Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Yeah, I'm Gonna Talk About The VMA's (But not just Miley)

Alright, in the midst of all the controversy over a certain child star's fall from what was not even grace, I'm going to review an entire awards show that was, frankly, probably one of the weirdest things I've seen in my life. BULLET LIST TIME!

-Let's start from the top (and leave Miley at the bottom) with Lady Gaga. I really liked her performance up until the sea shell bra, which just made me kind of uncomfortable. Her vocals sounded good, and her various costumes changes were pretty cool. I loved her set too. Let's give it a three and a half out of five.

-20 minutes of pure perfection by Justin Timberlake. He has such a gift for performing and really made that clear. One disappointment: The Social Network cast was not in the video for Suit and Tie. SORRY MY PRADA'S AT THE CLEANERS.

-Kanye was.....not offending????? I don't know, I couldn't really understand anything he was saying, but his performance was pretty low-key for him. Props, I guess.

-Bruno Mars was lackluster at best, although his vocals were quite good. I didn't mind his performance.

-Katy Perry was just meh as well. I don't think her voice sounds great live and I just feel like I've heard Roar like six bajillion times before Roar even came out. It not only bears an almost plagiarist resemblance to Sara Bareille's "Brave", it really just sounds like ten other songs that came out before Brave, and so on so forth. If Perry had a more diverse style, I'd probably like her more.

-Kevin Hart was not funny. Why they felt the need to bring him out twice is beyond me.

-Taylor Swift also needs to get out. She was really rude about winning her award and taunting ex Harry Styles,  who was sitting right there. She also mouthed shall we say rude things when One Direction won their surprisingly single award for the night. For shame, T Swizzle, for shame.

-Alright, okay, I'll do it. I'll talk about Miley Cyrus. I know you've all been waiting for it.

Look, this is not the first time Miley Cyrus has done the whole "I'm not a middle schooler in a blonde wig singing for a two camera sit-com on the most corporate sell out of corporate sell out channels." She did it with "Can't Be Tamed", and clubbing, and taking risque' photos for Vogue, and so on, most of which was still while she was on the Disney channel. But never on the scale of what she did on live TV. I'm not condoning her actions, and I think what she did was disgusting. I do however think the concern that "small children were watching" was pretty obsolete. MTV marketed this show to older teens like everything else they do, I really doubt a WHOLE lot of small children were watching. Also, Hannah Montana almost never airs anymore, and I haven't seen merchandising for it in ages. Most truly younger kids probably don't hold Miley Cyrus in regard at this point.

That being said, I really wish I could say I didn't see this coming. I would like to be as shocked and surprised as the rest of you. But I figured this was coming, not on the scale that it came, but something like this was always coming.

That being said, I would like to also point attention to equally disgusting cohort Robin Thicke. Between all the butt-less twerking and condom-esque bikini business, take a look at the lyrics to Blurred Lines. Those blurred lines are the lines of sexual consent. THIS SONG IS ABOUT RAPE. And not only that, it's glorifying rape. What Miley did was gross, but what Robin Thicke does is just as bad. And yet, we only talk about what Miley did. Is it because she's woman? Is it because Robin Thicke is not as much of established figure in the pop community, or a former child star? All are valid questions. I've been trying to point out the absolute absurd obscenity that is Blurred Lines ever since it hit top of the pop charts. Make no mistake, Miley was not the only one presenting an image of distaste and ugliness.

-But now I'm going to end this on a bright note. Like I said, One Direction were largely booed and hated upon at the awards, for absolutely no reason. Sure, they're a heavily merchandised boy band, but hey, what have they done wrong? Their songs are catchy, they're very sweet, down to earth people, and are incredibly kind to their sometimes overbearing fan base. And apparently, Lady Gaga agrees with me, because this happened when they started booing:

But before she left, she went backstage, and told the boys that......

"I just want to tell you that they deserve every bit of success they have and not to let these people humiliate them. I put that bullying in my own show because I wanted to comment on that … and I want to go now. Already I do not want be here, because I will not be in a room where people are like that. They deserve that. "

Say what you will about seashell bras and meat dresses, but you cannot deny the heart under that has good intentions.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pacific Rim Is The Best Movie of the Summer and You Need To See It Now

Yeah yeah, I know, pretty much everybody is back in school, and it's not SUMMER anymore it's just really hot.
But guess what's probably still playing at your local theater? Pacific Rim. And guess what else? It's the best movie I've seen in FOREVER.

But first some context. I grew up on old monster movies, lots of Tokyo-destroying and crazy impossible science. I more frequently messed up my dollhouse with a Godzilla figure than actually played pre-computer SIMS with it. So Pacific Rim was right up my alley from the beginning.

The story is not the strong point of the film, but it's serviceable. In 2020, Kaiju, giant monsters along the lines of Gamera and the like, are destroying cities across the world. To stop them, the world creates Jaegers, giant robots with the capacity to take down the Kaiju. Each Jeager is piloted by two people who "drift" and share a collective memory in order to pilot the robots. They move, think, and feel as one person. Our main hero, Raleigh Beckett (Charlie Hunnam), blonde, American, and golden in every way, lost his brother in the Jaeger Gipsy Danger a couple years prior to the story. He's been travelling around working on "the wall" that provides menial labor jobs to millions, and is supposed to keep Kaiju out, but really isn't working. The Kaiju have evolved and have learned how to fight back against the Jeagers, and the project is going to be shut down soon. It's then that Raleigh is brought back to the Jaeger program by Stacker Pentacost (an on top Idris Elba, hardly ever better). Awesome ensues.

One of the many great things about Pacific Rim is it's great characters. Raleigh is not even the focal point. Perhaps the greatest in this movie is Mako Mori. Everyone, prepare to meet your new queen. The great thing about Mako (played by the wonderful Rinko Kikuchi) is that she is a fully developed character, with a storyline that does not revolve around a man,  and she kicks butt on her own terms. She has real pathos and a great backstory. This is Mako's movie, we just had to market it as a movie about a white American man so it would sell. And while that's a shame, it's still a wonderful thing to see an Asian woman leading a movie so greatly.

But there's not a bad performance in the movie. Frequent Del Toro collaborator Ron Pearlman (ugh, spelling) is back, and turns in a great, comic relief preformance. Burn Gorman makes yet another mark on American cinema in the past year. If I bring up Idris Elba again, we'll be here all night. And Charlie Day is show stealing, as Newt Gieszler, a kind of sillier version of Ben Whishaw's Q. Don't get me wrong, he's his own character though. He's one of my favorites as well.

The design and visual effects of the movie also deserve an essay. Very creative, clean cut, and great to look at. I'm especially fond of the Mako flashback, and the stark contrasts of colors there.

Please just go see this movie, you won't regret. A talented cast, great action scenes, and wonderful characters. You won't regret it.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Heroes of Cosplay (And My Problems With It)

I'm a cosplayer. It's something I enjoy doing, I'm not competitive about it, I just do it for fun. That being said, I really respect others who make their stuff from scratch and create something truly amazing, and compete at conventions and the like.

Bearing that in mind, let's talk about this show.

So SyFy decides, hey, nerds are cool now, cosplay is becoming cooler, let's put a show about it on after Sharknado made a metric crap ton of money.

The format of the show is really weird. It's one part documentary, one part reality show, one part competition show, but it doesn't work. And also, there were a lot of really staged drama bits and obvious editing to make some of the people look  more bitter about other contestants.

And also, I had no idea who Yaya Han was before this show, but oh my gosh, she was really rude on the show! And of course, we have to keep in mind that this might be because SyFy producers are clearly looking to amp up the drama, but some of the things she said to people on this show were completely not okay.

Especially when Ms. Han berated contestents for running out of time TO PLASTER THEIR HEADS AND MAKE HORNS for a cosplay and going out to buy some horns, and that it made them lesser cosplayers for doing so. I'm not going to lie, a good eighty percent of the things I use in my cosplays came from a store. I've had to modify some things, and I'm working on a "from scratch" cosplay. But to think that cosplayers have ranks, and that buying stuff demotes you, is completely ridiculous.

Also, I had no idea "professional" cosplay was even a thing?

I guess my problem with the show is that it reflects a really tiny minority of the cosplay community that go to really extreme lengths for competitions. If the show were more varied, not only in that respect, but also in featuring more men and other types of women, I might like it a tad bit better.

But yeah, I really don't feel like this show reflects cosplay at all, especially not the great times I've had with it.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

In Which I Discuss The 500 Days of Summer Complex

If you've been around the Internet lately, you've probably seen little things like


or this

or this

or maybe even this

And I have a really really really really big problem with it.

As much as I love a good John Green novel, or The Perks of Being A Wallflower, there's this weird culture that's developed around those things and their counterparts.

It's the concept that sadness and angst and self-loathing are beautiful and will make some other self-loathing and angsty person fall in love with you.

This goes hand in hand with what I like to call the 500 Days of Summer complex, which is based off of this quote from the film.

              "Just because some girl likes the same weird crap as you do doesn't make her your soul mate".
The movie depicts a relationship that looks sweet and romantic on the surface, but it's actually pretty messed up under further inspection. Tom, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, is projecting his ideal relationship onto Summer (Zooey Deschanel), who explicitly stated that she wasn't looking for a relationship. Tom takes offense every time Summer asks for time alone, and their relationship is all consuming to the point of obsession. Like I said, not exactly healthy.

The 500 Days of Summer complex is the idea that the basic plotline of the film is the healthy relationship outline for "damaged" teenagers looking for a relationship. Unfortunately, they often don't realize the destructive details.

This culture of self-loathing and the 5DOS complex just seem to go together. And that is not okay.

Remember kids, your sadness is not beautiful. You have to be your own hero, and make sure YOU are the one who is taking care of you. Living life in fear and loathing is the worst possible way to spend your teenage years, or any years in your life. I know it's hard, but we need to lose this glamour on sadness and depression. Go be your own hero.