For when “dislike” just doesn’t cut it…











There is something about superhero movies that turn me into a gushing fan girl. Usually, it’s the way a certain character (usually not the fan favourite) is portrayed that makes or breaks an adaptation for me… Gary Oldman’s James Gordon in the Batman movies, Patrick Wilson’s Nite Owl and Matthew Goode’s Ozymandias… they did justice to their roles and made up for all the ending changes and the throwaway one-liners.

I was so hella stoked to see the Wolverine movie, mostly because I knew it couldn’t get worse than X-3 (I’m sorry, is my bias showing?). I knew there would be cool action scenes and that I’d like it at least a little more than the average person. I did. I thought it was fun. I thought it was mostly well-acted and that the action scenes were awesome (albeit a little too Mortal Kombat in some places). I thought they mostly did justice to the characters.

I say mostly because there’s one exception: my lover, Gambit. They really dropped the ball on bringing Remy LeBeau to life. I think part of it was the fault of the actor, Taylor Kitsch, and the rest fell on the director, Gavin Hood.

My problems were:

  • His accent, or lack thereof. Gambit has a sexy Creole accent. It’s very thick, and as trademark to him as a kinetically charged playing card. Taylor could not for the life of him do one convincingly. At first he tried and it came out as some kind of southern robot. “That-de-pends-do-ah-owe-you-mon-ey?” After his first exchange with Hugh Jackman, he drops it completely and just sounds like a teenage boy again. Couldn’t Gavin Hood have said, “Um… can you maybe TRY to stay in character?!”
     
  • His card manipulation ability is deplorable. He tries a few (not entirely enough, but that’s the next point) and they are so obviously done by computers. Kevin, while waiting for the film to start, showed more impressive card tricks than the movie did with its blatant CG effects. Gambit is AWESOME, and his abilities with a deck of cards are definitely part of the characterization they wanted to emphasize. Fail.
     
  • As a follow up to my previous point, he throws very few cards at all. There was an over-reliance on his quarterstaff (actually, it’s a buck and a quarter quarterstaff, but I’m not telling him that!) but amid all the coat-flapping and metal-meets-metal noises, it really doesn’t *look* impressive. (I guess because they think it looks cooler than EXPLOSIONS!?)
     
  • Not much of a spoiler, but Wolverine beats him far too easily far too early in the film. In the comics (or even cartoon!), the Ragin’ Cajun would NOT be beaten in a minute – he is a street thief trained in Savate and specialized in hand-to-hand combat. I don’t care how overpowered you make Wolverine… I guess the one nerdy thing I can think of to explain it is that Stryker is not just filling that role, but also the role of Mister Sinister (who, in the comics, decreased Gambit’s power at his request so that he could remain more anonymous).
     
  • Where are his glowing red and black eyes? They flashed during the fight very briefly, and then went back to being *~*pritty*~*. His eyes are the whole reason he lives the way he does in the first place! (I know this isn’t “X-Men Origins: Gambit,” but still!)
     
  • Admittedly, what REALLY bothered me the most was that it was blatant fan service to even include him. He doesn’t actually play a role in Wolverine’s origin – he’s too young! He was cut from X-2. He was cut from X-3. His role is so minor, and they managed to screw up not just the character, but the continuity if they ever want to use him again. If they want him in a continuation of the trilogy (which they would have to if they want to do the Rogue coupling or anything involving his work with the X-Men), he’ll have to be played by someone who’s 40. Anna Paquin’s whiny bitch Rogue would not go for him, despite the sexual tension that taught nine-year-old me to make seven-card stud jokes.

I guess my boyfriend, who dressed up as Gambit for the film’s release, set the bar a little too high. I guess $130 million can’t compete with a $45 leather trench coat.

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{January 9, 2009}   Juno

Okay. This post has been a long time coming. In fact, when I started this blog it was mostly to encourage myself to finally put my hate-on for this badly-written, poorly-acted mess of a “film” into proper words. Until now I mostly just grind my teeth and sigh loudly whenever someone starts wanking about Juno, Diablo Cody or Ellen “Fivehead” Page (or as I sometimes refer to her, The Enemy). My floormates are all right now watching it, and they were all ~OMG TOTES SHOCKED LYKE WHOA~ that someone could dislike a movie as “cute” and “quirky” and… uh… other adjectives that are commonly used… as Juno. Hence, I left the common room, eyes rolling and head shaking.

This is NOT a response to the film’s popularity. I saw the film with my good friend Maddie before Christmas of 2007 (therefore before the movie got wide release). She will testify that I didn’t laugh. I walked out of it thinking, “wait… she learned NOTHING from any of it!” and I’m sure I’m not the only one who got physically nauseous at the non-sequitur ending where they butcher a song that no 16-year-old couple would know.

I thought, “there’s no WAY that this is gonna become popular.” And yet…

I’m also trying to make this about the movie, and not about my dislike for the people involved in the movie (Saint Ellen; Michael “SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CAST AS SCOTT PILGRIM” Cera [trust me, that post is coming soon]; Diablo “Used to be a stripper, probably should have stayed one” Cody; Korean Pro-Life Stereotype Girl…). But that’s gonna fail. Cheap shots are going to be taken.

Problem #1) I hate movies in which bad people make bad choices and don’t have to face the consequences. Fox Searchlight (the production company) makes SO MANY movies with that theme (See: Little Miss Sunshine, Garden State, Confetti, Thirteen)

Juno makes a stupid mistake that SHOULD ruin her life (or at least seriously make her re-evaluate her priorities). She constantly gets out of things with minimal possible effort – she found foster parents in the Penny-Saver. There was no research done on her part and she expected to be all, “Hey. Have a kid. Don’t name it something dumb.” Her family didn’t punish her or even explain to her WHY TEEN PREGNANCY IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN TAKE IN STRIDE. When she found out, her first reaction was to hang herself. With licorice.

When Michael Bluth and Sydney Bristow start having problems, Juno made them worse by going DIRECTLY against all the advice she was given. She never realizes it.

She tells Paulie to date other people, then gets super-possessive when he thinks of asking out the girl who smells like soup (which was stolen from Strongbad or, going even farther back, “So I Married An Axe Murderer?”.)

And all this time she thinks she has a right to be sassy and judgmental towards everyone else? Ugh girl needs to be slapped.

Problem #2) The dialogue

Has there ever been another movie with a vernacular that so wormed its way into the minds of EVERYONE*? There are like 50 Facebook groups called “I wAnNa TaLk LyKe JuNo ItS sOoOoO cLeVaR.” 

Firstly, the dialogue SOUNDS written. This is more the fault of the screenplay than the actors, but don’t tell anyone I’m cutting Kitty Pryde some slack. However, delivering the dialogue completely monotone and deadpan makes it sound like she’s reading the script for the first time. Always. No Oscar for you.

Also, clever lives are given to every single character. I could understand MAYBE if Juno was the only one, because MAYBE we could believe that she does nothing but think of Last Comic Standing-rejected wordplay. Unfortunately, EVERYONE** gets a stab at the lowest common denominator euphemisms. That famous scene where Rainn Wilson tells her she’s preggers without using any real words is a great example. Their exchange makes Gilmore Girls’ banter seem well thought out. Her friend Leah is just as bad (“Phuket, Thailand?” Really?!) and even Jason Bateman is not exempt (though his best line, “Technically, that would be kicking it Old Testament,” was DIRECTLY stolen from VERONICA MARS, who is much smarter, sassier, prettier, stronger, a better role model etc.)

Also, this has been stated SO MANY TIMES by smart people but OH MY GOD MORGAN FREEMAN WAS NOT IN THE BONE COLLECTOR. IT WAS DENZEL WASHINGTON. I KNOW YOUR PROVINCE DOESN’T HAVE THE BEST TRACK RECORD AS FAR AS BLACK PEOPLE GO, BUT SHIT. She could at least get her references right. They could have easily redeemed ALL the bad references by having someone in the movie call her on them.

As my friend Sofi put it,

“Thunderbirds = Go.
Thundercats = Ho.
Juno = No.” 

Amen.

I absolutely can’t stand things that try to be quirky JUST for the sake of being quirky. I hate false non-conformity. 

Problem #3) Ellen Page

UGH. Bitch needs to get a new schtick. If I have to see or hear about her losing her virginity (which comes up much more often than you’d think, but that could just be the people I know) one more time while having the act betray her somehow (see: An American Crime, Mouth to Mouth, The Tracey Fragments)… 

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t like her and I don’t get the big deal. There are three or four dozen girls from my high school who have just as much character and can out-act and out-shine her. Oh, and the is-she-or-isn’t-she-a-lesbian thing? She’s playing it up on purpose because no one is telling her to shit or get off the pot. 

Juno fandom is one of the few things I actively hold against people, because I just don’t understand the obsession. I really did try to give it a fair, open-minded chance, but the negative and stupid parts outweighed what probably could have been a quirky love story. 

* I needed to redeem this post somehow
** Srsly, I needed to do it twice to counterbalance.



{November 28, 2008}   Atheist Zealots

It’s easy to hate on religious zealots because most of the time they’re just so darned creepy. They set themselves out from a crowd of people with a lot of ideas that seem crazy. Christians who believe that dinosaurs didn’t exist (and that all skeletons dug up are conspiracies), or that two men shouldn’t get married but it’s okay to have five different wives, are not the kind of people I can conceivably imagine myself befriending. However, I absolutely respect and admire people who can believe in something larger than themselves. In essence, I think religion in its barest form is a fundamentally good thing, because it’s supposed to be guidelines to living a good, productive life. I’m all for not killing and not stealing and not eating pork. 

I am agnostic (I joke that I am a follower of Bokononism), but my parents are varying degrees of Mormon. My mother is not a bigot, nor is she subservient; she isn’t active in the Church either for personal reasons, but she keeps several ideas to heart and they get her through tough times. One of them is that God doesn’t give anyone more adversity than they can handle, and I am glad that she holds that one so dearly. However, through her I have met fanatic LDS members – ones who believe that homosexuality is a bigger global issue than global warming; ones who take every Bible story literally… and most of the time I hold my tongue. 

I believe in Karma because I need to think that I will be rewarded for doing the right thing instead of the easy thing. I believe that there is no way of knowing what happens when we die, so we should spend what time we have being helpful, hardworking, productive and a better place for others. 

What pisses me off more than religious zealots are Atheist zealots – you know, the kind who say “If you believe in God, prove that he exists! You can’t! There’s no afterlife! You’re an idiot and you’re brainwashed and there’s no logic in believing in a higher power.”

These are worse than religious people who try to convert you because:

a) At least religious people are trying to GIVE you something to believe in. They’re trying to do what they feel is right, and even if you disagree with they way they go about doing it they still have good intentions in their own mind. They want you to go to heaven; Atheists want you to rot in a box.
b) There is no proof that a higher power exists either way, so STFU. I entertain the possibility that there is a God, but I can’t believe that God would care about minutia of everyone’s lives. God would have given us free choice, but wouldn’t really be that offended if some people went off the beaten path. I don’t think about it that often actually, but a friend-of-a-friend summed up my beliefs perfectly: “I believe that the Big Bang Theory was the birth of the Universe, but who’s to say that God didn’t set the quarks and leptons into motion?”
c) Most of the time, these Atheist zealots have no idea that there are comforts that come with believing something. I had one guy call me a brainwashed idiot because I said I believed in Karma. Just as he said that, he closed a door on his own hand. I LOL’d. As I explained, it’s more of a positive reinforcement than anything else. 
d) Atheism is technically a religion anyway, if you go by definition. Not believing in God is just as much of a spiritual path as believing. Also, there are several religions (some smaller branches of Buddhism, for example) in which there is no personal God. Therefore, Atheism doesn’t necessarily mean irreligious.

On the other hand, my own father told me I would never lead a fulfilling life because I don’t want to have children, and according to the Book of Mormon, that’s a woman’s duty, so whatever.

I think personal beliefs are just that – personal. It shouldn’t be up to you to push your beliefs (regardless of what they are) down other peoples’ throats. If they enquire, that’s a different story altogether, but don’t feel as though it’s your duty to declare war on all religions.



The title says it all, doesn’t it? There are a group of boys on my dorm floor who have woken me up between 2:00 and 4:00 in the morning every day laughing like drunken sociopaths (oh, wait). I could accept this as one of the downsides to not living at home during university had it happened once on a Saturday night, but I was kept awake for four nights in a row. It’s a lot more annoying than it sounds.

Night 1: Fire alarm. Simple enough. They pulled it knowing that one of their buddies was getting some, and that both he and the girl would have to scramble to get dressed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t dressed to deal with a Canadian October night either. I didn’t fall back to sleep once we were allowed back in.

Night 2: Another drunken night for these charming lads, they ask the naive boy from Hong Kong to “pet the squirrel.” Having never seen a skunk before, he didn’t know the difference. The poor boy was sprayed, and the others brought him back up to our floor and paraded him around, yelling and laughing raucously. I woke up thinking, “What the Mitch smells like burning eraser?” The skunk funk was so bad that I was awake, nauseous and angry, for the rest of the night.

Night 3: Possibly my “favourite” of the pranks, the four boys take turns peeing in an empty recycling bin. At 3:00 am, they knock on a different guy’s door and empty the bin onto him. The whole bin of urine soaked him and his carpet… and the hallway’s carpet… everyone knows that urine is the WORST smell to try to get out of upholstery or clothing. Well, except skunk. Together they’re a lethal combination. Anyway, I wake up to “I AM GOING TO F***ING KILL ALL OF YOU. WHAT THE F***?!” as well as cries of pure disgust. It was at this point I called the Don, who – of course – did nothing. No more sleep for me.

 

I approached the boys the next day, looking like ass (and, admittedly, playing up my I’m-gonna-cry-out-of-exhaustion face) and said, “Guys, seriously. I have 8:30 am classes. Can you please pull your pranks earlier so that I can get some sleep? I’m so tired. I’m not saying that you can’t be asses to each other, just realize that I’m right next door and I have to be up early. Please.” They must think I’m pretty okay, or else they pitied me, because they didn’t make fun of me. They agreed, and I was tired enough to think they’d stop.

I’m an IDIOT when I’m tired.

Night 4: When I heard rambunctious conversation begin to get louder, I stepped out of my room wearing pyjamas and holding my toothbrush. My hair was in braids and on my feet were slippers. I yawned as I walked past. It could not have been more obvious that I was preparing to sleep – at 10:00. One guy asked me if they were being too loud, and I said that they were fine as long as they didn’t get louder. I thought they’d redeemed themselves, but really they just hadn’t started drinking yet. After a few Molsons, they started discussing – very loudly – how they deal with girls who aren’t good at handjobs. Offensive? Maybe. Inappropriate? Sure. Nauseating? Most certainly. My head clutched between my two pillows, I could still hear every awful comment and every subsequent high-five. 

I emerged from my bed, and they laughed and called me over, eager to share the rest of the conversation with me. AM I THAT MUCH OF A DUDE?! It was at this point that I practically begged them to hang out in another hallway. I don’t know if they did, because I actually did fall asleep out of exhaustion as soon as I got back to my room. I had an 8:30 class so I only got a few hours of rest, but it was more than what I’d been getting.

 

I stayed at The Boy’s house the next night. He was my hero for being quiet and for letting me sleep past noon for the first time since I moved out.



et cetera