Category Archives: Fairy Tales

The Royal We Book Review

From an early age, of the most common fairy tales are told is the story of the marriage between a prince and a commoner. But as perfect and straight forward as these narratives are, they are a just a tad boring.

The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan was published in 2016. Rebecca “Bex” Porter has always had an adventurous streak. Transferring to Oxford University to finish her degree, she is met at the door by Nick, one of her new housemates. What starts off as a friendship turns into love. But Nick is not just any guy. He is Prince Nicholas, heir to the British throne.

It is not easy dating a future King of England, given the fame and the responsibilities Nick has on his shoulders. It quickly becomes apparent that Bex will have to make a choice about her life and her future. To say that the decision is not easy is an understatement.

Loosely based on The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge‘s early years as a couple, I found this book to be charming, romantic, and delicious. Both Bex and Nick are drawn in a way that they are fully fleshed out characters, instead of the 2D Hallmark movie leads they could have been.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Best Movies of 2020

  1. Soul: Though it is marketed as a kids movie, the subtext of appreciating life feels appropriate and potent this year.
  2. Mulan: The live-action reboot of the 1998 animated film Mulan rises above its predecessor, making it fresh and relevant.
  3. Emma.: Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Jane Austen‘s eponymous heroine, Emma Woodhouse, introduced as clever, rich, and handsome. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, this adaption is entertaining, funny, and a lovely addition to the list of Austen adaptations.
  4. The Trial of the Chicago 7: The film tells. the story of the 7 men accused of being responsible for the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Though it is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it feels very 2020.
  5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire: This LBGTQ historical romance between a young woman and the female artist hired to paint her portrait is sweet, romantic, and powerful. It proves once more that love is love is love.
  6. Ordinary Love: Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) are your average middle-aged couple. When she is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they both must deal with the rough road ahead.
  7. The Assistant: Jane (Julia Garner) is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-esque powerful movie producer. She starts to notice things that don’t sit right with her.
  8. I am Greta: This documentary follows teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as she advocates for the world to pay serious attention to climate change.
  9. Mank: Gary Oldman plays Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in a performance that is nothing but Oscar bait.
  10. #AnneFrank-Parallel Lives: Narrated by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells not just Anne’s story. It follows other young women who survived the Holocaust. Parallel to the stories of the past, the viewer is traveling with another young woman as she visits different countries in present-day Europe.

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Filed under Books, DisneyPlus, Emma, Fairy Tales, Feminism, History, Hulu, Jane Austen, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix, Politics

Mulan Review

Back in 1976, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich made the following statement:

“Well-behaved women seldom make history”

Among the myths that exist in Chinese history, the story of Hua Mulan is one of the most well known. In 1998, Disney released an animated film based on her narrative. In September, the live action adaptation premiered on Disney Plus.

Mulan (Yifei Liu) is not your average young woman. Girls in her world are expected to be meek, mild, and subservient. The highlight of her life is her future as a wife and mother. But Mulan is the opposite. She is a tomboy who would prefer to be active rather than submit to the path that is prescribed for her.

When the kingdom is invaded, a decree is sent out. Every family must send one man to fight. But Mulan has no brothers and her father is partially crippled from the last invasion. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins the army, knowing full well that the revelation of her gender is a dangerous one.

Among the live-action updates of Disney’s animated films (Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast), this is the best of the three that have so far been seen by audiences. It is darker and grittier than its predecessor, enhancing what was already there. I also loved the addition of Xianniang (Li Gong). Though she is initially introduced as the typical Disney villain, there is more to her than meets the eye.

One of the updates that I think makes the movie is the question of how gender is perceived. Though the subject was threaded into the screenplay in the 1998 movie, it is much more prevalent in this version.

If there was one takeaway from this film, it is to thine own self be true, even if the revelation is a difficult one to process. Given the changes in our culture in regards to gender, sex, and sexuality, the message comes through loud and clear.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Mulan is available for streaming on Disney Plus.

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Filed under Beauty and the Beast, DisneyPlus, Fairy Tales, Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies

Cinderella Is Dead Book Review

We all know the story of Cinderella. Her tale has been part of our culture for an untold number of generations.

Cinderella Is Dead, by Kalynn Bayron, was published back in July. In the fictional kingdom of Mersailles, women are chattel. At the age of sixteen, young girls are required by law to present themselves at the annual ball. If any one of them is unable to find a husband by the time she turns eighteen, her fate is either servitude or disappearing forever.

 Sophia Grimmins is sixteen. She would rather marry her girlfriend, Erin, than be forced to say I do to a man she does know or care for. But she also knows what could happen to her parents if she does not attend. At the ball, Erin falls in line with the other girls. But Sophia is having none of it. After she escapes, she finds herself in Cinderella’s mausoleum. Meeting Constance, a direct descendent from one of the step-sisters, the girls hatch a plan to remove the King from the throne. Sophia also learns that the tale of Cinderella that has been drilled into her is missing a few critical pieces of information.

This book is interesting. A sort of The Handmaid’s Tale meets YA/LGBTQ fantasy, it is not our grandmother’s simplistic, Disney-fied version of the story. Which is perfectly fine with me, I am always up for a fractured fairy tale. I love the author’s creativity, the world she created is nuanced and feels closer to our world than the traditional world these narratives take place in.

The problem is initial chapter and the concluding chapters feel rushed. Instead of dropping the big reveal on the reader and letting it soak in, she pushes through it as if it were a minor plot point. Which, to be honest, was a little bit of a letdown because I wanted to feel the climax. But I didn’t.

Do I recommend it? The answer is a strong maybe.

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HOW WILL YOU VOTE? – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody

In only a short few days, Americans will know who will be leading the country for the next four years. While millions have already made the choice known, others will be going to the polls on Election Day.

Randy Rainbow released his newest video on Friday. Entitled HOW WILL YOU VOTE? – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody, the song is based “That’s How You Know” from the 2007 movie Enchanted.

I loved this video. Over the last week or so, the reminders to vote have come at us in all directions. Though we are told every year that that year’s election is the important, this year’s election is critical. If we do not vote you know who out, the United States as it exists today may not be there tomorrow.

#BidenHarris2020

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Thoughts on Wear a Mask (Be Our Guest Parody)

For the last 7 months, we have been reminded to wear our masks when we leave our homes.

In case there are fools out there who think that they don’t need to wear a mask, this lovely reminder from Beauty and the Beast could not be clearer.

In other words, shut up and just put on a dam mask.

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Flashback Friday-Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001)

In our world, when we think of princesses, we think of a certain type of character. She is a dainty, angelic young woman, usually a damsel in distress who is waiting for her beloved to rescue her. She has no agency, does not have much of a character arc, and walks off into the sunset in some version of happily ever after.

In 1995, Xena: Warrior Princess premiered and destroyed the stereotypes. An off-shoot of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena (Lucy Lawless) is a warrior princess with a less than clean past. Seeing the need to redeem herself, she fights against evil with the help of Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor).

Back then, this show was revolutionary. As a female character, Xena (and Gabrielle by extension), broke the mold. She was everything the classic princesses were not. There was also an element of romance between the main characters, opening the door for LGBTQ characters and viewers.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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New Randy Rainbow Video-I Won’t Vote Trump! – Randy Rainbow Song Parody

Every four years, we are told that that year’s election is the most important. Though it was certainly true of past elections, this statement is I think a testament to how crucial it is that we vote in November.

Randy Rainbow released his latest video earlier today. Entitled “I Won’t Vote Trump! – Randy Rainbow Song Parody“. It is based on the song “I Wont Grow Up” from the musical adaptation of Peter Pan.

Normally, Rainbow goes all out, technology wise to create his work. But this is so simple, mainly because of the delicious simplicity of the original lyrics.

In our crazy world, it is easy to become frustrated and disillusioned. Work like these lets us take a breath, laugh and remember what we are fighting for.

#BidenHarris2020

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Red, White & Royal Blue Book Review

Stories about true love between commoners and a member of the royal family have been around for centuries. But what happens when both are of the same sex?

Casey McQuiston’s debut novel, Red, White & Royal Blue was released last year.

Alex Claremont-Diaz’s life changed forever when his mother was elected President. A PR rep’s dream come true, he is handsome, charming and the all-American boy. But there is a hitch. Alex does not get along with Prince Henry of England. To prevent what could be a major diplomatic row, plans on both sides of the Atlantic are made to mend fences.

What starts out as a PR stunt turns into a friendship and then something more. As much as Henry and Alex love each other, they both know that this relationship comes with complications. Will true love win the day or will politics and fear break up what could be a modern fairy tale?

I loved this book. It felt very modern and thoroughly fairy tale like at the same time. Though the author relied on the tried and true haters turned to lovers trope, she was able too flesh it out in such a way that it did not feel predictable. It was funny, charming, sexy and a dam good read.

I absolutely recommend it.

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New Randy Rainbow Video “THAT DON! – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody”

Last week’s impeachment of you know who is nothing short of history making.

That being said, the impeachment opens many doors for those who are ready, willing and eager to satirize the process and the man being impeached.

Randy Rainbow’s newest video, “THAT DON! – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody” uses the song “Gaston” from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast“.

With his usual genius and spot on comedy, Rainbow makes us laugh at what is in reality a serious event which has implications to forever change the the political face of this country.

I can’t think of a better way to start the week.

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Filed under Beauty and the Beast, Fairy Tales, National News, Politics, Randy Rainbow