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And the other thing about Moana is, it paints this, like, eye-wateringly idyllic picture of a pre-industrial society, just SO beautiful with those swelling chords and Lin-Manuel Miranda's catchy-ass lyrics dragging you headlong into it, and then casually, about two-thirds of the way through, oh yeah, infanticide is totally a thing, too.  o.O
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One thing about Ghostbusters’ Kevin: my friend C pointed out, Kevin is not a feminine character being played by a man, at all. All his obnoxiousnesses are masculine forms of obnoxiousness. He’s so comfortable in his own skin, he’s completely uninterested in any inconvenience his weird spaciness may be causing his female employers! He’s got total confidence in his graphic design skills! And he’s got no doubts that he’s qualified to be on the team and be a real Ghostbuster! He was born to be a Ghostbuster, and being born is all it takes!
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Ghostbusters 2016: go see it, but don’t wear mascara. I cried with laughter. Like, I remember the first movie started with kind of a slow build? The first scene is a ghost scaring someone in a library, and then we cut to Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman creeping on an undergrad? :/ The remake opens on a tour of a haunted house. Fifteen seconds in, the docent explains that this was the most elegant house in New York City of its time, with every modern convenience, including a face bidet and an anti-Irish security fence. So began the theme of the next two hours, which was me wishing that we could all laugh more quietly because I’m pretty sure I missed like a third of the jokes because I was still laughing from the previous ones.
It is not a beat-by-beat remake, which thank God, because what even is the point. It retains the basic plot of the most American movie ever, but why would you want to see the same thing done exactly the same way? You’re here to see the movie you loved done bigger and badder - check - and funnier - I know this is sacrilege but honestly, maybe, check? - and sexier - hella check - and cameos by all the original actors, which the whole theatre applauds when check. And delightfully retro special effects. And plenty of ectoplasm.
The casting of the Ghostbusters as women is more than a simple one-to-one switch. E pointed out that the new Ghostbusters are more everything than the originals: more successful, more sincere, more intelligent and committed and amped-up. And that’s part of the bigger and badder remake effect; but there’s another aspect. Venkman can be a fraud and a loser for his whole life and we still believe that he can take a breakthrough and ride it to success. But women don’t fail up like that. Venkman’s counterpart, Erin Gilbert, is an MIT grad physicist at Columbia who begins the movie by realizing with horror that despite all that, her name on a book taking ghosts seriously can scuttle her reputation and her chance at tenure in a snap. The scene where she mourns “I worked so hard! I kissed so many kinds of asses!” - Gilbert has to work more than twice as hard as Venkman to be just as much of a loser, and it feels so real.
God, I don’t want to spoil you, but it’s a movie that is extremely aware of the nerdboy hate it faces and having so much fun with it. That said: it was directed by Paul Feig, written by Paul Feig and Katie Dippold, and produced by Ivan Reitman, Amy Pascal, and Dan Ackroyd.  What I am trying to say here is, it was not created by the founders of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Chris Hemworth’s receptionist role is much bigger and funnier than anything the 1984 Ghostbusters let Annie Potts do. Like, he seriously walks away with every goddamn scene he’s in. Also, I feel the need to note that before the movie started, we watched four previews in a row:
  1. A movie about a boy who discovers that he belongs at a school for kids with magic powers, featuring a pretty girl who tells him that he is the one who has the special power to save them all
  2. A movie about a young man who comes home traumatized from the war in Iraq, featuring a pretty girl who tells him how strong and amazing he is
  3. A movie about the man who put the airplane down in the Hudson River, featuring a woman who tells him how amazing and brave he was to save all those people
  4. A movie about the smartest professor in the world, featuring a pretty younger woman who is there to tell him that he is the only one who can solve the puzzle and avert the apocalypse
  5. A movie about a traumatized boy who discovers the ability to summon a monster, featuring a pretty young woman who tells him he is important and deserves to break things if he wants to break them (no, seriously)
  6. Also, to be fair, Bridget Jones’ Baby, which looked cute
At no point did Hemsworth’s Kevin, or any other dude, ever tell our female Ghostbusters how special and important they were, so let me be clear that this movie is in no way a straight Hollywood role reversal.
I do want to tell you that somehow, in almost two hours of straight jokes, they managed to avoid making even a single fat joke about Melissa McCarthy. Amazing, but true. Also, prior to seeing the movie, I heard criticism that Leslie Jones, who is black, had to play the non-scientist streetwise character; but I did not realize that in this case “streetwise” meant “New York City history buff, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the actual streets.” 
I feel like I’ve just told you all the ways in which the movie doesn’t suck and I haven’t managed to explain how purely joyous Holtzmann is, and how funny McCarthy makes her Abby Yates, and how much I howled when I realized that instead of climbing a tower for the final battle, they had to dive into a basement. Seriously, the theme carries through. And I’m not even going to spoil the best bit for you. Go see the thing.

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We saw Star Wars last night! It was:

95% = this extremely accurate and spoiler-free review

4% = a gutwrenching hook into the primal human fear that your kid will grow up to be a horrible person and you won't be able to do anything about it

1% = a brief but surprisingly nuanced glimpse of a complicated, either long-ended or on-again-off-again, nonmonogamous relationship between three people who clearly still care about each other a whole lot

We had fun!
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As you know, I have no problem with poly in real life, or even in my Serious Reading; but the part of my brain that is dignity-free and only wants to eat candy corn until it explodes, or the fiction equivalent, does not like any jealousy issues even in potentia in its Diabetes Delight. I don't like poly, threesomes, and definitely not cheating in my fic. I honestly even have a terrible problem with OTPs, and I don't want to read about those characters with other people.

Except, it turns out, with Hamilton. Perhaps because Alexander is the canon bicycle? Dunno, but fanon's got everyone lined up to have a whack at him and I am here for it.
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[personal profile] tam_nonlinear introduced me to Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine, and I love it. She's the doctor, he's the doofus, and it makes me laugh out loud at least once per episode.

Now, I am always grateful to live in the era of vaccines, antibiotics, and handwashing. I've always known that we are so damn lucky to have so many actual cures for things, that work. What this podcast is making me aware of is how lucky we are to not have so many damn things that don't work. Like, when you have a fever, Tylenol may or may not help, but at least you don't have anyone demanding that you rub your head with cowshit mixed with honey, eat a frog boiled in oil, then tie some bread to a tree. ("Can I at least skip the tying the bread to the tree?" "God, it's like you don't even want to get better.")

We still have a bunch of expensive shit that doesn't work, but the natural habitat of expensive shit that doesn't work is ailments for which we don't have anything that does work, so every remedy we discover not only cures an ailment but also erases a bunch of bullshit. It's great.
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You know, another thing about Fury Road:
The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.
- Niels Bohr
When Nux is discovered on the war rig, Furiosa roars with anger and lunges to shank him. But she can't; the Wives won't let her. They agreed, Splendid reminds her: no unnecessary killing! They throw him out of the rig instead. And Furiosa's not wrong. He was there to stab her in the back and return the Wives to a life of slavery and rape. They throw him out; and he goes back to Immortan Joe, helps his army find the war rig, and comes back re-armed to try again.

But the Wives aren't wrong, either. It would be quite easy for the movie to endorse the opinion that the Wives are being foolishly sentimental, wanting to avoid killing, because they're not hardened to the necessities of the post-apocalyptic land like Furiosa and the Vuvalini are. Furiosa says it: oh, you got shot, boo hoo, out here everything hurts. The Keeper of the Seeds cheerfully tells the Dag, "Killed everyone I ever met out here." And when the Dag says, "Thought somehow you girls were above all that," how much do I love the Keeper's wry smile, her head tilt that says silently and eloquently that if they were above all that they'd be six feet under all that by now. She doesn't have to say it. I can't get over this movie's parsimonious elegance; it's clear, no words wasted.

But what the characters say isn't necessarily what the movie says. And it's also clear that while the movie supports the Vuvalini in their casual murder; it also supports the Wives in their mercy, in their humanity, in their goal to be above all that. Because what the movie tells us is that the Wives were quite right to spare Nux. Nux is the one who gets the war rig unstuck out of the mud. Nux gives everything in the end to stop Joe's raging son and blow the rig and block pursuit and give them the chance to get home free. Generosity and mercy directly make our heroines' triumph possible.

Furiosa deals violence and death to rescue and protect the Wives. But then Angharad protects her with the physical fact of her vulnerability: she puts her body between Furiosa and a gun, she literally saves Furiosa with the power of life. The power of death and the power of life are explicitly opposed: the Dag says that Angharad used to call bullets "antiseed"; Cheedo explains, "Plant one and watch something die." So, Furiosa and Max plant bullets and watch the flowering of explosions. And without that, none of our heroines would survive. But the future is going to be the seeds planted by the Dag.

The Vuvalini, who live by violence, die by violence. The Keeper of the Seeds has never been able to successfully plant her seeds. The Dag, who rejects killing, is the one who can finally take the seeds to the place where they will grow. There is a generational thing going on here!
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
- John Adams
Furiosa's politics and war make it possible for the Wives to move forward with philosophy and agriculture. Neither of them are wrong. And how much do I love this movie about generations of women disagreeing with each other and caring for each other? My god, compare the way Charlize Theron's character feels about younger women in this movie vs. Snow White and the Huntsman. Why can't we see a million more stories like this one?

No, instead, of course, they made a comic book prequel and got rid of every single goddamn good thing about the movie. I knew they would. There's going to be a tie-in game and I bet there's no playable female characters in it. Let us never speak of these things again. Let's just enjoy every beautiful facet of the film itself.
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Everyone who has been needing to see characters with disabilities in more fiction knows that MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is all made up of disabled characters, right? 
  • Furiosa uses an artificial hand. (Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it was Valvoline (exploding.))
  • Immortan Joe uses some kind of assisted breathing device.
  • Joe's brother or whatever is a little person in a mobility chair.
  • Nux has tumors on his trachea that affect his breathing.
  • The warboys in general have some condition that causes them to require regular blood transfusions. (Admittedly, that condition could be "very dangerous lifestyle.")
  • The Doof Warrior has no eyes.
  • The leader of Gas Town has a Tycho Brahe-style decorative metal artificial nose and a wicked case of foot edema.
  • Max has intrusive hallucinations, possibly PTSD flashbacks.

And I'm resigned to the fact that we're about to see a glut of movies made by people who saw FURY ROAD & thought "Great! People don't WANT explanation or backstory or worldbuilding or character or reasons for anything to happen!" Because moviemakers are going to notice that this movie did not stop to provide any infodumps and people loved that. And the kind of hack-ass storytellers who can't provide information except in an infodump are not going to bother noticing the wealth of information that the movie steadily, nonverbally, delivers.

The obsessive ornamentation on everything drives home that these are a people who have lost television. They aren't spending their evenings playing World of Warcraft, they're spending it painstakingly coiling recycled metal wire into skulls to enhance the fetishistic power of their steering wheels.

Furiosa has one word about her character arc: "Redemption." One word. The movie then goes on to reveal, in a completely non-Joss-Whedon-clever-dialogue kind of way, that spoiler ) I could see how that would leave a person with a score to settle.

Joe - I know I keep coming back to Joe, but since he is the one who ran the citadel, the citadel and the army speak most to his character. And - weirdly, considering his motivation in the whole film is spoiler ) - his character is that of a despot who allows his subordinates considerable initiative.

Consider the argument that ends in strapping Max to the front of Nux's Chevy:
spoiler )

Mallory Ortberg correctly noted that if Joe had been serious about spoiler ) And all of this the movie suggests without a spoken word.

And all the characters with disabilities, are not there because this is a Very Special Episode of the Apocalypse. They're there to show that this world is goddamn hard on human bodies - and to show the state of medical and assistive technology - and to show priorities. The people are like the things in this world in one way: the valuable ones are too valuable to waste just because some part of them isn't working to spec. Instead they weld on part of some other machine, to make it work; and add weapons capability while they're at it. And they don't bother trying to make the prosthetics look naturalistic. In a way, in this mutated world, the aesthetic celebrates physical variety, somatic change. spoiler )
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  • Fury Road. FURY'S ROAD. It's her road.

  • @xatharine was admiring the near-total lack of worldbuilding & I realized what that was like: fanfic. Fic where they didn't waste more than like a minute setting up apocalyptic yadda yadda or Max's numbingly predictable manpain past because lol, you already know it from canon! Fuck explaining the fucking fridged girls, okay? he's HAUNTED. GO WITH IT. Give it a minute to make it clear it's not an AU, eat that lizard, hit that pedal & chilly down with the warboys! We have some truly great OCs to get to here.

  • …seriously, did this movie remind anyone else of Labyrinth? When the rock dwellers were boppin' their motorcycles all about, IDK, I kind of got "Chilly Down" stuck in my head! The polecats too, man!

  • (Note: in a labyrinth, you walk the spiral all the way in, then you turn around and walk all the way out. I'M JUST SAYING.)

  • You have probably heard the hype and all so let me not oversell it. It's not Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's Aliens. It's a Shit Blows Up Real Good movie. But as an example of that genre, it is GLORIOUS.

  • Let me steal [personal profile] hradzka's thoughts again, because this is perfect:
    FURY ROAD headcanon: Immortan Joe’s obsession w/ perfection gave Furiosa chance to rise. She didn’t lose that hand. She was born without it.
    Right! That's why she got to be War Smurfette instead of just more livestock!

  • Oh, my god, Immortan Joe. I am so sorry for everyone I have been blithering about this to for days. I have Mad Max Mentionitis, it's terrible. But anyway. Immortan Joe. You know who I keep comparing him to? Dr. Doom. Immortan Joe does not have Dr. Doom's problem there. Immortan Joe has an army that runs like a well-oiled machine! His minions are an energetic, competitive, dedicated, psychotically bloodthirsty Cirque de Soleil troupe of hundreds! They are all covered in white clay which is actually quite good thinking because Coppertone is probably not in business anymore and these are all white people (why are these all white people? All of them? I can't help thinking that if anyone was going to survive in an Australia devoid of mechanized civilization a fair percentage of them would be Aboriginal Australians?) and without some kind of sun protection they would crisp like chicharrones. Despite a lot of moving parts and a desperate shortage of fuel, his citadel runs smoothly: he could have used water power, but instead he keeps the young male population busy (good thinking); he's not abusing their strength because the great weights work on a system of counterbalances; the citadel not only functions well but expresses its function through its form in the best tradition of Louis Henry Sullivan! Everything in Immortan Joe's stronghold is horrifyingly beautiful, okay? His armor is carefully designed to look like muscles at the distance from which the plebs get to see him. Every bit of machine or weapon features painstakingly handcrafted skull ornamentation, it's like the Arts & Crafts movement via Iron Maiden. I love it so. This is the setup of an evil mastermind who helps his people to excel.

  • And then there's the way his army rides into battle. What a sense of style! Goddamn, no wonder the warboys are having so much fun!



  • Actually I could not get over the soundtrack in general. I am not usually a big one for movie soundtracks, but I am trying to find a way to make out with this one, because I need to consummate my love for this music.

  • No, seriously, personnel decisions are key to being a successful evil overlord! Even Immortan Joe falls down there eventually. I think his fetish for blood family was his downfall: I think the weird little dude in the chair was his brother or something. Man, if I am ever an evil warlord, and you are my second in command, and my renegade Imperator and a raggedy band of [SPOILERS] shows up with my [SPOILER], like, immediately spray them with gunfire and roll up the gates, okay? Joe was almost a truly great evil leader, but a truly great evil leader inspires his followers to develop the evil from within themselves, not to just kind of run out of evil when the boss is not right there to inspire them.

  • For a while I wondered why we kept coming back to a bolt cutter, of all things, in a Shit Really Blows The Hell Up movie. Then I realized: the movie is about liberation.

  • Speaking of the Anvil of Subtlety, let's not even talk about the seeds. Ah, fuck it, I enjoyed it. :D

  • Really, it's fic. Within the first 5 minutes Max announces that he is going to be the least interesting character in the movie. "The only thing I want anymore is to survive. I am here to provide canon continuity as you meet OCs who actually have desires and will therefore be providing motivation and a plot. In the meantime, please enjoy my muscular physique, my sad, haunted eyes, and my pouty, full lips."

  • Kameron Hurley has more cogent things to say about the film, including just how nice it is that it skips the pervy camera.

  • Seriously. Even when the nearly naked supermodels are cutting off (bolt cutter! Liberation!) the terrifying-looking chastity belts (Arts and Crafts! Iron Maiden!) and splashing water all over their diaphanous translucent gauze wisps. It's a shock! These extremely well-cared-for well-groomed women are the shock they should be, after the way everyone else is living in this apocalypse! But it's not…it's not quite the wet t-shirt Slave Leia scene that every iron-clad rule of genre is straining to turn it into. Not quite. It's a crave-inducing scene, but through Max's eyes, it's honestly a question: are the girls more eye-catching than the water?

  • And the other thing, they addressed my problem with Snowpiercer! They should have been delighted to have nice proteinaceous bugs to eat by then! Actually in this one I was so relieved to see him eat that bug because I know it's set in Australia and I figured either he killed it or it killed him.

  • I saw this movie by accident! I had a plan with @xatharine to go see Avengers! And then we accidentally bought tickets for the wrong day. And then it turned out that Avengers wasn't even showing in that theatre anymore, Mad Max was. And by the time we'd figured that out, we were like, fuck it, we're at the goddamn theatre, we're gonna watch the movie that's here. IT COULD NOT HAVE TURNED OUT BETTER.
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As you probably know, the 50 Shades of Grey movie came out recently.

Delightful: the explosion of men impotently railing "This isn't sexy! Why would anyone think this was sexy! It's awful! It's terrible! Stop finding it sexy!"

I will fucking increase the fucking thing
(drawn by floccinaucinihilipilificationa; thanks, [personal profile] kate_nepveu!)

Incidentally, have you noticed? Sometimes things that are just not that well written become hugely popular among men, or majority men. Star Wars, for example. Then there is an enormous collective effort to figure out what's appealing about it: explosions, special effects, the Hero's Journey, etc. And sometimes things that are just not that well written become hugely popular among women. Then there is an enormous collective effort to explain what's wrong with women for liking it.

Irritating as all fuck: all the earnest BDSMers finger-wagging about how dangerous it is that this story has fallen into the hands of women who Know Not The Truth About BDSM.

Y'all. It is a fantasy. Fan. Ta. Sy. I've got a copy of The Topping Book and Dossie Easton cheerfully writes about helping a guy figure out how to play out his fantasy of literally skinning his lover. You've read Doc and Fluff - you know, groundbreaking BDSM classic? About healthy safe and sane relationships, is it? Fuck's sake, stop freaking out because women are doing some homosocial bonding over fantasizing about a hot toppy billionaire.

(The famous tampon scene? The "ewww, why would anyone want to read that?" scene? Yes. In a world where girls don't want to let guys go down on them because they think they're "gross", let us wonder what on earth women might find appealing about a book with a scene in which a man is so comfortable with and completely not grossed out at all by a woman's normal bodily functions that it doesn't kill the mood for him to take out her tampon. It may remain forever a mystery.)
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I have to take these antibiotics 4 times a day and I can't take them within 2 hours of eating or 1 hour of going to eat. I think these stupid drugs want me to lose weight.

But I don't even care, because omg I'm so grateful. Today I dragged my sick ass to work only because we had a deadline and I had no makeup and experimental hair and jeans and the repulsive raggedy old sneaks that are what I can lace over my two - two! - MAD SEXY ankle braces, and I still felt like cutest I have felt in maybe months. Because that is what not feeling like a disgusting disease-ridden sack of pus will do for you! When you move on up to merely a slightly defeated sack of meat with just disease sprinkled on the top, it's like a million bucks! God, antibiotics, how we're going to miss you.

Also someone seems to have replaced my regularly scheduled Junebug with Junebug: Snugglebug X-Treme version, at least for him. I have gotten hugs! And blown kisses! And Mr. E has gotten kisses hello and goodbye! I don't know what's going on here but I LOVE IT.

And, I got to binge-watch OITNB while I was home sick this week. I haven't seen the season finale of S2 so don't spoil me, but damn. On the one hand, show I love you. On the other, did we really have to have a fake rape storyline? Really? In a women's prison? Why is that…why. Oh my god, I hate that so much. Also, I love Vee as a character so much, and I love watching Lorraine Toussaint just Cersei her way through everything and everyone without so much as pulling her hem off the floor, but I am getting just a little creeped out at the constant tradeoff between Good White Mother Red and Bad Black Mother Vee. But, of course, that is the great thing about having more than one black woman character in a show: she doesn't have to be Black Women, she can just be Vee, because there's also Taystee and Poussey and Cindy and that one Golden Girl and etc.

Also, Red's not that great, so there's that. :D
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More on Snowpiercer, about which I was saying that it ruined our date night because I talked Mr. E into seeing it and then spent the rest of the night apologizing.

The biggest problem for me is that director Bong Joon-ho says that the whole film is about Curtis’ journey, and Curtis’s journey is so aggressively uninteresting to me that it actually caused me emotional pain every time it was made impossible for me to ignore it. Beautiful snowscapes! Gorgeous art deco train design! Picturesquely Mad Maxian gutters and tatters! Tilda Swinton’s hilariously cringing amoral functionary! Nihilistically hot Song Kang-ho SORRY no more time for any of that it’s time to FOCUS ON MANPAIN. Movie starts, you see the tallest white dude in steerage, he has beautifully lit blue eyes, a slightly shorter white dude looking worshipfully at him and telling him how cool he is, and an aged white dude (John Hurt, thriftily reusing the beard from Only Lovers Left Alive) Obi-Wanning his way through a short speech about how Tall Dude Must Lead. Oh my god. Oh my god, I do not care about this dude’s destiny. I hate him, I hate his destiny, I hate his conflict, such as it is, I hate his supposed character arc, I hate his face. I hate the fact that obviously the movie is about him because OF COURSE IT IS. He’s Captain America, incidentally. Of course he is.

Spoilers, such as they are. )

The opening titles were amazing though. Truly we are living in a golden age of film title sequences.
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  • In my ongoing effort to care about baseball, I recently made Mr. E watch Moneyball, as recommended by [personal profile] luna. That was a genuinely funny film. It had a real uphill battle to make me like it, starting by being in one of my least favorite genres, (Almost) Nothing But Old-ish White Guys Staring Grimly At Each Other. And there was a lot of bleak in it. But, perhaps by contrast, the funny lines left us helpless with laughter for minutes on end. It was a damn good film.

  • I went to see Vienna Teng with [personal profile] dr_memory and it was fantastic, she is fantastic. Live is really the best way to see her and her crew. Check out "Copenhagen".

    We were talking about how the music that is on the radio these days, 95% of it, the lyrics, it has as much relevance to our lives as if it were about the habits of the mantis shrimp. Which, mantis shrimp are very beautiful and interesting animals! I would happily listen to a song about mantis shrimp. A number of songs about mantis shrimp, even. But, uh, maybe not nothing but music about mantis shrimp? I mean, what about, just to mix it up a little, music about lemurs? Music about the majestic and serene squid? Maybe even music about people because you know sometimes you like to hear a song that says something about your interests.

    Anyway, so, Vienna Teng's latest album, Aims, includes a song about Occupy Wall Street, one about big data collection and privacy, another one about privacy and the fluctuating definition of the self, one about technological infrastructure, one about taking care of aging parents, and so on, and it's fantastic. Don't listen to it in the car; the music is delicate, you need to be able to hear it.

  • With two kids now, on weekends, when the toddler is home all day, it is like I spend the entire day cleaning asses. By the time I go to bed I don't even wanna take a dump because then I would have to take care of my own ass and I am DONE WITH CLEANING ASSES FOR THE DAY.

    And before you ask, Mr. E does diapers. He does all the nighttime diapers - all of them. And a fair number of the daytime ones. I think we may be feeding the toddler too much roughage. He likes broccoli, though. And apples.

  • Urgh, I don't know. Things. Hey, if you saw me this week, and I looked like I was literally about to die, I'm feeling better. I got some sleep. It was good to see you all, though, even if I was a Poe-esque silent slumped figure of death at the party. Sorry about that.
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Aieeee, Lizzie Bennet Diaries, how so good?

Really I only have three complaints.

1) I think they should not have cast a dude as Darcy who has 1/10 the charisma, acting talent, and charm of the guy playing Bing Lee. Okay, yes, he's taller, but is that really so important? And what is with that weird semi-British accent thing that his sister hasn't got?

2) Okay, I realize he's working uphill there with that massive charmlessness they wrote into William I Will Protect My Helpless Baby Sister Who Is Only In Her Late Twenties And May Succumb To The Vapors At Any Moment If She Has Any Excitement At All Like Girls Do Darcy. They could drop that aaaaany time.

3) They did a great job of updating almost all the characters, but Mama Bennet just does not make any sense outside of her economic context, as illustrated in the last entry in this series of Texts from Pride & Prejudice.

And this is not exactly a complaint, but Lydiaaaaaaa. ;_____; Oh man she's great. But she's not P&P Lydia, about whom: "Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless." You can't tame the Lydia! You can try, but YOU WILL FAIL! She is fearless! She cannot be defeated! I fucking love her, and I wish she could come hang out with this Lydia and cheer her up.


Jul. 15th, 2012 11:42 am
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I know I tweeted this already, but these are the best thoughts yet on Brave.

On another note, though, spoilers )

Also, that was totally Ancient Scottish Burning Man she fucked off to, right? I wonder if all the [spoilers] in Ancient Scotland who didn't go celebrated the annual Festival of Parking And Being Able To Get Into Restaurants like we do around here.
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"Michael Jackson, angered over persistent media reports that he has had extensive plastic surgery, strikes a People magazine reporter with one of his antenna stalks." - Dave Barry, 1988
I don't think the Cirque de Soleil Michael Jackson show was deliberately subversive. I think it was an accident that the show was consistently as unsettling as possible. But the creators just constantly kept putting their finger on the uncomfortable spot. The central character is a mime in a white mask. Let me repeat that. It's a show about Michael Jackson. The central performer is a man in a white mask. I understand that Mr. Jackson wrote some damn good songs but you wouldn't know it from this show. You got half a minute of "Thriller" in a medley; but "Have You Seen My Childhood" got a long, surreally saccharine sequence with this whiteface mime dancing around the gates of Neverland. Yes, Michael. We have all seen your childhood because you had it on camera. Wasn't that the problem? Actually the theme running throughout nearly the whole show is fetishistically exaggerated childhood whimsy and it is creepy as fuck because the theme in the rest of the show is sexuality. The main performer for "Dangerous" is a pole dancer. There are acrobats who perform on poles: they don't do it in a string bikini and stripper heels, and they don't focus on poses like these. I have no problem with sex in my performance but I do have a problem with two things. One is sexism. I'd be all right with it if the men were also naked and flashing crotch but they're not. The cello player with the freshly waxed bikini line was a woman. The dancers wearing baggy clothes were men. The other problem I have is that again the show hit right in the uncanny valley: if you're doing a Michael Jackson show, can it really be by accident that half your show is about childhood and the other half is about fucking? When you play "Smooth Criminal" do you want to make sure your audience is thinking about the fact that it's quite possible that Mr. Jackson was in fact a criminal, and not the smooth glamorous kind, but a pathetic twisted horror?

As Mr. E said, the idea of Cirque's circus set to Michael Jackson's music is a pretty good one; unfortunately they did Michael Jackson's circus set to Cirque's music. Michael Jackson was a great singer and dancer. Their musical arrangements were not as good as the originals and their dancing was not as good as his. And most of the show was dancing. Like three times they did an actual circus act and just set it to an MJ song - the awesome contortionist, the great bouncy acrobats, a quite decent pair of aerialists - and you could tell because the audience clapped. The rest of the time we sort of sat there in a 15,000 person stunned silence. The Fabulous Stormtroopers of Love did a clunky-ass dance to "They Don't Care About Us" as the video screens showed a Montage of Speciously Political Sadness - starving kids in Africa, cops holding batons, protest signs, it turns out there are Bad Things in the World - and then their chest signs stopped glowing dollar signs at us and started glowing big red hearts as the screens showed quotes from Mr. Jackson about how it's really important to Dream and to Love and I don't know if on other nights the audience has been feeling it, but on the night we went, there was sort of an auditorium-wide feeling of "are you shitting me?"

Maybe they pulled it together at the end. I don't know, we left early to beat the rush. I used to think Cirque de Soleil was a guaranteed good time; that is clearly not true for every show.
metaphortunate: (Default)
1) My understanding is that some children have silvery laughs like little bells. My baby's laugh is awful. He does not laugh very often - he smiles a lot, but doesn't laugh very often - and when he does laugh he sounds like a very old duck having a hysterical coughing fit, or possibly like an asthmatic trying to play "Chopsticks" on the vuvuzela.

I love hearing it anyway.

2) Dude, who recced Hanna to me. I know we are all so very hard up for Bechdel-compliant action movies but jeez. I mean, it was beautiful! Beautifully filmed! But what a crappy excuse for a "story". Or even for storytelling; c'mon, if you are at the top of your evil secret govt. agency, you should be able to figure out that Sexy Lethal Eric Bana is at your front door ten minutes before me, not after. Of course my big problem was that, as usual, I wanted the villainess to win. Hanna had no personality. Sexy Lethal Eric Bana was, you know, sad-eyed and hot, but he made me feel inadequate about my parenting skills and plus he was the second most cardboard cipher of a character. I did like the bratty teenage daughter, she was great. But mostly the villainess, she was Smurfetting it up in an agency full of otherwise nothing but dudes, so okay, immediately there's a backstory there. How did she get her position? How does she keep it? I don't know but I respect her for her career achievements so immediately she's the character I'm most interested in and I know the plot requires that she lose so I am cranky. Plus you have to respect the sartorial skills of someone who can predict a week in advance the shade of the forest she'll be having her final showdown in so she can pack her matching suit and appropriate low heels.

Anyway, crossover idea, free to a good home: Hanna and her Sisters.


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