Tag Archives: luke cage

Fashion Friday :: overdue.

10 Mar

luke-cage1-1200x819

That is, pinup Luke Cage is overdue!

leipzig

Have I used this hoodie before for something? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s a good one. And the hoodie is kind of crucial here. Leipzig Hoodie in Black, ModCloth.

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Nice and basic underneath. On Crop of the World Cotton Top in Black, ModCloth.

a20trip

Imagine this just peeking out all sharp and stylish. A Trip Into Town Pencil Skirt in Charcoal, ModCloth.

discoteque

And these, these are fun and functional both! Discoteque a Look at Me Now Bootie, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

please20may20stab

Spectacular Summaries Saturday :: 11 gifts that 2016 gave me

1 Jan

11. Cry-Baby
This album, as I mentioned on Monday, technically came out last year, but hot damn. I have not been able to get enough of it. It’s just so weird and aesthetic and Melanie Martinez looks like a confused porcelain doll and it’s cathartic as hell to drive around singing along to this acting like a non-Suicide Squad Harley Quinn making crazy eyes. Each music video is weirder than the last (my personal favorite, aside from “Milk and Cookies,” is still probably “Pity Party” but I love all of them) and she just has a fascinating way about her that strikes me as something interesting.

10. Hamilton
You’ll notice that link is from last year, because I did technically first listen to Hamilton last year. The phenomenon that is Hamilton is possibly the greatest cultural even of 2016, though. In this year of horrible politics, horrible bigotry, and outstanding ignorance, here is a musical that somehow managed not only to explain politics (both then and now) more clearly than any history class I ever took but to reach the hearts of so many, to make an old story relevant to a new audience in new ways. A+++.

9. Rogue One
This movie also stands in interesting stark contrast to other events of 2016, which is part of what makes it so good. The other part is that it is just damn good movie, solidly constructed and compellingly told.

8. Waitress
This list always seems to slant more toward the end of the year, but in a lot of cases that’s just when the observable, linkable writing on the subject is. I’ve been listening to the songs from Waitress since last winter when they were released, and I think it’s absolutely charming. And hell, it was a real true Broadway New York show experience, of course it’s in my top 10 of the year.

7. I’m Alone, No You’re Not
Another constant listen, as mentioned. There are shades of Delta Rae, of First Aid Kit, even of beloved Eisley occasionally, and it’s lady harmonies all the time, sometimes more mournful, sometimes twangy, sometimes cute and fun, all the time gorgeous.

6. Carol
In this the year of our many many dead Sapphic ladies, Carol is a gift. It is not a perfect film, but it’s aesthetic and beautiful and satisfying and not outright depressing. Also, this.

5. Luke Cage
I find it also really… fitting, in a way, that this year also yielded such a gloriously, in-your-facedly black piece of media as Luke Cage. Marvel is largely unfortunately white, but between this and the upcoming Black Panther there are alternatives being given, and Luke Cage is also the most quality entertainment. From villains Mashershala Ali and Alfre Woodard to protagonists Mike Colter and Rosario Dawson and Simone Missick, every single member of the cast brings their all. The writing is delightful. The vibe is incredibly thorough. It’s not exactly “fun” in the traditional sense, but it is time well-spent.

4. On the Edge of Gone
Of the books I first-time read this year (admittedly, last year’s resolution didn’t quite hold up) this one stuck with me the most, for the reasons before mentioned. It’s so nuanced and doesn’t other anyone while exploring the viewpoints of othered characters.

3. Love You to Death
And its subsequent tour, of course. Tegan and Sara are the most brilliant musicians who put on the best, gayest show, and this year especially that was needed.

2. Mockingbird, Chelsea Cain
This is a week later belated ETA, but it’s important. I really cannot even begin to explain how important these 8 (9 including the starter from last year) issues of comics were. I love Chelsea Cain, y’all know that, and I love Bobbi Morse, y’all know that, but together they were an unholy blessed thing, sass and feminism and ass-kickery and metafiction and I read a lot of vintage Mockingbird this year too and Chelsea really did take the time to deconstruct and ameliorate every flaw in her written history and I will admit to crying when it was over, but also no, for Bobbi’s sake I am living my life unapologetically. (Also, that’s what Lance Hunter said at the Hellfire Club.)

1. my drift partner
You are the best thing about this and every year, darling. But especially this one. ❤

–your fangirl heroine.

girlpile

Television Tuesday :: 2016 and the No Trope Bingo cards

27 Dec

Ah, our old friends.

Disclaimer: I have watched maybe like… eight different shows this year because I literally can’t be bothered to undertake a lot of things that people tell me I should because I know they’ll fail me eventually and I’ll be sad.

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Bechdel fail: Agent Carter was again 100% on this, of course. (This season was far from perfect, but I’m still going to miss you, my Peggy my darling.) Agents of SHIELD‘s 2015 efforts put them above 90%, including a couple episodes that were just “smack the Bechdel test in the face,” so that’s pretty damn good; Game of Thrones also stepped it up this year, coming in around 70% I believe (the document I was keeping track in, very scientifically, got lost when I switched phones this week, oops). At least in my shows, this year did better at this than other categories.

disregarded logic: I mean, The Librarians always disregards logic. That’s kind of its thing. But again, I did not do too much screaming at my television going “THIS MAKES NO SENSE,” unlike years prior.

underused/invisible POC: Agent Carter… managed a whole one POC character this year, Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), so that was still not great but one is at least better than none. Game of Thrones did not know what the hell to do with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) this year, which was annoying, nor did it give the Sand Snakes a lot to do although what little they did was still, in my opinion, delicious. Penny Dreadful racebent Dr. Jekyll and Dracula, so that was kind of cool? And then meanwhile Agents of SHIELD ran a glorious parade of POC characters and killed two white guys, while Luke Cage was beautifully black all the time and deal with it if you don’t like it. I feel like statistically this is a decent picture of television at large. A lot of things not really succeeding, a few standing much farther out.

dead family manpain: the Tower of Joy, which only halfway counts. Dead daughters came up sometimes, but usually from women. I’ve managed to cut most of the dead family manpain out of my television life, I hope.

invisible lesbians: no, this year was just full of dead lesbians and Sapphic ladies, in outstanding number but mostly not on my own shows. Game of Thrones instead gave us Yara Gayjoy (let’s be real, probably more like Yara Female-Leaning-But-Pan-joy, but the pun is too good) and let her shine. Penny Dreadful had a Sapphic army. And all the women of SHIELD continue to be outstandingly queer together, though it goes unsaid, but it’s not like it’s been said and it’s not being shown. It’s just implicit and I have a lot of feelings about it (also, Jemma Simmons is in the narrative closet and I will passionately argue this point based on my own real life experience).

vicious female rivalry: the demon possessing Kate (Madison Davenport) and Kisa (Eiza Gonzalez) got pretty scrappy. But considering that the paradigm of this category is Cersei vs. Margaery, it’s not quite the same thing. Cersei (Lena Headey) did in fact get way too vicious on Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and I mourn but also, narratively, at least we finally got Feast for Crows Cersei.

ho-yay: there’s none I’m explicitly recalling, which means if there was any it at least wasn’t overall detrimental.

infectious diseases: thank the gods, no.

dead prostitutes: there was a passel of them on Preacher, but Tulip (Ruth Negga) made her opinions abundantly clear and that was sort of justice for them. On the other hand, Lily (Billie Piper) led the above-mentioned army of prostitutes who murdered men for abusing them, and though poor Justine (Jessica Barden) willfully went to her end, they took revenge and it was beautiful.

dead little girls: see above re: families. Again, nothing egregious, thank the gods.

sexualized violence: eh. There’s a fine fine line, which is always tread by television and film. Nothing egregious, but also could be avoided more.

Madonna/whore: there was a bit of a play with this with Margaery’s religious conversion, but it wasn’t narratively sanctioned so much as acknowledged as a game she was playing.

Oedipal undertones: Cersei’s always a little cesty with her family members, including baby Tommen (Dean Charles Chapman), but with Cersei it kind of just is what it is and you move on.

fridging: aside from the 10001 dead Sapphic women, many of whom I cannot speak to personally, and beloved Barb (Shanon Purser), poor Margaery passed, but I don’t know it was a traditional fridge; Vanessa (Eva Green) met her end but it was of her volition; Emily (Lucy Griffiths) was among the dead of Preacher but, eh, that was a whole town, it could be worse; Candace (Deborah Ayorinde) was more vaulted than fridged; but Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell) died in a literal fire and took the corpse of Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) with him and that was justice.

gratuitous sex: I mean, nobody needed to see Grand Maester Pycelle all postcoitus but at least he died and it was also justice. A lot of sex scenes were awkward but not singularly space-fillers.

inappropriate male attention: as I cast disapproving eyes on Hive. As I cast disapproving eyes on anyone who ever looked at Nancy Wheeler, ever. As I cast disapproving eyes on Uncle Asshat Greyjoy. As I cast disapproving eyes on Dracula. Etc. This will be a problem for all eternity.

pedophilic Stockholm: mm, Sansa (Sophie Turner) basically told Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to fuck off in the most ladylike way possible so that was satisfying.

infidelity: see also, the Tower of Joy. Etc.

custody battles: no, thank the gods.

conscious irresponsibility: Jesse (Dominic Cooper) was irresponsible, but he was also possessed, so that kind of makes up for it. Etc.

narrative neglect: see above re: Missandei, Grey Worm, and the Sand Snakes. That would be my largest complaint.

uneven f :: m ratio: technically, this is true basically everywhere. SHIELD‘s main/main supporting cast is fairly even, and Agent Carter‘s wasn’t bad; overall, more ladies, though.

narratively excused sociopathy: plenty of sociopaths but the narrative fully knew how they were sociopaths and said it.

love triangles: eh. Ehhhh.

notropebingo2

window dressing: mm, not in any particularly gratuitous circumsance.

narratively excused intolerance: see also: Preacher is set in a small town in Texas. It’s excused, but also it’s a picture of just that things are bad.

lack of POC: see above.

general male brooding: the only thing Lincoln Campbell did before he died, really.

lack of queer people: much much. I will observe that apparently Supergirl (which I’m still not watching, I admit) has done some cool coming-out stuff so that’s nice to hear.

narratively enforced gender policing: what of it I’ve seen has mostly been called out.

compulsive heteroeroticism: see also, romantic FitzSimmons. Jeepers.

crazy inbred hillbillies: none of those I’ve dealt with this year.

slut shaming: I’m sure there’s been but aside from the Margaery situation I’m blanking.

children as plot devices: Tommen is a plot device but honestly, that’s just how it is. Most of the kids this year were human props.

police brutality: requisite “I hate the Sokovia Accords and everything that comes from them even though a lot of it isn’t even on the TV shows” mention. Also, Luke Cage, but that was calling that out.

love interest syndrome: ah, my poor Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge). It’ll be nice when this mess is over with. For example.

pseudo-incest: hm. I could have done without Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). That’s kind of in this category.

vaulting: see above re: Candace, for the biggest example.

gratuitous consequenceless substance abuse: mm, nah, I think there were pretty well consequences.

excused unwanted overtures: and most of these were unexcused, at least.

forgive your abusers: one interesting thing about the unfortunate Hive situation was, at least, Daisy’s (Chloe Bennet) stages of grief regarding her abuse, so that was the opposite of this… but then, this is another reason I’ll drag romantic FitzSimmons, though it’s obviously to a lesser degree. So.

compulsive motherhood: not really?

“don’t do the brave thing”: a fair amount of “I am doing a brave thing but you should not because you don’t deserve to get hurt,” which isn’t the same.

(evil) white guy redemption arc: mm hey, remember how Grant Ward died twice?

narrative double standard: catchall because always, often in critical reactions.

women as plot devices: again. Sort of always.

narratively excused non-con: this year was much better.

past non-con as cheap plot device: also better.

I’m less angry this year, but I watched fewer things. So.

–your fangirl heroine.

underestimate20the20girl

Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on Luke Cage

24 Oct

So! We actually spent last Monday finishing Luke Cage, hence the lack of anything posted that night. And friends, you had better watch this thing. It is a great.

5. The aesthetic is hardcore.
So admittedly most of what I know about blaxploitation films from the 1970s and such comes from reading and Jackie Brown and then reading some more, but I think, anyway, that Luke Cage successfully owned the genre in the most empowering way it could. Luke (Mike Colter) and Pop (Frankie Faison) and some of the others at the barbershop even have a discussion about iconic heroes of that era. And there’s a hint of meta to this; Luke himself is “a blaxploitation-inspired character first created in the Seventies” (quoth telegraph.co.uk) so this discussion is a bit self-aware and a bit genre-savvy. But also, the whole perceptible vibe of the show is so damn cool. Daredevil is a classic crime story, Jessica Jones almost a modern feminist film noir, but Luke Cage has arguably the most distinctive and also most inspiring genre vibe, from the music to the color tone (where Daredevil tends to be green and gray and Jessica Jones tends bold bred-purple-blue, Luke Cage is even in its darker moments so warm) to the cast of characters and their respective designs. It’s a very passionate, loving tribute to the whole genre and history of such characters appearing in film and television, and that’s not something you see all that often, but especially not in rather white superhero canons.

4. There’s a refreshing lack of white people.
I (drift partner) have a white mom and a Chinese dad and I mostly look white, but I am also very tired of stories about predominantly white people. So I always enjoy watching something like Luke Cage (or the excellent Queen of Katwe) where there are so few white people that it’s almost comical. The only significant white character is Misty Knight’s partner Rafael Scarfe (Frank Whaley), who turns out to be secretly working for Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and murders one of their key witnesses. Other than that, I’m struggling to recall a single white character that has more than a dozen lines. I’m not black, but it sure is nice to see a story about black people that doesn’t involve hardly any white people (and no slave narratives).

3. Mariah Dillard is one of the best villains in the whole MCU.
This Vulture article probably sums up why Mariah is such a great character better than I can, so I won’t try to talk over it. But I will say that Alfre Woodard gives an amazing performance, probably one of the best in the series, and I’m glad she’ll be back next season. She’s much more complex and interesting than both Cottonmouth and Diamondback, and she’s sort of a terrible person, but in a riveting way. Also, all of my friends are obsessed with her and her second, Shades (Theo Rossi), and I don’t exactly ship it but I definitely see the appeal. I can’t wait to see more of her.

2. Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and Misty Knight (Simone Missick).
We the audience know Claire. We’ve met her on several occasions, and indeed from where we’re all sitting right now she is most likely the Night Nurse, er, the woman bringing the Netflix stuff all together. She’s good-hearted and fierce and she wants to help in the ways she knows how and also in some of the ways she doesn’t. Also, she and Matt were okay but she and Luke just work really well together. They have fantastic chemistry and their personalities bounce off each other and it makes for a really nice relationship. And hey, speaking of personalities that bounce well with Luke’s, and also personalities that bounce well with Claire’s, now we have Misty. Misty combines some pretty traditional narratives (good-hearted cop seeks justice while peers seek infamy, brilliant but tempestuous cop seeks justice at all costs, consistently underestimated character consistently proves peers wrong) but one of the interesting things is that those narratives don’t often star a black woman, and another of those interesting things is that the cop narratives star a black woman working to counteract the obvious tension between America’s cops and America’s black communities. Another interesting thing is the nature of that brilliance: Misty is tough, athletic, and can easily hold her own in a fight, but Misty is also highly perceptive in a way that’s usually reserved for, well, white guys. Misty goes beyond just a good detective and the repeated storytelling device of how she replays instances at crime scenes is so thorough and methodical that in my opinion it gives her an almost Sherlock Holmesian quality (if Sherlock Holmes was a black woman and also less of an asshole).

1. This is a show about a bulletproof black man who protects and saves other people of color.
An awful lot of black writers have written pages and pages about how important Luke Cage is at this time, considering the horrific numbers of black people and especially black men murdered by police this year alone. It’s comforting even as a non-black person to know that 1) Luke is the main character and 2) Luke is bulletproof, so even when he gets shot at (and later in the series when he gets injured), he’ll be totally fine. It’s also important because Luke has the ability to do what the other people in Harlem can’t – namely, fight back against the people who are threatening and hurting them. This is both Cottonmouth’s lackeys and the cops, and the show does not shy away from discussing police brutality and racially motivated violence either. (As mentioned earlier, Scarfe kills one of the young men who were involved in the investigation against Cottonmouth and some of his men.) Luke can protect people, and he does, though sometimes he is not successful. But he does manage to save some, and those he loses, he uses as motivation to keep going. Much like Jessica Jones offered some sexual assault survivors catharsis when she pushes back against Kilgrave’s mind control and then kills him, Luke Cage offers its black viewers the opportunity to see a black character who is nearly invincible survive and fight back.