Monthly Archives: January 2017

Beauty And The Beast Trailer

The trailer for Beauty And The Beast is out and well, the internet is buzzing.

I’ve read and heard that the narrative and the characters have been expanded from the animated film. The Beast’s back story will be given more screen time and Belle, on top of the bookworm we all know and love, is also an inventor.

I can only hope that this film is not only as good as it promises to be, but also lives up to reputation of its predecessor.

Only time will tell, but hopefully the reviews and box office receipts in March will be glowing.

Happy Tuesday.

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Where Are You, Jared Kushner?

Jared Kushner is our President’s close aide and son-in-law. I wonder, does he compartmentalize like crazy so as to not go crazy with the chaotic roll-out? Does he worry about how he’ll explain it to his children? https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/31/jared-kushner-grandmother-refugee-holocaust

via Grandmother to Jared Kushner (Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close aide) anguished that the world’s doors were closed in regard to America’s refusal to accept refugees during the Holocaust. This is getting weird; they’re closing again and Kushner’s helping them slam. — Words We Women Write

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The Irony of Trump’s Muslim Ban

The following words have greeted new immigrants to America for generations:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,/With conquering limbs astride from land to land;/Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand/
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame/Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name/Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand/Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command/The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame/”Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she/With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

When my great grandparents and millions of others immigrated to America around the turn of the 20th century, these words welcomed them with open arms. They fled repression, hunger, poverty and hatred, looking for freedom and opportunity in America, known as the golden medina (the golden land).

Donald Trump’s new ban on immigration and specifically, Muslim immigration was enacted this week. The reaction has been swift and angry. America is the land of immigrants and the land of opportunity. While I have no problem vetting potential immigrants to prevent terrorist attacks, I do have a problem with a carte blanche ban on all refugees from entering America.

The irony of the ban is that while some refugees from some Muslim majority countries have been banned from entering, the border is still open to other Muslim majority countries.The countries that we are still accepting refugees from, have only contributed to terrorist attacks, but also has ties to Trump’s past business dealings.

This man has been in the Oval Office for a little more than a week and has already turned this country and this world upside down and not for the better.

It grieves me to think of the lives that could potentially be lost within the next few months. But they’re only refugees fleeing destruction, hatred and poverty, who gives a rats ass about them? Not our President, obviously.

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Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is 204 today.

Jane Austen‘s most well known novel may seem on the outside like the standard romance novel, but it is so much more.

Yes, the basic plot line is the will they or won’t they question regarding the potential match of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. But Jane Austen was a very smart woman. She knew that her novel had to be much more than the standard love story. An astute observer of her world, Pride and Prejudice and all of her novels are both a road map to the Georgian era and a testament to the folly and joy of humanity.

There are meddling parents, marriages for marriage sake, teenage girls with nothing but clothes and boys on the brain and so much more.

Anyone who knows me or had read this blog knows that Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books and Jane Austen is one of my all time favorite writers. This book is a revelation. It’s no wonder that it has not only been adapted time and again, but it’s plot and characters copied by other writers for other stories.

Jane Austen was a certifiable genius and her book, Pride and Prejudice will last for eternity as one of the classics for the ages.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Jane Austen, Movies, Pride and Prejudice, Television, Writing

On This Holocaust Rememberance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. We remember the not just the six million Jews who perished, but the millions of others who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.

This Holocaust Remembrance Day feels different. It feels different because Donald Trump has enacted a ban on Muslim immigration to the US. While America in 2017 is not Nazi Germany in 1933, there are echoes of Nazi Germany coming out of the White House. Those echoes should send a chill down the spine of every American citizen and ask them to take a hard look at the man who is the leader of the free world.

I can’t help but think of the millions of lives that could have been saved had America opened her borders when the need was greatest. In May of 1939, the SS St. Louis left Germany with 900 Jewish souls aboard. Upon reaching the Americas, the ship and it’s passengers were rejected. The ship was forced to return to Europe and many of those aboard were killed by the Nazis.

While I understand the need to ensure that those with less than honorable desires are prevented from entering this country, I do not understand why innocent people fleeing persecution and violence should be denied entry into the US. It’s appalling and it breaks my heart.

We say never again every year. Unfortunately, never again has happened again. Not just to the my people, but to other groups as well.

Happy Friday.

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Flashback Friday-The Mystery Of Natalie Wood (2004)

For a certain generation of movie goers, Natalie Wood is their movie star. A product of the old Hollywood studio system, she grew from a precocious child star to an adult actress whose varied roles left an indelible mark on audiences. Sadly, she drowned in 1981, leaving behind not just a grieving family, but a respected body of work.

In 2004, the television biopic, The Mystery Of Natalie Wood aired. Starring Justine Waddell as Natalie Wood and Michael Weatherly as Robert Wagner, the television biopic is the story of Natalie Wood’s life and career before her untimely passing nearly 36 years ago.

A biopic has to walk a fine line. While it must respect the life of the person who is being profiled, it must also be entertaining to audiences.As a biopic, it’s not bad. I’ve seen worse.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Star Wars Character Review: Princess Leia

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the original Stars Wars trilogy. Read at your own risk if you are just now discovering the original trilogy.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from the original Star Wars trilogy to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Last week, I examined the character of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). This post will about his twin sister, Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (the late Carrie Fisher).

It’s no secret that the science fiction genre is a boys club. Female characters are usually relegated to the background or to the predictable role of the love interest and/or the damsel in distress. When the audience is introduced to Princess Leia in Episode 4 , she appears to be the standard female character that often appears within the genre. She is young, wearing white and is the prisoner of the evil Empire and it’s overlord, Darth Vader.

With just the initial introduction, it looks like Leia’s role within the narrative is predictable from the word go.

Then she grabs the blaster from Luke, shoots down a few storm troopers and aids her own rescuers by shooting a hole that will lead down to the garbage pit. From that moment on, not only did the world change, but women’s roles in the science fiction genre changed.

Leia is feisty, intelligent and takes no prisoners. She is the natural daughter of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and Padme Amidala, Luke’s twin (and a Jedi in her own right) and the adopted daughter of Senator Bail Organa and Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan. While she may have some of the narratives and characteristics of predecessors, Leia is a game changer character.

In A New Hope, Leia does not flinch when her home planet is destroyed and resists the torture heaped upon her by Vader. In The Empire Strikes Back, while she does fall in love with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), she is still his equal. In Return Of The Jedi, not only does Leia rescue Han from the carbonite, but she kills Jabba by strangulation. I don’t know about anyone else, but the speeder bike chase is still one of the coolest movie sequences I’ve ever seen.

 

Leia could have easily been the standard damsel in distress/love interest. George Lucas could have taken the easy way out when writing the character. While she has her standard character trope moments (i.e. the gold bikini in Return Of The Jedi), she is so much more than the standard character trope. For many women, young and old, Leia is a role model. While she is in the company of men, she is not the quiet, subservient woman, sitting in the background. She is equal, she is powerful, she is intelligent and she is in charge.

To sum it up: Women need other women to look up to. We need strong, capable intelligent women who can take charge. Leia was one of those women. In creating the character of Princess Leia, George Lucas not only brought a new audience to the genre, but showed that women are as capable as men. Sometimes, as writers, its easy to get lost in tropes and standard characters. By creating a character who goes against type, the writer is not only inviting the audience to look at the character with new eyes, but the world that the character inhabits with new eyes.

RIP Carrie. It’s only a month since you left this world, but it feels like an eternity.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Movies, Star Wars, Writing

Throwback Thursday-Just Friends (2005)

For some, high school is a time of joy, youth and fun. For others, it’s the reason many of us only go home for the holidays.

In the 2005 movie, Just Friends, Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) high school was far from fun. Overweight, unpopular and secretly in love with Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart). After graduating from high school, Chris leaves his small town for Los Angeles, looses the weight, joins the music industry and become a playboy.

When a trip to Paris is cut short due to a fire, Chris has no choice but to return home and bring Samantha James (Anna Faris), the latest and greatest singing sensation with him. When Chris and Jamie reunite, Chris has one goal: to tell Jamie how he feels about her.

I have mixed feelings about this movie. One on hand, it summarizes how many of us felt during high school. But at the same time, it is very predictable and this movie almost feels like a second rate sequel to a John Hughes high school movie from the 1980’s.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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RIP Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore died today. She was 80.

She was more than TV star or a movie star. She was icon.

Her self titled sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show was on the air from 1970-1977. Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) is a single woman, employed as an associate producer at a fictional television station in Minneapolis. In the 1970’s, this was revolutionary. It was feminism hitting the main stream in a way that made it palatable to the average American. Mary Richards paved the way not just for the generation of young women growing up in the 1970’s, but for future generations of women to stand on their own two feet and not simply reply on the traditional state of matrimony.

Mary Richards was very much the modern woman. So was the woman who played her. In addition to starring on the show, she had a hand in crafting show, joining long line of past and future female show runners.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show may have aired its last episode 40 years ago, but the show, its legacy and its leading lady will live on.


RIP.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I could talk about the title of Star Wars, Episode 8, but I think the video above says it all. December 15th better come quickly.

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January 23, 2017 · 10:18 pm