Tag Archives: movies

Erasure: My Feelings on Proving POC Exist

4 Jun

There is a lot going through my head right now. After a fantastic weekend at WisCon 39, I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing regularly and have gathered a surprising amount of ideas over the past few days. However with all of the new ideas that have been floating around in my head there are also new doubts and worries, some of which are minor and some of which are slightly existential.

I think I should back up for a moment and let you know where all this begins. At WisCon I got the opportunity to once again interview Daniel Jose Older about his upcoming novels. During the interview, in a conversation about how realistic his novels were because of the diversity, I’d jokingly asked how he felt knowing that in 1000 years, his novels would be used as the proof that there were People of Color in the year 2015. He expressed not just hope, but certainty that it wouldn’t be the case, and that it seemed as if with campaigns like #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #INeedDiverseGames and many others, media was going towards a more accurate portrayal of race, gender and sexuality in the world.

I agree, but it feels like we have a long way to go, as evident (at least to me) by the fawning over the feminism of Mad Max: Fury Road. It’d been suggested to me by several people that I should watch it, and for a few weeks I felt apprehension about my concerns about not being as excited to see it as others. The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic Australia but has no Australian Aboriginal Women in the main cast. To me, it seems empty to say that a movie is Feminist when it ignores and almost erases the stories of the women native to the setting.

If you ever wonder why twitter campaigns calling for diversity in media are important this is why. We shouldn’t have to prove a thousand years from now that we existed. We shouldn’t have to re-discover our histories because they were drowned out by the stories of those with power. The erasure of People of Color, especially Women of Color, being treated as the standard is why things like the K Tempest Challenge, #INeedDiverseGames, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, #DiversifyAgentCarter and so many other hash tags and calls for diversity are important. So going forward, as a Midyear’s Resolution to myself I’ve decided to not be afraid to speak up when I feel trepidation about dishonest representations. So….. wish me luck?

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Any Customer Can Buy Any of the Merchandise of Any of the Characters They Want, As Long As The Character Is White and Male

26 Apr

When I woke up this morning I immediately got on Twitter to see what I’d missed in my sleep. A bunch of my Midwestern friends are at C2E2 so I’ve been reading all of their Con related tweets to make up for the fact that I can’t be there. While scrolling through my timeline, I saw a few of my friends discussing the Marvel Bobble Heads being sold on the Hot Topic website, specifically this one:They wasted all their brown paint on the box instead of the doll.....

What the hell is this?

As you can tell (more from the box than the actual doll) the character is supposed to be Heimdall. Not the Norse God version, not the comic book version, but the Marvel Movie verse version who’s played by Idris Elba in both of the Thor films. So why is the doll white when the character, actor AND EVEN THE PICTURE OF THE DOLL ON THE BOX is Black?

It seems like a big  (read: racist) mistake, but one of the many that Marvel is making when it comes to their merchandising. Recently the Internet has pointed out that out of all of the six main characters in The Avengers, Black Widow is the one with the least merchandise out. If you go to the Target website alone you’ll see that while Hawkeye doesn’t have any merchandise out for just himself, he’s still featured on more items featuring the Avengers as a group than Black Widow, who is totally excluded from most of it. Black Widow also only has 5 items available, as opposed to the 111 for Captain America, 70 for Iron Man, 66 for The Hulk and 25 for Thor.

But it seems that Marvel isn’t the only company who thinks only White Male toys sell. Funko — the company that makes the bleached out Heimdall above – seem to have played around with color changes with Characters of Color before. For the Assassin’s Creed video game character Connor, Funko decided to ditch the darker tone of the character in the game in favor of one much like Heimdall.

 

Bleaching out the Men of Color in merchandise and limiting merchandise for women isn’t where this stops either. When it comes to Women of Color, it seems that some companies think the best course of action for their merchandising is to exclude them entirely. McDonald’s Happy Meal toy for the the movie Home feature only one of the two main characters, Oh. The other main character, a black Trinidadian girl named Tip, was only featured on the box of the Happy Meal.

My money is green like everyone else’s, but it seems as if most companies don’t think this. While I’m more than willing to spend my money on toys, posters and just about anything of my favorite characters from my favorite shows, it bothers me that my money seems to only go towards things that don’t represent me. People of Color, especially Women of Color are growing a voice in Pop and Nerd culture, and we have money to spend too. Representation is important, so maybe companies should start to recognize that and give Fans of Color the merch that they want.

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Catching Up: March 2015

6 Apr

So March was actually a pretty big month for me! Aside from my regular articles in Arsenal for Democracy, I also did an interview with Buzzfeed about Women in Nerd Culture. That was a fun experience, as I’ve never been interviewed for anything without having a partner or group with me. I was nervous, but the article came out great! You can check it at the link below:

8 Women Talk About Sexism in Geek Culture

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

 

Also here are my March posts for Arsenal for Democracy:

Thanks for reading!

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Catching Up: February 2015

13 Mar

So here I am again, neglecting this blog (aside from the #CareFreeBlackGirl videos), but I haven’t gone back on my resolution. I’m still writing more, just in other places, and I’m also working on a couple short stories to shop around. And then there’s the zine, which I am also still working on, but don’t think it’s as humorous as I had hoped. However there’s always time to rewrite, so I’m not too worried about.

However to make up for my absence here, let’s catch up on all of the other things I’ve written for other places, specifically for Arsenal for Democracy.

Make sure you go check those out!

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A Shipload of Confusion (Prometheus Spoilers)

23 Jun

I originally wrote this and posted it over at Nerdgasm Noire Network but thought I should share it here as well. Since it’s nerd related and all. ENJOY! Also SPOILER WARNING!

So I saw Prometheus on Saturday……
I liked it. Visually it was stunning, and the concept was really interesting but if I’m being honest with myself the plot was confusing as shit. There were plenty of things in the movie that are left unexplained, most obvious of all being the question that the movie is based around, “Why are we here?” Another question unintentionally brought up through the movie would be “Why would you do that?” Several people have already said it, but the movie was about a bunch of supposedly smart scientists making really dumb decisions, but more than that the movie was obviously only supposed to be about 2 specific people, and the other people in it were originally just props that they decided to teach how to speak. The movie itself was trying to do too much in too small a timeframe with too many characters and because of that, a lot of the characters suffered.
The basic plot of Prometheus is that a couple of scientists who are also a couple find a connection between several historical paintings spanning thousands of years that show a giant man pointing at a cluster of stars that are exactly the same configuration in each painting. I’m assuming that this science couple are a couple of archeologists, because why else would they be looking at cave paintings? However there’s reason to believe that at least Shaw may not be seeing that at two points in the movie she seems to be very familiar with surgical procedures. From these paintings they realize that the cluster of stars is actually a constellation in another galaxy and they convince millionaire Peter Weyland to pay for them to go into space and explore the only moon in that galaxy that can support life. Of course during the trip wacky shenanigans ensue, and by wacky shenanigans I mean death and destruction as well as a lot of creep factor weirdness.
A huge problem with the movie isn’t just that the characters in it are talking props, but also that the talking props somehow got degrees in their various fields of science without learning anything about them. Holloway (one of the couple of possibly-archeologists) decides that even though they’ve only got about 6 hours of daylight left, they should go out on an expedition in an unknown structure on a never before inhabited by humans planet without knowing any of the possible dangers they might face. Holloway is also the genius that decides that because the structure has oxygen it’s totally okay to take your helmet off and breath air that could be contaminated by who knows what diseases. If we go on the assumption that he’s an archeologist he should be aware that even on Earth if you’re entering anything that has been closed off to the outside world it’s best to wear some sort of mask to protect you from whatever diseases could still be lurking around. Somehow though, Holloway doesn’t take that into consideration, and it’s a wonder how nobody ended up sick because of his stupid decision.
That was only the first most glaring mistake in character development. The next one would be Fifield, the Geologist who’d done these kinds of missions (with a lot of this crew) before and has these really cool probes that map out the structure they’ve found, yet somehow doesn’t know what to do when he gets slightly flustered. He’s the one in charge of making sure a map of the structure (that the crew of Prometheus conveniently find themselves right in front of on their first ever trip to this distant moon) is plotted by the probes and sent back to the Prometheus ship. However, when they find a decapitated alien body in the ruined structure, him and Millburn the Biologist decide they would rather get back to the ship to avoid any potential danger they may face. Somehow though, the two of them get lost in the structure, despite the fact that they both had communication links to the crew of Prometheus, and Fifield had a link to the probes that were currently mapping out the ruins. So of course this gigantic error ends up getting them both killed, because the Biologist doesn’t seem to understand aggressive behavior in the alien that breaks his arm, eats his face, and sprays acid jizz on Fifield’s helmet that burns through it and into his face.
The two characters who weren’t an afterthought and actually had nuance in them were David and Shaw. Although Holloway was a main character and Shaw’s boyfriend (Shaw’s the other person in the couple), he seemed to only be there as a weak character foil for both Shaw and David. His interactions with them tell you little about him as a character (other than he’s a jerk and an idiot) and more about Shaw and David’s little quirks.
A lot of Shaw’s characterization seemed to be forgotten about as the movie went on, her relationship with her father only sort of explained her interest in the human like Engineer giants, and her infertility was only mentioned right before she was impregnated by an infected Holloway with a rapidly growing alien squid baby. It seems as if we’re supposed to empathize with Shaw simply because she’s the main character, even though we barely know what her motives are. We do know however, that even after she’s had an emergency c-section to get the previously mentioned alien squid baby out of her stomach, she has no trouble running around and jumping over platforms to get away from giants with staples in her stomach, even though zipping up a zipper on her spacesuit causes her to scream in pain.
David on the other hand, we’re supposed to distrust and possibly hate, because of his not quite human behavior and his willingness to infect Holloway with a highly destructive alien disease in order to obey an order he received from his creator. The characterization of these two characters didn’t work for me, because I ended up sympathizing for David after both Holloway and Weyland criticized him for not being human or having feelings when he seemed to be developing them. Even the sneaky way David infected Holloway intrigued me because even though he was following an order, it seemed as if he was also trying to get revenge on Holloway because of how much of a jerk he was.
The other props were just one big jumble of confusion and unanswered questions. Janek and the other pilots had a lot of potential for good characterization, but instead were used for witty quips. Janek himself was there to speak out loud plot developments that the plot should have explained on its own, and had no real set character. He flip flopped back and forth between Team Vickers and the Don’t Engage With Any Lifeforms and Team Shaw and the Don’t You Want To Do What’s Best for Humanities. The last feat of heroics from him and the co-pilots felt like it should have been fulfilling and climactic, but instead left you confused as to why they would sacrifice themselves in such a way.
Vickers, may or may not be a robot. That ends up being very open ended. Although she refers to Weyland as her father (after Weyland states that his robots are his only children) and Janek asked her whether or not she is a robot because he wants to sleep with her, it’s never directly said that she was. Her actions were mildly robotic, and I believe she was a robot, but I don’t know what the writers were trying to do with her and her robotic nature. However her emotions are part of the reason I believe David was actually developing real feelings instead of mimicking them, because Vickersbot showed fear, anger, happiness and other emotions in a more genuine nature and not forced.
The characters in this movie could have been better. Although they tried to make the only two female characters as badass as Ripley was in the original Alien movies, they didn’t come off quite as good, and very few of the other characters were interesting. Whether or not this movie is really an Alien prequel is still up for debate, and even THAT seems like an afterthought. If you don’t think of the movie as a prequel and just enjoy it for the large bag of popcorn you inhaled while watching it, it can still be very enjoyable, but that’s another post for another day.

Things I Want: Wookie Hoodie

2 Jan

I absolutely hate Hot Topic, so this literally hurts my soul to admit this but I want this sweater. I NEED this sweater! Even though I know that it will probably only last for about 1 week even if I take good care of it. However it’s gorgeous, and I need it.

I mean, it’s a Wookie Hoodie! Albeit this may be a form of animal cruelty (I don’t know how PETA would feel about the Wookies that were killed to make these sweaters) it’s still highly fashionable and amazing in a geeky way. I’m willing to betray my No Hot Topic policy for this. I mean, it’s a good trade. Right?

(found via Gizmodo)

Bad Ass

2 Jan

So The Internet came to me and The Internet said “Lo, NaniCoolJ, and behold violent niche action star perfection!” And I beheld it, and it was glorious.

Danny Trejo once again is in a movie where he’s either killing people, beating people up or both, which is what this man is good at. That alone, will get me to spend $6 at a matinee screening in order to partake in such violence, but a special little gem of a casting addition was added at about 0:39. The biggest and the baddest of the Big Bads, Ron MF Perlman (the MF stands for Mother Fuckin’ if you haven’t guessed already).

I must see this, even if only for the inevitable earth shaking bad ass fight between Trejo and Perlman that HAS TO HAPPEN! There’s no getting away from it. There’s no getting around it. It has to happen.

I’m looking forward to it!

Prometheus

26 Dec

I’m a fan of Alien (and in all honesty who isn’t?), so this looks interesting. I mean, logically, it has to be good. How can it not be? It combines both the (basic) plot of Alien and the director of Blade Runner, two of the best sci-fi movies of EVER. Also it’s meant to be a sci-fi/horror film, where can you go wrong with that?

Actually, now that I think about it there are a lot of places where it can potentially go wrong. Sigourney Weaver’s character Ripley in Alien was one of the most dynamic and amazing female lead characters you’ll find in film. From the the movie’s wikipedia page (which is the WORST source you can look ANYTHING up on, admittedly) it looks like the main character Elizabeth Shaw is supposed to be Ripley-esque, but with the way Hollywood is today, I worry that about halfway through the movie we’ll have to watch what could have been an amazing leading female character scream through the rest of the movie in what looks like the sweatiest, bralessest and nippliest of white tank tops.

Another fear I have is that there won’t be any fear in the movie, just shock. Alien wasn’t just a space action movie when it originally came out, it was actually a horror movie and was very effective at being genuinely scary. Horror movies nowadays use a lot of shock, gore and shakey cameras to convince you that whatever is going on in whatever scene you’re watching is causing you the emotional anxiety that fear brings. You either have a major gross-out gore movie like all of the Saw movies after the first one, as well as with Hostel, or you have the Could-This-Be-Real YouTube like home video movies like Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield. Not that there’s anything wrong with these movies, but I want something that is scary without too many gimmicks, because I’m tired of the headaches that shakey cams give me.

The previews for this movie give me a sense of tensions that I like though (not in the sexy way, more like that I-Can’t-Look-Away… way), and I’m hoping to think as highly of this as I thought of other sci-fi/horror movies like, for instance, Pandorum. I’m definitely going to have to keep my eye out for more info on the movie as it comes out, because let’s face it, as expensive as movies are now, I don’t want to waste my money on something boring.

Batman: Dark Knight Rises

19 Dec

Holy shit snacks, Batman you just saw the coolest thing ever, and I’m the one who showed it to you. I’m so proud of myself.

So the final installment of the movie trilogy that everyone loves will be out next year, and it looks like it’s going to be intense as fuck. Why? #BlowShitUp that’s why! Also it’s fuckin’ Batman.

From the trailer alone I’m already EXTREMELY happy with the choice for Selina Kyle. A lot of people were really concerned about Nolan’s choice of Anne Hathaway as the infamous Catwoman, but Hathaway is an amazing actress, and the smallest little snippet of a line that she has in this trailer gave me goose bumps. It feels like she’s got a nice mix of the sultry Eartha Kitt Catwoman, and none of the Halle Berry Catwoman. Thank goodness.

Tom Hardy bulked up to play the basically born in prison villain Bane and he’s properly menacing. I still am not a big fan of the racebending, however Hardy has totally dispelled my doubts that he could play off a bad guy who wasn’t extremely dapper (it’s the accent, British dudes make dapper ass villains!)

Michael Caine? Still the classiest mother fucker alive. Hands down.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was only seen in the trailer for about 2 seconds and he wasn’t doing much, but I trust his skill as an actor.

I am super excited about this. If any movie is going to get my money on the opening night, this one will be it.

#BlowShitUp GI Joe: Retaliation

19 Dec

First of all, let’s talk about everything that is right with this trailer.

1. The Rock is in it. If you want a movie to look BAMFy, you need to make sure you have a greased up Dwayne Johnson holding a big ass gun (or a baseball bat, or any weapon really).

2. Although Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t anywhere in the trailer, they managed to replace Marlon Wayans with explosions. I’m a girl who loves to watch action movies where they blow shit up, and this looks like it will satisfy that need for me.

3. Wenworth Tatum is still in the movie, but he’s not all over the trailer. He’s familiar enough so that fans of the first movie (all one of me) understand that this is a sequel, but there’s still enough change in the movie that it may actually be good (don’t worry I’m not holding my breath on that one).

4. Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes is already an interesting and distorted sounding song, however in the trailer they distort the song even more to highlight the lovely explosions that are happening around the previous mentioned greased up Dwayne Johnson. Even if I had no desire to watch the movie, I’d watch the trailer again for the music (and The Rock) alone.

5. As much of an older gentleman as Bruce Willis is becoming, anytime you can get the man in a wife beater with a gun to say sarcastic-curmudgeonly-yet-witty lines will always be good times.

 

I don’t even need to mention the added bonus of ninjas sword fighting from ropes on the side of a mountain.