GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE!

10 years is a really long time, people.

Really long. Worlds turn and stars move and people, especially, curious, thoughtful creative people change.

10 years ago, I was obsessed with Meg Cabot, and Smallville and Twilight and was a registered Republican who went to mass every Sunday and thought that birth control and premarital sex were sinful. I wanted to be a fashion buyer and move to France and I’d just seen In The Heights and was screaming about how we should all be paying attention to this Lin-Manuel Miranda guy, because he’s pretty great. (OK some things don’t change.)

10 years ago.

10 years ago I hadn’t even met a good chunk of the people who’ve made me who I am today. I hadn’t read feminist philosophy, or learned that you can love someone even when you don’t like them very much and how very sad that is. I was quiet and unhappy and judgmental and frankly, I don’t think a lot of you would have liked me very much.

There are people in my life from then who can vouch for the changes, and how small and quiet some were, and how hard fought and difficult others were. (Man, I called myself a Republican for way too long…) (Also, those of you that stuck around. Thanks! And I love you!)

There’s a point here. And that point is that I think it’s garbage that Disney fired James Gunn, and that there’s even conversation about Dan Harmon. (Even though, like I’ve made my thoughts on him pretty clear.)

10 years is a long time. Change happens. When it happens we have to recognize it.

You’re going to be great

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I had a lot of trouble starting this review.

The Incredibles 2 is a breathlessly wonderful movie, fully of great jokes, stupendous action and more heart than every character ever played by Sean Astin.

Also, if one more person writes a “hot take” about how Brad Bird’s work reflects Objectivism, I’ll lose it. (There’s a moment in Incredibles 2 where Mr. Incredible, his mind hijaked by the villain Screenslaver, starts talking like John Galt about the mediocrity of most people and their failure to thrive, but you know, it’s the bad guy. Hell, even Tomorrowland is mostly George Clooney and those kids yelling at Hugh Laurie for not helping the world with his future tech, or whatever…) (Also, I maybe only read half of Atlas Shrugged, because even in my “rah rah conservatism, the free market will save us all” days Rand’s writing was boring af and also she thought charity was disgusting and I you know…have always felt opposite of that…)

Anyway, this movie, is delightfully funny, and the final fight is one of the best animated action scenes ever, topping even it’s predecessor. It’s also ridiculously funny, both Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson anchor everything beautifully. (Although the best comedy moments come from Violet, and her early teen rebellion renouncing superheroes!) (Not because she goes bad or anything, but the boy she likes gets his memory wiped, and it’s a whole thing.) There are some fun new supers, including the delightful Voyd, voiced by the one and only Sophia Bush. (Remember that time, Brooke, Haley and Quinn dressed up as superheroes and chased away the bullies at Jamie’s school? No, just me? OK…)

There’s so much about family, and marriage and love in these movies, that I think it would be a crime to talk more about it unless it’s really in depth, which is why I had so much trouble getting started. (Also, I was exhausted…and watching The Lord Of The Rings…) 

Anyway, it’s a good movie, people should go see it. I think most people already have but if you haven’t I do recommend it.

Short:

Bao is a beautiful piece of storytelling and what the hell is wrong with people?

Rankings

  1. The Incredibles 2
  2. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  3. Deadpool 2
  4. Ocean’s 8
  5. Infinity War
  6. Ant-Man And The Wasp

Trailers

The Grinch: Why the frak is the abomination happeneing?

How To Train Your Dragon 3: Looks beautiful, as these movies have always been. Also Toothless courting the light fury is delightful.

I don’t remember any others, which I guess speaks to how not really interesting they were, huh?

 

He’s In A Rough Place, Emotionally

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I finally saw Ant-Man And The Wasp last night! Hooray! (I’ve also decided to sign up for Sutbs A-List, so that I can get through the rest of movie season with relative ease. Double hooray!)

I really, really loved Ant-Mana lot, it’s probably the most rewatched MCU movie for me. (At least post Avengers…) due in no small part to Paul Rudd’s lovely performance, it’s heart being about fathers and daughters, and Michael Pena as Luis. (Sadly not as well used here)

Ant-Man And The Wasp is not as good as Ant-Man, but it’s still quite good, and makes use of a Partridge Family song, which is a delight. Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer are delightful in both their kinda creepy de-aged versions (prep for a full movie of this effect in Captain Marvel folks…I wonder how it will sustain?) and as their distinguished perfect selves. (Lawrence Fishburn is also good.)

I didn’t think the villain, Ghost, was as disconnected as I’d heard (She’s pretty well tied in to Pym, his legacy and SHIELD.) (Also, like, I love Howard and Peggy, but DAMN, SHIELD SUCKS you guys.) And Evangeline Lilly does well enough, and Paul Rudd is still great, but this is a lower tier one. (This seems to be happening with the second parts of Marvel trilogies regularly. The Winter Soldier being the exception that proves the rule…)

Worth seeing, as it stands alone in a few ways, and it has a damn charming cast, but not going to move mountains or anything.

POST CREDITS!

First in the mid credits, as everyone gets ready to enter the Quantum Realm for some experimenting, only Scott makes it before Janet, Hank and Hope all get poofed. So…yeah…we’ll see what happens there.

Rankings:

  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Ocean’s 8
  4. Infinity War
  5. Ant-Man And The Wasp

Trailers

The House With The Clock In The Walls: This looks like a delight, and since I now have A-List, I will likely actually see it. (I discovered if I even only go to one movie a week, not even the 3 allotted, the thing will pay for itself.)

Creed II: I would have gone to see this even if it wasn’t about Adonis avenging his father’s death by fighting Drago Jr. But since it is about that, well, now I’ll go see it seventeen times.

Alpha: This movie looks so dumb, but PUPPIES!!!!

Bumblebee: I hope it’s good, since it’s writer is now making the Batgirl movie, but I’m not super confident…

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms: I’ve talked about how excited I am for this movie before, but the new trailer makes me even more so. Seriously, it looks kind of wonderful.

Dumbo: “Baby Mine” will make me cry no matter what, so there’s that, I guess?

Little One

A letter from Caleb, and some magic explanation.

The Marina Chronicle

Tristan was asleep and I stood up and got dressed. I like him sleeping. He sleeps like a child, sprawled everywhere, his face relaxed. I kissed his forehead and walked down to the kitchen. Aaron was sitting brewing tea.

“Good Evening,” he grinned, “you look, well, different.” I picked up a rag and threw it at him. “Is Sir Tristan content?”

“Don’t be vulgar,” I wrinkled my nose. “Why are you up?”

“A similar venture,” he shrugged. I raised my eyebrows. “Lady Athena has thawed a bit.” I laughed. “It’s different, this time.”

“If you say so,” I said softly. “Why aren’t you with her?”

“Her words,” he shrugged, “were ‘I want to trust you. But in order to do that, we have to take it slow.’ So that will be new and interesting.” I laughed. “And a messanger came and brought letters.” He handed me one.

I opened it…

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BIRDS OF PREY!!!!

It’s happening you guys.

Warner Brothers has officially green lit a Birds Of Prey movie.

I’ve spent the past 24 hours freaking the frak out about it.

The BOP lineup is apparently set. Margot Robbie is going to be producing as well as featuring as Harley Quinn, and apparently there’s going to be a villain, “we’ve never seen on the big screen before” (This is both exciting and kind of a bummer, because I was really hoping it would be the Birds VS Harley and Ivy)

I’ve wanted this for a very long time, but let’s get into the lineup:

The Huntress -Helena Bertinelli

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It appears they’re going Helena Bertinelli, which is fine? I like both versions of the character, but I prefer Helena Wayne. Her backstory is much more fun, and her relationship to both the vigilante world and the crime world a delight. (Bruce Wayne is her dad, Selina Kyle is her mom) But Bertinelli’s good too, and hey maybe they’ll go with her Grayson  spy backstory rather than her “mob kid decides to fight crime” one? That could be cool

Batgirl – Cassandra Caine

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YYYEEESSSSS! While Cassandra is the Batgirl I know the least about, this gives me a good excuse to dive into her stuff. What I do know? She’s a straight up BADASS. Raised by her league of assassin parents to be the perfect weapon, she was also kept from speech and verbal communication. This makes her a body language expert, and kind of weird about like, people.

Also, she’s Asian, which means it’s a representation win.

Renee Montoya

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We don’t know whether Renee will be Detective Renee Montoya of the GCPD or The Question but either way I’m on board. Renee’s a great character with some fun stories to tell and like Harley, I’m pretty sure she’s a BTAS original, which is fun.

AND OF COURSE!

Black Canary – Dinah Lance

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Look, y’all know how I feel about Black Canary. She’s my signature cosplay, a character who pushed me to look beyond the A-List to DC’s deep and fascinating B-List characters. Dinah’s a great fighter, has a really cool power, a distinct and fun costume look. (If they skip the fishnets a la Arrow, I’ma cut a bitch) Not to mention she’s been leading the Birds for most of their best iterations.

I’m very very excited about this movie. Like dance around my room excited. Pull out my platinum blonde wig and give a Canary call excited. I was already planning on bringing the costume back this year. (HOORAY FOR SIGNIFICANT AND CONSISTENT WEIGHT LOSS!) Of course DC has taught me to be cautious with said excitement, but I have faith in Margot Robbie as a producer. She has very good instincts.

Nerd Homework: Gravity Falls

Back a few months ago, as I waited impatiently for Duck Tales to give us more episodes than just it’s truly stupendous pilot, I started poking around for other kid’s animation to check out.

I watched a few episodes of Gravity Falls and though I enjoyed it, I think my life was in just a bit too much chaos at that point to really grab on to it.

Cut to last week, worn out after Dune, and The Handmaid’s Tale and even Battlestar Galactica, I knew I needed a break, something light, and fun, and peppy. And so I decided to give the show another shot.

Boy was I rewarded. I was charmed by the writing and general silly/creepy tone of the show, and it’s 40 episode length made it a refreshing chill out and reset my brain stop over. I adore both Dipper and Mabel Pines and their contrasting views on the world, and constant support of one another. (Also, there’s an episode where Mabel White Fangs a boy band, so you know, my kind of thing.)

While I knew some of the big reveals due to being a nerd on the internet for the past five years, I still enjoyed seeing the set ups and appreciating just how huge it is when you learn about Stan’s past and the drama of Ford. I loved the way the show wrapped up, it’s vision of the apocalypse, fittingly, both horrifying and kind of adorable in turn.

I think about the building blocks of things a lot, the legacy left behind by stories that came earlier. And I think what’s interesting about Gravity Falls is this is a show about legacy (Mabel and Dipper being the natural consequence of Stan and Ford) and built on legacy of what came before it. (Twin Peaks, The X-Files.) Even aside from it’s straightforward virtues, is a masterpiece of meta textual storytelling.

I really, really enjoyed the show, and actually have a million things I want to say about it, but for now, I’m just glad it exists, in it’s small lovely way, cornered off like that magical summer you’ll always remember fondly.

On the Nerd Homework Front: I’m slowly but surely making my way through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I like the show a lot. I’m still mired in the Season 1, finding it’s legs stage, that I feel confident if I can make it through, I will be rewarded. (As I was with TNG) That knowledge does not quite make the season’s troubles easier to weather though.

I’m also reading Infinite Jest, which isn’t so much Nerd Homework, as just like homework, I guess? But you know, I occasionally like to converse with nerdy white boy types who all think Foster was a god or whatever, and I quite like the book. The love that I have for Vonnegut and Twain helps with that. (I’d previously read Wallace’s non fiction which always reminded me of Mark Twain.) It’s also taking a lot longer than I anticipated, so it’s put a bunch of other reading on hold.

Ladies & Prestige TV & That Thing We’re Talking About Now

Over the past few weeks I’ve watched both Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale. I started season 2 of Westworld last night, and I’ll probably dive into Sharp Objects at some point, and I’ve got a season and a half of Veep banked, and want to give Glow a shot, not to mention Jessica Jones season 2 and Pose (though I’m waiting for it’s second season before I get hooked. YOU WILL NOT GET ME AGAIN MURPHY!)

And I smiled, this morning when I realized, most of my planned TV viewing for the summer at least in the “prestige” venue, (I’m also going to catch up on all things CW!) has been, and will be female centric. Go Me! Also, Go TV which seems to have at least gotten the numbers game under control. (At least in terms of white women. Women of Color are getting there too. Never forget that everything House Of Cards did, Scandal did first and better, including putting the first lady in the Oval Office in it’s final season…just saying…)

But this weekend, Aless and I sat eating burgers and drinking wine and talking pop culture representation. (One of our all time favorite subjects) And I explained my new revelation.

“It’s amazing,” I said, “how little interest I have in TV that’s about men at the moment.”

“Well, it’s great,” she agreed, “we have enough choices now that we don’t have to watch shows about dudes anymore.” Granted, I’m still rewatching The West Wing and went on to have an #OCSunday and those are both very dude heavy, but in new stuff I’m watching, there’s literally no reason to watch things about guys anymore, and that’s pretty amazing.

Of course this bit of feminist pop culture triumph was totally undermined a few hours later as we went to see a band that specialized in covers of early to mid 2000s emo and pop punk, perhaps the only musical genre more casually misogynistic than early gangsta rap…but you know, we’ve all got our dirty little pop secrets. (WHO HAS TO KNOW?)

Sweet Treason

Lisette and Tristan are diving off a really annoying cliff.

I mean, it’s not annoying NOW but it’s gonna get annoying. You guys know that.

The Marina Chronicle

It was like a tidal wave, when he kissed me.  It pulled me under and nothing else matter, there was only Tristan, filling my lungs, overwhelming my body. My knees went to jelly and we both tumbled into the grass. I started giggled and he pushed my hair off my face.

“I love you,” he said, “every inch of me is yours, Lisette.” I swallowed and kissed him again.

“Prove it,” I mumbled into his lips. He kept kissing me and wiggled to be on top of me. I hiked my skirt up around my waist and he unlaced the front of his pants. I was never more sure of anything, than I was in that moment. I needed Tristan inside of me if I was ever going to be satisfied.

He pressed into me slowly, inch by inch, and I felt myself opening for him, and our lips never…

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On Dating, Nerd Men & Adulting

I’ve dipped my toe back into the dating pool of late. It’s been mostly fun, and I’m enjoying meeting and chatting with new people.

I have decided on something though.

I don’t think I want to date guys who identify as “nerds” in their 30’s anymore. It’s proven exhausting.

Like, if you have nerdy hobbies, that’s awesome! So do I! (Obviously…) But if the first thing about yourself is “I’m a nerd/gamer/comics enthusiast,” I just don’t think it’ll work for me anymore.

I’m sooo not interested in a 30 minute long lecture about why the last few seasons of Game Of Thrones “don’t count” because it’s not George RR Martin’s vision. (I mean, I shut this down, with MOTHER FUCKING ZOMBIE ICE DRAGON MAN!) Or how I just “didn’t get” Batman V Superman. (I assure you, I got it. I just found it terribly dull.) Or how, “Rick And Morty is so funny and smart and how have you not watched it yet?” (Well, I never really connected to Harmon’s writing and humor on Community, so I decided not to watch his other stuff.)

It’s not that I don’t like having those conversations, exactly, it’s just, not important to me when I’m looking for a partner anymore. I don’t want to marry, settle down and have children with a man who’s going to try to convince me of his opinion every time we encounter media.

Because like, if you’re going to be with me, there’s going to be a lot of media consumption, and I’m going to have opinions on it. As are you. And a conversation is one thing…but man, when I acknowledge your point of view and explain mine and then you repeat yours…that’s not conversation, that’s you saying your opinion of a subjective thing is correct and mine isn’t.

Seriously, recently had this conversation.

Me: BvS had some interesting ideas in theory that mostly turned out kind of jumbled and dull in execution.

Guy: BUT SNYDER WAS TELLING A MYTHIC STORY ABOUT GODS AND MEN AND CONSEQUENCES IT SHOULD BE HEAVIER THAN LIKE ANT-MAN OR WHATEVER.

Me: Right, and I get that was the intent, but the movie is just really boring. Also, Ant-Man rules.

Guy: But it wasn’t boring because of Frank Miller and Nolan and and…

I tuned him out at this point because really? Say what you want about Miller’s work (Can be sloppy, ill-defined and kinda fascist) but boring is never an adjective for it. And Nolan’s Bat-movies are great but they’ll never be my favorite version of the character. (Dini and Timm exist) (Also Scott Snyder).

I’ve never met a dude who liked nerdy things but didn’t self identify as nerd who lectured me like this. When these guys talk about Game Of Thrones with me, we talk about the storylines we like and don’t. We talk about Jon Snow’s true identity and what that means for Daenerys. When they ask me about Infinity War they don’t immediately say being sad after that movie is stupid because “everyone is coming back anyway.” (YES I AM AWARE BUT IT WAS VERY INTENSE AND I HAVE FEELINGS AND I UNDERSTAND HOW SERIALIZED FICTION WORKS THANK YOU!) They talk about the cool action scenes and how great Strange and Stark were together.

In the past few months I’ve thought and dealt a lot with “nerd” and “fan” being a cornerstone of my identity. And it just doesn’t feel like enough anymore. I’m not magically going to change my interests, but I’ve come to find that if someone likes Harry Potter isn’t enough reason to want to spend time with them, and certainly not enough to build a life on.

It clicked especially for me when I read Ready Player One, (So, thanks, Ernest Cline, I guess? Your crappy book helped me realize something about myself) and mainly, that people had been telling me I would love it for years. I had kind of an existential crisis. “Is this what people think of me? That I’m just thoughtlessly regurgitating trivia?” Of course they weren’t, they were thinking, “Reenie likes pop culture trivia and action adventure stories. This book sure has those things, I bet she’d like it!” And to be fair, if I’d just sort of stumbled on the book without the hype, that’s likely what I’d have thought too.

I don’t know what my point is exactly, just that as I grow as a person and as I look for a partner, I’ve realized my criteria has been kind of shallow and has lead to some less than fun experiences.

So we’re trying to be more open. We’ll see how it goes.

36 Books In 2018 #31: God Emperor Of Dune by Frank Herbert

It’s been a long time since I’ve had the all consuming desire to chuck a book I was reading across a room. Maybe since A Clash Of Kings and I thought that Arya had been killed in the aftermath of the Red Wedding.

But God Emperor Of Dune did it. Wow is this book brilliant, weird and goddamned frustrating. 

We’re now several thousand years removed from the ending of Children Of Dune which bummed me out, since I really like Ghani, and this mean she was very dead, and Leto has now been largely consumed by the body of a sandworm. Also he keeps getting Duncan clones, holds the galaxy in thrall as  if he were a god (he is not) and decides to marry a pretty girl, who of course, his current Duncan clone is in  love with.

Look, I admire the way that Herbert plays with the stories of maidens and dragons here, and the rambly philosophical weirdness of Leto’s lonely existence is great, but this one was a tough go, especially after Children, which I totally adored. And I’m gonna finish this series. (Or at least the Frank Herbert books, I’ve heard that Brian Herbert’s further investigation into his father’s work are skippable. Thoughts?)

But wow, I had trouble with this particular entry in the series. Part of it was how alien and different from the rest of the books it felt, the millenia induced time jump was disorienting and the fact that Dune is no longer Dune but the ecologically balanced Arakis envisioned in the first book makes everything weird.

Also, the feminist in me is a little bit frustrated that there’s an “all the ladies wanna bone Duncan Idaho” strain in these books. It’s eye rollingly annoying, even if he’s the Lancelot to Leto’s Arthur here, which is a sort of interesting part for the sword master to play.

The other theme that Herbert plays with here, is the danger of nostalgia which feels really important right now, but that doesn’t emerge until the end which is unfortunate. But still, there’s some good stuff here, and I’ll pick up Heretics soon-ish.

Up next is Infinite Jest which I am about 100 pages into and both deeply admire and kind of hate. So, we’ll see how that goes.