“It’s Not Slime. It’s Mucus!”

It’s time to head back to the Disney Princess Movie Challenge. This time we’re discussing The Princess and The Frog, which is kind-of-sort-of based on “The Frog Prince,” but not the hilarious version where the ungrateful princess tries to murder the frog and somehow ends up getting married to him instead, like, gee, how romantic. Instead, things go a little differently.

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My advice to all young women is to be like Tiana: when confronted with a talking frog, go with your first instincts: retreat, then attack viciously with stuffed animals.

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“Now, That’s A Proper Introduction.”

I’ve been excited about Arrival for months and had hoped to see the movie shortly after it premiered, but plans, being plans, naturally fell through. So Mekaela and I decided to watch it on Thanksgiving instead because, you know. First contact, and all that jazz.

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I liked Arrival–it’s well-crafted and interesting–but, being the disappointment to the SF/F community that I so often am, I can’t quite say that I loved it like everyone else seems to.

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7 Things I’m Grateful For This TV Season

Happy Thanksgiving, people who celebrate, and Happy Thursday, people who don’t! Even at the best of times, this is a fundamentally weird and kind of screwy holiday in America, and clearly, this is hell and gone from the best of times. But I do have a fondness for Turkey Day, partially because I was born on it (no happy birthday wishes, folks, it’s not actually my birthday yet) and partially because I’m just a big fan of stuffing and mashed potatoes. Also, I kind of like the idea of taking a holiday to list the stuff you’re grateful for, even if it’s just the little, supposedly insignificant stuff that helps you move forward through the day.

And with that in mind, I present a new list . . .

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Not A Bad Start To Tuesday

Folks, I’m not going to lie: the news has been horrifically depressing of late; between the water cannons being used against the #NoDAPL protestors in sub-freezing temperatures and the apparent rise of neo-Nazism in America, it’s sometimes hard to wanna turn on your computer and see what new horrors are in store. But you’ve got to celebrate the good stuff when it happens, and if I hadn’t checked my email when I got off work this morning, I wouldn’t have seen some excellent professional news: I’ve sold my story “If We Survive the Night” to The Dark.

This is awesome for several reasons. One, I haven’t sold anything in a while and that can get a bit discouraging, like, you start psyching yourself out on the bad days: maybe everything I’ve ever done is a fluke and no one will ever publish me again. (Most days I’m not this ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief with my customary I Sold A Story happy dance.) It’s also been Re-Write November, as this is one of two stories I’ve been recently asked to rework, and you never know how those are going to go, like, it’s sorta especially demoralizing to get so damn close to the finish line and then still not place on the podium. (I haven’t heard back yet about the other sub, so eventually we’ll see if I go 1-1 or 2-0. In unrelated news, I have no idea why I’m so fond of using sports metaphors; at least team sports have roots in childhood, but this racing shit, like, finish lines and podiums? I’m like, bitch, the closest you got to a podium was an elementary school spelling bee. Maybe find a metaphor that’s more fitting with your life? And then I’m like . . . nah, that’s too much work.)

I wrote the first draft of “If We Survive the Night” quite some time ago; in fact, I talked about it on this blog while chronicling my Clarion West Write-a-Thon efforts back in 2015. I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to find a home for it. It’s not exactly subtle with its feminism, not to mention it’s meta as all get out, like, it talks about horror a good deal more than it actually is horror. It also has five POV narrators, which I’m pretty sure is Officially Discouraged in the How to Write Short Fiction handbook. But overall I’m pretty fond of the thing and, honestly, kind of proud of it: it’s rather excessively a Carlie St. George story, but my totally charming self-deprecating sense of humor aside, I like to think that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I’m not sure when “If We Survive the Night” will be published, but I will update this blog accordingly when it is. Meanwhile, on deck–I’m telling you, with the sports shit–is “Every Day is the Full Moon,” a story I sold to Lightspeed back in April; that story, which I’m also kinda proud of, is coming to a computer screen near you in December.

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Coming Soon-Ish: Adaptations, More Adaptations, and The Woe of High School

Beauty and the Beast

My interest in this is mild. On one hand, Beauty and the Beast is kind of my favorite, I like Emma Watson quite a bit, and some of the cinematography looks lovely. On the other hand, I’m having a bit of a hard time taking the Beast seriously, and despite a couple of interesting changes (Belle is going to be the inventor of the family? Excellent), this remake is looking a little too shot-for-shot for me, like, I could go watch this in theater or I could just stay home and watch the animated movie again for free.

Not that I actually have this choice, mind you. Mekaela has already informed me that I’ll be going to see this movie whether I like it or not, so, fine. I’ll go. But I’ll be chewing on my Milk Duds in a sulky manner and silently snarking about Beast’s stupid face the whole time! (Until we get to the library scene, of course, which is when I will promptly melt, because let’s not even lie about that.)

Ghost in the Shell

So. The look of this movie is fantastic. I know extremely little about the manga and anime upon which it’s based, but watching this trailer, my inner SF/F nerd instantly started buzzing. The world looks fascinating and original and heavy influenced with Asian design . . . except for all the white people. Yeah, the white people are pretty noticeable.

I knew about the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s casting prior to watching this–I mean, of course I did, I’m not dead–but when I watched the trailer in full, I couldn’t help but notice that nearly every role who had dialogue or otherwise seemed important went to a white person, while the Asian actors in the film mostly seem to be around to shoot things or get shot. And that’s just kind of shitty even when you haven’t adapted a Japanese story into a Hollywood film where you’ve kept the setting but not the people. That’s just kind of crap.

Look, unless I hear it’s awful, I’m probably going to watch this. I don’t want to pretend I’ll do otherwise, because problematic or not, the movie looks really interesting to me. But there’s no reason that this movie wouldn’t have also looked interesting with, say, Ellen Wong as Major and Tamlyn Tomita as the presumably nefarious mentor doctor lady. Hollywood could and should have done better.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

This looks cute. I never read the books or saw the Jim Carrey movie, but I might check this show out at some point: it looks whimsical enough, and there’s quite the cast (some of whom are presumably guest stars). Other than Neil Patrick Harris and Malina Weissman (AKA Young Supergirl), we have Alfre Woodard, Joan Cusack, Patrick Warburton, Aasif Mandvi, and even Mr. Trick/That Guy From Grosse Point Blank! (IMDb tells me his name is K. Todd Freeman. Someday, I will know the name of every That Guy.)

I’m not desperate to see this or anything, like, there are no grabby hands here, but it might be some decent light-hearted humor on a bleak day. (Well. Light-hearted might not be the best word, after all: “Perished means killed.” HA! That right there is what won me over, like, ten seconds into the trailer.)

Before I Fall

This is sort of interesting. It’s like Groundhog Day, but instead of an arrogant city jerk learning that kindness is key and small towns are great, it’s a teenage girl learning that being mean to unpopular kids is a total dick move, and also, pay attention when you’re on the road because getting into a collision with a truck is probably going to ruin your whole day.

Honestly, this trailer looks a wee bit melodramatic for my tastes, but I generally enjoy Groundhog Day stories (more than I like the actual movie itself, honestly, heathen, that I am) and the idea of applying that concept to different genres appeals to me. But I’m not sure I’m expecting much from this. I’m also not quite clear why our young leading lady can’t change her fate; I know it’s common in destiny stories to always end up at the spot you were trying to avoid all along, but that’s not usually a Groundhog Day thing, is it? It’s not where you end that usually repeats, after all, but how you begin; that’s kind of the whole point.

Maybe just adamantly refuse to get into a car for the entire day, like, not for any reason? See how that works out for you?

The Edge of Seventeen

As far as YA movies go, I’m actually much more hopeful about this one, even though there are no speculative elements, and you all know that I prefer my stories with either murder or speculative elements, preferably both. But this looks entertaining: grounded, funny, not too sappy. I like that it’s rated-R, actually; for most kids, high school isn’t PG-13, after all. And I haven’t seen Hailee Steinfeld in anything since True Grit, which she was excellent in.

It’s not a theater movie for me, but I could see it as a rental. So Mek, fair warning: this might be your payback.

And finally . . . Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Look, I have no idea what this movie’s actually about, but this is like Luc Besson times a thousand. This is The Fifth Element met Star Wars and had a baby while listening to the Beatles, and I don’t know if it’s going to be good or not, but I’m definitely in. (I’m almost feeling generous enough to forgive that ludicrous boob armor. I mean, come on guys. You get points for using “Because” but still. This is ridiculous. This article has been around for years. You should know better by now.)

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“You Said You Trust Ping. Why Is Mulan Any Different?”

Time to carry on to our next Disney Princess movie: Mulan.

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I’m going to critique it–because you do you and all–but overall, I enjoyed this movie.

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“Pocahontas, That Tree Is Talking To Me.”

ETA: Trying to get back to business as usual, at least for the moment, though fair warning: there may be more political talk in the future. There may also not be; I don’t have any specific plans right now. But just so you know, the majority of this review, save some minor edits, was written before nearly half of America decided to vote for an unrepentant and unqualified bigot, so. Nothing here past this paragraph is election and/or protest related.

Okay. For a variety of reasons, my Disney Princess Movie Challenge had to be put on hold for several months, which leaves me with just under two months now to watch six movies and review them. This does not sound difficult until you understand that I am not a fast writer, and anytime I spend here writing for fun is, very unfortunately, time I’m not spending writing for money, and look people, I like money. I’m not even going to lie about that. Even if my rent hadn’t just doubled, which is sort of a consideration, I also like it when I have the opportunity to spend cash for things; I have, like, zero qualms about my materialism.

Regardless, I really would like to finish this particular challenge after failing so abysmally last year on Best Picture Winners, so I’m going to give it a shot. When we last left off, Mekaela and I had just watched Aladdin for the first time in about 20 years. Now?

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Now I watch Pocahontas for the very first time. God help me.

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