I took myself out to see Ghostbusters last night, and because of timing had to see the 3D version, which was fine.
Because I haven't been living under a rock, I've been very aware of the internet hate storm that occurred when insecure men discovered that "the classic" original Ghostbusters would be erased by the addition of a film in the franchise with a female cast as the titular characters. After all they would obviously round up all copies of the original films and destroy them, making only the 2016 Paul Feig version available from this point forward. Oh wait, that wasn't going to happen at all? Huh, wonder what all the fuss was about?
The fuss was about toxic masculinity being frustrated by the idea that women can be funny and headline a movie about people catching and destroying fucking ghosts. What's the problem? The cast of this movie is a collection of some of the most talented comics of our time. And Paul Feig has proven himself as an adroit director with credits like The Heat and Bridesmaids. This was all a knee-jerk reaction to the idea that "feminism is ruining everything." No, someone looked at something they loved, got an idea, and ran with it. And it was a pretty good idea. Because hey guess what? Women can be scientists and smart MTA employees and they can kick ass.
Anyway, none of that matters now that the film is a thing that exists in the world and I got to see it. I have to admit that I laughed loudly through a large portion of the film, but what really got me was the supporting characters more than anything else. The one-liners and physical comedy were spot on and very referential to the original films. Not to mention the cameo appearances by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver were brilliant and perfect.
Things that should make you want to see this film; Chris Hemsworth as Kevin. Kevin is gorgeous. Kevin is also so stupid it makes you wonder how he remembers to breathe. It is mesmerizing how dum this man is. Also clumsy, which just adds to the wonderment. I mean seriously, he's dumb as a box of rocks, and that is mentioned in the film. When he is introduced, the three scientists looking to hire a receptionist respond to him in vastly different ways; Erin (Kristen Wiig) is just overcome with lust, Abbie (Melissa McCarthy) just needs a freaking receptionist, Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) is really wanting to see what happens if he's around.
Speaking of Holtzmann... I want to marry her. Except I've been warned repeatedly in my life that one should never sleep with anyone crazier than they are. And she is bat crap crazy, and just as smart and talented. Go see this movie for Holtzmann! Do it. Worth every screen stealing second. From the great glasses and slouchy wardrobe, to her low voice and curled lip smile, you just know that there's a lot going on there.
Leslie Jones was so big and bold as Patty, and the facts that she rattles off about the city and history without skipping a beat show how Patty is an invaluable person to have around. Plus, she brought them a car. A vital piece of equipment for going around New York hunting apparitions. Anyone who is offended by the character of Patty is an idiot. There was no reason in this story line for all four characters to be scientists, and if anything having one of them be someone who knows the area better than all of them together, is an asset. There's even a line in the movie when she falls to the ground after attempting to crowd serf, "I don't know if it was a race thing, or a lady thing, but I'm mad as hell!" So I don't know if the disturbances about her casting and character were those things, but she nails Patty and was a lot of fun to watch.
Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig were great and funny, but they really weren't the biggest treats in this movie. Truthfully it's isn't the best movie I'm going to see all summer, but it was good fun and I love watching anything those two do together.
I believe the weakest part of this movie was really the villain and the plot. The villain is a creepy little dude who wants to cause an apocalypse because he's been picked on. Boo-fucking-hoo. There just isn't enough there to be compelling. But the effects were cheesy enough to be part of the franchise, the dialogue was witty and amusing and the pace was good enough to keep me interested. There was balanced use of the 3D effects, including a few that made me jump a bit. And the soundtrack was really good with lots of references to the earlier films.
All in all, I think this was a lot of fun and definitely a good time and I would easily watch it again down the road. I hope that it does well enough for at least the consideration of a sequel. Mostly because I want to see Hotzmann and Kevin again.
This past Sunday was the two-hour long finale episode of Showtime's Penny Dreadful. Which as a fan of the show I did not realize was truly "The End" until the title card appeared, even though with the death of Vanessa Ives it seemed pretty likely that it was over.
I'm left conflicted. This was a logical conclusion to the three season story arc, but this show was so unique in current period or theme dramas that I selfishly wanted it to continue for years. My feelings toward characters have grown and changed and evolved over and over and I was consistently entranced and provoked with each episode and revelation.
For instance, with the introduction early in this season of "Doctor Sweet," I had an argument with my father (also a fan of the show) over whether or not he would prove important in the coming events. As we now know, he was super important and pretty much the catalyst for the end of the show.
The real question about Penny Dreadful though, is what made it so special? In a world of television currently dominated by The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful wasn't given the same level of attention or appreciation. The only way I could get conversations at work going on about this show was to urge co-workers to check it out and catch up. Many had never even heard of it, in contrast to those who don't even have HBO knowing a whole lot about Game of Thrones or even non-genre lovers knowing that everyone and their sister is worried about someone named Glenn on The Walking Dead. Penny Dreadful was a quiet Gothic ensemble drama that drew from the origins of science fiction and horror to give us characters like Dr. Frankenstein and his "monster," and Dracula, and the "wolfman," and Satan, and witches, and even Dorian Gray. There were explorers and mystics, scientists and psychics, whores and johns, and dying children. The colours were often dark and dreary with the faint touch of rot always at the edges, illustrating a time and an era that is fading and falling apart at the seems. There was copious quantities of blood and violence as well as the "smaller" acts of cruelty that honed and sharpened the women in the show into a towering examples of power.
The real strength of Penny Dreadful rested firmly in the hands of the female characters. There were many "big strong men" who were either trying to be heroes, or actively villains, but the women and their responses to their environment and history are what compelled me to keep watching. A few of the men were shown to have atypical relationships to the women around them and they were also engaging in their complexities.
Lily, played so beautifully by Billie Piper, starts out as a prostitute named Brona Croft, who is dying of consumption. She is a survivor and does what she has to to survive. She briefly has an almost romance with Ethan Chandler (the wolfman of the story), but she catches the always selfish and self-centered eye of Dorian Gray and ultimately is killed and resurrected by our dear Doctor Frankenstein. She is his third, and most perfect, "creature." Re-imagined as "Lily Frankenstein" she starts out innocent and without memory of her previous life, but as time goes on she starts to remember all the cruelties and pain and degradation that she suffered at the hands of men. Initially she tries, unsuccessfully to seduce "John Clare," the first Frankenstein monster, to join her in murder and domination, but he is ultimately too sensitive and gentle a man to go that route. Instead, she connects herself to Dorian Gray and together, they cut a bloody swath through London while she collects a small army of fallen women, training and teaching them to kill the men that hurt them.
Lily is consistently assumed by the men around her to be only a prize or token that they can use as they see fit. Dorian wants her for her immortality and cruelty. Frankenstein wants her for her endless and perfect beauty and because he feels entitled to her. Doctor Jekyll wants to test his latest serum on her because why the hell wouldn't he use an immortal female test subject? None of these men see Lily as a complex and complete individual with her own needs and desires and strength. Frankenstein is perfectly willing to erase her memory again and drug her into compliance to have unlimited access to her flesh. Dorian kills her favorite companion to make a point, and had given her willingly to Frankenstein because he was bored with her. He was bored with her. Lily is tossed around like a doll between the men who think they know what they want and what she is. What Lily is, is strong. She survived the death of her daughter. She survived the abuses of man. She survived the resurrection process. She survived Frankenstein shooting her in the chest for insulting his manhood. She survived being with Dorian Gray. She survived, and she found her voice and her purpose and she fucking terrified the men around her. Lily was an example of what men fear in women. A willful, dangerous, woman with a purpose that has nothing to do with serving the needs of the men around them, and will gladly kill any that get in her way and any that hurt her sister women in any way. Lily is a take no shit, show no mercy dynamo and one of the most intriguing and interesting characters I've seen on screen in a long time.
Ethan Chandler, the gunslinger from America, and a werewolf, starts out the story on the run from his past in America. He has linked up with Sir Malcolm Murray the explorer. Ignoring his habit of getting all furry and toothy during the full moon, he is a rather kind, albeit stand-offish man who falls very hard for the prostitute Brona Croft. Obviously that romance is doomed as she is dying and when she is resurrected as Lily, she no longer remembers, or desires the tender attentions of Ethan.
Ethan ultimately falls in love with Vanessa Ives, the glue that holds the ensemble cast together. Vanessa is where the story starts and ends. But she is cursed and does not feel worthy of love or happiness and ends up sending Ethan away. Briefly he hooks up with a witch, Hecate, and dabbles in intense darkness and violence against those who hurt him previously. In the end his love fulfills a promise that ends the story.
The reason I included Ethan in my admiration of the strong feminist story is because never does he assume any weakness in the women around him. He never sees them as objects to be either used, or protected, or manipulated. He expects the women to be strong, assumes they have their own power, and is comfortable being with or next to women who make their own choices. Ethan was played by the gloriously attractive Josh Hartnett and was one of the most classically handsome characters on the show. He could have easily been portrayed as a "lady killer." Instead he was shown to be a romantic at heart, being gentle and loving and very reluctant to cause any hurt to the people around him, always attempting to atone for his past. Except of course for when he does encounter his, truly awful, father again. But he comes back from that moment stronger for having closed that chapter of his life.
Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) is the heart of Penny Dreadful. She is a complex and fascinating character, so artfully written and acted that it was a joy to watch her for three seasons. Vanessa is convinced that she is cursed to be the Mother of Darkness. She seduced her best friend's fiance on the eve of their wedding and destroyed a life-long friendship that ends up leading to her friend's death. That friend being Mina Murray, Sir Malcolm Murray's daughter, and a very public victim of Dracula. Vanessa spends the series alternately fighting against, or welcoming, the darkness she believes is irrevocably a part of her. She is strong, and fragile, faithful and damned, loving and cruel, depressed and cheerful, alternately and all together. Vanessa is poised and educated, articulate and multilingual, both innocent and seductive. Eva Green's sharp features and dark eyes add to the hypnotic aspect of her performance. Vanessa may be the pivotal character in the show, but each and every other character has their own arc and actions and reactions independent of her and her destiny. Vanessa isn't crazy (even though she spends quite a lot of time in an asylum), she is in fact being pursued by both Satan and Dracula who each want her to spawn darkness on the world. That she was a virgin until she seduced her friend's fiance and then does not have sex again until her relationship with Ethan, and a third time with Dracula himself, adds to the level of innocence in the strong and seductive body of Vanessa Ives. She carries herself as a woman with experience and maturity, though when it comes to relationships, she is unskilled and clumsy. Unfortunately her last act and acceptance of her own sexuality is her undoing as she does in fact spawn a plague that is spreading and will only end with her death. This is probably my least favorite part of the story. Vanessa truly was cursed and doomed and she was pretty much killed by owning her own desire. Not the most positive message. But she did choose to die instead of letting the darkness spread, and she was killed "with love" by Ethan. The one man she truly could have loved.
Penny Dreadful is a strong, dark, gripping Gothic fairytale that takes us through many stories and many lives and I wish it could have continued. I understand why it ended when it did, but selfishly, I wanted more. I hope that it opened the door for more unique period dramas to come.
I am furious, steaming mad, and shaking with rage over the Brock Turner case. But I don't want anyone to forget the case of the 11-year-old girl gang raped in a small Texas town in 2010 and how the media, the town, AND THE INVESTIGATORS questioned what could have drawn the men (21 of them) involved into such an act. The girl was reported as "dressing older than her age" and hanging out in more dangerous parts of town. In short, she was asking for it. ELEVEN YEARS OLD.
Every single man involved was convicted. Every single one. But even with video evidence of the crime, SHE WAS SHAMED and those "poor boys" were excused for so long it took well over a year to finally sentence the last of them.
I am very happy that Brock Turner's victim has been strong enough to say the things that needed to be said about what it means to be so violated. Victims are consistently re-violated by the system and the media. Rape is the least reported of violent crimes, and the least understood by anyone who hasn't been impacted by this atrocity.
I don't want anyone to forget the women who won't, can't or haven't yet reported their assault. Or the men who struggle with the same decision. I don't want anyone to forget that rape is NOT ABOUT SEX. This isn't about attraction. It is about power, control, access.
I don't want anyone to forget that you probably know a victim of sexual assault if you are blessed enough to have not experienced this violation personally. Actually, I can confirm that if you are reading this, you are familiar with a victim of sexual assault.
I don't want anyone to forget that if someone uses claims of rape to get back at someone, THAT DOES NOT INVALIDATE ANYONE ELSE'S EXPERIENCE! Just as MRA's and apologists are quick as bunnies to spout "Not all men!" MOST women who report rape, the vast majority of the vast minority of actual victims, HAVE BEEN ASSAULTED and each and every account should be taken just as seriously as any other reported crime.
I am angry and I am frustrated and I am DONE!
I am DONE with people so quick to judge the woman who drank too much, while excusing the man, because he was drunk.
I am DONE with warnings to women to not walk alone or leave a drink unattended or show too much skin.
I am DONE with people judging a woman's worth or intentions when she dresses for attention. Or for damn comfort.
I am so fucking DONE with "what was she expecting?"
She was expecting to go dancing, or hook up, or get to her car, or go home to her kids, or go food shopping, or get blind fucking drunk, or just make it through a day.
She was NOT expecting to be raped by a friend, a first date, a boyfriend, a stranger, a gang, a husband, a family member, a teacher, a preacher, a counselor...
No one deserves to be violated. Ever! A rapist is a rapist is a rapist. The victim was the target, not the cause.
If you haven't heard of the Brock Allen Turner rape case, Google "Stanford Rape Victim Letter" and be prepared to be very very angry. If you have heard of this case, on top of all the high profile rape cases of the last several years, you will understand the inspiration for the following.
I have a daughter. Currently she is six-years-old. She is my only child. The only child I will ever have from my body. She is my light and love and life. She is the person who taught me what love is. She is the reason I left my husband and have worked so fucking hard to make myself a healthier, happier, more complete human. She is outgoing and brave and fast. She is annoying and intrusive and doesn't respect anyone's privacy but her own. She can talk non-stop, or not at all. She has ADHD and impulse control issues. She is going to be taller than I am, soon.
She is being picked on at school by a boy in her class.
If anyone tells me, or her, that any boy teases, pushes, pokes, pinches, harasses, annoys, bothers, verbally denigrates or otherwise hurts my little girl, is doing it because "he likes her"... I will get violent.
That attitude, that boys hurt the girls they like, that's the very first step toward the culture that allows a convicted rapist to be sentenced to THREE MONTHS of jail IN PROTECTIVE CUSTODY because his life shouldn't be too harshly affected by his "mistake."
That attitude, that boys hurt the girls they like, that is the beginning of the lifetime of conditioning that men receive that tells them if they want something, they get it.
That attitude, that boys hurt the girls they like, that "boys will be boys" is why rape victims are asked "What were you doing? What were you wearing? Why were you out alone? Why did you drink alcohol? Do you have sex? Do you have a boyfriend? Do you have sex with your boyfriend? Do you cheat?" And on and on and on...
That attitude is why rape victims are victimized over and over and over.
That attitude is why rape is vastly under reported.
Men and boys are not the default, the desired, the primo members of society. They share this planet with women and girls. They are responsible for their actions in the world and to the people around them. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS. They are not gods. They need to know that if they want something, and they can not have it, it is not theirs for the taking. INCLUDING PEOPLE! Women and girls are not put on this earth to satisfy the desires of men and boys. We are here together. We are in this together.
Ever hear the phrase "fake it 'til you make it?" How about the concept of acting something until it becomes natural? Like faking confidence for public speaking until it becomes easy?
Men... Especially those men who have this idea that they are allowed access to anything their greedy little hearts desire... WE ARE IN THIS WORLD TOGETHER. Fucking act like it. Act like you understand that women have autonomy. Act like you respect those around you to have their own lives, their own desires, their own accountability. Act like if there is an incapacitated human being, you will protect that person from harm, even if there is a part of you that is horny and frustrated. Act like the hero that person needs. Act like this until you feel it. Act like this until you believe it. Act like this until it is TRUE.
Do not "act out."
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.