gwyn: (8ball wizzicons)
Today's my least favorite day once again. The date I lost Miss Olive two years ago, and I'm not over it--I think about her every day, and miss her, especially now. I could really use her soft, soft fur and sweet purrs and funny little voice when she talked to me all the time. And it's the day we lost Sandy, which I'm never gonna be over, either. With Vividcon ending next year it feels even more like losing Sandy all over again.

Basically July 19 is just a terrible horrible no good very bad day.

I'm trying to get things done in anticipation of the surgery and whatnot, but it's really hard. Not only is there a lot to do, the bills are starting to come in, and I'm getting really depressed about it. I haven't had enough work so far this year, but even though I suddenly have a bunch of stuff coming in, it's not going to be paid for a while yet. Even with the ACA still hanging on, this country is majorly fucked up about health care costs, and it's pretty easy to go bankrupt even with insurance.

Last night we went to see the documentary Score, about composing music for films, at this teeeny local theatre that was the first art house in Seattle way back in the '60s. I hadn't known it was still in business--it's run by vounteers now, and the lobby is now a restaurant so the actual theatre is about one-tenth the size it used to be. The movie was great--if you have a chance to watch it, you should: there were some really good reminiscences by directors and other composers about some of the legends, and interviews with all kinds of fascinating film composers, plus a glimpse into the process of recording film scores.

My only complaints were one I shared with feochadn, which was that a guy went on and on about King Kong (the first real movie score) being cheesy and stupid, and that the music was the only thing that helped audiences get over the cheesy and stupid, which is utterly, patently false and doesn't understand the audience dynamic at the time the original King Kong was released. And my second gripe was that as they talked about modern scores and unique or avant garde approaches, they interviewed and spent quite a bit of time following the guy who did the utterly forgettable Age of Ultron score instead of spending any time with Henry Jackman, who did the Winter Soldier score, which most people I know still talk about with a certain amount of awe. Especially because I think it would have dovetailed nicely with talking about the "game-changing" soundtrack for the Social Network by Trent Reznor (I'm not one of the people who think it was game-changing, but whatever), and they did talk to Henry Jackman, but only for a microscopically short time. Plus, they didn't list Winter Soldier in his credits, and that was…weird to me. And it's not my own blind prejudice for anything related to Winter Soldier--I've read so many people talking about the amazing things he did with that score, especially regarding the Soldier himself, and it just seems like a huge missed opportunity in the modern section…and instead we got fucking Ultron. I'd defy anyone to remember anything unique or special about the music in that movie. But I still definitely recommend seeing Score if you can, and stay for the credits and James Cameron's dicussion of James Horner's score for Titanic. (It's in a couple cities right now, and rolling around other parts of the country for the next few months--you can find out where on the web site linked above.)

I wish I knew how you find a therapist. I am very lonely and depressed, and there's no one to talk to here, but I just don't know how you go about finding someone you mesh with, and who's competent, and one you can afford (the importance of either can be switched). I mean, I've met some truly shitty people in RL who I find out later are therapists and it's like O.o so the idea of going into this cold doesn't thrill me.
gwyn: (bumble _hellsbelles)
I'm super late with the second entry; trying to bust a move on my book edit and had to put everything aside (other than running off to see Rogue One, augh, I hate this, I want to vid something so bad and NO SOURCE).

Day 2

In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Okay, so, speaking of Star Wars. My answer to this is that, but it's also something many people have tried to get me to put down in print for a long time, because it's a fannish history not a lot of people had (I know a couple other fans who were at a theatre opening night, now, but for a long time it was something I rarely heard about).

In 1977, there wasn't a lot of decent SF in theatres--it was a really crappy genre to be in love with if you were a fan and wanted to see things on a big screen. It was very much a literature fandom, and cons, what few there were, were fan-run experiences whose main focus was on lit, not film and definitely not TV. Star Trek had a modicum of respect, but that was it. For every 2001 or Silent Running, there was a Logan's Run or Saturn 5 or whatever. Most of it was schlock, is what I'm saying, and even the decent things were often quite flawed. I hung out with a lot of guys who were fans of the genre, some who were just plain movie buffs like me, and we'd been hearing about this movie being made by the guy who'd made American Graffiti and THX-1138. Starlog was THE movie magazine for SF and horror and fantasy fans, and that was where you got information--there was no Internet, nothing. You read newspapers and magazines and watched shows on TV that might tell you about new films.

I was a junior in high school in '77. My friends were telling me they planned to go see the movie when it opened, which, for a teen, was kind of a big thing; most of my friends were older than me by a year to three years, so it wasn't a big deal for them to schedule around as it was for me. I ended up ditching my last classes of the day (it was a Wednesday), the first time in my life I ever skipped class. I was one with the Rebels, and I didn't even know there were rebels in the movie! No one knew anything about the movie--there was just so little information. There'd been a few pics in Starlog, some discussions, speculation, and hilarious bits of news with incorrect names and stuff, but overall, we just didn't know what we were getting into.

Which was also part of the fun--it could have been just another schlocky piece of crap, which was honestly what we expected, or it could be cool, who knew--THX had been somewhat interesting, and American Graffiti was pretty good, but a lot of the excitement was simply that sense of going into something blind. A lot of people don't know that Star Wars only opened on 32 screens (but it opened up an additional dozen or so by that Friday because buzz was so high), so we had to go downtown to the UA150 here, which was this amazing round moviehouse that had a full, curved 70mm screen and that I still miss like hell to this day--I saw all my favorite movies of the '70s-'80s there and they were stunning. Since I and one other guy were ditching class, we waited to go stand in line for the second showing, in late afternoon.

Standing in line, outside of large cities, was still pretty unusual, too. It was for primarily the biggest of the big event movies and not something you tended to see in smaller cities or rural areas, and it was still common practice, too, for double features, and for an event movie to only play in a downtown theatre if it played a city at all. Single-screen houses were the norm for films; the UA was a really unusual theatre in that it had two large screens, but the 150 was the half of the theatre that had that glorious huge wraparound screen. But we dutifully drove downtown and got in line, somewhat close to the front, though where we were standing was outside the exit door at the rear of the auditorium.

People were filing out after the first matinee, and they all had this dazed look on their faces. We started asking them "what was it like?" "was it good?" and they were all speechless, just kept saying "you'll like it so much" or "you're gonna have suuuuch a good time." By the time they let us in, we were crazy psyched about it. In the lobby they had cardboard boxes with buttons that said May the Force Be With You. We had no idea what it meant, but a few of us picked them up; after the first screening, we ran back out to the lobby and gathered up as many as we could.

It's hard now, with it being part of the zeitgeist, to imagine what it felt like when the curtains parted, and parted, and parted to the entire width of that enormous screen, and then to hear those first notes and see the crawl begin. The crawl seems…normal, now. Enough that when I saw Rogue One I was heartsick that there was no effing crawl and I muttered darkly at my companion. But on May 25, 1977, it was mind-blowing. We just hadn't seen anything like it, not in modern-day cinema, certainly, and not on such a beautiful, majestic scale. And then the battle cruisers come into view and we gasped. We all, including my cynical, jaded, I've seen everything friends, dead-ass gasped when those ships came on screen, I swear to you. And when Darth Vader strode through the hall and spoke in James Earl Jones's voice, I thought I would faint from excitement.

I felt like no time had passed when we got to the end, and the music started up. I suffer from an inability to suspend my disbelief, I guess I've just been writing too long or something, but it is so vanishingly rare for me, even back then, to get completely immersed in a film or book, enough so that I don't notice time passing. And people cheered through at least a minute of the closing credits, people literally stood up in the theatre. My friends and I all looked at each other down the row, and I said, "I want to go again." And they all said hell yeah, so we stayed for the, like, early evening showing.

That was another thing that was so different, and that Star Wars changed completely--up to that time, you could not only often go to double, even triple features of first-run movies, but that also meant you could stay in the theatre without buying another ticket. The ushers came through to clean, but they didn't shoo us away; the friends who saw it two days later told me that they were clearing the theatres after the showing. After Star Wars, I never saw first run double features again, either.

While people were filing in for the next showing, my best friend was throwing handfuls of May the Force Be With You buttons out into the seats; people were mingling and talking, someone would catch a button and ask, "What's this for?" and we'd shout "JUST YOU WAIT" or they'd ask, "What was it like?" and he'd yell, "Prepare to get your mind fucked!" We were just silly and giddy and so so happy to have gotten a good, well made, interesting space fantasy that we didn't feel like we had to cringe in horror about having seen, the whole place felt like a big party. It was almost as exciting when the crawl came on screen the second time as it had been the first time. And then, because we had some kind of happiness high, we stayed for the last showing, too. I confess, during the really quiet times, it started to drag a little but I'd also been up since about six a.m. with nerves over skipping classes, so I was pretty ragged, plus, I knew I had to be at school the next day. My parents were used to me staying out really late, though, thank god, and I'd called them before the early evening show to tell them I might be home really late, but I had never expected we'd sit through all three showings.

The next day I wore my button to school, and everyone asked me what it meant. No one knew anything about it, had heard of it, but between my evangelizing and the news media, they quickly learned about it. I was so enthusiastic about it that, without knowing anything about conventions or fan groups, I hunted around till I found out about a group of local fans who wanted to put on a Star Wars convention, and started going to meetings. And I would like to point out, for anyone who identifies as female and gets shit about women not belonging in SF or insisting it's a new thing that they care? The makeup of that group was 70-30, in favor of women. I didn't stick with them long enough to see it come to fruition because of a lot of emotional issues that had come up around that time and family trauma, but it was the first experience I would have with organized fandom like that, which I would learn more about in a few years when I got invited to be a panelist at the big SF con in Seattle.

I was still pretty fannish about it after Empire, in a slightly different way--I collected every picture and article I could about Harrison Ford, and had all the things about Han and Leia in a box or scrapbook, because we didn't have the interwebs and that was really all you could do. By Return of the Jedi I was working as a film critic, and there was so much I didn't like about it that kind of overshadowed what I did like, and that was sort of the beginning of the end for me. By then there was also a lot of SF and other creative genre stuff coming out, and the landscape had changed considerably. I knew that a lot of those things--the scarcity of showings, the dearth of information, the specialness of the theatre--played a part in what made it so magical, and there was no way to replicate that or catch lightning in a bottle again. Then Lucas's endless tinkering with the originals while refusing to let us have them on home video, and the awfulness of the prequels, killed any enthusiasm I'd once had for it.

But those first few years, those were magical. I found a site that says Star Wars (it's always been Star Wars to me, I cannot think of it as A New Hope, it just doesn't compute) played longest in Portland, but I…sort of question that, because after Empire Strikes Back finished its run at the UA150, Lucas gave Seattle a gift for playing the first movie longer than any other city, which was to show the two films back to back for free, as part of our late summer arts festival here. It was the first time anyone had seen Star Wars onscreen since it had left theatres, and the first time it was shown with Empire. We waited in line all day, and I have to say, that was almost better than when we'd seen it the first time, and even more of a fan party. And on New Year's Eve 1977/78, the theatre had timed the Death Star to blow up at midnight, so we waited in bonebreaking cold for hours and hours just for the chance to see that--it was worth it, totally totally worth it.

I haven't even included stuff that isn't related to the movie, of which there were many monumental things that night for me, too. But to say that Star Wars changed my life is putting it very mildly. I literally can't imagine my life now if I hadn't cut class and gone to the theatre on May 25, 1977.
gwyn: (bucky steve mouths)
So, I got a lovely request to send a vid in for Connexions con, and after talking with the person who asked, we figured I should send one of my MCU vids. And I can't decide--if you were me, which vid would you send:

Shelter - this has the advantage of being a teamy Cap family vid with bonus slash hints, and there really aren't, sadly, a lot of team vids for CA: Winter Soldier.

Orange Crush - I'm kind of most inclined to send this, because I think it might play well in a con audience and it's never really showed at a con (I used it as an example to talk about pacing in a panel last year at VVC, but that's the only time it's been "live"), and it's kinda actiony, but it's not necessarily a slash vid per se.

Sorrow - this is definitely very slashy, but it's also sad, everyone says, and makes people's hearts hurt. Not that there's anything wrong with that in a con, but it is definitely a factor.

Anyway, I need to make a decision soon, so if you have an opinion (especially if you've ever been to Connexions), I'd love to hear it.

Over in her journal, Dorinda was talking about finishing the audio book to The Martian, which I just finished in ebook form last week. I was SO PROUD of myself--it was the second fiction book in a row I'd finished that wasn't work, wasn't a friend's, that I read just for pleasure, something I haven't done since 2007-8 or so. I lost my ability to focus on books that weren't work, and since most of the fiction I read for work is terrible, it's made it even harder to read anything that isn't fic or something I HAVE TO. And she says a lot of things about how I felt about The Martian, and the problems I had with it, and I commented with my opinion. Apparently I have very strong opinions about it! 

And weirdly coincidentally, I was talking with belmanoir about it last night, and about how I'd just watched Apollo 13 again and it pointed up one of the issues I had with The Martian and the XKCD cartoon about it. In the cartoon, he has one of his figures saying that The Martian was basically the book for people who thought the whole of Apollo 13 should have been about the scientists and engineers in mission control. And I laughed, because yeah, I suppose it is, but also that's one of its biggest flaws for me, that it's just a wall of sciencey stuff and Andy Weir is not a good enough writer to do anything resembling characterization--which, I mean, that's not necessarily what he wanted to do when writing the book, but you do have to try to bring people along on your story. It's a cracking good story idea, no doubt. 

But what I really wanted to say is that one of the things that makes all that engineer science stuff so fucking exhilirating and engaging is that it's done by great actors and a good director. Take, for instance, the scene where they think they've found a solution to how to power things back up, and they might be able to bring the Apollo 13 crew home. Ken Mattingly (played by Gary Sinise) and John Aaron (Loren Dean) are arguing about the amps they're using and throwing around all this jargon, and it's just such an intense and wonderful scene because they think they've found it, they think they have a solution, but Aaron points out, "You're telling me what you need, and I'm telling you what we have!" and they have to go back to the drawing board, feeling hopeless and miserable. They're exhausted and frayed. And we feel that, just like we've felt the fear all the engineers have had since the explosion, every step of the way, or we've felt Gene Kranz's determination and anger because Ed Harris is so amazing. 

So I'm really excited about the movie version of The Martian in a way I couldn't be about the book. Because what made that stuff so indelible in Apollo 13 that I don't think the XKCD guy got (since he's a science nerd) wasn't the recitation of facts and numbers, it was these actors bringing alive the facts, the director creating CHARACTERS we feel for and want to see succeed. I think a skilled writer could do that on the page, but Weir isn't that writer, and while the folks who loved all that were happy with the book, it's not what I read for. Seeing the trailer, though, and the little preview movie where Matt Damon as Mark Watney is making a little introductory movie, I can see that a skilled director working with amazing fucking actors is going to take that unfleshed-out part of the story and turn it into something as engaging as Apollo 13 was. I've watched those previews now quite a few times, while I was reading the book, and I'm super psyched about the movie. SO PSYCHED. And not just because Sebastian Stan plays Chris Beck! 

Ridley Scott's been disappointing or enraging me a lot lately (do not start me on Prometheus or his comments about white actors in Exodus), but this is the kind of movie that's so totally in his wheelhouse, and I'm hopeful that he's going to bring out all the good ideas about the book and the characters that I don't think were always successful on the page. (Also, the version I read was I guess the original self-published version, and jesus was that one of the worst, messiest things I've ever looked at. I don't know how much polish the publisher who picked it up gave it, but I hope it was a lot.) I liked Mark Watney and I liked many of the other characters, but they were never fully human for me, and I think Ridley will make them so much more so. When you've got actors like Matt Damon and Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jessica Chastain and Sean Bean (and my sweeties, Sebastian and Donald Glover), you're ahead of the game right there. 

Wow, apparently I really do have strong feelings about this. ;-)
gwyn: (bucky winter soldier)
I wrote this little piece of meta on Tumblr (my username is teatotally) about something I noticed in the art book of Cap 2, and thought I'd post it here too, I guess because I'm still kind of astonished that this line would have been in the script.


I finally read The Art of Captain America: The Winter Soldier from cover to cover, including reading all the storyboard and pre-viz sequences. I was completely amazed when I saw the storyboards for the fight between the Winter Soldier and Cap on the helicarrier: the shot where Bucky goes after Steve features a caption of him shouting “HAIL HYDRA!” with a feral look on his face as he moves in for the kill.

This suggests that the line was in some early version of the script, and I am so glad that somewhere along the way someone had the good sense to jettison it, because it was so tonally completely wrong and would have drastically changed the character as they developed him in the movie. It would have been jarring and bizarre to have him spout some kind of ideological slogan (one which, for me, was one of the least successful aspects of the movie), particularly after we’ve seen him trying to piece together his memories in the face of Pierce’s empty bullshit rhetoric, which he barely listens to. The only reason he gets refocused on completing his assignment is because they forcibly remove his experiences and memories, not because Pierce sways him with the power of Hydra’s super-sekrit awesome plan for world domination.

The MCU version of Bucky is, to my eyes, far more broken and dehumanized than the comics version (not that Bucky’s not broken and dehumanized in the books, because he is, deeply so), but even this version of him is not without his resources and capabilities. We see him in charge of the team of mercenaries when they attack Steve, Natasha, and Sam on the bridge and he obviously had some hand in planning that attack; we see him waiting at the end of the attack on Nick Fury, a failsafe in case the other squad didn’t accomplish their task; we see him go to Pierce’s on his own; we see him at the end, figuring out what’s happening at SHIELD and what he has to do to stop it; and then we see him in the tag at the end credits, having learned of the Captain America exhibit and going to find out about himself. It’s really tempting to infantalize him, especially after the horrific bank vault mind-wipe scene, but MCU Winter Soldier is still a pretty capable and resourceful weapon in most situations.

But he doesn’t come by this of his own free will, and he doesn’t do it because he buys into the ideology — he does it because he’s been tortured, mind-wiped, completely broken of his humanity and stripped of his own personal agency. There’s no Stockholm Syndrome absorption of his captors’ beliefs; he does what he’s told, but he’s not doing it because he follows the party line, even if he was only following it to stay alive.

It doesn’t matter if Hydra’s still just a Nazi cult or you’re viewing it through the prism of modern-day government that’s just a step away from the Big Brother-type new world order, there’s still a political (and control) agenda that the people saying Hail Hydra have bought into at some point. They clearly believe in the message. But the Winter Soldier doesn’t buy into that, he can’t — he’s a loaded gun that gets pointed in a direction and fired. He’s programmed, not motivated.

In the comics, Bucky gets out of cryofreeze for much longer times and even has something resembling a life at one point, training Red Room recruits. He’s still a weapon, though, he’s still there to do a job and complete a mission until Steve forces his memories back (not, like in the movie, through the Power of Love but with the cosmic cube’s mojo), he’s still there to represent someone’s agenda, and he seems aware of it — he knows who he works for, what he’s doing. He questions orders, goes off-mission (which doesn’t work out too well for him), and interacts with his superiors to some degree. MCU Bucky doesn’t appear to have any of that, at least from what we’ve learned so far, until Steve jars it loose and he makes the decision to save Steve. MCU Bucky is even less likely to understand or give the tiniest crap about the rhetoric and ideology of an organization like Hydra than the comics Winter Soldier is.

To buy into a belief system, you have to make a choice, and we’ve seen that Bucky in the MCU doesn’t have even the tiniest particle of free will anymore. If that horrifying chair scene does nothing else, it shows us how completely they’ve destroyed him and taken away any real knowledge of what he’s doing in the grand scheme of things. Pierce pumps up his bullshit with compliments, trying to give Bucky the carrot to get him back on mission, until he realizes that won’t work and he resorts to the stick instead. Because really, why would that crap work on him? He’s a tool, a weapon, and that’s all they’ve allowed him to be.

He’s almost completely undone by his memories of Steve, and they have to basically reboot him in order to get him to perform his mission. All this ideology, all these statements and beliefs, are meaningless to him, so having him shout “Hail Hydra!” before attacking Steve would have made him look like he had absorbed what Hydra stood for, made him more of an active participant in their plans, not a broken, dehumanized, tragic victim. He doesn’t even have enough agency to buy into Hydra’s mission or his part in it the way someone might with Stockholm Syndrome. It would have completely altered that aspect of his character to me, made him seem far less tragic than he is by the time he makes that decision to save Steve, and in doing so save himself.

I’m sure someone could make a good case why having him shout Hail Hydra would have been cool or might have made his mind-wipe even more tragic (if so, go to town!), but myself, I just can’t see it. I always find it fascinating to see what gets changed in the movie-making process as they go along, and it seems to me that someone showed very good sense in eliminating that line, keeping Bucky’s tragic storyline more consistent with what we know of how horribly destroyed he is as a person. He’s a blank slate, a weapon, a victim, not a slogan or a belief system — or even a villain with a plan.
gwyn: (film reel)
So I mentioned I had thoughts about Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. And I realize it's a lot more than this movie deserves; the running time is a paltry 88 minutes and that includes credits and things, so it should tell you a lot about what kind of film it is. It goes without saying that this is about the movie so it contains actual comments about the, you know, movie )
gwyn: (bond w/gun perceptible)
Thanks for the birthday wishes yesterday, everyone who made them. I really appreciate it. It was as good a day as it could be considering all the things going on that remind me of my dad and my sister. It felt really weird this year to not have my dad to go to on Thanksgiving, and then have our usual conversation where he asks me what I want for my birthday and then tells me to get it for myself from him. ;-)

I went to see Skyfall with my friend Michael, and then did a little shopping, then went to dinner at Bai Tong, considered the best Thai restaurant in Seattle, conveniently located near the theatre we saw Skyfall at. Then I came home and hung out with Blues, Olive, and Buffy. The big disappointment of the day was that there was no mangoes and sticky rice at the restaurant for dessert. Yeah, yeah, I know.

I had a really intense dream about sis_r the night before and it left me feeling a little weird during the day. And I'm trying to get the house really tidied up for the party and so I keep coming across all this stuff that I haven't wanted to deal with, stuff like Dad's checkbooks, some hospital bills, etc. It definitely has an impact on your feelings. Plus the past couple days have had a lot of people canceling on the party for Friday, which worries me since I bought this big freakin' cake and now most people seem to be bailing on it. Arg.

Anyway, lest I focus on the maudlin, my thoughts about Skyfall are as follows )
gwyn: (clive car)
[personal profile] sdwolfpup was doing this meme the other day and I asked her to hit me with ten actors/actresses for the challenge to name their favorite films. What a collection!

Favorites, even when they're not favorites )If you want to do it, comment and I'll leave you ten of each. Warning, I can be tricky.
gwyn: (film reel)
This week has been devoted to catching up a bit on some of the Oscar nominated films. I still have quite a few to go, and one I don't want to see at all (The Blind Side, don't EVEN get me started on that), but I'm more caught up this year than I have been for well over a decade. A lot of that has to do with the types of films being nominated this year -- I still don't quite get the whole 10 films for best picture, but at least they have finally thrown a bone to the brilliance of Pixar, which they should have done years ago, most especially for Wall-E.

I've watched all of the nominees for best animated. I still seethe over the whole treatment of animation as a separate category, as if it's not a real fucking movie, but seething doesn't change anything. This year, even though you know Up is going to win, all the movies for animation are amazing and fantastic. I loved 9 with all my heart -- if you haven't seen it, please, please rent it. And watch it on a hi-def TV because you will not believe your eyes at how gorgeous it is. I also adored Coraline -- sooo charming with some really genuinely creepy moments.

Today was A Single Man and Inglourious Basterds, which probably sounds like the strangest combination. The latter was a piece of crap which was pretty much only worth watching for Melanie Laurent and Christoph Waltz (I swear if I hear one more person call him Christopher I will blow a gasket), who were both aces. I have no words for A Single Man. Other than brilliant.

And okay, with all due respect to my beloved Jeff Bridges and to Jeremy Renner, I think Colin Firth blows everyone out of the water. He gives a master class in acting throughout the film. I didn't think I could love Tom Ford more, but the guy is just freakishly talented in so many things. I can't wait to see what he does next.

Next I'm steeling myself to watch Precious this weekend. I know it's going to require quite a bit of running from the room and peeking around the corner. But I do want to see that. There's still Up in the Air, too. So little time, so many movies. I went to a theatre I haven't been to before, a newish one up by Northgate Mall. To my extreme surprise, they have a Five Guys hamburger shop in the building right next to the theatre. My heart nearly burst from joy -- I had no idea they had expanded around the country and outside the Washington DC area. That was one of the first things I demanded of Keith during my visit over the holidays -- I said we had to go to Five Guys at least once. I've even written Five Guys into one of the X-Files Mulder/Skinner stories, many years ago. And now they're here in my city! Awesome, truly awesome.
gwyn: (spuffy)
[personal profile] sdwolfpup made a comment that pointed out to me that I've been lax in saying anything about Legion, which I've meant to do all week but seemed to not get around to. I confess, I'm a little surprised that my flist hasn't exploded with Michael/Gabriel slash.

we are legion )
gwyn: (spock iconziconz)
OMG tonight's Mad Men! The most distressing episode ever, y/y? Don, how are you so sexy and lovable and so loathsome at the same time?

Went to see Zombieland with [ profile] mlyn today. SO MUCH FUN Y'ALL!! I love zombies, especially spoofy zombie stuff and this one had all the great ingredients -- gore, more gore, and too much gore, Hummers and Cadillac Escalades with cow catchers, lots and lots of guns, and carnival rides. Plus Abigail Breslin, who somehow is getting cuter as she gets older, I don't know how. I couldn't stop laughing at the Russell Crowe joke and I think I injured myself.

It comes it at a lean runtime of 80 minutes so it doesn't overstay its welcome, important in a zombie movie. I liked that the zombies move faster than the traditional Night of the Living Dead versions, but a little slower than 28 Days Later ones -- nice variations on their thematic inspirations. Normally I despise Woody Harrelson, but I think this was a role he was designed to play, you know what I mean?

But I think the best thing is the credits and title cards and such -- its interactivity with the action in the movie was delightful. All in all, a good time, well-done, and more laughs than I've had in a really long time at a comedy. This would make a perfect complement to Shaun of the Dead for a sterling double feature.
gwyn: (insane angel elz)
So I asked my dad a few minutes ago if he would please kill me and put me out of my misery, and he declined. Parents never do what you want them to. They suck.

I just really hate my life and myself so much now I could scream, or lock myself in a corner of a dark room and mutter insanely, like Angel in the icon.

A while ago, [ profile] feochadn discovered $5 matinees early in the morning at a local theatre, of first-run movies. I was really hot to see the new Star Trek movie (really, Karl Urban as McCoy -- my life would be complete), so we arranged to go even though it was at a time I am usually just getting up on a Sunday. I had a hard time getting up as usual, too, since I had guests last night, and I ran out of the house to get cash and head up there, only to get stuck behind a guy doing all his banking apparently, and I waited almost ten minutes for that. Then the ATM wouldn't let me have any money, because I was overdrawn, even though i'd moved money into checking. This is the third time in the past couple weeks this has happened, and I had carefully planned out the money, but I guess it's the whole me + numbers = unmixy thing, because I still end up overdrawn. As a fraidy-cat who can't stand not having hundreds in my checking account just in case, this always puts the fear of god in me.

So that took an extra five minutes, then I raced off, only to get stuck behind the Sunday Morning Going to Church at 20 MPH crowd, completely pinned in for miles going 10 under the limit. By the time I could finally break free, I was nearly there, about ten minutes after showtime. ANd instead of slowing down, remembering the adage of my subject line, I sped into the parking lot and swung into a parking space and kapow. The Beetle is a very low slung car. I always forget this. And I smashed the left front bumper undercarriage into the curb, completely peeling away the skirt protecting the wheel and all the gizmos there (not to mention doing a number on my bumper). I just psuhed it back sort of in place and went to the movie, muttering darkly. [ profile] mlyn and [ profile] feochadn there-there'd me and Jo promised to look at it after the movie.

We spent a few minutes trying to push the skirt back on in some way, and then I noticed that there was a large bulge in the tire. So Jo mentioned a Firestone place a little bit away that was open on Sundays and after $300+ I left, my whole day blown, because they also had to adjust the alignment which got pretty blown by hitting the curb so hard (on top of the damage I regularly get by driving in one of the worst parts of the city -- I guess West Seattle got ranked a few years ago as having the most damaged streets per area in city limits. Go us). I thought they attached the skirt, but they didn't, as I discovered when, driving as slowly as I could, it flew off under the car and I drove over most of it. All the way home, I heard this scraping sound but there was no wobble in the wheel or pull to indicate I'd lost one of the tires. People were flipping me off, screaming at me, etc., so I figured whatever damage there was must not have been visible and all people saw was this person driving slightly under the speed limit (WTF?) so they felt they could harrass me with impunity.

I was just starting to feel like maybe I could get a handle on the future and the bills and all that. I so didn't need this, and it's totally my fault. I got up late, and first broke a glass, then accidentally hurled cat kibbles everywhere, and so on, and instead of just taking a breath and being okay with missing the overblown, bombastic previews that I've mostly seen before anyway, I made haste and totally made waste of my budget and my sanity. I really hate myself and my life sometimes.

If I had any money, I'd go up to the new, cool bar near my place and drink some more of their awesomely awesome drinks (seriously, if I had a regular income, I would be in trouble). But for now I will just try to forget all this until tomorrow when I have to see if I can get that bunched up piece of the skirt fixed and replace the rest of it, and bask in the movie Because I would never have believed it, but the movie was AWESOME )

sekrit to [ profile] killabeez: That relationship you were worried about? It's actually pretty cool, I think, and is definitely there in the movie
gwyn: (emma crime)
Finally, finally saw Iron Man -- I know, I'm like the last fangirl in America to go see this. I enjoyed it for the most part. Like all of the blockbuster comics-based movies, the fight scenes tend to bore me at this point, but I give them props for not relying too much on bloated action sequences and sticking to a more emotional storyline.

More on the movie even though I think everyone's pretty much seen it by now! )

Note to self: Do not stick finger in eye to adjust contact lens when just finished zesting a lemon.
gwyn: (bond&vesper perceptible)
In an effort to get back in the mode of posting more often, I went back and revisted that movie quotes meme. This time I decided to focus on drama, since last time I did comedy.

I love drama (no, I don't work for TNT, but I do know drama). It encompasses so many things -- thrillers, action, small indie things about dysfunctional people, history, romance, all kinds of good stuff.

You know the drill: no cheating by Googling, looking on IMDB, or anything else. Name the movie the quote's from, and if you can, who said it. Be stalwart and trustworthy, don't cheat!!

1. We planned badly.

2. He says there's a storm coming.
The Terminator [ profile] milady1844

3. You're obsolete.

4. I wonder if you realize that all of us ... that we're all citizens of a different town now.
The Sweet Hereafter [ profile] feochadn

5. Is this what we laughingly call a plan?
Strange Days [ profile] feochadn

6. I absolutely believe in God. And I absolutely hate the fucker.
Pitch Black [ profile] movies_michelle

7. I'm just the guy they bring in to scare the other guy shitless.
L.A. Confidential [ profile] greensilver

8. Are the flowers blooming in Houston?
Apollo 13 [ profile] dettiot

9. 90 years ago, I was a freak. Today I'm an amateur.
Time After Time [ profile] zandra_x and [ profile] fenchurche

10. What did you put in that sandwich?
The Fast and the Furious [ profile] escritoireazul

11. All right, Beulah! Do you want to step outside?
Field of Dreams [ profile] dettiot

12. That last hand nearly killed me.
Casino Royale [ profile] sdwolfpup

13. I ambushed you with a cup of coffee!
Ronin [ profile] sdwolfpup

14. My friend and me got a hankerin' for Switzerland chocolate and a good smoke.
Open Range [ profile] feochadn

15. I would rather be a ghost drifting by your side as a condemned soul than enter heaven without you.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [ profile] klia
gwyn: (feltless)
Fo shizzle, I thought these would be among the first to get called correctly. Answers to the all-comedy edition of the movie quotes:

4. That's not what men do. I know no men who do that.
This is from The American President, when he wants to hop out and get flowers because he has to break a date.

9. If you start out depressed, everything's kind of a pleasant surprise.
This one really shocks me that no one got -- considering Say Anything... is one of the most universally loved movies I know of.

11. I'm about to be a married woman, and I can't go chasing off after the Beatles.
I'm honestly not surprised no one called this -- I think I may be the only person who knows and loves I Wanna Hold Your Hand, which I've written about before in my Movies You May Not Have Seen posts.

14. I've met some hard-boiled eggs in my day, but I'd say you're about 20 minutes!
And I figured for certain that with Mel in the news so much right now, and Chicken Run a much-loved movie, people would remember this one, but they didn't. It's hard to reconcile how great he is as a voice character in this, and the asshat he is in real life.
gwyn: (edna)
Because I am still seething at my awful co-worker, I decided to do all comedies (or rom-com) this time to cheer myself up. I've already used up a couple of my favorite comedies in the first movie quote meme, but I might just recycle them, who knows? Only you can figure that out! (Also, some of these are pure gimmes, because the movies are so well-known, you can't find a quote that everyone doesn't know by heart!)

A. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
B. Then pick one of your favorite quotes from each movie.
C. Post the quotes in your journal.
D. Have those on your friends list try to guess what the movie is.
E. Strike out the quote once it has been correctly identified and place the guesser's user name directly after the quote.

NO Googling, looking on IMDB, checking film sites, or other cheating. Use your own noggins!

1. The rose goes in the front, big guy.
[ profile] gem225 Bull Durham

2. It's completely bulletproof, and machine washable.
[ profile] crickwooder and [ profile] glinda_w The Incredibles

3. I was a standup tomato -- a big, juicy, sexy, beefsteak tomato.
[ profile] batdina Tootsie

4. That's not what men do. I know no men who do that.

5. If it's not one thing, it's another.
[ profile] movies_michelle with hints! Buckaroo Banzai

6. The servants have been at the sherry again.
[ profile] movies_michelle The Philadelphia Story

7. I'll sleep with you for a meatball.
[ profile] cereta Victor/Victoria

8. No, you're not a bad mother... you're just a barking lunatic.
[ profile] zandra_x About a Boy

9. If you start out depressed, everything's kind of a pleasant surprise.

10. I'm scared to death that Jenny is gonna drop her fire baton and fry like one of them... Buddhist monks.
[ profile] movies_michelle Happy, Texas

11. I'm about to be a married woman, and I can't go chasing off after the Beatles.

12. I was a lesbian once at school, but only for about 15 minutes.
[ profile] crickwooder Four Weddings and a Funeral

13. Nobody leaves this place without singin' the blues.
[ profile] aadikah Adventures in Babysitting

14. I've met some hard-boiled eggs in my day, but I'd say you're about 20 minutes!

15. Oooo, Dennis, there's some lovely filth over here.
[ profile] cereta Monty Python and the Holy Grail
gwyn: (sharpe sad wizzicons)
I had so much fun with the movie lines yesterday, I want to do it again, but I have a very busy and very sad day ahead of me (today is the first of my two lovely, wonderful, special co-workers departing dates, and I can't believe I'm not going to be working with them anymore), so definitely can't pick more today. Like I could pick 15 favorite movies. Hah.

But it looks like no one is going to get those remaining two, so here the answers are:
4. Oh, if only that were true.
Big Eden (honestly, I'm ashamed of [ profile] movies_michelle and [ profile] feochadn, because they were in the theatre with me the first time we went to see it, and they well know how I nearly peed my pants laughing at that, and how I just could. not. stop. laughing. Shame on you, grrrls.)

15. Whose baby?
Local Hero. Best, funniest, most wonderfullest two-word setup in the history of film.

Quote me

Jul. 27th, 2006 10:45 am
gwyn: (film reel)
I remember seeing a couple people do movie quote things that I meant to do before, but when [ profile] mlyn did it the other day, it finally jogged my memory. It's almost impossible for me to pick 15 favorite movies, especially since my list changes daily, and these are in no order because I can barely make a list without changing it. I suppose I really ought to do the all-drama and all-comedy editions. Anyway, here are the rules:

A. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
B. Then pick one of your favorite quotes from each movie.
C. Post the quotes in your journal.
D. Have those on your friends list try to guess what the movie is.
E. Strike out the quote once it has been correctly identified and place the guesser's user name directly after the quote.

So, yeah, here goes. NO Googling, looking on IMDB, checking film sites, or other cheating. Use your own noggins!
1. In technical terms: He's a loon.
[ profile] rusty_halo The Terminator

2. You, my friend, are a victim of disorganized thinking.
[ profile] greensilver The Wizard of Oz

3. You're like Jerry Lewis, you give me hope to carry on, then you leave me in the lurch while you strap on your six-guns...
M Buckaroo Banzai

4. Oh, if only that were true.

5. Wake up. Time to die.
M Blade Runner

6. They took care of me fine. They trained me to use these things. I can dial telephones, I can drive a car, I can even put nickels in the jukebox.
[ profile] unovis_lj The Best Years of Our Lives

7. Hurts, don't it?
[ profile] movies_michelle Tombstone

8. Memories were meant to fade... they're designed that way for a reason.
[ profile] ianmcin Strange Days

9. Eleven-hundred men went into the water, 316 men come out...
M Jaws

10. Of course he's beneath us. He's an actor!
M My Favorite Year

11. There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate.
M The Right Stuff

12. There's one thing I don't understand. The thing I don't understand is, every motherfuckin' word you're saying.
[ profile] klia The Limey

13. Oh, good! My dog found the chainsaw!
[ profile] sdwolfpup Lilo & Stitch

14. I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a knowledgeable family.
M The Lion in Winter (don't hurt me, Christy, this was for you!)

15. Whose baby?
gwyn: (film reel)
Not long after Hillary Swank won her first Best Actress Oscar, she starred in an HBO movie called Iron Jawed Angels, about the last years of the woman's suffrage movement leading up to the constitutional amendment finally giving women the right to vote in the U.S. I remember at the time the reviews were mostly mixed to negative, not so much because the movie wasn't good, but because everyone seemed to have enormous problems with the anachronistic quality of the film. What for some people is innovation and audacity, to take a staid, period setting and modernize it a little bit in dialog, musical selections, editing, and film technique seemed to strike a lot of others as somehow wrong, or making light of a serious topic.

I'm definitely in the "innovative and audacious" camp. When you first start watching it, you're thinking, wow, this is gorgeous, and then you kind of go, huh, that's an interestingly... uh, modern choice of music, and then when you get to some of the first bits of dialog between Swank's character, the suffragist Alice Paul, and Frances O'Connor's, you're thinking, whoa -- that is not a phrase from 1917! But then it starts to grow on you -- or rather, it did me. I loved the fact that they used modern techniques and dialog to make a story about a period a lot of people find yawn-inducing into something much more compelling.

Initially, in fact, the story is slow -- Paul and her fellow "take a more aggressive approach" activists are embroiled in some more political maneuvering as they gradually begin to make a split with the main suffrage organization at the time, and that is never terrifically exciting. Though the cast is incredible -- Angelica Huston, Julia Ormond, a pre-McDreamy (but no less dreamy, OMG) Patrick Dempsey, Vera Farmiga, and even Alma from Deadwood! -- political machinations are often not that engaging for modern audiences, but the director's really unusual approach and the beautiful cinematography pull you in.

The right to vote for women has way too often been downplayed in our history texts -- I didn't know about, for instance, the jailing and torture of many of the women until I went and researched it on my own in junior high. Most of the time it's just a note on 1920 -- women were granted the right to vote by an amendment blah blah. The best thing about Iron Jawed Angels is that it brings to life people who have been shoved into the margins of history, and shows us just how terrible their fight was for something we all take for granted. Toward the end, when the U.S. goes to war in 1918, things start to get very, very ugly, and they do not stint on showing just how horrific force-feeding of hunger strikers actually was.

For me, the movie was a great example of just how engaging film can make history to a modern audience. We seem to have this belief that history has to be told in epic presentations, with everyone using faux British accents if they're not already from there (because god knows, no other accent would be historically accurate! Look at the pasting Scorsese took when he let his American actors use their own voices in Last Temptation of Christ), and with quasi-symphonic music as a background. Iron Jawed Angels is gorgeous, living proof that you can make history and the people who made it engaging, fascinating, and thoroughly relatable. If it weren't for a steamy bathtub scene with Swank and a few swear words, in fact, this would be a perfect movie to show junior-high kids to make them fully understand the cost of the rights they will probably soon grow up to take for granted and ignore.
gwyn: (sonny crockett)
Ever since I heard that Michael Mann was making a Miami Vice movie, I have been gritting my teeth in agony. The show was so iconic of its time, so indelible to the '80s, its ethos and mindset, so groundbreaking in so many ways (seriously -- I could count the ways, but you probably don't want to read my dissertation on why it changed the face of TV any more than you want to hear my list of things I have to do on the house), that the idea of it becoming a two-hour movie just to capitalize on the nostalgia craze for remaking old TV shows into theatrical movies just makes my blood boil. And that it was the series' producer doing it just kind of made me even sicker.

The worst part, the nail in the coffin, though, was casting the execrable Jamie Foxx as Ricardo Tubbs. I could almost kind of handle the fact that Mann was redoing his own creation (and I want to point out that even though he's the name most heavily associated with it, the person who really did the creating and the development was Anthony Yerkovich), and honestly, Colin Farrell might not have been my first choice to update Sonny Crockett, but he's not a bad choice, and he certainly has the acting chops needed to portray a guy whose undercover life is slowly destroying him mentally and emotionally. But I have never been that impressed with Foxx and have in fact actively come to loathe him -- I don't like his face, I hate the fact that he's there more for the party than for the acting, and so this story from Slate yesterday made me ridiculously, schadenfreudily happy. Poor widdle Jamie and his entourage got scared by macho Michael Mann. It makes my heart happy.

I'm one of Mann's biggest fans, but yes, anyone who works with him has to know going in that he can be a bully and an ass. He flies totally by the seat of his pants, but that's part of his genius, and like most movie geniuses, he fails as often as he succeeds. His visual virtuosity is what made the series so successful -- it was like nothing anyone had ever seen back then, and in a lot of ways, people are still mimicking what he did on a TV series 20 years ago in movies today. And I guess it's both a testament to his creativity and grudgingly a testament to Foxx that they're gearing up for a third movie together. I will be the first person to stand up and say that although Philip Michael Thomas, who played Tubbs, was really not a good actor, he was very believable as the character and he definitely had his moments. And Jamie Foxx just isn't Tubbs. He simply isn't. Farrell can be a decent simulacrum of Crockett, but Foxx is just never going to embody the softer qualities of Tubbs.

I won't watch MV the movie. I certainly am not going to pay for it -- though if Foxx hadn't been in it, I might have, at least when it shows up on TV. I can see some of Mann's standard shots in it in the commercials (I haven't seen the trailer, and don't really want to) -- including the helicopter over the city shot from above, sliding down through the frame, sparkling light below it, which he used in both Collateral and Robbery Homicide Division, his short-lived return to TV a couple years ago and the show [ profile] feochadn and I made our vid Streets on Fire to. (Still one of my favorite things we've ever done, and never downloaded off my site. Sigh.)

Miami Vice the series was just way, way too important to me. It was the first thing after the Professionals had stopped airing on Canadian TV, back around 1980, that perked up that fannish gene in me ( four-year dry period!) and made the radar go beep beep beep. When I first met feochadn, in fact, I'd just rediscovered the fannish feelings that had been dormant for such a long time, so I'd made an effort to try to get copies of the old eps (sadly, my partner at the time recorded over all the old Vice eps we had on tape, the bastard), and we would go on, shouting at each other over our excited memories of the series. And it's stayed that way for me -- I have written fic, and may someday write more, and I have about four vids in my head but can't make them because there are only two seasons on DVD, and I'm not sure if there will be more. It appears that Universal is abandoning it, though it's hard to tell, they are such a stupid studio when it comes to TV shows on disc.

And the basic truth is, I don't understand this desire to keep mining television shows for "udpates" with new actors. It just makes no sense to me at all. I know there were people who enjoyed the Starsky & Hutch movie, but I can't help thinking it's because it was a spoof of the series more than anything. But the hash of Wild Wild West, the joke that was Lost in Space, the bomb of Bewitched, and so on and so on and so on, just leaves me gobsmacked at the total failure of creativity and shallow greed. And yet, more of these will be made, even though they often bomb, because one hit like the S&H movie with a good opening weekend keeps the brainless execs coming back for more in the hopes they'll have that one good opening weekend.

And I have no idea what to even make of it when one of those execs is, like Mann, an integral part of what made the series so spectacular in the first place. These days, all people think about Vice is the clothes and the cars. They focus on the cheese. They don't even really understand, because they dismiss it as just a relic of the '80s, how amazing the series was. It had started to decline in its third season, when it was all about hipster guest stars, but by the end of fourth season they pulled it back (largely because Mann came back) with a shocking and incredibly written story arc that had Sonny shooting a (for all we knew, unarmed) guy in cold blood, then being subsumed into his undercover identity so far he almost didn't come out -- and nearly killed his best friend and partner. The series ended badly (with Ian McShane, of all people, playing a Latin American bad guy), and I think, not as true to its nature as it should have, but even at that point, it was still miles above the rest of the stuff on TV. And it should be allowed to rest in peace that way, and not get "updated" with today's flavors of the month just to line someone's pockets.
gwyn: (brokeback)
I am having a hard time motivating myself to post anything and really battling the depresso-grief, but I feel like I have to post something... and also to thank my anonymous LJ fairy who gave me a couple months' paid journal time. I really appreciate it, and wish I could thank you in person.

Review of Walk the Line )

Review of Brokeback Mountain )

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