My Big Ben Solo Problem

Originally posted on Patreon November 10, 2020.


I used to like Kylo Ren.

No joke!

I have a lunchbox I bought from Gamestop, stickers,  a bunch of tees from various nerd stores, and essentially okay, I was that person who bought Kylo merch back in the early days of the sequel trilogy.

Unfortunately, his standom ruined that for me with their insistence that Kylo was just a little baby who didn’t do anything wrong and the way a large amount of the fandom sees nothing wrong with harassing people who are even mildly critical of their ship.

(Please go through the comments and quote retweets on twitter to Ashley Reese’s tweet hyping her Snapewives article for an example of how awful his fandom insists on being in his name!)

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Stitch’s Hamilfilm Thoughts

As always, if you don’t like when things you like get criticized on any level… skip this post, beloveds!


My friend K got me into Hamilton.

K and I met in our senior seminar in the history department at our alma mater. She went on to get her MA in History and I went to English  Literature. When Hamilton was getting popular and she’d already traveled to see the show once before, she introduced me to what was (and remains) a stellar musical experience at the height of its early popularity. If not for K, I don’t think I would’ve cared as much as I actually do about Hamilton

Nor would I have a framework to build any critical thoughts.

Fast forward to July 2020 and well, I actually still think it’s a great musical.

However, I also have… thoughts on Hamilton after what feels like an eternity.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse and Miles Morales: Spider-Man: When Authenticity Matters

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COPYRIGHT: © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

INT. MILES’ APARTMENT – BEDROOM MILES MORALES draws HOME-MADE STREET ART NAME-TAGS at a desk, headphones on, singing along to a song he’s too young for (”Sunflower”), but he doesn’t quite know the words yet.

It’s no secret that part of what launched Into the Spider-Verse into the stratosphere and gained it tons of love from critics and audiences alike was how, for an animated movie starring superheroes and a cartoon pig from another dimension, real and relatable a film it was.

Spider-Man is one of the most relatable superheroes out there and when he’s not relatable, you know he’s not being written well. Even in the recent Spider-Man video games, little and large things alike serve to make you feel like you get insight into Peter Parker’s familiar life. Sure, he’s a superhero that swings across the skyline saving folks from all kinds of crime, but he’s also a nerd who loves his aunt and gets distracted by cool weird things and makes bad jokes.

Peter has had decades of being written to be relatable. Recently, he almost always feels like an authentic example of a millennial trying to make it work in New York.

Miles… hasn’t exactly had that.

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Horror Noire: Black History, Horror (A Review)

 

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Black history is Black horror.

– Tananarive Due

One of Tananrive Due’s comments early on in the Shudder’s Horror Noire documentary will live on in my mind forever because of how it gets right to the meat of the relationship between Blackness and the horror genre.

I love learning things and I spend a lot of time being afraid of things – especially the things I’m learning about – so Horror Noire, Shudder’s new documentary about the history of Black people (and Blackness) in the horror genre is right up my alley.

Back when I was watching Eli Roth’s AMC docuseries History of Horror and livetweeting some of the episodes, one of my recurring complaints was about the whiteness of horror history as they portrayed it. Across six episodes (I didn’t watch the ghost story one because I am a baby), there were very few experts and actors of color that got to let their horror knowledge shine.Read More »

Rumors of a racebent Superman? Yes, please!

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I’ve been sitting on my thoughts about the future of Superman’s presence in the DCEU for a while, but I’m done being introspective so it’s time for me to talk about these rumors.

Rumors that Henry Cavill might be exiting the DCEU have been swirling around for a while (and none of us nerds are quite sure what’s actually happening), but what’s new and interesting are rumors floating around that Michael B. Jordan’s star is shining so brightly that he’s actually a possible top contender for the role when they eventually return to a Superman-focused franchise.

Henry Cavill So Beautiful

I love Henry Cavill like I love naps – endlessly, deeply, and can I have some more – and while I’ll actually miss him as Superman because I genuinely liked Man of Steel and Justice League, I’m so cool with the cape going to a performer of color the next time they reboot the franchise.Read More »

Five Things I Want From Amazon’s Eventual Lord of the Rings Series

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For some wild reason I can’t understand, Amazon has decided to start with a quarter of a billion dollar budget for their upcoming Lord of the Rings series. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, that initial $250 million dollar deal is only the tip of the iceberg since, “When production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion”.

Shows with bigger budgets than most Hollywood blockbusters are a current “big” thing with HBO’s Westworld and Game of Thrones pulling in huge audiences and costing millions of dollars per episode. (Westworld$100 million price tag reportedly had a for its first season and Game of Thrones surely has surpassed that in all of their seasons.) Same goes for the BBC and Netflix series Troy: Fall of a City.

The thing about this newly locked in Lord of the Rings deal is that we’re at $250 million for a series we know next to nothing about and that’s kind of amazing. This is an expensive series that has the potential to go anywhere and do anything – within the confines of Tolkien’s worldbuilding.

So here are five things that I desperately want to see from this Lord of the Rings series that no one on this green-ish earth asked for.


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[Guest Post] Finn as everyman? How about no?

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After the release of The Last Jedi, there was a noticeable shift in how members of the general audience discussed Finn – if they talked about him at all. People who resented his inclusion in The Force Awakens – viewing him as a sign of P­C culture run amok or as an extra whose sole purpose was to diversify the cast – had little to say this time around, likely because his marginalization in the series’ latest installment merely served to confirm their negative view of his place in the trilogy.

Instead, it was those viewers who claimed to like Finn whose tune changed.

As it became clearer that Force sensitivity would never be part of his arc, at least not in this segment, there arose a collective sigh of relief from certain quarters: “Good! He doesn’t need to be Force sensitive to be important. Let him just be Finn. Let him just have a blaster and kick ass that way. Let him be the everyman the audience can relate to.”

Except that – to paraphrase Luke Skywalker, as he faced off against Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi – “Amazing. Every word you just said is wrong.”Read More »

[Audio Review] Stitch Takes On… Spider-Man: Homecoming

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So I’m trying something new by making an audio review following my second viewing of Spider-Man: Homecoming! Right now I don’t have a way to transcribe the audio, but f I ever get to a place where I can afford to pay for transcription… I’ll get on that.

This review contains so many spoilers for Homecoming, a metric ton of Tony Stark Hate (ugh), some bitterness about the Miles Morales movie we could’ve had, and goopy fawning over how much I loved this movie.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A Sorta Snarky Review

Note: I absolutely wrote the wrong title down initally because I am a space case. Deal with it.

I went and saw Fantastic Beasts this past week.

Considering that my video review is almost an hour long, obviously it inspired a whole host of grouchy thoughts on my end. Mainly that the film’s beautiful cinematography and the way that the magical creatures first brought to our attention in Rowling’s 2001 magizoological textbook are brought to life on the big screen don’t make up for barely unbroken whiteness, Rowling’s misuse of Native cultures in and out of the film, and what reads to me as a really shitty narrative about abuse survivors.

I fell out of love with the Harry Potter series pretty early on. I liked the idea of the franchise and owned all of the books at one time or another, but with every new tidbit that Rowling revealed about her characters and the world that they lived in, I found myself increasingly disenchanted. This is all thanks to Rowling’s constant need to express regret for everything except how lacking her works were in diversity and her new material which contains things like confirming/canonizing her “lycanthropy as a stand-in for AIDS/HIV” stance or the way she views Native cultures as a monolith while misrepresenting and misusing Native peoples and cultures.

I watched Fantastic Beasts specifically because I wanted to check the film out and provide an honest opinion of it. I did go into it expecting to hate two specific things (the lack of diversity and Johnny Depp) but I was surprised at all the other things that made me annoyed or uncomfortable throughout watching it.

Note: If you’re unfamiliar with the critical slant I tend to take when watching films, understand that this isn’t going to be a review where I say super goopy things about the film. I think I say one and a half nice things about it and they’re not very nice at that. So be prepared for a rather caustic look at the thing you probably love!

Notes, clarification, warnings, and links to thing you might want to read are under the cut!

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Suicide Squad: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

 

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If I had to put it to numbers, I’d say that Suicide Squad is approximately 70% “my thing”.

The 30% that isn’t is largely comprised of the following: violence against women being brushed off or used as humor, most of the male/female relationships (and the fact that there are no positive female friendships or relationships in the squad), Katana basically not getting to do a lot beyond fight scenes and a few emotional moments, Slipknot being killed off within minutes of his introduction to prove a point, how David Ayer reframes Harley and the Joker’s relationship (and her characterization), and the Joker himself.

Had Suicide Squad come out in 2007 when I was a fresh-faced high school senior, I would have loved it entirely from the start. Of course, 2007!Stitch wasn’t as focused on picking out the problematic elements in the media they consumed as 2016!Stitch is.

As it stands, I actually enjoyed Suicide Squad almost as much as 2007!me would have. I went into the film kind of hopeful, having read several reviews that were really critical of the film but trying to will DC into having better luck with this film than with Batman Vs Superman (which I saw in theaters and hated but then, when I got the Ultimate Edition, came to understand it a bit more).

And you know what? It was entertaining as hell to watch.Read More »

My kingdom for a Bond-of-Color

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Image found here

I’m not going to call myself a James Bond expert or anything so very trite, but I did spend most of last year (and a huge chunk of this year) both having intense opinions on the James Bond film franchise to anyone that would listen and writing an in-depth article series for The Mary Sue about the movies. It’s pretty fair to say that I get the film franchise better than the average non-Bond blogger.

That’s why I’m pretty uninterested in the idea of casting yet another vaguely attractive white guy in the role.

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Ghostbusters Trailer #1: A Major Bust.

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My nine year old niece wants to be a scientist when she grows up. For holidays and birthdays she begs for science kits and star wars stuff (because she dreams of being a scientist in SPACE). She does experiments and uses her telescope every night she can.

She’s also started getting into older movies about scientists and when she heard that Ghostbusters would be coming out with the core four characters as ladies, she was so excited because she would get to see a super cute Black woman onscreen as a scientist with Leslie Jones’ casting.

Except…that’s not what we’re getting, is it? At least, not from the first trailer…Read More »

Fantastic Beasts & Invisible Diversity in the Harry Potter Series

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For a body of media that seems fixated on different avenues of oppression, the Harry Potter series is seriously lacking when it comes to actual diversity and oppression that doesn’t revolve around magical beings. Seriously, just about everything’s a metaphor for some form of oppression or some facet of a marginalized identity.

If you’re looking for allegories about human rights and racism shown through a lens of magical humans and magical species, cool. That’s what you’re getting.

If you’re actually looking for nuanced interpretations of how race, power, and privilege intersect and affect each other in a world of magic, maybe look somewhere else.

J. K. Rowling’s world isn’t going to be it.

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[Film Review & Recap] Spectre

Here you have it, almost 5000 words on Spectre that looks at the film’s plot, its shortcomings, and my expectations for the film. All of the photographs in this monster baby of a post come from antovolk‘s trailer screencaps on flickr .

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It feels like almost everything I’ve done has led up to this point.

For me (and many fans), 2015 was the year of the spy. I’ve seen most of the spy films and television shows that came out this year and of course, I spent most of my year watching and rewatching James Bond films so that I could write my column over at The Mary Sue. From Dr. No to Skyfall (with a few unofficial films along the way), I made my way through every single James Bond film made between 1962 and now. Most of these movies I watched a minimum of three times. Others? Yeah, I went way overboard.

I think that after a year of spy comics, movies, and shows, it was inevitable for Spectre to fall short of the hype that I had built up, a crashing force of momentum born from the moment that they announced the title of the film. I’ve spent close to a year of my life eating, breathing, and dreaming about James Bond. I may be behind on Fleming’s original canon, but I am nearly one with Eon Production’s slightly softer canon.

Here’s the thing though: maybe all of that time worked against me. Maybe I was destined not to completely enjoy Spectre because it had been built up to Leviathan-like proportions in my head thanks to this year. I don’t know. What I do know is that I saw Spectre twice – first on November 7th with my Skyfall partner Rob and then on the following Tuesday with my trusty notebook – and it has yet to move me the way that Skyfall did.

It isn’t that Spectre is a bad movie. It’s not. It’s full of lush scenery and pretty people and the most brutal fight scenes. Craig is a good Bond and I’ve got to admit that even his least popular Bond film (coughcoughQuantumOfSolacecoughcough) is better than like ninety percent of the worst Bond films out there.

Spectre is almost entirely my thing.

Except for where it’s not.Read More »