It’s the last week of 2011, and therefore a time to look back at the year and make lists. And who doesn’t love a Top 5 Countdown? This particular list is going to focus on those amazing nerdy moments which transpired in my 2011 world.
NERD MOMENT #5:
Although technically my introduction to this series took place in 2010 at around 6am in a Portland airport, I didn’t really fall in love until the television series came out. And then again when my spouse got hooked into it. And then again when I discovered the bromance of sorts between Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. And while I’m currently stuck at the mid-point in Book 3, I know I’ll get through all the rest of the material probably before the next book comes out.
Yes – the series is problematic in terms of race and gender. The violence against women in the book and the ridiculous sexploits on the show are a bit off-putting. But I’m hopelessly in love with A Song of Ice and Fire. Hopeless.
NERD MOMENT #4:
The movie and the costume it took me a year to put together. I was very skeptical about the film and remember having arguments with several people because of all the CGI and how much it tried to cram into two hours (don’t they all?) but by the time I finished the costume and re-watched the film, I was pretty much in love. It’s sappy and romantic and hits just the right tone.
I have a three date rule with new Television shows. Sometimes I might even stretch that to 6, if I am really pulling for the actors, writers, producers, or creators. Or the premise. Basically, I’m a sucker for being strung-along by a show that I really want to win. And by “win,” I mean, be renewed for another season.
No, I’m not talking about Community. I know there are tons of great 30 minute comedies out there right now. But I’m just not buying them. Sorry ya’ll. I hope many blessings fall upon you and that all your favorite television shows are renewed.
*THAR BE SPOILERS HERE*
I’m talking about Once Upon a Time. I’m talking about how many quality shows are on the air right now that I could be devoting my attention to and yet I feel so compelled and moved to share my feelings about this particular gem.
If you want to call it that.
I have feelings about this show. The pilot and first two episodes were BAD. Not good/bad but bad/bad. And yet, I kept watching. The writing is ham-fisted. The acting is dubious. The dialogue is ill-suited for the fairy tale world. There is little humor or charm. It either takes itself too seriously or not seriously enough. And the CGI. Yipe.
There are also weird race issues happening all over the place. The Evil Queen and her equally evil mirror are the only characters of color I can determine, and anyone with a slightly European accent is a bad guy or pawn of a bad guy.
Dudes – what is happening on this show? They just killed off my favorite sexy mysterious character in the last episode ala Boon on Lost, which is par for the course because THIS is the creative team behind THAT series.
Sheriff Graham as depicted by the imminently shaggable Jamie Dornan was one of the few intriguing characters, not just because of his tasty Irish accent and scruffy neck-bearded hipster loveliness, but because he was one of a limited variety who wasn’t purely good or evil. His amorality was a decided plus in a fairy tale world where Good is GOOD and Evil is EVIL. I mean, that is boring ya’ll. The best TV shows come down squarely in the middle.
Which is another part of the reason Once Upon a Time is failing on so many levels. One of them being it’s comparisons to (what I’ve heard is) the far superior comic book series Fables from which the premise is purported to have been cannibalized.
Back in 2008 I posted this piece railing against the status of women in conventional Hollywood films, especially in comedies and comic book adaptation flicks. Over the course of my blogging tenure I’ve bemoaned the lack of female roles in flicks, books, TV and comic books.
But lately I’ve felt…content. Perhaps it’s a natural response to the process of actively seeking out materials in these mediums which represent women, but something shifted for me last month and I’ve been ruminating on what magically altered my viewpoint about Girls on Film (as a system of naming the lack of female roles in entertainment in general).
In late June/early July I watched this quiet, independent film titled The Poker House starring Jennifer Lawrence, Selma Blair and Chloe Moretz, written and directed by Lori Petty and David Alan Grier. Yeah – I’m not joking. That’s some serious estrogen-laced girlness right there. It was expertly acted, painfully real and belied all reserves I’ve had about JLaw as Katniss Everdeen. Even more so than Winter’s Bone.
I can’t, can’t, CANNOT recommend this film enough. It does have a rape scene in it, so please proceed with caution.
But it sort of shook me out of my funk and the narrow lens with which I’ve been eyeballing all types of entertainment and art in the last year or so. Strangely, this funk shaking had an adverse effect, and I’ve spent the better part of this month ruminating and taking notice of the goings-ons around me with new eyes.
I like what I see.
LADIES – this is the revolution ya’ll! We are DOMINATING entertainment. It’s big screen and it’s small screen and it’s quiet and it’s loud but we are doing it. Sistahs are doing it for themselves.
And it’s so refreshing to watch something, to read something and hear a voice you recognize. To see a person you recognize. It makes you realize how rare it is that something in entertainment resonates with you – as a woman. How hard it is to relate to so much that is dominated by white males. And then you see it and you’re like “fuck yes!” I didn’t even know I was missing it. But there it is. Like falling in love all over again.
No one seems to know where this rolling wave of womanhood came from, but it’s certainly reaching the shore at this moment and depositing a shit ton of lovely pearls on the beaches for us to pluck up and admire.
– Female centric book series which appeal strongly to the masses (male and female) like The Hunger Games
– Females are even making their mark (and occasionally passing the Bechdel Test) in male-centric material like Sons of Anarchy. I absolutely love Katey Sagal in this series. She has some of the very best lines in the entire show. It has some problematic issues around race – but that’s a subject for an upcoming blog entry.
It may shock and appall many to know that I am not a raving fanatic of the God of Thunder. Not because of anything HE did, but because I only have a limited amount of time to spend on superheroes and the X-Men usually dominate that realm (Thor reference!). Sooo – for a comic book fan of my tastes, what is there to love in a Thor flick?
How about almost everything? As “Iron Man” before it, “Thor” provided lots of fun. And in a comic book movie adaptation especially with content as light and fluffy as “Thor”, what more could you expect?
The special effects were well done, the action sequences spot-on for this type of hero. I hadn’t especially noted it, but Dan was quick to mention how the film had dispensed with the ubiquitous wire/John Woo/Matrix fighting scenes for punching, kicking and a good old-fashioned wrestle in the mud. Which is totes appropriate for a Viking. Good job fight choreographer. Your efforts were duly noted by the general public!
The cast exceeded my expectations having only glimpsed Chris Hemsworth in the Star Trek film (in arguably the most memorable/traumatic opening sequence to grace the screen in a while), wasn’t sure what he would have to offer up as this larger than life character. He managed it quite well and showed a pretty adept comedic timing. As did the always lovable Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgaard. And to some degree Natalie Portman. I’m still not convinced I like her in comedies. But she can hold her own with this cast. And she won an Oscar, so I guess that means automatic pass. She did have loads of chemistry with Hemsworth but unfortunately I never quite bought their relationship. Which wasn’t their fault – but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Maybe it’s just my baby hungry brain, but was anyone else speculating about whether or not she was pregnant during the filming of this movie? It’s post “Black Swan.” Just saying.
As for the Asgaardians – Anthony Hopkins was stellar as old Odin One Eye. He growled, howled and menaced as is appropriate to the All-Father. Renee Russo was his lovely wife Frigga. Blink and you probably missed her. Pretty sure she had one line and a weak-ass battle with an Ice Giant. Pretty lame for the All-Mother. Tom Hiddleston was a much more subdued Loki than I anticipated, especially after having encountered him in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game series. And part of me was secretly hoping they would cast him as a female. Lady Loki was smokin’ hot!
Even without all the showy aspects of Loki on display, Hiddleston’s performance was probably the most emotionally adept of anyone in this story. Thor is kind of a d-bag for most of it (but that’s his arch) and you JUST KNOW he’s never going to lose, so the tragedy really falls to Loki and I couldn’t help but sympathize with him.
RACE AND GENDER
The whole Ice Giants thing – I don’t know about you but there was this weird race thing happening there that I’m not sure about. It was pretty surface, so I don’t think there’s much more analyzing to do. The ice giants were people of color being slaughtered by the mostly white Asgaardians (save the sexy and a bit scary Heimdall played by Idris Elba and the asian dude who had one line). If the Skrulls ever make it to the screen, I have a feeling there will be a similar reaction as well.
Happy May 4th: May The Fourth Be With You! By request – I have completed the Fringe Mix CD Trilogy with the last edition: Dr. Walter Bishop. As with the previous two entries – Agent Olivia Dunham and Peter From Boston, they are somewhat autobiographical and follow the emotional life of what is known about the character from Seasons 1 and 2.
Out of all three – Walter’s was the easiest and most fun to put together. Maybe because we already know the dude loves to dance.
His musical genre is almost all classic rock with some blues and jazz thrown in for good measure. The perspective is his, so some of the songs are a bit more ironical or tongue-in-cheek and should not be taken at face value. My theory is that Walter is kind of an egomaniac and somewhat delusional about himself. Until of course, he starts to wake up post-asylum.
This mix is also heavily Peter centric, with some references to Elizabeth Bishop and Olivia Dunham. Rather than a Mix CD someone else put together for him, I like to think that Walter is music savvy enough to have created this himself. I can see him sitting around in the lab on a rainy day constructing it.
So here’s what Walter would want you to believe:
15. Love and Happiness – Al Green (a great Fringe vid!)
If you are a true Fringe enthusiast you’ll probably notice some of these songs actually appeared in the TV series. I scouted them all out from the first two seasons and used the ones which were most Walter-like. As always – you can download these songs and make your own copy, or I can be bribed to burn and mail you one with beer and candy. Email me at Mindy@Tinyheroes.net if you are interested.
And what do you think? Is this Walter?
My passion for Fringe extends beyond just the always lovable Peter Bishop to the equally cool Olivia Dunham, who I decided needs to get a little music love as well.
I set up this playlist to be an echo of the one I created for Peter – not because I think of them as soulmates, but more like soul twins. They’ve both been duped on many levels and are haunted/messed up from past relationships and all the crazy shit they deal with in the Fringe division.
Again – the tracks follow the emotional life of Olivia and are in chronological order based on her growth throughout the first two seasons. I haven’t been able to watch ANY of the third season yet, so I cannot speak to what’s happening there.
I’d just like to think, in some alternate universe, somebody thought Olivia Dunham was worthy of a Mix CD. And it turned out like this:
1. The Funeral – Band of Horses (the opening track HAS to be the same band!)
10. Monument – Mirah
15. Doubt – Wye Oak
If you ask me nicely I might be persuaded to send you a copy in the mail or deliver it in person – feel free to email me at Mindy@tinyheroes.net . I’m interested in hearing what playlist or tracks you would put on an Agent Olivia Dunham mix CD. You can post them in the comments here!
Finished up Season 2 of Fringe last week and found myself obsessed with a song from the episode Northwest Passage. It’s the first track on the “Peter From Boston” mix CD a diner waitress gives Peter. She claims to be able to make playlists based off of reading people’s auras, which she usually only gives to regulars.
Here’s a clip to refresh your memory (or provide some context for you non-Fringe lovers):
The first track “Is There a Ghost” by Band of Horses was so haunting (pun not originally intended), I downloaded it the next day and started ruminating on what the rest of the CD would look like. Here’s the fantastic scene which inspired me: **SPOILERS**
I’m a closet play-list maker. Whenever a big event is happening in my life, I make a playlist. As a big fan of matching music and images…I felt like the Peter From Boston mix was a challenge.
It took about six hours to troll through my entire music library and put this mix together. In the end it sort of tells a story – moving from Peter’s youthful angsty ignorance, ambivalence towards his parents, meeting Olivia and working with the Fringe division, learning about his past, his messed-up relationship with Walter and realizing that he has feelings for Olivia. Some of the songs apply to all these things. Some are very specific.
Enough musing…here’s the tracklist with links to YouTube videos of the songs:
1. Is There a Ghost? – Band of Horses
2. Things That Scare Me – Neko Case
3. Daddy’s Eyes – The Killers
4. Bodysnatchers – Radiohead
5. Academia – Sia
6. A Comet Appears – The Shins
7. Everywhere I Go – Lissie
8. Slow Life – Grizzly Bear (ft. Victoria Legrand)
9. Let It Be Me – Ray LaMontagne
10. I Melt With You – Modern English
11. Blinding – Florence + The Machine
12. Public Pervert – Interpol
13. Little Shadow – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
14. Go Places – The New Pornographers
15. My Lady’s House – Iron & Wine
16. White on White – Fredrik
Three runner-ups which almost but didn’t quite nearly make the cut:
1. Into The Mystic – Van Morrison
2. Willie – Cat Power
3. All the Trees in the Field Will Clap Their Hands – Sufjan Stevens
I’ve already burned two copies of the mix and handed them out. Plan on making another for my buddy Smalls who has been obsessed with Fringe for far longer than I have.
Here are the folks who’ve been on the receiving end of the mixes so far:
So, what do you think? Good? Bad? What songs would you put on a Peter From Boston mix?
Tonight saw the completion of a project that has been in the works for nearly a year now. Last spring my Nephew requested a Harry Potter scarf. Seeing as his birthday is this weekend, and the second to last HP movie is opening this month, it seemed quite fateful that he should receive the hand-knit scarf and a ticket to a midnight showing of the Harry Potter movie on his birthday.
The ultimate goal was to have this scarf completed before his birthday party on 11/07/2010. Considering that I started on 10/16/2010 – I was actually hoping to be done before now. Well, technically, it’s been complete for the last week – just sitting around waiting for me to tackle tassles. Yes, as with all projects that require a new skill…I was nervous about tassles. Once I finally sat down this evening and watched a YouTube tutorial, I realized it was stupidly easy and I’ve been quite a little fool for being afeared of this task up until now.
Originally, I thought I would bump the sizes down a little bit in order to make this fit on an 8 year old – this pattern found at Leaky Cauldron in the Harry Potter Crafts section is more for adults. The knitting went much slower than I anticipated. At one point I considered only doing 15 blocks of color just to be done with the damn thing. Throughout the project, I averaged about a block of color a day. On the best days I could knock out three. I ended up with 19 color blocks total which fits the original pattern. That’s 70 stitches, x22 rows, x19 blocks of color = 29260. Almost 30,000 stitches went into the creation of this scarf. Pretty wild, huh?
The scarf was knit in Cascade 220 Wool Yarn in red and yellow.
Here are some pics of the completed project:
With the Halloween holiday interruption, it took about 20 days total. That doesn’t leave me much time to tackle another two scarves in time for the Midnight release on the 19th. Hmph. I’ve already started another one with a different pattern from the Prisoner of Azkaban (one of my favorite films of the HP series). It’s purple and yellow, so I’m not sure if Dan or myself will be rocking it.
Of course I’ll be posting pics when/if it’s completed in time. This second scarf is with a heavier weight yarn and size 8 needles, which means less stitches, so technically it COULD take less time. I really only started in earnest last night and have already clocked 25 of the first 30 rows. Fingers crossed that I can knock it out in 15 days!
New Skills Gained: making tassles, adding fringe, knitting a scarf in the round
Poor, troubled Joss Whedon. He’s had off years, and great successes where no one expected (turning a failed movie into a TV series, and a failed TV series into a movie) so expectations were high for Dollhouse, and let’s be honest – the first four episodes did not deliver.
If I wasn’t a Whedon junky, I would have probably skipped off Dollhouse following episode 3 (as I did with Fringe). But the tenacity of wanting to see this show succeed where Firefly failed kept me watching. Things have picked up. Things have gotten good. Though I’m still not in love with any of the characters, and feel the humor is rocky at best…there is more to this than sheer entertainment value at this point. It’s getting Joss back on track doing what he does best – television. And if it takes a season or two to make that happen…I want to put him there. He’s delivered exciting content on three different TV shows, with my favorite mutants, and in a musical blog. What more could a nerd heart desire?
It doesn’t confirm that the show is canceled – merely a Season Two bridge episode #13 in which Felicia Day and Alan Tudyk were supposed to guest star is *possibly* not going to be aired. Hence – no Season Two, without an airing of the much touted Episode 13.
UPDATE: Tim Minear explains the situation here and soothes some of the savage beasties salivating at the keyboard. It’s incredibly helpful when the writers of a show watch the fan boards and respond. Why are these people so eerily accessible?
Right now – Dollhouse and Fox are the top trending searches on Twitter. I’ve even been prompted to tweet my fourth update in the last month about it, just to add my tiny push to the wave that is no doubt cresting at Fox’s door this very moment. All this started about 1 hour ago, btw. Hah!
So – I’m going to do my part and reserve a copy of the Season One DVD. I’m going to ignore the conflicting info flying around the net at present:
For some reason – as with X-Men Origins: Wolverine…I just can’t shake the feeling that the internets have been duped by bizarre FOX PR stunts as of late. Or maybe it is just the inability of old media to play nicely with new media creating circumstances which feed fan frenzy. Who knows?
Maybe you want to join in the twittering fun – to save Dollhouse?
Much Love, Mindy C