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.



Dammit, Rhetoric class. I had to get all point-form on its ass.

You know that I know how to write an effing letter. Socrates said that the only thing we know is that we know nothing, but he was wrong – I know how to write a letter. WHY WAS THERE NOT ENOUGH TIME TO PROVE THIS TO YOU?!



This just doesn’t make sense to me.

Say what you want about it being more interesting (and to that I simply reply that you’re not trying hard enough)… why become SO invested in something over which you have absolutely no control?

I’m not by any means saying that you shouldn’t care about world issues… but if you’re a Canadian citizen, you can’t vote for Obama or McCain. You can, however, get off your media-influenced ass and make a choice that will actually affect you directly.

The voter turnout on Tuesday was the lowest it has ever been (only 59%). I’m disgusted. If you don’t have confidence in any of the parties, you can spoil your vote. That makes much more of a point than not showing up.

Everyone is so quick to bash the current US administration (come on – what Canadian – or American, for that matter – DOESN’T?) yet over 40% of us wouldn’t walk down the street to vote for or against our own right-wing, war-mongering leader of men. Your voice certainly doesn’t effing count if you don’t cast it.

A guy on my floor says we should do what they do in Australia. It is against the law not to vote in Australia, and failing to do so (without good excuse) results in a fine and possibly even jailtime. They do, however, have a box at the bottom of the ballot that allows the voter to not vote for any of the parties (and therefore telling all the parties straight up that they could have voted for them but didn’t). 

When I try to discuss politics with my acquaintances, they INSIST on discussing Palin and Biden and Obama. Educated Canadian men can’t name the leader of the official opposition but they’re sure familiar with John McCain’s extensive war injuries.

THIS IS YOUR OWN COUNTRY. THESE POLITICIANS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR VOICE. WHY SILENCE YOURSELF IN A CROWDED ROOM ONLY TO YELL LATER ON WHEN YOUR OPINION ISN’T HEARD?

It’s illogical, and we all need to become more aware of the advantages and flaws of our own electoral system.



{October 14, 2008}   Badmouthing a Professor online

I don’t care how easy it is, or how much work you put into your 65% essay. You’re gonna get in trouble, and at this point in your life (ie University) you should know two things:

1) Education is FULL of bureaucratic bulljive and arbitrary power-tripping from those in power. I probably know this better than most (*cough*), but there were also instances when the work was actually not my best. 

2) Anything you write on Facebook or the internet or a message board will come back to haunt you. I also probably know this better than most, and I implore people: IF YOU ONLY HAVE TO REGRET ONE THING YOU WRITE ONLINE, MAKE SURE IT ISN’T A POST IN WHICH YOU CALL THE PROF THE C-WORD.

 

Okay. A bunch of people recently received some marks back in a class that was supposed to be a bird course. I was one of them. I didn’t take the course (Acting for Non-Majors) because it was supposed to be an easy mark – I took it because I thought I’d enjoy it.

I’m not.

It’s a half-credit course, but it’s more work, stress, running around and pain-in-the-ass than my full- and 1.5-credit courses. The fact that I was given a mark of 60% on an assignment that I KNOW was exactly what she wanted does nothing to help. I am close to dropping the course, which disappoints me a little. I’m not a quitter. Anyone who knows me says that I am nothing if not perseverant.

 

Here’s the deal: Our first assignment was to choose a monologue. She gave us a sheet of possible choices, and I chose one from the list. I read the whole play, and (thinking that she approved it because it was on the list) started the arduous task of memorizing it.

I received an email from her after I’d shown her the selection, telling me that she hated the monologue and that she’d bring another one for me. Fair enough. I’m glad she told me early, but if she hated it, why was it on the sheet of monologue possibilities?

I actually really liked the next monologue I was given, from a Canadian piece called, “In The Cards.” I thought it was a good choice for me – the girl was quirky and the right age and a little sarcastic without being Juno-ish with the slang (but that’s for another entry). I was given the monologue on Monday and given one week to do my essay. On Tuesday I went to my university library, who didn’t have a copy. I then took a trip down to the big Toronto Reference Library, who informed me that there wasn’t a copy in the whole library system. I then went online and checked to see if University of Toronto had one. They didn’t. My theatre contacts told me to check out TheatreBooks, whose website told me they had copies in stock. When I went (on Thursday morning), they told me they print them individually and it would take two weeks to get me a copy. I immediately emailed her and explained everything. I asked her if she had a copy I could use, and if she did, could she get it to me before Monday so I could hand it in on time.

I received a reply on Saturday night, telling me that she didn’t have a copy of the play, and that I need to pick a new play. I didn’t get an extension, and that I shouldn’t have waited so long to contact her. I would have been finished my essay if she hadn’t disapproved of my first choice. 

I spent all Sunday in the York library reading plays, and I finally found one I really enjoyed called “When Did You Last See Your Trousers?” I didn’t have time to get it approved (she notoriously takes two days to respond to emails) so I did the whole essay in one night. For what it was, it was pretty darn good.

When my peers and I got to class the next morning, she told us she would have given us until Wednesday, but we could hand it in then if we wanted and she would give us a chance to later improve on our mark. She said that if we hadn’t heard from her by Wednesday, we should assume we did quite well and that she has no issues.

Wednesday came and went, and I breathed a sigh of relief. My first major Drama assignment and there weren’t any issues! Sweet beans!

I get an email from her on Saturday of the Thanksgiving long weekend, telling me that I shouldn’t have used an unapproved monologue (!!!) and for that reason she was going to give me 60%. I thought I was alone until I saw our Facebook group, in which my peers were discussing how unfairly they’d been marked. 

But they weren’t saying anything to justify their own academic work – they called her names and made dumb remarks that had nothing to do with anything… they were just venting. In public. Where anyone could read it. 

I don’t know if they were given the same opportunity, but I am meeting with her tomorrow to go over my monologue and essay so that I can hopefully get a better mark. Why would they insult her online knowing that she can get meaner anytime she likes? If I were her and I read that, I would rescind any offers of appeal or extra credit. 

I don’t think she marked my assignment fairly, but she was within her right to give me that mark. She is also well within her right to file reports of slander on y’all. Smarten up and keep the insults to the schoolyard.



et cetera