The Joker and Harley

…or How I learned to stop caring and hate the film, Suicide Squad.

I will admit that after reading a few reviews from questionable sources, I decided to see Suicide Squad and form my own opinion about the movie. A little background, I might be a huge fan of Batman (I totally am), specifically of The Joker and Harley Quinn. As a kid, being introduced to Harley Quinn was life-changing. She was everything I thought I was and wanted to be. Some kids want to be the Hero. I wanted to be the Villain.

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Harley and her other love, Poison Ivy

In watching Suicide Squad, one of the few things I can agree with was Paul Dini’s (One of Harley’s creators) statement that Margot Robbie, nailed the character. She did. Robbie did a fantastic job recreating the mixture of Harley’s adolescent manner and psychopathic tendencies with little effort. Harley is a character in which you never know which direction she will go because she is, quite obviously, insane. Jared Leto wasn’t bad either. There have been better Jokers, but I would not say he was awful. I do miss Harley’s accent though….

So what went wrong? Well, let’s start with the fact that for whatever reason, David Ayer and his team decided to focus on the Post-2011 version of The Joker and Harley. The public is being introduced to a new character (essentially), Harley and the rest of the Suicide Squad, which some fans of the comic will say, “Well, Xtine, that’s correct ’cause Harley was in The New 52 version of Suicide Squad (released in 2011)”. My problem isn’t with Suicide Squad, my problem is with the movie.

If you want to do a comic no one has heard of, maybe you should have focused on another version of it, like say, the earlier version since the majority of the movie centered on Deadshot anyway. Then maybe you wouldn’t have had the issues that you encountered when reproducing a truly tortuous and abusive relationship that is the Joker and Harley Quinn. That’s the movie everyone wanted to see but instead we only saw a watered down version of how their home life really is sprinkled throughout a boring, drawn out, lazy plot.

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Reading the comics, you’ll see the Joker, the love of Harley’s life, shoot her, punch her, leave her for dead, let her get captured and a slew of other terrible things that I feel like Jared Leto’s Joker would not do. Yes, the film Joker lets her get captured by Batman, but then he tries to save her on multiple other occasions. In reality, the comic Joker doesn’t even like her, let alone love her, so why would he even bother to make such moves to get her back?

I used to romanticize the idea of a Harley and Joker relationship just like most girls and boys are doing now, but then I realized that relationships should be healthy. The biggest problem with this film is that it seeks to change people’s ideas (or influence ideas) of how the Joker treats people. He has no room to love anyone. I feel that the message they are sending here is that this relationship can be sweet, loving and mutual when they aren’t on a murderous rampage but this just simply is not real. They are not Bonnie and Clyde, they are not Romeo and Juliet. She is dependent and unstable and he is a bona fide psychopath.

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Crazy Train

I’m sad for the DC universe’s other properties when these are the films that DCEU (DC Extended Universe) is putting out. I will agree that the movie had some interesting and eye-catching effects but it was also executive produced by Zack Snyder so what else can we expect? Its a shame that DCEU is focusing their efforts on the mass public who have no idea of the background of these characters and yet still releases films that seem to start in the middle of a trilogy. Most people get confused, some people like it, and DC fans get mad and go on long rants about why you shouldn’t see it. Origin films have a purpose, don’t try so hard to set records while ignoring your public.

P.S. I truly wonder if the main reason everyone saw it was because they wanted to see why so many people hated it.

 

 

 

 

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Feminism vs. Batman: The Killing Joke

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of seeing an animated feature length film of one of my favorite Batman graphic novels. Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke was a turning point in my love for Batman. I started becoming a fan girl of the comic book hero back in the 80s when the Tim Burton film was released but after reading The Killing Joke, I found a different love for the character. The Killing Joke showed Batman in a light that I think many people don’t want to see their favorite hero in.

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“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.”

He became more human, more damaged, more desperate in the story line and all of that is due to Alan Moore’s truly realistic and dark view of the comic book world. We’ve seen this type of sordid view of superheros from Moore in Watchmen or Captain Britain but here we see Batman essentially face himself through the Joker’s depraved acts and increasing insanity. Yes, his back has been broken before, yes his cohorts have died before; but here he is truly having to decide if he is as warped an individual as his all-time greatest nemesis.

I hope what I have just written will allow everyone to understand that I did not hate the animated film despite what is to follow.

The movie was somewhere around 30 minutes in when I sighed and decided that I was going to accept those first 30 minutes as not part of the film itself. My issues with it start with the addition of Paris Franz, an aspiring crime boss added to give Batgirl something to do. The character of Franz is so flat and brought nothing new to the story except flirt with Batgirl and treat her like a terribly toxic boyfriend who, instead of cheating, tries to kill her on several occasions. This character was also a placeholder for Batman to get jealous. Of course, the sexual tension increases, Batgirl and Batman engage in intercourse on a rooftop and, immediately after, Batgirl goes through the typical female crisis: “Why hasn’t he called? Where is this relationship going? What are we? Does he like me? What did I do wrong?” There is even a scene where she screams at him to say “It was just sex, I don’t care, you don’t care, no one cares,” or something to that nature.

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“Does this outfit make me look fat?”

I never really think of myself as a feminist but I was seconds from screaming at the screen in the half full theater. They turned a strong female superhero character like Batgirl, only a few scenes away from becoming a paraplegic, into a sappy, sobbing mess of a girl because she slept with her boss. I get it, she’s young and immature, but not every woman needs to cling to a strong male. I feel as if the screenwriters decided that women cannot be as strong as men, especially if that man is Batman. They decided that no woman can resist him, and even if they are partners, they must have intercourse.

I agree that the entire concocted opening to the film was there to give the audience an idea of how the events that unfold affect Batman in his core. He’s hard to read and allowing us to see him as a vulnerable human being gave us some insight into his personal feelings toward Batgirl. But what if this was Jason Todd? Would he have had to sleep with his Robin before he was murdered to give us some idea of how it affected him?

It is an unfortunate situation for Batgirl that she had to have that vagina. If she were only male, she would have just gotten over the whole Paris Franz thing, the whole “Batman doesn’t respect me as his equal” pouting, and she would probably still be Batgirl (not Oracle) with a fully functioning spinal column. I would’ve expected this treatment from an animated feature before but not in 2016 when a woman was just nominated a U.S. Presidential nominee for the first time in history.

A Korean Import turned American: Oldboy

For many who actually saw the original film, Oldboy, back in 2003 when it was released, the idea of a remake was simply upsetting. The movie’s twisted background and psychological connection with the audience is just “unredoable”, in my opinion, and putting the name Spike Lee on anything just makes it seem like its a ploy to get more buzz around the film. However, after seeing the movie myself today, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

It wasn’t that the movie was done exactly like the previous film, in fact, it was done differently in a lot of aspects of the plot line (which I won’t give away here). The fact that the movie was adapted into a version that was much more Americanized than the Korean version was refreshing. I didn’t feel like I did with The Eye or One Missed Call. Those films just tried too hard to be like the original because of the Asian version’s strong followings. Instead, Oldboy decides that it can never be like the original and does its best to try to make due.

This brings me to the idea of remaking movies, which I absolutely despise. There are millions of writers in the world yet we are still making movies over again. There’s no imagination left in Hollywood anymore and when we take Asian movies and remake them, we make ourselves look like idiots once again. I say this as a writer and a movie fan. I don’t want to see all of my favorite Asian horror films remade, I don’t want to see all of my favorite manga or anime made into feature length films starring American actors pretending to be Asian. I want something new, but the problem is, if screenwriters do make something unique, it flops. But instead of allowing themselves to flop, they decide to take other, more successful movies, and remake them to ensure they make money for the big studio heads. But what will happen in the future when we run out of movies to remake? Then we have the silly reboots like Superman, Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, Batman….

I could go on, wage a war against Hollywood and their films, but I will always be willing to pay money to see a movie, even if I hate it. And that is why Hollywood will always win. There’s always someone somewhere who has never seen the original and probably won’t see it if there’s a new one on the horizon. And so we continue, but at least I can say to Spike Lee and other film makers that take a film and at least try to make it new, you’re kind of doing it right.

American Music Awards = Devoid of Talent?

Honestly, when the recent polls went out for the AMAs, what were the voters thinking? To place Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers in the alternative rock category was painful enough but giving the Icon award to a young artist like Rhianna was just unbearable. Its unfortunate that the categories only had three nominees because I just wanted to see if there was any type of reconciliation for the misguided choices like Mumford and Sons. Music isn’t what it used to be (previous winners in the alt rock category: Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, Smashing Pumpkins) and the AMAs show all of us over the age of 20 how different it is. As the years tick by, music with actual genres and categories become more blurred and genres, like the illusive industrial and heavy metal, disappear with their famous bands and devoted fans. Dubstep reduces the need for actual singers or musicians and auto tune allows former untalented artists to be successful album vocalists. The rare musical talent that acts like Fleetwood Mac, Nine Inch Nails, Queen, etc had in their time is unmatched by the Katy Perrys, Lady Gagas and Miley Cyrus‘s of today. There’s no actual talent being churned out in record labels anymore unless they come in the form of young female vocalists. Lorde and Ariana Grande make the future seem, at least, somewhat brighter because of their aversion of traditional teen bop music and trashy attire. If only we could see good bands develop and change the landscape of the music world and bring back the lost musical genre called alternative rock. Until then, we wait, watching mostly vocal lead bands like Imagine Dragons win alt rock awards because that’s all we have left to represent our taste in music.

Fall Programming Fails & Successes

I had intended on writing this post after I had watched ALL the new fall programs, however since many shows have still yet to be shown and I am impatient, I am reviewing the current releases.

I’ll start with Dads starring Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi. Individually, I don’t think that these actors could hold a show together for any length of time. Luckily, the producers paired these two and created an interesting and funny premise. I’m sure there are nay sayers that think this show is terrible, but in my opinion the issues between both son-dad pairs are real and intelligently executed. The Pot Brownie episode was a great way to have drug use in primetime television and its racist and sexist comments are most likely directed to bring attention to the fact that RACISM AND SEXISM ARE STILL PREVALENT! There’s been so much talk about how the show is offensive but the fact is, its realistic. I’ve never met anyone that is concerned with political correctness during everyday conversation and Dads makes sure that we know that.

Mom is another show that risks offensive-ness for the sake of reality. The cycle of teen pregnancy within the family is real, and so is the issue of alcoholism and boss/employee relationships. My opinion of this show was low at first upon seeing Anna Farris on TV but the humor is perfect for her talents and the first episode really forces the viewers to connect to her broken down life. As a sitcom, I think the premise is new and refreshing, and like Dads, the show finally brings real life to primetime television. If I didn’t feel as pathetic as Anna Farris’ character, Christy, I would feel sorry for her. Allison Janney also contributes to the fantastic talent in this show as Christy’s mom, Bonnie, a recovering alcoholic who “did the best she could” as a mother. I think turning a show with such a sad background into a sitcom really makes the characters so much more love-able and hopefully long lasting.

Now to the worst, which I don’t have much to say about.

The Goldbergs. Ugh, I get it, you’re trying to be like The Wonder Years. The problem is, you can’t be like The Wonder Years. I find the show to be lacking in some major things, like Comedy or general interesting dialogue. I have a feeling that the show will be canceled soon, and if it isn’t I’m not really sure who would want to watch a show about the ’80s through the eyes of a family with  no really dynamic. Adam Goldberg, who narrates the episodes, is no Kevin Arnold and because of that, his character is not interesting enough to keep audiences attention on what is happening to the family.

Another lacking show is The Michael J Fox Show. I want to like it, I really do. That’s why it’s still scheduled to record on my DVR and it’s because I love Michael J Fox as an actor. However, the lighthearted look at a Parkinson’s sufferer in the public eye is not as lighthearted as he probably intended it to be. I feel as if there is too much centered on being inspiring AND funny at the same time when the show should have been much more about the humor. I love that Michael J Fox is trying to come back and make his suffering less saddening, but the problem lies in the script and the dialogue. Perhaps we will have a turn around after the first few episodes, perhaps it will get canceled, who knows?

I know there are several other shows needing reviews (Agents of Shield, Season 3 of Once Upon a Time, The Blacklist, Hostages, etc) but this post is only so long so I’ll review them after we find out who gets the cut at the end of the season.

The 65th Emmy’s and you

I might be a bit late on the reporting side here but hey, at least I’m still in the same week as the 65th Annual Emmy Awards that aired this past Sunday on CBS.  Funny how a station that rarely has Emmy award winning shows is the one to air the prestigious ceremony.  Regardless, I watched it in its entirety in order to correctly comment on the various moments of the show.  I’m glad I sat through the slew of memorandums and acceptance speeches because this was genuinely the best I’ve seen in terms of winners.  However, that being said, it’s hard to really pick a terrible show now a days especially with HBO, Showtime, and even AMC exploding with season after season of remarkable storylines and characters. Move over USA, characters are welcomed everywhere now.

Though there has been some critique at the fact that many of the Emmy’s went to cable shows, the fact of the matter is original series and miniseries are really becoming in vogue now since the decline of the theater (film, that is). Movies lately have not had the same impact and resonance as shows like Game of Thrones, Girls or Veep have with society today, which really depicts the complete turnaround that television has taken.

I appreciate this fact because that means that the writers of today’s television world have stacked the odds and have solidified in terms of talent against the screenwriters of days old.  Prior to this “Golden Age”, as many at the Emmy’s put it,  Lorne Michaels, Larry David, Rod Serling were a rarity just simply because television was consider the low portion of the totem pole. You start in Theater, move to Film, then have a breakdown. Eventually, after rehab, you wind up in television writing for a rom-com on NBC. But NOW! Geez, you could start in TV and suddenly you’re writing a full length Brad Pitt film.

Yeah, what does this ridiculous, self-congratulatory ceremony actually have to do with me? Well, for me, as a writer, this means that although some people would prefer not to pick up a book, newspaper or anything that has printed words, this development in television means that there are new avenues, new ideas, new creativity being developed and cultivated in a whole other industry that we ignored for more than 50 years.  Popular culture will suddenly become more popular (less educated/prosperous people can join in) and much more intelligent (have you actually taken a moment to consider the script writing in Veep, goodness).

What this means is that we may need writers more than all of you who scoffed at my English degree may actually think.

Review: LG Optimus Elite

I hate my phone.

I didn’t hate it when I got it but I sure hate it now. I am cheap when it comes to things that I rarely use and therefore, purchased this phone because it was on sale. As one of the few young people to disregard cell phones as a “necessary evil”, I didn’t even get my first cell phone till I was out of high school.

The phone has great memory space for someone who likes alot of music, likes to take pictures of food and ducks, and is the best size for gals who don’t carry purses as the phone does not make you look like you have a boxy ass implant. I have no idea what the Android system is but its something like Fudge Brownie v.5000 or Toasted Marshmellow or some crap, whatever, it works great and only makes me want to throw it into oncoming traffic SOME times.

No, my issues began after I found myself downloading frivolous yet very valuable applications that help me function on a daily basis. Where would I be if I didn’t have my weight loss app to tell me when to eat and how many calories yogurt has? How would I know that five matching red jelly beans would create some kind of awesome chocolate sprinkled bomb? If I didn’t download my Siri ripoff for Android, I would have no clue what my text messages said.

However, this phone was not made with the battery power to withstand the important things in life. Even after charging all night, the phone dies after 3 hours of usage. If I can’t have my apps, then why do I have a cell phone? I only get calls if I somehow become involved with some kind of socializing with other human beings and that just seems unreasonable.

In short, I’d give the phone 4 out of 5 stars and the deducted point should definitely be addressed by LG as to make sure they do not shut out the app addicted hermit clientele they carry.