Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Spidey and Me

I love Spiderman comics for the following reasons:
  • They taught me about the importance of justice
  • Peter Parker was the first fictional character I ever wished was real (and wanted to marry)
  • They feature some of the best villains in comic book history
  • The artwork is fantastic and iconic and wonderful
  • Stan Lee is one of a pair of writers who provided me with an imagination and a moral compass (also noteworthy: J.K Rowling.)
There are a lot of other reasons, but this is a blog, not my life story.

Anyway, naturally, being a fan of the comics and being one of those kids who enjoyed having their face painted as Spiderman as often as possible (fuck you, gender normative society.) I pretty much flipped my shit when Sam Raimi's first film was released in 2002.

But although Raimi's films were brilliant entertainment and I enjoyed them, I was always inwardly disappointed with them. For me, the Spiderman 'verse on screen just didn't match the one that I had crafted in my head.

  • Where is Gwen Stacy, who was Peter Parker's first true love and who is the basis for so much of the content of his character?
  • Where are Spidey's homemade web-slingers?
  • Why is this guy so happy-go-lucky?
  • Where's his sarcastic sense of humour and clever wit?
  • Where are those god-awful and hilarious catchphrases that littered Stan Lee's pages?


If I separate the Spiderman films from The Amazing Spider-Man comics, they stand up well enough, but surely if you're making a film based on an iconic comic book character, it should be more accurate?

While Spiderman 1 & 2 were good films, Spiderman 3 was massively substandard. If I start talking about it in-depth, I'll never get to my point, but to me it's basically kind of like how X-men and X-men 2 and 3 were pretty decent films, but then along came Wolverine Origins and nothing made sense in relation to the original 'verse and it was a fuckery.

Now.

Imagine my excitement when I heard that Marc Webb was making a film titled 'The Amazing Spider-Man'.

Imagine my ridiculous facial expression when I saw the cast listing and discovered that this film would feature Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy.

Imagine the inhuman noises I made when I saw that Andrew Garfield was listed to play Spidey.

Once again, just like my 9 year old self all those years ago, I was flipping. shit.

Then I logged onto my computer and saw all the rubbish people were talking about it, and I got angry.

For some reason, people were acting like Webb was attempting to remake the first films, and doing a piss-poor job at it.

People continued to believe this after TAS promo pictures were released, even though they clearly showed the difference between the new Spidey film and the old.


Even when the trailer for TAS was released (actually, even now, four months after its release) people were still fucking complaining about how Sony were 'replacing the real Spiderman' and how they were fucking up the storyline and 'Who the fuck is Andrew Garfield, anyway?' as if he wasn't a fantastically talented actor, and damn well suited to the role.



I'm sorry, does accuracy bother you?

THESE PEOPLE ARE INFURIATING.

Later, of course, I realised that like the audiences of so many adaptation films before this one, it was highly likely that none of the aforementioned people, or 'fucking idiots' as I lovingly refer to them, had bothered to open a comic and find out what the fuck was going on.

Still, though. That's no excuse, because this film looks fucking fantastic.

Peter Parker is given a backstory, at last.

Gwen Stacy is actually relevant and not just some random chick that's thrown in completely out of context for five minutes in a shitty threequel.

There are HOME. MADE. WEB. SLINGERS.

And it's probably going to be cuttingly funny, in the true spirit of the character.

People really need to wake up. This is not a remake of a film with a condensed plot and limited characters. This is a retelling of the original fucking comic book story and it deserves to at least be given a chance, even if you're not a comic book fangirl/boy and only have the first films for reference.

Basically, what I'm getting at is that, with great power comes great responsibility, and if someone's going to make a Spiderman movie, they need to do it with fairly significant reference to the original comic book canon.

Marc Webb is using his power in the way an original fan would, and he gets all of my respect for doing so. Even if the film doesn't impress everyone on its release, believe me, it's already impressed millions of people, just by staying true to canon.

Friday, November 04, 2011

WARNING: The following post contains 'feelings'

I don't actually enjoy blogging about how I feel unless its like, political or religious or something because hey! Unpopular opinions and obnoxious proclamations are what the internet's for, right?

Right.

But then I was like 'Oh. I'm actually happy for no identifiable reason and it feels pretty good.' And it reminded me of this poem I really like by Wendy Cope (who was born just down the road from me, don'cha know!) called 'The Orange' which I think is apt because it's entirely lovely and made me realise, once upon a time, not to take things for granted.

Anyway, I'm putting it on here so that we can have some niceness on the internet because I wish we could all just get along like we used to in middle school.

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave-
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This peace and contentment. It's new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I'm glad I exist.

Now. Wasn't that just heartwarming?

You can buy more of Wendy Cope's writing here and I would strongly suggest that you do.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Really, this is a Public Service Announcement.

Okay, so I'm guessing that most people (providing that most people pay attention to films or at least watched this year's Oscars) know who Ryan Gosling is.



This is who Ryan Gosling is.
I enjoy being able to use this photo.



What you might not know, is that he has a singing voice that feels like it's slapping you in the face and hugging you all at the same time.

In 2008 Ryan teamed up with a guy called Zach Shields, who I am eternally grateful for, and they started a band called Dead Man's Bones that is really really good.

Like, if we were to put Dead Man's Bones on a scale that measured actors' legitimate talent when they branch out into music (highly talented - hello, Zooey Deschanel - or just high - ahem, Lindsay Lohan), DMB fall somewhere around 'oh my god is this real life?'

Part of me is wondering why I haven't blogged about them sooner, but in reality I probably would have forgotten to mention them at all if I wasn't overcome earlier today with disgust at how few people (or well, how few people I know) have listened to them.

Who cares that they sing songs about ghosts when the songs are so good?!

Anyway, their album is self-titled and you can get it from iTunes here and from Amazon here and you DEFINITELY SHOULD.

Here is a clip of them performing 'In The Room Where You Sleep' live with the Silver Lake Conservatory of Music Children's Choir (who feature heavily on the album and are very good.)




I am 85% sure you were not expecting that noise to come out of that man's mouth.

You're welcome.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

'I am a beta theatre kid' or 'I can't sing or act but I sure am enthusiastic!

A couple of weeks ago, I found out that my old secondary school formed a glee club, and I was quietly furious because HELLO! Where was this club three years ago when I could have been a damn valuable asset to it?!

Then I remembered that I can't sing. (That's not me being self-deprecating in a 'Well I am quite good but I'm also modest' way. I am genuinely terrible at singing.) In spite of this painfully obvious setback, there is still a part of me that honestly believes I would be awesome on a Broadway stage.

I have a playlist on my iPod that I listen to when I clean my house which is specifically dedicated to musical theatre. It features mostly well-known productions with a couple of obscure tunes thrown in, but really, it's nothing too noteworthy.

What probably is noteworthy is the effect this playlist has on me - an effect which is now so prominent that I can't clean when there are other people in my house because they will all hate me.

I turn into the characters I am singing along with. This is not an exaggeration.

One minute I'm Tracy Turnblad and I'm so damned excited to welcome my mother to the sixties that I've forgotten to rinse the dishes and the next I'm Moritz Stiefel and whilst I most definitely don't do sadness, I do happily use my sweeping brush as a microphone stand and stamp my feet a lot.

For a while, I was entirely embarrassed by my tendency to cross genders and/or historical periods.

Keya, do not let people find out that for the short time it takes you to clean your kitchen floor you're a rebellious teenager who went off to see the world after a failed abduction-come-matchmaking and returned only to fall in love with your next-door neighbour.
(Ten points and my eternal love go to anyone that catches that reference)

Then I thought, fuck it.

Isn't the entire point of theatre arts to make an impact on people?

Doesn't the fact that one song from Wicked can still make me tear up two years after I saw it sung live just prove that it's relative? Doesn't the fact that I have lines from Spring Awakening memorised speak volumes for the quality and prominence of its script?

Doesn't the fact that I dance like my life depends on it when I hear 'Don't Rain On My Parade' just confirm that it's a damn catchy song?

Musical theatre makes me genuinely happy and mock me all you want, but I will most definitely be breaking into song at random intervals for the foreseeable future. Regardless of my terrible voice and sub-par dance skills.

NB: In case anyone cares to delve into the playbill world, Liza Minnelli is my girl and also co-queen of musical theatre alongside Barbara Streisand and so you should begin your education there.




Sunday, August 14, 2011

I quite like David Fincher (the art of understating)

David Fincher is one of my favourite people ever.

He is also tied at first place with Woody Allen on the 'My Favourite Directors' list that I compiled in my head on the bus one day last year.

Here are some things that make me love him:

QUOTES

"For me, the scariest thing about a serial killer is that there’s somebody who lives next door to you, running power tools late into the night, and you don’t know he has a refrigerator full of penises."


"I don't want to tell you how to do your job, but somebody has to."


"If you have a fucking clue and a passion, people will get out of your way because people want someone to follow"


I don’t know how much movies should entertain. To me I’m always interested in movies that scar. The thing I love about “Jaws” is that I’ve never gone swimming in the ocean again.

"I wrote the necrophilia line just because I like to get the word “necrophilia” into PG-13 movies whenever possible.”


CLIPS

The Films of David Fincher:




A bunch of technical talking heads about 'Zodiac':



Fight Club Philosophy and Theoretics:




LOOK AT HIM

LOOK HOW AMAZING HE IS

LOOK HOW FLAWLESS HIS WORK IS

I love him.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My faith is not hurting you.

Religion as a concept is incapable of being bigoted or sexist or murderous. Those things are caused by people who interpret religion negatively.

I've never been a person that will deny someone the right or opportunity to have and express their opinion, because I believe that the only way to develop my own views is to consider those of others.

In the same way, I'm a very liberal person - if we learn from each other, why is there a mentality that we have the right to stop others from doing what they want to do?

The only time I have an issue with an opinion is when it hurts someone else. Even in that circumstance, it doesn't irritate me simply because I don't agree with whatever is expressed, but because if the expression of a view transforms into the action of restricting someone else's ability to feel free to be who they are and believe in what they choose to believe in, then it isn't simply an opinion - it's oppressive.

This is where I have an issue with debates about religion.

There seem to be a massive amount of people who will defend to the death their right to NOT believe, but have no issue attacking those who do.

Personally, I have a very 'live and let live' view of the world. I pride myself in the fact that I have in the past, and will continue to, stand up for those who are being told by others that the way they live is unacceptable; that the way they look is wrong or that they are in love with the wrong person.

Who am I to judge?

I have no right to pass any kind of judgement on another person, because I have not experienced all the things they have, and I certainly haven't experienced those things with the same level of emotion that they have; with the same cultural significance.

I'm Catholic, but that doesn't make me ignorant. It doesn't make me racist or homophobic or superior to anybody else.

It just makes me who I am.

Generalisations, often on the part of non-believers, that everyone who believes in God or takes part in organised religion has some kind of grudge against the world are hurtful.

They're hurtful to me, personally, when I read them and I know they're hurtful to other religious people who are accepting of people from all walks of life.

What I'm getting at here is that if someone doesn't believe in God, or doesn't agree with the idea of organised religion, or takes issue with some piece of scripture from some holy text, they have a right to that opinion; but it doesn't mean that people should then generalise from that issue.

And if someone does do that, aren't they then just as bad as the people they are judging?

If you attack all of the members of a religion and accuse them of being racist or sexist or homophobic, aren't you ostracising them in the very same way that you are accusing them of ostracising a minority?

Religion is subjective.

Just because I believe in God doesn't mean I agree with every single piece of scripture that has ever come from my religion.

The way a person interprets spirituality and religion and scripture is dependent on that person's character.

When I go to church, I take away things that I think will make a positive impact on me and the people around me.

Things like:

Loving your neighbour
Leaving judgement up to god
Treating others as you want to be treated
That having faith in yourself is key, and faith in God will come later
The importance of forgiveness
The importance of acceptance and tolerance

So I'm afraid, even if it is your opinion that all religions are oppressive and discriminatory, I will never be able to agree with you.

A religion is made up of the people that follow it, and I don't believe that the majority of people are spurred on by hate. I have more faith in the human race than to believe that.

The very essence of any religion is to have faith.

What, exactly, justifies dictating that those who have faith are ignorant?

The majority of religious people don't condemn those who don't believe.

Human beings need faith whether it be religious, placed in a family member, in a friend or in science or simply faith in ourselves.

Sometimes, regardless of how hard you try to forgive, it's difficult to have faith in people that attack you because of your beliefs - judging someone based on a religious generalisation makes you guilty of the same behaviour you accuse them of.

So, in case anyone was wondering, I'm not racist, or sexist, or homophobic. I don't hate you for not believing in God. I don't believe that every single word that has ever been written in scripture is fact. I will not condemn you to hell because you believe in sex before marriage. I don't think I'm better than you. I don't want to convert you. I don't agree with extremists and I do believe in total equality.

What I would quite like, is to be left alone to believe in what I choose to.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

McSweeney's

Okay, I'm not gonna jump around the subject, if you follow my blog, you know how much love I have for Jesse Eisenberg.
I am not ashamed, because sometimes I can't even fathom his existence.

Besides the fact that, yeah, he's actually really good looking and is this amazing person who fosters cats and reads to children and listens to musical theatre and basically is everything that most women I know would like their future husband to be, he's funny.

And yes, I have proof.

Said proof lies on the website McSweeney's. It's always been a pretty interesting and relatively amusing website, (Mike Lacher's posts are very good, I suggest you visit it) but Jesse's features are hysterical.

Snippets:

A POST GENDER NORMATIVE MAN TRIES TO PICK UP A WOMAN AT A BAR. -

Hey, how’s it going? Mind if I sidle up? I saw you over here sitting alone and I thought, that’s fine. A woman should be able to self-sustain. In fact a lot of women are choosing to stay alone, what with advances in salary equitability and maternity extensions, and I think it’s an important and compelling trend.

I noticed that you were about to finish your drink and I was wondering if I could possibly watch you purchase another one. And, at the risk of being forward, if you could possibly purchase one for me.

MARXIST-SOCIALISTS JOKES.-

A Marxist-Socialist walks into a bar and asks the bartender if he’s unionized.

***

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

A Marxist-Socialist.

A Marxist-Socialist who?

A Marxist-Socialist who wants to give you a pamphlet about class struggle.

***

What did one Marxist-Socialist say to another?

Like you, I also advocate a proletarian revolution culminating in collective ownership.


Just, please. Someone explain to me how it is fair that people like this exist, and yet the guys that I meet think playing beer pong and watching Jackass are worthwhile ways to spend their time?