I read a post today that got me thinking about the subject...here [profile] jarodrossell refers to a conversation he was having about archetypes. Specifically, characters that can redefine archetypes. The context of the original conversation is regarding African American nerd characters, of whom there aren't that many. The one everyone usually points to is Urkel, and he was on TV in the 90s. [personal profile] jarodrussell points out Alec Hardison from Leverage as an example, but since Hardison is a supporting character and a member of an ensemble, he doesn't have the power to redefine an archetype like a lead. Which got me thinking about supporting characters in general and how they often outshine the lead--which should not be taken as an argument for white leads.... )
I was thinking about Ariadne in Inception today...and I'm going to put it under a cut just in case spoilers come up, but basically I keep reading about how problematic she was as a female character... )
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I was thinking about Ariadne in Inception today...and I'm going to put it under a cut just in case spoilers come up, but basically I keep reading about how problematic she was as a female character... )
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OMG, another movie meme! I have seen practically everything in the Academy Awards Best Picture list at this point, except for 3 or 4. I have a feeling I'll do terribly on this one, which are the top-grossing movies of all time. Gakked from [livejournal.com profile] jlh.

Top grossing movies )
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OMG, another movie meme! I have seen practically everything in the Academy Awards Best Picture list at this point, except for 3 or 4. I have a feeling I'll do terribly on this one, which are the top-grossing movies of all time. Gakked from [personal profile] jlh.

Top grossing movies )
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sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Pica loquax certa dominum te voce saluto)
( Nov. 18th, 2009 02:24 pm)
This is related to a discussion in another lj, but I realized it was really a tangent, so I thought I'd put it here. The discussion was about all-human AUs, where fanfic authors take non-human characters and make them human due to the setting. For instance, if you have everybody from Star Trek in high school, Spock might be an exchange student from some other country, but he's not half Vulcan. Likewise, Castiel isn't an angel, Spike isn't a vampire, Frodo isn't a hobbit, Zuko isn't a fire bender, etc. It's taking fantasy or sci-fi characters and putting them in a real world settings. Many people don't really see the point in that--which I can understand, even if I like those stories. If a character has an alien mindset, the logical question is, how can s/he be the same character without that alien mindset?

Which led me to an answer that's not really relevent to that discussion, which is that they're actually human to begin with. )
sistermagpie: Might as well be in Chinese (Chinese)
( Nov. 18th, 2009 02:22 pm)
This is related to a discussion in another lj, but I realized it was really a tangent, so I thought I'd put it here. The discussion was about all-human AUs, where fanfic authors take non-human characters and make them human due to the setting. For instance, if you have everybody from Star Trek in high school, Spock might be an exchange student from some other country, but he's not half Vulcan. Likewise, Castiel isn't an angel, Spike isn't a vampire, Frodo isn't a hobbit, Zuko isn't a fire bender, etc. It's taking fantasy or sci-fi characters and putting them in a real world settings. Many people don't really see the point in that--which I can understand, even if I like those stories. If a character has an alien mindset, the logical question is, how can s/he be the same character without that alien mindset?

Which led me to an answer that's not really relevent to that discussion, which is that they're actually human to begin with. )
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Two for joy of talking)
( May. 29th, 2009 12:23 pm)
I was reading an entry today about the Bechdel test, that famous test for stories where by you ask if the female characters ever talk to other females, and if so, do they talk about a man? [livejournal.com profile] jlh raises some really good points, though, about how this test really doesn't work when applied to romance, since romance is the plot of the story and everyone is usually talking about it, including the men. In an action movie we're sadly often likely to find men talking about their jobs, their cause and their mortality while having a romance on the side with a female character who doesn't exist outside the romance. But in a romantic comedy you're just as likely to find the male characters discussing romance as the female ones, and since the romance is the main plot it's not that disempowering to be talking about it. In some movies it's all they talk about--men as well as women.

Anyway, people started bringing up TV shows, especially, that do often effortlessly pass the test. Some people felt these shows unfortunately were types they didn't like, like Grey's Anatomy--I've never watched this show, but I assume they basically mean soapy. Others, though, pointed to shows like Bones that feature female characters talking about any number of topics with each other.

So I started thinking about having people recommend their favorite female friendships, or friendships they think were shown to be valid, in fictional shows, books or movies. Anyone want to pimp some of your favorites? I'll throw out three. )
sistermagpie: Sigh. (Monet)
( May. 29th, 2009 12:23 pm)
I was reading an entry today about the Bechdel test, that famous test for stories where by you ask if the female characters ever talk to other females, and if so, do they talk about a man? [personal profile] jlh raises some really good points, though, about how this test really doesn't work when applied to romance, since romance is the plot of the story and everyone is usually talking about it, including the men. In an action movie we're sadly often likely to find men talking about their jobs, their cause and their mortality while having a romance on the side with a female character who doesn't exist outside the romance. But in a romantic comedy you're just as likely to find the male characters discussing romance as the female ones, and since the romance is the main plot it's not that disempowering to be talking about it. In some movies it's all they talk about--men as well as women.

Anyway, people started bringing up TV shows, especially, that do often effortlessly pass the test. Some people felt these shows unfortunately were types they didn't like, like Grey's Anatomy--I've never watched this show, but I assume they basically mean soapy. Others, though, pointed to shows like Bones that feature female characters talking about any number of topics with each other.

So I started thinking about having people recommend their favorite female friendships, or friendships they think were shown to be valid, in fictional shows, books or movies. Anyone want to pimp some of your favorites? I'll throw out three. )
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sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Baby magpies)
( May. 9th, 2009 05:10 pm)
I figure a lot more people have seen Star Trek now (omg, wasn't it awesome???!) so I'm going to say something about it that includes some spoilers. Basically, just that one of the things I loved in this movie was the way it handled youth. Spoilers within )
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sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Swoop!)
( May. 4th, 2009 11:55 pm)
So I just saw Enterprise. Here's a short review, no spoilers.

No spoilers. La la la. )
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There was an article posted in The San Francisco Chronicle about the Avatar: The Last Airbender question, which led to a long discussion on [livejournal.com profile] avatar_fans about the casting again. This discussion included arguments from both sides, and after a while it made me want to make this opinion clear. It got way long—sorry. Whether or not the Avatar world is Asia is beside the point. )

That got much longer than I meant it to be. It's just what's tricky about these arguments is they sound so obvious and succinct but actually hold a ton of unexamined assumptions.
I have not updated for a while! I think I've been too embroiled in reading and participating in discussions about the Avatar situation. For those who don't know Avatar:The Last Airbender is a fabulous anime-inspired animated show from Nickelodeon set in a world based on various Asian and Inuit cultures. EW just announced tentative casting for four of the leads, and of the three we've seen pictures of their all--you guessed it--white. (Odds don’t look good on number four, but we don’t know yet.)

There have been a lot of great posts about this, particularly in response to arguments that this kind of casting is fine since it's not really Asia, or in anime style makes everyone look white, or it's just fantasy, or that's the way Hollywood works, or it's just a movie so caring about it makes you a shallow liberal, or these kids were obviously just the best actors in the world for it, or there's not enough non-white actors to do it...suffice to say, I disagree with these arguments and urge anybody who wants to to check out [livejournal.com profile] aang_aint_white and consider writing a letter of protest if you feel strongly enough. No, the letters might not have any effect on the actual movie, but letting people know we would have liked the movie to not be cast all-white will have more effect than doing nothing, right? That's how these things change.

Which is what it made me think about how things change. Right before this news came out I happened to see Tropic Thunder, which of course features Robert Downey Jr. playing an actor playing a character using blackface. Next to the actual black man played by actual black man Brandon T. Jackson, Downey's character comes across as flat and unrealistic. His black character, that is--when he's playing the Australian white guy underneath he's more like a human being. It's not that Osirus (the black character) doesn't have emotions, it's that the stereotype laid on top of them is so flat and shallow it doesn’t let them come through. Which brings me to Charlie Chan. )
Ten years after the rest of the world I saw Iron Man. I enjoyed it a lot--one weird thought I had through the whole thing? I kind of wish Pepper Potts was played by a older woman. Older meaning old. Like a female Alfred Pennyworth.

The problem with her as is was, well just to be up front about my bias any character played by Gwyneth Paltrow is going to have points against her with me. I just can't stand her. But I don't think that was it. It was that as much as I was kind of prepared for it and tried to brush it aside I never really got over her first scene. Probably very few spoilers for Iron Man within. )
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I just can't resist these memes. So here's another list of stuff you bold, italicize, underline and comment on. The weird thing on this list is the ones I haven't seen.

From Entertainment Weekly's top 100 movies of the last 25 years (which you know is going to be bizarre). Go through their list, BOLD the ones you have seen, and underline the ones you own on video or DVD; put an asterisk next to the one you love. Italicize the ones you want to see.

The Movie Meme )
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For anybody else who's a Sondheim fan, especially fans of Sweeney Todd, I recommend this article by Jamie Johnston.

It points out that the driving force in the play is not love but beauty and I thought it was just great.:-)

In the comments I went off on a tangent specifically about how this related to Toby given the way the movie changes him from a half-wit youth to a gin-soaked child, both of which have different aesthetic appeals for the eye and the ear. Anyway, I recommend the article for ST fans.
So I just saw Indiana Jones and I enjoyed it--since I saw it I've had these ramblings in my head about one of the whatdyacallit themes in the movie. Spoilers for IJatKotCK within )
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sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Hmmmm..)
( Apr. 16th, 2008 11:11 am)
I have been away and now I'm back. I just found out that M. Night Shyamalan is going to direct the movie of Avatar: The Last Airbender (though now it's just The Last Airbender because of James Cameron).

That's weird, isn't it? Apparently he's writing the script, too. Now I just keep wondering what the twist will be:

Aang's really been dead all this time and doesn't realize it.

The Fire Nation is really the modern world.

Sokka is the Fire Lord and he started the war to find his equal.

All this time, it's the elements who have really been bending them!
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (WWSMD?)
( Feb. 5th, 2008 01:06 pm)
I'm one of those people who watches my favorite movies over and over. I also listen to all the commentaries on DVDs and watch all the extras. And all last week I was in the mood to watch The Omen--so you can imagine my distress when I went to my shelf on Sunday and discovered I had somehow LOST MY COPY! I have no idea how I did it. I'm going to have to talk about the Omen as a poor substitute )
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Happy holidays everyone!

Hope everybody had a good Christmas. Mine was pretty good--I replaced my broken iPod. Woo-hoo! I'm also seeing a lot of theater this year. I should be going again tomorrow so I might update about that, but I also went to see my roommate in "A Christmas Carol." Her theater company was doing it in Queens.

My thoughts on this updated Dickens play... )

Even better, though, Sweeney Todd! I saw it with somebody who didn't know it at all and he wound up thinking it was one of the best things he'd ever seen. Yay.
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