Ghostbusters (2016) and Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey(2020): No Man’s Hero

I’ve observed that there’s a subset of films that certain kinds of white men insist on hating, and I have a theory about why. I am speaking outside of some of the bad-faith arguments and hot takes I’ve seen on social media, where some people simply write whatever critical nonsense will get them clicks. In the past ten years, we’ve seen more women-directed action films and other content, and while there isn’t enough content to establish a clear pattern for how women direct movies, I have noticed a couple of trends about where women directors’ priorities lie when creating stories. In much of the content created by women there are few, if any, male heroes for the audience to look to, and for some men, if the content isn’t about them feeling good and/or powerful, then it’s essentially worthless.

I’m apparently one of the only five people who think fondly of the 2016 version of Ghostbusters, which isn’t to say I hate the originals. I love the original films, even though parts of them have not aged well. I was a teenager when they were released, and I thought them very enjoyable, well-made, fun, and funny. I’m also one of only five people who thought the sequel was funnier, even though the Stay-Pufft Marshmallow Giant from the first film is iconic! But I enjoyed the new version too. I thought parts of it were deeply funny, and some parts were, just like in the first two movies, kind of cringe. I thought Patty, like Winston, the only Black Ghostbuster, was terribly used (I keep wanting to find things wrong with her character but Leslie Jones made the absolute best of what she was given) and I like that her “Uncle” turned out to be Winston (Ernie Hudson)! I also liked the other cameos from the original actors. There is one thing that a lot of men might have unconsciously clocked, in both this movie and the 2020 Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey movie, which starred one of my now favorite actresses, Margot Robbie.

In the 2016 Ghostbusters, all of the men in the movie are either angry schlubs like the villain, ridiculously incompetent, screaming cowards, bullies, or total morons like Kevin and the Mayor, and incerdibly, in the case of Abby’s former boss, all of the above! There’s not a man in this movie who comes off looking especially good, not even in the cameos. They may be funny, but none of the men are brave or heroic, making it is a lot harder for straight white men to project themselves onto these mediocre, everyday villains, who engage in typical run-of-the-mill misogyny, foolishness, and self-aggrandizement, because there’s no power fantasy element for them to latch onto. The narrative gives the audience no choice but to see the women as heroes, and some men simply aren’t capable of that.

No man wants to identify with those kinds of villains. The men of these movies are distinctly NOT likable, powerful, or cool, on any level, which can be the kind of movie you get when women are the ones calling the shots behind the camera, (although, it must be noted that Ghostbusters 2016 is directed by a man).

For the last hundred years of cinema, most movies have been made by, for, and about straight white men, the things that interest them, and make them feel and look good. This includes the way they think the world is, how they see others in relation to themselves, fantasies of how they’d like to be seen, and how men are supposed to behave to be considered masculine. Not that there haven’t been sniveling villains and toadies in movies, but they were always offset by the strong and powerful hero, or the tall and cool-headed-under-pressure white guy, who dresses well, drove the fast cars, used the best weapons, engaged in the best ultra-violence, and got the best women Sometimes even the villains were enviable. They were powerful men who wore black, got the best lines, had the hero on the ropes before being defeated, and in some cases were forgiven their trespasses before being redeemed.

Straight white men were the audience at which these movies were aimed and they were easily able to project themselves into the characters. For some men, seeing so much of who they wanted to be (or thought they were) onscreen, or sometimes just the consumption of these idealized images of masculinity, became an identity in and of itself.

“I am who I am because of the media I consume.”

What happens when a piece of media gets remade or updated and you’ve been excluded from it? What happens when the media that created your identity is no longer interested in you as the audience or doesn’t pander to what you want? What happens when those movies that used to give you sexy bodies, with lots of ass and boob shots, aren’t interested in showing you any of that? What happens when there’s no straight white man in the story to see yourself as? That you can latch onto? What’s the real message behind these men’s cries about their ruined childhoods?

The villain in Ghostbusters makes it clear why he is doing what he’s doing. He is an unlikeable bully who wants to destroy the world because, despite a wealth of media that teaches how wonderful utterly mediocre men like himself are, he doesn’t think humanity has been properly kissing his ass. He is a narcissist who thinks he’s the only person who has ever been disrespected by society, which is lightly addressed in one of his scenes with Abby, where he states that no one is as disrespected as he is, and Abby chimes in, that as women, they get disrespected all the time. In fact, the movie shows all the women being disregarded, talked over and/or down to, disagreed with, bullied, and blatantly disrespected multiple times by all the other men in the film. The villain gives what he thinks is a grand speech about how the world needs to be destroyed, but the entire speech can basically be boiled down to “everyone was mean to me, and that hurt, so I want to see everyone suffer”. It’s not some grand design, a pitch to solve one of the world’s problems or even an intent to rule. It’s just petty revenge against a world that hasn’t properly kissed him up. Contrast his decision against the mistreatment of the women, and their decsion to save the world instead.

If you were a straight white man who has spent his entire life having his sensibilities and power fantasies coddled by such films you wouldn’t think this movie was funny either. Many of the funniest jokes are at men’s expense and the humor must feel nasty when it strikes just a little too close to home. In films like Harley Quinn, Ghostbusters, Turning Red, Carrie, Jennifer’s Body, and The Eternals – all movies helmed by female directors, male audience members are not given a choice about who to identify with in the story.

In Harley Quinn, the two primary male villains of the movie are not romanticized villains. It would have been difficult for certain kinds of straight white men to project themselves onto Black Mask and Mr. Zsasz, not because of the homoerotic tension between them, (although that is a factor), but because the violence the two of them engaged in wasn’t choreographed to make them look powerful. For example, when Black Mask sexually assaults a woman at one of his nightclubs the scene isn’t romanticized or fun. it is not shot with the titillation of the male audience as its priority. It is filmed in such a way that makes it uncomfortable for men to want to see themselves in his character.

In Harley, the nightclub scene is shot in closeups to focus on the face and reaction of the victim, the horror and embarrassment of the people around her, and the scene is not lovingly shot with closeups of Black Mask’s glee. He is not positioned as powerful but standing on the floor, below the eye line of the character he is bullying so that he has to look up at her. He shows no joy at what he is doing, just petty anger and spite. In fact, throughout the entire movie, Roman is never shot from a position of power, where he is shown towering above adversaries, but almost always at head height, even with those who work for him. He is shown as a small, weak, petty, stupid, vain, and occasionally incompetent villain, and he is never depicted in any other way, even when he is being violent. His violence isn’t quietly enjoyable and doesn’t show his dominance over others as anything other than needy and insecure.

Contrast that scene with the one in the first Suicide Squad film when Joker shoots a man who was lusting after Harley. The focus is on Joker’s power as he protects a commodity (Harley) that belongs to him. The scene is shot with closeups of the Joker’s face as he stands over his clearly terrified victim, a Black man, (being shown standing above another character’s eye line is always a power position) and the focus is on his glee at killing this man. Joker, terrorizing, and killing this supposedly tough Black tatted-up gangbanger is a pure white male power fantasy. The male audience members at whom this movie was aimed were meant to identify with The Joker and his sense of dominance.

In Harley Quinn, Black Mask does enjoy the horrible things he does, but that is not what the camera focuses on. Instead, we see the harm to his victims and get closeups of his face as he states rather petty reasons for hurting them. He makes no lofty speeches for the violence he commits. Like the villain from Ghostbusters, he espouses no grand philosophy justifying his behavior, and the one time he tries, Harley, speaking for the audience, tells him to shut up. He spares the life of a child of one of his rivals only to change his mind and kill her moments later because she was crying and he thinks snot bubbles are icky. Cathy Yan, the director, shows him for exactly what he is, a vapid, none-too-bright, bully.

I’ve spoken before about my mistrust of white male reviewers when it comes to popular media that is aimed at marginalized audiences. That they often do not know how to critique media that is aimed at other audiences, and too much of the media they consume that is aimed at them involves straight white male power fantasies, which they don’t question. Much of my distrust comes from the many bad faith arguments I’ve encountered, that critique the source material by saying it panders to a marginalized audience, like the complaint that all lead female characters are Mary Sues. First, as if it’s a given that Mary Sues are a bad thing, and second, as if thousands of movies hadn’t also been made that centered white male power characters. What they really seem to be saying, as was stated by one of the critics at a website called CinemaBlend, regarding Pixar’s 2021 animated film Turning Red, “I can’t see myself in any of these characters, and it was exhausting to try, therefore, the movie is no good.” (That movie prominently features a second-generation immigrant Chinese-Canadian girl.)

This is also where unconscious bias comes in as well, where people don’t like something but have failed to examine why they might have antipathy towards it. Narratives aimed at marginalized audiences, (like PoC, the gay community, or white women) many times don’t feature white men in the center of the story. The story isn’t about them, and their points of view and sensibilities are not given priority. White men, if they are included at all, are side characters, and/or given negative qualities with which no man wants to identify. There is a type of white male fan that is used to men like him being shown as power fantasies who can harm whoever they please with impunity, or heroic characters that save lives, and I don’t actually have a problem with that. This isn’t a condemnation of such characters, as I’ve enjoyed plenty of movies with them, but I also enjoy movies where women and PoC get to have power fantasies (Black Panther), save the world (Ghostbusters), or sometimes just themselves (Captain Marvel). This particular contingent of men wants ALL of the stories to be about them because that’s the way it’s been since the inception of film.

I suspect that these men are not just unhappy to have a movie centered around female characters’ points of view, so much as that there are no male characters in the story that they would want to be like. Movies like The Batman have the kind of heroes and villains who are sympathetic, onto whom they can project their personal desires. Even in a movie like Wonder Woman, there is a least one heroic male character that is central to the plot, even though the movie is titled Wonder Woman or Mad Max Fury Road where all of the male characters are shown as powerful, but unattractive, narcissistic, and cruel except for the two who are redeemed by the end of the film by being shown as heroic.

These critics seem much more able to project themselves onto a villainous character if the villainy is justified, romanticized, or fun, especially in movies like Joker, The Dark Knight, and Avengers Endgame. In films where the violence engaged in by the villain isn’t romanticized, like Birds of Prey and the female-led Ghostbusters, it’s difficult for such viewers to empathize with them. After all, they’ve been watching movies and TV series on, what the Sci-fi author John Scalzi calls, The Lowest Difficulty Setting. Unlike the rest of us, who have had to do it our whole lives, they have never been challenged to see themselves in characters that don’t look like them.

Part of it was getting out of the content what we could, and the other half was not looking to the consumption of that content around which to form an identity. That’s what too many of these men did and look how they are behaving now that this type of content no longer caters exclusively to them. The type of media they consumed WAS their identity, and that is changing, so how do they know who they are now.


For every one of these types of critics, there are plenty of white men who can see themselves in different characters (like Miles Morales, Shuri from Black Panther, and Captain and Ms. Marvel). They seem to enjoy the experience, and I enjoy and appreciate many of their well-thought-out critiques of these properties.

Explanations of how representation matters falls on deaf ears for some critics, though, because the only representation they’re interested in is their own. They want things the way they want them and think they can troll creators, and terrorize actors on social media into getting what they want, but the corporations that produce these entertainments are businesses (as they kept telling the marginalized when we demanded representation), and they are not going back to the way things were before. They have discovered that appealing to our demands for adequate representation is much more lucrative than acceding to the loud demands of a small (and aging) population of straight white American men (after all, we kept telling them that if they make it, we will watch). Disney has already learned that if the representation shown is merely adequate they can make millions, but when it’s excellent and well thought out, they can make billions.

In fact, the idea that such movies were not internationally successful was debunked by Bob Iger and Kevin Feige at Marvel Studios, and all of this was well documented in the press:

Ghostbusters was released in 2016, and thanks to this loud minority there will never be a sequel to a movie that, while far from perfect, improved on the weaknesses in the original stories. A few years later the same tactics that were used to destroy the reputation of the Ghostbusters remake were attempted on the movies Black Panther and Captain Marvel and failed. Both movies made billions internationally. This has encouraged the Disney Corporation to continue with its Phase 4 and 5 plans in the MCU, almost all of which focus on women and characters of color.

In Defense of The Village



For the me, there’s more than a movie just being good or bad, whatever that means, because,  as a Black woman, I am not the audience for a lot of movies that get made, so I have to find different ways of connecting to a movie. In doing so, I  sometimes  find gems where others don’t, or end up liking  movies others are set on hating (and yeah, sometimes a movie just stinks.) On this blog, I’m not necessarily here to tell you what to like. That’s a reviewers job, and I’m not actually a reviewer, although I do reviews. I consider my job to provide a fresh perspective on a movie, a way you may not have thought of before, so that the next time you come across it on TV or Netflix, you’ll remember ,and give the movie a try, maybe see it with fresh eyes.

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I’m going to talk about two films that were hated by its critics, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, and (in the next post) Shyamalan’s After Earth. I see value in these films that other critics don’t because they are not looking at these films through the same lens that I’m using. (Caveat: Some of them don’t have the luxury. They are film reviewers and must go see movies I can happily reject. I can pick what I want to see, so I can remain positive about a lot of movies, in a way they may not be able to.

These movies resonated with me on an emotional level, and because of that, I am reluctant to say that they are “objectively” bad or good, which is a favorite word for armchair movie reviewers on Youtube. I’m not saying movies can’t be considered bad or good, but often that those words are sometimes wrongly used to describe movies that just did or didn’t emotionally resonate with the viewer, or did or didn’t do whatever the viewer wanted the movies to do. This doesn’t always mean the movie was bad. Sometimes it just means the viewer wasn’t the audience for that movie, or just didn’t get what they wanted out of it because of the critical lens through which they watched it. I have sometimes found that a movie isn’t actually  bad, but that the reviewer had very different criteria for liking it, or viewed it through a very different lens than I did.

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For that reason, I generally avoid hate- watching movies and shows. I want to like what I see, and if I dislike something, I try to have a concrete reason behind why I didn’t. But sometimes I don’t have a reason. Sometimes, I simply wasn’t in the mood to watch it at that time, and when I come back wearing a different emotional, or critical lenses, I may enjoy it, as was the case with  the movies Ravenous,  The Descent, and My Cousin Vinny.

Sometimes, I will develop an undying hatred of a movie, such that no amount of lens polishing will allow me to enjoy it, like the movie Prometheus. This doesn’t mean that Prometheus was a bad film. It just means it was exasperating for me to watch it, and someone else might get enjoyment out of it. If you like it that’s great. If you can clearly explain to me why you do, I’ll watch it again, with your lenses on, and try to see what you saw in it. On the other hand, and as I’ve said before, just because critics hate something doesn’t mean I’m not going to like it, such was the case with Suicide Squad, and just about any movie by Zack Snyder.

I have also seen  situations where public opinion on a movie changes over a length of time. Movies that were panned when released were, in time, lauded as being the best whatever of their genre, and I have found that I’m usually correct in having loved the film at that time. As a result, I’ve gotten pretty confident about my taste in movies, (and dismissive of critics ideas about movies I happened to enjoy), because I usually get proven right, at some later date. This happened with a number of eighties films, (The Thing, and  Bladerunner, for example), that were disliked at the time, only to be considered Classics of the genre, twenty and thirty years later. (No, I didn’t hate E. T. I was indifferent to it, at the time, and still mostly am.)


The Village

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I love stories and characters, and movies are just another way to tell stories. I  get into a movie through its characters. I have to like them. I’m also attracted to certain types of stories, but it’s not the minutiae of the story, like pacing and technical aspects, so much as what type of story, and if it’s an appealing story to me. I tend to love GRAND ROMANTIC stories. Not stories with romance in them , but stories with huge, grand, idealized philosophies, and if I see that in the story, chances are I will probably love the movie.

And this was the case with The Village. Yes, it does have a romance in it, but it also contained wider, broader themes about the human condition, that just appealed to me personally, (because ultimately, any movie experience is deeply personal). When this movie was released, it was panned by everyone, with some people jumping on that bandwagon because they hated the director, who started his career as a media darling, but public opinion  turned on him, after a series of failed films.

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When I’m watching a movie, I’m mostly concentrating on how the movie made me FEEL. When I’m reviewing a movie, I ask myself different questions that help me evaluate what the movie means to me, what did I like in the movie, what was it about the movie that resonated with me, and why did I feel that way. From the micro, to the macro.

What is the point of the story? What is the theme of the movie?

Things can get complicated, just at this one point. According to the trailers for The Village, most of the people walking into the film expected it to be a horror movie, and they focused on the idea of monsters because that’s what the trailer told them to focus on. But the movie was not about scary monsters, and a lot of the audience walked away disappointed. Rather than accepting what was given to them, they focused on what they were not given: monsters. I wanted monsters too, because that’s what I was told would be in the movie, but finding out there was no monster was a pleasant surprise for me.

The Village is not a horror movie, in the strictest sense of the word, and apparently,  I was one of the few people who were okay with that at the time. I didn’t leave the theater upset because  I didn’t get to see monsters. Would I have liked the monsters in the movie to be real? Sure. But The Village turned out to be deeper than I expected. It had a grand, overarching, theme that resonated with me. It’s a meditation on unrequited love, grief, and loss, and I was pleased that I got that instead. If one disregards the trailer, than the movie accomplishes exactly what it set out to accomplish.

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I  try to walk into a movie viewing experience with only loose expectations, like, “What type of story is it?” and “Will this be entertaining?” Based on what I think the movie may be about, I try to go in open to anything that may happen in it, without trying to place my agenda (what I want the story to do for me) onto the movie. But I do want to feel something, while I try to keep in the forefront of my mind, what is the creator trying to tell me, what do they want me to know, and what purpose might that serve.

What I  expect, on the most basic level, is to be emotionally moved by the characters, and entertained by the plot. I’m going to go wherever the movie wants to take me, and accept whatever scenery I’m given. I don’t worry about plot holes, or pacing, or musical cues, and stuff, (although, if I notice them and like them, that’s a huge plus, like with the movie Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse). Was the movie entertaining? Did I stay engaged the entire time? Was there a point to the story? Later, I can ask myself deeper questions like why was it entertaining for me, or what was it about the movie that made it fun for me, or scary, or funny.

What you should always ask yourself is: What did the story do for you?

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The story in a movie is like being on a driving tour. That tour has a theme,  sometimes several. The driver is the storyteller, and he/she directs the action, decides where we’re going to go, and what we’ll be seeing on the tour. The characters onscreen are the other passengers on the tour, or just some people on the scene.  I like the other passengers, and  I enjoy watching them do things I didn’t expect, and see things I wouldn’t have found on my own. Sometimes the other passengers are terrifying, but it’s okay because they can’t actually hurt me.

If I think it’s a Horror movie, (if the driver has told me I’m going to be scared on my trip), I expect the journey to scare me. If I wasn’t scared, then the driver lied to me, but if I was given more than  just a scare, I consider that a bonus. That was the case with The Village. I was told (although I was not told that by M. Night Shyamalan/The Driver, himself, but a third uninvolved party, the people who made the trailer and marketed the movie), that I would be scared, and I was a little bit, but at the same time, the journey was worthwhile because of the movie’s other elements. I got something deeper, and much more unexpected, than just a scare. As I said before, I like Horror movies to have something extra, whether its romance, or comedy, or intellectual depth.

If I have been lead to believe it’s an Action movie, then I expect to see thrills, and spills. If a movie delivers on its basic foundation, but adds something extra, I can and will overlook all manner of faults, like plot points, pacing,  bad characters,  timing, or even whether or not it delivered on what I expected.This was the case with Suicide Squad, a movie critics absolutely hated, but I (and a bunch of other people) really enjoyed. Why? Because I genuinely liked the characters, who did exciting and interesting things on screen. I enjoyed their interactions with each other, and I liked a lot of the action scenes, which were just plain fun. There are a lot of perfectly legitimate criticisms of this movie, but the reason I love it is because it was a really fun trip, and other people’s problems with the movie were not enough to keep me from enjoying it.

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What is the theme of the film? What is its message?

Understanding the message of a film often requires multiple viewings. There’s the initial impression, and based on whether or not I liked my initial impression, there will be multiple viewings, which will allow for greater insight. My mind is just really, really, good at recognizing patterns. That’s all it is, and anybody can develop that skill. I do it through lots of repetition.You cannot gain greater insight into a movie with only one viewing, because the insights  are often in the details you didn’t notice that first time. If there is something  I didn’t care for in my initial impression (like all the characters being unlikable), there are unlikely to be repeat viewings.

This also ties into how my mind works as a visual artist/illustrator.  When I first watch a movie, its from a kind of  overhead viewpoint. I get into the emotions of the movie, the characters, and the overall plot. Subsequent viewings allow me to focus on the finer details. Later, I will fit those tiny details into larger and larger patterns. It’s really like putting together a puzzle. You see the finished picture on the box,  and you like it. You sort the pieces and then  put them together to create that final picture, (sometimes that final picture may be part of an even larger picture, as well.)

The messages I got from The Village were about love, sacrifice, and grief. It’s  a story about LOVE, with parallel tracks chronicling different types of love, such as romantic,unrequited, sacrificial, and possessive.. There’s the romantic type of love between Lucius and Ivy, the tragic love between their parents, Walker and Alice, and the possessive love that Noah feels for Ivy.  Ivy and Walker are examples of sacrificial love, as they are both willing to sacrifice their peace to save Lucius’ life. Ivy endangers her life for Lucius, and Walker is willing to allow Ivy to leave (and possibly lose her) because he loves Alice, Lucius’ mother.

At the beginning of the movie, Ivy’s sister declares her love for Lucius, but is rebuffed because Lucius prefers Ivy. There is a contrast in how Ivy’s sister reacts to unrequited love, which is sacrifice and moving on vs. Noah’s reaction, which is possessive violence. And then there is the unspoken love between Ivy’s father, and Alice. This is unrealized love. The two are in love, and according to the rules of the society they created, can never  be together.

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There is familial love between Ivy and Walker, and  Lucius and Alice. This type of love is emphasized through the character’s reactions to loss and grief. There are also  all the missing family members that the other characters mention, the loss of family that spurred them to run away from the world, to form a “utopian” society where they believed grief could not touch them. The movie opens with a funeral, and the death of a child. Grief can still access their lives. The pain is still going to happen, for example, witness how many times we see  shots of empty chairs throughout the movie.

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An empty chair in a movie scene is often meant to represent a space where someone should be. In this movie, the empty chairs, usually situated on porches, (or at dinner tables), which are, traditionally the site of familial gatherings, are meant to represent  the absence of loved ones. The entire movie carries a mood of unspoken grief and melancholy, which is only alleviated by its hopeful ending. The Elders of the community fled to The Village because each one of them has experienced the tragic loss of a family member, and  the point of the movie is that they cannot run away from loss or pain. The scattered, empty chairs are a constant reminder of their loss.

Critics and audiences completely turned against Shyamalan and started denigrating all of his films for not being as good as his first film, The Sixth Sense. They went into his next movies expecting all of them to have  surprise twists, and they do have surprise twists, just not the kinds of twists that were expected. (To be absolutely fair, Shyamalan definitely made some questionable film choices, though.) In the case of The Village, audiences were expecting a Horror movie, but since the monsters turned out to be false, some people decided that the movie was no good, because the trailer fooled them into thinking the monsters should’ve been real.

Many of these people failed to realize that the surface levels of Shyamalan’s movies are often not the point of the film, anyway. What appears to be the primary plot is often simply a backdrop for the telling of a different story altogether. The point of this movie isn’t the monsters. The  basic plot is just a backdrop for the examination of love and grief, just as the point of the movie Signs, isn’t the alien invasion. The alien invasion is simply a backdrop against which is being told the story of Reverend Graham regaining his faith in God. The story of Unbreakable isn’t about superheroes, but  about the disbelief in the modern mythology of superheroes, and one man overcoming that disbelief to take a leap of faith, and believe in himself.

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Now, I also must discuss here, the disturbing racial angle of some people’s criticism. Shyamalan is one of the few men of color directing big budget Hollywood movies. True, they are not always successful movies,  but audiences and critics did not seem willing to give his movies any chances after The Sixth Sense. They kept wanting him to repeat that first film, and some of them seemed to look no deeper into the motivations behind his stories beyond “the twist”. The Twist seemed to be all they wanted from him, and when he stepped away from that, to make other types of films, they vilified him for it.

I bring this up because I see the same thing happening in real time to Jordan Peele, especially after his comments in which he voiced the idea, that being a filmmaker gave him a platform, by which he could showcase actors of color, as leads. Its as if having been successful twice, there are people waiting in the wings for him to make a mistake, any mistake, which they can use to vilify his character, and bring him down. When men and women of color are highly successful, there is a contingent of White people who wait for them to make even the most minor of miscues, so that they can attempt to humble them. I witnessed this with Barack Obama, Beyonce, and I’m seeing it now with Ocasio – Cortez, and Jordan Peele. And I believe this is what happened with Shyamalan.

White film directors are given numerous opportunities to make bad films, some of them, have entire careers that consist of little more than mediocre flops, and yet the filmmakers have never received the sheer levels of vitriol that was leveled at Shyamalan by film critics. Some of them still manage to have great careers, or be considered critical darlings. Yes, he still manages to have a career, (so somebody is going to see Shyamalan’s movies), but critics insist on tearing apart all of his films, on the most minor details, no matter their quality, while sometimes excusing  just as shoddy work from some White filmmakers. And as I said before, some people use the failures and mistakes of PoC as an excuse to openly express the racism they’ve been taught not to express against an entire group of people.


This Gave Me Life

This is Superwom. she has a whole series of these very funny and informative videos. So please check them out and subscribe to her channel.

I stumbled across this video on the Freethoughtblog/Pharyngula website, which is another safe space to check out. I wouldn’t send you someplace that’s unsafe. These sites are rigorously monitored for trolls and encourage intelligent, philosophical discussions, which can sometimes get pretty deep. The viewpoints of PoC are welcome there.

Another safe space for PoC to leave comments is:

One word of warning is that the posts catalog some some of the worst excesses of the “manosphere”, and the most obnoxious forms of misogyny, rape culture, racism, homophobia, and  transphobia. These things are posted so they can be mocked by Futrelle, and the commenters. If you’re not in the mood to wade through some of the truly noxious s**t he has found online, then be cautioned. Even I occasionally have to just scroll past some of the Tweets published there.

Oddly enough, another safe space for commenting is:

The journalism there can occasionally be click-baity, but it sometimes feels good to express your outrage in the comments. Trolls are vigorously slapped down there, so you can speak your piece, without worrying that some obnoxious p.o.s. is gonna call you nasty names.

And for some deeply funny and intelligent commentary on social issues of importance to Black Americans, check out : VSB. Very Smart Brothers (There’s also a smart sistah in there, too.)

And when all else fails and you can’t take anymore, then one final thing to help you get through this year:

GET OFF THE INTERNET AND PLEASE SELF CARE, LOVIES! Something that is more important than ever right now.

Tumblr Hates Tomi

I debated whether or not to put this on here, but only because it’s not really Pop Culture related. Nevertheless it is one of several popular topics on Tumblr, and I had a theory.

Tumblr hates Tomi Laren. 

Actually, I don’t know any sane human being who doesn’t like her. I don’t like her and most of the Black people I know hate her guts. I don’t hate her though because for one: she’s a child, and two: she’s too dumb. I can’t tolerate stupid but I don’t actually hate it, as that requires too much energy.Odds are that it is unlikely she will grow out of it either. Stupidity this entrenched is hard to get out from under.

This is a girl who is trying really hard to be a Jr. Ann Coulter, but isn’t bright enough to pull it off. For one thing, as detestable as Ann is, her thoughts can sometimes be quite original, and you can see there’s a cynical, and nasty, brain in her head. Not so much with Tomi, whose eyes are as vacant as a doll, and who I very much suspect, has never had an original thought in her life. Most of her talking points come directly from Bill O’Reilly, as I’ve heard him espouse many of the exact same disgusting ideas, only he’s more eloquent about it.

She doesn’t have enough brains to come for Kaepernick, nevertheless, she thinks she does. I’m pretty sure Kaepernick, in fact most people, can run rings around her, which is why she had to completely make up all her talking points with which to refute him. She walked into this fight unarmed and asking for a refund, with no receipts. She’s carrying a rubber eraser. Her opponents are carrying swords.

She is a trust fund baby, trying to be a grown woman, and run with the big dogs, and she’s not smart enough to do that, either. She lacks finesse, doesn’t understand dog whistles, and thinks that passionately yelling that she has a right to an opinion is a stand in for intelligent discourse. I have noticed that people who yell the loudest about having a “right” to their opinion, are usually wrong (and tend to be deeply stupid).

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” – Harlan Ellison

And Tumblr (rightfully) hates her guts!



Lahren never misses an opportunity to explain how ethnic minorities need to be more grateful to the white majority, as if casual and systemic bigotry is the cost of admission in our fair nation. It’s a racist perspective because it views the parameters of race relations in America as beginning with the erroneous assumption that America is (1) a white country (2) built by whites (3) for whites.

The Lahren conclusion of such ahistorical proofs is that minorities should be thankful for basic citizenship because they do not intrinsically belong in America—even if they were born here—yet receive scraps of America’s prosperity nonetheless. The idea that American prosperity, particularly in the slave-based (and contemporarily conservative-based) South, was not disproportionately labored for by minorities is willful ignorance of the moral stain on America’s soul that is the Confederacy’s attempt to make plantation owners the cultural and political aristocracy of an independently slave-based nation.


Lahren is like a white-nationalist lawyer calling “objection” every time the supposed benevolence of white people is questioned, and she often uses her show to explain how all of America’s racial injustices individually do not prove that America is racist, while steering the jury of Americans impressionable to racial scapegoating’s attention away from the reality that, collectively, our never-ending stream of racial controversies suggests America is not quite post-racial. Lahren often points to the fact that President Obama and other black figures like Kaepernick have been successful, as if that proves that there are no systemic racial obstacles in America. Her show is a battle against accusations of oppression with angry rhetorical oppression.


I do not know Lahren personally, but her South Dakota upraising certainly does not suggest she had much of a—what is increasingly becoming a polarized, buzz word due to the Alt-Right’s neo-nazi penchant for racial hierarchies—multicultural experience. Her rhetorical political efforts certainly lean toward the Alt-Right’s white-focused ideology of America being a white nation, and especially toward the Alt-Right’s angry resistance to the slightest hints of social injustice. The Alt-Right’s motivation is suspect when populist pushes for societal equality make them feel like victims. If they feel victimized by equality, does it not prove that they do indeed have societal privileges? It is flawed political mathematics because extending equality to those without it is not a zero-sum game like the Alt-Right imagines.

Lahren certainly shows her Alt-Right sympathies when she suggests that ethnic minorities are ungrateful for and undeserving of living in America, that, if one doesn’t like their country exactly as it is, one should leave. Tomi Lahren’s consistent coverage of the allegedly unpatriotic sympathies of social justice figures has turned her into something of a Millennial mix between Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity: angered by the digital generation’s liberalism and tolerance, and a soapbox of pavlovian, white-nationalist empathy for the exaggerated struggle of the ethnic majority, respectively.


Real Talk, “Girl Bye” Edition: Tomi Lahren’s Ill-Advised and Misguided Attempt to Come For Colin Kaepernick

As many of you know, Colin Kaepernick has made a decision not to stand for the National Anthem to draw attention to issues of injustice, unfair treatment of minorities and military veterans, and lack of accountability for police officers who use excessive force. Some folks have had quite a bit to say about it. One of those people is TheBlaze’s Tomi Lahren.

And boy, did she have something to say about it! Goodness. But, in the midst of that “smackdown” she delivered, she said a few troubling things, made a few troubling assumptions, and in some places had Colin all the way fucked up. So allow me to address some of those issues below:

– Colin never placed the blame on white people. White people were never even mentioned. So to make an assumption and then talk shit on his biological and adoptive parents is uncalled for and not a good look.

– He explicitly stated that his refusal to stand for the national anthem is by no means meant to disrespect members of the military. In fact, he has friends and family members who have served in the military.

– Colin never said he was oppressed. He stated that he was using his platform to speak for and draw attention to the issues people who are.

– “What have you done to make it better?” Well, using his platform to bring attention to the issues faced by a large number of Americans (and yes, even those military members that she claims he’s disrespecting. He mentions the treatment of many veterans upon their return home. Ask just about anyone who’s had to visit a VA hospital about how they’re treated and they’d likely tell you a less-than-happy story.)

– “What’s your message to black kids, to people of color? That their biggest contribution to justice and self-fulfillment is to walk around with a chip on their shoulder?” Um…his message is not exclusively for black children, nor does he claim to be their spokesperson or representative. And again, I reference the fact that he’s using his platform to bring attention to the issues that people of color (and other groups) face. It’s the beginning of his contribution, not the biggest part of it.

The rest of her “rant” is some separatist, finger-pointing bullshit that is only meant to stoke the fires of hatred and shift the focus from actually addressing the issues that Colin Kaepernick is raising by wilfully ignoring the point like it’s a call from a bill collector. She implies that the problems that people of color face are because of other people of color not being willing to fix hundreds of years of societal problems as soon as they step into office. She says this without acknowledging the resistance these people of color (and let’s be honest, she’s talking about President Obama) face for having the nerve to not be white and elected into office. And she sees any actions to acknowledge these problems as an attack on white people as a whole. WHO WERE NEVER EVEN FUCKING MENTIONED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

You tried it, sugarlump. You really did.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to read Colin’s words and reach an opinion on them for yourself.



Tomi Lahren

is dumb AF. 


fuck Tomi Lahren tbh


Tbh Tomi Lahren is scum and I’m so tired of seeing her face and hearing the shit that spews from her mouth.


*The video of these two squaring off is on Youtube.

Charlamagne Kindly Got Tomi Lahren’s Ass Together

“If you go to a HIV/AIDS rally and the protest is about HIV/AIDS, do you Tomi stand there and say ‘What about Cancer’?” 

Now when I first heard Charlamagne had a debate with this bleached blonde dumbass (no that’s not a stereotype she has proven that she is slow) I was giving major side eye. The first thing that ran across my mind was, “who volunteered him as negro tribute?” but once I sat down and listened I was blown away.

He kept his composure the entire time. Never once raised his voice, called her out her name, or threatened her; which is something I could not have done. He brought up great points, offered great rebuttals, AND educated her ass all at the same time. This is a side to him many people have not seen. He is a very intelligent black man and he represented our community as a whole very well. Now if the message took, is another story because it seems like Tomi didn’t hear a thing.

Her major argument was basically that Beyonce shouldn’t even be allowed to speak about the injustice in the slaughter of black people in this country because her husband used to sell drugs. HUH???? excuse me, but what the fuck does that have to do with anything!? The point she was trying to make was that it’s not ok for black people to pick and choose what to be mad about, and that we should be focused on the drug and violence issues in our community. Charlamagne shut her ass down with this perfect analogy, “If you go to a HIV/AIDS rally and the protest is about HIV/AIDS, do you Tomi stand there and say ‘What about Cancer’?”.

Another one of her arguments was that the “black lives matter” movement is violent. Citing the incidents of violence a SELECT FEW used during the protests. But these comments came directly after she said it wasn’t ok to label all police offers as corrupt, pigs, murderers, etc. HUH??? I can’t even take her seriously, she’s just a walking contradiction.

Her arrogant ass just doesn’t get it. She is still hooting and hollering that the black panthers were a terrorist organization and as a 23 year old woman she should be ashamed. This is a direct reflection of the failures in our education system and it is really disheartening. I don’t think they’ll ever truly get it.

This is a must watch. Thank you Charlemagne for a great debate and putting on for us!


*Somebody got some receipts:


Tomi Lahren is the spokesperson for every idiot on Facebook like even her name screams “I’m a rich white who thinks reverse racism is real”


Tomi Lahren is the worst republican troll


On Kaepernick’s sitrep, more love from Veterans and a breakdown of the responses he’s gotten.


Kaepernick’s true sin is his rejection of the faustian bargain offered to black people who reach elite status in America––that their success comes at the price of ceasing to criticize the racism in the system that allowed them to thrive as exceptions. Many Americans would prefer that black elites not remind them of America’s unfulfilled promise that all are created equal, but rather pretend it has already been realized, or be silent about the ways in which it has not. The only thing that would satisfy Kaepernick’s critics is apathy.

Colin Kaepernick Is No Hypocrite | Adam Serwerrallyforbernie:

What does it say about our values when we slander someone for speaking freely against discrimination? In the midst of all that, the #VeteransForKaepernick hashtag is a thankful breath of sanity.

*I’ve never been prouder of our military veterans.

I think my theory has been proven, as these are just the first things that popped up on the page after typing in just her name. I didn’t even have to add qualifiers to it. Wow!














Headcanons on Tumblr

This is mostly people just making up their own stories and head canons on Tumblr. For me, this is one of the most fun things on there. Just like the last one I posted where people basically re-invented American magical systems, by extrapolating from JK Rowling’s misconceptions of American culture. (I’m going to revisit that again because I just love the idea of different magical systems being influenced by  cultural, environmental, and    geographical constraints.)

Plus, there’s some meta in here about LOTR and some critical essay type stuff, like this insistence (from men, btw) that women’s armor have titties, or flowers, or something on it to designate that a woman is in it. Why? Exactly what purpose is served by decorating the armor that way?






“ It’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”

If I ever don’t reblog this, it’s because I’m dead.

game devs take note

What a weird impulse. Why would you need it to look feminine? Or masculine? It’s armor to protect your body from death. Not dying should be gender neutral.

Not dying should be gender neutral


Anonymous asked:

Can you tell me why Frodo is so important in lotr? Why can’t someone else, anyone else, carry the ring to mordor?

notbecauseofvictories answered:

but someone else could.

that’s the whole point of frodo—there is nothing special about him, he’s a hobbit, he’s short and likes stories, smokes pipeweed and makes mischief, he’s a young man like other young men, except for the singularly important fact that he is the one who volunteers. there is this terrible thing that must be done, the magnitude of which no one fully understands and can never understand before it is done, but frodo says me and frodo says I will.

(when boromir is thinking of how he can use the ring to defend gondor, when aragorn is thinking of how it brought down proud isildur, when elrond is holding council and gandalf is thinking of how twisted he would become, if he ever dared—)

but then there’s frodo, who desires nothing except what he has already left behind him, and says, I will take the Ring.

it is an offer made out of absolute innocence, utter sincerity. It is made without knowing what it will make of him—and frodo loses everything to the ring, he loses peace and himself and the shire, he loses the ability to be in the world. It’s cruel, the ring is cruel, it searches out every weakness you have and feeds on it, drinks you dry and fills you with its poison instead, the ring is so cruel.

and frodo picks it up willingly. for no other reason except that it has to be done.

(the ring warps boromir into a hopeless grasping dead thing, the power of the palantir turns denethor into an old man, jealous and suspicious, it bends even saruman, once the proudest of the istari, into a mechanised warlord, sitting in his fortress and bent over his perverse creations—all the best of intentions, laid waste)

but there’s a reason gollum exists in the narrative, which is to show—well, to show what frodo might have been. because even as frodo grows mistrustful and wearied, as the burden of this ring grows heavier and heavier, he is never gollum. he is gentle to gollum. he is afraid—god frodo is so afraid for 2/3 of these books he is so tired and afraid, but he keeps moving, he walks though it would pull him into the ground, because he asked for this, he said he would.

someone else could have carried the ring to mordor, I suppose. the idea of a martyr is not dependent on the particular flesh and blood person dying for some greater purpose. but such a thing has to be chosen, lifted onto your shoulders for the right reason, the truest reasons, and followed into the dark, though it would see you burnt through and bled out.

I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.

Source: notbecauseofvictories


More critiques of fandom racism, or as Stitchmedia likes to call it “Klandom.”


We’re never believed when we talk about racism in fandom and people are just so eager to silence us.

I’m on the “fandom racism” tag on tumblr because I occasionally do like to find new people to block when I see this blogger talking about the white women in fandom doing shipping olympics to justify not shipping Spider-Man with Zendaya!MJ.

Their next post in the tag comes from some anon fussing at them, accusing them of generalizing and blaming a “vocal minority” in the same anonymous message. (”hardly any white girls probably even care about spider-man” the anon said as if a majority of transformative fandom isn’t made up of white women and therefore, the spider-man fandom has a ton of white women in it)

Nevermind that people have been shitting on Zendaya since the second that the news dropped (and btw, it’s still not official news from Sony/Marvel).

Nevermind that the Thor fandom is now pretending that it cares about Jane Foster in order to excuse misogynoiristic complaints about Tessa Thompson playing Valkyrie and possibly playing Thor’s love interest.

Nevermind that every time a Black woman is cast as a white character, white men derride her appearance and white women dismiss her character and act as if she’s unworthy of being in a relationship with the white fave she’s undoubtedly cast opposite.

Nevermind that already I’ve seen female members of fandom talking about how “it’d be nice to have a Spider-Man movie where Mary Jane doesn’t have a love interest” (like Homecoming already doesn’t have that!!).

When we (fans of color and anti-racist allies) talk about the racist abuse we see directed towards, fans, actors, and racebent characters of color, the first thing we see is their outstretched hands demanding “proof” and acting like making up racism is like a thing people actually do.

It pisses me off so hard because right now, we’re getting it from two sides: members of “mainstream” fandom constantly crapping all over Black women as if it’s their job and (largely female) members of transformative fandom who’ve learned to couch their racism and hatred of women of color in social justice rhetoric so it looks like they’re fighting for us, not against us.

And even though you can look at Twitter, in tumblr tags, and google this shit, people are still like “I don’t see why you’re complaining, it’s not a big deal”.

Our anger is reactionary. We are reacting to endless racism aiimed towards fans, characters, and creators of color. If you sincerely believe that the right thing to do when faced with this reality is to demand proof and get mad when it’s given?

You can fuck right off.

text posts fandom ugh UGHUGH long post
*Why Candice Patton is a total bad-ass!
finnnorgana pocketlass




Candice Patton as Iris West helped play a massive part in Kiersey and Zendaya being allowed to portray superhero love interests, and opened doors that would have been closed to them three years ago, when they wouldn’t have even been considered an OPTION.

Candice Patton as Iris West helped show execs that a WOC as a romantic lead is a smart decision. From their standpoint, it’s likely financial, but little black girls are going to be allowed to see themselves as the girl the hero loves, wants to be with, and get to see themselves being Important to the story.

One day, saltyass haters will realize that’s why Candice Patton as Iris West is needed, because she’s making a *difference* and one simple casting decision is shaking 50+ years of history for the better.

“Playing this role, I sometimes get blatant racism and the even more painful and complicated non-blatant racism. But, I gladly put on my armour each day and take it. I have to be strong and continue to deliver, because this is bigger than me. It’s not just about this role, its about the landscape of film and TV. It’s about the young girls coming after me. I need to make sure I was strong enough to keep that door open for them.” – Candice Patton

She’s honestly such an amazing human being and I love/respect/adore her SO MUCH.   Source: attoseconds


*More explanations on the Zendaya freak-outs:

Zendaya as Mary Jane




This can be taken multiple ways to me.

1. If everyone gets mad when people of color are played by white people, why can’t white people be angry when it’s done to them?

2. White people have taken roles from people of color for so long, it’s only right if we do the same to them.

3. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Zendaya went through the same audition process as everyone else and she just happened to be the best one for the job.

I’m more in tuned with number 3.

1)  They can be angry, and they are.  Frequently when a role is racebent like the role of Mary Jane has been rumored to be, many white fans will express anger around it.  They are more than entitled to express their opinion about the media product and they know it.   Nothing stopped angry white people upset about racebent Johnny Storm from giving Michael B. Jordan crap about being cast in the role, for example.   The anger does make folks who do that look ignorant; however, because they have access to representation that the PoC they are complaining about lack.   White fans who are upset about a mixed race black actress playing MJ have access to representation through the main character and much of the supporting cast, representation through the writer, director, producers of the movie (and the white execs of Marvel Studios), and representation through countless other superhero movies–including three Spider-man movies with a white MJ.  Girls of color who consume superhero movies simply do not experience the same.    They can be angry, but it looks petty.

2)  What is happening here is not “the same.”   PoC being cast in racebent roles for supporting white characters (and having to receive racist flak for it) is not the same as white actors using raceface or whitewashing to score lead roles.

3)  We don’t really know what process resulted in Zendaya being cast, but her casting as a love interest for Peter Parker does matter because it makes a major social statement, and it is a form of media representation.


Also can we stop acting like Mary Jane has to be white? Not only is she a fictional character, but her only defining characteristics are red hair, lives in NY, grew up with Peter. That’s it. Despite the hype white people don’t have a lock on red hair. And Zendaya is the first Mary Jane cast for live action who does have that flirty personality that everyone associates with Mary Jane Watson.

Source: jrashad51


*Along with Black Women in  movies Tropes:

stitchmediamix karnythia



Giving a black male character a black female love interest (the earlier in the series, the better), but either:

A. Only show her in flashbacks because she’s dead
B. Kill her off within a few episodes
C. Write her as being an irredeemable bitch who the BM character has already divorced/broken up with or will divorce/break up with soon.
D. Have her choose her career over the relationship.

That way writers have “proved” that he doesn’t hate black women (or hates one “with cause”). Then he’s free to experiment or fall in love with female characters of other races (especially white) and they never have to show him with a black female love interest again for the rest of the series.

Source: abbiehollowdays racism antiblackness misogynoir


*I am absolutely loving this Arthurian explanation for why Finn is a Jedi. Finn is The Awakening that the movie talks about. There’s a lot of fandom that likes to villainize him and/or erase his presence, but they can’t erase the fact that this movie’s title is in reference to Finn, as much as it is to Rey. 

In my mind, the reason he loses his battle to Kylo is because it’s his first real lightsabers fight, and he was never trained to use that weapon. It’s the first time he’s ever seen, or held, a lightsaber. He doesn’t know the rules. He’s never had a Yoda, or been anybody’s Padawan.  He becomes uncertain about his intentions and focus, (he gets scared), and  is finding it increasingly difficult to keep his connection to the Force, (if he even knows what that feels like), that purity of purpose that made him accept the lightsaber in the first place. It’s as if, right in the middle of this fight, he experiences the terrifying magnitude of what he’s doing. (Omg! This the leader of The First Order! What the hell am I doing?!!)

One of the rules of using the Force is purity of purpose. Without that, it’s easy to fall to the Darkside, or lose one’s connection to it, and just as Yoda said, emotions cloud intentions. This is probably something that happens a lot  to  students of the Force, and I’ll wager that Finn probably doesn’t even know what that is, although, like Rey, he’s heard of it.

jawnbaeyega adagalore


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

This time Finn has no intention of leaving proving him once more worthy of Excalibur and this time Maz’s words are unambiguous, she intends, and always intended, for him to be a wielder of the blade, not just a carrier.As Finn again lifts the Skywalker lightsaber and this time ignites it, Maz look on with great expectancy clearly meant to mirror the audience. Will “Excalibur” accept Finn as its wielder? And will Finn accept the lightsaber as his?

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


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

Source: luminousfinn LISTEN THIS IS THE CONTENT FOR WHICH I AM HEREGOOD SHIT RIGHT HERE OK finn facts finn meta finn is force sensitiveboth rey and finn are gonna be jedi ok choke on THAT


*This would make an excellent alternative to those War of the Worlds movies! Yeah, pretty much most of the wildlife of Australia is dangerous, from various sized birds, to insects, and forms of sea-life, like jellyfish, octopi, and stonefish. This explains why  Aussies are the way they are, I guess.













I really want a science fiction story where aliens come to invade earth and effortlessly wipe out humanity, only to be fought off by the wildlife.

They were expecting military resistance. They weren’t counting on bears.

Imagine coming to a hostile alien world and being attacked by a horde of creatures that can weigh up to 3 tons, run at 30 km/h (19 mph), and bite with a force of 8,100 newtons (1,800 lbf).

By the time you realise that they can traverse water, it’s too late. The surviving members of your unit manage to make it back by shedding their excess gear and running for their lives; the slower ones were crushed to death within minutes.

You later describe the creature to one of the humans you captured, wanting to know the name of the monstrosity that will haunt your nightmares for cycles to come.

The human smiles as it speaks a single word, slowly and distinctly, in its barbaric tongue.


This is giving me the biggest, creepiest grin I might have ever grinned

Imagine being the next crew to go down to earth and thinking “it’s fine, we got this. We have the weapons and equipment necessary to deal with bears and *shudders* hippopotamuses. We’ll be fine.”

And at first you are, you’ve learned how to dodge. You’ve learned where their territories are. You know how to defend yourself.

But then one night you are sleeping in your shelter. You’re in a tree covered temperate part of earth. It seems benign. There are been no sightings of the dreaded “hippos” around. Not even any bears. But there is a slight rustle of the undergrowth. You try and ignore it telling yourself it is just the wind.

Then you hear the rustle again. closer this time.

You peer out into the darkness but see nothing amongst the trees.

The rustle again and now you realise you can smell something. It’s musky and slightly foul. It’s the smell of an omen, a warning. But what of? Where is this smell coming from.

You sit up, but it’s too late. The foul smelling creature is on you. You are hit with 17kg of coarse fur and vicious bites. Long dark claws tear in to you and you are pinned down white the striped creature tries to bite your throat.

It takes some doing but you manage to wrestle free. Blood drips from your wounds and already they itch with the sign of infection. The creature has a bloodied snout, rust rad, mingling with the black and white hairs. It lets out a terrifying growl from the back of its throat and looks to attack again. It’s between you and your knife, so your only choice is to back away.

Eventually the creature gives up and snuffles off in to the undergrowth, down a hole near your shelter you hadn’t noticed before.

When you make it back to your base you once again consult the captive human.

“Badger.” they say, with a solemn nod.

One word: Moose

“Our vehicles are far superior to the local human models, in range, speed, armament, and any other metric you care to name! Nothing could possibly-”


“That’s called a moose.”

“We should be free of the threat of the ‘moose’ here on our new floating accommodation”

*humans start sniggering*

“… they can swim, can’t they”

*humans start laughing louder*




“What is this ‘wolverine’ you speak of?”

Tell me the story of the unpleasantly surprised alien invaders and their captive human remnant, getting more smug the more the aliens fail at basic scouting…

I know we’re all talking the big smash-‘em-up type animals, but what about the little ones? Are aliens prepared for spiders? Mosquitoes? Fleas? Ticks? Even humans get sick or die from some of those, who knows what the fuck they’d do to an unprepared alien.

Nobody expects the mosquitoes

Turns out skunk spray is fatal to the aliens, whoops

Truthfully aliens would try to attack, land in Florida & get taken out by snakes, gators…you name it. Or they would land in Australia & the whole continent would attack. Imagine being the alien that doesn’t take a kangaroo seriously and gets beat the fuck up. Or the one that tries to approach an ostrich and gets kicked to death? They landed once, maybe twice & then they decided we breathe death & are surrounded by monsters.

Source: giraffepoliceforce
*I love this particular headcanon.

*Who goes to a party to watch the TV show House Hunters? That’s just so many levels of wrong. Is that even considered a party? Can you be still be friends with someone who invites you to one of those?

karnythia antimana

went to a househunters-watching party over the weekend; here’s my impression of the show



VOICEOVER: She wants a historically accurate thirteenth century castle in the heart of bustling downtown L.A. He has his heart set on living in a small metallic orb that would float over a bottomless gorge, beyond space and time. Can this pair of newlyweds see eye to eye???

WIFE: The location is nice but I don’t know about these staircases…I just had my heart set on an escalator made of sand and artisan brie.

HUSBAND: Well it’s definitely not a small floating metallic orb.

REALTOR: That…would defy several laws of physics.

WIFE (squinting): Do you have anything that is simultaneously larger, cheaper, newer, and more historic?


WIFE: And I need a big kitchen. I love to cook!

(Cut to footage of the wife in her current kitchen, wearing an apron and surrounded by pots and pans. She is hitting a banana with a hammer. On the counter next to her is a pile of doll hair.)

HUSBAND: Yeah, get her a nice kitchen. Of course, I won’t be spending any time in there, ha ha! (His laugh is loud but his eyes are so empty. They are empty all the way back.)

WIFE: And I need a room for my shoes. That is simply non-negotiable.

HUSBAND: Also, if we can swing it with our budget, I’d love a finished basement where I can really unwind and stew in my toxic masculinity and repressed emotion. And hardwood floors.

WIFE: And hardwood floors.

HUSBAND AND WIFE IN EERIE UNISON: Hardwood. Floors. (somehow it sounds like way more than two voices, more like the collective whisper of an army)

REALTOR: Okay, I will certainly, um. See what I can do? Anyway, this next house, it’s a metallic orb hanging on a sturdy cord near a ravine—

WIFE: Well it’s definitely not a genuine thirteenth century castle—

HUSBAND AND WIFE: (stare at each other in open contempt)

REALTOR: Heyyy so why don’t we take a look inside?

This is the most accurate ever depiction of House Hunters but I’m still stuck on the idea that somebody somewhere thought a PARTY to watch HOUSE HUNTERS was a great idea like why do you hate yourselves.

Source: idiopathicsmile
Okay, I was working on my finalized list of shows to watch and review in the Fall, the next Hannibal review, Naka Choko, and a review of Brooklyn 99. Oh, and BBC is now showing the first season of Into The Badlands, from the beginning.
I just finished watching the finale of The British Baking Show, where I  cried for the winner, too, a young Indian woman named Nadiyah. She was awesome, and I was rooting for her, and I thought she wouldn’t win because there was a White guy in the contest, too. He was nice enough, and quite talented, but I didn’t want him to win, and he made some baking mistakes. But Nair came through, with a cake based on her Indian style wedding. It was gorgeous and I wanted some. She didn’t believe she’d  won either, at first. But it was lovely. Her husband and family were very supportive, and of course they got to eat all her practice work, so…
I like British reality shows better because there’s less bullshit talking, the contestants actually seem to get along ,and there’s less chatter just to hear oneself say something, and fill in space. The contestants just seemed like nice people in a contest, trying really hard. None of them were trying to play to the camera by trash talking their opponents, grandstanding, or letting their egos write checks they couldn’t cash, something I absolutely hate about American reality shows. They also came across as more intelligent but that might just be a British thing, in general.



Fright Night (1985) Vs. Fright Night (2011)

For some reason, in the five year span between 1985 and 1990, someone decided that humorous vampire movies were the new hotness. Well, not all of them were funny, but there were a lot of them. My Best Friend is a Vampire , Vampire’s Kiss, The Lost Boys, Fright Night, Vamp, Once Bitten, The Monster Squad. There were a few others not played for laughs but I barely remember most of those. I know I watched a hell of a lot of them then, and fewer and fewer of them since.



The original Fright Night was released in 1985, which seemed to be some sort of tipping point. I have no idea how successful it was but it seemed to have  released some kind of valve because several vampire movies were released that year, and the next several years, all with the themes of vampires coping with the modern age and nosy neighbors.


The basic plot is the same for both movies. Charlie discovers that his next door neighbor is a vampire and is probably after his girlfriend.This sort of plot, the marriage of “knowing” teens with “monster only they can see” is pretty standard, actually. It just hadn’t been done with regular monsters like vampires and werewolves, and after the success of this movie, the vampire next door became a  staple of vampire movies and television shows, showing up in everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to the X-Files.

The original  starred a mix of known and unknown actors. Chris Sarandon, And Roddy McDowell being the two most notable, with Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys and Wm. Ragsdale, as the teenagers no one will listen to. The 2011 version stars some well established actors like, Colin Farrell, David Tennant and Toni Collette, along with  up and comers, Christopher Mintze-Plasse and Anton Yelchin. Chris  Sarandon also shows up in  the newer version, as the detective who refuses to believe Charlie’s story, a role originally played by the funnier, stockier, Art Evans in the 1985 film.

Although the basic plot is the same, the mood, and the details of the remake, are markedly different from the original. This is an attempt at a true remake and not just an excuse to do the exact same movie again.

For example, the 2011 version isn’t played for laughs. Its a lot less comedic than the original which might be somewhat jarring if you expected the movie to have humor. Its not without its funny moments, mostly provided by David Tennant’s character, as Peter Vincent, who seems as if he’s channeling a  different film then Colin Farrell, although David and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, as Evil Ed Thompson, act as if they are both in the same, but separate, film.

Everyone else plays the movie completely straight, just as in the original. Jerry Dandridge, in both movies, has a snarky, rather sardonic sense of humor, but he’s the heavy and not meant to be funny. Peter VIncent’s meant to be the comedy relief but since David Tennant’s humor is wholly different from Roddy McDowell’s approach to the same character, you end up with a very different feel. This newer version of Vincent is darker and grimmer, and somehow, feels just a little more hopeless. There are bigger action scenes, including the obligatory car chase, and more vampires. Although there are scenes that are full of tension, the remake still manages to be less scary.

Jerry Dandridge is given almost too many strengths, seeming almost undefeatable for someone like Charlie, who once again requests the help of Peter Vincent,who is reluctant to get involved in Charlie’s issues. Unlike the original Peter Vincent, he doesn’t want to get involved because he has fought the supernatural before, whereas in the original, Peter simply thought Charlie was insane, and wasn’t convinced until, through a combination of cunning and deception, he saw it for himself. This newer Peter is a bold, crass,   dark magician/entertainer who has  a show in Las Vegas, involving lots of eye makeup and fire, modeled after the magician, Criss Angel.  Since Saturday afternoon horror shows don’t really exist any more, his job had to be updated. He is hyper-masculinity-squared, sexy, loud and rude. You can tell he’s a much different character because he swears a lot. The original Peter was a timid, but prideful, has-been actor, hosting a Saturday Horror TV theme show, who only got involved because Amy and Ed paid him.


The two Jerry’s are not greatly different from each other. Farrell’s version is less sophisticated, more cat-like, with a sharper, darker, sense of humor, and a little more smug cunning than the first. Sarandon’s version seemed more like the old-school Dracula. A member of the nobility whose time had passed, but is still a creature used to intimidating people and being obeyed. The differences are subtle but present. You can sort of tell, that Farrell is channeling just a little of Sarandon, in his approach. The sexiness level between them remains about equal, most especially in the disturbing seduction scenes between him and Evil-Ed Thompson, and him and Amy, particularly when you keep  in mind, that although these are high school students, they are all still minors. Maybe not in Jerry’s Old-World, where there were no such things as teenagers, but they certainly  are in ours.

One of the things jettisoned from the new version, that I kind of missed, was Jerry’s live-in manservant. There was some speculation by the audience, about their arrangement back in the film’s heyday, but no one was really serious about that.Today such a character would be given lots and lots of subtext, as its not explicitly stated that he and Jerry are lovers, only something that’s  wondered about by Charlie’s mom. In the remake, the man-servant role is taken over by Ed, and there is none of the delicious subtext to be had from that arrangement.


The main differences in the two films can be found in the treatment of Charlie, his mother Jane, Evil Ed, and Amy. In the original film I found all of these characters to be quirky and likable. Amy was the iconic girl-next-door, and charmingly sassy, as played by Amanda Bearse, before she hit it big on the show married with Children. The new Amy is mostly characterless. She could be replaced by a sexy floor lamp, which is how much she means to the plot. She exists as someone for Jerry, Ed and Charlie to butt heads over. She gets moved around by the writers and characters and doesn’t affect the plot overmuch.

This is not the impression given by the original Amy because Amanda Bearse supplied that version with plenty of attitude. She also had a great deal of sexiness and chemistry with Sarandon. Bearse’s version looked like she was making choices, whereas the  new Amy, doesn’t. She spends most of the latter half of the film looking as if she were drugged to the gills, barely aware of what’s happening to her. The creators try hard to reproduce the sexiness of the original dance scene in the club, but it falls flat, lacking the emotion that Amanda brought to the role, as a young woman who is both fascinated, and  terrified of her fascination, with the monster. She is also genuinely frightening, once her sexuality has been unleashed, after Jerry turns her into a vampire.


Charlie’s mom has a little bit more to do in the newer version. Unlike the original mom, this one is young and single and not particularly interested in getting into Jerry’s pants. In the original film, Judy Brewster, played by Dorothy Fielding, was talkative, flirtatious, and kind of silly. She had a lot of character. Not so much Toni Collette’s version, named Jane, who  is all seriousness, but I managed to find things to like about her nonetheless. In the original movie, Ms. Brewster’s oblivious silliness was very frustrating, and  almost cost Charlie his life, as Jerry was able to gain entrance into their house because of her desperate need for attention.

That gets turned on its head in the newer version and its also one of my favorite moments. When Jane is  given the opportunity to trust Charlie, or Jerry, she chooses her son. When Jerry visits his home, to try to square things with Charlie for spying on him, Charlie begs his mother not to allow Jerry entry. She does as he says because she trusts him, he seems genuinely terrified,  and she cares about his feelings, whereas the original Ms. Brewster couldn’t  seem to understand anything outside of her own. She constantly made assumptions about what Charlie needed based on what she believed, and not anything Charlie, or Amy, said to her. This new version is much more pragmatic, and when her son implores her to do the practical thing, she does it. She also joins in the fight against Jerry, helping her son flee their house after Jerry sets it on fire, and impaling Jerry with a yard sign. Toni Collette does the best she can with what she’s given and I liked her.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s version of Evil Ed is not my favorite . I prefer the zany, Stephen Geoffreys version because he had so much more personality, and genuine feelings are felt for him, when he dies by Peter Vincent’s hand. That heartbreaking scene is one of my favorites from the original, as Roddy McDowell really sells Peter Vincent’s genuine sorrow at killing Ed, who seems shocked by the entire ordeal, as this was not at all what he had planned when he tearfully accepted Jerry’s offer of immortality. I remember I cried the first time I saw that scene, and I wasn’t expecting to be crying, during a comedic horror movie.

This new version of Ed isn’t as funny or crazed as the original. He has much less personality but that seems to be in keeping with the drab/dark mood of the movie, which you would think would be a little more upbeat as this all takes place in sunny Arizona. (Why a vampire would move to one of the hotter sunshine states is never fully justified within the film. Supposedly, Jerry is a specific type of vampire that comes from a desert climate, and that’s all the explanation you’ll get about it.)

When the remake version of Ed dies, no one seems to actually care. Its just something that needs doing during the course of the film because his character is in the way. This new version lacks the pathos of the  original, where  you get the definite impression that Ed hated being an outsider in school, which made it much easier for Jerry to seduce him into becoming a vampire. Christopher’s version seems angry and bitter at his friend, and we’ll discuss that in a moment.

In the newer version, Charlie is deliberately mean to his old friend and Amy is not interested in being friends with Ed. You got the impression, in the first movie, that these were very old friends, who’d known each other and hung out since they were children. Amy and Charlie’s parents knew each other, and although Ed was an outsider, who often felt alone, there did seem to be a certain affection that Amy had for him. She was used to Ed. He was her friend too.

In the newer version you don’t get any of this backstory. It’s not even implied. Amy seems to have been known by both boys, but she hung out with the popular kids, and when she started dating Charlie, he got accepted into her group, and ditched his old friend. Not only do Amy and Ed not interact, they don’t actually meet until after Ed becomes a vampire and is trying to kill her. In  the original movie, the back stories of all these characters is implied. Their friendship and Ed’s tragic upbringing, is done mostly through characterization.

In the original, when Jerry offers Ed immortality, his seduction game is on point. You understand Ed and why he’d choose such a thing. Not so much in the new one, where his turning seems to almost be an accident, or something that needs doing. Not that Colin Farrell doesn’t try to turn on the charm, its just the scene is much less effective when your partner in that scene is just not in your acting league. Ed doesn’t even get killed by Peter Vincent though, he gets killed by Charlie and I think we’re supposed to look at the whole thing as him saving Ed, or some sort of tragic misunderstanding. But that doesn’t work, and this  is my biggest problem with the new movie:

 I don’t like Charlie.

Charlie starts out as an okay guy. He’s got a hot girlfriend. He’s popular, blah, blah, blah. Although its tragically realistic, it turns out that having become such a popular guy has caused him to deliberately neglect his childhood friend, who is considered too weird to be one of the pretty, popular people. He won’t answer Ed’s phone calls and doesn’t visit him at home anymore. Since loyalty to one’s friends is one of my big issues, I just couldn’t forgive Charlie for this.

I understand what the creators were trying to do, but it had the unfortunate side effect of making Charlie unlikable, and so the rest of the emotional workings of the movie fall flat, as they are based on us feeling something positive for Charlie. Ed is understandably upset about being brushed off for bigger, better friends and when he brings this to Charlie’s attention, Charlie promises to come see him, later.  It is Ed who discovers that Jerry is a vampire, after the disappearances of several of their classmates, that Charlie couldn’t be bothered to care about because, Hey!, he’s got it so good. He doesn’t need to worry about other people, including whatever Ed is getting up to.

When Ed tries to convince Charlie that this neighbor is a vampire, Charlie blows him off. They were supposed to meet so they could spy on Jerry but Charlie never shows and Ed gets ambushed by Jerry alone. When Ed doesn’t show up for school for the next couple of days, only then does Charlie begin to worry, at least some of which is informed by guilt. He needs a reason to go after Jerry, and Ed’s death is simply a means to an end, rather than like in the 1985 version, where its a decision that was made by Ed for his own personal reasons.

The new movie ends with some last minute saves , wherein Peter inexplicably changes his mind about helping Charlie kill Jerry, and just shows up a Jerry’s house in the nick of time. As in the original, there’s a lot of bombast, and fire, and sunlight, but without the emotional payoff one gets from seeing Jerry destroyed in the original. In the original, Jerry’s last words were Amy’s name, giving his death a level  of  tragedy, that’s lacking in the remake. In the new one, you’re just relieved he’s gone.

I prefer the soundtrack to the original film although the new one has a couple of really good songs, it’s mostly instrumentals by a composer. I’ve heard the songs from the original movie so many times, I know where I am in the plot just by what song is playing. The new movie doesn’t have an iconic sound, although I did enjoy “No One Believes Me” by Kid Cudi, which I don’t remember being featured in its end credits, and it should have.

Of the two, I prefer the original. The lack of depth in the remake gives it a more slapdash feeling. It’s not that the creators didn’t try to capture the mood of the original, but it’s just all surface stuff. There’s no intimation of deeper levels of character or even between the characters, although I liked the characterization of Charlie’s mom, and David Tennant’s Peter Vincent has its own allure. Colin Farrell gives it the old college try, and he’s certainly brooding and handsome, but he just doesn’t approach Sarandon’s level of sexypants. I can think of very few men who could.

To be fair, it would’ve been very hard to outdo the original, which was as perfect as could be made for that time period. I suspect we’ll be watching the 1985 version far into the future, while the 2011 version is forgotten, except for Kid Cudi:



Note: This video is far more frightening and emotional than the actual movie and I wish this had been made into a movie instead of what we got.

X-Files Season Ten : My Struggle/Founder’s Mutation

I’m not going to recap as there are people online right now recapping like a muh-fuh, and doing a much better job of it than I would. Actually I have to confess, I didn’t pay that close attention to the plot of My Struggle.

Its my understanding that other people were not greatly impressed by the first episode, either. I didn’t care for the plot but I love that Mulder and Scully are back on TV, in brand new episodes. That the show would be revived, after such a long absence, just makes me hopeful for the future of Hannibal.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the mythology episodes. I’m not into alien conspiracy theories. I probably know more than I rightfully should about the mythology, considering how little I cared for that aspect. Most of my favorite episodes were one-off,  Monster of the week episodes. As soon as any of the characters start mentioning abductions and aliens, I just tune-out and watch the pretty people. So that’s what happened with the first episode. I am aware that stuff happened and plots were advanced, I just have no memory of any of it.


I did enjoy the second episode much better, about two superpowered teens searching for each other. It had a certain amount of pathos in it. I’d forgotten over the years that Scully and Mulder had a child together and that they can never be together because the gub’ment, won’t let them. So, I had some feels about all that.

I noticed their boss, Walter Skinner was back and still being kind of an asshole, without actually coming right out and actually being an asshole. The Cigarette Smoking Man is still smoking, despite the cancer that’s torn out his throat, which is frankly, kind of disgusting. That man’s got some serious fucking addiction, right there. Wow!

Abigail Hobbes, from Hannibal, cameo-ed in this episode. My mind keeps rejecting this actress’ name. I just watched her chewing the scenery in The Magicians and for some reason my brain has taken a disliking to her, and I can’t pinpoint exactly why, as she’s not a bad actress. She’s not actually doing anything bad onscreen. I’m just tired of looking at her, maybe.

Oh! I do have a memory about the first episode with Mulder declaring that everything he thought he knew about the alien conspiracy was all lies and there’s no actual aliens involved in the conspiracy. Its just regular people being dicks. It almost always is. I could’ve told him that. And how many times per season did he make such declarations.

Mulder is looking a bit care-worn but Scully looks as fine as she ever did. Possibly even better, and Hell, I didn’t even know Skinner was still among the living.  Surely, I thought he might have shuffled off the bureaucratic coil a  long time ago.

As far as I can tell from the three episodes that have aired, its the same formula as before. There is a mystery. Mulder and Scully investigate, find out the truth, some  heads are exploded and they wrap it up and move on to the next strange event.

Hey, don’t mess with a formula that works.


Stuff We’re Looking At

I promised I’d write down my feeling about the new season of Agent Carter, but a bunch of other things aired and there are some shows I mentioned in the past, which I haven’t mentioned since. Here’s  my midseason report of love and indifference.

Agent Carter – 

I actually enjoyed this episode,  or rather I enjoyed the second episode where Peggy goes on a date with the very fine Dr. Wilkins and runs around the streets of LA, shooting people and kicking ass. I actually expected a certain amount of silliness but didn’t expect it to be quite so funny. (The funniest moment was watching Jarvis fighting with the flamingo he can’t get off his lawn. Jarvis! You gotta tackle him from the back, dude!)

One of the things I’ve always liked about Agent Carter ,and which it has always gotten right, is  the depiction of female characters liking and getting along with each other. The show has women with different body sizes, people with disabilities and I’m glad to see the show actually addressing what its like for a black man living in 1950s LA. The show doesn’t back away from discussing the topic anymore than it backed away  from showing the general mistreatment of women during that time ,and amazingly, none of this makes the show less fun or gets in the way of the plot, which I barely paid attention to, anyway.

The show looks gorgeous and I’m always up for a bit of eye-candy. I may have to change my mind about this show, even though I haven’t seen any WoC, at all yet.  I am well aware I shouldn’t punish a show just because some of  its fans were  assholes to black women fans, but my interaction with them was souring the show for me and it still sort of does. Its nice to know that the writers and cast were listening and hope they keep up the work they started. I don’t want to give the show a cookie for doing what it ought to have done in the first place, (and still isn’t getting entirely correct) but I do want to encourage the show to keep going in same direction, and perhaps, with time it will become less timid about depicting people of color.

I’m not sure if I’ll keep watching the show, but it  actually tried to improve over last season, although the trailers are designed to make you hate the show without ever looking at it. The show is still as action packed as when Peggy lived in NY, so people who are already fans, won’t be too discombobulated by its new setting.


Second Chance: 

Aah, yeah. This show came on TV last week and I didn’t even notice. That’s how compelling the premise of this show is. So if you don’t know what the Hell I’m   talking about, it’s okay. I do remember I was initially excited about it when it was called The Frankenstein Code, but when they changed the name and made a new trailer, I completely lost interest.

The show isn’t bad, but Lord! it’s not good. It’s a completely middle of the road, bland, mediocre detective/cop show , with unlikeable characters. I mean the good guys, or gray or whatever they are. There is nothing extraordinary or compelling about this show and with the glut of genre programming on the air right now, shows really need to stand out, in a big way, to stay on the air.

The show doesn’t have enough humor, or possibly any humor. The actors are all completely earnest about being in a drama, although strangely, I liked some of the supporting female characters, who were acting like they were in another, more exciting show. Maybe the show should have been about them. The guy playing the lead character, named Pritchard is not a very good actor. He’s not awful, but he’s no Daniel Craig, who only has two or three facial expressions too, but works well with what he has.

When I’m done watching this episode , I expect to forget that the show is on the air again.


The Expanse:

I don’t even know what to say about this show. I just got bored and decided my time would be better off sleeping. There’s so much stuff on TV right now, that one cannot possibly watch all of it, so if one more person rec’s something for me to watch, they are going to get a strongly worded comment from me.  People also keep telling me to  record things, but my DVR is already cluttered with shit I ain’t looking at and  I decided not to clutter it up with  more.


DCs Legends of Tomorrow:

Well, the acting is a bit juvenile, but the show moves really fast. There’s a lot of plot in the 45 minutes we get. All of the principle characters, and their primary objective, is introduced in the first ten minutes. One of the biggest problems I have with watching CW shows is the sameness of the characters from show to show, the level is writing is sometimes too high school, and the schmacting, where pretty, young people stare intently into one another’s eyes, while earnestly emoting their lines. Most of the time, while watching these shows, I wonder when the characters will stop talking.

The action scenes and special effects are cool, even though there’s still no way to make flying people look convincing. The fight scenes are well choreographed but unremarkable and meaningless. I know those aren’t the focus of the show, as with Into the Badlands, but I can’t help comparing. On the other hand, the characters are really, really pretty, and it’s just the pilot, so there’s room for improvement. It’s also really nice to see the glorious Prison Break brothers back on TV and being snarky, although the show could definitely use some better, sharper humor.

At one point, some of the team members visit a biker bar during the 70s, and a fight breaks out, as is the law regarding such things. I liked Hawkgirl, though. She has an interesting face, with lots of character.

Its also nice to see that the creators remembered that people of color exist (although, once again not Asians, who are enirely mythical, like unicorns, I guess) and that most of us like to have adventures and superpowers, too. I don know if I’ll love the show, but it was a nice first date and I’ll try it again next week.


Next week:

I’ll let you know what I think about the new X-Files, and you’ll have to bear with me because my review will probably be wrapped in a veil of nostalgia, and its rare that a show that’s been canceled for years, gets a renewal. Also, I’ll review another episode of The Magicians, maybe. I’d like to see where the show is going and how close it hews to the books. I’ll continue my reviews of the first season of Hannibal and one  of these days I’m going to get around to reviewing The Hateful Eight and Ash Vs. The Evil Dead.

Remember to LIKE the ones you like!


In Defense of Django Unchained

This is the only requirement I have when I walk into a movie theater:

I want to be entertained. Which means:

I want to be transported to a place and time I would never be able to experience (and probably not personally want to). I want to be emotionally moved. I want to FEEL. I want to care about the characters, learn something new, or get invested in the plot.

The director and actors are my tour guides and I expect them to care about where they’re taking me and  to make my trip worthwhile, no matter what kind of things they’re going to show me. There are some actors and directors that I will always trust to take me on a journey I won’t forget.

Because I’m in in it for the story.

Its not that I don’t notice or think about other issues while watching a movie, or don’t expect to see or hear about them, but I don’t walk into the theater expecting movies to meet my social justice needs. That’s what the Internet and my real  life is for. If a movie does that, that’s just the icing on the cake. I don’t expect it.

I’m probably one of about 20  black people that adored this movie. I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the movie itself, from people who want the movie to do certain things for them and there are perfectly legitimate criticisms to be made about it, but I’ve also seen a lot of criticism about how the movie simply doesn’t meet the social justice needs of the person viewing it and is therefore a bad movie. My argument is that’s not the movie’s purpose and its not the purpose one should have expected when walking into the theater.

Its not that a person shouldn’t want current social issues to be addressed  in a movie. If that is your priority then you should care that certain movies, actors or directors aren’t giving you what you want. I care about issues too, I just don’t expect the straight, White, cis-gender men, who make movies, to give two shits about social issues that are important to me. My expectations for white men caring about shit that doesn’t  involve them is pretty damn low and I don’t walk into a movie  made by a White man and expect him to teach me anything about racism, feminism, or historical accuracy. I know there are white men out there who give a fuck about people who aren’t them, but most of them do not appear to be filmmakers.

I don’t give Django Unchained an across-the-board A+. Its not a perfect film. (I’m not looking for perfect. I’m looking for Mr. Right-Now.) Like I said, there are some perfectly legitimate criticisms of the movie, but those things are not deal breakers for me and I’m willing to overlook those criticisms to take the journey.


One of the biggest criticisms is the idea of a White man telling the story of slavery, and I suppose one can see it that way if one wanted, but I have two thoughts about this critique. One: I don’t blame Quentin Tarantino for being the man to tell this particular story. I blame the industry that won’t give PoC a chance to tell their own stories their own way and will greenlight stories by White men to tell other people’s experiences.

‘”The question I’m more interested in having is this: Could a black director have made this movie? Controlling for factors like Tarantino’s film credentials and ability to have strong openings, if you had a comparable black director, could he or she get this movie made without going straight to DVD? Would he or she even be able to pitch this kind of idea to a major studio head without getting stopped at the development door? I don’t think so.

And to me, that’s a bigger issue. Tarantino can make this because he is who he is but also because he isn’t black. It’s related to the age-old issue that many screenwriters and directors of color hear from studios: Will white audiences go see a movie about and featuring nonwhite people? Since they still make up the majority of the movie-going audience, green lights and decisions are still made with them in mind. And, yes, in 2013, this is still an issue. So I could only imagine the conversation if a black director tried to get “Django” made with the backing of major studio: Um, I’m not sure audiences would enjoy a movie about a black slave killing a whole bunch of white people.” End quote there.

-Daniella Gibbbs Ledger from the Center for American Progress.

If the Hollywood film industry gave PoC the chance to write and film their own vehicles, we would not then be having this argument about Tarantino being the  arbiter of what constitutes Black History, or any history for that matter. If there were other PoC  telling our own stories, this movie would not have been considered at all remarkable. Just one more voice in a choir of voices.

Two: Tarantino isn’t telling the non-fictional story of slavery. He is telling a fairy tale, a myth that’s set during that time period, that is itself an alternate universe version of real world history.. A lot of people found this movie extremely difficult to watch because of those realistic parallels. The brutality and sadism on display would be hard for anyone to watch. It was difficult for me to sit through too, but I don’t mistake my discomfort with brutality as a sign that the movie is bad. I’m supposed to feel uncomfortable. That’s the point. In that sense, the movie is doing exactly what its supposed to be doing, making me feel stuff. That I didn’t care for that particular feeling is not the fault of the film. Is there a legitimate criticism that Tarantino could have used some other, more positive, backdrop for this story? Sure. But for reasons known only to himself this is the landscape he chose.

I’m with Henry Louis Gates on this issue, when he  says:

“… throughout my career as a cultural critic, I have done my best to defend the right of filmmakers, visual artists and novelists to take liberty in their depictions of historical events. Feature films, for example, are not documentaries; and the generic differences between them should always be kept in mind. What’s the difference, at least in this context? I think of it this way: Feature films are about what could have happened, while documentaries ostensibly are about what did happen…”

I like Django Unchained exactly because it is NOT a documentary of the time period. I  don’t think I would’ve been able to sit through it if that had been the case. The film is full of anachronisms and that’s a legitimate criticism only if you expect absolute realism. Coming from a SciFi geek background, I view the film through the lens of  Fantasy and Alternate History, where it makes perfect sense that Jamie Foxx can walk around looking as cool as can be in a pair of smoked spectacles,  while twirling six shooters.


Django Unchained is a hero story,  that could have just as easily been written by James Campbell or Richard Wagner. Christolph Waltz character , King Schultz,  makes this parallel within the movie, when he tells Django of the Norse myth of The Volsunga saga, part of which involves Siegfried climbing a mountain, fighting a dragon and walking through a ring of fire for his “bae”, Brunhilde,  who is being held captive in a castle.


This is the story. I’m all about the story.

I like how Tarantino flips the tropes of the Western genre. There’s a Black man on a horse, with a sidekick who is a White man with a mysterious past. Its not some sympathetic Confederate soldier who is out to get revenge on the Northerners who wronged him. Its an ex-slave, out to save his best girl, and willing to walk through Hell and damnation to do it. It is the his sidekick who dies to facilitate his goal and it is Django and his bride who get to ride off into the twilight together. I  also like it because Black women don’t often get to be loved like that in a movie. We don’t get to be the damsels in distress that a black man will bring down heaven to save.

Our very first messages as black women are that we are unloved and unloveable, so seeing us get to be saved, instead of always doing the saving (Don’t get me wrong. I love me some Michonne. That’s my girl!), seeing the black female  as a precious thing that a man would be willing to die and kill for…

This is the story.



This story is as grand, epic and romantic as any of Clint Eastwood’s lone gunman narratives or Luke Skywalker’s hero’s journey to slay the beast and win back his father. For me, the backdrop to Django Unchained is no more realistic, or even horrific, than the Nazi Germany of Life is Beautiful (1997), or the setting in a galaxy long ago and far away, and the only drawback I have to the story being told at all, was that in Hollywood, a  Black man would probably  have never  been allowed to tell it.



I wrote this in response to the OscarsSoWhite hashtag, as once again I will not be watching the Oscars this year. There were any number of stories told by PoC this year that were worth nominating and every single one of them was ignored in favor of movies no one will remember were ever released.

I also wrote this as a precursor to my review of The Hateful Eight (which somehow, I got roped into doing and have no idea how that happened!). The Hateful Eight is another excellent movie which was ignored by the Academy this year.

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