Coming Soon-Ish: Final Girls, Boy Scouts, and Quentin Tarantino

The Final Girls

Okay, so, this movie was basically made for me. It’s like Scream meets Last Action Hero, or The Purple Rose of Cairo. I know some people are tired of the whole meta-horror comedy thing, but what can I say? That shit’s where I live, and I’m actually pretty interested in the whole mother/daughter storyline here. It sort of adds a new angle, and I think it’s awesome when parodies like this have something more going on underneath, something with a little heart. Whether it’ll be effective or not, I couldn’t say, but I’m interested regardless.

My main concern here is that this trailer’s giving away all the best parts for free. (“I want chainsaws and big ass knives, and I want them now.” YES. Excellent, Nina Dobrev.) But hopefully not. I want to see this, and I want it to be good.

The Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse

Unfortunately, I’m a lot less into this particular horror comedy. (And pretty NSFW, by the way.) I want to be excited about it — I mean, come on, it’s Boy Scouts vs Zombies!  — but after that trailer, I’m just like, Okay, so we’ve got one token hot chick badass, plus three stereotypically pathetic nerd boys, and some huge zombie tits. Uh, yay?

Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this movie will surprise me by being totally awesome. But my interest just took a pretty sharp nosedive.

Victor Frankenstein

I’m not sure what tone I expected Victor Frankenstein to have, exactly, but I’ll admit . . . that wasn’t it. Honestly, I could still totally watch this movie — I’m kind of digging James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe’s lighthearted banter — but at this point, I think it’s probably for the best that I keep my expectations low because it’s kind of looking like a hot mess. Although maybe that’s not fair. Maybe I’m simply judging it on some of the weirder monster shit, which immediately reminded me of Van Helsing — NOT one of my favorites.

Also, when McAvoy says, “It’s . . . alive!” I’m like, “What is? The Creature, or Harry Potter’s Stupid Hair?” I mean, look at that mop. It’s completely ridiculous, almost as ridiculous as Daniel Radcliffe’s current actual beard. I say this knowing that I have green/black/blonde/blue hair right now and probably no right to speak to anyone, but . . . no. Just no, honey. You have lovely features, and the razor is your friend.

The Witch

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here (other than, you know, super spooky shit), but I feel like this movie might have come into being by somebody watching The Village and thinking, “Fuck you, Shyamalan. I’m taking this shit and making it EERIE.”

There is just a ton of creepy imagery packed into this trailer, and some of it looks pretty disturbing. I wouldn’t mind a better idea of the actual plot, but I could potentially check this one out.

The Keeping Room

This actually also looks pretty interesting, too. Westerns (like most genres that aren’t romantic comedies or family dramas) rarely have multiple lead female characters, but here there appear to be three, defending themselves and their home against Sam Worthington . . . and yes, while Sam Worthington is almost always an automatic strike against the film these days, well, who knows? Maybe playing a villain will give him a spark of personality.

Either way, I’m kind of into this. I’d love to see more feminist westerns, and some of the cinematography looks absolutely stunning.

And finally . . . The Hateful Eight

Now notice how many women are in this western? Yup. That’d be one. She also doesn’t say a damn thing, either, and I don’t know if that’s because her character’s mute or just isn’t worthy of speaking in this trailer. (I could Google, but, like, effort.) Then again, I did laugh pretty hard at all her waving hello and pantomiming death, so it’s not all bad. (Just . . . it’s possibly not a coincidence that Kill Bill and Death Proof — you know, the ones where the female characters easily outnumber the men — are some of my favorite Tarantino films.)

Still, let’s not even pretend that I’m going to skip Quentin Tarantino’s next movie. Obviously I’m going to watch it. The setup looks like a lot of fun, and there are a ton of actors I really enjoy, although I’m basically bucking myself up now for Walton Goggins’s inevitable demise. (I just love the actor so. Surely, I’ve doomed him by my adoration.)

Could a ticket to The Hateful Eight be a Christmas present to myself? Maybe. Sure beats The Polar Express, anyway.

*shudders*

Worst. Christmas Movie. EVER. If you haven’t seen it, consider yourself lucky. It is the schmaltziest crap of all time. Stay away. STAY AWAY.

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Worldcon, AKA Sasquan, AKA SmokeCon? – A Recap

And so, I have come back from my very first Worldcon, healthy and hale — or, at least, with all four limbs still attached. Healthy might actually be pushing it: the smoke-induced allergies I thought I was suffering from appear to have bloomed into a full-blown cold, and my lungs are currently staging a bit of a protest. It’s especially annoying because I just got over a cold, or thought I did. Perhaps it never actually went away. Perhaps it was just waiting, maliciously, biding its time until my flight back home, as flying home sick appears to be my new favorite thing to do. (And by favorite, I mean, “Fuck you, sinuses, for making my face and neck feel like they’re about to explode.”)

Still, I’m a pretty big fan of the whole ‘intact, didn’t die horribly in a plane crash’ thing, so I’m going to call it a win.

Here’s roughly how my first Worldcon went:

Do not be alarmed. You’re only surrounded by fire on all sides.

So, California is currently burning down, as it is wont to do during summer, particularly in a devastating drought like the current one. The county I grew up in has been hit particularly hard of late: one fire alone took out nearly 70,000 acres. I kinda figured I’d be leaving all that behind me when I traveled to Spokane.

fire2

Well, not so much, apparently.

As you can see, the apocalypse came to Spokane on Friday. Actually, it was a bit like this when we arrived on Wednesday too — it was very much “Welcome to Spokane, otherwise known as Hell!” — but it seemed to return to normal weather conditions the following day.

And then Friday happened.

sun

You’re really not supposed to use the raw sienna crayon to color the afternoon sky. Oh, and that sun, by the way? Bright red. It looks yellow in the picture, but the picture is wrong. All in all, it wasn’t exactly enjoyable weather to walk around in, although it was at least somewhat appropriate for an SF convention. I just wish I’d thought to steal some N95 respirators from work, that’s all. (I could’ve sold them and made millions!)

Mushroom hats and reading material are a girl’s best friend.

So, I kind of love shopping. Shoe shopping, no. Jewelry shopping, no. Clothes shopping, maybe, if the hanger size isn’t lying to you and the department mirrors are feeling particularly kind. But books and hats and any other weird little trinkets I can use to clutter up my apartment? I’m there with bells on. Or mushroom hats.

Mushroom Hat 1

I am now the proud owner of this felt beauty. I am in love.

I also had to buy myself more books because, clearly, I didn’t already have enough to read. I kept the number at five, which I thought was fairly reasonable, all things considered. (Particularly since I was drooling over about ten.)

bookwithcatbook1

Helpfully, Bane decided that she needed to be in the picture too. I read this particularly baleful glare as ‘Why are you taking pictures of inanimate objects when you could be worshipping my radiance and/or petting me?’ (Also, if you’re actually counting the number of books in the hopes of proving that I’m a dirty rotten liar — or just not very good at math — I should point out that the thin one on the bottom is a free sampler of a JJA anthology and totally doesn’t count towards my “Look, My Willpower Only Goes so Far, and Capping at Five Novels Is Apparently that Distance” goal.)

And Miss Introvert 2015 Goes To . . . 

So, I’m not extroverted. At all. I occasionally flip-flop a letter or two on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test, but that first letter never, ever goes from ‘I’ to ‘E’. (As of a few weeks ago, I sit at ISFJ.) Which should mean that I ought to fit right in at these things — because writers, by and large, aren’t really well known for being social butterflies — but I always, always feel on the outside of writing cons.

It’s a little different at DragonCon, where I’m generally meeting up with a semi-large group of friends who I usually haven’t seen in two years and spend most of my time just hanging out with them. (And, well, buying shit. Seriously, the Dealer’s Room there is intense.) That’s what cons seem to be about: going to parties, hanging out with your buddies, and making connections. But at writing conventions, small or large, I usually only know a tiny handful of people, and only a couple of those people particularly well. And I just can’t seem to make myself talk to all these interesting writers and editors that I don’t know.

I had a decent time at Worldcon, I did. I even managed to meet a few nice people, however briefly. Scott H. Andrews seemed particularly kind, considering I was just awkwardly standing next to the person he was actually interested in talking to. (And also how underprepared I was at the time. Must. Get. Business Cards.) And they had surprisingly good cider at the Writers with Drinks thing I went to, so that was helpful. But all in all, I feel like I’m still missing out on the whole con experience that everyone else seems to go for, which I think means I need to readjust my strategy. If I can’t be the person who goes up to random writers I recognize and say, “Hi, I love your work! Let’s talk about nerdy things together!” then maybe I can work at developing relationships with writers online first, initiating conversations on Twitter and Codex and the like instead of just silently stalking people. And then maybe I’ll feel comfortable enough to say ‘howdy’ if and when I see them in real life. After all, all my DragonCon friends were internet friends first. (We all played the same Star Trek RPG. Maybe that’s the solution. Game first, chat later.)

It’s not a foolproof strategy, mind. Even on the internet, I have trouble making contact with people because, you know, what if I say something stupid to someone, and they’re like, “Why are you talking to me, strange creature? I will now shun you and tell everyone I know to shun you as well.” (I never said my anxieties were logical.) Also, I had totally legitimate reasons to go up to a couple of people. For example, I could easily have introduced myself to Sunil Patel when I saw him at Worldcon because (a) we’ve talked on Twitter before, (b) he’s one of the people who read and passed up my story at Mothership Zeta, and (c), he wrote a pretty funny story on The Book Smugglers that I recently enjoyed reading. And still, my Curse of Shyness kicked in hardcore, despite the fact that I’d really wanted to say hi, and I talked myself out of saying anything to him, like, two or three times before there was finally a brief hello at the Writers with Drinks thing. (If only I could get my Work Persona to come out at these things. I’ve been called outgoing at my day job. Friendly. UpbeatPERKY, even. Obviously, anyone who knows me outside of the hospital is laughing their godamn head off right now.)

Still, it’s a goal, the whole internet-first-real-world-second plan, and I think I’ll give it a whirl — because if I can’t find a way to feel even a little more comfortable at these things, I’m not sure there’s a lot of point in spending the money to go.

If you can’t make new friends, keep the old ones. They’re gold, not silver, which probably means they’re worth more when you have to sell them out during the Apocalypse. 

One of the best things about going to Worldcon, though, was seeing these delightful people.

Cory & Alyc

My CW littermates: Cory Skerry and Alyc Helms, who are talented, charming, wonderful people who spent all weekend giving me shit about the processed, highly sugary foods I like to eat. Particularly Skerry, the little sparkly imp. I actually don’t usually eat much when I’m on the road — my stomach is often stupid, particularly while traveling or if I’m already not feeling well — so this was my supposed lunch when we all stopped at Red Robin.

lunch

Mekaela also joined me on this adventure to Smoky Spokane, which was nice. She’s my buddy! I didn’t get a ton of pictures of all of us hanging out — I always forget, somehow — but here are a few, some of which Mekaela took:

mek at the water

Mek, on a less smoky day.

Alyc, in her adorable Merida costume.

Alyc, in her adorable Merida costume.

Dapper Cory, before failing to sneak into Prom.

Dapper Cory, before failing to sneak into Prom.

A typical sister selfie.

A typical sister selfie.

12

Clearly, you can’t trust Alyc. One minute she’s all sweet and cute, and the next she’s going to bite your face off, and all you can do is giggle because you have always had the wrong reactions to everything. Ah, friendship.

There are no winners or losers here, only participants who will all declare victory no matter what side they were on in the first place.

I chose not to attend the Hugos this year, but I did watch them from my hotel bed — silly, yes, but my bed was comfortable and I enjoy being able to snark out loud — and was both surprised and pleased with the results: the Sad/Rabid Puppies were almost entirely shut out, save a win for Guardians for the Galaxy, which obviously had widespread appeal (even though The Winter Soldier is a totally superior film). If you don’t know about the Sad/Rabid Puppy controversy, Google it. Seriously, there’s a ton of shit out there you can read, and I’m not feeling like covering it right now. This blog post alone is already taking me hours longer than I initially anticipated.

I’m happy that the Sad/Rabid Puppies weren’t completely victorious in gaming the Hugos this year, even as I feel lousy for all the people, magazines, and works that would have been nominated had this whole nonsense never occurred. But I’ve also read a few pieces on both sides deconstructing the results, and in a way, I feel like people are trying to draw lessons from it that aren’t going to be learned. It seems obvious that whether they won or lost the actual awards, the Sad/Rabid Puppies were going to declare some kind of supposed moral victory, either in their ability to overcome the SJW’s or “prove” that the SJW’s were doing what the Puppies said all along, namely shutting them out because of their objectionable viewpoints. I don’t know, maybe it’s the head cold and fatigue talking, but right now I’m having trouble seeing a way out of this mess — because that’s the problem with debating an unreasonable opponent: they’re unreasonable. No side can win when you can’t even find a middle ground to meet at.

On the upside, I was pleasantly shocked when Orphan Black won over Doctor Who at the Hugos. Dance, Clone Party! Whirl like the wind!

The Places You’ll Go, The Authors, Dinosaurs, and Frogs You’ll See

I’m too tired to get into descriptions/thoughts now (although I will say that I really enjoyed all of the author readings), but here are the panels/readings/events I attended:

Connie Willis Reading
Catherynne Valente Reading
Writers with Drinks
What Prose Writers Can Learn From Comics
John Scalzi Reading
The Masquerade
The Craft of Short Fiction
Scott Lynch Reading
Diversity Within YA & Middle Grade
What Does Horror Do That Other Genres Don’t?

Finally, there’s an upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival in Spokane, and while I won’t be there to see it, I walked by some of the preparations on my way to the Convention Center.

frog

flowers

little foot

Farewell, Worldcon! I won’t miss your smoke or social anxiety, but we’ll always have mushroom hats and Green Little Foot!

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Story Sale Announcements! BRB Announcements! All The Announcements!

Here’s what I have to tell you today:

1. I’m ecstatic to announce that my ridiculous story “The Elixir of the Not-So-Disgusting Death Smell” will at some point appear in Mothership Zeta, a new magazine edited by Mur Lafferty. Mothership Zeta will be all about publishing fun speculative stories, and I’m excited for a couple of reasons: one, I really think we could use some more SF/F magazines that are dedicated to pure enjoyment, and two, I’m absurdly attached to this silly little story. I wrote the first draft of it a long time ago, and I’ve been trying to sell some version of it for years now. (I’ve come agonizingly close a couple of times, which has only made it less of  a hope and more of a Quest.) In fact, one of the previous drafts was actually my submission story for Clarion West, so I feel super sentimental about what’s essentially a screwball romantic comedy with zombies and Girl Scout cookies.

Publication date is unknown for now, but rest assured, I will update with bouncy enthusiasm when I know more.

2. You probably won’t hear much (or any) from me for the rest of the week. I’m headed up to Spokane, WA tomorrow for my very first Worldcon. I’ve been to big fandom conventions (Comic-Con, DragonCon) and little writer conventions (FOGCon, Potlatch), but never to Big Writing Conventions before. These are my basic expectations:

A. I will have fun hanging out with my sister and my buddies.
B. I will consider talking to writers/editors whose work I’ve read and admired.
C. I will reject the previous consideration in favor of hiding away in my room or, if forced into some kind of social situation, smiling uncomfortably and not saying anything at all.
D. I will watch the various controversies that unfold, particularly after the Hugos are announced. (I will not be attending the Hugos.)
E. I will buy too many books because my To-Read pile is becoming dangerously close to being reasonable, and we can’t have that.

A write-up of Worldcon may or may not follow next week in which I’ll determine if these expectations were met.

3. Finally, obviously the most important announcement: there is only one episode left in Teen Wolf before the show goes on hiatus again.

The world is cruel.

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“Sir, Ethan Hunt is the Living Manifestation of Destiny.”

About four years ago, my sister, my buddy, and I all went to the movie theater to see Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. I had almost zero expectations at the time, having not been invested in the series since, oh, 1996, and surprised myself by really enjoying it. So, of course, we had to go see Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

Of course, according to some annoying blogger and his wife, this prime specimen of man flesh is why we REALLY went.

Of course, according to some annoying blogger and his wife, this shirtless specimen of male perfection is the only reason we REALLY went.

I’m not sure if I liked it more than Ghost Protocol or not, but one way or the other, I had a pretty great time.

Continue reading

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Well. Here It Is.

The movie I will be watching and reviewing before 2016 as punishment for not completing my Best Picture Challenge is . . .

showgirls

Showgirls

Votes were all over the place this go-around (I think everything got at least one vote except Troll 2, Manos: Hands of Fate, and the first three episodes of Birds of Prey), but the true battle was always between Showgirls and The Wicker Man. In the end, Showgirls — a movie that won seven Razzie Awards (not counting special anniversary Razzies) and was nominated for six more — won the day. In a manner of speaking.

Can it possibly be worse than Battlefield Earth? Only time (and the amount of blood tears I shed) will tell.

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Coming Soon-Ish: Deadpool, the Suicide Squad, and the Immortal Vin Diesel

Deadpool

Warning: This is the red-band trailer. Definitely NSFW.

Dude. This looks AWESOME.

I wasn’t real familiar with Deadpool when X-Men: Origins came out, so while any number of things about that movie enraged me (adamantium bullets, for instance), I didn’t have any particular nerd fury for the bullshit that happened to Deadpool himself. Of course since then I’ve learned a bit more about the Merc with the Mouth, and I’ve been excited to see Ryan Reynolds in a real Deadpool movie for years.

And this? This looks pretty on point. Foul language, mindless violence. Extra snarky breaking of the fourth wall. “You look like Freddy Kreuger fucked a topographical map of Utah” is now one of my favorite lines of all time.

Captain America: Civil War? You officially have competition for Most Anticipated Movie of 2016.

Suicide Squad

Okay, this trailer came out forever ago, but it’s been a while since I posted one of these things and I don’t think I ever covered it. So. Basic impressions?

A. The music’s awesome.

B. I’m definitely feeling Harley Quinn in this.

C. I’m not really feeling Amanda Waller yet, and I’m not entirely sure why. I swear, it’s not just because Viola Davis isn’t CCH Pounder. Probably. I know Davis is a hell of an actress, and she totally might grow on me. Still kind of wish she’d put on some weight for the role, though.

D. The bad guy in the Batman mask cracked me up.

E. I don’t know if I’m quite as excited as other people are (or were, when the trailer was actually fresh), but I’m sure I’ll see it in theater.

F. The Joker’s working for me so far. I kind of want to steal some purple gloves from the hospital and Five Minute Cosplay this shit. (Er. But with a shirt on. There will be no Topless Five Minute Cosplays around here.)

The Last Witchhunter

Okay, this is some goofy shit. Obviously, I’ll have to see it.

Riddick is an immortal witch hunter. Frodo is a sidekick priest. Ygritte is a dreamwalker, and Michael Caine . . . well, he’s Michael Caine, so, mentor. (Secretly villain mentor? Or just soon-to-be dead mentor? It’s hard to tell, this early in the game.) Also, while I didn’t notice her in the trailer, Bex Taylor-Klaus is apparently somewhere in this, so yeah. I want to see it.

Be the glorious cheese you appear to be, The Last Witchhunter. Be ridiculous as all get out.

Spectre

If I’m being honest, this trailer doesn’t do much for me. Not that it’s bad, just . . . you know. I watched it, I shrugged, I moved on. I’m only a so-so James Bond fan to begin with, though, so I suppose that isn’t so surprising. Still, I’ll probably see it, unless it gets some pretty spectacularly negative reviews. I did like Skyfall pretty well, although I didn’t think it was perfect by any means.

I will say this, though: at some point in my life, I’d really love to ominously tell someone, “It was me, James. The author of all your pain.” That’s some badass shit, right there. I should sneak up behind my co-workers and whisper that. Oooh, no, I should whisper it to patients! That’s definitely the kind of behavior that won’t get me fired.

And finally . . . The Martian

The actual trailer for this movie came out about a month ago, but I’ve been really enjoying watching these little video introductions to the characters. In this one, a psychologist interviews the crew after they’ve each spent ten days in isolation. Having read the book, I feel qualified to say that both the tone and the characters seem spot-on, particularly Mark Watney and Commander Lewis.

I’m actually really looking forward to this movie. There’s a lot I enjoyed about reading The Martian, but I also had a number of hang-ups with the prose and, well, let’s just call them punctuation idiosyncrasies. These aren’t likely to be problems in a film adaptation, though, so I’m very curious to see if I might enjoy the movie more than the book. This has happened before, but only when I’ve watched the movie first. I’ve never read a book, then seen the movie, and thought, You know what? The movie was better.

Will this be the movie to break that trend? Guess we’ll find out in October.

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Make Me Watch a Terrible Movie: The Schadenfreude Poll

Apparently, failure begets failure. I’m looking at my Best Picture Challenge that I’m miserably behind on, and while I totally have time to catch up — I just don’t want to. Considering these are made-up and deeply insignificant challenges that I’ve entirely created for myself — yeah, I think I’m just going to bite the bullet and call it a loss now, rather than stretch it out and be needlessly miserable for the rest of the year.

I’m already looking ahead to next year’s possible challenge (current contenders are Disney Princess Movies vs 80’s Classics I Somehow Missed) but today’s poll is all about punishment. Last time I failed a movie challenge, I had to (sob) watch and review Battlefield Earth. I have never properly recovered from this trauma.

Which movie (or television show) should I traumatize myself with now?

Manos: Hands of Fate
Jaws: The Revenge
The Wicker Man (with Nicolas Cage, obviously)
Showgirls
Troll 2
Spiderman 3
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Plan 9 From Outer Space
The Room
The first three episodes of Birds of Prey

Please leave your vote in the Comments (or on Facebook/Twitter/whatever — just make sure I can find it.) I’ve linked all the trailers here, if you’d like a more fully informed decision. (I’m sort of hoping that no one has seen all of these movies, or else I’ll have to feel sorry for you.) I was also going to offer to watch the first three episodes of Cop Rock, but the total lack of availability made that impossible. (It’s almost too bad. I’m pretty sure I could have come up with an entertaining review of a 90’s police procedural where everybody sang.)

The poll will be open for one week, and I (the Despairing) will have to watch and review it before the end of the year. Fair warning: alcohol may be involved.

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