Also I am trying to log more movies that I have watched. For some reason I will faithfully log every book I start reading, but I will forget to do so for movies. I have a Letterboxd account if you're truly curious. (As it's mostly for record keeping, I rarely review.)
So, here is a quick run-down of movies I've seen in the past month.
Hidden Figures is delightful and inspiring. Taraji, Olivia, and Janelle are amazing, I was really annoyed by Kevin Costner's white savior character, and I was delighted to see Aldis Hodge and Mahershala Ali, who I was not expecting. I was impressed by Kirsten Dunst's white lady character, who is instantly recognizable from your Facebook acquaintances and replies to black people on Twitter. The whole "I know you think I hate you but I don't" exchange was brutal. I don't want to say it was simplistic, but it was very straightforward. That probably served the message of the story better, but it felt a little glossed over, too pat to be real history.
John Wick is a really enjoyable action movie once you get past the upsetting animal death. There's a surprising amount of worldbuilding in it, stuff that's just on the edges and makes you want more exploration. The stunts are so fucking well done, which I suppose is unsurprising given that the directors were Keanu Reeves's stunt doubles on The Matrix. There is deep thought and attention paid to the fight choreography, and Wick's economy of movement in killing is very reminiscent of Kurosawa's samurai. There's never a wasted punch, kick, or shot. Wick actually reloads his gun when the clip runs out, which I don't think I've ever seen in an action movie before.
This is all well and good, but there's also a ridiculous gleeful spirit of camp to the movie. I was telling C that it reminded me a lot of Boondock Saints (which is a stupid movie that I love a great deal), and not just because Willem Dafoe is in it. The dialogue is hilarious and overwrought, and some fine actors (Ian McShane among them) get to chew the scenery with great relish. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun watching a movie.
Keanu is best paired with John Wick in my opinion, because it's a completely different kind of stupid and also parodies John Wick. Also there's a really cute kitten in it.
I finally got the chance to watch Moonlight, after hearing raves about it for months. I thought I would be overwhelmed and amazed, based on people's reactions, but it's the sort of movie that's quiet and understated, wondrous because it's so subtle. It feels like the sort of fanfiction I have always wanted to write, the minutiae of gestures indicative of things that run deep. C called it just artsy enough, which I think is fair. It's so beautifully shot, and I love the way the harsh fluorescents contrast with the dark blue palette.
There is so much craft and regard put into this movie, and every character is treated as complex. I wrote this before about Luke Cage, but I think it applies here as well. This is what happens when you let people make art about themselves. You get beautiful, nuanced, thoughtful media that everybody else can watch and appreciate, and it is a fucking joy.
I had a very Star Trek filled Saturday. The husband and I went to go see Star Trek Beyond, and it was ridiculous in the best way (lol classical music, always and forever). One of my friends has posited that Fast and Furious movies make a lot more sense if you interpret them through the lens of a werewolf pack. I don’t think Jim Kirk would make a very good werewolf (please send recs if you would like to prove me wrong), but he protects his friends like one. And everybody was fucking amazing and got their moment, but Uhura <33333 Sulu (and his husband and daughter!) <3333333
And then I went and saw Star Trek in the park, basically. It is not something I would have gone to on my own, but one of my husband’s friends was McCoy in the production. (And I found out that my coworker’s husband is the director. Seattle is a very, very small town in many ways.) Also, Mark Okrand (inventor of Klingon and Vulcan) was there as the pre-show entertainment, and I learned that Klingons have forty synonyms for both war and foreheads.
They performed an adaptation of “Space Seed”, which is the one where they find Khan. I think the only episode of TOS I have ever seen is a little bit of the one where Kirk fights the Gorn (and the bits of “The Trouble With Tribbles” in the DS9 episode), so it was really amusing to see where people in the 60s thought where we’d be in the 90s. (There was a lot of flannel among Khan’s contemporaries.) The actress who played Khan was leaps and bounds ahead of Bendysnort Cramperpickle, who never had the charisma or depth of vision Montalban or this actress had.
I have been TOS-adjacent for years, so it was delightful to get an introduction to it from an amateur adaptation. Maybe I’ll give the rest of the series a shot.
I enjoyed the books (obviously, because I read them in like a week), but I admit I was expecting, idk, more of an excess of feeling than I have? I'm excited to read the (apparently) piles of Adam/Ronan, but what I really want is all the teenagely dramalicious (and legit dramalicious, because the thing) Blue/Gansey. This is a good start.
Gansey was the one who made me cry when ( spoiler ). I've been in that situation, and it is awful, to be witness to terrible things and know that it's not your place to intervene (even though I know Ronan did what we all wanted to do with ( more spoiler )). It was not something I'd thought of in a long time, and a thing I was not expecting.
Even though I have no favorites, Ronan is the one I most identify with. Stiefvater posted her character notes for everybody, and I may have laughed slightly hysterically when I got to Ronan's. And then when I got to "manibus" in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. He reminds me a little of how I was when I was younger, to a lesser degree (and also because I was not a boy. Ronan is very... stereotypically masculine in the way he japes and snarls and directs that anger outward. I don't know if he was a girl if he would bottle that anger and let it eat him up from the inside, but it's entirely possible.) I'm looking forward to the fic because I adore the few glimpses of Ronan we get where he's not being angry or an asshole. I want all the unexpected kindness he covers up with flip remarks, the way he's solicitous with Chainsaw, the parts where he forgets to or is too tired to front with Gansey or Adam, and the way he and Blue are alike in so many ways they bump up against each other. I look forward to it all.
Other people have said lots smarter things than I’m going to say about it, and you should check that out. musesfool made a big list here.
Things I really loved, and haven’t really seen other people discuss:
( spoiler cut )
Cody wanted to go see The World's End and so I went with him. I went in more or less cold, so all I knew about it was pub crawl with vaguely-apocalyptic something. I was expecting a silly little romp, which it delivered, but not a relationship that made me cry, reflections on growing up, or Sandman references.
( Spoilers within )
But yes. The World's End is fantastic, and you should go watch it.
So I spent the rest of the day dicking around on the Internet and watching most of Book 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It does not suck! I like it! It also says a great deal about the state of TV that characters on a kid's show are more nuanced and mature than a lot of shows for an adult audience, and that I'm having a bit of a time coming up with female characters as sensible, capable, and non-essentialist as Katara. Also, Aang's methods of coping with trauma? Much better than a certain Time Lord I could name.
(Also also, Iroh is my favoritest character ever and we should be drinking buddies. The interplay between Zuko and his uncle is fantastic. You can tell they get on each other's nerves a lot, but there's also mutual respect and possibly a smidge of affection too. Nuance, maaaan.)
(I see random tracks from the Children of Dune soundtrack have become the oddly ubiquitous majestic background music of choice, much like O Fortuna or Lux Aeterna.)
I don't know how I feel about it. I mean, there's the whole we-can't-really-portray-the-Magisterium-
I've been reading a lot more now that I can surreptitiously monitor Bloglines at work, and it's nice. Lots of nonfiction, for some reason I can't seem to read any fiction right now. Too much food politics stuff (Pollan, Nestle, etc), and I can now tell you in excruciating detail about how truly fucked-up the American agricultural system is. I do not think this is a good thing, as it just makes me guilty when I consume meat that I know has been industrially processed. But since when have I ever learned things because they make me feel warm and fuzzy?
I also read Conservatize Me by John Moe, who is a disembodied voice at the NPR station in Seattle. The book seems like it'll be kind of silly and fun (sushi-eating latte-drinking urbanite immerses self in conservative culture!), but it's just fucking irritating. You mean that there are conservatives out there who don't toe the Republican party line and don't wake up every morning planning how best to enrich their corporate benefactors? Zounds! My tiny leftist mind is blown! And did you know that maybe not all people are totally liberal or totally conservative but somewhere in between? If this is really the image liberals project to the world, I want to fire their publicist.
Now. As a palate cleanser, I read Dan Savage's book about his journey towards marriage. It's much better and much more heartfelt. Don't get me wrong. I disagree with Dan about a shitload of things (including Iraq, fat chicks, and the propensity of males to cheat when given the chance), but we stand in complete agreement on gay marriage. It personalizes the impact of these big huge decisions that might be abstract to the fuckheads in DC, but are very real to those down in the trenches, and he does a really good job of illustrating that. And the book is also really funny. That helps too.
I also now have in my possession the new Anthony Bourdain book. I also dug up these interviews from the Powell's website (god I miss that store, so much). I am happy.
(And if anybody can point me to a mileage standards chart by country, I would totally appreciate it. I am going crazy googling and can't find a damn thing.)
Saw PotC 2 yesterday. Profoundly silly and not as good as the original, but still cracking fun. Critics can go stuff themselves. Don't seem to remember so much Jack/Elizabeth wotsis in the first one (I haven't seen it but once, so I may be misremembering things), but after what happened w/X3, I'm past being amazed at what people can and will do with beloved and logical franchises. Two things though: I did not expect the part of Davy Jones to be played by Cthulhu, and Keira Knightley in pirate drag? Heartily approve.
2. Reasons why my manager rocks: He makes fun of stupid customers with me when we have to score my call obs (After a particularly dim-witted one: "Did you understand everything he said?" "Yes." "Did he understand everything you said?" "..." "--well, I understood everything you said. Pass."), and he likes Firefly.
3. The Lost episode where Claire and her baby get baptized? Annoys the shit out of me and makes no sense whatsoever. In general, the interpersonal tension on Lost is starting to get silly. I don't care if Jack and Locke are duking it out for superiority and leadership, give me more polar bears!
4. I take back what I said about Ana Lucia. She is totally hot and I don't hate her anymore.
Adrienne, when's your train getting in? I hope it's early, because the scheduling people at work have me waitlisted for Friday. Johnny says he'll take you to the gayborhood if I can't get off work.
1. J. Michael Straczynski has read his Tolkien. Not just the big epic War Against the Shadow, but the little things-- some of the speeches, a random reference here and there indicate he's thought a lot about it.
2. Ivanova and Talia Winters? That was not subtext. That was waving "Hi! Lookit me! Hi hi!" supertext.
3. Nobody understands my love for Garibaldi/Franklin. Nobody. Of course, I am not discounting the great fondness people seem to have for Garibaldi/Sinclair, but I haven't seen season one yet, so I reserve my judgement.
I need slash, dammit. Got any?