Avengers: Infinity War (SO MANY SPOILERS, SERIOUSLY)

I saw this movie on Saturday, April 28th and have been processing it since. This movie is the culmination of 10 years of interwoven Marvel stories which the husband and I took the trouble to watch in order to prepare.

Some thoughts:

  • Over and over again this movie struggles with whether sacrifice or the individual is the most important. Is one person’s efforts laudable if their sacrifice saves the world? Or are we more about “one person is worth saving every time, don’t sacrifice one person for the whole”? I feel like this movie couldn’t decide. Dr. Strange is like “I’m gonna save the universe over saving you scrubs” but then hands the time stone over anyway. Vision and Scarlet Witch could have destroyed the mind stone like ten different times in the movie but we’re like “this is what we’re fighting for, we don’t want to sacrifice it” but then they do it anyway, and then it doesn’t even matter because Thanos has come too far and has the time stone and OMG.
  • EVERYTHING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A LOVE STORY
  • WHY DOES GAMORA GIVE UP THE LOCATION OF THE SOUL STONE IMMEDIATELY LIKE ONE PERSON BEING TORTURED ISN’T WORTH THE ENTIRE FUCKING UNIVERSE OMG
  • The deaths that happen at the end in Voldemort-flaking-away fashion ruin the effect of the movie. I know what movies are coming out in the next FIVE years, and I’m supposed to believe that Black Panther is gone forever? That the entirety of the Guardians of the Galaxy are gone forever? And if this is ultra random, how are all the OG Avengers still there? I can’t even get one Powerball number but Black Widow gets to live? I feel like that entire experience should have been harrowing, but it wasn’t because we know they’ll be back. *Fart Noise*
  • One exception to my previous thought is that Spiderman’s death WILL RIP YOUR HEART OUT. Hearing a child beg for his life and whimper that he’s not ready to go as he fades away in Iron Man’s arms had me physically sobbing in the theater. If I hadn’t been in public I would have been making much uglier noises. I remember like, pushing myself back into my chair as if it might get me away from the horror.
  • I am disappointed in the Hulk.
  • WHY DID THEY TAKE VISION TO WAKANDA TO DEAL WITH THE STONE AND MAKE THE WAR HAPPEN THERE THIS IS AN OUTRAGE.
  • Why does everyone just hand over stones? Dr. Strange takes all this time to protect the stone, refuses to hand it over, but then hands it over in return for Iron Man’s life. I guess he might have seen a future where Iron Man HAS to live for them to succeed, but still it felt like seeing him suffer for the whole movie was all for nothing.
  • Speaking of which, this entire movie feels like a waste of time, like I went through it for nothing. Because it’s all going to be reversed and the REAL trauma is coming in the next part in 2019.

It was good in parts, predictable in others, confusing in places because you didn’t understand why characters were doing what they were doing. I think I was equal parts in shock and offended by it. Everything that happened was terrible, but did the directors and writers really think I was stupid enough to swallow it all? I mean, seriously.

Let’s All Go to the Movies! (And Get Ourselves a Thwack.)

I have thoughts on Infinity War, but they include spoilers to first I’m going to give you a bonus story about something that happened to me at the theater first to give you a chance to go away before you can blame me for spoiling the movie for you.

We go to the Cinebistro close by because once you experience a movie with seat service, it’s very difficult to go back to sitting with the peasants. We got there just in time to order our food, we started eating when the previews began, and then the lights went all the way down and we began to enjoy the movie.

About 15 minutes in a man came into the theater with his cell phone out and on, and stood near us just chatting away on it, and it even dinged a few times for good measure.

I said: “Can you take that outside please?” (in a slightly aggravated tone, tbh, and for good reason)

He said: “Shut your fucking mouth, I’m just trying to find someone. If you want to get lippy about it I’ll come over there and backhand you.”

My husband said: “EXCUSE ME?”

And then the man walked away, down into the first row of the balcony to sit down.

I immediately stood up, walked out of the theater (again, we were already like 15 minutes into the movie. I am missing the movie at this point) and went to the front desk and asked to speak to a manager. I informed him that I was threatened in my theater by a man who arrived significantly late for the movie and was using his cell phone, and I expected that he be removed so I could feel safe to reenter the theater and enjoy the movie.

The first manager I spoke to said: “We can’t do anything about hearsay. If we didnt see it happen, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

This is when I began to shake and hold back tears. “it’s not hearsay if it happened directly to me. You mean to say that this man, who showed up late, used his cell phone, threatened to hit me, gets to enjoy this movie while I have already been disturbed during it, threatened, and I am now missing a significant chunk of it trying to get help BECAUSE I WAS THREATENED WITH PHYSICAL HARM????”

This manager said: “Hold on one second” and then walked away. I got to stand awkwardly in the lobby, waiting.

Another manager came back around the corner, and asked me what the man looked like and what theater I was in. I walked back with him to the theater, pointed him out, and went back to my seat. The husband asked if I wanted to leave, and in that moment, my answer was yes. This man knew where I was sitting, could confront me at any time, and I did not feel safe to stay there if the theater wasn’t going to do anything about it.

So we made our way out to the front desk to get a refund for the tickets and our food (which we had only partially eaten). The manager came back and said that the guy denied it, but he planned to go back in as the movie was ending to confront him about it. They issued our refund, but then the manager, this second manager who has been so kind and apologizing the entire time, asked if I still wanted to see the movie.

I wasn’t sure. I was pretty shaken up. Not since I was getting batted around in my teens had I been threatened so directly and aggressively and that trauma came to the surface and I couldn’t seem to manage it. The manager, I’ll call him Tom, Tom said there was a showing in just 45 minutes and they have two seats together on an aisle that we were welcome to have for free if we wanted, and would it be okay if he refired our food fresh for us for this new showing?

I took a deep breath, and decided to stay. The husband and I got a drink of water and took a short walk before going into the theater for attempt 2 at Avengers: Infinity War. I’m not sure what happened to that man, but he can rest assured that I have imagined 100 ways I could have handled that differently, so when the next asshole thinks he can test me he won’t catch me unawares. He’ll get a response he wasn’t expecting.

I mean, imagine walking into a movie late, and not just during the previews but like, into the movie, so really you’re like 30-45 minutes late. Imagine not being at all apologetic, and on top of that you walk into the theater where someone was shot in an altercation involving the use of a cell phone, USING YOUR CELL PHONE ON FULL BRIGHTNESS WITH THE SOUND ON. And then, when someone nearby asks you to take your phone outside YOU THREATEN THEM WITH PHYSICAL HARM. I mean, that takes so many levels of entitlement and privilege that it’s almost impossible to wrap my mind around.

Thank goodness for the kindness and caring of Tom, because if that first manager was the only person to interact with me on this issue my next call would have been to a local TV station or to the actual police.

Anyway that’s my story. It was scary but people (eventually) took care of me, and of course the husband was there supporting me too. I got to see the full movie with no interruptions, and that review will be up tomorrow. It will be stuffed with spoilers though, so be warned.

52 in 52: Movie Night at Home

If I am being entirely honest with you all, we’ve been having movie nights rather often the past couple of weeks. The husband and I decided that we would watch all the Marvel movies in release order leading up to seeing Avengers: Infinity War in the theaters the last weekend in April.

This weekend will feature the last two movies that aren’t still in the theater: Spiderman: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok. I’ve already seen Black Panther twice and recently so we plan to count our theater visit as that watch because I don’t think we can get that movie at home just yet.

So far we’ve viewed:

Iron Man (still good, one of my favorites)

The Incredible Hulk (with Edward Norton – not one of my favorites and since they brought Mark Ruffalo in to take over the part, this one seems a bit disconnected)

Iron Man 2 (featuring Whip-It, the lamest villain)

Thor (Cool movie, but weak given the forced love story and the disconnect of human and god).

Captain America: The First Avenger (Oh boy do I hate Captain America but his movies are usually some of the best and most fleshed out of the bunch.)

The Avengers (Always a fave)

Iron Man 3 (One of my favorites – a compelling villain, a hero rediscovering himself, the girl gets a better role than just a damsel in distress)

Thor: The Dark World (*Fart Noise*)

Captain America: Winter Soldier (Again, I hate Captain America, he is the lamest avenger, but this movie is good. It’s good because he learns that it’s not the 1940s anymore and things are more complicated than just to punch Hitler in the jaw.)

Guardians of the Galaxy (Always good for a laugh, one of my favorites in the collection.)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (I liked this move better this time around than I did on previous viewings, but it’s still not great, and it sets up one of my least favorite movies in the group – Captain America: Civil War)

Ant-Man (Good clean fun – a favorite – two tiny thumbs way up)

Captain America: Civil War (I hate this movie because I don’t like agreeing with Captain America. Also it’s built on a flimsy premise and Iron Man’s man-child/daddy/guilt issues. It’s similar to the frustration you might feel when a chick in a horror movie runs up the stairs instead of out of the house – you’re sitting there screaming “none of this makes sense, it’s against the very essence of these characters.” But it happens to you anyway because what choice do you have? The only good in the movie is that we meet Black Panther and Spiderman, both promises for better movies in the future.)

Doctor Strange (yes god more bindersnitch cinderthatch every day of the week)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (I wanted to like this movie but (a) Groot is irritating, (b) the love story is unnecessary, (c) I’m tired of nostalgia porn i.e. the music and video game references, and (d) these movies aren’t connected to the other ones nearly enough for me to buy that they team up against Thanos. The only connection is Gamora and *shrug.* The only thing about this one is that Yondu’s death and subsequent Ravager funeral hits me in the feels every damn time and I don’t know why.)

Which ones have you seen? What are your favorites?

After this weekend we’ll be all caught up and will be attending a matinee at Cinebistro on Saturday, April 28th to see the newest Marvel movie, Avengers: Infinity War. I’m pretty exited but I don’t think I’m ready for what’s going to happen.

Next week I’ll be showing off a new candle that I will have bought to replace all the old and unwanted candles that I threw away for an earlier 52 in 52!

Enjoy your weekend!

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I Feel Pretty

I don’t go to a lot of movies. Ever since discovering the beauty that is Cinebistro, unless I’m excited enough to shell out the $16 for a wide leather seat and dinner brought to me, I just wait for it to come out on Hulu/Netflix/HBO etc. I saw Black Panther twice because it was 100% fresh for me, and I am seriously considering asking for the DVD for Christmas because that’s something I want to physically own.

Because I have to choose my movies carefully, I rely very heavily on trailers and previews. You have to wow me to get me into the theater. I’m not going to read a lot of thinkpieces or reviews ahead of time – if I like the trailer, I’m probably going to come see the movie. The only exception to this is The Quiet Place because I REALLY want to see it but I know I can’t because I can’t do horror, especially “make you jump” scary horror.

When I saw the preview for Trainwreck, I was intrigued enough to go see it on a day that the husband was playing Dungeons and Dragons. These are days I get to myself and I can have some me time. I enjoyed the movie, mostly because I discovered that I liked Bill Hader as a movie actor and was pleasantly surprised by LeBron James as well. I am not an Amy Schumer fangirl at all, but she was okay in this movie.

Amy’s back in a new film “I Feel Pretty” which, if the trailer is to be believed, shows that the only way a fat girl could have “hot” girl levels of confidence is to get a head injury in the midst of her fitness quest to become skinny and pretty.

Two things.

One: Amy Schumer is not fat, even though she would really, really, really like us to believe that she is. In everything she does she wants us to have sympathy for her because she’s a fat girl in a skinny girl world trying to be a successful actress. There are enough thinkpieces on the internet about this so I’ll let you read those for yourself, but ever since I learned how she created this impression and tries to perpetuate it, I have felt a very real disdain for her.

Two: How, in the midst of a body positivity/fat acceptance era/movement was this movie allowed to be born? Every time I see the trailer I get offended that everyone thinks she’s crazy because she’s so fat and ugly (???) but is so confident and bless her heart so they let her do things because it’s like a fat girl pity party. You think you’re going to draw me into the theater at today’s prices to be insulted for two hours? This is so tone deaf it’s unreal.

I’m not usually one to get this angry at a trailer, but I did it for The House with Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell and I’m doing it now, because some ideas are just hurtful and ignorant and shouldn’t be brought to the big screen to continue to perpetuate beliefs and stereotypes that people are working so hard to change for the better. Do me a favor and skip it.

52 in 52: See A Movie

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I don’t have a lot of things that I truly love. The husband will tell you that my response to most experiences is “it was okay.” Hearing me say “it was good” is rare enough, “I loved it” is an anomaly, and “that was amazing!” is almost never uttered.

I was super excited to see Black Panther. Black culture in all its diverse glory is amazing to me and I want to see it flourish and grow and be celebrated. Not even my excitement could have prepared me to the magnificence that was this movie. It was gorgeous from start to finish.  It hit so many raw places for me and I’m so white I could blind someone. I’m just going to cover a few important themes here, but really you should just go see the movie for yourself.

Toward the end of the movie I found myself holding back actual body shaking sobs. On the surface what was happening in the movie was very sad (no spoilers!) but it took me a little bit after I got home to realize why this story affected me so deeply.

What happens in this story is akin to what happened to us in American in 2016. An outsider with links to the system, came in with destruction in mind and used the rules of the system to gain power, and is primed and ready to wreck EVERYTHING. The disbelief and horror on the Wakandan faces when Killmonger seems to win the blood challenge is what we felt when Trump became a reality. This story made me relive all of that without me even realizing it, and it was a subconscious, emotional journey. So when things (of course – not a spoiler) turn out okay as they do in most superhero stories, I think I was crying with relief.

While I was crying with relief I was crying with sympathy. Killmonger is not your usual villain. He’s out for revenge, not just for himself but for his dad too. He wants justice, and that desire is fueled by a child’s anger at the unfairness of a situation that is not related to T’Challa directly but involves Wakanda specifically. The idea that he has trained, focused, and grown up with the one goal of returning to Wakanda to fulfill his father’s dream is equal parts terrifying and inspiring. Both men only wanted to provide the wherewithal to their non-Wakandan black brothers and sisters to fight back against the oppression they experience elsewhere in the world. To have that goal firmly in his grasp, only to fail – something about that just struck me deep in my soul despite the methods he used to achieve his goal.

It was the oddest feeling to rejoice that Wakanda remained safe a location and an idea and mourn the dreams of Killmonger, who was shut out of this dream through no choice or fault of his own. The catastrophe of the African diaspora, the colonization of Africa, the slave trade, and all the other colonizer-related disasters to happen to Africa has prevented many individuals of African descent from connecting with their heritage. WE can only imagine what Arica would be like now had she not been robbed of her people, who may have brought about the Afro-futurism that is featured in this movie if they had been left alone to thrive and grow and love and create.

This movie screams the question “What if?” over and over, and it is the saddest, most terrible thing.

What if Wakanda wasn’t completely locked down and disguised?

What if they were able to share their advances with the world?

What if they allowed refugees and showed them what was possible before their ancestors were stolen from their homeland?

These are all questions that we are all asking right now in real time, but are tackled by T’Challa and the strong women of Wakanda to the point where they can only open themselves to the global society and offer aid. It is a new era in Wakanda, and it is a great thing.

***

A short postscript about my favorite character Okoye. She is the leader of the Dora Milaje, a group of the deadliest warriors of Wakanda and personal guards to the king. When Killmonger becomes king and T’Challa is believed dead, she stays because her duty is to the king and Wakanda, but her hesitation begs the question – where should your loyalties lie? To whom to you owe your allegiance? When something like this happens, how do you protect your country from those who would seek to destroy it while still fulfilling your sworn oath? Which comes first: self, friends, family, duty, king, or country? It’s a question she’s never had to answer before, and so she can only do what she knows.

It is a relief to her when T’Challa returns and shows the challenge for the throne to be unfinished, because she can “technically” now fight against Killmonger while still staying true to her beliefs and her country. This makes her so real to me – I would want her character to rebel but the reality is that she needed to see that her country is more important than who sits on the throne, and by learning that lesson she becomes even more dangerous to anyone who might try the same thing again.

Through conflict we are made stronger and smarter.

Wakanda Forever. ❤

***

Heading to week 9, and I’m not sure what I’ll do next. I’ve done so much already!

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The husband and I have an agreement. He goes to play Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, and I get a day alone to do what I want. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the movies, buy the food I want, and watch something that he might not necessarily want to see. This past week that movie was Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Who allowed this much fun to be smushed into one movie? Where do I even start? All of the combinations were absolutely spectacular. I usually detest and avoid movies with Jack Black in them but he was fucking brilliant in this movie. How did they hold it together long enough to film any of his scenes? I wouldn’t have been able to stop laughing long enough to say my lines.

To whom in the casting department do I address the Edible Arrangement in appreciation for casting The Rock and Kevin Hart together? Aggressive Kevin Hart and shy/timid The Rock interacting throughout was just…comedy gold. It was golden. It was everything.

I would also like to send up a #blessed for Amy Pond’s abs and legs as well as whoever decided the most beautiful Jonas brother should be involved. The gift of Hanks the Lesser at the end was also a delicious surprise.

What makes this movie is the idea that the teenage characters discover how to be better people by inhabiting their opposites within the video game Jumanji. The challenges of the video game allow them each to believe that they can be more than what they are, and they become fast friends as a result. This could have been SUPER corny or obvious, but the movie handles it in a way that we see the lesson, but the dance fighting makes it a funny and enjoyable lesson to learn and can reach both adults and teens alike.

So when the husband got home that evening after playing his lawful-evil paladin I said that the movie was so fun, and that I would be willing to go see it again if he wanted to go. You should head out and see it too; you will have such a good time. Come back and let us know what you thought!

 

The Last Jedi

It can be a difficult task to write a review about something which expands on a source of childhood joy. When I thought about going to see this movie, the one thing I braced myself for was the idea that Luke would die as Obi-Wan did, or worse yet, as Darth Vader did. I couldn’t take an unfair death for Luke, I couldn’t accept it. It was my only worry heading into the theater.

Here is where the spoilers start, so if you’ve managed to get this far without experiencing any, please stop reading and go see the movie.

I needn’t have worried. To be honest the movie, which I expected to feel like The Empire Strikes Back, felt more like a Disney cartoon mini-series where we all learn lessons and are hopeful for the future. A bit early in this trilogy for that feel.

Poe learns a lesson about leadership!

Rey learns a lesson about balance!

Finn learns what matters!

Rose becomes a hero!

The children are our future!

Do you guys even remember how The Empire Strikes Back ended? Luke’s hand was sliced off, Han was frozen in carbonite, the rebellion was suffering, we’ve learned some very important information and been betrayed, we’ve met Yoda, we’re worried about Luke. I can only imagine how people cried out for episode 6. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT OMGWTFBBQ!!!

This movie was all over the place. The side quests were distracting and confusing. Why is Brienne even in this series if we only see her like 3 times and is in that shiny suit the whole time? Is she even a villain? Who cares? Also who cares about Rey anymore? I 100% figured there was going to be a “my father is also your father” reveal in this movie and I was disappointed. Rey is 100% a Solo, whether she is Ben’s twin or younger sibling I’m not sure  yet, but that knowledge has to be given to me in the next movie or I’m gonna be real mad. There is no cliffhanger in this movie like Empire. Everyone is together, everyone is safe, Luke’s story has come to a conclusion. What am I looking forward to in the next episode, the directors and writers dealing awkwardly with Leia? No thank you.

The brilliance in this movie is not in the new. To be honest none of the new characters stayed with me, and without seeing the movie again I would be unable to recount their antics with any reliable detail. The brilliance in this movie is in the old favorites. Mark Hamill provides us with some of his best acting here. I loved the conflict in him in dealing with his failure. He’s not only failed Ben, Leia, and Han, but he’s failed all the Jedi that came before him. He cannot live with this, and so he exiles himself, cuts himself off from the Force, and resolves to die angry and alone. I see you Luke.

Rey comes, of course, but her persistence isn’t what wins Luke over as we expect. She leaves to help her friends and face Kylo Ren, much like Luke does in The Empire Strikes Back after they escape from Hoth. What changes Luke’s mind is a visit from Yoda. This encounter is hands down the best part of the entire movie. Yoda’s wisdom, his reminder to Luke that failure is the best teacher, his recognition that yes, Luke did mess up, but he should have learned from it and continued to do, for there is no try – all of it just washed over me as clearly as a sermon in a church might. I cried because it was like Yoda was talking to me. Sometimes to move forward, we just need someone to look at us and say “It’s gonna be okay, everybody fucks up. It’s whether or not you learn from it and move forward as a better person that matters.”

Luke’s re-acceptance of the Force and his journey to face Kylo Ren, protect Leia, and the rebellion is everything. It was just everything he was capable of and more. He was the Jedi I dreamed he would become after Return of the Jedi. He was strong and clever and finally one with the Force. And I cried again when he disappeared into the wind, having cemented his legend and the fact that the Jedi may be gone, but the spirit of that old religion lives on. I left the theater wanting nothing more than the requisite amount of midichlorians in my system so I could be a Jedi. I left wishing that Luke and I had been given more time.

This movie was a mixed bag with gems hidden throughout that were bright enough to make up for the parts that were dull. Go and see it because you have to, it’s Star Wars for crying out loud, but when you’re done ask yourself, “Do I really need an Episode 9”? The answer might surprise you.