The Good Place (02×01) Running Commentary

Spoilers, guys. Spoilers. Go watch the first season. GO WATCH. And then start the second season and read this rubbish.

-It’s gonna be impossible to top the end of season 1. But I can’t wait!

-Are we setting up Marc Evan Jackson (the Shawn guy) to be the main baddie, BECAUSE I’D LOVE THAT.

-Ohmigod, as an ex-actor, the actors asking question is ridiculous and on point.

-Elbows ARE stupid. You’re right, Michael. Though it would be worse NOT to have them, I guess.

-I missed all these characters so much. I love them. Where are they, by the way? Other than Eleanor.

-Oh! There’s Jianyu! No! Come back!

-Okay Eleanor’s new fake soulmate is amusing. And nice to look at, but he’s not my Chidi. Where is he? WHERE IS HE.

-CH. DI. CHIDICHIDICHIDICHIDICHIDICHIDICHIDICHIDICHIDI

-Ahaha! Philosophers are all in hell!

-Knowing what’s actually happening makes this show totally different.

-So, the four from the first season are the ONLY ones that are in their afterlife, right? Like, we’re sure about that?

-I’m giggling like an idiot at the Eleanor/Chidi interaction.

-And Tahani is where?

-Marc Evan Jackson’s even in the fucking commercials!

-Tahani! Yay!

-Okay, you have to understand. I’m also really tall, so I’m relating HARD to Tahani being too tall for her house.

-I’m calling plumbers “toiletsweeps” from now on.

-C’mon, these people are too decent to be tortured daily…maybe not.

-I really love the intersecting stories.

-Why did we have to wait so long for drunk Tahani?

-God, Jianyu’s twin soulmate would drive me nuts too.

-“My many many cargo pant’s pockets” is a brilliant line in its simplicity.

-“What the fork is happening?” They’re miserable, but Michael seems concerned. Are they trying to pull another fast one on us?

-Did the core four (Oh, I’m for sure calling them that now: the Core Four) already form a plan?

-Seriously, who are all the actors working in the afterlife?

-Eleanor is always into Chidi. Let’s just deal with that. I’m definitely not complaining.

-Oh, no. They haven’t formulated a plan YET. They’re formulating one NOW.

-Eleanor’s new fake soulmate IS as dumb as he looks.

-We gonna fast track the Janet/Jianyu relationship? I’d be okay with that.

-Oh, we’re fast tracking ALL this. Jianyu’s talking already. Oh, they already figured it out. Was the first time they figured it out really the first run-through even? This show is making me question everything, and I’m loving it.

-Damn. They basically just did the entire first season in one hour long episode.

-You DIDN’T tell Shawn, did you?

-Oh, here we go.

-Why is “butthole spiders” making me laugh? It’s sophomoric, and I’m alone in my house, sniggering like a moron.

-Oh, wait. I’m watching the news now. That was the end?! No, I want more!

One last moment of appreciation for Tahini’s toiletsweep look.

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The Audrey Situation (on Twin Peaks: The Return)

This post contains massive spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return. Obvs.

There are a lot of different things you could talk about in regards to the Twin Peaks finale. There’s a lot of dissection and discussion flying around right now. There were many things about the show that were thrilling and exciting and many things that left fans disappointed and frustrated. The thing that frustrated me most (aside from the fact that we never got to see Cooper in the Double R Diner with a slice of cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee) was the Audrey situation.

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/d8/ca/75/d8ca75f4f2c02644d2405ca265e0fc28--twin-peaks-retro-fashion.jpgI was thrilled to hear that Audrey would be in the new season. She’s far and away my favorite character in the original series, but the ending of season 2 leaves her fate a little…uncertain. For all we knew she was blown up along with the bank. But it seems she survived. Or did she?

Audrey didn’t show up for a long time. In a season of 18 episodes, she first appears in episode 12. And she’s only in three episodes after that. Also, the Audrey we were seeing was very different than the Audrey we expected.

There were dozens of theories about how she may have already been referred to, just not by name. When she has her first scene, a seemingly endless circular conversation with a creep, who claims to be her husband, many fans that had been anxiously awaiting her return, found themselves falling asleep. And her next two appearances weren’t much different.

https://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2017/08/28/28-sherilyn-fenn-2.w710.h473.2x.jpgThen her 4th episode aired. Audrey got out of the house she was in for the all the past scenes and arrived at the Roadhouse. At least we’re going somewhere. And then Audrey’s theme started to play, the crowd cleared the floor, and Audrey danced. Like she used to do. I was so happy, I could have cried.

All of a sudden, the scene did a smash cut to what seemed to be Audrey starting awake. She seemed to be in bed and looking in a mirror. And she’s freaking out. That’s intercut with the scene of her dancing, and she seems to fall back into what, at this point it seems safe to say, is a dream.

https://ozba.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/disakwhwaaa1-y7.jpg?w=424&h=239This went with a popular theory I’d heard about: that Audrey was in a coma. Now how long this coma been going on, it’s hard to say. She has a son, but she could have become pregnant with John Justice Wheeler’s kid, and he could have been born while she was in the coma.

Of course, she also could have been raped by the evil alternate Cooper during her coma, which would explain why her kid was SO awful.

And apparently we don’t even know what year it is, so any wiggle room needed for age and time is allowed. Or maybe none of that’s the case. Maybe she survived the explosion and ended up in a coma for a totally different reason. We don’t know.

I was actually relieved to see her “waking up.” I was totally willing to go with Audrey-in-a-coma theory. Especially if it null-and-voided all those sleepy scenes we’d seen so far. I was excited to see her interact with the other characters, for her to see Cooper again.

When she was absent from the solid episode, Part 17, I thought “okay, that’s fine. They’re saving her for the finale. She’s a fan favorite after all.” Part 18, the finale, aired and ended and not a whisper of Audrey.

https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/article_small/public/thumbnails/image/2017/08/07/16/twin-peaks.jpgSo there were things that I liked about the finale and things I didn’t like about the finale. And if this were part of a larger arc, and we were going to revisit the Audrey situation, then this would all be fine. But HBO David Lynch, and Mark Frost have all said that they don’t have any plans for a 4th season, in which case, WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HELL?!

Was she dead, in a medical hospital, in a mental hospital, in a government observation room, heaven, hell, a previously unseen part of the black lodge, a previously unseen part of the white lodge?

Or maybe that’s entirely the point. As much love as we all have for Audrey, she’s one of those characters that never has a happy ending. Every iteration of every story she’s given ends in trauma. So even if someway somehow there was more Twin Peaks, it’s possible Audrey would have another part to her story and would still end up in a purgatorial state. Maybe that’s all we deserve after all our complaining. It just seems that Audrey deserves better. But what did we expect really?

Forget it, Jake. It’s Twin Peaks.

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The Tick Running Commentary

Spoilers. Duh.

Picking up from episode 2. I already wrote a whole post about episode 1 from when it came out last year.

-I get the feeling the Tick doesn’t have an alter ego. He’s so into being a superhero. He’d be miserable as a normal guy.

-“At least organized crime is organized.”

-Give into the “us,” Arthur!

– I believe in the Tick. Also, #IBelieveInTheTick

-Do his antennae store his emotions?

-Arthur really could use some regular clothes. Like, of course people can find him dressed like that.

-“We’ve got a superhero.” Yeeeees!

-If I called out all the dialogue I liked, this would just be a transcript.

-Seriously, I’m all about all this dialogue. I’ve been giggling pretty consistently throughout.

-Arthur sneaking around his own apartment was me tonight when I thought I saw roach in the bathroom sink. It was only a cricket.

-Oh my God, Miss Lint getting all girly asking about Overkill. This is too good.

-Does…does Overkill want to kill Arthur? I feel like he could have done that a few times by now. If not…maybe don’t point a gun at him?

-I want a spinoff about Dot’s roller derby team.

-Ghosh opening the register as soon as the thugs walk in…perfect.

-That sarcophagus fridge is ridiculous. I also kind of want one.

-Miss Lint is way too cool for these losers.

-I’m not 100% sure what Arthur job is, but it looks like the worst. And I think there’s math involved. Ew.

-Peter Serafinowicz trying to say superhero in an American accent is still my favorite part of this show.

-Good grief, I just said the same line as the Tick as he said. A little more worrying than when that happened with Jessica Jones.

-I’m legit concerned about the Tick remembering who he really is. And me finding out.

-The Tick drinks coffee straight out of the coffee pot, and now I’m wondering why I don’t do that.

-It’s true. Walter’s obsession with feet is weird.

-I’m concerned by HOW much I like Miss Lint. I know she’s the baddie, but she’s awesome.

-Now I want cheese. But I already brushed my teeth.

-Can Dot become a superhero too? She needs to escape normal even more than Arthur.

-Jesus! Throwing Stars stuck in the flesh.

-Miss Lint and Arthur trying to make the suit work is WAY too relatable.

-I’m laughing so hard!

-So wait, Miss Lint’s superpower is attracting lint?

-He’s flying! Arthur’s flying!

-By the way, I love the opening credits.

-Oh, the book was ACTUALLY written by  a dog.

-Damn straight Dot’s coming with you.

-Look, I think Miss Lint’s my favorite, and we’re all just gonna have to be okay with that.

-Chum, sport, Arthur doesn’t have any good nicknames.

-Oh, good. Dot’s on board.

-I wish I was into everything as much as the Tick is.

-Oh, shit. It’s the Terror.

-Man, I wish I could adjust the flavor and temperature of my coffee with laser eyes. That’s the only thing I’d use it for, but that’s enough for me to really want them.

-There are A LOT of face scars in this show.

-Holy shit, did they just kill the-oh, no they just poisoned the ex-husband. It was just really sudden.

-Killin’ the Bees is gonna be my new band name.

-Tick, Tick, he’s getting away!

-No! Tick!

-Damn. What did they fire at him? And why wasn’t it effective. Is it his suit?

-He’s figured it out. Arthur figured out the suit.

-Aliens?! Yay!

-Oh, no.

-Cliffhanger indeed!

-Okay, I’m gonna need more. That wasn’t the full season, right? When do we get the rest of it?

-Answer me internet!

-Not til 2018?!

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The Defenders (Season 1) Running Commentary

So many spoilers.

-Ugh, we’re starting with That One No One Cares About? Or, no. What’s his name? White Privilege? No, no, that’s his superpower. Ah, I’ve just been informed his name is actually Iron Fist (I’ve just been calling him, “shut up, Danny”).

-Sig. Our. Ney. Weav. Er. ❤ ❤ ❤

-It’s interesting. Each show and corresponding character has a distinct style/color palette. Seeing characters weave between the styling of their own show and the others is…interesting.

-Careful, Malcolm. Your Australian is showing.

-I, in real life, said the exact line Jessica Jones said in the show as she was saying it. I’m very proud of myself.

-Luke tossing Danny around the alley is giving me life.

-A quarter of this show is Colleen doing the job Danny should be doing, while he occasionally punches something for her. Let’s be clear, she’s doing the job of Iron Fist.

-One of the cool things about this show is getting to see all the supporting characters again: Foggy, Trish, Malcom, Misty…

-I made a truly gross noise when Matt walked into the the room Jessica was being held in, but I couldn’t help it, I’m so EXCITED!

-Wait, there are only 8 episodes? We need to move this along then.

This is the show I want.

-I wish I liked Elektra. I want to like Elektra…

-Elektra asking “who” she is. I feel ya, girl.

-I’m not sure about Luke/Claire. I still ship Luke/Jessica and Claire’s the only person I liked with Matt, so this is all screwed up.

-Yeah, Jessica, your lawyer’s into some weird shit.

-Yes, Danny, you do have a shit-ton of privilege.

-I could listen to Mike Coulter talk all day. And by subjecting myself to this binge, I kinda am.

-Let me try to find something I like about Danny. Hmmm. His shoes are kind of neat.

-But, see, now he’s barefoot. Get it together, Danny.

Put it away, Danny.

-What’s the significance of the wad of cash wrapped in rubber bands? I feel like this is a thing I’ve forgotten. Luke seems concerned about it.

-Oh, I was vaguely concerned about Danny’s safety for a moment!

-What are those weird darts they’re shooting? Am I supposed to remember that or connect it to a past storyline?

-YES, LUKE.

-Cue obligatory hallway fight that we now have to have in every Marvel/Netflix show thanks to Daredevil season 1.

-Okay, punching through a sword is pretty cool.

I always stand staggered with other passengers in elevators.

-“Whoa. She is very strong.”

-Check these four out bickering and being charming.

-GAH! THE JESSICA/LUKE IS KILLING ME.

-Okay. I need my favorite Defender to actually, like, join the Defenders now. Oh. There she is. As I was saying that, Jessica made her dramatic re-entrance.

-No! Colleen!

-“Nice ears.”

-A dying villain is far more dangerous than a fit one.

-Ew. Decapitated heads rolling across the floor aren’t really my jam.

-I do really like Elektra’s costume.

-Is Stick trying to be a Defender? He’s always there.

-Oh, cool. An excuse for them all to beat up Danny.

-We’re really milking the decapitated head.

-I…I don’t quite understand why Elektra is a match for Matt, Jessica, and Luke with each of their different sets of powers. I mean, the only way Jessica could take Luke down was to literally shoot him in the face.

-Why is “Daredevil” so hard for people to remember?

-No! Sigourneeeeeeeeeeeeey! That’s it?! Goddamn it.

-Misty has all the same questions I do.

-Yay! More Foggy! Why the hell didn’t they send him to Misty with Claire, Trish, Malcolm, and Karen? I mean, yes, he’s ended up there anyway, but don’t pretend like Foggy isn’t still  your top priority, Matt.

-Foggy:”I brought you a change of clothes.” *Matt opens the bag, revealing the Daredevil costume* Foggy is THE best.

-I feel bad for Misty. They’re putting her in a really tough spot. She trusts them, but she’s gonna get in trouble when they run off. And then she’s responsible for locking them up when they break the law, whether their reasons are justified or not.

-Boss battle!

-All I could think when Karen was typing as the power shut down was “quick! Back up your shit! Command S!”

-WHAT THE FUCK? Are those dinosaur bones? Unless they’re bringing Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur into this they have some serious explaining to do. It’s not supposed to be a dragon, is it? I’m not sure how I feel about dragons in the Marvel Televisual Universe. And I LIKE dragons.

-Madame Gau trying to Kilgrave Iron Fist.

-No! Colleen!

-And now I’m experiencing technical difficulties. Just play the last half of the episode please, Netflix.

-No! Misty!

-This is how we’re ending? Daredevil and Elektra lovingly beating the living hell out of each other?

-Ouch. After Jessica reuniting with Trish and Malcolm, Luke standing with Claire, and Danny walking in with Colleen, Foggy and Karen realize their guy is the only one not coming back.

-Why is Colleen the only person there when Misty wakes up?! She got her damn arm chopped off trying to help you! But I guess there setting up a Daughters of the Dragon thing (by the way, Netflix, I’d watch that).

-Alias Investigations! When is Jessica Jones season 2?!

-And, gasp! Matt’s alive! I’m super shocked (not).

-Yes, yes, we haven’t forgotten about Punisher, don’t worry.

-But, dude, are we just gonna ignore that whole thing about the dragons now?

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Feminism within Quentin Tarantino Films

feminism                                                                                                                                              noun fem·i·nism \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\                                 

  • 1 :  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

  • 2 :  organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests    

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Quentin Tarantino has been accused of most every -ism you can think of, sexism being a particular hot topic button. I, as a woman, am baffled by this. Feminism, by definition, is the equal treatment of men and women. This means if there’s a movie where the men get beat up, the women get beat up too. Feminism DOESN’T mean that the girls get out of every situation scot-free. No one in a Tarantino movie does.

I’m not arguing. Sometimes he misses the mark a bit. Not every movie he make is great in the lady department. But I’m gonna take his movies on a case by case basis and point out the feminism, or lack thereof, in each of the 8 feature films he’s both written and directed in their entirety (which means I’m not including True Romance (aside from a mention), Natural Born Killers, Sin City, Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn, or TV/short films).

Reservoir Dogs

https://cdn.miramax.com/media/assets/6a00d41438c4456a470123f1aed0cf860f.jpgThere are no female character in this film. Aside from some featured extras. They talk about women a fair amount, including a nod to Pam Grier who would later star as the title character in Jackie Brown, but there really aren’t any women in the film. But there was in the script, Jodie. As a matter of fact, they shot all her scenes, only for them later to be cut from the movie. She works with Freddy and Holdaway. A fellow undercover cop, she’s part of the police investigation.

There are also two notable women mentioned as they tie into the Tarantino-verse: Alabama (as in Alabama Worley, the female lead from True Romance, who we find out was Larry’s ex-crime partner) and in another deleted scene Bonnie (as in Jimmy’s wife from “The Bonnie Situation”).

It’s not that there aren’t any women in this world, it’s that there aren’t any women on this job. They make the occasional sexual comment, but nothing jumps out at me as being overtly sexist. In the end, it’s sort of a wash.

(Weird side note: it’s my favorite film of his for its simplicity.)

Pulp Fiction

I think people forget how many featured women are actually in this film: Mia Wallace, Fabienne, Honey Bunny, Jody, Trudy, Esmerelda, and Raquel. Granted, they’re mostly minor characters with some major exceptions, Mia Wallace being one of the most central as well as one of the most memorable.

https://i1.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/05d2f9610270bed7dd50c6fd0d165cfe/tumblr_mud7be6wog1qkx9ego1_250.gifThe movie opens and closes with a woman robber just a dangerous as her male counterpart, a cab driver non-plussed that her fare just killed a guy, said murderer’s girlfriend (though does Fabienne know Butch killed the other boxer?), a couple of heavily-pierced suburban drug dealers, a woman who disposes of dead bodies in hot cars, and the wife of a crime boss. Not women to be trifled with.

The women aren’t in the roles of the hitmen (yet), but are just as dangerous. And all these characters have agency. Many films use women to drive a plot forward or make a male character spring into action, fewer allow the woman to act for herself.

So, let’s talk about Mia. The interesting thing about her is, she seems very innocent. But given who her husband is, this is unlikely. She knows what she wants, says so, and then gets it. It’s just the sorts of things she wants are dance trophies from kitschy dinners.

When she O.D.’s, it yanks the rug out from under the audience’s feet. She’s gone from being the fun character to driving one of the most intense sequences in the film. By the time she’s revived, she’s covered in blood, snot, sweat, and saliva with a massive needle sticking out of her chest. It’s tough to watch. But does she look any worse than Butch by the end of his sequence? It’s not pretty, it’s what equality really looks like. We didn’t need the lead actress to be glamorized. What happens to her isn’t glamorous. It makes it real and it deepens our concern that something really bad might actually happen. And all the while we never lose sight of who her character is (“…something”).

Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown is the first Tarantino film where the lead character was well and truly a woman. While the style is a little atypical of his other films, it’s just as grungy, disturbed, and cool. So cool. Point me in the direction of a cooler female protagonist, because I’m not sure there is one.

And this movie’s all about Jackie.

https://rambleonnerdyponderings.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/29f5a-jackie-brown-1.jpg?w=393&h=221

The fact that she’s a woman? It matters and comes into play. The fact that she’s black? It matters and it comes into play. The fact that she’s a black woman? Oh, yeah (which is funny, since Tarantino didn’t realize the character in the book was white until he reread it. He just pictured Pam Grier).

The other prominent female, Melanie is frustrating and sometimes obnoxious, but is in total control of her own actions. Even when doing what Ordell tells her to, she  does it on her own terms. Jackie even briefly tries to have a sort of “us girls” comradery with her, though it doesn’t really pay off.

Jackie Brown isn’t as popular as Tarantino’s other films and probably wouldn’t normally draw quite the same crowd. There’s something a little more grown-up about.  Sure, she can hold and point a gun, but she’s not the same violent tearaway protagonist of Tarantino’s earlier films. But that’s what makes the character of Jackie Brown so powerful.

Kill Bill

And so we come to the Bechdel-smashing samurai-western cinematic epic that is Kill Bill. AND IT’S ONE FILM. I WILL NOT ARGUE THIS POINT WITH YOU. THE STUDIO MADE HIM CUT IT IN HALF FOR LENGTH IN IT’S THEATRICAL RELEASE.

This has to be the goriest movie Tarantino’s made to date. the amount of blood spilled is over the top and often played for laughs, but the ear poor Marvin Nash lost in Reservoir Dogs simply can’t compare to the limbs of the Crazy 88.

https://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11111/111115760/5800653-1922931482-giphy.gif

The protagonist is a woman, 3 of the 5 people on her kill list, numerous members of the Crazy 88, the band playing (the 5,6,7,8’s), O’Ren’s translator, Gogo, the assassin sent to murder the Bride, all women.  The Bride’s motivation? Vengence for her daughter.

Examine the 5 fights with the people on her list. The sequence with O’Ren, especially if you include everything that led up to it, is the most extravagant. The fight with Vernita kicks off the movie. Her fight with Ellie is the penultimate battle before she takes on Bill. Budd’s death is practically an afterthought. While Budd’s killed by a Black Mamba (the Bride’s code name), Elle sets him up. He’s an alcoholic bouncer, barely holding onto his job. Okay, sure, he buries the Bride alive, but she just busts out. He’s hardly worth her time. The fight with Bill takes place while they’re both seated and lasts about 60 seconds. I’m not saying it’s not a big moment, it’s a huge moment, but very little time is spent on it.

Kill Bill features women out-bloodying and outfighting men. And has maybe the happiest ending of any movie on this list, with the Bride riding off into the sunset with her daughter, who turns out to be alive and well.

Death Proof

https://a.ltrbxd.com/resized/sm/upload/od/en/ir/po/death-proof-70-1200-1200-675-675-crop-000000.jpg?k=03a61bbe18

Death Proof is another film with a predominantly female cast. It pulls a Psycho on us and kills the 4 lead women halfway through the movie. The second half follows 4 new characters as they also get entangled with the villain, Stuntman Mike. While the 4 original women are cool, the 4 new women are badass.

Whereas the scope of Kill Bill is epic with a cast of hundreds, Death Proof is of a much smaller scope. Not that everyone’s limbs manage to stay attached (that shot of the leg *shudder*). That would be asking for too much. But it’s all music and muscle cars and there’s nothing wrong with that. As the second half of Grindhouse, it actually is of itself an antidote to the zombie apocalyptic Planet Terror (not that there aren’t some good female characters in that too). It feels more exploitative than a lot of Tarantino’s films, but by the time the end winds around…I think that was actually the point. While you were busy ogling these women, they were preparing to fuck you up.

The standout of the film is real life stuntwoman Zoe Bell, playing herself. Since being Uma Thurman’s stunt double in Kill Bill she’s starred as her own character in both this and The Hateful Eight.

Inglourious Basterds

And so we move on to the historicals.

I get that, given the title of the film, people have a tendency to say that Aldo is the main character in this movie. And then I argue with them about how Shosanna is. The story is 100% about her. The bastards (or should I say “basterds”) are just along for the ride. They didn’t need to blow up the theater; she had already burned it down.

https://hugelolcdn.com/comments/2118287.gif

The two most intense sequences, the strudel scene and, though she barely appears in it, the opening, center around her. It’s her theater the Nazis have the premiere in. It’s her relationship with Zoller that makes that happen. Everything with the bastards is just happenstance. Their inclusion makes for some fun scenes and serves to break up the tension, but if you remove all their scenes, the outcome would have been about the same. She never even interacts with them.

Of course, there is a woman working with the bastards. German actress and spy for the Americans, Bridget Von Hammersmark. Another great character, who was doing really well until her lost shoe gave her away. In some ways she’s Shosanna’s opposite: German, privileged, sophisticated, stylish, presumably with a fair bit more money (though Shosanna does own a theater). Yet they both want the same thing and both die for it.

Shosanna’s death is bloody and Bridget’s is savage, but they both go out fighting for what they think is right.

Django Unchained

From the feminist perspective there’s not as much to say here. There is a female lead, Broomhilda Von Shaft. Finding her is Django’s motivation. The one thing you can say is, they seem to have a genuine and respectful loving relationship.

https://38.media.tumblr.com/182d21a5a286501115f67fd107c8c748/tumblr_naolrfxvXx1qgime3o2_500.gif

We see some truly grueling things happen to her. Both men and women in this movie are treated horrifically (there are a couple of near unwatchable scenes, but the ones springing to mind are delegated to men).

Unfortunately, Broomhilda is basically trapped until Django is able to rescue her. She wasn’t exactly mishandled, she just wasn’t given a lot to do. She becomes a bit of a damsel in distress. But the character is compared to a princess in a German fairy tale, so that was likely the intent.

That’s not to minimize the intensity that Kerry Washington brings to the character, nor the difficult work that she had to put into playing her. She’s successful in making us like her and showing the hell that is Candyland, and we certainly want her to be saved, but the character’s purpose is more for the hero than herself.

The Hateful Eight

No heroes among these. Like Reservoir Dogs, The Hateful Eight is a movie about bad guys. I’d say this intriguing bunch are even less likeable than the dogs.

https://media.giphy.com/media/hnHvCaZVf1qY8/giphy.gifI get why this one is tough for some people. Daisy is the literal punching bag for much of the movie. The only comfort to be taken is the fact that Daisy is a psychopath and, had everything gone to plan, the few people who weren’t in on her escape should have all been killed (how didn’t than plan work? Tough luck, Daisy).

But you can’t say that she’s not a strong character. To be honest, she might have fared better had she kept quiet, just drawn less attention to herself, not have spit in people’s faces and laughed maniacally every time she was hit in the face. She’s the only character kept in handcuffs for much of the movie, and she’s the most terrifying. And she knows things some of the other character don’t. It gives her power over them. It’s no coincidence that Jennifer Jason Leigh scored one of the two Oscar nominations the movie got.

Like I mentioned when I talked about Pulp Fiction, it doesn’t over glamorizing the female character just because she’s the female character. In a way it’s liberating. It’s horrible to look at, but it’s a weirdly genuine. She’s an evil scheming psycho who just got punched in the face, she shouldn’t look like a prom queen dammit!

*****

The thing that Tarantino probably does best, is create interesting characters. I can name you a dozen male filmmakers off the top of my head that create great male characters, and feel they can stop there, toss a hot girl in, and call it a day. Look at this list. That’s just not the case here. Half these films have woman as the central character and each one is different from the last. All his characters are fucked up people in fucked up situations in a fucked up world. And they all get fucked up. Whenever I hear someone going into a rant about how Tarantino’s films are harmful to women and the sexist fantasies of a misogynist, all I can think is:

 

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Max Headroom Reboot Pitch

My latest project. I think the video is pretty self-explanatory. Do you know anyone who can help me out? Either way, pass it on.

#MaxHeadroomReturns

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Top 11 Arya Stark Moments

I’m finally writing a post about Game of Thrones. I haven’t read the books, and to be completely honest, I was a casual viewer of the show all through season 5. I mean, I watched all the episodes, but I was a little lukewarm about it all. Then season 6 happened, and I started realizing I had to prepare myself for a lot of yelling, because I wasn’t going to make it through an episode without it. Well done, guys. I’m on board.

But one of the few characters I always felt strongly about and who kept me watching was Arya. The little unladylike lady turned delightful murderess. To me, she’s the most relatable character (especially in the beginning, though many of her strongest moments are more recent. I’m writing this 2 episodes into season 7). So if I’m gonna make a Game of Thrones list (again it’s my list, so I can choose 11 moments if I feel like it), it’s gonna be about her. She’s the best.

11. Arya Reveals Her True Identity to Gendry

Part of the reason I wanted to include this is I think it could turn out to be important. Sure, we haven’t seen Gendry for a good long while, but it seems he may return. When they last saw each other, Arya asked Gendry to be her family, and he said he couldn’t be, since he’s a bastard (even though he’s Robert Baratheon’s son, and maybe the rightful king?), but basically there was a thing there, and it’s Maisie Williams’ ship, so it’s correct.

https://usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/shove.gif?w=481&h=269But the scene that best encapsulates their relationship is when Arya admits to Gendry who she is. She’s been disguised as a boy, but Gendry’s already figured out that she’s not and calls her on it.

Finally, she comes clean, admitting not only that she’s a girl, but also a Stark. He’s immediately embarrassed (“I’ve been pissing in front of you and everything”), but after a moment, they’re dynamic falls back into it’s friendly bickering with Gendry taunting Arya, calling her milady, until she shoves him back once and then again down to the floor. But he just laughs as she stomps away.

10. Dancing Lessons

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One of the fun things about Arya is how many of the things she does are the things a lady would learn to do, but with a twist. For instance, her father agrees to let her begin combat training, but her “dancing master” refers to the training as “dancing lessons.” And, indeed, the training she receives is about the movement. A block, a strike, it’s all like a carefully choreographed dance.

Arya’s a better fighter for being taught this. The dancing lessons also deserves a spot on the list because Arya’s relationship with her dancing master is so delightful. (And we didn’t see him die onscreen, so I get to chose to believe he’s still alive and just try and stop me!)

9. Jon Snow presents Arya with Needle

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This whole scene is excellent. Nymeria helping Arya clean up, then Nymeria failing to demonstrate her training to Jon, Arya complaining about folding her clothes, the hug (Jon may not be Arya’s biological brother, but they have a lovely sibling relationship, nonetheless).

Jon gifting Arya with a sword just the right size for her demonstrates an understanding they have for each other that the other members of the family might not always get. And Arya naming the sword Needle, as a contrast to Sansa’s sewing needles is perfectly on brand.

8. Arya Names Jaqen H’ghar

https://i1.wp.com/33.media.tumblr.com/15de9601d6091fc236bf0a7108ae5f5a/tumblr_n8h0w7vT8M1r00543o1_r2_250.gifIce. Cold. After her father is killed and her family is ripped apart, Arya’s never really in a position to push people around. She’s small and often has to lie about her identity. She doesn’t want to be too noticeable, while she absolutely hates being disrespected or underestimated. And she can be very stubborn. It’s a blessing and a curse. After meeting Jaqen H’ghar and his promise to kill any 3 people she names, she comes up with another way to get his help. By naming him.

He asks…well, more demands…that she unname him. She says she will on the condition that he help her and some others escape. Her plan works. But not before Jaqen H’ghar says “please.”

7. Introducing…

Arya had a lot of great little moments in the first episode. I always giggle at that moment when she flicks her spoonful of food at Sansa. Direct hit! But it’s the second direct hit of the episode that makes the list. Ned, Robb, and Jon are training Bran, practicing archery.

Just as Bran is about to release his arrow, another arrow whizzing inches away from his face, sticking into the target. A perfect bull’s-eye. He whips his head around to see Arya, twice as far away, holding a bow, a big grin on her face. She gives him a taunting courtesy and runs off as Bran chases her. Aww, simpler times.

6. Killing Ser Meryn Trant

‘Cause Ser Meryn Trant is a fucking monster, so Arya slays him. I was annoyed by Arya’s punishment for this, because in the moment, it was so satisfying. He was molesting young girls. He deserves every shit thing that happens to him. This was one of the first times the show made me a cheer for an onscreen death.

Still, it was before the face wearing thing had been used much, so it was more unexpected. And even her punishment (blindness) made way for something else even higher up on the list (but I really hated the blind Arya storyline).

5. Taking Down Joffrey

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Before Joffrey had the audacity to have Ned Stark killed, he was just a bratty spoiled child. When he interrupts a pleasant game by being himself, things get a little rough between him and Arya. Okay, maybe she starts the physical part of the fight, but he takes it way too far, drawing his sword and holding it to her throat.

When Nymeria comes in to protect Arya, Joffrey shrinks back into the sniveling coward he truly is. And Arya gets the opportunity to point the sword at him.

Of course, it all goes dreadfully wrong after that, but seeing her put Joffrey in his place made me feel all warm inside.

4. “That’s Not Me”

Since the beginning, Arya’s destiny was far from being a proper lady. She always wanted to be a warrior. But that wasn’t what her family wanted. I’m sure they thought they were doing what was best, raising her by the customs of the time. It just wasn’t what she wanted for herself.

When she asks her father, “Can I be lord of the holdfast?” He replies, “You will marry a high lord and rule this castle. And your sons shall be knights and princes and lords.” But she’s upset by this, though also not convinced that’s what’s in store for her saying “no. That’s not me.” This was me as a kid, reading all the stories and seeing all the films with the male heroes. I’m so excited to see more female characters in those sorts of roles now, but Arya represented a very real part of me in this scene. It’s not enough the be the beautiful lady the hero fights for when you want to be the hero.

3. “Lady Arryn Died”

This is just my flat out favorite moment of hers. Maybe of the whole show. After dragging Arya from place to place, trying to find some surviving Stark family who can pawn Arya off on (partially because he’ll be rewarded, but maybe also slightly because he wants her to be safe?), the Hound arrives at Lady Arryn’s. She’s, like, Arya’s aunt or something. And she’s kind of awful, but as any viewer was aware, as of the previous episode, she was also very dead (this is why you don’t install a skylight in the floor. And then invite Littlefinger over).

After the Hound explains to the guard who they are, the guard tells them the news. He’s somber, expecting they’ll be upset. The Hound’s definitely upset. Arya’s completely stone-faced. Then the sheer ridiculousness of every person she’s gone to stay with dying just as she arrives washes over her.

https://i1.wp.com/i.imgur.com/0Zc7f4d.gifShe’s laughing at the situation, at the Hound’s continued failure, because she’s just too tired to do anything else. And she can’t stop. Anyone who’s had that how-is-my-life-so-shit-my-god-it’s-so-bad-it’s-funny moment and found themselves laughing knows just what Arya’s experiencing.

2. The Chase/”A Girl Is Arya Stark of Winterfell…”

The week before “Battle of the Bastards,” the show gave our vocal chords a warm up. If you were disappointed by this sequence, you need to watch it again.

The sequence is 8 minutes from Arya discovering she’s been found to her final words to the Faceless Man and follows the waif chasing a badly injured Arya through the streets of Braavos. I screamed at my television for the full 8 minutes. They’re jumping out of windows, off walls, falling into carts, tumbling down steps, and all the while Arya’s leading the waif to her death, leaving a trail with her own blood. How badass is that?

Then they get to the place where Arya has hidden Needle. The waif has her cornered. And here’s the thing, the waif always beats Arya when they fight. Arya can’t win this. She just can’t. Unless she can give herself an advantage. Remember that stupid storyline where Arya went blind and had to train to fight without being able to see? That shit finally pays off. The room they’re in is lit by a single candle. With the swipe of her sword, she slices the candle in half, plunging them both into darkness. She learned to fight without her eyes.

Everyone complaining that we didn’t get to see the fight is out of their mind and/or missed the entire point of sitting through a season of blind Arya. The fight was in the dark, you wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway, and it’s the only way Arya could win.

And then when we  and the Faceless Man discover Arya has defeated the waif, and the Faceless Man tells Arya that finally “a girl is no one” (like she kept claiming she wanted), she turns him down with possibly my favorite line of the series, “A Girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I’m going home.” And she marches out of that awful place to join her family in the fight for the Seven Kingdoms. SO MUCH YES.

1. Killing Walder Frey/”Winter Came for House Frey”

I’m counting her final scene from season 6 and her first scene from season 7 as one item on the list, because it kind of all goes together, and they both need to be mentioned, and they both probably top the list on their own merit anyway, and it’s my list.

The Red Wedding is, and always will be, the most notorious event in Game of Thrones. It was the lowest moment for the Starks, killing off a number of lead characters (including Arya’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and unborn nephew) and an army of their followers. Walder Frey soon became one of the most hated characters in the series. But he was just chillin’ in his castle. Everyone was so busy fighting everyone else, no one came for Walder Frey. Or at least someone who until recently was “no one.”

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/8863605/Screen_Shot_2017_07_16_at_9.09.43_PM.pngAfter baking Frey’s sons into a pie that she serves him, Arya reveals herself and slits Walder Frey’s throat, ending season 6 with a nice slice of vengeance.

Then season 7 starts with Walder Frey hosting a feast. So right away you know something’s up. The show doesn’t do a lot of flashbacks or time jumps (unless they’re happening in Bran’s head). I don’t think anyone was really surprised when all the soldiers at the feast drank a toast and keeled over dead, while Walder Frey took his face off and was actually Arya. She then turns to the girl sitting beside her, who she kept from drinking the poison and utters the warning for the Frey allies: “Winter came for House Frey.”

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