Posted in Good Things, Pop Culture

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): Summer Playlist

Unless I love a song, more likely than not I don’t know the lyrics. If you are in the car with me and you listen, you can tell when I don’t know the words. I will either start to hum or get vwery, vwery quiet. And then the chorus will come and I will be singing at the top of my lungs. My poor daughter knows this and has to suffer while her brother and I sing in our miniscule electric car every day, to and from school. With school out a week from today, she can at least leave the room when we play music videos on YouTube. These videos will be on our big screen during dinner and for random dance parties throughout the summer:

  • Bleachers “Don’t Take the Money”
  • Portugal the Man “Feel it Still” (my hubby’s pick for song of the summer)
  • Weezer “Feels like Summer”
  • Foster the People “Doing it for the Money”
  • Sir Sly “High”
  • Kaiser Chiefs “Never Miss a Beat”
  • M.I.A. “Bad Girls”

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Pop Culture

Must See Movies of the Summer: Adult Edition

Even though summer doesn’t officially start until June 20th, we are already into summer movie season. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 rocked (literally-the soundtrack is awesome). This past weekend King Arthur bombed (Damnit Charlie! Stop accepting roles in terrible movies). Cars 3, Spiderman: Homecoming, and the inevitable Transformer sequel are still ahead of us. As a family we will see a lot of movies. But I am looking forward to the following films that I can see without my kids:

  • Baywatch (May 25th): Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, and Alexandra Daddario bring the cheesy television show to the big screen. I don’t want to be excited for this movie but damn if I don’t laugh every time I watch Zac fall in the pool.
  • It Comes at Night (June 9th ): Scary movie with Joel Edgerton, his director Trey Edward Shults from The Gift, and visuals that look terrifying. Summer was a giver of good horror last year with chilling films like Don’t Breathe, Lights Out, and The Conjuring 2. I hope 2017 brings more of the same.
  • The Beguiled (June 30th ): Sofia Coppola is one of my favorites. I don’t love all of her work but when she gets it right, it leave a lasting impression (The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation). Her muses Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning join Nicole Kidman in the story about a girls’ school during the Civil War. When Colin Farrell’s soldier arrives in need it shifts the dynamic between the women and takes turns you wouldn’t expect. Creepy and unsettling.
  • Baby Driver (June 28th ): The one I am excited about the most. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) gives us Ansel Elgort (Divergent) as the most talented of getaway car drivers. Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, and Lily James make up the cool cast about a group of bank robbers and their boss. I’ve only read and heard great things about this one and the release date was already moved up from August to June due to all the buzz.
  • Atomic Blonde (July 28th): Charlize Theron as a spy in 1980s Berlin with James McAvoy as her handler and music that includes New Order, Bowie, Queen, and Depeche Mode. This spells fun and lots of action.
  • A Ghost Story (July 7th ): This trailer looks pretentious and a little weird. But it gives enough emotional content with the love story between Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara that I am intrigued.
Posted in Pop Culture, Word Therapy

13 Reasons Why (Spoilers and Triggers)

Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) was drama. That is what all the kids in 13 Reasons Why say about a teenage girl. She has committed suicide and then left a set of tapes behind to tell her story. When I was in junior high I tried to swallow a bottle of pills. I walked into the kitchen, opened the cupboard where the medicine was, and took out a bottle of pain killers. I opened the bottle and tilted my head back to pour them down my throat. My mom saw what I was trying to do and grabbed them out of my hand. She then put the bottle back where I found it. I don’t remember a lot after that. She may have told me to go to my room. I don’t know if I meant to succeed or just wanted the attention. I know I was in a lot of pain. I have written a lot about being bullied. 30 years later and I feel like I should be over it. I’m not. That is why I think shows like 13 Reasons Why are important.

I started the most tweeted about show of 2017 a couple of weeks ago. It is the story about the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide. Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) is given the set of tapes to listen to. We don’t know the extent of his relationship with her. Each tape tells the story of Hannah’s interaction with one person from school and how it lead to her suicide.

I don’t blame one person for what happened to me. I can’t remember exactly who the kids were who tried to “pants” me as I walked into school each day. Or the kids who gave me the nickname “Buffy” and wrote stories about me in English class. Or the guy who walked up to me unprovoked and told me my hair looked like shit. It was a collective effort between teachers and students where kids target somebody to take the attention off themselves and teachers who weren’t trained how to look for signs of bullying.

As a parent, the hardest part so far of 13 Reasons Why is watching how the girl’s parents are affected. They are shown filing a lawsuit against the school while going through Hannah’s room to give them some reason as to how this could have happened. We see in flashbacks that Hannah had a typical relationship with her mom and dad. She talked to them but not about what was happening. A lot is focused on how they are looking at the problem afterwards. Suicide prevention posters, counselors trying to to talk to students, and graffitied walls in bathrooms are painted over.

I have anxiety and self worth problems every day. I don’t know if the bullying is a direct cause of either or just a chemical imbalance that I am always trying to address. What I do know is I wish I had grown up feeling like I was worth something and that I wasn’t alone (which is a huge part of having an anxiety disorder). I’m not a therapist. I don’t have any professional training. But what I see on the show is that Hannah is either being laughed at, grabbed, or dismissed by the other students. She tries to stand up for herself. But in the end she deals with it. It is easier to accept the negative rather than fight for the positive.

I had a conversation with my daughter last week before bed time. She told me, “Mom, kids make fun of me because I like Star Wars. They say girls shouldn’t like Star Wars.” I told her, “I’m sorry Baby. People can suck. They are going to judge you no matter what you do. So be who you are, even as hard as it will become.” If I have to tell my kids that every damn day for the rest of lives, I will. As a mother I have to accept that kids will be mean and there isn’t much I can do about that. But I can teach my kids their own self worth.

I was always going to put this up on my blog. But I debated posting it on Facebook. Twitter, sure. I feel a cloak of privacy on Twitter that I don’t get on Facebook. You can feel the judgment. But if I am going to accept all the parts of myself, even the ones that are dark and make people uncomfortable, I have to be all of it. And if people can’t handle that, oh well. That is what acceptance means to me.

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): Catastrophe and Kingsman: The Golden Circle

I’ve had one of those weeks where I feel like I am over sharing on social media (started doing Instagram stories and I’m obsessed) and that my blog posts are just shit. I tell myself to move forward and that since I have really focused on my blog I have gained 100+ followers (Hi New Followers!!). They say write what you know. I know and love pop culture. Today I am excited about two things: Catastrophe, an Amazon series and Kingsman The Golden Circle, a film.

Catastrophe tells the story of Sharon (Sharon Horgan) and Rob (Rob Delaney). They are a married couple who stayed together after having a fling and Sharon became pregnant. Rob is an American who moved to the UK to be with Sharon. They are loud, rude, and not great people. And that makes them 100% relatable and hilarious. They don’t hold back when they are talking to each other and as a person who doesn’t have a filter I can’t get enough of their conversations. They have friends who are so weird that it makes them look normal. The sadly departed Carrie Fisher plays Rob’s mom and she is brash and narcissistic. I love this show because it shows the imperfections of marriage where the couple still love each other (I could hear the groans of the characters as I wrote that). Season 3 premieres today and I am going to try and not watch all of the criminally small amount of episodes (six) this weekend.

My apologies Mr. Bond, but I prefer Eggsy. Kingsman The Golden Circle arrives September 22, 2017. It is the sequel to 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. It is based on the comic book by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons (Kick Ass) . It is about a secret group of spies that bring in Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to make him one of their own. They then take on an evil genius (Samuel Jackson) who wants to control the world with his technology. It is cheeky and has action that is equal to, if not better, than a 007 movie.

The trailer for the sequel hit Tuesday and I was on a high all that morning after watching it (over and over again). We see Eggsy’s evolution, even cooler weapons than the last time, an underwater car, and explosions galore. They take everything away from our hero (have I mentioned it’s Eggsy?) to give him a reason to kick some ass. Their use of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” almost makes me forget that Orange Asshole Face used it at his joke of an inauguration (almost). There are hot blondes and a cowboy (Channing Tatum). And it doesn’t matter how awful the hair cut is or how ugly the glasses are, Halle Berry is still beautiful. And the finale gives us a certain someone wearing an eye patch that made me squeal with glee.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): Netflix Bingeworthy- Luke Cage

Luke Cage is Netflix’s third original Marvel series after Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Mike Coulter as Cage was introduced in Jessica Jones. He has an affair with Jones’ private investigator until he discovers something from her past that connects them. I loved Jessica Jones but Luke Cage was a show I got lost in. Daredevil had Hell’s Kitchen. Cage has Harlem and it is not just a setting but a character. Every person is motivated by their place in Harlem. They love their music, their history, and their place in it. And I did too.

Like most superheroes, Luke Cage is a good man made extraordinary by life’s circumstances. He leads a quiet life in Harlem. He helps Pop (Frankie Faison) in the local barbershop, which is a go to place for all its residents, including the gangs of Harlem and their illegal deals. These crimes lead to Luke trying to save kids who have gone down the wrong path. This turns into a war between Luke and Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and his councilwoman cousin Mariah Hillard (Alfre Woodward). Cottonmouth runs guns and drugs but not because he wants to. He is a classically trained pianist who was put in this life at a young age and knows no other way. He will not be disrespected and his anger leads him to make bad decisions and put his club Harlem Palace at risk. Shades (Theo Rossi, aka Juice from Sons of Anarchy) steps in to help Cottonmouth. He is the true villain of this story as emotion does not affect his actions. He radiates cool. Helping Luke are two strong female characters: Misty (Simone Missick), a cop who knows there is more to Luke than he lets on, and Claire (Rosario Dawson), a nurse from Hell’s Kitchen. Both are smart and not damsels in distress, which is refreshing.

Harlem is a proud and strong city, just like Luke Cage. Historical figures such as Crispus Attucks, Jackie Robinson, and Walter Mosley are mentioned throughout the 13 episodes as reminders of what everybody is fighting for. It doesn’t matter if you are a criminal like Cottonmouth, or the much beloved Pops, or hero Cage, it is known that history is a big part of who they are and they need to always fight for it.

The scenes where we are reminded that Cage is a bulletproof is when he is being shot at by the bad guys or the guys we have come to known as good guys, the police. This is a black man in a hoodie who keeps his head down. In this day and age, that is regarded as suspicious behavior. The irony is not lost that he is trying to save the people of Harlem and is initially attacked for it.

The music of Luke Cage stands out due to its part in Harlem Palace. Cottonmouth’s club is not only a place for people to come to dance, drink, and listen to music. His dealings are done in his office that overlooks the acts performing, with his portrait of Biggie always behind him. Faith Evans, The Delfonics, and Charles Bradley are all a part of the musical lineup. My favorite cameo I won’t give away but I knew I could use it to make my husband watch the show later on.

Do yourself a favor and check out Luke Cage as your next binge. It has a story with purpose, characters that are not just black and white, and music with history. And a superhero.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Posted in Pop Culture

The Dark Knight: The Best Superhero Movie

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is my favorite superhero film. It’s what one should expect from a Batman movie: gritty, dark, worthy heroes, and scary villains. But what sets it apart from Tim Burton’s cartoonish version and Zack Snyder’s just plain ridiculous take is that it breaks your heart into a million pieces and you walk away changed.

I was not into superheroes as a kid, save for my daily Spiderman read in the local paper. When Tim Burton came out with Batman in 1989, I loved it. Burton’s use of grape purple, stark white, and kelly green against the gray bleakness of Batman’s home dare you to ignore it. Michael Keaton is a soft spoken but matter of fact Bruce Wayne. Robert Wuhl is a wisecracking reporter who works along side Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger). Jack as the Joker is immortalized (in my mind at least) as he sits next to his love Alicia Hunt (Jerry Hall) and has her put on a mask to cover up the scars he gave her. He walks the line of sanity, putting the audience on edge. I loved him for it. With Prince’s BatDance as the soundtrack, Batman is a classic 80s film.

Zack Snyder took over for Christopher Nolan after 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises was released. I was hopeful. I had seen 300 and Watchmen. Both had haunting sights and solid, dark story lines. Then Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released. The reviews were bad. Not Batman and Robin bad, but worse than Batman Forever. I love Ben Affleck. I really do. But it says something when you keep reading that his performance is the best thing about the movie. But it did give us this:

Suicide Squad was equally terrible and silly (Just NO Jared Leto, NO). Snyder produced the film. He produced the upcoming Wonder Woman and helmed this November’s Justice League. All of these have made or will make a shit ton of money. Why does it matter that the stories are borderline stupid??**

This brings me back to The Dark Knight. When it first came out I would ask those who had already seen it how it was and they would shake their heads with emotion and say, “It’s really sad.” I felt like I was prepared going in. My husband and I went with our sleeping 11 month old. For 2 ½ hours we witnessed not a great superhero film but a phenomenal film PERIOD (screw you Oscars). You come to expect good vs. evil in these type of movies. But watching our heroes break under a mad man hurt me as an audience member. It has been nine years and I can remember the third act in vivid detail like I’m still sitting in those theater seats.

Michael Keaton’s Batman with Burton’s bright and deranged setting. Nolan’s grittiness and heartbreaking storytelling. These are the elements I miss in Batman. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) is attached to direct The Batman with Affleck starring. Now if they can just keep Zack Snyder’s mitts off of this one, maybe they could give us back a hero we can root for?

**sarcasm

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite (aka Where I blabber about what I love): WonderCon

WonderCon is Comic Con’s little brother. It doesn’t have Hall H panels of epic proportions. It doesn’t have celebrities walking the floor in Iron Man masks. WonderCon doesn’t have 130,000 attendees. You can get a hotel before it comes to Anaheim at a discounted rate, no problem. There are an abundance of cosplayers to admire and take pictures of. Artists come out to showcase their work and sell you stuff. There are smaller panels that have casts from upcoming shows and tributes to a certain princess. These are some of the reasons that my family and I attend WonderCon.

Cosplaying at WonderCon means Scarlet is poking me three days straight because of all the people dressed up as Harry Potter characters. It annoys and delights me at the same time. One, being poked. Two, it’s because she LOVES HARRY POTTER. The amount of effort they put into their costumes shows how much love they have for the character and how creative they are. We as a family spend the whole weekend pointing out all the different superheroes, Disney characters, and the Marios, Luigis, Princess Peaches, and Creepers. Scarlet even participated by wearing her Rey costume:

When we first went to WonderCon four years ago, we were treated to movie panels like The Maze Runner. Director Wes Ball, author James Dashner, and the cast all gifted us a sneak of the movie, ancedotes from being on set, and answered questions from audience members. This year we got a clip from Annabelle 2 presented by director David Sandberg (Lights Out) and footage and a chat from Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (Monster). After sitting in WonderCon’s version of Hall H, the arena, for six plus hours hoping to get a glimpse of Gal Gadot; it was disappointing at best. We walked out feeling like an afterthought of the movie studios.  They had films coming out before Comic Con in July but didn’t care enough to promote it. Sadness aside, we did go to a panel for the CW show Riverdale. My favorite part was seeing Dylan McKay himself, Luke Perry, discussing his part:

Luke Perry

On Sunday we went to a Princess Leia tribute that was put on by the 501st Region (a super awesome organization). It consisted of fans talking about encounters they’ve had with Carrie Fisher and how she affected their lives. Everyone was heartfelt and I may have shed a few tears. Wesley said it was his favorite part of the weekend.

Leia Tribute

Walking the floor at WonderCon was Scarlet’s favorite part. Walking the floor to her means spending money (we seriously spent $22 on buttons at one booth). I love seeing all of the artists’ interpretations of pop culture. There are the usual Disney, Marvel and DC pictures. This year we found Hamilton pictures and postcards. Scarlet tried to convince me to buy a six foot tall picture of Lafayette riding into battle (nice try kid). Brian Kesinger is a Disney story artist who created the Star Wars/Calvin and Hobbes mashup last year. We have a couple of his prints and were able to tell him at WonderCon how much we loved his work. He was incredibly nice, humble, and took pictures with us.

Brian Kesinger

In addition to what all WonderCon has to offer, we love staying at a hotel for a couple of days. My kids would live in the pool if we let them so as soon as we check in they are asking to get in their bathing suits. Eating out, not having to make beds, and looking out the window where we had a Superman’s view of the cosplayers and food trucks make it a mini vacation that prepares us for summer.

WonderCon 2017 was fun. We got what we have come to expect (cosplay, good food, smaller but still entertaining panels). The best part for me is hanging out with my favorite people. We yell, Wesley’s allergies gave him the worst case of sniffles we all had to endure at night, and we sometimes let negativity drag us down (Never figured out what the hell the red stain was on our hotel room wall). But I love them with everything I have and it is always a blast, no matter what.

WonderCon Family

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!