‘Life’ film–defied absolutely zero scifi tropes

Everything that can go wrong in a space movie about life from Mars or other planets did go wrong in Life. The producers and writers didn’t defy any tropes with this one.

Life is truly true to its Hollywood film type/genre. Not to say that there is no hostile life the universe. Only that why does every life form that potentially exists in the universe other than human life have to be portrayed as completely hostile or completely docile?

It isn’t like white Europeans have a great track record with people from other nations, including their own. So I guess, as a film drenched in white ideologies, that it stands to reason that their enmity towards “the other” on Earth is reflected in their ideas about and portrayals of other life in the universe. Everything that is not them is a threat or it simply excites them to perceive the other as a threat and that’s the Hollywood selling point.

Your imaginations are pitiful.

The Nobility of Wonder Woman

Watched the DC Wonder Woman movie, starring Gal Gadot. I gotta say, I was something very much like pleasantly surprised. Her theme music is on point, with Hans Zimmer involved. What I appreciated most was the handling of Diana’s personality. But first–

These are the major issues I had with the film:

  1. That love interest guy, Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine), isn’t necessary. As a guy like him usually isn’t. Really? You’re fighting the god of War and you’re too busy getting upset over your your boyfriend’s oh-so-noble sacrifice to get your head in the fight? Just straight-up wailing at the heavens, are we. Annoying, you’ve known that guy for all of about five seconds, Diana.
  2. Black Amazons are relegated to background characters. They are kind of treated like part of the scenery. Though I will admit I was pleased to see them there because I’m getting old, racism is still tiring, and simple representation is occasionally nice and all that.
  3. Doctor Poison is problematic for reasons I don’t want to examine too closely.
  4. Glamour and supermodels–because people who aren’t beauty queens can’t be super heroes. I get it, that’s the industry’s idea of beauty and worth. Whatever.

Other than recognizing her when I see her, I don’t know much about comic book and previous television or film portrayals of Wonder Woman. What I like about this 2017 film’s Wonder Woman is how I identity with her principles, the sense of nobility in her actions and thoughts. For the most part, she is not a woman sitting around waiting to be saved or sacrificing her beliefs and things she cares about for a boy. Her outrage and general feelings about the world of men is a little bit how I feel just about every day. Diana is compassionate, intelligent, and powerful. And I liked seeing her fight, honestly. She did her thing, it wasn’t reckless and she fought to right wrongs, not “just because”.

Overall, I left the film feeling a little more pleased than I normally would. And that’s saying something.

Dads That Suck: Me and Peter Quill

**SPOILERS**

Since I talked about absent male parents on my other blog, I guess I’ll keep it coming.

For my birthday, I went to the movies for the first time in years and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Just like an increasing number of Marvel movies these days, the writers really need to adjust some of their humor. But what I found myself struck by was the relationship between Peter Quill and Ego.

Since my birthday is around the same time as Father’s Day, I give a thought to that relationship. I sensed the pain and anger that Peter Quill, even as a fictional character, must have felt to learn the truth about his father. There was just something there in the story that resonated with me.

I do not easily refer to my sperm donor as “Dad”, despite the title of this post. Simply because he’s not that and it offends my definitions of the words family and father to give him an honor he did not earn. No, my sperm donor didn’t kill my mom and he isn’t a god. Just a really messed up, manipulative, entitled, arrogant guy who can’t keep it in his pants. He might not think he’s God’s gift to the entire universe but does think he’s God’s gift to women and he deserves a throne built on my back for not wearing a condom.

I know what it’s like to want an absent father to turn out to be a better person than his absence would lead you to believe. I didn’t play a game of Light-ball catch with my sperm donor like Peter Quill did. But I did give him a chance. And he wasn’t worth the time, energy, or the chance I gave him.

Maybe I’ll save a post about Yondu for later.

I’m rooting for you, Nebula. Commit that patricide.

‘Deadpool’, thoughts

Thanks to watching Deadpool, I now have “Careless Whisper” by WHAM! stuck in my head. Smh, I think its the lyrics and jazz/saxophone in it. The soundtrack also has DMX “X Gon Give It To Ya” and Salt n Pepa “Shoop”. Because they want to dust off Black folks’ stuff so they can look cool and act like its new.

Naturally, there’s some so-called humor in the movie that I didn’t appreciate. Couldn’t appreciate really. Rape jokes aren’t funny. Period. I’m disappointed in Marvel for going there. As disappointed as you can be when you don’t really expect much from the entertainment industry. I’m not a fan of cheap thrills and shock value tactics. I’mma need people to do better.

Same thing with the Deadpool sequel’s trailer. Took morbid humor and the whole bullshit “gritty” and “dark fantasy” trend people are loving right now way too far. I was laughing all the way through Deadpool in the phone booth awkwardly struggling into his suit. I laughed until his intended rescuee gets shot and killed in the alley and Deadpool, the would-be rescuer finally in his suit, goes and lays down with the poor guy’s still warm body and talks to himself. Haha, yeah, because that’s so funny, Marvel producers.

Watched Recently–quick rundown

I started reading books again, mostly romance. Mostly disappointments. Luckily, I’m not paying for most of them. Watched a lot of movies, some of which might not be listed. Any of this will be revisited for further details in the future. Thinking of getting an account at The Artifice to write about things I watch and meander over.

Anime:

  • Dimension W— Liked this one quite a bit.
  • Dantalian no Shoka
  • Ergo Proxy
  • Anne Happy (Did I mention that I watched this a few months ago?? Revisited it when I wanted something cute to watch.)
  • I’m not sure I wrote a post about D. Gray-Man but I liked that enough to write a three fan fictions about it.

Movies:

  • Deadpool, despite my better judgement. It had its moments. Negasonic Teenage Warhead was a plus.
  • The Last Witch Hunter (I like seeing Vin Diesel in this kind of role *shrug*. Though his character was patronizing to witches though, in that kind of “Let me tell you who you are after I’ve been slaughtering your kind for centuries” way.).
  • Central Intelligence (I want to call this movie everything but what it’s called–National Security, Redacted–I keep forgetting what this movie’s title and had to go to Dwayne Johnson’s wiki and look at his filmography to get it. I liked Dwayne Johnson’s character. Overall, for a movie I walked in on, I thought it was pretty funny, thank you, Kevin Hart.).
  • I saw Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Tim Burton might be the reason I didn’t hate it. Loved the ending credits song by Florence + The Machine, “Wish That You Were Here”–even if the chorus had too much “lift” and noise for the rest of the song to me.
  • Solace, starring Anthony Hopkins
  • I revisited Phantasm, which I think either earned its cult following or I’m deluded because I saw this when I was a kid and thought it was pretty good. I didn’t know there were so many sequels. I think I watched four them.

TV/Shows:

  • Couldn’t watch Hand of God. It felt too much watching Sons of Anarchy all over again, and not just because of the leading actor.
  • Caught up on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and watched Slingshot.
  • I tried to watch The Leftovers, it was uncomfortable and took too long to get to the point.
  • Rotted my brain with such pop media gems as Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Once Upon a Time.
  • Some Jessica Jones, and a little Luke Cage, some of which was appreciated but too dark and graphic and I’m sick of 100% contrived for entertainment, dark and graphic “gritty” pretenses in my life.

‘Sleepy Hallow’–they lost me at Thomas Jefferson

So I avoided and swore off Fox Network’s Sleepy Hallow, starring Nicole Beharie. Why? Because her co-star is a white man from a time period where Black women are enslaved. Nothing good can come out of that.

Then I watched Sleepy Hollow this week anyway to see if I was right to avoid it. Yes, I gave it a chance.

Tim Mison’s portrayal of Ichabod Crane has similar characterization to Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the character in Tim Burton’s 1999 film, which I appreciated and thought was adorable. Awkward, clever, and well-mannered.

Other than that, its occult themes, and the fact that there is a Black woman as a main character, I am not feeling the show and stopped watching at Episode 7 “The Midnight Ride”.

Why?

The show includes an assortment of actual historical figures such as U.S. presidents rendered in its fictionalized occultist story line. Which is probably the problem. Most of American history is an especially messed up time for First Peoples, Black people, other non-whites, and women. Whenever white writers (and their friends) in a white dominated media get some deluded idea in their head and want to jump in the literary DeLorean or TARDIS and present the world with some “clever” re-write of American history that includes vampires, demons, zombies, and aliens, that oppressive, violent history is still the same messed up history for everyone who isn’t white or white and male. It can’t be rewritten, revised, or dusted off. It remains the same for me as a Black woman and a Black writer. What was a fun or romanticized time in history for whites was not the same for us, it is a trauma and a scar on the face of our race.

This is where Sleepy Hollow lost me instantly: They started talking about Sally Hemings. Casually, too.

I refuse to entertain a romance with a (white) slave owner in an era where Black women were enslaved. And that’s most of American history where Black people were in chains and treated like a lesser life form by whites and those who shared their views, traded, and allied with them. I refuse to entertain the idea that it was “love” between a slaver owner and a Black woman who had no rights and no freedom in this country. I WILL NOT romanticize the situation. I don’t care even if there was some way to know that Hemings loved Jefferson even in such a twisted reality under those circumstances. I DO NOT accept revisionist or apologist versions of history, fictional or otherwise.

In Episode 6 “The Sin Eater”, there’s an entire scene that reeks of Ichabod Crane being absolved of sins against freed slave, Arthur Bernard. Because we all need to take a moment to make white people feel better for helping enslave and oppress people who aren’t white. Bernard wasn’t just being detained, beaten, and interrogated because the British suspected he was Cicero. Just being Black in those days was enough for whites to somehow uphold practices of extreme violence and cruelty and even murder.

Let’s not forget Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) spouting all that American melting pot bullshit over baseball. Behind her badge and inflated, totally contrived sense of American patriotism, Abigail Mills is a white-washed, white-owned, white-inspired character parading around in brown skin. End of story.

And that’s why I told myself never to watch Sleepy Hollow. I saw it coming. That’s American television for you.

Quiet & ‘Metal Gear Solid V’–sexism is not erotic, it’s just sexism

Gotta get this poison out right now. So I was looking for something completely different on Wikia when I made the mistake of clicking a link for an article Beyond the Bikini: “Why ‘Metal Gear Solid V’s Quiet Deserve to Be Heard” by Eric Fuchs.

On principle, I am not a fan of Metal Gear Solid, which is essentially men’s fantasizing and glorification of violence and warfare. But I have watched a couple of the games be played by my brother and sister–from beginning to end to see their stories unfold.

Fuchs tell me in his article that Metal Gear Solid V features a female character named Quiet, who is a “mute, superpowered sniper dressed in very little clothing”. Look at the article for visuals. Essentially, Fuchs goes on to say that Quiet’s portrayal is “erotic”, that the game’s director Hideo Kojima did it all on purpose because it’s “just fiction”, and that Quiet redeems the game.

Here’s my point: The producers of Metal Gear Solid V intentionally created a woman character who does not speak (until she is required to die for a man) that they designed and controlled from the tips of her toes to the top of her head for the purposes of male game players. It’s about control, not respect. The great Boy’s Club of patriarchal society. By making these games, with a wink and a paternal pat on the back, they validate men’s desires to only see women the way they want instead of as they are, extending to every guy on the planet a huge helping hand to the objectification, dehumanization, and violation of all women and their bodies from the day they are born.

As an author, I do not differentiate between fiction and “reality” in the sense that fiction (our ideas) informs reality and our reality informs our ideas (our fictions). Quiet and her universe of Metal Gear Solid V is a fiction, yes, but unfortunately, some boys do not draw lines between “real life” and fiction, in a much darker and horrifying way because they know other men will help them achieve their violent fantasies and protect their means to do so at the expense of women’s rights and humanity. From the anime community to the gaming community and beyond, the only kind of girls and women these assholes tolerate are the kind they can control, whether she is drawn on a piece of paper or designed on a computer. They honestly think that creating fictional girls and sharing them with other boys to jerk off to is A-ok and has no repercussions. They think that just because this girl or woman is a fictional character that it doesn’t matter what her body is used for or intended for, as long as she serves their purpose which is usually sexual and degrading. Which does nothing but cause casual sexism, misogyny and other violent impulses to fester in men from a young age. There is nothing that stops men and boys from doing this to girls off the page and off the screen as well, when the mangas, comics, magazines, and pencils are put away and the the game consoles and controllers are down.

Quiet is wearing a bikini? Quiet is “nearly murdered and raped by Russian soldiers”? Quiet is killed off for the sake of a man? It’s a game for boys made by boys, OF COURSE IT’S VIOLENTLY SEXIST. It’s typically a given that it is. This is men’s fantasies. And its fucking disgusting.

Acting like he’s being reasonable and outlining the problems of sexism embodied by Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V, Eric Fuchs completely gives Hideo Kojima a pat on the back for being an outright sexist, while understating and subverting (in ways that  only the sexist “heterosexual male gaze” can) everything that’s wrong with even the simplest details of Quiet’s presentation to make it look positive.

If you can’t create a game where women are great with their clothes on, then don’t do it at all.

“It’s difficult. [My female protagonists] immediately become the subjects of rorikon gokko (play toy for Lolita Complex males). In a sense, if we want to depict someone who is affirmative to us, we have no choice but to make them as lovely as possible. But now, there are too many people who shamelessly depict [such protagonists] as if they just want [such girls] as pets, and things are escalating more and more.”

— Hayao Miyazaki, 1988 interview with Animage, expressing concern for the human rights of women  (From Wikipedia, on Lolicon)

 

Tarantino, NO; Zack Ward, how do you do

So the mother got Restoration, The Hateful, and Regression from Redbox and wanted someone to watch them with her.

I didn’t want to watch any of them honestly. I flat out refuse to watch any known Quentin Tarantino movie, because, ya know, he’s a racist and makes no attempts to disguise it. Kill Bill has a great soundtrack but Tarantino lost me at From Dusk Till Dawn after that Django bullshit and him claiming that he’s the reason people are talking about slavery.

My sister loves The Others, which is done by the same guy who did the second movie on the table, Regression. Looked it up, and the movie is about someone who accuses her father of sexually abused her as a kid. Not interested in seeing a film about that.

The last film put in front of me is Restoration, and the person responsible for this is Zack Ward. I was interested after reading that snippet that every website trots out about it. Little dead white girls haunting houses are a staple in American horror films but I hoped that her demise wasn’t super graphic so I could watch the film and decide if I thought it was any good. However, not willing to take the chance that the movie was a waste of time, I read several reviews trying to see if anyone wrote about the plot. No reviewer detailed the plot and there’s not a Wiki about it either, so off and on for a couple of hours I mulled over whether I wanted to give Restoration a chance.

In the end, I decided to watch it. For some reason, I don’t feel like telling the plot either so I won’t. Restoration had its moments. I wouldn’t say it was super bad and I wouldn’t say it was extraordinary either. It was good, I guess, maybe it was the acting. The potentially problematic presentation of the Black nurse (nurses? were there two who only appeared briefly?) was unfortunate and the ending itself was unfortunate in nature but not unexpected. Also written by white people, it had a The Skeleton Key element to it that nobody talks about in their reviews though Restoration‘s explanation could be clearer. I knew something was wrong with the protagonists’ overly friendly neighbors when the husband put the words “ancestor” and “East India Trading Company” in the same sentence. Racist, raping, genocidal bitches. So it was immediately confirmed to me that the neighbors were the problem after these words were said. In front of a fancy display cabinet full of treasured relics from the whites’ most beloved age of colonialism, delusions of supremacy, and willful destruction and maiming of the lives of other races.

My final thoughts as I walked away from the movie: Hmph. That is very disturbing.

the thing about productions

You’ve probably heard about how TV shows are worked and recorded way in advance and how a lot of movies are in the making years, sometimes decades, before you ever see them in a theater.

What really takes the wind out of my sails (and then transforms them into rockets) is that thing that happened in that movie that I want to lodge a complaint about or that thing that I saw in that show that rubbed me twenty different angles of the wrong way–all of that stuff is planned long before I am ever, unfortunately, exposed to it.  I don’t know what’s worse: The fact that it was planned before I ever see it or hear it or the fact that it was likely intentional. So you’re telling me that all that time I wasted having to deal with Bobbi and Hunter along with the previously unkillable and deeply conflicted Grant Ward in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was INTENTIONAL?! (I’M GLAD THEY’RE GONE, by the way.)

It’s sick. We live in a sick, twisted world. @_@

Recently, I saw Midnight Special, Andron, and Miracles From Heaven. I think I’ll talk about that next time. Otherwise, all I got is more venting about about Naruto Shippuden and Masashi Kishimoto.

RWBY needs a spinoff becausseee…?

Okay, let’s go.

My friend came across RWBY Chibi online and told me about it. As much as I love chibi style, the RWBY producers need to work on strengthening the main story line, not dabbling in some supposed-to-be-fun-lighthearted-and-humorous spinoff.

RWBY doesn’t even live up to its theme songs and some of the character development is questionable. What’s more, I don’t think the viewers are given enough lay-of-land on RWBY’s world. A lighthearted spinoff like RWBY Chibi suggests that the drama is at such a level and intensity that the main show necessitates a lighthearted spinoff. And I disagree. There way too many holes in information provided by the show for RWBY’s universe for the drama it offers to carry any weight.

You can have a spinoff when there’s enough information about the world of your story to create its own very thorough Wikia.