Category Archives: Movie, Movies, Movies

I love movies, especially big blockbuster popcorn flicks.

I Won’t Watch (Don’t Ask Me)

The movie The Color Purple is the reason I don’t watch the Oscars.

The 1985 movie was incredible with a great cast, a wonderful adaption of the book, and beautifully filmed. And while it was nominated for 11 Academy Awards there was one category that was overtly missing from the list: Best Director.

Steven Spielberg was not even nominated. Despite being nominated by the Golden Globes and the Director’s Guild of America (winning the DGA award), Steven Spielberg was conspicuously missing from the Best Director category at the Oscars. This is where I learned how completely subjective the Academy is towards movies and their makers. Spielberg was “that Jaws guy” and “that horror director”, so he was completely discounted as a nominee based on his past work and not his current work. It would take another 8 years for the Academy to recognize his talent as a movie director with Schindler’s List.

Many of those who are voting members don’t understand how movies are made these days. A lot of voting members have admitted to not even watching all the films, but voting despite that small detail. While I agree that popularity should not dictate who wins, there are still many performances that are completely ignored. Motion capture is a perfect example of how actors’ performances are discounted despite their brilliance.

Zoe Saldana as Neytiri in Avatar and Andy Serkis as Gollum in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and as Ceasar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes gave inspired and amazing performances; but the Academy could have cared less because they were considered special effects. Motion capture requires a lot from an actor to try and give a performance without a costume, covered with “ping-pong balls”, and with a camera in front of their face capturing every move. Talk about distracting.

But the only thing the voting members can take away from this is that the characters were created in a computer. They make a decision based on ignorance.

While many actors feel that the Oscars are less important for recognition than the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards, where they are judged by their peers in the industry, it is still galling to me that voters who are no longer in the business or have no concept of how the industry has changed are tasked with picking the “winners”. And even more disrespectful is when those nominees are very, very, very white. If Kenneth Branagh had filmed Chi-Raq, the Academy would be falling over itself to make nominations.

There needs to be a better system.

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Everything Is Awesome

I have been waiting impatiently for the release of Deadpool and was set to see it first thing Friday, February 12. But Mr. Murphy, of Murphy’s Law (the saying, not the TV show) had other plans for me. I got sick on Thursday and I’m still fighting it. But I dragged myself out of the house on Tuesday the 16th to finally see the Merch with a Mouth.

I write a series of books where the main character (well, the one who talks anyways) speaks sarcasm fluently, so anything with a lot of snark is right up my alley. The film did not disappoint and after seeing it I have dubbed it “The Greatest Romance Film Of All Time”.

Yes, a romance film. While that my seem bass-ackwards to those who are only vaguely familiar with the movie, let me make my point – without spoilers of course, every point that seems spoilery has been seen in the trailers.

Love At First Sight/Snark
When the couple first meets there is an instant attraction and they verbally have a “who had it worse as a child” sparring match. This is a standard plot device of any romantic film. It doesn’t matter that the guy is a merchant for hire who kills people and the gal is a woman who sells her body, they are people and they form a relationship.

Committed Relationship
The relationship is committed. He supports her and she supports him. They compliment each other. They both have respect for one another. Yes there is a great montage of sex scenes but people in committed relationships have sex. Sex is a great thing in a committed relationship.

I took my 16-year old son to see this picture and we had a wonderful discussion on love and relationships. I know the kid watches porn on his phone, I’ve seen it. But instead of chastising him I used it as an opportunity for open discussion. Porn is unrealistic, even the people in the industry know that. Kids today with their abstinence-only sex education have legitimate questions about sex and relationships that no one will answer. They want to be educated but the American culture has such a hard time with discussing sex that we give them tons of violence instead. It’s stupid.

Also, my son is autistic and everything has to be explained very bluntly because he doesn’t get subtlety. Much like Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Surviving Tragedy
The guy is diagnosed with cancer – everywhere. It’s terminal. He wants to leave so she doesn’t have to watch him die. She is tough, she won’t let go. She looks at all options, all remedies. She never once considers leaving him alone with such a huge emotional bag to carry.

Enduring Faith
So the guy gets his special “treatment” and the side effects result in the “one avocado having sex with a slightly older avocado” condition of his looks. He loses faith in himself. He thinks he can never go back to her because of his looks. It is a shallow and simplistic assumption. He completely underestimates the love his woman has for him. He falters, badly, with deadly consequences.

It’s very much like a rom-com but with lots of gratuitous violence and an awesome, explosive ending.

As a female movie-goer who loves action movies this film is to be applauded for it’s depiction of the main female characters. All of them were treated with respect, given meaningful roles, and they all kicked major ass. There is a female villain that holds her own with the giant silver guy and their fight is awesome.

As a movie buff, the opening credit sequence was the best I have ever seen with a major shout-out to the writers who are the most overlooked professionals in this business. Writers are the tortured souls of film, giving their carefully prepared works to studio executives who then tear through the thoughts and words like Vikings through an English village.

 

[POST SCRIPT: Regarding the horrific reaction to male genitalia being seen on the screen, it’s completely overblown. The guy is fighting naked, his penis is going to be seen however briefly. That is what happens when you fight without clothing, people. Hate to scare you, but we are all naked under our clothing.]

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Stop the Star Wars/Star Trek Hate!

I’m a geek. I’m also an old geek. My first experience with geek television was reruns of George Reeves “Superman”, the campy Adam West “Batman”, and of course Star Trek. Even as a child I loved the idea of traveling in space; a couple of years later the US put a man on the moon and the possibilities were endless. At least they were until the Space Program ended.

Loving Star Trek led me to loving other SF movies, television shows, and most importantly books. I read all the Tarzan books when I was in 6th grade, by 7th grade I was devouring Heinlein and Bradbury, shortly thereafter is was Frank Herbert’s Dune series. And in the summer of 1977 I was transported to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars.

I found new friends to share my love of Star Wars when the Prequels were released. I loved them and accepted them for where they fit into the overall story – Jar Jar Binks included. I faithfully watched all the TOS actors in the Star Trek movies, I devoured The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, and I actually really enjoyed the Star Trek reboot in 2009. I thought it was a clever way to tell new stories. Heck, regeneration has worked for Doctor Who for 50 years.

Several friends have posted on Facebook with their “likes” or “dislikes” of the new Star Trek movie. Almost every one of them starts out “I know I’m a die-hard Star Wars fan, but…” or something like that. They feel they have to apologize for liking a series from the 1960s because they fell in love with movies from the 1970s. What gives? Why is it wrong to like both?

Most of my Star Wars friends are younger, 30s and under. In their growing up years Star Wars was first (1977) and Star Trek was second (ST:TNG 1987). They think they have to choose one fandom over another; so if they like Star Wars they can’t like Star Trek. The indie movie “Fanboys” by Kyle Newman really pushed the Star Wars versus Star Trek meme and, while it was played up for laughs, only cemented the notion that fans can only like one.

So to my fellow Star Wars fans I would say, stop the hate. It isn’t an either-or situation. They are both good franchises and both deserve our love. In fact voice actor Stephen Stanton (General Tarkin in the Clone Wars Animated Series) promotes this every time he appears at a convention by bringing his friend Rick Fitts who appeared on ST:TNG. Rick has done many photo ops in the 501st Stormtrooper Legion booth along with many costumed Star Wars fans – and he is always welcome.

Share the love, people.

stanton_fitts

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