Monday, November 7, 2016

The Presidential Drinking Game

Greetings one and all. Pardon the title, there will be no drinking game included in this post. It just seems like a fitting title for this circus of an election. I want to preface this by stating that I really prefer not to get political. I know I write myself into a corner at times where I cannot help but share my political tendencies. I know that these tendencies deviate from popular thought, how against political correctness I declare to be. Well, I won't really delve into unconventional thought. Instead, I have decided to put my two cents into this spectacle known as the 2016 Presidential Election. This is an election movies can only dream about. That being said, I hope with the utmost of expectations that Hollywood adapts the ridicules and media frenzy that has surrounded this election since the summer of last year into a feature film. A comedy would be most suitable I reckon. The Republican debates alone are worthy of a chunky segment of runtime. Never have I witnessed such an absurd display of so-called politics. Especially recently, politics have been thrown out the window only to be replaced with tabloid journalism. Rather than deliberate on why they are a good fit for president, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have spent time denouncing one another. Essentially, this election is more of a "Don't Vote For The Other One" campaign.
We have gotten to a point where citizens are choosing candidates in spite of the other candidate. People are voting for Clinton because they do not want Trump, and people are voting for Trump because they do not want Clinton. Granted, there are individuals out there who are die-hard supporters of one or the other. Personally, I fall in the category of indifferent, meaning that I recognize the ineligibility of both candidates. Fortunately, I am not registered so I can't really trouble myself too much about the election results. We all know Hillary is going to win, right? Can we just make that declarative assumption and give up now? What is flabbergasting to me is how Clinton clinched the election. Not the fact that Trump wants Mexico to pay for a concrete wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. Not the fact that Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States. No, the reason Trump has fallen from the good graces he had on a thin thread was the illicit recording known colloquially as "locker room talk." It is absolutely astounding that something like this can annihilate a candidate's chances for presidency. I am aware that the majority of people believe this recording is anything but trivial, however I have to ask who the hell cares? I understand the sensitivity of this topic of sexual assault; however, the recording does not indicate that Trump physically attacked a woman. Yes, grabbing women by the pussy is a crude and disgusting comment. Forgive me for my belief that Bill Clinton most likely spoke in those terms as well. In addition to actually assaulting women sexually, but that was in the past everybody it's irrelevant. Unless Donald Trump said it. This was a recording taken over ten years ago. People will argue that it is still a determinant of character. I will counter-argue by noting Hillary's smug and dismissive remarks towards rape victims and how cavalier she was about helping rapists get away with the crime. People defend Hillary's honor by saying that was in the past. Pause. Then why does it matter what Trump said about some married woman ten years ago? I consider Hillary's uncaring comments toward rape victims far more incriminating than Trump's sex drive. If Hillary can change, then Trump should be given the same benefit of the doubt. By now you may be questioning my political indifference to this election. True, I dislike Hillary more than I dislike Trump. That is not to say that I like Trump. I believe he is politically unqualified to be President of the United States. He is still that wealthy entrepreneur who wants everyone to like him. He is desperate to be accepted beyond his level of prosperity, and this quality will prove to be humiliating in a president of such a prominent country. That being said, with the "Don't Vote For The Other One" campaign, I would vote for Trump over Hillary if I had a gun to my head. Why? Because I do not like Hillary. This is personal. Much like the dislike for Donald Trump is personal among the majority of supposedly informed individuals. Hillary Clinton is an untrustworthy, manipulative snake who has twisted the system to benefit herself. Not the American people, herself. The fact that the media is making light of her various indiscretions and scandals is infuriating. I realize that the media has been pro-Hillary from the get-go, as was the Democratic National Committee it turns out, but it seems unpatriotic to be so uneven with this election. Finding one pro-Trump article is near-impossible, as is finding one anti-Clinton article. If an article tries to be anti-Clinton, it is a pathetic and obligatory attempt to feign objectivity. As of yesterday, the FBI has ceased all investigations into Hillary's emails. How convenient, given that the election is tomorrow. It is especially frustrating to me that, when asked about the emails, Hillary immediately blames Russian hackers and Russia's attempt to sway the election in Trump's favor. The idea that Russia is this evil empire out to destroy the United States is a paranoid sentiment that is reminiscent of the Red Scare craze. The emails distributed by WikiLeaks have also been credited to Russian hackers, which is ludicrous considering that Julian Assange has no ties to Russia. Oh, of course, he must have used Russian servers to release these emails. Got it. Regardless of who leaked the emails, shouldn't we be focusing on the content of these emails? When Hillary is asked questions about these emails, she deliberately avoids explaining herself and the media lets her get away with it. Sure, she expresses "sincere" regret over the incident(s), but forgive me for having my doubts that Clinton has turned over a new leaf. If given the opportunity, she will commit a similar act of negligence if it entails advancing her political career. As if she can move any higher up the food chain. All this anti-Clinton rhetoric seems driven by conspiracy theories, I am aware, but such language appears to be necessary when searching for the truth. Again, conspiracy-esque. What bothers me is that Hillary refuses to divulge relevant information regarding her political behavior, a right that is due to the American people voting in this election. What bothers me is the rampant amount of double standards present in this election. People demand that Trump release his tax forms and elaborate on sexual assault accusations, yet Hillary is given a free pass when it comes to suspicious emails and a history of political debacles. Down below, I will link a video explaining the discrepancies in Clinton's career more thoroughly. Down below in the comments, you may feel free to call be a Trump supporter or conspiracy theorist because such name-calling will not bother me, for I know that I am not either of those. Well, maybe the conspiracy theorist, but at least I can function in society. Sort of.
Anyway, I think that's enough political ranting. I would like to reiterate my lack of a political position. My only declaration is that I do not like Hillary and that I do not like the unevenness of media coverage on these two candidates. Donald Trump is a caricature of sorts who is desperate to affirm his self-proclaimed greatness. Hillary Clinton is a politician who abuses the system to benefit herself and she never fails to smile when she has done just that. Again, I hope a movie is made about this election, preferably directed by Jay Roach after his excellent work with Game Change. I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if Bernie Sanders earned the nomination instead of Hillary Clinton. For one thing, I would have registered to vote and put my ballot in for Bernie. In Michael Moore's documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, Bernie Sanders said that this country needs to readjust its priorities from worshipping greed to serving the majority of people in the United States. He represents an ideal that may not become reality in this political environment, though I am still drawn to supporting him over the clown and the two-faced generic politician.
I hope you enjoyed this amateur analysis of the 2016 Election. I urge you to vote for whoever you damn well please to vote for, or to bow out of this lunacy and just watch the world burn. Have a wonderful apocalypse.

The Flaws of HRC

Monday, October 24, 2016

Disclaimers, Dexter, and Disney

Greetings one and all. I wish I had a better opening line, but that's all I have. Instead of writing an essay for my modern lit class, I decided to do some writing on this medium. Let's face it, this is more significant than writing about the significance of "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. For shits and giggles, I'll give a brief synopsis of the film that I had to watch in order to write a paper comparing the poem to the film. Watching the movie Howl was just as dull and, dare I say, excruciating as reading the poem was. I won't get too much into it seeing as how this website could be tracked down for plagiarism once I turn in my paper. Moving on.
Several years later, I continue this post. I feel as though I should add audience laughter after every self-deprecating comment. That would require having an actual audience, however. Anyway. I have several things on my mind that I would like to discuss or merely glaze over, depending on how important I feel the thing is. Much has happened since my last post, events that I want to revel in for the most part. This is going to be a very fragmented post, so I apologize for that in advance. I will attempt to write this as professionally as possible and refrain from conversational talk. That may be a feat I cannot accomplish considering how giddy I am about certain events. Enough cock-teasing. Ready, set, let's begin.
A Promised Retraction. A few months back, I condemned the new Ghostbusters movie as feminist propaganda. I am paraphrasing, of course, to make what I actually said sound worse than it was. Why would I do such a thing? Regardless of the technicalities of what I said, I promised I would admit I was wrong. Here is exactly what I said: "If the movie turns out to be hilarious and plot-drivenly good, I will not deny it. I will admit I was wrong and prematurely critical." Adding to that, emphasis here, I said: "I will not, however, say that feminists were right. If I enjoy the film, it will be due to the talented director and his collaboration with the cast and script. Movies are movies, people." There you have it, word for word what I said. Now that words have been included to bulk up this portion, allow me to say that I judged the movie too quickly before ever watching it. I blame it on the noise surrounding the movie. If it weren't for these new-wave feminists, I would have watched the movie like any other without any preconceptions. Putting aside ideas of female empowerment, let us take a brief glance at Ghostbusters as a movie. It was generally entertaining and the jokes landed rather well. The women were not annoying at all, and why would they be? I can only speak for Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, as I've said in the other post, because I know and appreciate their sense of humor. Kate McKinnon, a recent Emmy winner mind you, was funny, and so was Leslie Jones believe it or not. Well, she was tolerable anyway, for I feared her to be a walking stereotype as the trailer implied. Each of the women were funny, in my opinion, and I give special kudos to McCarthy because, well, I thought she was the funniest. Chris Hemsworth was hilarious, I have to admit. As much as I don't care for him, he was very amusing as the dim-witted receptionist. The movie as a whole is nothing extraordinary, nor is it anything atrocious. Ghostbusters 2016 was just a good movie, plain and simple. One nerd technicality I will agree with is that the movie should have been set in a different universe; however, there were never any specific references to a former team of Ghostbusters. At least not that I noticed. I was never a die-hard fan of the original Ghostbusters anyway. They were entertaining, for sure. But hey, so was the 2016 rendition. At one point in the film, the ladies are reading what trolls have to say online about their Ghostbusters team, which is a knowing nod to the real-life trolls who hated on this very movie. I was one of them, I admit, and this is my restitution. Forgive me, Paul Feig, but you did all right. While looking at the troll comments, one of the women says, "Don't listen to what crazy people write online." The movie should really follow its own advice.
Hello, Dexter Morgan. I don't know how I can possibly sum this show up. To start off, I have never before seen Dexter until this past August. How it all began is rather a funny story that involves a random guy and Netflix. That's how the greatest stories ever told begin, right? Basically, he suggested we watch the show from the beginning--because why not?--so that's what we did. I'm a bit surprised I have never seen it prior to that moment, considering my intense interest in serial killer anthologies. Anthology is a good term to use there, says I. The random guy and I went through two episodes before falling asleep, and that was all it took for me to get hooked. More than that, I was utterly enthralled by those two episodes and I would continue to be stunned by Dexter, both the show and the character. It was no wonder that the show was a massive success in its time. Before I say anything more, I would like to point out how brilliant Michael C. Hall's performance was. Really, people, let's give him a round of applause because the depth he went into to portray a sociopathic serial killer with a Code was tremendous. As much as I love Bryan Cranston... No, Walter White was still a bit more of a challenge. Though Michael C. Hall has my lifetime adoration nevertheless. Like Breaking Bad, it took me well after the series finale to watch Dexter from beginning to (tragic, untimely) end. In a word, Dexter is a masterpiece. I find myself tearing up just thinking about how incredible the show is in its entirety. Thinking about how it is truly over makes me cry, as I listen to the subtle and melodic musical score of the show. People debate how there could be a continuation, seeing as how they did not kill off Dexter, but I'm afraid that's hogwash. [Spoilers, duh.] How can they go on after such a disappointing finale? Sure, he's alive and living in isolation as a lumberjack. Sure, he could reunite with Hannah and Harrison. I can't help but wonder why the writers of the show did not make that the finale in the first place then? I understand that Dexter feels as though he kills everything he comes into contact with, everything he loves, that he cannot help but kill and lead those he loves into harm's way. My view, however, is that Dexter deserved a happy ending. Before you say, "But how can he after killing Deb?!" Relax. There are many complexities to Dexter, which is why it is such a phenomenal show, and I get why Dexter made that self-sacrificing decision to protect those around him from his own malevolence. Throughout the show, viewers fell in love with Dexter. They rooted for him, yes? I certainly did. So did Rita's mom, remember? And she was a schoolteacher who got fired for conservative views. Moving on. I so wanted Dexter to meet up with Hannah and his son. The second half of the finale had me screaming at my projector, and once he embarked on the stormy Atlantic, it was then I knew that the show decided to take this ill-fated turn. I suppose it was poetic, for Dexter to die with Debra. Only it was not poetic because the final scenes showed Dexter donned in a lumberjack beard, all alone. Tears were shed, heated analysis was made, and months later I am still going through Dexter withdrawal. I intend to watch the series all the way through again, hopefully, when I have endless free time. By then, I hope to write a more in-depth analysis of this remarkable television show. I absolutely love Dexter, despite my bitter views on the ending, and it currently holds a spot as my all-time favorite television show. Sorry, Walter White, but Dexter Morgan has my heart for the time being.
A Dreamlike Announcement. This final piece regards a personal event that has already altered my life in an oh-so optimistic manner. That makes sense, right? The happiness that surrounds me when thinking about this prevents me from speaking coherently. What event, you may be wondering with irritation as you read begrudgingly through my coyness? Last month, I received an email saying "Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney Resort!" Pause for an Olive moment à la Little Miss Sunshine. I shrieked with elation when I got the email. I really could not believe I was accepted. Granted, I am a major Disney geek. I live and breathe Disney. I go there every single year and I have been there approximately fifteen times. It is quite preposterous how spoiled and in love I am with Disney. To be accepted into this "resumé-enhancing" opportunity is simply a dream come true. Working for Disney is my ultimate ambition in life, this is what I want to do. I'm basically reciting what I prepared for my phone interview. That was the most nerve-wracking experience of my adult/career-oriented life. At one point, I got disconnected from my interviewer and began hyperventilating. I was afraid I said "umm" and laughed too nervously and too often throughout my time speaking with her. I had seven pages of notes and answered questions she may ask. The interview lasted about twelve minutes give or take, and that was on August 29. About one month later, I got that miraculous email that granted my wish. I would be part of the Disney College Program, work for Disney World and take seminars to learn about the Disney heritage. I cannot be more thrilled if I wished for it. The idea of spending four months in Disney World is bonkers. All I know, as of now, is that I will be working as a hostess and that my dates are January 23-May 25, 2017. I might extend my program if I am able to do that because I certainly will enjoy my time there. No question about it. I understand the stresses that accompany a job working for one of the most successful companies in the world. There is stress attached to any job, really, and a job for Disney really cannot be so horrendous. I will be at Disney World. I will be living in a truly magical place, absorbing the essence of Walt's dream as well as soaking up the happiness around me as I, hopefully, make guests' days. I sound very cheesy and I am not sorry. Beyond the magic of working at Disney and the ability to visit the parks for free on my days off, I will be putting my foot in the door of this magnificent company. Here's hoping this experience leads me somewhere in the long-term. That's where I'll wrap things up. I got myself too excited. Not in that way. Get your mind out of the gutter. We're talking about Disney here, compose yourselves. I'm done now. Have a magical evening.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Suicide Squad

Greetings one and all. There is a legitimate reason for writing on this humid evening, believe it or not. There will be many tangents and digressions, as per usual, but just know that there is a single focus to this post. Tonight, I exited my local theater completely enthralled by a film my friend asked me to go see with her, and that film, my dearies, is Suicide Squad. Already, I feel there is controversy around that film, not due to senseless PC bullshit but due to the vastly mixed reviews it has gotten thus far. The movie had garnered massive buzz since the release of its trailer and even before that, so the stakes were high. They rose even higher or even further? when the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice received shit reviews after years of unbridled, fanatic enthusiasm. Yes, I concur with the shit reviews because the Batman/Superman film was utterly exhausting and unentertaining. Not that I expected much, given that Ben Affleck was cast as Batman and Jesse fucking Eisenberg was cast as Lex Luthor. Really, DC Comics? That squirrelly Woody Allen wannabe is the choice for a calculating villain previously portrayed by the likes of Kevin Spacey and Gene Hackman? I get it, this is supposed to be young Lex Luthor, but Jesse fucking Eisenberg? I am unconvinced by his capabilities and ultimately disgusted by the performance that was given. As for the Batman, I am pleased to say that Ben Affleck was not that bad. He's no Christian Bale, but I'll give Affleck a pat on the back for his effort. In such a convoluted mess of a film, he was somewhat of a consolation to its horridness. The movie's horridness, that is. One more thing: Wonder Woman was totally unnecessary other than to introduce the Justice League franchise that is to come. Actually, this entire clusterfuck of a movie is just a prelude to the Justice League franchise. Dawn of Justice? Fuck off.
Alright, now for the main event that is Suicide Squad. Be warned that there will be spoilers as the movie is pretty fresh in my mind, though I will mostly be concentrating on the film's quality overall and not specifics. As I continue to write, the ability to form coherent sentences dissolves into psychobabble. What am I saying right now? Must be the voices. To start us off, I'd like to express how much I genuinely enjoyed this movie. As far as superhero movies go, this was very unconventional and flat-out entertaining. I, myself, am not a superhero or comic book connoisseur, so I can't really comment on whether the film did justice to the comics or not. Even if I was that kind of nerd, I don't think I'd care that much, at least I hope I wouldn't. Movies have one primary objective and that is to entertain, and as far as I can see Suicide Squad accomplished that. It was chaotic, vivid, and absolutely thrilling. This sounds like a conclusion, but I assure you it is not. Consider this an inverted post. I'll even end it with a hello. I'm losing my mind. There is one mixed review that I can actually reason with as it is not a "this movie is awful and that's all I can say about it" kind of review. Screen International praises the film as possessing a dark, nihilistic streak as well as kinky pleasures and amusing nastiness; however, they claim that the film congratulates itself for how edgy it thinks it is based on the general badassery it has marketed prior to release. True, the film does deem itself as a vibrant ode to misfits, accentuating on the giddy villainy of its characters, which is kind of the point of the film isn't it? I understand that the critic is saying that Suicide Squad was not as edgy as it thinks it is, which is debatable I suppose depending on one's definition of edgy. Personally, I thought the film was plenty edgy, particularly the batshit insanity of Harley Quinn and the Joker. I'm exaggerating, perhaps, but that does not diminish their awe-inspiring portrayals of insane. I exaggerated again, didn't I? Let's move on to the nitty gritty of the thing.
The introduction of the members of the Suicide Squad was phenomenal. I always love these scenes in movies when there is a group...and there are members with credentials being introduced.... That was a silly and simple sentence, but I assure you I am a whopping twenty years old. Movies like Ocean's 11 are especially entertaining because of the gang that comes to the table. That's my go-to ensemble movie where that sort of intro scene takes place and it's honestly one of my favorite scenes in that whole trilogy. It's as if we're meeting a family of very good friends for the first time. Or am I just getting far too sentimental for what's actually happening? One by one, key characters are introduced in vivid fashion (we're back to Suicide Squad now, apologies for my insanity) and the audience becomes enraptured by this assembly of misfits. There are multiple scenes where the audience has the pleasure of watching these antiheroes interact as an ensemble, like when they equip and get into their Squad gear or when they have a drink at some deserted bar. Those scenes are just delightful, among the reasons why I smile when I think about the movie. Also, the film opens with "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals, and it was then that I knew I was in for a treat. I want to emphasize this now rather than continue bringing it up: the music in this movie was outstanding, each song seemed ideal for the situation and I loved the variety of musical fare that was offered. Moving on. I actually put on the soundtrack for inspiration and just plain enjoyment. I'll try to stay focused I promise.
Onto the characters. We have Will Smith as Deadshot, the brooding hitman with the trademark Will Smith sense of humor; Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, the beautifully psychotic psychopath all psychopaths are psychotic and the Joker's other half; Jared Leto as the Joker himself; Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, the boisterous Aussie who doesn't seem do give many fucks then again none of them do; Jay Hernandez as Diabolo, the tattooed flame conjurer; Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, the deep-down sensitive reptilian; Karen Fukuhara as Katana, the Kill Bill-esque blade-wielder; and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, the sincerely eerie villainess of the movie. Col. Rick Flag and Amanda Waller are technically also part of the Squad, from what I am told, but they aren't criminals so I'm going to gloss over them. Viola Davis played Amanda Waller and she portrayed a decent sociopath, that's all I have to say. The characters whose company I enjoyed most were all of them except Enchantress. Her appearance was appropriately creepy, though I am not a fan of the actress. It's probably because I've never seen her in a movie, and I just have a predisposition to dislike actors I'm unfamiliar with. Her acting was truly uneven though, which is why I took an immediate dislike to her. Or maybe I'm just saying that to justify my irrational hatred.
The one actor I really want to praise here is Margot Robbie because she absolutely shined in this film. Beyond her indisputable beauty and comic-book radiance, her performance truly embodied the looniness of Harley Quinn. The outfitting and make-up was simply perfection, such an innovative rendition of the comic book character. Deeper still, her manifestation of Harley Quinn was a spectacular mix of quirky, affectionate, and psychotic. The love she possesses for the Joker is mesmerizing to observe in moments such as when she's dancing with the Joker in her harlequin jumpsuit and when she's practically floating towards him in a hail of gunfire. As disturbing as their love is, the devotion present in their eyes is infatuating. In case you were wondering, Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is the main attraction of this wild ride of a movie. I honestly thought the Joker would steal the show but he was hardly on screen anyway. Cue the knowing laughter of those who have seen the movie and complained about that. I'll admit, I wish there would have been more of him, especially scenes between him and Harley Quinn. Or Harley Quinn and he? Grammar can be a bitch.
I have been anticipating greatness from Jared Leto's portrayal and--I'll be completely honest here--I was a tad underwhelmed when he first came on the screen. It wasn't until I saw the irrefutable chemistry between Harley Quinn and the Joker that I began to grow on him. I think it was the metal teeth and his mobster get-up that threw me off, but then again that was the unique rendition this movie had for the character. Not every Joker is a carbon copy of the previous one, nor should it be. Jack Nicholson, who will forever be my favorite Joker until further notice, was an exceptional comic book representation of the Joker, while Heath Ledger was a grittier, more realistic villain in terms of his terrorist tendencies. Jared Leto was simply a different kind of criminal, more like the head of a criminal syndicate in modern times, and he definitely had an individualistic take on the infamous villain. Of course, the level of disinhibited insanity was shocking, so kudos to Leto for staying true to the Joker in his own way. Once again, I loved the exchanges between Harley Quinn and the Joker so naturally I just love them both.
Here is the part of post where I wrap things up. I need to because otherwise this post will be exiled to the drafts I forget to post. There's only one I haven't posted actually, so it's not as foreboding as it sounds. I write as if there are people out there who read this, it's funny. Overall, I really enjoyed Suicide Squad. The style of the film, that way it was shot so haphazardly but in a visually pleasing manner, reminded me of the way Matthew Vaughn directs his movies. The scene in Kingsman, for example, where Colin Firth commits a bloody massacre in a church, was very reminiscent in the way Suicide Squad was shot. That's just my opinion of course, as is everything I've said thus far. Except for the fact that Batman v. Superman was absolute horseshit, that's a fact. Until next time. Hello.

P.S. Don't waste your time.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Paranormal Perfection

Greetings and salutations. There is a torrential downpour happening right outside my window, so I figured what better opportunity to flesh out some meaningless writing? A torrential downpour of scattered thoughts, if you will. Do you ever get the feeling that you have an ingrown fingernail? I do. Inspired by this gloomy, menacing weather, I decided to write about a genre I normally don't explore: horror. When I think horror, images of Michael Myers and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre come to mind. And blood--lots of blood. These facets of cinema have always repelled me, especially that creepy, murderous Chucky doll. I absolutely despise that ginger menace. No, the films I will be looking at share a characteristic that is not blood or cheap thrills. While they do feature jump scares quite frequently, the following films are true masterpieces when it comes to the genre of horror. They are, ladies and gentlemen, the psychological horrors.

I write this fresh out of the theater, and by theater I mean my at-home movie theater. I have my own projector, you know, huge screen and all. Anyway, the film I just finished is called Insidious. No need for introduction, I'm sure, as it was immensely popular among audiences, even some critics. Recall that most horror movies rife with jump scares are typically disregarded as "annoying" and repetitive. I quoted "annoying" because that's an actual review Insidious received: "It was far more annoying than it was terrifying." I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist of the review. How can anyone define this film as "annoying," I truly wonder. I am going to say it right now: Insidious is by far the most terrifying film I have ever seen. Considering that I am not a savant of the horror genre, this statement is not very powerful, certainly not requiring bold effects. Not sure if "powerful" was the right word to use there. Then again, neither was "annoying" to describe this movie. Critiquing a horror film is a challenge because it requires the utmost subtlety and vagueness. I cannot go about divulging spoilers as it would caution you that much more before immersing yourself into the experience. How exactly does one go about reviewing horror "flicks" without giving a walkthrough of what to expect? Adjectives come to mind right away, as always, for they provide vague yet impacting declarations of what a movie can be described as. When I think of what I just experienced with Insidious, I think of exactly that word: insidious. The film oozes such malice, such utter terror that you never know what to anticipate. Nevertheless you are anticipating something, you cannot even predict what's lurking about or if there even is anything there. Just the mere thought forces your imagination to run free and once the actuality reaches your line of vision, you are confronted with fears unimaginable to what you foresaw. Let's be honest, one can't really force anything with this film. Unless I'm an amateur when it comes to horror films and I fail to see through the "annoying" facade the director presents for his viewers. He must prey on the gullible weakness of novice viewers such as myself then, for this film frightened any of my sources. By sources, I mean my close friends. Just kidding, I don't have any friends. The film was very unsettling. The visions that appeared upon the screen were expected yet unexpected; they tease you with their absence, then attack you with their sudden entrance. Again, no spoilers. All I will do is highly recommend Insidious. Be warned that the level of sheer terror is frighteningly steep. See what I did there with the pun? There was no pun.

The next film up for vague discussion is called The Conjuring, released three years after Insidious by the very same director. What is that you say? We have a skilled craftsman of horror that does not demand the need for senseless gore on screen? Other than Saw, James Wan seems to have a knack for original, genuinely chilling horror movies. I can actually watch and enjoy them, with my adrenaline levels spiking all the while of course. My craving for horror materialized out of nowhere, it seems. Perhaps I've matured to a point where films like The Shining aren't scary enough. Be advised that The Shining is one of my only experience with horror and that I very much appreciated that debut experience. The book was just as good as the movie, I reckon. Past horror movies I consider to be "horror movies" include Grindhouse productions, which were majorly bloody messes. Literally just a carousel of slaughters and cheap storylines. As a child, I was horrified by the onslaught of blood and guts, or at least that's what I recall from my youth. Since then, I've seen The Shining as well as 1408 and The Skeleton Key. The latter is worth mentioning for it was a truly creepy horror where the ending was everything. That's all I have to say about that. Though I will stress the importance of the ending when it comes to horror movies. A shitty ending will have you leave the theater with a rotten taste in your mouth, sometimes literally. The bile that formed was due to...unmet expectations? I thought I was going somewhere with that, some kind of metaphor. Oh well. Over the course of a horror film, you are left breathless yet your heart is pumping wildly--that's how it should be anyway--so when the ending is flat, you feel sick from all that wasted adrenaline. I feel my figurative language is all over the place there. Just like my train of thought. Let me return to The Conjuring now.

Aside from having an excellent title for a horror film, The Conjuring rests among the classics as one of the greatest among horror cinema. I hope that sentence wasn't too choppy. Loosely based on true events, the film follows famed spookologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. I definitely made up the word "spookologists," I'm sorry. Their official title is paranormal investigator, according to Wikipedia, which is a website that can be relied on when it comes to searching mundane facts, believe it or not. Ed is a self-taught demonologist (actual term), author, and lecturer, while Lorraine is a clairvoyant and light trance medium. Basically, he represents the clean-cut professionalism behind a case while she serves as the up-close and personal encounter with the haunting spirits. Personally, ghost stories triggered the shrug reaction for me, as I remained indifferent to these types of tales because I have never seen a ghost. I ain't afraid of no ghosts. I want to believe in ghosts because it implies prolonged life on this earth, which is somewhat appealing since I have a painstaking fear of mortality. But that's beside the point. Until The Conjuring, I steered clear of all things even remotely scary, including the frightful images of truly creepy ghosts. When it came to the paranormal, the most I've seen is Ghostbusters. The original one, obviously. Because the new one is a negatory as of now. I lose my train of thought so easily. For the last ten minutes, I was looking up attractive actors to see if they were single or not. As if I had a chance to hit up Bradley Cooper. Come on, get it together.

New paragraph. I watched The Conjuring before I watched Insidious, actually, because at the time of writing I had just watched Insidious so I figured it would be best to write about that one fresh from the mind. Therefore, a somewhat significant amount of time (about two or three weeks) has passed since I watched The Conjuring. Forgive me if my analysis and sentiments of the film are not adequately produced as they were for Insidious. What I really appreciated about The Conjuring was the time period; the seventies motif gives the film a vintage aura about it that makes the horror aspect a tad creepier because it conjures images of classic scary movies. Objectively speaking, this film was no where near as terrifying as Insidious; however, its period creepiness will cement The Conjuring in cinematic history nevertheless. I'm not saying The Conjuring was tame overall because it certainly frightened me multiple times. Unlike Insidious, this film relied more on the quiet tension that something might happen as opposed to blatantly horrifying jump scares. (I may have contradicted what I said earlier. What i mean to say is that, while there were moments of silent tension in Insidious, they were typically followed by jump scares. The Conjuring, on the other hand, gave less pay-off in terms of jump scares, as there were more moments of silent tension that were there for aesthetics, I think. Moving on.) The basement of the Perrons' home is where the chilling fear faces the shocking horrors you were anticipating. In other words, the most scary scenes happen down in the basement. Just a complimentary spoiler for the ill and weak-stomached. Oh, and the creepy tree with the noose hanging from a branch (pictured in the poster) is the setting for a heart-stopping moment of dread as well. That's actually a great word to describe the feeling I have when watching these two Wan films: heart-stopping. Not in the thrilling, roller coaster kind of way, of course. The combination of a score reminiscent of classic horror films; the tiptoe slow approach to the horrific reveal; the undeniable tension and shortness of breath; and finally the unsettling jump scare that feels as if the spirits reached from the screen and jolted you themselves. That sums up these two films incredibly well, in my opinion, explaining my newfound fascination with creepy-eerie horror films that do not rely on purely visuals and gore to get your attention.

Before I wrap things up, I would like to give some praise to the acting in each of the films because I just realized that I ignored that. Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson play the husband and wife in Insidious, where their son experiences the cursed art of dream traveling. In more technical terms, he "becomes a vessel for ghosts an astral dimension who want to inhabit his body." Thanks Wikipedia. As the mother of this special child, who gets lost in the Further and is therefore temporarily lost to the world, Rose Byrne gives an excellent scared-shitless performance. At first, you wonder if she is going mad since she seems to be the only one encountering the paranormal. This was a notion both my dad and I had, until "something" happened that I can't share for fear of TMI. Her performance was great in terms of the setting and the majority of her specific role, as she was just the right amount of hysterical. Patrick Wilson was fitting as the supportive husband of Byrne, though the significance of his role does not come into play until the "something" happens. (Editor's note: Wilson was phenomenal in the sequel to Insidious, which I won't go into because I need to finish this post. I've been putting this off for weeks. It's about time.)
Patrick Wilson returns in The Conjuring as the Ed Warren to Vera Farmiga's Lorraine. The pair gives an incredible duet as acting partners, more effective than Byrne and Wilson in my opinion. While both actresses have good faces for horror films (not an insult to their appearance in the slightest), I feel that Vera Farmiga is a tad stronger an actress. That's just my sentiment. Once again, Patrick Wilson delivers as a solid horror performer, redeeming himself as the douchebag in Morning Glory for sure. Vera Farmiga was superb as the clairvoyant Lorraine Warren, as she enveloped herself wholly in the role of a woman frightened by an other-worldly presence. Again, good actors give good performances. This time anyway.

For the past few days, I've felt utterly useless and despondent in this time of summer. When I have nothing to do, I regress into thinking of past regrets and mistakes I've made. This is a toxic habit, one that can be cured with accomplishment, even as simple as a writing a blog post. After I publish this, I will read over it and feel satisfied with the work and brainpower I put into it. Granted, it didn't require the same brainpower as a college thesis, but for me this blog is my sanctuary of creative output. Reading past posts remind me that I have potential to do something with my life while I stay dormant at home for the summer. I'm letting this out mostly as a reminder to myself so when I read this, I will hopefully be inspired to write. It can be about anything, I just need to write to feel something other than nothing. That's all I have to say about that. Have a good evening. P.S. It's not raining anymore.

Good night.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Female Ghost(ball)busters

Greetings and salutations. I am beginning this post with an utterly blank slate. I have absolutely no idea what to write about, yet I have an urge to write--to do something satisfying with myself. So here I am in my humid little room at home, listening to my Spotify playlist which I labeled "Writing." It took me about three hours to organize 93 songs in this playlist, a whopping six hours and forty-seven minutes of music. I call the playlist "Writing" because it helps get the words flowing, but this playlist could also be named "Contemplative" or "Crying." As sad as it sounds, I cry often. No particular reason either, though the past tends to creep into my daily thought processes, triggering an inconsequential waterfall of tears to come streaming down. I don't see it as a sign of depression and I certainly don't consider myself an elevated, philosophical individual for enjoying these tears. I know of people who lead a constant parade of self-pity solely for attention or even admiration. Think Tumblr bloggers. Not all of them, of course, for I have a close friend whose content is genuine and heart-wrenching. Of course, many Tumblr posts are genuine, but there are those who reblog for the sake of appearing cool and to be part of something. This is not what I had in mind to write about. To keep the words flowing, I'll talk about personal paraphernalia. I honestly could not think of another word other than "paraphernalia." In approximately one month, it will have been two years since I graduated from high school. I decided to mention this due to the song that started playing ("And the Winner Is..." from Little Miss Sunshine) which is sort of my graduation anthem. I listened to this song on the way to the stadium where I would celebrate my departure from the K-12 system. Little did I know that college was simply 13th grade. 

One month later, I decided to continue this topic-less post. I actually have a remnant of a subject to write about, one that has no connection to the previous paragraphs. However, I hate to cut out meaningful words I carefully chose. In order to divide two separate thoughts, I'll apply a different font to the musings I made a month ago. Now onto my semi-fully formed topic: feminism. My reason for writing about feminism stems from the backlash against the new Ghostbusters movie--the "female Ghostbusters" movie. As of now, the movie's trailer has 880,154 dislikes on YouTube. The ratio of likes to dislikes is unprecedented as far as movie trailers go. The immediate reaction to this enormous disdain? Obviously sexism. My reaction to this reaction? Eye-rolling frustration. I find it amusing and utterly ludicrous that feminists are taking this YouTube campaign against the film so seriously. The fact that feminists are up in arms over the negative reception of just a trailer of a movie. For the most part, people are pushing the dislike button because it's sort of amazing and funny that there are so many dislikes. I, myself, have pressed dislike because it's funny and because the trailer did not put the movie in a flattering light. The reason so many people disliked it is because the movie not only pales in comparison to the original--it simply does not look good. The effects alone are shoddy and borderline campy. For a 2016 reboot of a science fiction classic, the visual "magic" is rather embarrassing; it's as if their inspiration was the 2002 Scooby Doo. The jokes that were in the trailer fell flat, to the ears of many, which is disappointing because the women here are truly funny. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig at least. I haven't watched Saturday Night Live since Jason Sudekis left, so I can't say anything positive or negative about Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. What I will say about Jones is that her performance in the trailer seemed more racist than self-aware, as the director intended I'm sure. Also, it's interesting that she is not a brilliant scientist/engineer like the other ladies. No, Jones is a subway attendant (not sure what the correct job title would be) who is an asset to the team solely based on her knowledge of New York. She even said it: "I know New York," says the sassy, aggressive black woman. One joke that was actually pretty funny was when Wiig and McCarthy both said "let's go" as a dramatic statement and they awkwardly jinxed. I admit I chuckled there. The rest of the trailer just beckons staples of Nickelodeon movies--and not the early 2000s Nick movies that were good. Another point to make is that the original Ghostbusters make an appearance; however, they do not revive their roles, from what I've heard. This is upsetting because the director could have made an epic face-off between the past and present Ghostbusters. No, Paul Feig chose to make his own movie.
According to the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, Kristen Wiig said, "You can't get better than the original. But it's a different movie, it's a different cast, it's many years later, and we've also done things that are different. It's not just about it starring women. There is a lot of action. The special effects are insane. And it's really funny." Alright. The first statement comes off as false humility. I honestly feel that women will deem this reboot better than the original solely because "women are better than men." I believe critics will take to this idea as well because they do not want to be perceived as anti-feminist. Of course, feminists will say those reviews will be genuine, an "in your face" to sexists out there. Of course, I believe critics are too afraid to be honest sometimes. When the reviews come out rotten? Sexism prevails. Eye roll. The whole "it's not just about it starring women" comment. If it isn't just about that, then why are people treating it as "the female Ghostbusters"? Why are women defending this movie if this is a movie for everyone? Why aren't men refuting the negative backlash as much as women? Oh right, sexism. "The special effects are insane[ly awful]."
The EW interview actually provoked me to write. The cover was the four new Ghostbusters and the caption is as follows: "It's slime [it's a pun] for a new Ghostbusters! The stars dish on old cameos, new proton packs--and that sexist backlash." And that sexist backlash. It's truly remarkable how feminists think the world revolves around them, how every little negativity in the world has some sexist roots. No. People, for the most part, hated the trailer because the movie just did not look entertaining. If it were a stand-alone picture, I'm sure the backlash would not have been as brutal. However, fans of the original Ghostbusters were crushed when they saw their beloved classic rebooted à la Fantastic Four. Sorry not sorry, it's true. Also, the majority of Ghostbusters fans are, indeed, men. For example, on IMDb, 180,626 men voted an average score of 7.8/10 for Ghostbusters (1984). This compares to a mere 33,062 women who voted an average of 7.6/10. Granted this may be construed as a petty statistic, but it's present. Interestingly, more non-US users voted for Ghostbusters than US users. Because men represent a larger percentage of the Ghostbusters' fanbase, this negative reception of the new Ghostbusters is taken as sexist backlash. It's truly annoying that feminists are concentrating their toxic hate on a fucking movie. It's just a movie, and the backlash is coming from YouTubers! They have no influence on domestic politics, they do not push forward sexist agendas in the U.S. I won't delve into feminism too much because, well, it's exhausting. It's an argument that will always be met with irrational fury on the feminist side. One last point and I'll be done. If the movie turns out to be hilarious and plot-drivenly good, I will not deny it. I will admit I was wrong and prematurely critical. I will not, however, say that feminists were right. If I enjoy the film, it will be due to the talented director and his collaboration with the cast and script. Movies are movies, people.