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Everyone's lost but me!
09 July 2014 @ 12:44 pm
An interesting, but not altogether successful effort. I’m conflicted over recommending it or not, given the (in my estimation) near-fatal decision to populate the storyline with TWO separate subplots that really have nothing to do with the main story, but are in place mainly to set up the season two storyline (also the focus of the last two episodes; by all rights, the season finale happens ten episodes in). So I’ll try to review this by plot.

1. Sonya/Marco – The chief plot, and probably what you would think of as the premise. An unknown man shuts down all surveillance on a bridge between the United States and Mexico, before leaving an apparent body right on the border line. It turns out to be two women—the torso is that of an American woman, while the lower body is that of a Mexican, thus forcing Sonya Cross (an El Paso detective) and Marco Ruiz (a Juarez detective) to work together to catch the killer. Later, the killer releases a mission statement: “Why is it that one dead white woman north of the border is more important than thousands of lives lost to the south?” And so begins pretty much a one-man war against the concept of a border.

Unfortunately, this intriguing premise pretty much goes nowhere; soon, it turns out that the whole border thing is a red herring and the killer is really carrying out an obscenely convoluted revenge plot against those who’ve wronged him, so the murder might as well have taken place on the border between Ohio and Indiana. It pretty much makes no sense. The killer puts so much effort into doing things that are only useful as a red herring, actually more effort than he puts into the guy who actually pissed him off, just to give himself away purposefully once the narrative is done playing coy.

Also, I’ll take issue with the character of Sonya Cross. She has Aspergers, so this is kinda my area of expertise, though obviously she’s on a different place on the spectrum than me. Now I appreciate that the show isn’t doing the defective detective thing; it’s not Monk or Hannibal. However, in those shows, they make a point of the main characters being so good at their job that it justifies their unsuitability in other areas. Both Will Graham and Adrian Monk aren’t actually allowed on the police force, they’re just used as consultants. Here, Sonya is just an unremarkable police detective who happens to have a neurological situation. It doesn’t make her any better at her job, she doesn’t have any superhuman insight or anything.

However, that itself is the problem. She’s only competent at her job to begin with, and then her neurological condition makes her borderline incompetent in a way the show keeps (unintentionally?) making a point of in a really broad, dumb sort of way. I guess apparently in Texas, there’s so little prejudice that a woman with a debilitating mental condition can ascend to the rank of homicide detective and be put on an extremely high-profile case without anyone being rude enough to say “hey, maybe the woman who needs emotions explained to her in words of two syllables shouldn’t be the one to interview a traumatized witness or inform a civilian about a loved one’s death.”

It’s less like she has Aspergers, or whatever, and more like she’s the Obligatory Sexy Star Trek Lady Who Doesn’t Understand Emotions, Nerds. Like, if the premise was “Seven of Nine is a cop now!”, I don’t think there’d have to be any rewrites. I’ll give you an example that hit me. It’s FX, so there’s one episode where Sonya finds herself getting horny, goes to a bar, finds the first good-looking guy, and after a kooky misunderstanding with him trying to buy her a drink (because how would someone with Aspergers ever know from pop culture that flirting men will buy women a drink?), she immediately says she wants to have sex and it’s back to her place for some spicy Diana-Kruger’s-bare-back action. Okay, sure.

Is this the first time the character of Sonya Cross has ever gotten horny? Wouldn’t it make more sense for her to have a fuckbuddy or two that she knows isn’t a potential psycho (something you’d think a policewoman would be really wary of) and doesn’t have any STDs already? And that would make the same point about her character, just in a less ‘edgy’ way. I don’t know, I like that they seem to be keeping the Cross&Ruiz partnership strictly platonic, for now at least. But this storyline just falls flat for me.

2. Daniel Frye

The story of a drug-addicted journalism and his lesbian sidekick who get drawn into the murder case. Okay, at least it’s relevant, even if Frye’s struggle with addiction seems (like a lot of this show’s subplots) to be a Cliff’s Notes version of storylines other prestige shows engage with more. Oh, and obviously Adriana Mendez doesn’t have a girlfriend or romance plot; her lesbianism is mainly important to her dealings with her intolerant mother. But fine, it gets a pass.

3. Charlotte Millwright

Ehhhh? This is one of the storylines that is almost entirely unrelated to the murder case. It seems to just be here because the writers wanted to do a Lifetime Network version of Breaking Bad’s ‘mild-mannered whosits becomes a crime lord” story. Only it doesn’t make any sense. Let me just sum it up for you.

Charlotte: My rich husband has just died and now I see he was getting paid off to house a tunnel to Mexico on his land! I’m closing this tunnel immediately!

Obligatory Female Cartel Boss: Keep the tunnel open or I’ll kill you.

Charlotte: Okay, the tunnel’s open. So this situation’s resolved and there’s no drama or conflict here unless someone does something unimaginably stupid. (beat) I should probably call up my obviously untrustworthy and incompetent ex-boyfriend to put him in charge of the strenuous task of accepting envelopes full of money.

Ray: Thanks, Charlotte, and also for the FX Network PG-13 lovemaking. Now allow me to fuck everything up, repeatedly.

Ray: *does*

Charlotte: I guess I have no choice but to become a crime boss. Season two!

The only way this storyline really makes sense to me is as a subtle indictment of racism. The obvious choice for Charlotte to put in charge of the tunnel operation is Caesar, her property’s foreman and someone who is already intimately familiar with the set-up. And she does make him a partner in the venture and split some profits with him (though he still ends up doing most of the manual labor). However, instead of promoting from within, despite Caesar’s clear respect for her and above-and-beyond competence, she brings in an obnoxiously ill-equipped white guy to order Caesar around, though it’s clear she thinks of herself as a good liberal (see the profit-sharing above). And that’s an interesting point to make. But do we really need The Asylum version of Breaking Bad to get to it?

4. Linder

Some white guy is smuggling abused Mexican women into Texas so they can find new lives at a compound of militant Christian fundamentals (OF COURSE). Whatever.
Everyone's lost but me!
25 June 2014 @ 06:12 pm

This movie is so damn weird, you guys. I mean, it's trying to be both a straightforward faithful adaptation of the book (the title is Bram Stoker's Dracula) and at the same time a revisionist take where Dracula is the good guy and the vampire hunters are big meanies who just aren't cooooool, maaan. This results in a plot that could best be described as "a man is in love with a woman who is way too young for him; wants to rape her but it's okay because she looks like his dead wife."

-It's been said before, but I'll say it again. Keanu Reeves is almost entirely terrible in this. I've heard he was forced on Coppola, but honestly, that should've been a dealbreaker. Unless he was trying to gimmick the love triangle by casting likable block of wood Reeves on one side and Even-Good-In-Call-of-Duty:-Black-Ops Gary Oldman on the other. That still doesn't explain Winona Ryder, though.

-At least this movie is memorable, though. It's not good, by any means, but the visuals are so eclectic, almost iconic, that it at least leaves an impression. Probably it's best contributions to pop culture are the parodies that resulted from it; a Mel Brooks movie with Leslie Nielsen as Drac *and* a Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror segment. And it only seems fitting: the bits where Dracula's shadow is miming strangling Jonathan while he's unaware, and all this supernatural shit is happening right in front of Harker's nose and he's reacting as... err... Keanu Reeves... it makes Sam Raimi look like The Mist. The ending of The Mist.

-On the other hand, and I'm mostly sure this was unintentional, you could read all of Harker's time in Dracula's castle as a date rape scenario. He's trying to play along with this eccentric foreigner and do his job while the guy is creeping on him, getting in his personal space, making weird comments... finally, he sees Dracula literally feed a baby to his brides. In I think Reeves' only good acting moment, he finally lets out all the frustration and fear he's been feeling, screaming his lungs out as Dracula laughs. And then the brides do rape him; even if it is later referred to by Van Helsing as "infidelities" (I'm not sure how much the movie wants us to take Van Helsing at his word and how much it wants us to disagree with him as a sort of unreliable narrator. More on this later). However, I fear this would require way more self-awareness than the script otherwise shows.

-The main problem with the movie, I'd say, is that it wants to make Dracula sympathetic and more of a complex character. This is fine, in moderation. But it does so at the expense of every other character. Lucy becomes a slut, Seward becomes a drug addict, Van Helsing... God, they have him humping Quincey's leg while talking about how Lucy is the Devil's Concubine AND, when Vampy Mina tries to seduce him, he goes for it! Van Helsing even says, towards the end, "we have all become God's madmen." Yeah, what a bunch of assholes you were, trying to stop a vampire from raping and murdering his way through London! Shame! Shame!

-I'm serious, Mina even calls Van Helsing a murderous bastard for killing Lucy when THEY CAUGHT HER in the process of drinking a toddler's blood.

-She also gets mad at Dracula for killing Lucy first--yeah, you'd think--but after we cut away for a minute, we go back to the same scene and she's all "I love you, Dracula, you're my life, Dracula!" I didn't know Jared's sold diamonds that big. (Sisters before misters, Mina).

-Really, the whole movie has this weird dudebro sensibility. It's like Coppola wanted to make an erotic thriller about Dracula, then tried to reedit it into a legitimate movie on a dare. Dracula's the cool rock star sex god guy, so he's always right and awesome and everyone who doesn't like him is bad. Lucy is a one-woman show of Sex In The City; I think ninety percent of her lines are about sex. She even has a lesbian kiss with Mina.

-So get this [/Sam Winchester]. Initially, Dracula turns into a wolfman to rape-bite Lucy upon arriving in London (yeah, that's much scarier than a ghost ship full of vampire victims running around *rolls eyes*). It's played as a rape scene; Dracula even uses his psychic powers to roofie Lucy and an interrupting Mina into forgetting, though Lucy is still clearly traumatized. Then the rest of Lucy's storyline is almost played for laughs. She lies in bed and has orgasms (you know what's sexier than anemia and acute blood loss? NOTHING!) while all the guys stand around like "WOT WOT, SEX? BUT WE'RE BRITISH!"

-Also, how am I supposed to take this "grand love story" between Dracula and Mina? He contrives to bump into her, starts in on his gentleman routine, she tells him that she's married and to piss off, so he stalks her until she gets upset with him. Then, when he acts contrite, she feels sorry for him and he guilts her into going to see a science expo with him (where a porno film is playing, because SEX. VAMPIRES. VICTORIAN TIMES. SUBTEXT.). Whereupon he drags her into a corner while she says "no, stop," and he tries to bite her before stopping at the last second. So, pretty much ninety nine percent date rape, but if you don't actually penetrate someone, doesn't count.

-Again, it's just so weird that I guess the movie is trying to criticize Victorian sexual mores (yes, I know, it's a courageous stand to take, saying that maybe the Victorians just didn't have a healthy attitude about sex), BUT AT THE SAME TIME, it's pretty much saying "you know what women like? Rape. Bitches love rape."

-Oh, and in the book, obviously there was a lot of focus on how Lucy is a victim and she doesn't want to be vamped and by staking her, they're freeing her soul and doing her a solid. In the movie, they have Van Helsing going on about how she's actually a 'willing discipline of Dracula' and such, so I guess she consented to sex with a wolfman and, later, Dracula turning into a wolf and bite-fucking her to death. So... I'm guessing they're trying to make this point where either Van Helsing is wrong and it's foolish for anyone to believe that someone would willing go in for Dracula's victimization (err, except for Mina, I guess), OR they're saying that Lucy chose to be a vampire and it's synonymous with... sexual liberation or something? In which case, feminist women eat babies? I don't know... man, this shit's confusing.

-Real dirty trick: they nod to Dracula being an epistolary novel by often having voiceover narration of people's diaries, letters, etc (usually with both Keanu Reeves or whoever saying "Dear Diary, it is the 27th of May" AND an onscreen caption reading "Jonathan Harker's diary, May 27". Yeah, got it, thanks). However, they don't use the lines from the book, but invent new ones about how Mina is SO IN LOVE WITH DRACULA, YOU GUYS. And what they do use from the book is often taken entirely out of context, like Van Helsing's "God's madmen" line. In the book, Mina at one point feels sorry for Dracula because, hey, he's like Lucy--he was turned into a vampire, he has no soul, and they need to release him from his suffering. In the movie, this is turned into her feeling sorry for him because he's "so hunted." Yes, for kILLING YOUR BEST FRIEND, IDIOT. REMEMBER HER? RAPED TO DEATH BY MONSTERS? But yeah, you're right, Dracula's cute, he should probably be allowed to do that.

-On a more pedantic note, they relate Renfield to Jonathan. A lot of Dracula movies do this; I think the Bela Lugosi one made it Renfield instead of Harker who went to Dracula's castle, but instead of escaping, he was driven insane, and so Jonathan is just Mina's boyfriend in that adaptation. Here, Renfield was the first solicitor Dracula had, but he went crazy, so now Jonathan has to finish the work. Except in the book, Dracula was really careful about hiding his true nature from Renfield/Jonathan and keeping him alive and intact long enough to finish the job so he could get to London, and Dracula could learn from him how to move through polite society undetected. Having him be so clumsy as to drive Renfield crazy and need a do-over on the solicitor diminishes Dracula a bit.

-I mean, I can see Dracula getting Jonathan alone and then so not giving a shit that he's just, yeah, I can climb walls, what are you gonna do about it, nerd? But it lacks in subtlety and it isn't really interesting. if Dracula is basically flinging scary shit in Jonathan's face every two minutes for no reason, there's no build-up, no tension. He might as well just bite the guy as soon as he comes through the door and have it over with.

-In case you were wondering where the one scary thing in American Horror Story--the music--came from, it's this movie.

-Another thing: In the book, there's a very brief scene where Dracula has some gypsies working for him, loading up cargo for his trip to London. Jonathan tries to sneak a letter to them, they show it to Dracula, that's it. It's not the most flattering portrayal, but okay, Dracula is paying some guys who happen to be Roma. In the movie, Dracula has full-on gypsy henchmen who get into a gunfight with the vampire hunters. It just seems weird, like saying... "Dr. Doom and his Jewish minions are here!" There doesn't seem like any reason they can't say "oh, Dracula has some random henchmen working for him, but they don't all belong to any particular ethnic group." And when the movie is making such a point of being critical of the source material, it makes it stand out a lot more when they let something else by.

Everyone's lost but me!
18 June 2014 @ 03:12 pm

So recently EA offered their old game Battlefield 3 up for free on their Steam rip-off service, and since pretty much the only way I'm going to get my games anywhere other than Steam, Amazon, or GOG is to be bribed to do it, I downloaded it. It's about what you'd expect from a military shooter--if you liked Call of Duty, it's pretty much the same thing. This is nothing new in entertainment of course; I can fully admit that a lot of comedies, superhero movies, zombie movies, slasher movies, are so alike that you really have to be a fan of the genre to appreciate the differences; otherwise, the only difference between Halloween 6 and Friday the 13th 6 is what mask the stuntman is wearing. I mean, ever since Bridesmaid, Melissa McCarthy has pretty much played the same character. She has her own subgenre of movies. They could've called The Heat 'When Megan Met Sandra Bullock.'

And I don't think people mind military shooters too much, so much as they mind the overwhelming prevalence of the genre in AAA-titles (and how many of the protags are white guys with stubble. I bet if the next Modern Warfare had a black woman running around carrying an AA-12, suddenly buying it would be giving a high-five to Joe Biden). But why are these games so prevalent? Some have said that it's a Nolan-y desire on the part of gamers to be taken seriously, but it's not like silly games like Portal, Saints' Row, Resident Evil, or Metal Gear Solid have had trouble finding an audience.

And as I was thinking up this review, I thought of one of the things I hated about this game--the melee attack doesn't seem to work for shit. Bad guys can knife me and kill me deader than a C-list superhero in a crossover, but if you're shooting down five terrorists, you run out of ammo on the fifth one, so you have to split-second run over there and knife him in the face before he shoots you--that doesn't work. And I love doing that! That's some action hero shit right there!

That got me thinking--these military shooters are pretty much action movies that give you more bang for the buck. There's been a lot of talk about how video games are supplanting movies, because a two-hour movie with snacks and friends is super-expensive--comparatively, sixty bucks (usually less) for a game, you can play about eight hours on single-player and just about forever on multiplayer. So these games are less really games then they are action movies you play through--scripted events, cutscenes, A-list voice talent. And these games are not trying to realistically depict combat; you fight through Iran while it's having an earthquake, you jump onto a helicopter as it's taking off, you jump onto a subway train to stop an over-the-top villain from blowing up New York with a nuke.

So I think that's why these military shooters are so prevalent. They're competing with action movies and they're doing something Hollywood really doesn't do anymore--hoo-rah Team America war movies where John Wayne smashes up the Axis of Evil.

I hope you won't think I'm some kind of Fox News correspond if I say that Hollywood is largely to the left of the political spectrum. They do make hoo-rah Team America war movies, but they're exclusively about evil aliens that, in the real world, can't be offended and can't be construed as supporting the War on Terror/Republicans (Battle: L.A., the Transformers movies, Battleship, Man of Steel). Just look at Captain America in the MCU. First movie, he patriotically bashes Nazis. Avengers, he patriotically bashes aliens. Winter Soldier, time to take on some terrorists--boom, there's a plot about the corrupt military-industrial complex, just like in Iron Man... and Iron Man 2... and Iron Man 3.

Now I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. I'm sure a lot of you like the thought of Hollywood being (or trying to be) more thoughtful in their cinematic depiction of war. But that desire on the part of the audience to see Americans killing terrorists hasn't gone away, anymore than it did when Hollywood made movies about Americans killing Nazis or Americans killing the Reds. And if you want that kind of story these days, you either have to buy a book by Tom Clancy or play a video game. And why would the video game industry compete with Hollywood at the evil aliens racket when they have a lucrative field all to themselves?

Everyone's lost but me!
12 June 2014 @ 11:25 pm

From the Everybody Poops Philosophy Store: So let’s say DC gets their head on straight and Dick gets married to Babs (or Kory, they’re both great). I’m wondering… with the endgame and OTP being Dick/lady, how would people feel about Dick being bisexual?

Let me run the numbers real quick: I don’t think Dick would be likely to officially be paired with any of the male Bats; too incestuous, unless you want to ship him with, like—Orpheus or Batwing or someone. Yeah, guy’s bisexual, but I doubt most bisexuals are attracted to their adopted fathers/brothers.

But I could see him having a thing with Roy back in the day. You wouldn’t even have to worry about I guess sexualizing/erasing platonic relationships—Dick could be really good friends with Wally and Garth (same as he is with Donna as a straight man) and then something else with Roy. Makes sense.

My question is—does this really add anything on the reader’s end, Dick and Roy having had a relationship or a fling or a one-night stand, if he’s just going to end up with one of those girl redheads? Would it feel like a bit of a cruel taunt or pandering for there to be a same-sex relationship that only ends up on the ashheap of history like Lana Lang, or would that be good representation assuming he, say, thinks Green Lantern looks hot once in a while?

Everyone's lost but me!
12 June 2014 @ 03:18 pm

Seeing a lot of posts about The Mummy and George of the Jungle lately reminds me that Brendan Fraser was up for Superman Lives back in the day. Now that would’ve actually worked, I think. He looked good, he could do comedy, he had some action chops… it’s the 90s, let’s say Fraser as Supes, Sandra Bullock as Lois Lane, get Frank Darabont, Robert Zemeckis to direct—NO TIM BURTON. Just make a big, fun Superman movie with a bit of slapstick, some romance, a little darkness with Brainiac running amok and needing to get punched through a building or two… but mainly a funny, self-aware, slightly ironic family adventure.

I realize I’m sort of describing Dudley Do-Right, also with Fraser, but fuck it. That’s what I want from a Superman movie.



Also, it’s the 90s… Tim Curry would still be young enough to play Lex Luthor. Or you could get Pete Postlethwaite!


Imagine that motherfucker trying to kill Superman for a few movies.

Everyone's lost but me!
06 June 2014 @ 10:33 pm
*Not mine

-While putting the bronzed Paracelsus in his proper place, Myka inadvertently discovers that he’s become an Artifact that allows physical time-travel. This somehow leads to Myka and Helena having a threesome with the Warehouse 9 agent played by Rebecca Mader.

-An AU version of the penultimate episode, where Para-Valda is replaced by a Para-Helena. Naturally, the means of stopping her is much sexier.

-A crossover with OUAT: Shorlty after the finale, Myka and Pete go on a double-date with HG and Giselle, and ins short order come to realize that Pete and Myka aren’t menat to be together, Myka and HG are, and that Giselle is an OUAT version of the Amy Adams character from Enchanted who managed to leave Storybrooke somehow. One scene-transition later, the Warehouse crew arrives to investigate, shortly after the most recent season finale, with Regina mad at Emma’s inadvertently sabotaging her budding relationship with Robin. Naturally, HG and Myka realize that the actual cause of Emma and Regina’s spat is UST and set about getting rid of the U. Menawhile, Pete cuts an offscreen swathe through Storybrooke’s single ladies and Claudia and Hook, err, hook up, causing the latter to leave Storybrooke and become a Warehouse agent. Myka/Helena/Emma/Regina scene.

-A sequel to Warehouse 69. A crisis causes the regular team to call on their Pornverse counterparts out of a desperate need for reinforcements. But, once the crisis is over, Pete, Claudia, and her siblings are trapped in the pornverse, while the pornverse versions of Steve, Helena, and Myka’s sister Tracey are trapped in the regularverse. Story-arcs would address IMO, the final season’s second-biggest error in not even mentioning Josh in the Claire storyline; Myka dealing with having to share HG with Giselle; and Pete getting over the weirdness and enjoying his second stay in the pornverse. Myka/Tracey, Helena/Helena/Myka, and Claudia/Claudia.

-Pete and Myka have been whammied by an artifact that makes them think they’re in love. It’s one of those annoying artifacts that you need to do something to cure, in this case, have sex with someone they actually love. Myka/Helena, Pete/*insert one or more of his numerous exes*

-Abigail Cho has a bit of a mishap while shelving William Moulton Marston’s something-or-other, and acquires the strength of an Amazon…and a desire to show the Warehouse crew the joys of loving submission. Abigail/Myka, Abigail/Claudia, and/or Abigail/Pete
Everyone's lost but me!
02 June 2014 @ 08:33 am

Man, it’s one thing to read a contemporary novel and then see a contemporary film based on it, but reading a historical novel after seeing a multitude of films ‘based’ on it—it’s a bit like seeing the original photo after countless Xeroxes of Xeroxes, only at some point, somebody drew a butterfly on one of the Xeroxes so you’re like “Where da fuck did that butterfly come from?”

And the biggest case of that is Lucy Westenra. In the book, she’s pretty indistinguishable from Mina—she’s a modest, innocent young Victorian woman and she spends most of her ‘screentime’ afflicted with Draculitis. So, since she’s introduced getting marriage proposals from three different men, it’s excusable that the ‘memetic’ version of her is the flirty girl to Mina’s more sensible and inexperienced characterization, even though the literary Lucy agrees to the first guy’s proposal, tells the other two as much, and feels sorry that she’s inadvertently caused them heartbreak. WHO-AH, WHAT A SLUT!

But what’s really interesting is how far the rabbit hole goes. Here’s an excerpt from the book.

She seemed like a nightmare of Lucy as she lay there, the pointed teeth, the bloodstained, voluptuous mouth—which it made one shudder to see—the whole carnal and unspiritual appearance, seeming like a devilish mockery of Lucy’s sweet purity.

So there are a few instances where Lucy, in becoming a vampire, tries to ‘kiss’ her fiance and when she’s fully a vampire, she makes a pretty implicitly sexual pass at him. But that’s her being a vampire, and it’s meant to contrast with her real personality. It’s the Victorian equivalent of the little girl in The Exorcist talking about dick-sucking. It’s scary because this isn’t supposed to happen. Your dead fiancee’s reanimated corpse should not be walking around, drinking blood from little kids and coming onto you. By making her super-sexy from the get-go, you’re missing the entire point.

What’s more, and I’m not sure where this started, but I think by the time of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, the Lucy/Mina relationship has become a full-on Madonna/Whore affair.


Try and guess which one is gonna fuck a werewolf.

Meanwhile, ol’ Drac—the guy with three concubines who he fed a fucking baby to in the book—becomes more and more a romantic lead. And so, as if to make him unaccountable for the slow and systematic murder of a young woman, Lucy becomes a trollop who openly talks about giving beejs, as if the source material has somehow picked up an eighties slasher movie’s “sex equals death” morality. By the time of last year’s Dracula TV show, Dracula outright states that he’s killing and vampirizing Lucy for being such a slut.


Killing multiple innocent women is one thing, but sleeping with someone’s boyfriend? You have offended Dracula’s morality, madam!

Anyway, just a hella weird thing I noticed, that in adapting a very, very old-fashioned literary work, there’s a ton of modern writers who think the best way to update it is to add sexism to it.

And Keanu Reeves. So much Keanu Reeves.

Everyone's lost but me!
31 May 2014 @ 12:06 am

Disney: Hey mofos, you ready for a story that replaces the childish black-and-white morality of the original Sleeping Beauty with moral ambiguity, shades of gray, and three-dimensional character work?

Audience: Yeah!

Disney: Well, once upon a time, there were two kingdoms, one of evil, violent humans and one of innocent, peace-loving fairies...

Audience: Oh boy...

Disney: Oh, what, you want Maleficent to just be utterly, one-dimensionally evil for no reason? This is the new millennium! Villains have to have sympathetic backstories and justifiable reasoning for even the most evil actions! Unless they're white men, of course.

Stefan: Hi there!

Audience: ...

Stefan: Man, I sure do love Maleficent.

Audience: ...

Narrator: But then Stefan got a taste of evil and decided it was great!


Audience: So, in forty years, is there going to be a movie where Stefan is the hero and, say, one of the Fairies is the villain...?

Read more...Collapse )

Everyone's lost but me!
05 May 2014 @ 06:42 pm
I probably shouldn’t try to rewrite the plot to Amazing Spider-Man 2, since it doesn’t really HAVE a plot, just stuff that happens. You could take Electro out of the movie entirely and it wouldn’t affect the story in any way whatsoever. Really. Try it. But anyway, I’ll give this the old college go. It’s like seeing a man have a heart attack in a crowded restaurant. You just want to do something, anything, to help the guy.

My big thought here is Harry Osborn. In the comics, he is of course defined by his toxic relationship with his father. In the movie, his father is Chris Cooper, Chris Cooper dies after forty seconds, and none of this really seems to have an impact on Harry other than putting him in charge of Oscorp. He doesn’t seem to have any childhood abuse or daddy issues, it’s all about him suddenly having this disease, because chronic illness makes you evil I guess.

So what are the three Ses? Simplify. Streamline. Smooth out. We’re making a movie for children, really. Let’s get rid of Electro altogether. We can keep the Rhino stuff as bookends, that—sorta works. Again, the problem here is that the first movie screwed up things so much that it’s like trying to save a date after you’ve vomited on your girlfriend. But hey, we’re in this together, you and I. With you believing in me, we can save this movie.

Tl;dr.Collapse )
Everyone's lost but me!
05 May 2014 @ 07:34 am
So hey, you know how Amazing Spider-Man 2 teased that a vengeful Harry Osborn would be leading the Sinister Six in an attempt on Spider-Man’s life in ASM3? Well, I gonna be really sorry if that threequel turns out to suck, because I came up with that story four years ago.

Of course, I should note here that my idea was that you’d use the Spider-Man second stringers—the guys who really can’t carry a movie—and not any of the A-listers who could be the main guy. Let’s review who Sony maybe—maybe—has as their SS. Errr, S6. Yeah, let’s avoid the S double initials.

1. Harry Osborn Goblin (buh).
2. The Rhino
3. Doctor Octopus
4. The Vulture
5. Kraven The Hunter
6. Chameleon

That’s oh-kaaaaaay, I guesssssssss. Really contingent on Doctor Octopus being the mad scientist behind all the others’ powers and betraying Harry, taking control of the S6 for his own fiendish plots, being Spider-Man’s greatest enemy instead of just a spear-carrier, etc. I think I remarked on this once with the possibility of a Batman: Arkham Asylum type movie, but the good point of a reboot is that you can bring back characters who were Big Bads in the prior movies and the audience knows their deal already without needing a time-consuming introduction. So they could’ve done the Sandman and Venom, but apparently they’re doing Eddie Lethal Protector style. Fine—that’s the kind of change-up a reboot should indulge in.

My big thing—aside from the general poor storytelling quality of the reboot (what does Harry EVEN WANT REVENGE ON PETER FOR? “YOU DIDN’T GIVE ME YOUR BLOOD, I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND! ALSO, CHRIS COOPER IS MY DAD!”). Those are some major-league villains being burned off as henchmen. I could see Kraven being set up as a long-time Spider-Man rogue who comes back for Kraven’s Last Hunt, if the Spider-Man movies ever decide they want to be interesting. But why not use some villains who could never be a big deal?

Like the Shocker. He’s an iconic Spider-Man villain and I’m sure a lot of fans would love to see him on screen, but not as an Oscar winner with a newfound sympathetic backstory and personal connection to Spider-Man. Just as a joik who Spidey punches and makes quilt jokes about. That’s what I think the S6 should be pitched at. Not six Big Bads, because they can’t all fit into a movie together, but five superpowered henchmen for one driven supervillain.

Also, this would make the proposed Sinister Six movie a lot more palatable. With their leader—the real bad guy—dead and gone, you’ve just got five losers on the run from the law. They get a new member and it’s like The Usual Suspects/Reservoir Dogs with C-list supervillains. Because who’d be interested in a movie where the six ‘heroes’ are all-consumingly powerful without a greater threat because they are the greater threat? It’d be like an Avengers movie where everyone gets together to rob a Denny’s.

Anyway, here’s a list of guys I think are iconic/unique enough to show up on film, without being so powerful/interesting that they deserve the hotseat.

The Beetle
Chameleon and/or Mysterio
Molten Man
The Spot (don’t laugh, he’s Portal: The Supervillain)

Also, these characters are pretty undefined by canon, so you can play around with them a little, make them a bit more diverse. It’s the Heimdall Principle: if you can’t distinguish the guy from two other Norse gods, you can’t rightfully get upset that he doesn’t look like he does in the comics. And c’mon, if you’re a hardcore enough fan to care that Hydro-Man is a white guy instead of, say, a Hispanic woman, what are you doing watching the Amazing Spider-Man series in the first place? You know these movies are not good Spider-Man. You know.