

And this goes back to my point of “white washed” racism, and even further to our non-liberal fandom. It’s almost disappointing to see that as a fandom, we haven’t really progressed past Tolkien’s traditional, imperialistic views as far as racism goes.

I think a lot of this has to do with white feminism. One of the reasons we consider ourselves a liberal fandom because we can talk about sexism. But that’s slave-time feminism if we’re suddenly unable to listen to fans of color do the same with racism.

And of course I’m not talking about all white people in the Tolkien fandom, but it’s not very many that are not like this.

In my own experience I only know a handful.


#Ask me about how literally no one noticed “black men are raping our women” was being perpetrated in the way Tolkien wrote the Eöl story#How the only canonically non-white elf was treated in the narrative.#How the only cases of domestic abuse was – you guessed it! – between a non-white man who “forced” white women to marry them#The Silm is full of that shit#Which is why I like writing fanfiction to turn that all on its head#Wow. Am I *SUPER* salty over Tolkien fandom tonight. Must be the drink. XD#Tolkien fandom

@lunarymagic   I literally wrote an Entire Meta of Eol/Maeglin’s narrative and how it’s basically playing on racist tropes that are used to demonize men of color by making them demonize white women.


When people are criticizing Lord of the Rings for not having POC in them, it’s more of a criticism on Jackson rather than Tolkien himself, considering Tolkien does have people of color in his works (and elves too).

But  the weird part about this is “die hard “ Tolkien fans are the ones defending Jackson’s whitewashed version of the film, despite the fact that there are canonically poc in Tolkiens works.

So like, that’s how you spot racist fans I guess? They’re die hard until someone asks why poc–which are in canon–are erased from Jackson’s portrayal? Suddenly it’s all “well its based off of norse mythology” or some bs like that despite the fact that a) it’s based off of other cultures and b) canonically Tolkein has POC in it.

So you’re “die hard” for the story, but you conveniently forget that there’s poc in it? In fact you’re so adamant about being anti-poc in his works because you’re such good fans?

I mean do yall Tolkienites defending Jackson’s white washing on the basis of it being “european” forget that some of its based off of ancient egypt? But you’re still the ones losing your shit over black elves and people? And just poc in general? I don’t get it.

Like you’re die hard until it gets a little too colorful for you. Why are you like this?

Not just white men, but white women in the Tolkien fandom as well. White feminism is a huge issue in the Tolkien fandom, and white women are the main culprits.

White men may be some of the more aggressive, as far as saying who and who doesn’t belong in story, and overall are behind the white washing.

But white fans that are women are the silent culprits who often uphold and validate racism behind the guise of feminism, which is often just white feminism.


Yeah, never let women off the hook for this shit. Or people who aren’t het, for that matter. Transformative fandom in general, AO3 in particular, is overwhelmingly made up of women, most of whom are white, and a good majority according to their polling do not identify as cishet. And it is a cesspool of white prioritization everywhere you look. Women did that all on their own with little to no male influence.

Anyway. They’re like that because they’re used to media centering on characters who look like them and they’ve been conditioned to believe that the whitewashing of history by.the film industry is accurate.

And really? Middle Earth, especially as portrayed by Jackson, has that “simpler times” brand of nostalgia for a time when white people didn’t have to worry about the rights of Black and brown people, it was out of sight, out of mind. Middle Earth being all white (except for otherized, threatening, rarely seen races) is part of the fantasy for a lot of people.



Representation Matters


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So I’ve been overwhelmed by the black panther comicon appearance and I’ve been dwelling on how revolutionary the black panther movie is going to be, what it’s going to mean to countless people when this movie comes out and how long we still have to go, So I decided to put this short photoset together to illustrate exactly how big of a deal it is and how it is bigger than one person.

it’s so bittersweet because when I was younger (especially growing up where I did, a black kid in Finland) I really wished I had more access to imagery and media that reflected who I was because it would have made my life radically different for the better and I wouldn’t be at 26 (STILL) doing damage control but on the flipside, I’m so in awe of all of the beautiful talent in 2016 that younger black kids are able to see and be inspired by.

I think I was like 4 years old when I conciously picked up race and color via watching Disney’s “Aladdin” and I noticed how Jafar, the evil royal guards etc the villains were more ethnic looking or a shade darker than the “good” characters.

it’s insidious because you’re seeing something but at age 4, you don’t have the comprehension skill or knowledge to break it down and see it for what it is (Colorism, Societal bias against black people which is rooted in centuries of white supremacist doctrine, society associates things that are dark/darker colors with evil, danger, ugliness, dirt etc) and reject it.

so you pick it up and see it on a surface level and you think to yourself “well darker must mean ugly, criminal and less human”…then what happens when you look at yourself in the mirror and find out that you are black?

  how is that going to impact how you see yourself?

and guess what? if a 4 year old black kid can pick that up and internalize that about him/her/themselves….then a white kid can sponge up the same language and imagery that dehumanizes black people too (subconciously/conciously)…what happens when when these people grow up? become teachers, doctors, law enforcement etc? what kind of impact is that going to have?

I’m going off on a tangent and that’s just one personal example but society does that on a global grand scale and it is largely unchecked.

but honestly though,look at the photoset and think about how many talented people out there that we love and respect….who would NOT have achieved the things they did if it wasn’t for another person before them inspiring them to reach their goals and acting as trail blazers when it seemed as though it was impossible….then think about the flipside and how many people, with all the potential in the world, never lived to become great because they were met with more images dehumanizing them than ones uplifting them…this is why the fight for HONEST representation is important and it continues.

argh, I didn’t plan on typing anything but I got in my feelings after watching this again

…anyway, here are some pictures to make you smile, the next gen gives me hope



Forthcoming Posts (Maybe?):

I’ve decided to wait for the DVD release of Blade Runner 2049 to do the second part of my review.

I’m going to wait for a couple more episodes before I review The X-Files, and 911. Black Lightning, Electric Dreams on Amazon, The Magicians, The Alienist, and something not really on showing up anyone’s radar, unless they have Starz, called Counterpart, which stars J.K Simmons..

A review of first half of season 8 of The Walking Dead.

The use/themes of fashion in movies and TV, the best TV/Movie costumes, and a post on “Movies I loved but y’all hated”.

I hope to get a lot of these done, along with posts about the importance of  the movie Bebe’s Kids, The Thing vs. The Thing, Hannibal the series: Season Three, and more Star Trek Discovery.

I’ve found it’s more helpful for me to watch a batch of episodes of a show, and then review it, rather than trying to catch individual episodes. It’s probably best not to pay too close attention to my promises, anyway  though. I’ve often found my ambitions to be greater than my time.

Lil’V aka Viv Lu

just someone writing fiction and giving opinions

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