Theatrical Tuesday – Responsibility

TuesdayLast night, my play was one of the ones that was read in front of an audience.

When I wrote it, I hoped at least one person would get something from it. I thought there would be one question about my friend, since I wrote it in memory of her.

As I watched it performed, I felt like I was giving a presentation only the actors were speaking my words and I was unable to have any control over how things went.

What I never expected was an audience that had many people that wanted to talk about it.

I was both happy about and absolutely mortified by this. There is nothing that feels more vulnerable than talking about your art. Inside, I was pretty much wanting to run away. For weeks before this, I’d think about what to say to any questions and I’d cry. I was worried about that.

I kept it together though. Somehow. I think that may have been because stage lights were blinding me and perhaps I went into the automatic mode from my old acting days? My friend who came said I didn’t look nervous at all. I felt like Wonder Woman, but also like a bug that could be squished at any moment.

What I’ve come away with because of this experience is a realization that I have a great responsibility in what I create. And yes, that realization came to me in Stan Lee’s voice, which is soooo geeky, but also awesome!

The words we write matter and that’s why it’s even more disgusting that journalism has gone the way it has.

So what’s next? Well, I got amazing feedback from the audience and the director. I’m going to extend the play and also make another based off this one that is in a different format that will work better for the ten minute window. Then I’ll enter it in contests and see what happens.

Whatever comes of that will inform what will happen with it after that.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – The Simpsons

Tuesday

In between coats of paint on my walls and trim, I’m watching episodes of The Simpsons from the beginning. I’ve only ever watched an episode here and there like the one where Lisa is sad and plays blues sax.

Lately, I keep seeing memes and such that predicted things would happen the way they are happening and that has me intrigued.

The first season has some really dark episodes. I mean, Homer takes off with the intention to kill himself in one of them. But it also has some really touching moments that show tough subjects. In one, Homer smashes Bart’s piggy bank in desperation for a beer. Homer realizes he’s being a shitty dad. In another, he sells the family TV to get cash for family therapy because he wants them to be more like other families and at the end of that one, he realizes a bigger and better TV is what is best for the family. In other words, they don’t need to try to be like other families.

I’ve been reading that it gets bad after the 20th season. I’m just going to watch as long as I enjoy it.

There are some great lines that I’ll undoubtedly forget. The music is also fantastic.

But you probably already know this. I’m just behind on a lot of things.

I think I stopped watching at one point because it’s a little more political than some other shows. I used to really hate everything political.

It’s got a realness to it that I’m liking too.

Anyway, I just thought I’d drop in here for a moment as it’s reading week and I have some extra time.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Review of Okja

TuesdayWhen I saw comments about Okja being a film that seems like the brainchild of Spielberg and Miyazaki together, I knew I had to watch it. I also knew that a film that sounds that fantastic would be a great pick for my first film of 2018.

Initially I wondered if it was going to be a modern take on Charlotte’s Web. It did have some basic elements of the children’s story, but add a bunch of blood, violence, poop comedy, and action scenes.

From the plot to the beauty of the scenery, it felt like a live action Hayao Miyazaki film throughout much of the story. Near the beginning, I was hooked.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance was quirky and I thoroughly enjoyed him. I also enjoyed Steven Yeun’s character.

I almost loved the film. It seemed fresh and I was ready to sing its praises.

In fact, I loved it right up until it turned into obvious vegan propaganda and showed business people as one dimensional heartless monsters. There are so many business people doing great things in this world such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ted Turner, and Mark Zuckerberg. You can read about more of them at The Giving Pledge.

It had everything going for it until it decided to beat me over the head with its message.

Ultimately, I’m disappointed by it.

A final note, Okja should not be watched by children nor anyone who has been sexually assaulted.

R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Review of The Last Jedi [SPOILERS AHEAD]

TuesdaySo I loved the movie.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t see any flaws in it.

Leia’s Space Flying Whatever-The-Fuck

Initially, it bothered me. A lot.

Then I thought about it more.

I thought, Leia is the general of a rebel army. My warrior brain said, if I was in her position with the weight of a colony on my shoulders, basically had magic powers I didn’t know how to use, and my brother was like Gandalf or some shit, I’d totally have my bro teach me some things. I mean, at the very least, the Jedi mind trick would be good if I got captured again. And really, the floating thing is basically like calling a lightsaber to your hand, but instead you’re calling your hand to something stationary.

Basically.

So what’s wrong with it? Well, I can’t say I fully understand the math and such in this article, but I think it’s saying Leia could move in space, just not as fast as she did, thus making it impossible for her to actually make it back to the ship in time to survive.

I think that means that some of the other things that shoot in space are also problematic except lasers as they travel at or passed light speed.

I thought they were going to use the moment to end the Leia’s storyline given the loss of Carrie. Now I’m left wondering what they’re going to do about that.

Rose

I think it’s great that they have an Asian character, but I’m not a fan of the Rose and Finn ship. I mean, Finn clearly had feelings for Rey. Did they think Rey should stick to the rule that Jedi can’t have relationships? I mean, that goes against the whole idea of changing the way Jedi live in the future. And why can’t Rose have saved Finn without being in love with him? We already had a love triangle with Luke, Leia, and Han in the original trilogy.

Finn

Finn was a rather useless character for most of the story. He probably should’ve died. I hope they do better with him in the next one.

Rey’s Parents

I don’t care one way or the other about Rey’s parentage, but it’s entirely possible that Kylo was just being an asshole to her. He’s kind of the bad guy. He wants her to join him. He has an agenda that doesn’t involve her being happy unless she’s with him. Finding her real parents might go against his plans in some way. Yeah, they could be losers. She could even be another immaculate conception force baby for all we know.

kylo


Kylo

Kylo’s character arc has been decently written. It’s almost as if he’s struggling to grow into manhood. Those pants though. Awful. He should fire his fashion designer. Don’t believe me? Check out the proposed LEGO mini figure.

I hope he does actually grow up soon because the whiny teenager attitude is getting to be a bit much.

 

Snokes’s Death

Snokes’s death kind of bothers me, but then I think back to how Vadar killed The Emperor and I realize that a lot of the deaths of the sith masters have been rather pathetic. Darth Maul looked like he was going to be a formidable foe, but he didn’t get far either.

Captain Phasma

Captain Phasma is a crappy character. Look, we all know her purpose is to look cool, but you’ll sell even more toys if she’s not completely useless.

I’d love to see a strong female on the sith side.

The Credits

The memorial message in the credits made me cry. Actually, there was a lot of time I was choking back tears because I fucking miss Carrie Fisher that much.

Plot

I think some of the things that people are complaining about with regards to plot holes will be answered in the third film.

They might not, but that’s the whole point.

I find it exciting having no fucking clue what will happen next. Movies aren’t meant to tell you what you already know. This was the most exciting Star Wars film I’ve seen in a long time. Yeah, some things could have been smoother. One friend’s review covers it as he talks about there perhaps being too many subplots going at once and the transitioning between them being done clumsily.

Here’s another good review.

Here are more memes. Many make fun of Kylo.

The bigger plot problem in the last two Star Wars films is that they keep recycling the story from previous episodes as the below meme borrowed from the Star Wars Sithposting Facebook group shows.

26113846_1248593768618676_5035706512778431737_n

A list of things about the film that make me love it, but also make me unsure about where things are headed.

Fight Scenes

Yeah, I always love a good lightsaber scene. I know there wasn’t as many in this film as some others, but it’s good to change things up.

I enjoyed watching Rey show her fighting skill on the island. It actually doesn’t take much to translate skill with one weapon to another though lightsabers are rather more dangerous than her staff. I’ve seen seventh degree black belts cut themselves with katana they’ve been training to use for 30 or so years. Realistically, it would be hard for anyone to safely use a lightsaber unless the force helps protect them from cutting themselves with it. Too much realism in a fantasy (yes, space operas are fantasy, not sci-fi) story detracts from it. It might have been nice to see her singe her hair or something though.

Rey’s Force Lifting

I felt like the levitation of the rocks was too easy for her. It would’ve been nice to see her struggle with it a bit and maybe have to remove the rocks in small chunks to clear the path.

Porgs

They’re cute, but I’m not sure they really add much to the story. I wanted Chewie to munch away.

The Milk

It was pretty savage seeing how Luke’s been living on the island. We didn’t see much of that need for survival skills with Obi-Wan or Yoda in their rather isolated places. There are a lot of funky creatures in the Star Wars universe, so the seal like animals don’t bother me.

Final Points

I thought the movie could’ve been a tad bit shorter. I think it sagged a bit. I liked Luke’s storyline, but they almost lost me on the way to the final battle because it seemed like we we  already had a natural climax moment earlier as usually the big bad killing device is destroyed then the baddest dude is killed and everyone celebrates. As the middle film of a trilogy, I think it’s supposed to leave us in the lurch wondering if the rebels will survive or Kylo’s minions will crush the rebels once and for all. It had to continue until Luke had his final battle so Rey could take her place as the last Jedi.

The bottom line is that it’s a divisive, subversive film and I loved it. It might not be your thing. That’s cool. I feel like Star Wars has finally been brought back to life. Despite the recycled content, it looks like we may actually be heading into new territory. At least, I hope so.

R~

 

Theatrical Tuesday – A Review of The Star Wars Holiday Special

TuesdayIn short, just don’t.

Seriously.

It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.

If you’re going to watch it, you best be super stoned.

It’s truly painful to watch.

I’d rather not know that Chewbacca has a wife and kid.

Or that wookies call Christmas “Life Day.”

There.

You now know everything you need to from it.

Now go watch something worthwhile.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – The Worlds We Want Podcast

TuesdayI’m feeling really hopeful today.

I think we all get mired in the negative stuff easily and so we don’t always hear about the great things happening around the world.

My friend is part of a science podcast that is focused on talking about recent developments in getting the world to move towards a more sustainable existence and combat climate change. I find it a positive and refreshing approach compared to the shaming, finger pointing, and apocalyptic fear mongering that many other groups have employed.

You can check it out here.

I’m off to actual class for the first time in 5 weeks. I’m nervous and excited!

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – A Review of Dracula Untold

TuesdayI wasn’t a fan of this movie. There was a major problem with it.

Dracula was never fatally sensitive to sunlight.

Actually vampires in the lore that came before Dracula were also not fatally sensitive to sunlight.

When you do a story about Dracula, you should know this. It’s not even hard to find the information out. Wikipedia has it in a handy chart form.

The concept of the story was good. There was a heartwarming plot line that I liked. The soundtrack and special effects were also good. As were the battle scenes.

But when you base major story events around the sun that are in complete contradiction with the lore, you create something that has major plot problems for anyone who knows the lore. Don’t mix Buffy’s vampires with Dracula. Also, he seemed to become an elemental wizard somewhere that could control storm clouds? WTF?

And it’s not even hard to catch up on the lore for Dracula. All you need to do is read one book. It’s even free in audio format on Librivox.

One thing the movie did do was bring some awareness of the Ottomon Empire.

At least in researching for this post, I’ve stumbled onto a few vampire movies I haven’t seen.

I’m off to take Pixie to the shop for her winter booties and such. There’s a Timmie’s nearby, so I’m thinking I’ll hit it up for some tea while doing homework. Or maybe I’ll visit that music store on the corner that I can never seem to get to…

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Thoughts on Riverdale, Spacey, and Hollywood’s Future

TuesdayI watched the first season of Riverdale and found it just OK. There are a lot of plot twists, but most have been predictable to me. I also don’t feel like I’ve fallen in love with any of the characters. It feels like they tried to take some of Gossip Girl’s style, Pretty Little Liars, add a comic book overlay, and call it something new.

Maybe they twist the plot so quickly it feels like they don’t torture me as a viewer. I just don’t feel like I’ve been forced to experience a cliffhanger moment. They give me the answers too easily.

I think it may also be that I’m getting older. Maybe I’ve just outgrown teen programming. I still love Buffy though…

I grew up with Saved by the Bell, Beverly Hills 90210, Models Inc, Melrose Place, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched Ready or Not too, but knew it was silly compared to my actual life as a teen at the time. There was some Degrassi too.

On both The Mist and Riverdale, they used the closet gay jock trope. I’ve been seeing that since Buffy in the 90s. The difference is that it was new when Buffy did it. A fresh take might have a captain of the football team who’s gay and a team who doesn’t care about who he’s shagging because it has nothing to do with athletic ability. The Mist took it in a twisted way and I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I try to think that there are countless ways to be gay and as long as it doesn’t become a trope or people don’t think that’s how all gays are, I think I can accept it.

Yes, as we’ve seen with Kevin Spacey of late, some gay people are fucked up. It’s important to remember that individuals do things differently than other people and that is why it can be bad to look only at an individual’s group memberships and not at the whole person. Some gay people are the most wonderful people you could meet. Some white men are assholes, but not necessarily also Nazis. Some trans people take things too far and others are truly amazing humans. It makes life messier, but it’s important to see beyond the surface. Ted Bundy had lots of friends who had no idea what a monster he was. If his friends were persecuted for the things he did, it would have been extremely wrong.

I think we can all agree that regardless of whether Spacey had done those things to a boy or a girl, it’s disgusting and it’s child molestation. He’s a child molester who just happens to be gay. Those two things are not related to each other, but simply coexist in him.

I’m taking a break from Riverdale and checking out Mindhunter. I’ll probably go back to Riverdale later. What I really want to see more of is Daredevil. I’ve always liked law-related shows. Boston Legal was one of my favourites. I often watch cold case stories with my dad when I visit him too.

I like how they position the lesbian on Mindhunter. It’s not hidden, but they put a strong emphasis on also showing her as a smart and capable woman. Her sexuality is just one piece of her as it is with most gay people I know.

I’m feeling conflicted on the Spacey stuff because The Usual Suspects is one of my favourite movies. Do I stop liking something because of one sick individual and forget about all the other people involved in the film that didn’t know what he was up to in his private life and who are actually good people? I don’t think I do. Hundreds of people work on every film that exists. People who operate cameras, write screenplays, other actors, assistants, costume people, prop people, sound techs, and so many more. We like to refer to films as belonging to one or two lead actors, but they couldn’t make those films without all the other people involved.

Also, it seems it may soon become hard to find any movies that don’t have someone like him in them. The long whispered about child pedophilia ring in Hollywood seems to be falling like a house of cards. This is good news for child actors and the industry as a whole. I hope the rest are rooted out and it paves the way for a film industry that has better values at its core.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

PS. I’m not LGBTQ, so I may have gotten some things wrong. Please let me know if I did.

Theatrical Tuesday – Review: The Mist Season 1

TuesdayI’ve been watching The Mist on Netflix and I’m enjoying it. I never saw the movie, but this show is making me want to read the book. There are some things that I don’t understand about Nathalie and I think reading the book would fill in some gaps. For a moment, I thought it was Mary Gross playing her because her voice reminded me of Janice Zuckerman in Feds.

One of the things I love about the show is seeing how many subplots there are and how they tie them in together. They convey a lot without a ton of exposition.

They’re also really good at heightening the stakes in a way that lets the secondary characters be more than cardboard cutouts.

There are so many plot twists that I don’t see coming even when there has been subtle foreshadowing because I’m just so busy following the main plot lines, which are full of chaos.

I’m a little confused how an entire mall has almost no food when there aren’t that many people that have taken refuge in it. Malls usually have food courts and stores that sell some food to thousands of people each day. The electricity is working, so they could freeze some things and cook. That piece seemed like a Deus Ex Machina plot point to me.

I’m caught up on all the episodes that exist currently. As such, I’ve been left on a cliffhanger. They’re good at those too.

As far as horror goes, it’s on the light side. It IS hard to scare me these days though. I think it may be part of keeping the budget low. The less they have to show, the cheaper it is. With everything shrouded in mist, most things don’t have to be clearly shown. Throw in some fake blood or some special contact lenses and a little face makeup and they get away with a lot for a little. There is a terrifying human element that is going on, but I can’t say that it has me really invested and I’m not sure why that is. I suppose I haven’t fallen in love with any of the characters. Maybe most of them I haven’t gotten to see enough. It’s kind of an ensemble piece, so it’s rarely told from one main viewpoint.

I think I can compare it to Walking Dead a little. The thing with Walking Dead is that we’re with Rick Grimes from day one. He wakes up in the hospital and has no idea where his family is and we spend a lot of time seeing the world through Rick’s eyes. Yeah, it cuts to Daryl and other people here and there, but you’re never in doubt who the main character is. The story is primarily about a former Sheriff trying to raise kids in a zombie apocalypse. I suppose I’m not entirely sure who the main character is in The Mist. It’s an apocalyptic story about some mysterious mist that seems to know things about everyone in town. Stephen King likes that as a theme. He used it in The Storm of the Century also. I think there are just too many unknowns currently to have me care enough about the story. I’m intrigued, but not completely hooked.

The acting isn’t Oscar winning, but it’s better than a lot of other shows I’ve seen. I wasn’t a fan of the acting in Bitten if you want an example. I think it’s got better acting going on than that. I feel like it’s not as good as Orphan Black and a far cry from The Walking Dead though. I’m also more invested in Stranger Things than this one.

Anyway, I thought I’d give my impressions of season one. I hope it gets better. In the meantime, I’m going to make some time to watch the movie this week since people have told me they liked it.  Part of me feels like I may ruin some of what may be coming in season 2 by watching the movie, but I don’t want to wait a year to understand some things. Also, the movie came out first, so I’m really just catching up to where other people are with it.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Whatever It Takes Review

TuesdayI watched Whatever it Takes when I was visiting my parents this past weekend. It wasn’t a good movie, but it could have been.

**** Spoiler Warning: I’m going to talk about the plot in depth. ****

It’s biggest issues stem from two things I’ve been reading about; genre conventions and complexity.

  1. Genre Conventions: The movie was supposed to be a typical teen film where boys pursue girls to try and get laid. The twist? Two boys are setting each other up with girls that are outside their social circle. One is best friends with one and the other is related to the other girl. Naturally, the best friend finally realizes he’s in love with the girl he’s setting the other guy up with. Now, there are often humorous components to these films, but they’re usually like shaving mishaps or awkward conversations with parents. What did we have instead? Hot girl must be crazy. She invites him to shower with her then freaks out at him when he tries to join her, then they’re in the bedroom later and she has a funky rash on her toes. Later, she’s camping out on his lawn begging pathetically to get him to go to prom with her after he dumped her when he realized he’s in love with the other girl. Boy bringing guitar or accordion to serenade his love is depicted as good, while girl not ready for relationship end is crazy.
  2. Complexity: You know the prom is usually the moment when love is professed and then it’s followed by the happy ever after. Not in this one. Nope, we have to go to the hotel after to figure out her answer to his accordion serenade because they were naturally having the dance on top of a hard pool cover, which opened up and swallowed a bunch of kids.

I’ve been reading a lot and these are things they recommend not doing. There are specific pieces that should be in a film based on it’s genre and when you deviate, it makes it hard to sell and viewers get pissed off because they got something different than they were marketed. It’s like selling someone a BMW online and when they get it, they have a Ford Fiesta instead.

There was also the way they depicted geek virgins. They had 3 stooge like characters that followed the protagonist around trying to do what he did to get the girl, which was to be an a-hole. Except they were extra bad at it to the point of setting one girl on fire. Because geeks are really dumb enough to think burning someone will get them laid. That was sarcasm in case it’s not translating through text.

What this movie suffered from to me was a lack of picking one genre and realism. What school would sanction a prom dance on top of a pool cover? Not one I’ve been to. I was on prom committee and many other committees for cancer walks, mini-Trojan Day (Trojans as in war horses, not condoms), formals, sport banquets, drama festivals, etc and there would be no way in hell. It doesn’t take that much for keys to get into the wrong hands. Liability is rather a big deal in terms of insurance and what not.

Other problems include casting an attractive and strong male as the geek guy. It’s also chock full of stereotypes. The movie requires too much suspension of disbelief to be enjoyable and there aren’t really any awesome lines or moments that connect with anyone who isn’t shallow. There aren’t many funny moments either that are genuine.

All in all, it didn’t do whatever it takes to make a solid teen rom-com.

Anyway, that’s my take. You might feel different though. The world is full of diverse viewpoints and that’s generally a good thing.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~