Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ready Player One 2018 Film

As with my last movie review I stated that I'd do only one more review for 2018 and here it is. Ready Player One, adapted from the novel that unites MRA and SJW in mutual hate. No I will not review Infinity War, fuck that.

I went to the theater I usually don't go to because it's more expensive and boy do they put their upcharge where their mouth is. I got to sit in a leather recliner with buttons to adjust it and it was lovely.

This movie smoothed over a lot of problems I talked about here. It changes and pair downs the challenges. That's a problem with adapting novels though, they always hat to cut an consolidate and that is why I think movies should stick to adapting short stories and adding to them and leave the novels to mini-series that can flesh out what is dropped in movies. I'd have vastly preferred the Harry Potter series as a BBC or Grenada series, that lasted seven seasons instead of the Hollywood eight films (most inconsistent in stage design, direction and acting choices) that cut so much out and butchered the fourth book badly.

The challenges here are a race, a Shining reenactment and Adventure. The racing challenge was stupid and comes off as 90's/00's nostalgia, cannot remember any 80's racing games, though I could be mistaken. I hate the movie Shining, so I didn't enjoy that, or the elevator of blood because I'm having blood problems as we speak, but I like that we got some development with AECH. I liked that Art3mis solved it when she found the ballroom of zombies dancing to Midnight, The Stars and You (which is in The Shining) which is the closest I had to a nostalgic cry because I was introduced to it outside of Shining's context and was thus not ruined for me like it was for everybody else. I feel that it's the same as people being introduced to Singing In The Rain in Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick sure knows how to ruin good things. As for Adventure it was in the novel as a gate, but used here as the last challenge worked. Unlike the novel, there's no completing gates. Just the challenges to win the keys.

Other nitpicks I have about the movie are The Rebellion (yawn...), everybody being in the same town (movie coincidences) and drones that look like they haven't changed much in thirty years.

I didn't mind the changes in what the character's avatars looked, because more people ought to do crazy stuff with their online personas instead of, me: but skinny, me: but without birthmark, etc. They gave Art3mis the birthmark, but like Wade they didn't make her fat, so win/lose. AECH gets to be a black lesbian played by a black lesbian. They de-aged Sho to eleven years old which is such a Spielberg move, but neither are played by actor's of Japanese descent. Their avatars Wade: Cartoon-like with exaggerated features, white and blue hair, Art3mis: A pink bird humanoid, AECH: A cyborg orc, Daito's a Samurai and Sho's a Ninja. They expanded I-Roc's role to bounty hunter working for IOI. He says some of the funniest lines. At one point he says: "There's three things in the world I hate, Steampunk, Pirates and Tabbouli, like why do they even..." As my brother likes steampunk, my sister likes pirates and my pop likes Tabbouli, I felt like he was calling out my family there and laughed.

They have the club scene in the novel in the movie with changes. Of course they play Blue Monday and Stayin' Alive because you can license those songs easily unlike Cyndi Lauper, or Billy Idol apparently. At one point Wade gets a selfie with a cat-furry who's so cute, but sexed up in wrong way, but she turns out to be a turncoat for IOI. I know it was in the novel, but I fucking hate Travolta mode. I swear if I ever got the power to make a Hollywood film, no Saturday Night Fever references.

One other thing I'd like to mention is the lack of licensed Rush songs.

Ready Player One (Novel) And It's Controversy

I want to get out of the way that I'm writing this  whatever it is (not a real review), without the context of the film adaptation. I'll get to that review later. If I had reviewed this book back when I first read it I wouldn't have had to devote paragraphs upon paragraphs of the representation problem. I'd have just said, here are the things that rubbed me the wrong way. The end. Jolly good read.

And it is, if you don't have a knee-jerk reaction to nostalgia. It's funny that my brother who turned me on to this book, me, another friend my brother turned on are not 80's kids really. We're 90's kids. We still enjoyed it anyway. Everybody who hates this book hates pandering Nostalgia. They hate successful geeks who made it and get to shove their love and passions down people's throats. I want to say that I don't have Nostalgia. My childhood is one dark pit and a lot of things I liked are ruined by the darkness going on in those times. I like media of many era's with bias for the 20th Century, most of it made before I was born, so I can't have Nostalgia, I just figure I stumbled on some treasure I can appreciate other's can leave behind as they age out. Cline could have made every reference and Easter Egg about the 1930's and I'd have had more of emotional resonance than I do with 80's, that I enjoyed, or discarded after the fact from it's time.

These people also hate Kevin Smith and his type of geek humor. I don't, even though he's said and had character's say shit that piss me off. Mallrats and the fucking often parroted Superman/Wonder Woman breeding shitfest, or Chasing Amy's Archie's the bitch, Jughead's the butch bullshit. The slashing isn't bullshit, it's the assumptions of putting them in a stereotypical dynamic and undermining Jughead's aromantic personality and function. This isn't an indictment of Smith though, it's a Cline review, and I will say one last comparison that when I would read Parzival and AECH, I read them as a Dante and Randall dynamic from Clerks.

I have read the book years ago, and I've met Ernest Cline himself. I didn't ask too much questions because I didn't want to pester him and make an ass of myself. You see acting like a warrior for better representation just gave me a kiss off and hostility in my days of dealing with jerks like Ethan Van Sciver. So there's a time to be civil. I could have said make better female characters, research people with different backgrounds and have them proof-read your work, but it was a brief meet and greet and I figure I take the picture of my brother and him standing by the Delorean and be done. Could I have made a difference in the world of shutting down old, entitled, geeks? No probably not. The thing I learn about any discourse is that the person on the other side is going to dig their heels in deeper into their thought process. Did we not learn this with the election two years ago? I think perhaps had I not been on the go, as one aspiring writer (who am I kidding) and a successful writer, perhaps I could have talked to him and he would have listened to what I had to say on representation, even if I'm not the right person to discuss race matters and gender. I'd like to think Ernest Cline is a sensible guy who could learn. That's just faith, I guess.

The book has some problems, but none that I would scream as blatant J.K. Rowling trash, but still coming from an older singular world view. This is probably why the future shouldn't be written by white male Generation X writers. However, whatever we're called now, are currently being outmoded by Generation Z as we speak and our values have turned out to be racist and archaic as our parents, or worse even because they still had the Holocaust etched in their minds. Our generation studied it and either got gunned down by cops if black, decided to be nazi's if white, or got worn out by the constant undermining of each other that fed into the hatred older people have of twenty year olds. Or so the generation theory goes. I'm not convinced it plays out quite like that. The thing is that when this whole gun legislation blows over and it's business as usual, I'm not convinced the white side of Gen Z isn't any less racist then we have been and if equality becomes more norm it's because white people will have aged and bred out.

With that in mind, I get the arguments, did Wade have to be white, or male? No probably not. I suppose no protagonist never need be both ever again, but here we are still.

Other problems in the book, are just how stereotypical are Daito and Shoto? Daito, I think is Japanese American? Correct me if I'm wrong. How much does white American culture feed into how Japanese Otaku culture is nevermind... It's not up to me to decide what is offensive.

AECH turning out to be a black lesbian, a cop out to not actually write a black lesbian? or an appropriation of the trans-narrative for a non-trans character. Don't know. Lots of women pretended to be men on the internet and didn't turn out transmen afterall like me, so I don't know. The argument is that the future should be less homophobic and racist to allow AECH to be comfortable to choose an avatar that reflects who she is, escept with the way things are going, I just don't see the future as better on identity rights and writing it that way divorced of modern commentary could be glaring. Even if the population becomes less white in the future, I just don't think by 2044, the power won't rest in the hands of white people. They're still the older generation. Perhaps we'll see a change by 2100.

One thing that isn't mentioned a lot is Art3mis and if you're me and have watched Fanboys, screenplay by Ernest Cline, you sort of know he has one way of writing geek girls, AECH notwithsatnding. Sarcastic, spunky and geek out about anything that isn't Star Wars, or Star Trek, or any space stuff. Girls can like James Bond ironically, make period puns with their Halloween costumes. These girls in Art3mis's case have to love distaff products like She-Ra, Supergirl, and the female-led John Hughes movies. Basically girls can be geeks, but they stay in their lane of what's catered to them. I don't think Ernest Cline did this on purpose, he just didn't know other types of women? A lot of the older women geeks retired into obscurity and started families while men like him and Kevin Smith grow up to make a career out of being a geek. There's tons of girls who hold themselves to this girl-only, pink-only mentality. I've known those types, but I also know the types who appreciate traditionally male products and franchises. The reason being that girl stuff is for girl's only, but because there's less of it, girl's have to seek out boy, or neutral for all products if their mother allows them. So a girl might be able to relate to Luke Skywalker, or Batman, because they're human, but a male can't afford the same courtesy to Princess Leia, or Catwoman because they have Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewie, Obi-Wan, the villains. It took until the last season of Batman: TAS to introduce Batgirl after all and in three episodes until they revamped the show to be a team format. Before you had the brief appearances of Summer Gleason and Renee Montoya if you wanted non-villains to look up to.

Before Cline's time growing up in the 80's, the earliest Star Trek Con organizers in the 60's were women, the earliest Star Wars fanzines in the 70's were edited with columns and had submitted stories by women. I found this out by digging through fanlore wiki, looking through credits and citations and finding either downloadable scanned fanzines, or in most cases the library university information where this stuff is filed in boxes. Some of these women writing Star Wars fanfic did become authors, maybe not on blockbuster levels, but they have goodreads pages, book listing on Amazon and I've lowkey wanted to message them about their fanwork, but think that's kind of cruel because these women are in their 60's having written a body of work of origial work and I message them about that story in that fanzine they hoped long buried?

The last thing about the novel I don't want to talk about, but feel I have to: The masturbation controversy. The passage spread around on social media out of context with no further commentary than it's sexist. It probably is, because it comes from the mouth of a socially awkward problematic nerd (Halliday) who someone initially in a similar place (Wade) eventually sheds as he makes meaningful connections with other people. Don't forget that in the novel he buys himself a blow up doll and then disposes of it in shame because he realizes how pathetic he is. The thing is whether the question is whether men, specially nerdy men on the internet with no real life social skills are toxic and disgusting, the point they always tried to tell me when I judge these men, is that masturbation is a normal function and that I, a dysphoric transmale who is completely not sexual or partake in bodily functions, is the weird one. Yet I here plenty of discourse that trans people should get to use their genitals, asexual people totally masturbate as it's a biological function, not a sexual one, and thta I'm still the oddball one. So my question is when did everybody agree with me on the masturbation passage in the novel as being gross and that men shouldn't masturbate? Did I step in Bizarro world?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time 2018

I think this will be the second to the last movie review I'll do this year as summer blockbuster fatigue season moves in.

I read A Wrinkle In Time back in seventh grade for school and it blew my mind, the way it presented a science fantasy setting with Meg and family, Calvin and the Witches fighting against the forces of darkness while trying to find her missing father. A lot of the typical heroes journey, light vs. dark themes show up in this 1964 novel before it became required in all fantasy before Tolkienism set in completely. I have seen the 2003 movie version and I hardly remember it outside of the bad cgi affects. With that in mind here's my observations on how this new adaptation by Ava DuVernay movie holds up:

Meg Murray is a clever child of two genius parents who starts to lose her way when her father leaves for four years. Charles Wallace is her adopted younger brother (not adopted in the novel) and he's a cutie who stands up for his sister when teachers talk shit. Meanwhile their stuck up neighbor who heads a popular clique gives Meg shit for her missing, or dead father, taunts her and basically says they wish she had disappeared too. I didn't have that kind of gossip when I was growing up, but I was always told the line when picking on others is to not give them shit for having dead, jailed, or absent family members. That was a no no in my school district. Otherwise everything else was fair game (everything else), so these kids as portrayed in this movie whether accurate to current real life, or not, just goes to show that they're mean about anything just to be mean, which sounds about right. So Meg's Principal in the movie and her mother pull the whole bullshit that since Meg threw the first hit (smacking a ball in the neighbor's face) she has to apologize even though they started the taunts. This is why I hate parents and school staff. This shit. Whatever I'm over it. Also the Principal lecture's Meg over her grief as if it was some moral defect, which is bullshit.

The movie mostly follows the plot of the book with minor changes and a lot of cuts. Meg and Charles Wallace don't have twin siblings to join them in their journey. Calvin does show up, but most of his development and use of "diplomacy" hardly comes up so he's sort of just their as the platonic, but potential love interest. I dig that he and Charles Wallace have classic male haircuts, none of this crew cut crap, or shaved sides shit men do now that's disgusting. It gives them that sixties vibe that this movie has due to it's source material, though it's updated for today.

There are lines of dialogue in the movie that I swear are lifted from the book, but I can't be sure because I haven't read it in years, but it feels familiar, but their are some updated changes I don't mind. For example different people Mrs, Who quotes, such as Chris Tucker himself. Also at the end when they talk about the heroes that fight on the side of light against the dark, the list is slightly changed to include later people than the book's publication. I don't mind that honestly. It would have been too dry if they stuck exclusively with what L'Engle references.

A lot of this movie's appeal in marketing was the casting of the three witches because the children are unknown. Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon. Most people complained that Oprah plays Mrs. Which who in the book can't keep her form and is often a bright light, but they reference that in the movie with Which's legs being transparent. I didn't mind the change, you don't cast Oprah to be a disembodied voice in a live action movie. Kaling was disappointing as Mrs. Who, only because no matter who played Who they would have been resigned mostly with quotes than original dialogue. Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit could be both annoying and amusing. I didn't mind her change in the movie being this visually stunning leafy serpent/flying carpet thing instead of a centaur pagasi type being. I have an irrational hatred of horses, so other people will be pissed at this change, but I still have nightmares of the earlier movies horrible cgi transformation.

As I've said before I was happy they mostly stayed accurate with ages. They cast fourteen year old’s, or close to, Storm Reid and Levi Miller to play Meg and Calvin instead of aging them up and giving them sexual tension like every other young adult movie ever in the last twenty years. Charles Wallace as played by Deric McCabe was bumped up from five to six years, which isn't a big deal.

Other cast-members are Chris Pine as the dad, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the mom, Andre Holland as the Principal and Michael Pena as Red. I'm sort of glad the marketing didn't emphasize Pine over the Witches.

One of the casting choices I'm a bit annoyed with is that they cast bearded Zach Galifianakis as The Happy Medium. Now I swear my memory was that this character was genderqueer, or agender, but that might have been only in the older movie adaptation as according to wikipedia she's a woman, so what the fuck happened here? Was one more woman with a speaking role too much to ask for in a movie about female empowerment? If I hadn't known this, it wouldn't bother me. It's one thing to change character's race, whatever background it then informs on the character because white people have almost all the roles so losing some doesn't matter. Changing a character's gender on the other hand is kind of annoying. Disney is guilty of this when is comes to source material female characters turning into guys all the sudden, like Bagheera in every Disney Jungle Book movie adaptation and no changing Kha to a girl in the new adaptation was not a consolation.

Anyway this movie is a visual treat and has a mythology and similar themes that would fit in with Kingdom Hearts which is a shame it won't make it in there when we're stuck with crap like Tron Legacy making it in the last title. I feel like a lot of the journey is cut and, or rushed and no there aren't big blockbuster battles, or cheap, stilted young adult romances. The battle is strictly personal and between family, the light and dark. I didn't expect more. Other people disappointed: Sorry, new movies spoiled you. This movie would have fit in with a lot of 90's family movies, but the visual effects at that time would not have made this possible and they probably wouldn't have done diverse casting like making the main character, her mother, and not one, but two of her mentors as poc. Another good thing about this movie is that it doesn't bait you for a sequel that might not be made. If it does get a sequel, I'd like to see more of the family, the three witches and the It fleshed out more.

I've read rumors that Ava DuVernay is now going to helm the Fourth World/New Gods for Warner Brothers. Here's hoping it's a hit like Wonder Woman and that DuVernay doesn't have too much studio meddling fucking it down.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Black Panther 2018

Saw Black Panther yesterday bringing an end to the last Marvel movie I have anticipated seeing. After seeing this I can safely say that other than a Black Panther sequel with expansive potential it all goes down hill for Marvel's cinematic universe. No hyperbole.

Warning: My review has spoilers and jumps around incoherently.

I honestly would look elsewhere for in depth reviews than here because I am a comic book fan first and comic fans are annoying when judging the  quality of an adaptation. I will say ahead of time that I'm pleased with how this adaptation's changes because they work for the tight narrative. Films are different mediums than long serialized comics. As this is a sound and moving vision medium, you get cool scenes like T'Challa suplexing a rhino and Shuri using driving tech from her lab in Wakanda that pilots a car remotely in Busan, South Korea with her brother riding on top trying to pursue Claue. Other highlights are the ceremonial dancing, the ancestral plane, the waterfall fights, both of them, the one with Killonger was adapted from the comics, the fight between T'Challa and Killmonger on the magnetic trains tracks under the city. This movie unlike every other Marvel movie besides maybe Guardians, Vol 2 actually has eye-popping color. Strange that movies adapted from the four color page have muted, ugly grey and brown tones and washed out reds and blues. What is wrong with Marvel? Also the soundtrack and score was good too, which again most Marvel movies are background noises, or they're Guardians and have a Jukebox song list.

The cast of characters have complex motivations that feel real instead of merely being informed. That sounds like a generic statement, but I mean it. I always get the feeling in a lot of films that many characters have no depth outside of "they killed my dog, I want justice!" Killmonger has complex feelings about Wakanda and how it should conduct itself in international affairs. This movie doesn't shy away from racial problems, which makes stock tropes like Killmonger's dad murdered as a traitor more complex. If this was a white story the traitor betrays because he's greedy filth and that's it. His father did something shitty helping a shifty white guy steal Vibranium from Wakanda. However, he had problems with Wakanda hoarding their metal and tech advancements from the world. So here the traitor's got a point whether he went about it wrong, or not. His being killed for it was one thing, leaving his son behind in America created a bigger problem T'Chaka couldn't forsee. The film questions Wakanda's isolationist policies and rather than acknowledge and move on actually addresses it with T'Challa making decisions to rectify that which opens up for a sequel that explores Wakanda's place in the world.

I'm pleased that they changed Nakia from being a former Dora Milaje turned spurned, traitor femme fatale henchwoman to an Wakandan undercover agent and proper love interest to T'Challa. I mean the options would have been shoehorning Storm who's off limits, or bringing in American Monica Lynne, who they could have reinvented and given Agent Ross's role, I guess. Dating a CIA agent would be weird though and bring a lot of questions. This will probably piss off comic purists as well as Killmonger's origins being changed, W'Kabi being more adversarial, giving T'Chaka a brother and giving T'Challa and Shuri the same mother. Usually that stuff would piss me off, but here it works. It's a film and it has to condense things, draw tighter relationships and dispense with some of the tired sexist tropes that do no favors for black women. A lot of women love interests come out blander, pointless, or replaceable, Nakia wins in adaptation compared to the source material.

I think the only minor flaws are Agent Ross, he could be cut. Was he there to have one heroic white guy? Does that really matter to have the squeeing Sherlock fans money? Also the ending fight with all the tribes as they disagree on siding with Killmonger, or T'Challa. That's formulaic, but expected. Okoye asking W'Kabi to stand down was an interesting way to end it though, and I feel like there's a bigger story there that was cut. Do not sit on this movie if you have any intention of seeing it because it's not the same by the numbers formula other than the big fight at the end that still looks visually impressive. At least T'Challa and Killmonger get a one on one final fight, mercy and refusal scene that works.

Friday, December 8, 2017

You Had Your Chance

I'm slowly becoming an avid reader of Frederik Pohl as I get his paperbacks little by little. I don't have the biggest budget for recreational things and internet comes first until that too gets to high and I'll just ghost everyone and update sporadically through libraries and wifi spots. It could be sooner if net neutrality is repealed.

The question of why read Pohl when I can read more current science fiction is because accuracy and miring in current troubles is not what I'm here for when reading sci-fi. It's why I'll never be a true fan of the form. I want the fantasy of it, the parallel world that doesn't exist and has it's own rules, not the forecast of cold, hard facts you read in this weeks science journals, or the mere parody of today's social trends turning into tomorrow's exaggerated post-apocolyptic dystopias. That ain't me. Though all these old stories were written with those two mentalities and methods in mind, they long since been outmoded and I don't have a lot of interest in forecasters current predictions unless the book is that good. I read science fiction of the past like a parallel reality and as a context for the times it was written more than anything.

Recently I finished reading Age of The Pussyfoot by Pohl. It was about a fireman who died in 1968 and was cryo-freezed and wakes up in the 25th century where there's a the possibility of a Sirian invasion and people carry around controller like things on their belts that mine as well be smart phones. Also because people with insurance plans can get cyro-freezed, people can also put hits on people. Sexual norms are looser, nuclear families aren't the norm. Couples pick a name to refer to themselves, family members also have special names for each other in the context of their relation. I might steal this idea, honestly. It was a short book the way I liked that gave a glimpse of a place to get my mind running. That's what I'm here for. People wanting more detail and painstaking development will be disappointed. For one I liked the subplot of the main character going homeless and hanging out with the forgotten men and that ends too soon, but it's fine.

The first time I enjoyed Frederik Pohl's writing was when I was browsing through the bookshelf of a thrift shop and found a hardcover collection of the Starchild Trilogy he wrote with Jack Williamson, another writer I like. Williamson would write the first drafts and Pohl would add, fix up and edit it. So it's more a Williamson book, honestly. The cover has a hippie in a spacesuit riding what looks like a dragon. I'd show you, but this website sucks for uploading on my crappy internet. The Reefs of Space changed my life. The story involves a scientist being demoted and given an explosive collar that could detonate if he gets out of line, or doesn't check in with his appointments. He's called a "risk." The problem is he has amnesia and can't remember important details that would exonerate him. The government is ruled by a computing machine and there's people who read the ticker tape and put it into action.  The story has noirish mystery and feel with some thriller elements, even if I don't like amnesia plots (a common abused neo-noir trope that shows up in maybe a fraction of old noirs). Though I have an irrational phobia of coral in real life, the idea of it growing in spacelike a forest is beautiful imagery even though it's scientifically impossible. My favorite part of the book is the body bank. That's the one part everyone sort of ignores more than the rest when reviewing, but I think it has more development than the reefs of space itself and it's the culmination of the protagonists lot in life. The psychology of facing his ex-girlfriend, an undercover agent who turned him in was well done, but creepy. I think this may have influenced part of Miyra's characterization in my Red novel. I also liked the junkman mystery and the main character possibly being him and his identity crisis. My biggest disappointment was the protagonist coming to terms with his identity and then his memories come back that he isn't the junkman so he can live happily ever after with the semi-annoying love interest. If I crib this idea, I'm definitely playing it differently.

This gets to my new point. Since I'm feeling sick and want to vomit, I can't write, so I mine as well read. I had the choice of a Nero Wolfe mystery about a radio host, or two Frederik Pohl books. One was Plague of Pythons, which from what little I gather is about people who are mind controlled into doing horrible things that make me sick. I hate mind control stories as a rule. The other is Drunkard's Walk. The problem with this first edition book is that there is nothing on the back, or on the inside that tells you what you're in for. Just a bunch of blurbs about how cool The Space Merchants with C.M. Kornbluth is and I know this back when they were written before what was classic was decided, but everybody who's heard of Pohl has heard of Space Merchants at most. So my brother decides to flip through the book and tell me some things. The main character's name is Cornut, ewww. He's a professor. Math's involved including Pascal's Triangle. He has a wife, there's a senator, there's a guy with this name and that, one sounds suspiciously close to the author's, an author avatar, perhaps? He decides to read the last line and he won't spoil it, but he basically describes it like some Snape as Terminator shit and I'm like, whoa, I got to read this. He asks me if this was written before Day of The Daleks and Terminator. Yes. So Harlan Ellison can shut the fuck up. My brother surmises a strange plot involving the character becoming Darkseid and looking the equivalent of the anti-life equation and other things. So not wanting to spoil the ending, I decide to look up the wikipedia article to see if it had more plot information. The article has one sentence only. Something about a professor who discovers a monstrous plot. Very vague. Needless to say the plot is probably nothing like my brother's imagination. Also the original Galaxy digest cover totally looks like a superhero surrounded by atoms and holding a beer bottle. Definitely look up the article. Also the first two parts can be read through scans on Internet Archive. I wish they could make those scans have a text format that isn't fucked by the incoherent ocr they use because I do not fucks with smart phones, tablets, or kindle fire. Burns my eyes like reading a computer screen for too long. Either I find the original digests, or someone makes a text file for my black and white kindle. That's why I haven't taken advantage of all Internet Archive has to offer and mostly stick with the slow releases in Project Gutenberg.

Also one of my big regrets is that while Frederik Pohl was still alive and blogging, I didn't muster up the courage to comment on one of his articles and tell him how he influenced me. Got me that much closer to actually writing.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Nate Heywood Is An Emotional Abuser

Rewatched last Legends of Tomorrow Episode again because my brother missed it and he loves Victorian Circus motifs and Billy Zane, so he had to watch it.

On watching this a second time, I've come up with why Nate bothers me. I'll get to that, so let me explain the situation before I make accusations:

Nate's upset about Amaya showing up after leaving without saying goodbye, he decides to get drunk and blows the team's cover. Whatever everyone ends up idiot balling in this episode even Sara so he's not the only offender and everyone can take some of the blame here, but man is Nate the cause of the idiot snowballing.

Everyone else has explained better than me why Nate's been acting like an asshole before he got drunk and how he basically seems to be dense when it comes to reading the room with his beau when making donuts. I'm aromantic and even I'd be charmed by Amaya making donuts from scratch. True fact my greatgrandmother made homemade donuts. I've never tasted them, but my grandma raves of them and can find only one bakery that's open in limited hours, limited days of the week and has a first come first serve policy and those are the closest she'll ever get to tasting something similar to her mother's homemade donuts because she don't know the art of making them herself. She was a child when Amaya would have been an adult to put it in perspective. Getting off topic.

Amaya comes back to the Waverider trying to be professional for this mission she got dragged back under false pretenses that Nate was okay with it. Later when things go wrong she talks to him about her reasons for leaving, he makes the whole mess about her and blames her for all of it backfiring. The whole mess they are in this episode, he puts on her shoulders for not being honest with him. Basically he won't own up to any of his own mistakes, whether they be mutual things like the two of them aren't communicating with each other well (Barry and Iris dealt with this), or how he makes everything about himself. Maybe drinking his problems away and denying it as anything more than hanging out isn't a good look and did in fact cause the whole cover to blow. What it turns into is Amaya withholds secrets (well he doesn't exactly give her confidence she can talk serious when often he just wants to have amazing sex and eschew romantic things and kind of brushes off her need to make sure her grandchildren are born and the timeline is stable last season).

It turns into “Look what you made me do.” Nate Heywood is an emotional abuser. Is he ever nice to Amaya in their downtime? He seems to only be tender to her when their lives are in danger because otherwise it's he won't talk to her, okay he'll talk to her and call her out on her bullshit and sweep his own under the rug. That's their relationship.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cross Media Will Never Understand Oliver Queen And Dinah Drake-Lance

I know this is old news and old complaints, but man do I hate cross media missing the point on Oliver Queen. They get it in their head that he's Bruce Wayne and then make assumptions based on that. This is what's ruined him in Smallville and Arrow. They decided that Oliver can't marry his should be battle partner Dinah, or Laurel depending on the media and that he better marry the cute, nerdy blonde girl with the laptop that the showrunners poured all this time into when they decide they don't know how to write a girl vigilante better than Oliver, nor fathom he can be into such a woman. This is an irritating trend, i hope they don't repeat if ever they're adapted in the movies.

Oliver Queen loves badass women. Honest. He can be a blowhard and border on patronizing, but he knows to let Dinah steal the show because she doesn't need him. but they like each others company and fighting crime together. He's not the guy who makes his women stay safe at home, the office or in the arrow cave punching computer codes talking into his earpiece. Never was. Why does tv get this wrong? He trusts Dinah to get them out of situations when he's at a loss. Trusts her to be the powerhouse fighter she is because while he has some moves, he's more of a long range kind of guy and she's hands on. They're a team. No media outside the better comics runs get this and yes there's plenty of shitty comic runs that throw this out the window for the sake of drama and writer's male insecurities. That's a problem, no doubt, but so is these tv shows being unable cast the appropriate actors and screen test them for proper chemistry and then write them without undermining Dinah/Laurel as a character.

Look I know we all prefer Dinah to be with Barbara Gordon, but because of the Bat embargo on cw this shouldn't even be an issue. That showrunners have to undermine Dinah/Laurel to prop up Oliver's usefulness is the problem. He's not the alpha male. He's the battle partner. He's not Bruce Wayne. He's closer to Steve Trevor, but that he has a specific skill in trick arrows and street fighting instead of guns and military training. He and Dinah are battle couple, but she takes down most of the enemies more efficiently. He does his part, but he's not the star of the show. This is why Arrow is a faulty premise. They had to change Oliver's character out of the gate in order to justify him dating Felicity, or Chloe instead of Laurel/Dinah. They had to make every other woman vigilante evil, reckless, incompetent, or just utterly undermined to make them all bad choices so the real woman who doesn't fight gets the prize. What the hell does that say?

I understand that we need more female characters that aren't martial arts badasses, but are useful in less glamorous ways like being a hacker, a journalist, a doctor, a scientist. That's not the problem. It's the problem that there's no room for women who are brawlers to have the same kind of humanization and nuanced femininity. Dinah in the comics is not only the best martial artist, sometimes a g-man, sometimes a cop, field agent to Oracle, chairwoman to the JSA and JLA, she also owns a flower shop, likes gardening, is a mother figure to many characters, is arrow's team mom when they stop embargoing her. She's not just miss fanservice badass. This shouldn't be an argument on being a better character, or worse character for your fan favorite blonde support character.