SiG Reacts: Wonder Woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actual conversation we had after watching the Wonder Woman movie:

-OMG!

-It’s SO GOOD!

-She’s AMAZING!

-OMG!

-I can’t believe how awesome it was!

-I LOVE HER!

-It was HER OWN MOVIE!

-Like, an entire movie ABOUT WONDER WOMAN!

-I mean, they didn’t try to make it about someone else with a dash of Wonder Woman. It’s HER movie.

-Yes. I know what you meant.

-Okay. I thought you would but I just had to point it out.

-I know. Because Wonder Woman. We’ve been waiting for this for a long ass time.

-I cried every time her theme music played.

-I just cried whenever she kicked some ass.

-Oh, that too.

-It was hard not to cry.

-It was almost relief crying, in a way. Is that weird?

-I’m not saying you’re not weird, but THAT isn’t weird.

-Also Etta Candy.

-I KNOW. She’s so great. “The pay is rather good.”

-I liked Robin Wright.

-She was amazing!

-She’s always amazing.

-True.

-I liked that there is a lot of really iconic imagery from the comics.

-Yes!

-When are we seeing it again?

(To be fair, we ask that question after every movie we like.)

Also there was this:

Take THAT! And some of THIS! And a little of THAT!

Take THAT! And some of THIS! And a little of THAT!

 

And this:

Also some stuff blew up.

Also some stuff blew up.

 

And some of this:

Watch it!

Watch who you’re shooting your nonsense at!

 

A bit of this:

(If she makes this face at you, run. Faster.)

(If she makes this face at you, run. Faster.)

 

Some of this:

Honestly probably run if she makes this face at you too.

Honestly probably run if she makes this face at you too.

 

And this:

“Really? Put some glasses on her and no one will notice she’s still the most beautiful woman in the world? All right.”

 

Frankly not enough of this:

Etta Candy knows what's up.

Etta Candy knows what’s up.

Or enough of this:

But seriously.

But seriously.

 

If I'd had this movie as a youngster, I'd have liked horses a lot more.

If I’d had this movie as a youngster, I’d have liked horses a lot more.

Oh, and there was this:

This Chris Pine guy is in the movie too. Mostly he does this.

This Chris Pine guy is in the movie too. Mostly he does this. He is above average.

And probably not nearly enough of this:

I am annoyed that I can't find a gif of Connie Nielsen's Hippolyta being all kick ass. So we just have to look upon Her Regalness in a still shot. But just know the woman can fight in that cape.

I am annoyed that I can’t find a gif of Connie Nielsen’s Hippolyta being all kick ass. So we just have to look upon Her Regalness in a still shot. But just know the woman can fight in that cape.

 

But there was so much of this:

This is the part that made Megan cry. Because she got glass in her eye. Yeah. Glass. That's it.

This is the part that made Megan cry. Because she got glass in her eye. Yeah. Glass. That’s it.

Yeah.

So anyway.

It’s a really great movie.

You should totally go see it.

10 Things We Loved About the New Beauty & the Beast

Header for B&BWe here at Sisters in Geek are unabashed in our fandoms and we lean in to our joy of all things nerdy. This weekend that included seeing the new live-action Beauty and the Beast, and we are here to say: we fracking adored it. For your reading enjoyment, here are our top 10 reasons why.

1. Dan Stevens is the sexiest, most fully realized Beast ever. I mean. Damn. We just had to get that out of the way off the top. OK, we can get to the serious commentary now.

What...um....what were we talking about again?

What…um….what were we talking about again?

2. The revelation that was Luke Evans’ performance. He can sing! He’s got killer comedic timing! He insisted on Gaston being an unrepentant, raging asshole! All at the same time, which is really no easy feat. He had, quite literally, no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and yet we loved every moment of his time on-screen.

Did I mention the part where I am the Literal Worst? I'm sure I mentioned it. I'm all I ever talk about!

Did I mention the part where I am the Literal Worst? I’m sure I mentioned it. I’m all I ever talk about!

3. Giving the servants more to do besides sing, dance and cajole was necessary, and so well executed. The profoundly sad scene where Lumiere and Plumette dance in that dark and funereal ballroom, terrified of dying before they can be together again? Pure poetry.

The layers. The detail. The apron pockets!

The layers. The detail. The apron pockets!

Gods, the embroidery. I need it.

Gods, the embroidery. I need it.

4. Costume porn and cosplay inspiration for days everyone. Days. And not just The Dress either, gorgeous though it was. The little touches on Belle’s workaday dress with its pantaloons and pockets had me making Denver Comic Con costuming plans, and her beautiful flowered number at the end made us all swoon.

5. The dancing! The dancing, the dancing, the dancing. The choreography was flawless, the period choices perfection, and the fact that Emma Watson and Dan Stevens clearly have good skills (or at least excellent teachers) didn’t hurt either. I could dedicate a whole post to this, honestly, because that’s what happens when you are a history nerd who majored in Dance.

6. Beast gets a lonely romantic solo (Evermore) and it is so right. It flipped the standard romantic narrative on its head by laying his isolation and loss of agency over top of Belle’s frantic flight into the snow to take action to save her father. It also showed off Stevens’ outstanding vocal chops and furthered the story without overshadowing anyone or anything. Oh, and it probably guaranteed Disney an Oscar next year. (You heard it here first, folks!)

7. Belle is still the hero of her own story. She owns her difference, is fierce in her love and loyalty to her father, fearless even when she’s actually afraid and above all, she refuses to hide her intelligence. She also falls in love with a man because of his library, which is a sentiment we can get behind. Beast and Belle fell in love because they are both bookworms with a burning passion for medieval romances, not because of Fate, or Destiny. And that’s awesome.

Look at the sexy brain on Beast!

Look at the sexy brain on Beast!

8. The music is still epic and gorgeous and ripe for sing-a-longs. The additions of both the new stuff and the Broadway stuff (hello Kevin Kline’s singing voice! Where have you been all my life?) fit in seamlessly, and the cast all met the challenges with grace. It’s not easy taking on such iconic roles and making them your own.

9. The more complex and, dare we say, grown up darkness of the enchantress’ curse. The way the village forgot the castle and their lord, the helplessness of Mrs. Potts as she soldiers on in raising a son all alone, her husband unaware that either exist. We like a little dark underpinning in our happily ever afters, and we got it.

10. Last, but most certainly not least, it made us cry freely and often. Because it’s awesome, and because it’s sad and because it takes us back to great moments and places in time. Because Belle is a badass bookworm, and so are we. And because when the last petal fell the footstool puppy fell onto his back and if that doesn’t break your heart, I really can’t help you. The experience pulled on our heart strings, and for that we are grateful.

#Goals

#Goals

What about you, dear readers? What were your favorite moments, what made you laugh, or cheer, or cry? Tell us in the comments, and if you need us we’ll be off somewhere pretending we have giant libraries with ladders and rare first editions.

All images credit by Disney.

A Geek’s Place Is In The Revolution: Stories To Help You Fight

Come and Claim ThemIt’s dark times, fellow geeks. You know it, I know it, let’s face it, we all know it. There are lots of different, and valid, ways to manage this darkness. Maybe you volunteer, or donate to causes that you care about. You can play a game, ride your bike, pet kittens. Drink heavily, and eat all the cake. The point is, you have options. Me? I like to lean in to the darkness. It helps me find the light. The following is my list of books and movies that I turn to, the stories that inspire and guide me. They are stories of perseverance, stories of war and revolution. You know, your classic tales of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances. And don’t worry, if fluffy escapism, or riotous laughter is more your thing, we have plenty of suggestions for that route too.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Handmaid's Tale CoverAnyone who has known me for any amount of time knows that Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is my hands down favorite book of all time. To explain why would likely be a huge post all on its own, so here’s the short version. While a lot of people find this book to be unendingly bleak, Offred’s story of stubborn survival never fails to uplift me. I often say “The Handmaid’s Tale is not an instruction manual.”, but as we move forward into uncertain, scary times, I think it can be. For us. Offred may look like a woman keeping her head down and just trying to get through, but she does more than that. She remembers who she is, and survives to tell her story. Sometimes, that’s enough.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Hunger Games CoverSuzanne Collins’ absolutely brilliant dystopian nightmare is something I reread (and rewatch) all the time for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes, I just need a good, full on, ugly cry. Sometimes, I want to watch Katniss Everdeen kick some fascist ass. Sometimes, I just want to experience all over again Collins’ absolutely scathing commentary on the intersection of entertainment and war. It depends on the day. The Hunger Games doesn’t pull any punches and once you’re done reading it (maybe for the millionth time), you’ll be ready to volunteer as tribute.

World War Z

World War ZI love this book so much. The documentary journalism style. The super creepy zombies. The cross-section of survivors with stories to tell. The humor. Hell, I even geek out over the footnotes. Humanity, for all its horrific flaws and poor decisions, will find a way to survive even a never-ending horde of mindless, hungry undead. Did I mention the super nerdy footnotes?

 

 

Lord of the Rings

LOTR CoverThe original, epic fantasy saving the world with magic swords and the power of friendship story. Profound and inspiring, with glorious speeches, epic battles, plus hobbits! Hobbits are great. Hobbits with pints and a ridiculous commitment to hope, even in the face of horrific enemies and truly terrible odds. I have a particular fondness for the movies myself, but you can’t go wrong either way.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter CoversThe whole series is obviously always worth reading or watching again, at any time. Let’s just be clear about that. But, in particular, books 5-7 make up one of the best primers for geeky revolutionaries of all ages. Harry, Hermione, Ron and their friends are just kids, but they don’t let that get in the way of waging a war against the Death Eaters.

 

 

Les Miserables

Les MiserablesDo I even really need to explain this? If Do You Hear the People Sing doesn’t make you feel all the emotions, I really just don’t know what to say. Vive La Resistance!

V for Vendetta

V for VendettaV is for when you really want to embrace the darkness. Beautifully paranoid and bleak, V is also an incredible elegy to humanity’s unwillingness to wither and die in the face of fascism and nuclear holocaust. Incidentally, the film adaptation also allowed me to forgive Natalie Portman for the travesty that is Attack of the Clones. But, let’s not get into that. This is a time for geeks to band together!

 

What’s your fuel for fighting the good fight, fellow geeks? Share in the comments, and we’ll see you in the trenches.

 

 

 

 

 

Hail to The Streep: A Quick Manifesto on Life, Art, and Film, and Why “Political” Isn’t A Dirty Word

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08:  In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, Meryl Streep accepts  Cecil B. DeMille Award  during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 08: In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, Meryl Streep accepts Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

 

Did y’all see Meryl Streep at the Golden Globe awards the other week, and her badass speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to film?

Here. In case you missed it. Go on. We’ll wait.


Amazing, right? The woman is a legend. I love her. I really do.

And what I think I love the most about Meryl Streep is the way she uses her voice. Whether it’s via the roles she chooses or the philanthropic work she does or the speaking out on issues important to her, she knows she has a voice and by god, she is going to use it and don’t you DARE try to shut her up or you will be staring down the barrel of a very disapproving glare a la Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.

This speech was powerful. She knew exactly what she was doing. She knew well in advance that she would be honored with this award, and she wrote a speech that said, “Screw all this self-aggrandizement that we are famous for in Hollywood. I’m going to stand up there and speak some TRUTH.” And she did exactly that. She called to task some very powerful people — well, one in particular — and she asked the room to join her in standing against him. And she did this on a broadcast from a television network that kisses that man’s ass as though he is the second coming.

It took about ten minutes on the interwebs for people to start getting angry and attacking her for being “too political”. Everyone’s favorite thing to say: “It’s an awards show. You are just a stupid actress. You are there to look pretty and entertain me. Go make a movie and shut up.”

Hey guess what?

Movies are art. Some of us call it film, or filmmaking, in our slightly more pretentious moments. And the art of filmmaking, like all art, when done well, can transport us, challenge us, make us laugh, make us weep, make us rage, make us cheer, make us hate, make us love. And art? Art IS political. Art has always been political. Because art is life, and life is political is life.

From the beginning of time, humankind has created art that tells stories about their lives. Cave drawings. Language. Storytelling. Dance. Music. It’s all been around a lot longer than Hollywood. And it’s all been political a lot longer than Hollywood. Plato, Sophocles, Socrates: All political. Beowulf contains political commentary. Shakespeare is so super political, what with all the critique of society and whatnot. Hell, even the BIBLE is political — all those Romans versus the Jews and everyone using Jesus Christ as a pawn in their political long game?

Dark times are upon us. Our country has been given over to a group of people who would like nothing more than to shut all of us up, permanently — time will tell what lengths they’re willing to go to achieve that. They want us to be stupid. They want us to not ask questions. They want us to fall in line and be the pawns in their game of money and power.

And some random people on the internet — and plenty we’ll meet in real life too — want us to “stop making everything political”.

(It’s funny how the people who always throw that word around like it’s something dirty or bad are always the ones who turn every single conversation towards the political and then as soon as you disagree with them, screech at you for “bringing politics into this”, isn’t it? Hilarious!)

Well. It’s good to want things. But no.

I refuse.

Meryl Streep refuses.

The women she inspires refuse.

We all refuse.

Think about the darkest times in your life. The ones you were sure, at the time, you wouldn’t make it through. The ones where there was no light at the end of the tunnel — at least no light that you could see. What got you through?

Antidepressants, most of my close friends are thinking right now. And that’s right. Antidepressants… and art. Photographs. Paintings. Music. Theatre. Dance. Books. And MOVIES.

And another thing: Don’t tell Meryl Streep what she can and can’t say on HER platform. That’s HER workplace. She’s the boss in that room and she will say what she came there to say. It is the most appropriate possible time and place for her to speak, and to stand up for people who don’t have the same voice she has.

And at the same time, don’t tell us that we can’t applaud her, for speaking up on our behalf, for touching our lives over and over with her art, for being a woman we can look up to, that our girls can look up to. Whatever your motivation, just don’t. Don’t tell me it’s all a distraction. Don’t tell me it’s just a bunch of celebrities. Don’t tell me I should have better things to do with my time.

The most important thing I can do with my time is LIVE. And art is part of life. Art tells the story of our life.

So we salute Meryl Streep and thank her for the art, and for the words, and for the voice.

Now let’s go watch some movies.

Just Let It In: Our Take on the Star Wars Trailer

Millions of geeks throughout the land actually sat through the first half of Monday Night Football this week in order to catch ESPN’s exclusive airing at half time of the full official trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was totally, 100% worth it. You’ve seen it by now, right? If not, it’s right here — press play. We’ll wait.

 

All done? It’s great, right? I’ve watched it at least 1138 times since Monday and I’m still seeing cool new stuff!

Let’s get this out of the way straight off: We here at Sisters In Geek are unequivocally excited about this movie. We’re not playing the “It’s probably going to suck and disappoint us again” game. And there is nothing wrong with being excited about something. We like JJ Abrams (mostly… some of us more than others…) and appreciate that in every interview he’s given on this subject, he’s talked about how he approached his direction of this movie from the perspective of a lifelong fan. That counts for something. (I could get into a whole long analysis of how George Lucas was never a fan of Star Wars and always approached everything from a control-freak, ownership perspective, but that’s something we can discuss at another time.) We are excited about the look and feel of the film based on the teasers and this trailer. And it has everything we love: spaceships, mysterious planets in galaxies far away, girls and women kicking ass, dashing fighters and star pilots, a creepy bad guy who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with Darth Vader, a divine John Williams soundtrack.

And Han Solo. It has Han Solo.

So let’s break this trailer down a little!

We open with shots of the Daisy Ridley character, Rey, exploring a desert planet that’s covered in star destroyer wreckage from some unknown past space battle. She gives off a very independent, orphan-kid vibe and we hear a voice ask “Who are you?” and another voice answer, “I’m no one.” Pretty certain that’s Leia speaking to Rey. I was theorizing the other night that Rey might be Han and Leia’s kid, but I’ve come to my senses and now think she must be Luke’s and for some reason, she’s been hidden away all this time — we’re going to have a lot of familiar touchpoints in this story. She’s definitely part of the family — she’s got that whole Padme/young Leia vibe in both her looks and personality. Sure, this could be a misdirect on the part of the filmmakers to distract us from what’s really going on, but I don’t think so. More on this in a minute.

Then we see a very Nazi-esque assembly of Imperial-style troopers listening to a rousing speech by someone dressed all in black — I’m guessing that’s either the Domhnall Gleeson character, General Hux, or the Andy Serkis character, Supreme Leader Snoke (um, gee, North Korea much with a title like that?) . We know from other set photos that Captain Phasma, the Gwendoline Christie character, is also standing up there. So we’ve got our bad guy control freaks that want to be ruling the galaxy once again.

And then we see Finn, the John Boyega character, panicking and whipping off his trooper helmet, and a voiceover of dialogue from him: “I’ve got nothing to fight for.” We see a TIE-fighter spin away from a larger ship and then it cuts to Finn, standing on the desert planet, looking down over a town.

We cut to a hooded figure standing on the bridge of a ship and what must be the voice of super baddie Kylo Ren saying, “Nothing will stand in our way…”, then the masked visage of Kylo Ren himself, … “I will finish…” and then we see that he’s holding in his hands the melted helmet of Darth Vader, “…What you started.” Aaaand a quick cut to the traumatized face of Luke Skywalker, screaming, “NOOOOOOO!” (He excels at that. Why not let him have his fun.)

Cue stuff exploding, ships flying around clearly involved in some sort of chase or battle, and OMGSQUEEEEE it’s the Millennium Falcon! (I’m mostly over my fangirl sobbing at the mere sight of it after watching the first couple of teasers 9,000 times… mostly.) And then Rey and Finn, on board the Falcon, speaking to Han Solo. He tells them the old stories they’ve heard of the Jedi and the Force are true. “All of it.” And then we make a leap into hyperspace (obviously someone’s repaired that function on the Falcon — will it work for the WHOLE movie?), and the words “THIS CHRISTMAS” come up to remind us that this is the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT WE WILL EVER GET. EVER. Well — if you are me, okay? Geez.

Cut to a dark gang of dark people in dark outfits and Kylo Ren’s wacky lightsaber lighting up, then some more ships flying and some troopers doing… something… somewhere. Then we see a bunch of what appear to be Rebel pilots (will they still be called the Rebellion? Hmmm…) readying for flight, and Finn is walking through and passes Poe Dameron (the Oscar Isaac character), who gives him a manly reassuring brief grip on the shoulder, all, “Bros, man, we are bros!” with the briefest of nods from Finn. Or something. Then some running around and fighting, and then we see Rey and Finn following Han Solo into what appears to be the temple on Yavin (where the Rebel base was housed in A New Hope) — if not it’s someplace similar.

More darkness and we get a glimpse of R2-D2 and a shrouded figure (I’m guessing it’s Luke Skywalker). More battling, a teeny snippet of Captain Phasma leading some troops, some stuff blows up, Rey is sobbing, Chewie and Han have their hands over their heads like they’ve been taken prisoner but they let them down as they see… something. Then Leia’s voice speaks again: “The Force. It’s calling to you.” Poe’s flying into battle with BB-8 as his astromech, more ships and fire, more troopers running around, Rey shooting some stuff, more stuff blows up, Han and Leia embrace (she looks tired, y’all), and then…

Kylo Ren and Finn are gonna have a throw down, lightsaber-style.

And then the screen goes black and Leia says, “Just let it in.”

BOOM.

Seriously, what is this movie about??? Well, I don’t really know. I can tell you what I think it’s NOT about though: I don’t think it’s about Luke Skywalker. I think Luke plays a central or critical role, but I don’t think this movie is telling his story any longer. I think this movie — and the two to follow, in keeping with the trilogy tradition of the franchise — will tell the story of a new Skywalker. And I think Rey is that Skywalker. Fan speculation on the webs has Finn as the new central Skywalker, or somehow he’s Han Solo’s kid. I don’t buy it. I’ve searched my feelings and it doesn’t feel right to me. I think he is obviously tremendously important and possibly (probably?) experiencing a Force awakening. But I’m sticking with my suspicion that it’s Rey.

I also don’t think it’s about Leia and Han Solo. I think they are going to serve in the parental/Obi Wan role for both Rey and Finn. Does this mean one or both of them will die? I’m guessing not. I’m going to say that if we see the death of one of the older characters, it will be Luke.

So who is this Finn guy, then? He’s been trained as a stormtrooper his entire life — he says as much. Is he SOMEone? I’m not ready to say that he is. Not everyone has to be related to the Skywalkers. Plus I’m not sure you’ve noticed this, but he’s black. The Skywalkers have tended towards whiteness so far. This is not to say Luke couldn’t have fathered him somehow, or that he’s not Leia’s son, but I’m also not willing to imagine a world in which Leia and Han haven’t been together this entire time. There is always the possibility that he’s somehow related to one of the Jedi who perished years and years earlier. Or maybe he’s just a guy. A guy who feels something stirring inside him that makes him feel like maybe he’s on the wrong side of things, and jumps ship, and finds himself thrust into the center of an epic battle of good versus evil. And that would be perfectly fine. Great, even.

I’m also really excited about the fact that what look to be the two central characters of this movie are a young woman and a young, handsome black man. Millions of little kids will grow up looking at them as heroes to emulate, just like some of us grew up imitating Luke and Leia and Han Solo. It’s no small thing — and the horrible people of the world feel threatened by it already. Which is awesome. No better way to guarantee that people will want to see a thing than launching an ill-advised boycott.

So look. I’ve got nothing but love for Star Wars. There are aspects of the movies I hate — especially aspects of the prequel trilogy (“I hate sand,” anyone?) and that incredibly awkward and weird moment in Return of the Jedi when all of a sudden Darth Vader’s all, “OMG son, you’re right! You’ve been right all along! Let me just throw the Emperor down a shaft and then we can be a family again!” If you wanted someone to rip this trailer to shreds and talk about how terrible this movie’s going to be, you don’t know Sisters In Geek very well (we can totally refer you to a couple of friends of ours, though). We’re not even cautiously optimistic about this — we are ALL IN. And I can barely wait until December 17th (special showings, yo!).

In the meantime, may the Force be with you always.

(Agree? Disagree? Think we’re nuts? Let us know in the comments if you have THEORIES or questions you really want to speculate about now rather than waiting!)

Comfort Entertainment

Ugly-Cry2

Sometimes, things just aren’t going your way. It’s been a tough day, or a tough week, or a tough forever. Sure, you can stock up on chocolate, or ice cream, or drink all the wine. But oftentimes, what you really need is some nice, comfort entertainment. It’s always there for you, it probably won’t give you a stomach ache and it never goes to voicemail. We’ll be honest with you, it’s been a difficult little while for the Sisters lately, so we thought we’d share what movies and TV shows we’ve been marathoning to get us through.
AryaFinalFirefly– I reach for Firefly when I feel vaguely hopeless, but I’m not really sure why. Because I want to laugh, cry and feel a sense of adventure. It’s my go to show for when life is feeling unfair and difficult. So, you know, Tuesdays.

West Wing– West Wing is for when everything is just going to hell in a handbasket. Or when it’s election season here in the US and I can’t handle the nonsense anymore. Fictional nonsense is just sooooo much better. West Wing is comforting because it gives me hope. And because CJ is the best.

Stand By Me– Not that I’ve ever needed an emotional excuse to watch this movie, because its awesomeness is enough, but I find myself pulling this one up when I truly want a good cry, or when I want to feel 12 again. And when I want to quote something with utter abandon.

The Hunger Games– I’m cheating a bit here, because I usually go straight for the books when I really need a cathartic punch in the existential gut. Or if I’m overstocked on Kleenex and really need to burn through my supply. But the movies make me ugly cry every time too, so I’m listing it anyway.

Deep Impact– I love this movie, and I don’t care who knows it. It’s overwrought and the science is….questionable at best. But, I don’t care. Elijah Wood is adorable, Morgan Freeman is amazing and (spoiler alert) humanity mostly survives being hit with a giant frakking asteroid. Deep Impact gets bonus points for only giving Earth a partial victory, which couches the film in just enough realism that I don’t drown in saccharine sweetness. It’s my go to for when I just need a win.

Dollhouse: Epitaph One and Epitaph Two– I treat these two episodes of Dollhouse like a mini series and just watch them as stand alones. I like to pretend they were the whole show, sometimes. They are so dark and bleak and post apocalypse. They have crazy Topher, and caring Adele and Felicia Day. They give me a weird sense of hope sprouting in the deep darkness, the same way that all of Joss Whedon’s work does. They tell that I’m going to get through this.

 

KayleeFinal When I’m dealing with things being unideal and not very nice at all, I like to binge watch shows that are way over the top. It is the only time I’ll really watch drama dramas. You know those dramas when everything is so serious and they’ve all forgotten how to laugh, and everything is about to end right now because CRISIS. Those make me feel relaxed when my life is a bit tough. Especially when I am laying on the couch watching people freak out, it is almost comedic. I may be strange.

Scandal goes from one crisis to another. It is a great example of what I hope my life never is. Also the clothing is really great. Alright, I’ll take the clothes, but not the crisis. Great for relaxing couch watching when blue. Your life is not as hard as theirs.

Damages I’m not sure drama gets more drama then this. Everyone is about to get caught by the cops or the feds for something, and murdering and law things have to happen to stop it!

The Good Wife Politics and law. There are funny episodes, mostly involving Elsbeth. She is ridiculous, and those episodes are fast paced and silly. The other episodes are often direly serious, especially if you get invested.

Hannibal is beautiful and insane. Perfect for when you are off kilter, but don’t watch so many episodes that killing and eating people seems normal. Stop just short of that.

Hayao Miyazaki movies don’t fit the mold of super dramas, but they are beautiful and make me feel curious, optimistic, and happy. Even though an army or dark magic is usually coming the main characters have hope.

 

HermioneFinal Mostly I like things that make me cry. It’s cathartic. But not, like, hopeless crying. I prefer the over-the-top “OMG everything turned out okay in the end!” cry.  Here are a handful of my crappy day go-to flicks:

Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King: Mostly I’m just watching it for that scene towards the end, when Aragorn is crowned king, and makes his way into the crowd, and first is reunited with Arwen, who has appeared with a number of elves; together they continue through the crowd and come upon the 4 hobbits. The hobbits ready themselves to bow before the king, and Aragorn holds up his hand and says “NO. You four… bow to no one.” And then the whole crowd bows to the four hobbits. I can run through half a box of tissue on this scene alone, nevermind the rest of the trilogy.

Love, Actually: Yeah, you know what? I don’t care if you hate this movie. I don’t care if you think it’s stupid. It’s not my fault you have a cold dead heart. There is nothing in this movie that I don’t like. Sure, it’s cheesy and no one really lives like any of these people… probably. But whatever. This movie has Emma Thompson and Colin Firth and Martin Freeman and Liam Neeson and Laura Linney and Alan Rickman, and a ridiculous scene where Hugh Grant shakes his ass to a Pointer Sisters song, for heaven’s sake. You say they’re slumming. I say they’re performing a valuable public service by cheering me up always.

Sliding Doors: This movie never gets old and it never gets boring and even people who hate Gwyneth Paltrow love this movie because it is awesome. Sometimes, I will finish watching it and then go right back to the beginning and watch it again. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! NOBODY!

Star Wars – Original Trilogy: I feel like Han Solo and Princess Leia and even that whiny boy Luke Skywalker were my childhood friends. So it’s only natural for me to turn to them when being a grown up is bringing me down. Bonus: the Death Star gets blown up. Every. Single. Time.

Harry Potter: I’m not a huge fan of the first two movies but the rest are some of the best had-a-bad-day fun a girl can have if she’s too depressed to read a book. These movies have everything: Weasley twins; Hermione Granger punching Draco Malfoy in his smug face; Neville Longbottom getting more and more attractive as each year passes; Ron Weasley one-liners; Minerva McGonagall’s disapproving glare; dragons; Sirius Black; even Professor Snape! Oh, and magic. They also have magic.

Go forth and binge, dear reader. Hugs from these TV shows, movies, and from us.

EDIT: It has been pointed out that we forgot all of Jane Austen. So we’d like to add all of Jane Austen. Well, mostly BBC Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. Oh and for period piece things, North and South too. Good wallowing stuff.

Did Everyone Else See A Different Age of Ultron?

hulk-blackwidow

I came out of a glorious movie on Friday, and finally allowed myself to read some articles about it. I think there must have been a distribution issue though, because the Internet didn’t see the same Age of Ultron that I did. Somehow in their movie Black Widow was just a love interest, and all she contributed to the movie was getting Hulk to the final battle. This shocked me. In the movie I saw, we finally got to see past Natasha’s super-spy emotional control. We got to see her humanity. So yes, Internet, I agree that we got to see her weakness, but that was the point!

Quite often in movies, men have had to make decisions between a relationship and their work. Especially in super hero movies, a woman falls in love with the superhero because of his heroism, and then asks him to stop since it is dangerous. It is a ridiculous position to put someone in, and it is ridiculous that women in these movies seem determined to have the world end, rather than have their boyfriend risk his life defending it.

In Age of Ultron, Black Widow was finally that hero. She had to choose between work and love. She chose work. She chose saving the world. Somehow the Internet has taken what is a very common story, but since it was with a woman, it is now sexist. Instead of recognizing what a horrible position Natasha was in, and what she was forced to give up, they act like this instead showed that she’s just around to direct people to the battlefield like some sort of battle hostess. Your table with Ultron is right over here, Hulk. Your server will be with you in a minute if Ultron doesn’t kill them first.

What movie were you watching, Internet?

In Captain America, Natasha lamented that there wasn’t anyone she could bond with on a deeper level. No one has lived a life like Natasha. Shared life experience isn’t something she could find so she described just using her spy craft to change or highlight parts of her personality when she’s with people. She even showed that the same disconnect exists between her and Cap when she asks him what he wants her to be.

In Age of Ultron, though, we see another side of Natasha. We see something beyond her simply adjusting her personality to the situation or person. Bruce Banner may not have been raised in a scary spy school, but he’s afraid of what he’s capable of, and Natasha connects with that. It’s something she’s struggled with since she was recruited away from the dark-side.

Before anyone uses the argument that Natasha having a relationship makes her just a love interest, or having to be rescued at one point makes her a typical flat female character, these are things that happen to humans. Are we really saying that these can never happen for female comic book heroes because at one time they were done poorly? How does letting her have a complex and messy emotional ride, allowing her to need someone to share herself with, or having problems she can’t solve on her own; how does that make her a less complex character? And how does it make it sexist? In the fight to make sure female characters are as complex as males, we’re now saying that female characters can’t do all the same things in a movie? No one complained that Banner was “just a love interest.” The million times Black Widow saved her fellow teammates, no one accused those teammates of looking weak because they needed help at one point also.

None of us want a flat female character with zero personality, but if we don’t allow female characters to have story lines that show their complexity, their humanity, then we are doomed to that fate. We’ve all wanted a complex female character in comic book movies for so long, that I think it is hard to let go of our expected disappointment. To stop scrutinizing every word female characters say, and every action they take, looking for sexism.

Internet, if you saw a movie where Natasha was a flat character, barely given a voice beyond expected female silliness, then you wrote and directed that film in your own head. Black Widow was forced to make a horrible choice between what she wanted, and what was necessary to save the world. Banner trusted her, and she betrayed him. Now, the job is all she has. She thought that being an Avenger was the dream she was waking up from, but really her dream was that she could ever let herself walk away.

Interview with Melanie Stone, Star of Mythica

 

Mythica

Mythica: A Quest for Heroes is a CONtv original movie that premieres online tomorrow (March 31st). Mythica is a three part movie series. The first installment follows Marek, a young wizard who faces discrimination as a club-footed slave, and her party of adventurers. Despite its small budget and simple adventuring plot, Mythica is a fun, entertaining movie. Marek may start as a “plucky” hero, but the complexity of her character and powers are something I’m excited to see play out over the rest of the series. Make sure to check it out tomorrow, online at CONtv.

Marek3  I got the opportunity to interview Melanie Stone, who shines in her role as Marek.

A Quest for Heroes is your first lead role in a movie, and you don’t get just one movie, you get three as this character. This has to be an amazing experience. What have you learned so far?

I certainly lucked out with this role! At the time I was living in Provo, UT, which is where Arrowstorm is based out of. I was definitely in the right place at the right time.

It was such an awesome experience! After essentially five months of filming I’d say I learned a lot; I was quite the newbie before this, so there was much to be learned. At the end of every day I’d walk away from set and think “Okay, so you weren’t quite prepared for that, but you handled it.” It was very much baptism by fire. Thankfully it was the perfect genre for me so I loved every second of it.

I feel bad for how much walking Marek has to do, given that she has a clubbed foot. In future movies does she ever get a horse?

Haha! Thank you for your sympathy! Truly it’s appreciated! Sadly, Marek never gets a horse of her own… Perhaps we can start a petition? “A horse for Marek!” I’ll have to ask Arrowstorm how many signatures we’ll need in order to convince them!

Mythica looked like it had some remote filming locations, and there were battles with spiders, orcs, and an ogre. What was the day-to-day filming like? Did the Ogre keep running into the boom mic?

We shot the entire thing in Utah; it’s a very versatile state! Everything was within an hour for the most part (aside from St. George and The Antelope Springs Cave). For me it was usually a 12-14 hour day. I was usually up by 3 am every morning. I’d drive to set, get my hair and make-up done and costume strapped, pulled and tied on… It was a complicated process. Then I’d run around in the mud, snow and sand (depending on location) with my team, battling whatever creature they threw at us! It was always an exciting adventure. That Ogre was a pain to work with though… No clue what he was doing.

Tell us about one of your first roles where you thought, this acting thing is for me.

I’d say it was when I was nine years old and I performed in a high school version of Wizard of Oz. In fact my oldest sister was starring as Dorothy… I played one of the munchkins. I milked that role for everything it was worth. I even tried to get the director to include me in the Emerald City scene because my munchkin costume was conveniently green. He said “no.” I said “your loss”…in my head.

Your character Marek isn’t entirely the pure-hearted hero. Were you afraid to show her darker side, or was that the fun part?

Oh that was most definitely the fun part. I’ve got a soft spot for fictional villains. On top of that I feel like most of us have a dark side, but we keep it under wraps. It’s nice to have a reason for unleashing it.

Without spoiling us with your future movie knowledge, are you cheering for good Marek, or dark soul-sucking Marek?

Both actually. As human beings we trip up, make mistakes, and find ourselves in places we don’t want to be. In film I like to see the protagonist lose it all, but in the end they make it out alive, and they’re stronger for it. It’s hopeful, and more importantly relatable.

 

Mythica-Poster2Mythica: A Quest for Heroes is available to stream for free on CONtv with commercials, or start your VIP membership to view without commercials, and get a month free. CONtv is a new online streaming network dedicated to fans of comic con. I have a lot of hope for this network since they’re already making small budget, Kickstarter-funded films like Mythica available for fans to watch online.

The Kickstarter for the second movie, Mythica: The Darkspore just started today. It has sound track, dvd, blu-ray, and digital copy rewards in addition to other items, as a thank you for backing this fan-funded series.

 

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