Saying Goodbye To The Wizard School

One of the strangest things in the world in the past few years is that the writer of probably the most influential fantasy books of this century has revealed herself to be a huge anti Trans bigot, and WON’T SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

As a result the nerd world is split in an odd schism of, “people who have decided to excise the Wizard Lady” from their eco system entirely and “people who have decided it’s OK and are ignoring it,” and in the middle all the “people who are trying to square the circle of how these books shaped their lives, work and taste while also not supporting the Wizard Lady.”

I’m somewhere in the middle though my thought process is more along the lines of a few years ago when I reread those Wizard School books and realized, this was a story I was ready to put away for a good long time. I’ve always considered it lower on my list that others, and recently decided I wanted to grapple with WHY.

I was 12 when The Socrcerer’s Stone first crossed my path, I grew up with the books just like every nerd my age.

And I realized what it was, when reading a retrospective of The Lord Of The Rings movies earlier this week. (Thanks The AV Club, for the thought!) Wizard School was not the first story for me, as it was for so many other people I know. By the time I was sorted, I’d already Chronicled the rise and fall of Narnia, gone from The Shire to the Lone Mountain and back again, and of course, claimed my path as a Jedi, like my father before me. (Not to mention the jaunts through Tortall and more realistic stories of young women weathering The Civil War.) It wasn’t that I didn’t love Wizard School, and God knows, I adore a bandwagon, and feeling included, so I was happy to join in the fun with my friends and family.

But when I realized I wasn’t getting anything more out of the story, I folded up my robes, (metaphorically) and went back to the stuff that was feeding me. Star Wars is a never ending well for me. Nearly two years removed, from disappointment, I think I might still have some juice in Westeros. The MCU is a gift that keeps on giving. I’ve yet to not be delighted by something I missed or forgot when I go back to Camp Half-Blood.

But I can’t get too upset at the people trying to figure out where they land on this one, what it means for them and why it’s complicated. Or the people that go back to it over and over again.

The 007 Project: Octopussy

Previously On The 007 Project: I got back in the general swing of things and so did Roger Moore! For Your Eyes Only was a wonderful return to form

Who’s Our Bond: We’re still on Moore and I like him more than ever in this run. Seriously, the movies are keeping their lightness, but have lost their Smokey And The Bandit style zaniness, and are all the better for them. I’m hoping that we enter a similar tone coming up soon in this franchise, but we’ll get to my hopes for the future in the great beyond of someday when No Time To Die comes out. Anyway, Roger Moore, still very good. I know I’ve only been through 3 on this project, but he really is my front runner favorite.

What’s The Plot: A fabrege egg has been stolen and replaced by a fake! Also the Russians are trying to get Western Europe to disengage on a nuclear level, so that they can bomb the US without reprisal. Standard Cold War shit. While tracking the assasination of 009, Bond finds himself caught up with some jewel smugglers and a weird cult, led by the Octopussy, a poweful business woman, with a stupid name. She and Bond have several, “we’re not so different, you and I,” moments and obviously wind up in love.

It is quickly learned that the fake egg is a nuclear device of some kind, and there’s some nonsense with a circus and the American base in West Berlin, but basically Bond solves the case, and he and Octopussy float off together.

Tell Me About The Girl

I really enjoyed Octopussy, as played by Maud Adams. I like that she was more mature, that she had her own concerns outside of Bond and the mission and I hate her stupid name, but otherwise, this is a real step forward, Bond Girl wise.

The Song Is The Thing

“All Time High” is actually a really rad song, performed by Rita Coolidge and hey Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. (I am, if you followed my travails in the past year, a fan of Sir Tim’s work! The Lion King! Evita! Chess!) I think it’s funny that they realized they couldn’t call the song “Octopussy” because it is such a stupid name. So stupid. I hate it so much.

Overall Thoughts

While hating the title is a big thing for me here, I genuinely enjoyed watching this movie. It’s fun, breezy, and well performed. I’ll get into it more next week, but I very much appreciate that Moore was able to ride out his tenure on a high note of three good movies.

Which brings us to next week! A View To A Kill! Christopher Walken! Tanya Roberts (RIP)! Grace Jones! Very Exciting

Nerd Homework: Supernatural: Season 15

“I know how you see yourself Dean. You see yourself the same way our enemies see you. You’re destructive and you’re angry and you’re broken. You’re Daddy’s blunt instrument. And you think that hate and anger that’s what drives you, that’s who you are. It’s not. And everyone who knows you, sees it. Everything you have ever done, the good and the bad, is for love. You raise your little brother for love, you fought for this whole world for love. That is who you are. You’re the most caring man on earth. You are the most selfless, loving human being, I will ever know.” – The Angel Castiel to Dean Winchester, Supernatural Season 15

After letting a steady exhale out this past week, plus a few neatly timed Pinterest hits, I realized it was probably time for me to finish something I’d started well over two years ago. It was time to finish Supernatural.

I started watching the show two years ago mostly out of boredom and curiosity. I’d tried it before and it had never taken, but I do have a tendency to latch onto things here on this blog. Or at least I did in the before times. When I decided to watch over a decade of this show in a six month period, I did not expect to love it how I did.

I didn’t expect to love it so much that I had to wait until I’d unclenched about a whole bunch of other things before I felt comfortable releasing the emotions I knew were going to come, and, I have to admit for a while I was worried. About the way the show was going and about myself. I hadn’t cried at all.

Well that changed.

The final three episodes of Supernatural are charged for tears, from Castiel’s tearfilled, love confessing good bye to Dean. (Quoted above) to Jack’s decision to leave the boys and humanity behind to become a more compassionate and loving God than Chuck ever could have been, to Dean’s death and ascension to a heaven designed for him, and the long drive and happy life for Sam, before they can be reunited.

When Dean enters heaven and Bobby describes it as a place where everyone is satisfied and together, and Dean sees Baby and switches on the radio and hears, “Carry On Wayward Son,” I was a puddle.

My own personal conception of heaven, as my human brain can fathom the perfection of existence as united with God (what I theologically and philosophically conceive of heaven as, though that’s a little heavy for a blog post about the show where the pretty boys fight monsters.) is a place of comfort and joy where everyone is satisfied and together. My version is actually the bar that my Uncles used to own, settled on a corner bar stool. “Carry On Wayward Son” would probably still be in the mix in my version, to be honest, though it would be coming from the juke box, not a car stereo.

I was wrecked, and it just highlighted what it is about Supernatural that connected with me in a way that even the other nerd homework projects that I enjoyed never really did. This is a show about family, and faith and finding comfort in those things while the world around you spins in chaos. It’s about two brothers who love each other, and the people that come to love them.

And it is about pretty boys who hunt monsters and fight God, and love angels, and drink beer and eat pie and it’s about how Dean Winchester is a hero even if, and especially because, he’ll never admit it to himself. That loving his brother, his angel boyfriend and their adopted son was enough. (Misha and Jensen can “it’s platonic love,” all they want WE KNOW THE TRUTH.) And more than that, that he was loved, and appreciated. Every sacrifice mattered. It saved the world and remade heaven and hell. And those sacrifices were not for his anger or desire for vengeance but for love, and that is not a final theme I’m ever going to get sick of.

Now your life’s no longer empty

Surely heaven waits for you.

The 007 Project: For Your Eyes Only

Previously On The 007 Project: I was getting tired of Roger Moore and his campy shenanigans. Also, in the real world there was an attempted violent coup against the government of the country where I live and I felt a little bit, uh, overwhelmed. Also, I now have two day jobs, so…:I needed a few weeks off to adjust. But I’m back now. I’ve got three movies watched and posts banked. Let’s get started!

Who’s Our Bond?

We’re still in Roger Moore land. He’s better here than in Moonraker because this is a better movie than Moonraker. James Bond doesn’t belong in space. His sarcastic charm works well in this one.

What’s The Plot?

Guys this is like the Stefan sketch of Bond movies. “It has everything! Thrilling car and boat chases, a crazed assassin out for James Bond, a Greek heiress bent of revenge, horny teenage figure skaters, Moneypenny’s weird file cabinet mirror!”

Bond first, after visiting Tracy’s grave, is summoned to a helicopter, which it turns out is a trap, from, I assume Blofeld. It’s a bald guy who’s face we don’t see. I miss Blofeld so much, you guys. Anyway, after crashing the helicopter, we get the them and then Bond is called in to see M, who gives him his mission, an archeologist is searching for a bomb in the ocean, or something, whatever, not the point. The point is, the guy was assassinated, and they need to question the guy who did it. So Bond goes to a compound and find the guy, who is then gunned down by, GASP the archeologists daughter, out for revenge.

She assures Bond that if they can find the guy who PAID the assasin, they’ll find the truth about her father’s work. Also, she really really wants revenge. Anyway, they go to Greece and they do some chases and they scuba dive, and there’s also an alpine ski chase at one point, because this whole movie is basically a greatest hits montage.

Eventually, Bond and Melina (Said vengeful daughter) head to a compound to find the real killer and find the information her father was looking for. (I missed some of the particulars, I was distracted by Melina’s cross bow) and the general quality of the flick.

Anyway, after they win they have sex on a boat. And Bond gets a call from Maggie Thatcher which is hilarious.

Tell Me About The Girl

Carole Bouquet plays Melina, who goes around trying to track down the lowlifes who killed her family and murdering them with a crossbow, so she’s basically Helena Bertinelli and I am A OK with that. She’s also immediately into Bond which is fun.

While tracking down information in Switzerland, Bond also encounted Bibi Dahl, an American figure skater who is super horny and definitely wants him. She’s also clearly a teenager and he turns her down. How very evolved of him. She’s played by Linn-Holly Johnson and she’s super annoying.

The final of the three ladies in this one is Countess Lisl Von Styth who is not actually a countess but a normal British girl disguising herself as one. She’s great. I enjoyed her, she’s the one who has sex with Bond and then dies, which we haven’t seen in a few films!

The Song is The Thing

I enjoyed the song, “For Your Eyes Only” performed by Sheena Easton. Bond Themes have moved into the 80s now and it’s very obvious. But this one is at least fun.

Overall Thoughts

I was happy to see the back to basics of this one, I enjoyed Melina and Moore seemed a better dialed in. But in a lot of ways it reminded me of Spectre which I described as, “sure is a Bond movie” it checks all the boxes but doesn’t really do any of the stuff it’s doing spectacularly.

Next week we get into the terribly named but actually awesome Octopussy.

The 007 Project: Moonraker

I took The Holidays off from blogging. I’m back in the new year! Usually I dive into the new year with a fun new concept. This year, alas no. I’m starting new work in the next few weeks and I don’t know how much time I’m going to have so I don’t want to commit to anything. We’ll keep going with the Bond stuff though.

Previously On The 007 Project: While I am still charmed by Roger Moore, but I think the shine may be coming off soon. I also reiterate my enjoyment of Bond being in Hitchcock style romantic films.

Who’s Our Bond: Still Roger Moore. He’s starting to show his age and his boredom. I really think he brought it for The Spy Who Loved Me, but this is back to coasting. At least, fucking Sherriff JW Peppah doesn’t show up this time. I’ve discovered that the extended comedic chase scene is the thing I like the least about Moore’s tenure.

What’s The Plot?

The RAF and NASA have lost a rocket! OH NO! Only James Bond can find it. It turns out that the rocket, The Moonraker was stolen by the sinister aerospace billionair Drax, who also hired Jaws to fight Bond. Bond is aided in his search for the rock by Dr. Holly Goodhead. (SIGH) Drax wants to start life over on the moon, with himself as the sire of a master race. (COOL) Doctor Goodhead and Bond get shot into space, and they defeat Drax and that’s kind of it. (I actually got really bored watching this movie so I didn’t pay super close attention).

I’m Addressing The Problematic

I didn’t notice anything, but as I said, I was pretty bored and not paying close attention.

Tell Me About The Girl

Lois Chile plays Holly Goodhead, and, LORD that name makes me want to gouge my eyes out, but at least she’s a Doctor and she thinks Bond sucks (you know, until she doesn’t)

The Song Is The Thing

Shirley Bassey is back! Hooray! The song is not as good as “Goldfinger” (nothing is), but it’s servicable. There’s something about Bassey’s throaty belting that feels like James Bond.

Overall Thoughts

Oof, this one was rough. I kept meaning to rewatch it so that I would have more to say, but I couldn’t bring myself to. That’s why this is short. I’m going to return to the Wednesday posting here in two days, when I watch For Your Eyes Only. (RIP Tanya Roberts)

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 16: The Rescue”

*This is blog post is a recap of The Mandalorian: Chapter 16, thus by it’s nature contains spoilers. I try very hard not spoil big stuff prematurely but it’s been 3 days and this is a RECAP.*

I’m often at a loss for explaining to people how much and what it is I love about Star Wars. And then I watch something like this episode of The Mandalorian and my breath catches in my chest, and my heart beats a little more quickly than usual, and I remember that it isn’t really something I can explain.

I love these stories and this world so much.

I will never not be psyched when that green light saber sparks, and the hood of that black robe is thrown back and Luke Skywalker is here to rescue us.

Star Wars fandom can be difficult, especially when it comes to it’s first family. There’s a sharp divide between those who would rather the Skywalkers be left in the past and those who are always happy to see them show up. (Guess which one I am?). Luke showing up in his X-Wing to rescue Mando, Bo-Katan, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune (FUCK GINA CARRANO) and whisk Grogu (who though a baby is REMEMBER THE SAME AGE AS A CERTAIN ANAKIN SKYWALKER WOULD HAVE BEEN) away to Jedi school, was thrilling to me.

It was, also, not the only thrill of the episode. Mando, Boba, Fennec and Cara show up to a Cantina to recruit Bo-Katan and her friend who’s name I can’t remember to take on Moff Gideon, retrieve the Dark Saber and rescue Grogu. After some very rude anti clone remarks from Bo towards Boba, they all get it together, and then get aboard Gideon’s cruiser, fight a bunch of Dark Troopers and the Mando finds Gideon, standing over Grogu with the dark saber. After escorting the Moff to the rest of the group, Gideon excitedly explains that in order for Bo to claim the Dark Saber she must defeat Mando in combat, also a bunch more Dark Troopers show up, and I just want Bo to call them a bunch of fracking toasters but she doesn’t.

And just as all hope seems lost, an X-Wing lands on deck and cloaked figure emerges. Grogu watches on monitors, rapt, as The Last Jedi comes to bring him home. When Luke and R2-D2 enter, Grogu and Din have an emotional goodbye, Din removing his helmet so his son can see and touch his face as they part. Pedro Pascal is wonderful in this scene, the heartbreak clear on his face as the tears stream down his cheeks. He’s doing the right thing, but it’s not easy.

After this touching goodbye, the credits roll, and AFTER the credits, we see two suns, hazy and a familiar palace. Bib Fortuna sits upon the throne of Jabba The Hutt, and Fennec Shand walks in, shoot his guards, frees a Twi’Lek slave girl and Boba saunters in behind her, Fortuna begs for his life but Boba does not spare him and sits his ass on that throne. Cut to black and the words, “The Book of Boba Fett, December 2021.”

SO! What does this mean for us, here, at The Fangirl’s Dilemma?

I’m not sure. There’s a lot of Star Wars coming in the next few years. I’m very excited about all of it. We’ve also got Wandavision in January, which will probably take this slot. I also SWEAR I WILL EVENTUALLY WATCH Resistance: Season 2. Someday. I guess.

But for now, May The Force Be With You.

The 007 Project: The Spy Who Loved Me

Peviously On The 007 Project: I dig Roger Moore. Bond went to Hong Kong and learned Kung Fu.

Sorry I’m late this week! I got a new job! YAY!!!!! But I realized I hadn’t gotten this post done on Wednesday morning and I was already getting dressed to go to said new job so, this one is a bit rushed and late! Sorry again.

Who’s Our Bond?

Still Moore for the next few movies. I’m enjoying each Bond’s shot at a romance, if you’re Lazenby it’s your only shot, and so far they have been my favorites. Moore does well.

What’s The Plot?

When both a British and Soviet submarine disappear, Bond is called in on the British side to find it, on the Russian side Anya Amasova is brought in. They team up after some antagonistic flirting, and chase Jaws across Egypt. They also do my favorite James Bond thing during this section. (I have favorite things in this series now! Aren’t you excited, I definitely am) They hook up on a boat! (She also mentions Tracey and he shuts her down with the most withering of withering British glares)

They learn that the submarines were taken by a tycoon named, Not Blofeld For Rights Reasons. He wants to start society over underwater. Whatever, Anya and Bond foil him. But more importantly she learns he was involved in the death of the love of her life in a ski chase at the begining of the movie. Will she forgive him?

She does! Hooray

I’m Adressing The Problematic

I mean, it’s a depiction of the Middle East in the 80’s. Nothing glaring, but it’s not you know, perfect.

Tell Me About The Girl

Barbara Bach plays Anya. She’s sexy, smart and badass, not to mention she’s got her own axe to grind, ie getting revenge for her dead lover. I like her a lot. I like this movie a lot

The Song Is The Thing

The song is a Carly Simon song called “Nobody Does It Better” which I didn’t realize even was a Bond song, so, it’s not a great one.

Overall Thoughts

I liked this one! I like this plot construction, but the lack of Blofeld in the role that is obviously supposed to be Blofeld delfates things. The Skiing scenes are cool and I like Anya. I still dig Roger Moore.

Next week we go to the Moon, but not really with Moonraker, and in some good, I don’t have to do as much planning news, a bunch of the movies just dropped on Peacock! YAY!!!!!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 15: The Believer”

There’s a lot going on here, but I’m gonna start with this, Bill Burr is excellent in this episode and I continue to be blown away by the level of the incredible supporting cast on this show. They jump over the extremely high bars they set for themselves.

While our appreciation of Burr did lead to some friction in the group text this week, (Jess continued to type, “GO SOX!” at every possible instance. She is from Rhode Island and must be forgiven, and I responded by saying, “I love Bill Burr, but I SPIT ON THE SOX!”) Anyway, let’s get to the episode, which was very cool.

Cara Dune (Obligatory Fuck Gina Carano!), Fennec, Boba and Mando go to a prison planet to recruit Mayfeld (Burr) to their opperation to track down Moff Gideon and free poor little Grogu from his nefarious clutches. Mayfeld is a delightful breath of sarcastic human fresh air in our steely group of outsides and I really can’t express deeply enough how much I really like the work Burr is doing here. They head to Morak (we as a group watch with Subtitles so I knew they said “Morak” not “Morag” which is where the Power Stone was hidden in the MCU in Guardians of The Galaxy but I made the joke anyway.) and discover that an Imperial remnant is mining an explosive substance there to mount an attack, much like Operation Cinder (from Star Wars: Battlefront) where they burned up a whole planet and killed a bunch of Storm Troopers to boot.

Mayfeld is uh, not thrilled about this, but manages to keep his cool while Mando goes to a transmitter to get the info he needs on Grogu. He also takes off his helmet for a good 15 minutes! He looks terribly uncomfortable but I am always happy to see Pedro Pascal’s beautiful face and the fact that he’s willing to bend the code for his magic baby son is huge character growth. While discussing the facility and Operation Cinder with the man who it turns out was Mayfeld’s superior, (in a tour de force scene from Burr) he turns his blaster on the facility which the gang then blows up.

After they escape, Cara and Mando agree to report Mayfeld dead so he doesn’t have to go to prison. I hope the next time we see him, he’s found his way home to Space Boston. Mando does his version of the Taken call and tells Moff Gideon that as long as he’s holding Grogu there is no safe place for him in the Galaxy, he will be found.

We also learned that Storm Troopers have to fill our TPS reports and this makes the most sense. Of course Innitech and The Empire are the same level of bureaucratic evil.

Anyway, if you could come in on Saturday, that would be GREEAAATTT!

The 007 Project: The Man With The Golden Gun

Previously On The 007 Project: We’ve got a new bond in Roger Moore, and also so much racism.

Who’s Our Bond?

Roger Moore is going to be around for a while. I really like him in The Man With The Golden Gun, where he seems to be genuinely perturbed to be in a James Bond movie. He’s had it up to here with the villain, with not getting to have sex with the girl because of shenanigans, with the “we’re not so different, you and I” dynamic, and it makes for a really delightful performances.

What’s The Plot?

A boat arrives at Fantasy Island…OK, it isn’t Fantasy Island, but Herve Villechaize is there, playing not Tatoo but Nick Nack, who works with notorious assassin Francisco Scaramanga, played by Christopher Lee! The man on the boat enters into a protracted duel with Scaramanga and we see that Scaramanga is obsessed with killing James Bond.

M tells James Bond he is welcome to lay low while they try to catch Scaramanga but Bond refuses. They track the assassin to Hong Kong where Bond rendezvous with Mary Goodnight, who keeps getting quite frustrated when they can’t hook up and Bond keeps going off with other women for mission purposes.

Lady, you are CRUSHING ON 007, get it together re: Him being a big whore. Anyway, they’re after a formula that would allow solar power to function better than fossil fuels. YAYYY! A murdered scientist leads the team from Hong Kong to Bangkok, and Scaramanga’s girlfriend offers to get the formulafor Bond, then they have sex, Goodnight is very put out. There’s an extended carchase and that fucking sheriff from Louisiana shows up and I very nearly throw a beer bottle at my television set.

Anyway this all leads to Goodnight and Bond on Scaramanca’s island a duel between the assassins. Bond wins! But stupid Goodnight, destorys the solar fuel.

Women, am I right? Anyway, then they have sex on a boat, and the movie ends. Hooray!

I’m Adressing The Problematic

There’s some lame orientalism going her, and conflating of far east cultures into one, but as with the other eastern set flicks, pretty ok generally.

Tell Me About The Girl

Britt Ekland plays Mary Goodnight who might be the most frustrating character in any movie I’ve liked as much as this one. She’s whiny, clumsy and bad at her job. Super lame, do not like.

The Song Is The Thing

Lulu performs “The Man With The Golden Gun,” and it is super corny and not particularly memorable.

Overall Thoughts

Subtracting the too long chase scenes and providing vaguely better writing for Goodnight would have made this a better movie, but I’m always happy to see Christopher Lee and I really do think Roger Moore is excellent in this one.

Next week, romance is back on the table with The Spy Who Loves Me

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 14: The Tragedy”

It’s almost like the show runners know exactly what to give us to keep us from just being furious. Because in this episode where Tiny Grogu gets captured by Moff Gideon and tortured a little, we are given Boba Fett and Fennec Shand as played by Ming-Na Wen.

I can’t be mad at a episode of TV that gives me Ming-Na.

Anyway, what happened? So, after arriving on yet another planet, Mando and Grogu go to a sacred stone so Grogu can meditate and send out a Force message to other Jedi who would train him besides Ahsoka, who Mando adorably calls, “That Nice Lady.” It takes the form of a giant beacon to the sky that also acts as a protective force field. COOL.

In the meantime, Mando is confronted by an old man who asks for his armor back. It’s BOBA FETT! He does not claim to be Mandolorian by creed (True!) but the armor is still his by right and inheritance, it was his father’s, now it’s his. (ALSO TRUE!) He’s teamed up with Fennec, and when Moff Gideon shows up and takes Grogu they agree to help Mando get him back.

Also the Razor Crest blows up, RIP friend, you’ll be missed.

In order to help in mission save Grogu from Evil Imperials, Mando goes to Cara Dune (Obligatory Fuck Gina Carrano. TRANS RIGHTS! Donate to The Okra Project or another Trans charity of your choice!) to ask her to use her shiny New Republic Marshal status to free Bill Burr (or whatever his character’s name is) from prison to help him track down Moff Gideon.

She’s hesistant but when he informs her that it’s to free Grogu she’s all in.

So what’s next? Will Ezra and his Space Whales show up to free Grogu? Will we be heading to Space Boston with Bill Burr? Will Boba and Ahsoka meet and will she shame him for not rallying with his brothers? Who is the mole leaking to Moff Gideon? (I have thoughts!)

Sorry this was late y’all. I had a busy (but good) weekend, and didn’t get to the episode until Sunday night, and I usually like a day or so to think out the episode before I write these recaps.

Love you all! I may have some news of the personal variety to post soon. (Again, all good!)