Monday, May 20, 2019

Blogger: Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen

This post contains spoilers on the final episode of the series.

The last season of Game of Thrones had several plot-holes, also, it was unclear to me why the last two seasons could not have the 10 episode format as the previous ones, as the biggest criticism was the fact that all felt a bit rushed. I, personally, did not mind that we got to wrap up things, and I liked far more things than the wider audience apparently... the petition to remake the last season for example might just be another addition to the fact that humanity IS fit for extinction. I feel like people's rage is really misplaced, looking around the world right now... not to mention that I read a wonderful article entitled "Our Obsession With Fan Theories Is Ruining Pop Culture", and I do find that this show fell victim to the same kind of expectations.

I did not care for Daenerys from the very beginning. It might be evil of me, but people with a god-like complex of believing that others owe them something because of their name is simply foreign to me. And this sentiment that I had was fueled by every scene where she went and served justice - much like a vigilante - believing that she was meant to do so. The reason why I decided to write this entry is because I cannot understand why people are upset over her story arc.

If you look at the whole series, every single character went from A to B. First, look at Jamie Lannister. You hated him, and you grew to respect him and love him, and even if you were mad at him for going to his death whilst saving the woman that caused him so much misery, you still understood why he did it. Second, the Hound, who at the beginning I am sure everyone would have been fine with seeing die, but then, he came back multiple times, and as grumpy and annoying as he was, we all rejoiced when he got his redemption story. Third would be Varys, I still remember the wonderful discussions he had with Littlefinger, where both seemed to have a hand in an evil much greater than the Night King at the beginning of the story. I do not believe anyone knew where Vary's character would lead us, but we grew to care for him as well, as his intentions were made clear and his motivation for deceiving rulers was to help the realm. My final examples would be both Sansa and Arya, whom I loved from the beginning, and just knew that they would outgrow themselves, only to become everyone else's favorite as well, following the pain they had to endure in this unjust land.

So what was the beginning and then the end for Daenerys?

She was the opposite. There are several characters in the show that remained either good or evil, but to me it made sense that if they can take someone from pure hatred and transform them into someone we care for, why couldn't we do the same the other way around? I find that the writer's intention were made abundantly clear in the scene where Jon is confronted by Sam and the beginning of season 8: he juxtaposes how Daeny handled the fate of two man who wouldn't bend the knee, opposed to what Jon would have done in the same situation. (We can bring up other executions in the story, but that is not really an argument as to who is a better ruler). It was a clear cut example of how one IS a just ruler, even if the other one isn't. (And to me it was a criticism on how perhaps previous rulers who executed others might have been wrong to do so...). This of course was enforced in the last episode, as Jon talked to Tyrion and he outlined how things would have been handled differently had he been the king. From then on I had no doubt that the ultimate evil would not be that of Cersei (or President Snow in The Hunger Games... I'll let you find the parallels on your own, but you'll see it is the same formula).

I, however, do not feel that Daeny going mad with power was rushed. Having talked about it for a bit with people, I have even come to the conclusion that perhaps I was the only one watching the show... and I do not mean to offend anyone with that, but the signs to me were clear, although I understand why some did not see them coming.

But to me some confusion also comes from the fact that people are calling her "mad". See, I do not think she is. A buzzfeed article wonderfully explains how foreshadowing is not the same as developing a character arc. And I agree with that, because the difference between the characters I mentioned above is this development: HOWEVER, had Daenerys truly have gone through the evil character arc NOBODY would have been surprised by the ending of the show. And when it comes to the script, the twist outweighs the logical development of a narrative and it always will.

My favorite sentence from the article (which you can read here!), is this: "She may have been heading this way since the start, but in the past two seasons the writers have not done the work to show us Daeny's internal conflict." ... THE WHOLE SERIES HAS NOT DONE MUCH TO SHOW US HER INTERNAL CONFLICT. After 6 years of waiting she finally came to Westeros and every single person I talked to expressed how they do not care at all about the adventures of the Targaryen girl beyond the sea, they want her to come and conquer! So she did come and conquer. And then people hated that too... *laughing*. I mean, I really do just want to write this entry to make my own peace with the story, as clearly I am unable to show others what I think was, overall, brilliant foreshadowing:

She watched calmly as her brother was brutally murdered at the hand of her husband. She killed slave owners, who the show made us hate, but they were no real enemies to her. She would not leave until a population bent the knee to her in a country that did not belong to her family in the history of kings, not once. She chained her children, which also yielded no result. Except for one of the three, that she let go free and kill whatever and whoever he wanted, although feeling bad about it, this story had no consequence either on her conscience. She killed Dothraki women to gain control over the men of the tribe. She pretended to befriend Sansa to gain power over her as well. To me, her killing the so called "innocents" was wonderful, because when you think about it... these people never rebelled against the kings and queens who have succeeded the Targaryens. To me it makes complete sense that this woman, who believes to be the wielder of justice could easily claim that her family was also betrayed by the people who never sought revenge on the killers of her mad father. Daenarys trusted a very few, since her trust was betrayed far too many times. As far as I can count, only Missandei and Greyworm never looked the other way. And thinking that everyone around you is betraying you and you are the victim, isn't a sign of madness, it is narcissism, which, having to grow up without parents and a sense of grandeur makes complete sense to me. And another example of it came when her subjects did not take to liking her immediately, and she questioned all, why don't they love me? Why cannot they see that I am good? She willingly took matters into her hands and did things according to her own moral compass. She repeatedly sought the approval of others, of the love of others, a certain kind of almost unhealthy obsession that only Jorah could actually give her. This is showcased clearly in how cold she behaved with all of those who questioned her, great examples would be the Stark sisters.

(And the definition of "snapping" comes from the fact that there are no signs beforehand... if she did indeed snap and became mad, any of the things in this season could have triggered her. Complaining about the lack of foreshadow in that department is stupid.)

To conclude...

So yes, not enough time. Yes, the final twist outweighed the linear progression. Yes, hints and foreshadowing are not enough for many, BUT in my opinion they cannot claim that this completely out of the box and unfounded. Finally, and I might get stoned for this, if you loved this character, you should have loved her through this. I for one felt respect for her as the end came, because I did feel like we got from A to B. Perhaps not in the same linear fashion as the other characters, but I believe there were far greater problems with the series... I do, however, find that Daenerys, so hellbent on destroying those who would or could betray her before they do so, dying by the hand of the one she forgave again because of her love, was cruel and kind at the same time. 

And that is all I have to say about her story. And Emilia Clarke did a great job with the script she got.
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I did enjoy this season, because I was watching it for pure pleasure and entertainment, and never really got into fan theories... But if I am here, these things were maddening: "Brandon the Broken?" first of all, WHEN HAS ANYONE EVER CALLED HIM THAT? And wasn't his name Brannon? Like no 'd'??? Or was just Jon Snow's speech impediment throughout the years? And I don't care that the Night King fell at Winterfell, but you cannot bring in this effing mythology and signs left with body parts if you won't explain it. DON'T make a prequel series, give me answers here! Also, where the f*ck did all these dothraki's come from?! Shouldn't they have died in the night? I am inclined to agree with Hank Green's theory, except nobody talks about it. And Ghost... nope. That one scene DID NOT make up for its storyline. This direwolf was a f*cking post-it from an assistant who really wanted to make sure that creators do not forget him, and that is exactly the same amount of effort that the writers put into it. Also, I loved the scene where the wild lings came through the tunnel, it's not like THERE IS A HUGE F*CKING HOLE JUST TEN METERS FROM IT. God... soooo stupid.

Whatever, it's finally over.
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It you are interested in my other posts on GOT, you can check them out here:

Monday, May 13, 2019

Blogger: Feel Like I Am Always Behind

I am sure many of us have felt that they are out of the "loop" when it comes to social situations sometimes: you have not seen a show yet, or read the news that morning. This can become very frustrating, but what is worse is when you have the personality of someone who is actually not behind, and people look at me weird when you say "I don't know". Many of them ask questions, because for sure, I am on-board, instead of a google search, I'll ask her. Which, instead of making me feel proud, puts pressure on me... a pressure I already feel, and it's not like anyone is going to be judgmental, but I am still scared to admit it... so I will do so in this post, because I do feel that I cannot be alone in the feeling that I am always behind.

All my life I hated being late. I know exactly what childhood trauma caused it, no worries, I am working on it. Still, on average, I get everywhere 20 minutes earlier. I have wasted an incredible amount of my life waiting for other people. Time, I could have used to read the news for example... (Yes, I have issues, move on!) Trying to change my approach to time has been the hardest thing I have ever done: I CAN go with the next bus, I CAN be late once or twice, and it won't make me a terrible person. I hate the idea of someone waiting for me. But I do not like to give the impression that I have more important things to do, than the promises I made, and that might be the reason why I am behind on many things: I do put others ahead of myself. I have no regrets on that part, but the lesson here is that I do need to put myself first from time to time, at least to ease the feeling of always being behind.

TV Shows
You see, I love old series, from Dallas to Star Trek, along with the ones that I grew up with, like Melrose Place and years later Felicity. I wish to re-watch them because I remember a lot of it from my afternoons in front of the TV, but not enough, and then others that I just like to be geeky and nerdy about. So I do watch old things while I find that television is going through a wonderful Renaissance in the past ten years. American television is ordering seasons, like British TV does (whole seasons with fewer episodes, e.g. Netflix), and even if something isn't successful, we get a coherent story, sometimes even without a cliffhanger, giving us closure at the end. Most actors who made it big and have left TV to do movies are returning and the quality of acting and writing is just getting better. To me it all started with Damages, starring Glenn Close back in 2007. This results in wanting to watch a lot of contemporary shows while trying to catch up on old shows as well. I just think sometimes that I am not good enough of a geek if haven't seen enough sci-fi shows... Maybe that came with university, where I was taught to build up my arguments if I want to debate everyone. This left me with the thought of wanting more and more background information just to be able to say that I like or hate something. As of lately, I lose the debate against me, because I could have seen all of the Star Trek series by now, and Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica and Clone Wars if I really tried, so my conclusion is perhaps that I do not try hard enough... My list of shows to see is, fortunately, not a bottomless pit, so maybe soon I will get to the end of it, I am sure trying hard enough! The length of a lot of shows is perfect for me to reset my brain and go the go back to work.

I do blame myself for being behind on classic movies. First, I do not like to go to the cinema anymore as much, because the price of tickets is just unreasonably high... do we ever take that into account when we look at ticket sales and box office sales? Nevermind. So, I wait for most movies to come out on DVD or Netflix. But, the bigger problem is that it is really hard for me to watch a movie. I have no problem watching thirty episodes of one show after the other, because it is just 20 or 40 minutes, but a whole movie?!!! This sounded like the dumbest issue to me, until other friends of mine told me they have the same problem. 90 minute is a commitment, for some reason (although arguable a lot of TV show episodes extend to one hour lately, still, knowing it is just one episode relieves the pressure). And today, there is no movie under 100 minutes anyway... but the reason I still do blame myself, is that there are classic movies out there that I actually want to see and I still don't. These are either massive stepping stones in popular culture and others that are part of the intense history of Hollywood. The reason I still haven't seen them, is mentioned above. Sometimes I have movie days, when, as if binge watching a series, I watch over four movies in one sitting. Maybe more days like that are coming in the near future. As a final point, I might be behind on the movie text-book lists, but when I do watch a movie, it truly amuses me from a critical point of view. I have a movie club, where we watch really bad movies, just to play drinking games, and although they are BAD, in every sense of the word, not once did I feel like I was wasting my time. At the same time I have seen some movies that were said to be good and were just a waste of time. Many times I write about them to warn people... Maybe one day I'll get caught up!

So. Many. News. Portals. And. So. Many. Political. Affiliations.
The biggest problem for me about following the news is that it is incredibly depressing. The second issue, is that in order to get the full picture - being an academic researcher on some level -, I always care about both sides. So despite my political affiliations I do often take a look at the other side, and that makes it even more depressing... Going back to the main point, being up to date on the news is the one thing that I decided to prioritize over everything else. I was lucky, because people who like to call out controversy and asshole oligarchs live on their shows, are also the hosts of those shows and that makes it less depressing. I wake up with The Philip DeFranco Show, then I love Stephen Colbert's monologues on The Late Show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, as well as Seth Meyers "A Closer Look" segment. And when it is on, I like watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. At the same time I use my facebook as a portal to follow all the newspapers - Hungarian, American, British, Italian - that I am interested in. This is mostly because since I am teaching culture it is important to me to be able to ask any questions my students might have. But starting off the day with potential bad news also gives me the chance to take the rest of it to look for good things. I am thankful that I have news outlets that are apart from the television format, as the newscasters speak honestly and call out assholes for what they are. Being on board with what is happening around in the world is a lot more fun when you have smart people delivering it, instead of somebody reading off traumatic news for the views their producers wants to obtain that given day. (And don't worry, I am aware of the bubble effect on facebook, that is why I regularly read left and right newspapers, and the algorithm keeps going insane on me, it is highly entertaining.)

I have come to the conclusion that music is simply age based. In Hungary we have one of the biggest concert festivals in Europe, and I often look at the posters and have no idea about 90% of the names. I do follow top 100 lists, because I get bored of the soundtrack to my life quite easily, and still have no clue as to who graces the big stages of the festival. Shazam has to be my favorite app, and so, I have a variety of songs on my playlist. One summer I was listening to artists from eight different countries and not even caring about who is new and hot in the industry. And being behind, when it comes to music, has its perks: I only heard 'Despacito' three months after it came out. Same with 'Hello' from Adele. I am rarely a victim of clickbait and I usually have earphones in everywhere I go. I have just found this quote on fb and it summarizes me pretty well: "To be honest my music taste is so hard to describe like it's literally everything except for the songs I don't like". If I had to really narrow it done, my taste in music was set at an early age: 80's pop. And I have found several bands that imitate that style, from bands like St. Lucia, La Roux even, many songs of Betty Who to The Midnight, there is a whole Youtube channel dedicated to NewRetroWave and it is a treasure trove for me. Music might easily be one of the few categories where I do not feel the pressure, at least, not among my peers, and that makes composing the soundtrack to my life a whole lot easier. 

(*cry laughing.) I am just not even going to go into this one. Let's add comics to this, just to make you feel the weight even more. Do three majors at the same time and then a doctorate and let me know how much time you have left for pleasure reading. Not to mention all those professors who look at you like you are piece of shit, for not having read three times the books they deem essential readings... I keep seeing hundreds of lists of books that are a total 'must', and you should read them before school, or during, or after, or all the time!!! You should, in other words, feel really bad about not having read those books. Shame on you! And I always felt like... I have already written about this topic, and you can read that by clicking here: 10 Books You Should Read Because Why Not? But, would still like to add also, that it is dangerous when you get to love an author's personality, because you will end up wanting more from them, one such example to me is John Green, whose latest vlogbrothers video entitled "How I Read and Why" talks exactly about the way I view reading: what merits my attention, rather than, what is "good" or "bad". My favorite example of this kind would be Dostoyevsky's Crime And Punishment, which is a book I absolutely want to read, but somehow feel that this isn't my time to do it. I had a horrible teacher once who said that it is too late for me to read it, because I am past a certain age, and first: fuck that guy. Second, a timeless book is timeless just because of that, the impact it will have on me, the reader, might be different in accordance to my age, but the impact will still be there. There were also 40 and 50 year old people who read Harry Potter as it came out, and they did not suffer from it not being their childhood favorite. They could still appreciate a good book. Although the list of books that I want to get my hands on keep growing larger, I do know my life is too long for me to not be able to read them.

How do others do it?
I have no idea. Honestly, I know some people who might already have google glasses cause it makes absolutely no sense to me how they are always informed. Especially single mothers with two jobs... when do they sleep? And what am I doing wrong for feeling so behind? Do they feel behind? Do we all share this terrible burden of living in a society that thrives on information and popular culture and still be left knowing that we will never know everything? I don't know, you tell me.

Re-Doing Things and a conclusion
The reason why I wanted to write this entry is to actually calm myself down. I can't even remember who it was, but my sister quoted a comedian to me who pointed out that life isn't too short, it is too long. And that put things into a different perspective for me, as I feel that I have plenty of time for everything, as a matter of fact, I know that I will end up looking for more things to do at a certain point. I will miss these little things listed here when I am raising my children and waking up at six in the morning to take my dog for a walk. Nonetheless, a lot of things can happen until then and the key is to enjoy it. I for one have a hard time re-watching certain things, when I have all that is listed above to get to. But somethings I just need, like some episodes of the third season of 24, or the Christmas episodes from ER, or every July 17th I re-watch Mamma Mia! because it is my ultimate summer movie. A lot of these inspire my fiction writing as well as the reviews I make for the blog. And ultimately, I think we all need to remember that the time we spend on ourselves should not be taken for granted. I need my shows and books to be about something other than what I should be consuming. Our brain does need to be turned on and off again to function properly. So I did sit down to write this entry, to also remind myself, of all the things that I have done, all that I have seen of the world and I am not even 30! Many parts of my life haven't even begun, so why stress over it? I will watch it, read it, listen to it and catch up when my time allows.

Is this feeling gonna fade away? Maybe not entirely. But talking about it helps. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Blogger: Movie Trailers Are Not Spoilers!

And other reasons why humanity is fit for extinction

Just a couple of days ago a friend of mine told me to avoid a movie trailer because it has "a lot of spoilers" and at that point MY MIND F*CKING SNAPPED. Here is the thing: I do not care what somebody puts in a movie trailer, that is there deliberately to get you interested in the movie! IT IS NOT A SPOILER. Because the definition of spoiler, like many other words that people keep using incorrectly, has changed for the worst. Yes, a person might choose to not watch a trailer, that is fine, that is a personal choice to enjoy a movie in a different way, and getting interested through... I don't know, actors, a single scene in a talk show or if it is an adaptation or just the poster seen at a bus stop. But wishing to have a different experience versus defining that anything that has some of the content of the thing you wish to see as a "spoiler" is simply stupid. It's stupid!

And this is getting out of hand... have you tried watching interviews with actors from the MCU or Game of Thrones? It's terrible! They are not allowed to answer any question. Jude Law has gone so far as to say in every interview that Marvel is going to kill him, and it might seem silly, or actually, too much, but I think he is right to point out how f*cking out of hand this whole situation has gotten. Only The Late Show with Stephen Colbert figured out a way to brush off the awkwardness: they read out made up theories and at least get their guest to laugh with them, as well as the audience. I can even understand protecting the creator's ideas, but we are NEVER talking about spoilers from the angle of the creator, but that of the audience. The emphasis is on the viewers pleasure, and should it be? I for one do not think that the customer is always right...

The researcher that I am, I decided to really get my point across, so let us look at the dictionary definition of spoiler, it is letter c. that we are dealing with: A published piece of information that divulges a surprise, such as a plot twist in a movie.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. 

If you took the time to read the other definitions, I'm sure you learned something new and also noticed that a spoiler does not stand for "movie trailer". It comes from the verb "to spoil", as in, to ruin something or to become expired (e.g. in the sense of food). So one can spoil something for you: and if you use it as such, you and me have no issues. But... if we are sitting next to each other and you tell me that somebody dies on the show in the next 10 minutes, well, then you really HAVE ruined it for me. That is a spoiler delivered at the worst moment as well. For me, the worst spoilers are not even memes or people discussing issues, it is gossip magazines. I remember when one of my favorite characters died in a drama and I was behind because I like to binge watch it, and the next day there was an article entitled "What is next for XY actress?" and I just... WHAT?!! That is a f*cking spoiler. That is telling me that in a simple drama about country singers somebody is gonna die and that is major, because it is not a show were people die often. If anything, I hate gossip sites, and if I decide to not watch something from week to week, if I do not take the precautions to not find out things soon enough, than that is my fault. As a result I have unsubscribed from those pages and channels, or muted those twitter accounts, that give me too much when I know in advance that I cannot be up to date.

Now, I do like the "no spoiler" zones, when it comes to Star Wars of Marvel movies - really anything major and Disney in the past years. And I like it because the way these scripts are written is quite unusual and they contain far more twists (again, creator vs. audience). So much so that they design trailers to get us interested but also mislead us. I was highly amused when people got upset over 2 minutes of Star Wars teaser (!!!!!!!, not even a stupid trailer, a TEASER meant to genuinely TEASE you. Another word I suggest you look up in the dictionary!), when they know very well how much the movie company loves giving us false images. But it did not spoil anything. Because of the many twists, I understand that the writers want everyone to experience it first-hand, and that means that they care for their project. I can only show respect, but would like to also remind here everyone that it is also them who are involved in the making of trailers and I trust them to give me something that I can digest without ruining my stomach. I remember that it was Adam Drive, playing Kylo Ren, who said that he wished Episode VIII had no trailer whatsoever before the release. And even if right now this idea seems impossible, really, when you think about the size of that franchise... I'm sure they would have reached almost the same amount of viewers without a teaser or a trailer. Who knows? Maybe that is the direction in which we are going.

But I do find that the "no spoiler" zone should either extend to EVERYTHING or NOTHING. And it should be lifted after a week, because yes, there are different movie release dates all over the world, but the Internet has crushed that already years ago. It was that same friend of mine that said "Avoid the internet in the next couple of days" and I just laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed... you get it. The best way to do it is really, to include a "please do not ruin this for others" image at the beginning, or having a member of the cast telling you directly, like they do on stage in London in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap: "it opened in London's West End in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. The longest running West End show, it has by far the longest initial run of any play in history, with its 25,000th performance taking place on 18 November 2012. The play has a twist ending, which the audience are traditionally asked not to reveal after leaving the theatre." My brother has seen it and he has not revealed it! ... and if it does cover everything, then please gossip sites, shut up for a week. Nobody is buying you anyway... I might be interested in an interview if it did not ruin completely my expectations.

Speaking of, there are some UNREASONABLE amounts of expectations from people. My girlfriend for example hates it when I reveal feelings to her about anything, and she always calls them spoilers... I understand that her anxiety about something overwhelms and her expectations get higher, and that is fine; do I agree that she should call that a spoiler? Oh f*ck no. Not even a little bit. She is like those who don't watch trailers because they wish to have a pure experience, but many of those know that their way of viewing/reading/listening to things is unlike the norm, so they do not force their views on others. And those who do don't make it that far.

Here I would like to note, that I did know two "spoilers" from Avengers: Endgame before seeing it, and it did not ruin it for me. I started watching Game of Thrones after the fourth season came out, knew who dies, did not ruin it for me (the show was bad already. Knowing things made no difference). I watched Avengers: Infinity War a month later, having seen every single meme and I can tell you that without knowing the context THEY DID NOT SPOIL ANYTHING. You as the one who knows the meaning behind them, you might fear that they reveal too much, but memes build on the unspoken common knowledge that we share as a society, so if you are not in on the joke, it cannot ruin things for you. Yes, look up meme in the dictionary as well, if we are here already... (you know what, I'll give you the link, you lazy ass!) Also, if somebody tells you a twist in a movie that came out 10 years ago, you are forbidden from telling them they spoiled it: it's been ten years dude... you are the only one to be blamed here. On top of that, I might know how something ends, but I do not have any idea on how we got there, so your approach to spoilers might just be your own fault....

In other news on our society... 
Gorillas pose for selfie with DR Congo anti-poaching unit
Do you know what fake news are? They are not lies, or misleading informations, but the truth that you do not want to admit as such. Do people use it that way, no, not in 90% of the cases. And do you know that a selfie is a picture you take of yourself, usually, with your own phone? Because many use it only to refer to pictures containing people. And the latter example is included in the Oxford dictionary so you just have no excuse anymore to not know what a selfie is!
Does this sound like the stupid rumblings of a millennial? Well, it isn't. Look at my world now: I had to spend 13 years in school to learn about the history of the people so I would not be doomed to repeat it, so I would not profit for other's misfortune, so I would not become racist, fascist or a nazi and then I look up and the world is governed by all three. Yes, blame our smart phones baby boomers, I do agree with you for one, as it is the gadget that gives me the information on the current political wave in the world AND IT IS F*CKING DEPRESSING. But then comes the news of an anti-poacher taking a selfie with gorillas and at least I smile a little bit.

Here I am, allowing myself the frill to write a stupid post about the dictionary definition of spoilers, and many do not have this one simple luxury. So where did it all go wrong? Well, people believe that "politics" is to blame for everything while, I can tell you, that politics is just another word in the dictionary. It is not to be blamed for the people who seek to use it to gain power. The people are the problem, not politics, and it is also people, not twists in movies, and it is also people making the memes not the idea of a meme! ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?

So here I am, surrounded by all this bad news and yet I am hopeful: I know that the democrats will come to power one day in the United States, which will lead again by good example around the world, that will then yield better politician and the rise of solutions to problems on a global scale. I am hopeful, that as long as there is freedom of press, we might not be able to stop the rise to power of some terrible figures, but will be able to be loud and clear about the fact that we don't agree. I have faith that many will learn that politics is just the key to something much bigger. I am confident that not all need to go extinct for us to live in a better world, but some things have taken a turn for the worst and I just don't see the way out (have you seen this article for example: "Man fired over handshake with Muslim student", yeah... depressing).
We are the makers and creators of the very things that make us miserable, and you might not recycle, you might got to vote, you might always leave the light on in the bathroom, you might stand in front of a movie theatre and yell Avengers spoilers to people (real story, by the way...), and you might not even pay your taxes ... but you can at least open a f*cking dictionary to see if you are using a word correctly. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Next and FRESH: Avengers Infinity War and Endgame

Unlike as I have done so far, this isn't going to be much of a review, but more of a comment on both movies and the reception they received. To be honest, I have enjoyed both very much, but again, my threshold is not that high... you can argue with me all you want about the science, the additional plot-holes you uncovered since and the choice of leading storylines, but I just... don't care right now. You can't really argue with feelings, and to me the overall experience outweighs the small problems. They are not perfect movies, and we need to remember that you cannot please everyone. So with that in mind, here are my thoughts:

Avengers: Infinity War
Since I am sure you have all seen the movie already, so I do not feel like I have to go into details. But there is something that has been bothering me ever since I saw people's reaction to it. Obviously: spoilers. I am DONE with people blaming Peter Quill for why they lost. You know why they lost? BECAUSE THERE WERE MEANT TO BE TWO MOVIES. Assuming that they could have been successful in the first one makes you f*cking stupid. Nobody was supposed to be successful in this movie. And then... I am fed up with the double-standard that people put these characters to: Tony Stark loses his shit over finding out Bucky killed his parents, everyone is fine with that, we get it, poor Tony, yes, do punch Captain America. Captain America finds out that Bucky is alive, he loses it, goes punching around, lies, breaks the law, everyone high-fives him because he is Captain America. Then there is Peter... who was already able to shoot the love of his life just because he promised her and it was Thanos who stopped him. This guy was able to do that and then you go around and hate him because he was holding onto hope of seeing her again? And then, he loses both of his parents and hears that another father was able to kill their child, the woman he loves, and you... hate him? What is wrong with you? So he wasn't your favorite character and as a result he can go f*ck himself for the same kind of behavior that you are completely OK with when it comes to your favorite characters? Let's be honest, nobody in this universe deals with feelings very well, and the movies made sure to build that up. Remember when Drax called Ronan to settle his score? Remember how Black Panther went after the Winter Soldier, believing he killed his father? Half of the stories would not have went down the way they did if these characters had not acted on emotions. So shut up! (On that note, I am not blaming Thor either, for the above mentioned reasons.)

Avengers: Endgame
So here is what I wanted to say about the--- wait. Have you seen the movie? You better have seen it before you keep on reading. OH MY GOD, why have you not seen the movie yet? What is wrong with you! Go, go, go!!! But going into my notes, without any spoilers, there was no scene that was unnecessary, so to me the three hours were more than justified. The science used was explained in the beginning, telling us how they will go about their solutions - paying also homage to all the other stories that have used similar tactics. Then, the writers never forgot the people who were close to each other over the movies, and that really played a strong part in the ending. Finally, the most important thing: I do believe there was a level of fan service involved in the build up of the story. However, and this is the most important thing, it did not feel like it was just a bunch of scenes next to each other with the simple intent of pleasing the viewers. I do find that we got every single thing that we wanted to see and the story was still awesome. To me, everything made sense and seeing all these "Blabla explained because viewers didn't understand..." articles make my head hurt. Kinda wish that neither rotten tomatoes or... like comment sections existed as of right now. I would be open to hearing honest criticism of this movie, I am yet to see it, but expectations were high and it will not please everyone. It was, however, made for me. 

I am happy to argue about either of these movies, honestly, I am not going to go and say that every single thing made by the MCU is without fault. I do, however, see people that only complain for the sake of complaining, and I am having none of it. But I do believe that expectations were huge and despite that it delivered big time. Both are emotional, action packed, funny and do justice to what this movie universe has set up over the course of over 10 years.

Until the next item on my list!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

What's Next On My List? The Last Man On Earth

I have a weird fascination with post-apocalyptic tales, in every medium: movies, TV shows, books or even fan-fictions to some extents. A few years back I spent a whole month reviewing movies of this sort, and entitled that #ApocalypticApril, and I released that I want to add to that anytime I can. I just like to wonder how we are going to go extinct and who, if anyone, will survive it. On that note, I finally got around to binge watching a wonderful series that dealt with the topic from different and all angles.

Phil Tandy Miller believes he is the last man on Earth to have survived a virus that wiped out the population. Just when he sets his mind on ending the pain of loneliness, he stumbles into Carol Pilbasian, who believes she is the last woman on Earth. Phil leaves signs behind as he travels the country for survivors, "Alive in Tucson", and as a result they manage to find couple more people who have survived the apocalypse. Together they try to avoid terrible people that they are bound to encounter while running for their lives.

"The only time you even came close to being special was when everybody died but you."

It was my sister who was watching this show, as it came out, and she suggested we watch it together, seeing my fascination with apocalyptic tales. I was scared shitless at times and I couldn't stop laughing at others. I have to say, right off the bat, that I was taken by this show from the first second. The main reason why I believe this to be exceptionally wonderful as far as the apocalypse is concerned, is that every time I would have come up with any criticism, it was followed by the show resolving that issue in a wonderful way. I really was scared and I felt that at times they acted against instincts, but I had to remind myself that we are all different went it comes to driving forces behind our acts.

"- Well, how was your trip? Did you find any people? 
- Hate to say it, Carebear, but we're all still fighting a raging case of HPV. 
Human people vanished."

Season 1, starts our main character off like an asshole, but it actually shows a mirror to how he was before the virus. Phil was not a very nice man, and it is actually his relationship with Carol that changes him. This apocalypse changed all of them, but what is hard to remember is that once you are surrounded by people, you are likely to fall back into your old ways. After all, it is our reactions to social situations that defines many of us. I do, however, believe in everyone's ability to change if they want to. That is exactly what happened with Phil, renamed Tandy, after they find another Phil Miller. You sort of hate the protagonist in the first season, but you need to keep going with the show, especially because I find it wonderful how just seven people represent every kind of stereotype on the planet right now and their interactions say a lot about us.

"Nobody knew Gordon the way I knew him. He was a friend, a companion, trusted advisor and a valued lover. Sure, he could be a real son of a bitch. He was so cranky in the mornings, and he cussed like a sailor. And he was a bad drunk. He was a mean drunk. Racially insensitive. Male chauvinist pig. Um, and there was the body odor, which was challenging for me, but now I look back and, you know, when somebody dies all that stuff just melts away and you're just left with the good memories. 
So, to Gordon. Easy come, easy go."

Season 2, Carol and Phil need to get back to their friends, and face the mess left behind. The others are reluctant to see how Phil has changed, and overall, just like to mess with him. But some open up, because they work much better together than apart. Tension is always present, and much larger problems come about. Among many, the problem of the team lacking medical knowledge. On top of that, the difficulty of finding proper food. Once the team uncovered a cow, which meant fresh milk after years of eating canned food. Gasoline goes bad and even if they find electricity that is solar panel based, it does not last long. Forced again to move to a safer location, the team heads out after the end of the second season to avoid the persecution of a mad man.

"I made you a very special collection of highly erotic images of women. But unlike the misogynistic, male-centric trash you read, these women are sexy because they're highly intelligent, accomplished, and as far as we know, unmolested. I call it 'female empornment'."

Season 3, I have to say, was my favorite. The team finds an office building that reuses rain water and solar panels and they face much bigger problems on a social scale. One of them, Melissa, starts to behave strangely, and they figure out that she needs medication she stopped using. They also try to teach life to a boy they have found, who will never know what life was prior to the virus. Not to mention, that the women of the group are with child, and the difficulties that might come about in childbirth scare the group, having lost others to complications. What I loved about this season, was the fact that Tandy always comes up with very silly things to do, but that is proof of the limitless amount of creativity a person possesses. See, the main characters never lose their humanity. Even when forced to end a life, they don't sleep easy afterwards. Every single story set in a post-apocalyptic setting details how people lose their humanity and chaos ensues: these characters seek in any way possible to regain that normality and I have found that to be a unique way to tell this tale.

"- What do you mean we're moving? 
- The house is filled with dead bodies sealed up in the walls. It's like a gingerbread house made of corpses, bud.
- And guns! All over the place. You'd swear we were still in America."

Season 4 was the scariest. Among many things, our team of heroes encountered a cannibal, and as such, they were forced to end a life. Before that, they find more people, some of whom - stranded on a deserted island - are completely unaware of what the virus did. And they also find the ghosts of lives past haunting them. Some of the characters behaved unlike themselves, but here I was reminded that what life is now, might have made them act differently in the beginning. See I find that unlike Tandy, the others returned to their older selves when life became manageable. Once settled down, and they have to because of the babies, one might squeeze back into old routines. It was so for Gail, in my opinion, who sold herself as drunken old woman, uninterested in survival, or at least blacking out throughout it. She for one stopped drinking from morning till the evening, at this change happened in the background. Some jokes referred to it, but it was no longer her character trait.
Same with Todd, who was very annoying in the last season, it seemed unlike him to be irritating and needy. But to me, it showed that him being a gentleman is connected to the happiness that came from knowing he is not alone anymore in this apocalypse. Once he too settled in, he might have shown what kind of person he really was before everything went bad. The strongest point of the story, aside from the cliffhanger that ended the season, was the realization that no place will ever be home. They come across a part of land that has goats and trees that bear fruits, and Tandy tells all of them, that they keep moving on hoping that the next place will be better, but there is a time limit on this kind of life, and being parents now, everything rotting around them, cans expiring, this is the only real place that guarantees survival for them. Again, the wish for normalcy overrides any sign of a possible chaos. Our main character, Carol, for one, wishes to adhere to the laws set by humans, even if Tandy sometimes does not. Even if breaking the rules is fun, they never do it in a way that sticks permanently.

"Ever since I was a kid, I've had a fear of being scared."

So what is my overall review? This story was unlike everything else I had the pleasure to see/read in a similar setting. Now, unfortunately the series got canceled before going into its fifth season, but creator Will Forte told in an interview that although our protagonists are survivors, they are also carriers of the virus. As a result, if they come into contact with someone who managed to escape it, they will kill them unknowingly (read the article here!). As far as the cancellation is concerned, I do partly blame the way it was aired: my sister watched it week to week and with cliffhangers here and there, never really knowing when it was back, it just made it frustrating. I am almost certain that views dropped for the same reason. Because, as far as the quality of the show is concerned, it was outstanding. The writing was exceptional, for one, Phil was renamed Tandy during the middle of the season, and he was never referred to as Phil again. I have never seen something like that in any other shows. Then, each season had a special episode, that brought as back to before the virus through the eyes of a guest actor in the show, and how while the virus developed they had to endure seeing their loved ones disappear, waiting to be the next in line to pass away. Chaos did ensue in many places of the country, understandable so. The virus did not take all the bad people away with it, and as a result, it shows that our main characters might still encounter some who mean harm to them. If I had to give an advice to future viewers, it is one of those shows, that is much better to binge watch. 

Watch it? Highly recommended. I wish there was more, because the show made it possible for the viewer to deduce actual conspiracy theories, and that simply survival is not the only thing that the story is about. With the infants surrounding them and having found an actual place to settle down, the story I find was coming near to an ending anyway, and to know what that ending was will always be a question mark. Nonetheless, the ruthless black humor of this show will stay with me for forever! I can only recommend it to everyone.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Phil Tandy Miller - Will Forte
Carol Pilbasian - Kristen Schaal
Melissa Chartres - January Jones
Todd Rodriguez - Mel Rodriguez
Erica Dundee - Cleopatra Coleman
Gail Klosterman - Mary Steenburgen

Sunday, April 21, 2019

What's Next On My List? Hop

I don't usually write reviews for this holiday, but mostly because, it is not really a very typical "holiday episode" in TV shows, unlike Halloween and Christmas. But I do, however, look for it when I can, because my sister and I like to decorate eggs and it's fun to watch something in accordance. We are not religious, so the fact that this story in particular is about a bunny, and a bunny only, makes it the perfect holiday movie for me.

E.B. has to take on the role of the Easter Bunny, but he wants to be a drummer. On some level, he just needs reassurance, that he is good at what his heart aspires too. On his journey he makes a friend, Fred, who cannot find his place in the world. The unlikely pair team up to make both E.B.'s dreams come true, and save easter from an impostor.

Aside from the one very stupid and totally unnecessary toilet joke - as in - easter bunny poop is jelly beans... I really like this movie. Obviously, it's stupid. But in my opinion it wasn't meant to be an Oscar winning motion picture. It is a holiday movie for the family, and it is meant to entertain, which to me, it really does. First of all, the animation on the bunnies is simply adorable. I wanna hug them and pet them. Second, I have found both of the main characters very relatable. Even if sold in a story about the easter bunny, the motivations work: one is still finding themselves, and the other cannot do what they want because of family expectations. We have seen stories like it, of course, but at a certain point every single movie plot falls back on well known formulas.
Now, what is different is the actual setting: I loved that it's easter. I loved the silly montage scene of a human trying to become the Easter bunny! I loved that David Hasselhoff was in it and he was happy to play David Hasselhoff! I love the voice actors, the actors actors, and I find the movie silly in an adorable way. And it was meant to be that way! I am also fed up with people who judge movies by comparing them to works of arts... Citizen Kane this movie is not, but it did not intend to be. If we look at what it is: a family movie about a bunny wanting to be a drummer, then it is a pretty great at that! I just think it is entertaining and for anyone seeking a background movie even while they paint eggs with their family, they won't be disappointed. Yes, I do not care for toilet humor, but hey, a lot of people do and children laugh their asses of, so who am I to judge?

Watch? Yes. Let got of whatever comment you heard and just lay back. Look at the puns, and the egg jokes, and the clues about how someone so magical is hiding in our world, right under our eyes! I do not care for easter on a religious spectrum, but I just love bunnies! This movie is truly fun in a lot of ways.

Until the next item on my list.

_ _ _ _ _

Fred O'Hare - James Marsden
Carlos / Phil - Hank Azaria
E.B.'s Dad - Hugh Laurie
David Hasselhoff - David Hasselhoff

Monday, April 15, 2019

What's Next On My List? Meet the Robinsons

I decided to write about a couple of cartoons that I think are massively underrated, despite the wonderful world they presented us. Growing up, I fell blessed to have had these stories teaching me valuable lessons.

"Lewis is a brilliant inventor who meets mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson, whisking Lewis away in a time machine and together they team up to track down Bowler Hat Guy in a showdown that ends with an unexpected twist of fate" (imdb).

I did not know what to expect with this movie and I just loved every second of it. First, the characters are adorable. Our main character, Lewis, is a genius inventor who lives in an orphanage. His continuous work bothers his roommate's everyday routines, but he is adamant on inventing something wonderful. One day a young boy shows up and takes him to the future, because there is a threat to his family that only Lewis can help with. He is welcomed into a family and an amazing world, that makes him even more anxious to do good in his own time, but that means making sure that he is no longer blind to the people around him. That including his roommate, as well as his teachers and fellow children at the orphanage. I liked the simple lesson, that just being a genius does not mean that one is good at everything. Lewis is still a boy and he has to learn to enjoy life, even if there are hardships. The adventure itself is mind blowing, with making everyone hopeful that our future will look like something straight out of this movie.
I thought about telling you more, however, the movie has wonderful twists in it and I think people should see it. I do not know anyone among my close friends who know about this movie, which goes to show that many missed out on something that is purely genius. It takes dreams we all have and turns them into reality. Just as wonderful as other Disney classics, but completely under the radar, unfortunately. Perhaps this small post will be able to spread the word!

Watch it? Obviously, at this point, you have no reason not to. If you like cartoons that are also for adults as well, you are in for a treat. Not to mention, that the time travel story line is enough to make all of our nerdy hearts melt with warmth.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Michael "Goob" Yagoobian - Matthew Josten
Bowler Hat Guy - Stephen J. Anderson
Lucille Krunklehorn - Laurie Metcalf
Cornelius - Tom Selleck

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What's Next On My List? The Princess and the Frog

I decided to write about a couple of cartoons that I think are massively underrated, despite the wonderful world they presented us. Growing up, I fell blessed to have had these stories teaching me valuable lessons. You might argue with me on this one, but so far I had to force this movie onto people, so just based on my immediate surrounding, it was not the success that I wish it was. But it one of my favorites, so here we are:

Tiana, whilst trying to help a frog break the curse he was put under, gets transformed herself. Together they venture into the night to try and find someone who can help them reverse the curse, to be able to buy her dream restaurant.

I just adored this story. First of all, I loved the Louisiana setting. Second, obviously the fact that we do not have the conventional princess: Tiana is a hardworking woman who won't stop until she reached her dream. She is an inspiration to me, the fact that she never stops, even when it seems hard, is something that cartoons rarely focus on. By that I mean that most mean characters have a helping hand pushing them, but until the events of this story, Tiana relied very much on herself. Now, fortunately, she wasn't a complete orphan, her father passed, but not when she was young, and her mom is very much around. I feel like she had great examples of a happy loving family, and although she isn't looking for a prince charming, the way her parents loved each other is something she surely would have wished for in her own life. I did not think that she had to give up anything of her personality when she fell in love with Naveen.
People complain about the way princesses are portrayed, and truly, I did not think that this story was forcing the female+male message down my throat like many others. This story was about self-discovery, about looking inside and finding out what really makes us who we are and what we should fight for in life. For Tiana it was enjoying her life and not just being always in rush to reach her goals, and for Naveen it was understanding what really makes him happy instead of avoiding responsibilities. As you might have gathered from my recent reviews, I do judge cartoons based on the message that they wish to impart on their audiences. And it this regard this one is a wonderful story that I believe needs to be recognized as an outstanding adaptation of a well known fairy tale as well.

Watch it? If I have to be honest, in the past couple of years, this is one of those few Disney movies that had an outstanding soundtrack. As far as I am concerned, I only have one or max two favorite songs from each Disney cartoon, and well, I loved all of them here. I think this could be a great musical if anyone ever were to re-adapt another Disney cartoon...

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Tiana Anika Noni Rose
Naveen - Bruno Campos
Dr. Facilier - Keith David
Lawrence - Peter Bartlett

Thursday, April 4, 2019


As this is my favorite dog breed, I just had to see this cartoon. Was not disappointed!

It is the well known story of someone from fame and money falling down into the slumps and learning that giving out orders left and right is not the key to real happiness. Rex too learns that he has enjoyed perks of life without having earned them. And honestly, money does not help us find true friends.

I just adored this cartoon. For the first time in my life I was also uncomfortable, while watching a kids cartoon, and the reason for that was the continuous references to the real political and social problems. I was happy that they decided to do that, but still, it was unexpected. Let me list them quickly, because I find that this cartoon stands out for giving us very different moral levels in a story that is based on a well known formula. First off, we have the current President of the USA appear, who keeps running around and taking selfies with everything and everyone, like a dumb tourist. He arrives with his wife, who has a dog. Now, we know they don't have one, but the dog itself is an ugly irritating little thing that believes they can get anything with proper intimidation and aggression... and if we take into consideration that pets are likely to be like their owners, it made sense. The President also gets offended after being bit by an animal, so of course he leaves instead of, you know, being presidential...
Second, Rex shows the fellow dogs that there is strength in unity. All the dogs, his friends at least, get together in order to beat down the local bully. There is a funny montage scene, but it doesn't lead anywhere, because that is not the important thing about it. What is important is the moral strength that came with it: Rex stands up to the bully and the other dogs follow. It is a wonderful lesson, for some people it is impossible to beat their bullies, the tale of the underdog has been used over and over again... I think teaching children that they are not alone is a far more important message. So much so that Rex has to be saved in the end by his friends, instead of being the ultimate hero.
Third, the dog, who wants to dethrone Rex ( = king), is named Charlie. Like, you know, the Queen's actual first born son, in line to the throne. I looked it up, and the names of the corgis were actually fictional, the real corgis didn't have such realistic names (you can look up the wikipedia page on them, it's really cute!). And as a result, I cannot overlook the choice of names. I am not saying that Charles would push him mother into the frozen water of the St. James Park, but I am also not-not saying it. 

I just love corgis and I was so happy when the trailer appeared for this movie. My love for this breed begun with a little evil actor corgi from the cartoon movie 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, one of my favorites. In it, Lightning (voiced by Jason Alexander), tries to become the new great superstar. I don't want to spoil it, but this corgi, despite being super evil, just looked so hug-able and soft and looking for cuddles (from me). Never before had I seen this type of dog and fell in love immediately.

Watch it? This is a great cartoon. As adults, my sister and I looked for a couple more scenes for the plot, but ultimately, if I look at the designated audience (that is not me), then I find that children are gonna learn a great deal from it. This is a re-used formula, but the lessons to be learned from it are very different and I think they are also better for it. It is a great animation!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Queen - Julie Walters
Charlie - Matt Lucas