Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Ocean’s Eight

17 Jun

Full disclaimer: what I know of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise prior to this improved installment is gained from unwillingly half-watching scenes here and there in the background of doing something else while I was growing up. I didn’t give a single damn because, well, that’s so many dudes, and none of them were dudes I had any affinity for. Therefore I went into this expecting: ladies doing things. Heist things. I know very little about heists, but I understand the formula.

And I (drift partner) haven’t seen any of the Ocean’s movies either, but I like heist stories and once my friend Dean and I made up a whole movie plot about two warring heist gangs that were made up entirely of ladies. Weirdly, some of the ladies in our movie were also in Ocean’s Eight, to the point that he leaned over to me during a trailer to whisper “did they make OUR movie?” But I have been in love with Anne Hathaway since I was twelve years old and am fond of most of the rest of this cast, so I was totally on board for this.

Anyway. This is a pretty formulaic plot, but that’s not a bad thing. The formula isn’t the point. The point is watching everything come together and watching the characters be their own respective kinds of awesome. Is it a perfect movie? Nah, but it’s sure entertaining. Also it’s funny without being mean (except to the obvious douchebags) and that’s always appreciated.

We’re going to go character-by-character because the plot is… what it is. Not “what will happen” but “how will it happen.”

  • Our leader is Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock). She’s apparently the sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean (was she ever mentioned before? I have no idea, and I don’t care), and Danny Ocean is now dead. Of what? We don’t really know. But he’s dead and she just got out of jail after being framed by a shitty ex (Richard Armitage) and she has a Plan, dammit. She’s gonna Do A Heist. She’s at her Sandra Bullockiest best for much of this film, doing funny voices and delivering intensely elaborate deadpan explanations of things and expressing emotion with equal aplomb. It’s really great that Hollywood finally figured out that she’s at her best when she’s a) surrounded by women and b) unencumbered by dumb romance plots. She’s a little less straight man than usual here, which is fun.
  • Next up is Lou (Cate Blanchett). She was previously Debbie’s partner. In crime? Yes. In romance? I don’t know, probably. She spends the film dressed in what might be described as “butch couture,” if that’s any clue. She helps Debbie put the heist team together and is unbelievably everything while doing it. The best part was how she had chemistry with literally everyone, because she’s Cate Blanchett, and also how she seemed like at any moment she might ascend to the next level like the terrifying Elf queen she is.
  • Anne Hathaway’s character Daphne was the unwilling participant in this heist, a somewhat vacuous actress. It was great because it was definitely playing into the stereotypes everyone associates with actresses, and for some reason especially with Anne: vain, vapid, selfish, and above everyone else. But then it turns out that she’s been onto them for awhile and has just been biding her time until she knows they’re, as she says to them, fucked. Then it adorably turns out that she really just wanted female friends all along! I think she was maybe my favorite.
  • Mindy Kaling’s character Amita is useful because she knows about jewels. Like, she knows a lot. She appraises gemstones for her family’s company and she’s miserable, so Debbie snags her to help them convincingly replicate the jewels they’re going to steal. She’s not particularly a criminal mastermind, she just knows her shit and she’s also really excited about the prospects of getting out on her own and also going to the Met Ball where they’re doing the heist.
  • Next comes Tammy (Sarah Paulson). A former criminal cohort of Debbie’s, she’s now retired to the suburbs (where she still fences stolen goods out of her garage, apparently) and is trying to have a family. She’s very bad at this and takes exactly the cursory amount of persuasion to join the team, which she in turn is very good at being part of. A big part of what’s funny about this is that it’s always funny watching Sarah Paulson pretend to be heterosexual and normal (was she maybe also Debbie’s ex? Possibly). Also I (drift partner) definitely thought she was part of a pyramid scheme rather than fencing stolen goods out of her garage for about five seconds, which was pretty funny.
  • Lou suggests a pickpocket she knows from running street scams, Constance (Awkwafina). She’s quick and clever and rather less sophisticated than the others but very eager to do this thing. There’s also a very cute bit where Constance shows Amita how to use Tinder, and the only way it would have been cuter is if it was gay.
  • Their requisite hacker appears in the form of Nine Ball (Rihanna). She’s chilled out, smoking pot, wearing overalls, just ready to do this shit. Her character is one of those characters who goes by a silly nickname and then another character who knows her by a different name comes in and refers to her as such – in this case, her little sister. I honestly wanted a movie about the two of them, they seemed like a fun pair.
  • And finally, there’s Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), an eccentric fashion designer on the verge of financial and emotional ruin. They get her to design a dress for Daphne to wear to the Met Ball, and she’s just… well, she’s also at her Helena Bonham Carteriest. She’s a weirdo but in a picture book way, like “The Most Nervous Little Pixie” or something. She’s using her normal accent or at least something close to it here, which I’ve never heard in a movie before, so that was fun.

This movie is a great summer movie because it’s just a really nice time where a bunch of ladies hang out in pretty dresses or cool outfits being competent and talking about things that are not men. And I definitely support that.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Fashion Friday :: the dapper butch with a strange copper color scheme?

15 Jun

Lead_crow

A story for you all: when I was really little and still learning how to use the internet, as I’ve mentioned, I would do websearches for Sailor Moon websites. This was back in the olden days, so these would be essentially encyclopedia-format websites, 12-pt Times New Roman font on a background that was either plain white or a stock image of outer space, detailing the characters, locations, episodes, plots, etc. from the show. This was back in the day, so the only seasons that had aired in America were the first season, which I had seen probably ten or fifteen times in pieces, and gradually the first part of the second season (up until Rubeus’ exit, because they didn’t air the last bit until later in this period of my life and they called them the “lost episodes” and it was a big deal). This meant I learned a lot of details of episodes and seasons that hadn’t yet aired in America: I learned about the lesbians that were to become cousins, I learned about how Sailor Saturn was awesome, I learned about various plots and villains. Among those were the Sailor Animamates, though I don’t think I registered that that was their collective name. I had no idea what a “nyanko” was (it’s a kitten, basically) or that “siren” referred to a creature and not the thing on top of police cars (for some reason I found the idea of an aluminum police siren side-splittingly hilarious, although I honestly couldn’t tell you why, and sometimes drew pictures of this – “LOOK IT’S FUNNY” I would insist to my father, who shook his head and went back to drawing Magnificat, his somewhat blasphemous church-themed superhero cat) or that “lead” meant the metal and not, essentially, Sailor Boss Crow (this was also funny, though I didn’t know how to draw this as well and therefore did not as often).

Now, of course, I find Sailor Lead Crow funny for a different reason, which is that she is the Boss Crow in the lesbian relationship that she has with Aluminum Siren (feudal lord, handmaid, know your culture).

Anyway.

charter school

They have like no shirtwaist vests, which is what she actually wears as a human, so here. Charter School Short Sleeves Sweater in Hazel, ModCloth.

off to

Then worn over this you get more or less the same effect! Off to a Good Start-Up Short Sleeve Blouse in White, ModCloth.

set

Sure. Set Sailorette Jeans in Black, ModCloth.

cloche

This is not even remotely akin to the stupid hat Lead Crow wears as a human, but it’s a hat and she feels like she needs one. Cloche to Home Hat in Tan, ModCloth.

talking

And finally: dapper away. Talking Picture Oxford Flat in Rich Caramel, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

self20satisfied

Superlative Sunday :: my thoughts on the 2018 Tony Awards

10 Jun

Last year, I intentionally listened to all of the Best Musical nominees before the Tonys to see which I was rooting for (none, really, it turned out). This year I said “no, I’ll do it after the Tonys so I don’t read things biased.”

What this also means is that this post is going to be short and vague and largely just congratulating people that I either know already or am happy for on principle.

To begin: you go, Chita Rivera! Win that lifetime achievement.

The Band’s Visit (Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score Written for the Theatre, Best Lead Actor in a Musical* [Tony Shalhoub], Best Lead Actress in a Musical* [Katrina Lenk], Best Featured Actor in a Play* [Ari’el Stachel], Best Direction of a Musical, Best Musical)
I know literally nothing about this musical. I hadn’t even really registered its existence until tonight. But damn! It sounds cool, and it’s cool that it’s the first Middle Eastern musical to do this damn well, and there’s a ton of firsts in the award categories too, and I’m excited to give it a listen.

Angels in America (Best Lead Actor in a Play* [Andrew Garfield], Best Featured Actor in a Play* [Nathan Lane], Best Revival of a Play)
I actually really love this play a lot. I did a scene from it in one of my college drama classes, and I’ve read it a few times. So I’m glad for it being revived/recognized. I don’t really care that much about either actor, but I’m glad Andrew Garfield is getting to do real things now, I guess.

Three Tall Women (Best Lead Actress in a Play* [Glenda Jackson], Best Featured Actress in a Play* [Laurie Metcalf])
All I really know about this play is that the third tall woman is Alison Pill, who I love and follow on Instagram now and who posts about the play often because, well, she’s in it. She’s very supportive of and proud of her costars, though, so I guess it’s pretty good and I’m proud of them too. (Laurie Metcalf, most of your career is not your fault. I’m glad you got to do a real thing, too.)

Carousel (Best Featured Actress in a Musical* [Lindsay Mendez])
I… acknowledge that Carousel is pretty. I am bored or creeped out by a lot of it (and as a philistine I will admit to once laughing when “Soliloquy” played on the Sirius satellite radio Broadway station in the car because it was so long and so dramatic and none of us were expecting it while driving around scenic southern Oregon looking at old houses or something), but Carrie is objectively the funniest part and Lindsay Mendez seems cool. She’s been Elphaba, so she can definitely sing, but Wikipedia just told me she was also in Princesses. For those of you who don’t know (everyone, probably) Princesses was an original musical that previewed in Seattle when I was in high school. It was about an all-girls’ school that was putting on a musical version of A Little Princess and the main girl in it was the daughter of a rockstar who neglected her emotionally and to make up for that and for sending her to boarding school he agreed to play the father in the school’s production. Despite the fact that the rest of the cast was still adolescent girls. Lindsay Mendez, I’m fairly certain, played the main character’s tall/less-than-skinny roommate, whose main musical moment was the song about how she and two other girls (the tall lanky one, played by Sierra Boggess, and the short one) had to play the undesirable roles (two dudes and a monkey) because of their unusual sizes. Princesses is objectively a terrible enough musical that it never made it to Broadway or even to a cast album and doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. And I saw it!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two (Best Direction of a Play, Best Play)
Look man, I don’t know, maybe the performances/direction/production/whatever of this are really good. But having read a summary of this damn play, I can safely say – what to heck. It’s bonkers batshit, and not in a way that sounded watchable. I fully intend to read the play proper when I can bring myself to it just to confirm this, but I’m just going to put it out there: one of the major plot twists was predicted in the satirical “My Immortal” webseries like four years ago or something.

*look, “Best Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Leading/Featured Role in a Play/Musical is too wordy. I’m not making y’all sit through that phrase that many times.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on Love is Dead

4 Jun

Hi, friends. It’s been a weird couple of weeks. A new CHVRCHES is exactly what I need.

“Get Out.” I’ve heard this one already, since it was one of the ones released prior to the album itself. It’s a really solid jam though. “Good intentions never good enough” I feel you Lauren Mayberry. I also like the bit about “you are a kaleidoscope.” That’s just a good word to be in lyrics of songs.

“Deliverance.” “Careful when you’re swimming in the holy water, drowning in your own beliefs.” Awww. I found a song for my Nora dearest… like five years late. This is also just a really useful motif because it’s easily understood but also rife with poetic language.

“My Enemy.” Featuring Matt Berninger, whoever that is. I was prepared to kind of zone out when it started with boyvoice, the aforementioned Matt, but now here’s Lauren joining in and suddenly it falls into the category that much of Every Open Eye falls into: songs that suit, among other things, my pro-Jemma Simmons/anti-Leo Fitz agenda.

“Forever.” The thing about CHVRCHES, or one of the things, is that a lot of their running themes ricochet between very astute and almost (consciously) childish. “The night I told you I would hate you till forever,” for example, is childish. But it’s also something that everyone understands, at least hypothetically, and that makes it a damn good song.

“Never Say Die.” See also, the category I mentioned two songs ago. This is my specific way of describing certain kinds of anti-love songs, primarily; songs about meaningful but ultimately unfulfilling and even destructive relationships. I say that it’s my agenda because, well, SHIELD canon never took it as dark/angry as I feel it could have, but nonetheless it’s there. Obviously this could apply to many many pairings across the board, or real life emotional situations, but that’s what it is for me right now. Anyway this is a beautiful track and it doesn’t reference The Goonies so that’s cool.

“Miracle.” They put a little more dark grunge in this. A little more Fall Out Boy. I’m not complaining, though, it works. I like the contrast of dark grunge and very pure girl voices. A+ good stuff guys.

“Graves.” A-ha! I’ve found one of the anthems of resistance that Lauren Mayberry mentioned that someone criticized for existing and I am here for it!!! This is a big fat cheerful fuck you to all of those all-too-prevalent assholes of modern days, defiantly belted out by a cute girl using her privilege to speak out against bullshit.

“Heaven/Hell.” A theme! I like this theme. “We can raise our glasses, dancing on the ashes as it burns.” It’s probably just Lauren’s accent that made that “burns” sound so damn cool but anyway it sounds damn cool. “Is it right if I’m a perfect actress? Playin’ the princess in distress.” Give it here.

“God’s Plan.” This begins with “you belong with me,” and it’s sung by the boy, and oh my god it’s so creepy? But I think on purpose?? This is fascinating.

“Really Gone.” Oh my freakety gods. Agenda continued. This is hardly even agenda, this is basically just canon. And in a vaguer sense a really interesting reflection on a negative relationship that someone is trying to deal with but also be rid of. Lauren Mayberry is too pure.

“ii.” Ooh an intro track. Piano and spooky low-res talking and good ambiance.

“Wonderland.” Mm, I don’t know what this applies to yet but I like this a lot. I’m always here for a good Alice in Wonderland metaphor, and it’s just catchy and good.

–your fangirl heroine.

underestimate20the20girl

Fashion Friday :: here is a character.

1 Jun

AluminumSiren

Like I said last week, I don’t have that many feelings about the Sailor Animamates (yet?) but at least Aluminum Siren and Lead Crow were gay.

dressed

It’s a little blue on blue but that’s what I’m working with. Dressed to Frill Ruffled Sleeveless Dress, ModCloth.

glitz

For some contrast. Glitz All Happening Belt in Eggshell, ModCloth.

punctuated

Sure, it’s the same shade of white, allegedly. Punctured With Panache Flat in Eggshell, ModCloth.

solid

Matchy matchy. Solid Decision Tights in Ice Blue, ModCloth.

old school

She wore sunglasses sometimes in her disguise of a real person. Old School Soul Sunglasses, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Fashion Friday :: here goes.

25 May

sailor iron mouse

The season 5 villains, the Sailor Animamates, are… well, I’ve only done their season once, so I don’t know them as well, and none of them jumped out at me particularly, but completion! Starting with Iron Mouse, the tiny sexy… businesswoman?

feedback

It’s got the little bit of black without looking like a swimsuit top that doesn’t fit. Feedback At It Sleeveless Top in Cream, ModCloth.

tandem

Tiny sexy businesswoman on her day off, maybe. Tandem Tour Shorts in Black, ModCloth.

dandy

Sure! Here. Dandy Diamonds Tights, ModCloth.

minimalist

I can’t find any white shoes I like so I’ll go with black instead, but. Minimalist Polish Slingback Flat, ModCloth.

certainly

This seems useful! Certainly Essential Crossbody Bag, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

ijustsaidsomethingmoronicwhoops

Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on season 5 of Agents of SHIELD

21 May

This season of Agents of SHIELD had the great advantage of airing after Inhumans, which would make most anything look good. This season of Agents of SHIELD was good in and of itself, although incredibly draining and at times almost overwhelmingly dark in ways that attacked us, personally, but it’s sort of like how watching Infinity War like a week after we finally watched Justice League helped matters significantly.

So, our usual breakdown shall ensue.

  • Daisy (Chloe Bennet) sort of got her own arc this season! Which is to say, she got the destruction of the world pinned on her because of her powers and she had to fight her way out of a network of creepy blue aliens who used spoopy tech and Ben Wa balls instead of fighting fair. And she also gracefully stepped down from the role that Coulson was encouraging her towards, Director of SHIELD, which is good because even though my girl would be a great Director, she also needs a break really badly.
  • Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) really needs to only go to space when she wants to from now on because she also needs a break. Said creepy blue aliens literally had her enslaved for a few episodes, not to mention deafened to all but the leader’s voice by said spoopy tech, and that was viscerally horrifying (the aliens enslaved people for general reasons and also Inhumans for low-rate gladiatorial purposes, and all of this was horrifying) but she got to do sort of a Princess Leia move and that was good. Then came the compulsory heterosexuality, which was not good. It was not good because romantic FitzSimmons is one of our least favorite things here, and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) himself was literally the worst (again regarding Daisy), and it took up way too much of Jemma’s screentime in the back half of the season especially. Also, you can’t just establish that Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) can pop out of exile to help Fitz with a mission and then not invite him and Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) to the abruptly rushed terrible FitzSimmons wedding (honestly our thoughts about episode 100 are not favorable in general but the wedding is cringeworthy), except they did and I call bullshit.
  • Melinda (Ming-Na Wen) kicked her usual amount of ass, had more than her usual amount of UST with Coulson (Clark Gregg), and also had a subplot where she got to be a mom. I am not into the idea of every woman having to be a mother, but we know it’s something Melinda at least used to really want and since Bahrain doubted her capabilities for, so watching her act as a mom to Robin (Lexy Kolker, Ava Kolker, and Willow Hale at respective ages) in the somewhat hypothetical future timeline was unexpectedly heartwrenching. And I guess she and Coulson are finally gonna BOOOOOONE, but hey, we don’t have to watch it, so I’m okay.
  • Elena (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) spent her time in the future mostly working and helping a couple of sad space kids named Flint (Coy Stewart) and Tess (Eve Harlow) and being in love with Mack (Henry Simmons). Then in the midseason finale we found out that a future version of her had been captured by the creepy blue aliens and at some point lost her arms and knew what would happen and gave warnings. Thus, the second half of the season, once they were back in the present, was mostly devoted to trying to get the team to follow her future self’s warnings. And also dealing with the fact that she did in fact get her arms cut off (horrifyingly) and replaced with robot prosthetics (which created some drama but ultimately were useful and good). She and Mack also had a lot of debates about, essentially, morality, which was interesting. They’re very good and gay together.
  • In the first half of the season, our villains were the aforementioned creepy blue aliens. They’re Kree and they all majorly sucked, and sometimes it was funny (like the fact that Sinara [Florence Faivre] literally fought with magical Ben Wa balls, that was funny) and sometimes it was horrifying (Kasius [Dominic Rains] was basically blue Joffrey who didn’t like to get his hands dirty and when he was injured and later murdered I cheered). But they paled in comparison to…
  • In the second half of the season, we were introduced to Ruby (Dove Cameron), who was basically a baby Hydra super soldier, or if you prefer, female Kylo Ren. Her mother, General Hale (played by Catherine Dent – the character doesn’t get a first name because MCU mothers don’t matter I guess), was impregnated with dubious consent by some super creepy Hydra higher-ups and basically Ruby was raised to be the perfect soldier. Except they forgot that when you do that you basically get Kylo Ren, who has zero control over their emotions or interest in being at all reasonable or adhering to anything but their own moral code. Great job, guys. Anyway, she’s basically like if you crossed a snake and Regina George and then gave this creature sharp weapons or maybe like if you actually found one of those lizard aliens and tried to tell them how humans act? It’s an incredible performance, because Cameron is…humanoid but not quite human. There’s weird little head and eye movements she does, weird facial expressions, that make her seem just the slightest bit off. I have no idea if this was intentional or not, but having now seen her also act in Disney’s Descendants series, I have to think it must have been? She is also hilarious because she’s basically Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way from “My Immortal” except slightly more articulate and with more murder.
  • This season also included the most annoying character, Deke (JJ Ward) who we eventually find out is FitzSimmons’ grandson from the hypothetical future they travel to. When he finally tells Daisy this fact her response is, “That makes so much sense! You and Fitz are both such… special people.” Which, same. Deke is a self-serving ass. He sells Daisy into slavery and then thinks that deciding to help the others makes up for it. He also ends up in the present day through a quirk of science fiction nonsense and… just pretty much sucks all the time. The scene where he gets drunk for the first time would be hilarious if it was literally any other character, but alas. He also develops a crush on Daisy and expresses this by leaving a pile of lemons on her bed, because in the future giving people lemons was apparently a prime seduction technique. Daisy, however, wants none of his lemons and repeatedly makes this clear, which is great. Deke also spends a lot of the back half of the season trying to preserve parts of the timeline so FitzSimmons still procreate and produce his mother and therefore she produces him, because he’s afraid that if something goes wrong he’ll just go poof. And then guess what? HE DOES. A Thing happens and we just literally never see him again, with no explanation. It’s kind of a shame because JJ Ward seems like a cool enough dude, but the character just sucked.
  • And hey, remember how we mentioned that Fitz was literally being The Worst? He was. He awkwardly married Jemma literally just at the prompting of a dying Coulson (turns out Ghost Rider made his Tahiti magic go away, or whatever) and it made me think of nothing more than the terrible Jessica/Hoyt wedding at the end of True Blood, which should explain to you why it is bad. Then his evil Framework self resurfaced and did some unforgivable shit to Daisy, and then there was a lot of narrative bullshit where people were willing to brush past it (ugh), and he kind of tried to do better except he kind of just complained all the time and watched Jemma do things. And then… well. Justice has been served.
  • SPACE

–your fangirl heroines.

just20saying