because it's one of my favorite scenes in the entire show

Avatar Aang, Feminist Icon?

“Who’s your favorite character?” I hear that question come up a lot over Avatar: The Last Airbender, a show particularly near and dear to me. Iroh and Toph get tossed around a lot. Zuko is very popular. Sokka has his fans. But something I’ve noticed? Aang very rarely gets the pick. When he comes up, it’s usually in that “Oh, and also…” kind of way. Which is strange, I think, considering he’s the main character, the titular airbender, of the entire show.

I never really thought much about it until a couple weeks ago when I finished my annual re-watch of the series and found myself, for the first time, specifically focused on Aang’s arc. Somehow, I never really paid that much attention to him before. I mean sure, he’s front and center in most episodes, fighting or practicing or learning big spiritual secrets, and yet, he always feels a little overshadowed. Katara takes care of the group. Sokka makes the plans. Zuko has the big, heroic Joseph Campbell journey. Aang…goofs around. He listens and follows and plays with Momo. And yes, at the end his story gets bigger and louder, but even then I feel like a lot of it dodges the spotlight. And here’s why:

Avatar casts the least traditionally-masculine hero you could possibly write as the star of a fantasy war story. Because of that, we don’t see Aang naturally for everything he is, so we look elsewhere.

To show what I mean, I want to talk about some of the show’s other characters, and I want to start with Zuko. Zuko is the hero we’re looking for. He’s tall and hot and complicated. He perseveres in the face of constant setbacks. He uses two swords and shoots fire out of his hands. He trains with a wise old man on ship decks and mountaintops. Occasionally he yells at the sky. He’s got the whole 180-degree moral turn beat for beat, right down to the scars and the sins-of-the-father confrontation scene. And if you were going into battle, some epic affair with battalions of armor-clad infantry, Zuko is the man you’d want leading the charge, Aragorn style. We love Zuko. Because Zuko does what he’s supposed to do.

Now let’s look at Katara. Katara doesn’t do what she’s supposed to do. She doesn’t care about your traditionally gender dynamics because she’s too busy fighting pirates and firebenders, planning military operations with the highest ranking generals in the Earth Kingdom, and dismantling the entire patriarchal structure of the Northern Water Tribe. Somewhere in her spare time she also manages to become one of the greatest waterbenders in the world, train the Avatar, defeat the princess of the Fire Nation in the middle of Sozin’s Comet and take care of the entire rest of the cast for an entire year living in tents and caves. Katara is a badass, and we love that.

So what about Aang? When we meet Aang, he is twelve years old. He is small and his voice hasn’t changed yet. His hobbies include dancing, baking and braiding necklaces with pink flowers. He loves animals. He doesn’t eat meat. He despises violence and spends nine tenths of every fight ducking and dodging. His only “weapon” is a blunt staff, used more for recreation than combat. Through the show, Aang receives most of his training from two young women – Katara and Toph – whom he gives absolute respect, even to the point of reverence. When he questions their instruction, it comes from a place of discomfort or anxiety, never superiority. He defers to women, young women, in matters of strategy and combat. Then he makes a joke at his own expense and goes off to feed his pet lemur.

Now there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, and it’s the one that shielded Aang from the heroic limelight in my eyes for ten years. The reasoning goes like this: Aang is a child. He has no presumptuous authority complex, no masculinity anxiety, no self-consciousness about his preferred pastimes, because he’s twelve. He’s still the hero, but he’s the prepubescent hero, the hero who can’t lead the charge himself because he’s just not old enough. The problem is, that reasoning just doesn’t hold up when you look at him in the context of the rest of the show.

Let’s look at Azula. Aside from the Avatar himself, Zuko’s sister is arguably the strongest bender in the entire show. We could debate Toph and Ozai all day, but when you look at all Azula does, the evidence is pretty damning. Let’s make a list, shall we?

Azula completely mastered lightning, the highest level firebending technique, in her spare time on a boat, under the instruction of two old women who can’t even bend.

Azula led the drill assault on Ba Sing Sae, one of the most important Fire Nation operations of the entire war, and almost succeeded in conquering the whole Earth Kingdom.

Azula then bested the Kyoshi Warriors, one of the strongest non-bender fighting groups in the entire world, successfully infiltrated the Earth Kingdom in disguise, befriended its monarch, learned of the enemy’s most secret operation, emotionally manipulated her older brother, overthrew the captain of the secret police and did conquer the Earth Kingdom, something three Fire Lords, numerous technological monstrosities, and countless generals, including her uncle, failed to do in a century.

And she did this all when she was fourteen.

That last part is easy to forget. Azula seems so much her brother’s peer, we forget she’s the same age as Katara. And that means that when we first meet Azula, she’s only a year older than Aang is at the end of the series. So to dismiss Aang’s autonomy, maturity or capability because of his age is ridiculous, understanding that he and Azula could have been in the same preschool class.

We must then accept Aang for what he truly is: the hero of the story, the leader of the charge, who repeatedly displays restraint and meekness, not because of his age, not because of his upbringing, not because of some character flaw, but because he chooses too. We clamor for strong female characters, and for excellent reason. But nobody every calls for more weak male characters. Not weak in a negative sense, but weak in a sense that he listens when heroes talk. He negotiates when heroes fight. And when heroes are sharpening their blades, planning their strategies and stringing along their hetero love interests, Aang is making jewelry, feeding Appa, and wearing that flower crown he got from a travelling band of hippies. If all Aang’s hobbies and habits were transposed onto Toph or Katara, we’d see it as a weakening of their characters. But with Aang it’s cute, because he’s a child. Only it isn’t, because he’s not.

Even in his relationship with Katara, a landmark piece of any traditional protagonist’s identity, Aang defies expectations. From the moment he wakes up in episode one, he is infatuated with the young woman who would become his oldest teacher and closest friend. Throughout season one we see many examples of his puppy love expressing itself, usually to no avail. But there’s one episode in particular that I always thought a little odd, and that’s Jet.

In Jet, Katara has an infatuation of her own. The titular vigilante outlaw sweeps her off her feet, literally, with his stunning hair, his masterful swordsmanship and his apparent selflessness. You’d think this would elicit some kind of jealousy from Aang. There’s no way he’s ignorant of what’s happening, as Sokka sarcastically refers to Jet as Katara’s boyfriend directly in Aang’s presence, and she doesn’t even dispute it. But even then, we never see any kind of rivalry manifest in Aang. Rather, he seems in full support of it. He repeatedly praises Jet, impressed by his leadership and carefree attitude. Despite his overwhelming affection for Katara, he evaluates both her and Jet on their own merits as people. There is no sense of ownership or macho competition.

Contrast this with Zuko’s reaction to a similar scenario in season three’s The Beach. Zuko goes to a party with his girlfriend, and at that party he sees her talking to another guy. His reaction? Throwing the challenger into the wall, shattering a vase, yelling at Mai, and storming out. This may seem a little extreme, but it’s also what we’d expect to an extent. Zuko is being challenged. He feels threatened in his station as a man, and he responds physically, asserting his strength and dominance as best he can.

I could go on and on. I could talk about how the first time Aang trains with a dedicated waterbending master, he tries to quit because of sexist double standards, only changing his mind after Katara’s urging. I could talk about how Aang is cast as a woman in the Fire Nation’s propaganda theatre piece bashing him and his friends. Because in a patriarchal society, the worst thing a man can be is feminine. I could talk about the only times Aang causes any kind of real destruction in the Avatar state, it’s not even him, since he doesn’t gain control of the skill until the show’s closing moments. Every time he is powerless in his own power and guilt-ridden right after, until the very end when he finally gains control, and what does he do with all that potential? He raises the rivers, and puts the fires out.

Aang isn’t what he’s supposed to be. He rejects every masculine expectation placed on his role, and in doing so he dodges center stage of his own show. It’s shocking to think about how many times I just forgot about Aang. Even at the end, when his voice has dropped and his abs have filled in, we miss it. Zuko’s coronation comes and we cheer with the crowd, psyched to see our hero crowned. Then the Fire Lord shakes his head, gestures behind him and declares “the real hero is the Avatar.” It’s like he’s talking to us. “Don’t you get it?” he asks. “Did you miss it? This is his story. But you forgot that. Because he was small. And silly. And he hated fighting. And he loved to dance. Look at him,” Zuko seems to say. “He’s your hero. Avatar Aang, defier of gender norms, champion of self-identity, feminist icon.”

timetravelturtle  asked:

Responding to your post about twist endings and Rod Serling: Do you think that the "No, Luke, I am your father" reveal in Empire Strikes Back works as a powerful twist? It's hard to view it as anything but obligatory after almost 40 years of references but at one point it was truly shocking, I think. Still, I'm not sure if the themes that the reveal serves are actually important to the work or if they just match the reveal.

Comparing the “I am your father” ending to the Twilight Zone/Scifi Proposition-Argument-Conclusion ending is like comparing a dolphin to a torpedo; they look the same, but they work in very different ways.

I think it’s important to emphasize here that the ending IS what your story is trying to say; the ending IS the story. If you have a story about the hazards of love that cynically shows how bad relationships can be…but the hero finds true love at the end, it’s an optimistic story that says true love and happiness is possible and relationships are great. The ending is what your story is trying to say.

Now, that said, the reason that the Darth Vader reveal has oomph can only be understood if you look at the Empire Strikes Back script by Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote maybe one of my favorite Westerns, Silverado (I love Westerns as much as scifi, but considering the nature of this blog, that part of my personality doesn’t come up much). It’s worth noting that most scifi writers have an understanding of the basics, something that transfers from genre to genre; the fundamentals of storytelling are the same. Rod Serling won Emmys for drama long before Twilight Zone, for instance.

You can understand what Empire Strikes back is all about from the title, which wasn’t carelessly chosen. It’s a story about how the Rebels are on the run; they are running in the night, and the wolves are after them. It’s impossible to stand and fight. The opening has the rebels in exile in a miserable icy location, from which they are forced to flee.

As the story goes on, things get worse and worse. The heroes are betrayed and have no place to hide. Luke does the impetuous yet loyal and courageous thing to help his friends before he’s ready, which the wise Yoda raises the stakes for by saying that Luke will fail totally if he confronts Darth Vader. The scene on Dagobah with Yoda and Obi-Wan fills us with dread for the meeting to come and raises the stakes for the battle to come; that’s the purpose of the scene.

Are you getting it, now? The point of the story is to have the Empire victorious, to show the sacrifice and loss a rebellion would need. And when Luke goes to see Vader, he has his hand chopped off and his lightsaber lost; he never stood a chance. And that, at the very conclusion of the film, is when the biggest bombshell of all is dropped: Darth Vader is Luke’s father.

The Darth Vader reveal wouldn’t have worked if it came in the middle of the film. It worked because the entire film had been building to it, with loss after loss to the Empire. It’s the ultimate thing to make a hero totally despair in a story that’s all about losing (note that after learning this Luke has no option but to jump to his death). The twist isn’t just thrown in there out of nowhere; the entire film had been building to it, and it’s the final “knockout punch.”

To have an ending like this, you have to identify what your story is about and what it’s trying to say, so you can convince the audience of it. As Brian McDonald says, “lots of young writers ask me if they are being too preachy. Not enough ask me if they are being sufficiently clear.” 

Thoughts on The Emoji Movie

           It came as no surprise to me, or anyone else, that The Emoji Movie was a disastrous train-wreck of a movie with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. From the moment it was announced, The Emoji Movie was a joke, little more than a punchline of what corporate Hollywood would make just to pander to a younger audience. Yet, by creating the shoddy garbage pile of a “film” (I use this term sparingly) that is The Emoji Movie, Hollywood has done something incredible—they have killed art.

PART ONE

           The “plot” of The Emoji Movie is one that has been presented countless times before: a misfit must leave home to change himself but learns along his adventure that his true value lies in his uniqueness. In this iteration of the “finding yourself” story the hero is Gene, a socially-outcast “meh” emoji who is terrible at what he does—he has all sorts of “non-meh” feelings that he simply can’t contain. On his first day of work, he is called upon from his emoji station to be used, but he freaks out at the last minute and causes a glitch in the sending of the emoji, leading to Alex (the phone’s user) embarrassing himself in front of the girl he likes. Because of this, the smiling emoji, Smiler, who is the “big status quo boss lady” decides to kill him. Gene, however, runs away from the antivirus software and hides in the “loser emoji” section of Textopolis (the city where all the emojis live together). There he meets Hi-5, who was once a famous and well-liked emoji who got to stay in the “favorites” section of Alex’s phone, but hasn’t been used in weeks and now seeks to regain his lost fame.

           In order to reprogram Gene’s malfunction and get Hi-5 back into the favorites section, the pair leave Textopolis and go to a piracy app that Alex, a fifteen-year-old boy, has on his phone for some reason. Gene’s parents then leave after him to try and find him and Smiler sends her antivirus robot soldiers outside Textopolis to apprehend Gene. Meanwhile, in a story beat stolen straight from Wreck-It Ralph and The Lego Movie, they meet Jailbreak, a hacker emoji who serves as the purple-haired punk love interest for the movie. Jailbreak refuses to help them at first, but when she sees Gene’s ability to express multiple faces, she agrees to work together to get to “the source code” in “the cloud.” Then, the antivirus robots appear in the piracy app, (despite the fact that they were given orders to follow Gene’s parents, who are nowhere in sight) and the hero trio escape through a tunnel to Candy Crush where Gene gets trapped and they have to play the game to help him escape. This scene has absolutely no bearing on the rest of the film and is only an overblown advertisement for a phone app, which one will likely notice as a reoccurring theme in this movie.

           After escaping Candy Crush, they take a tunnel to Dance Now (available now in the app store) and they have to play the game because Hi-5 pushed a button for some reason. Here they reveal that Jailbreak can’t dance, and the dramatic stakes are heightened, except they aren’t because Gene teaches her how and then they do the “Emoji Bop” together in what I assume is supposed to be a display of self-love. But oh no! The antivirus robots show up again somehow, so our trio has to escape fast, or risk being deleted. Then, because his phone is playing Dance Now music during class, Alex deletes the app, and Hi-5 fails to escape, sending him to “the trash.”

           Naturally, because of the friendship that the three characters have cultivated together after knowing each other for two hours, Jailbreak and Gene decide to use Spotify to travel to the trash and rescue their companion. Meanwhile, Gene’s “meh” parents have had a falling out because each one blames the other for their son malfunctioning. It’s ok though, because they meet in an Instagram photo and Gene’s dad reveals that he malfunctions too, so naturally they make it all up it each other Alex also decides to delete his entire phone because it sent the wrong emoji one time and made noises on its own. Gene and Jailbreak then save Hi-5 from the trash and they’re chased by a bigger, badder antivirus that follows them until they get to Dropbox, where it can’t get them for some reason.

           They then have to upload themselves to the cloud, and each character uses their own talents to get past the firewall. At this point the movie realizes it makes no sense and in a series of nonsensical rapid-fire events proceed as follows: Gene professes his love to Jailbreak, who it turns out is actually a princess emoji, Jailbreak denies him because of a throwaway line earlier in the movie about her being an empowered woman, the antivirus appears somehow and takes Gene back to Textopolis so he can die in front of the other emojis, Jailbreak and Hi-5 fly back on the Twitter bird to rescue him, Alex begins to delete his phone but chooses not to when Gene sends himself to Addie and she responds with “that was a cool emoji” (verbatim), Smiler is crushed by a giant robot, the emojis have a dance party, and everyone lives happily ever after.

           Watching the shoddy piece of work The Emoji Movie calls a story, I felt my head spinning with questions—not just regarding the plot holes and contrivances, but to the world itself. How do emojis reproduce? If emojis age in years, as is stated in the movie, how could any emoji be older than the amount of time Alex has had his phone? What if an emoji isn’t at the station when it is called upon? How does time flow in the phone as opposed to outside of it? Are all the emojis that marry the same emojis incestuous? Why do some emojis have names like “Gene” while others are simply called by their appearances, like Hi-5? Why is the Christmas tree shown in public in the first scene but then shown in the loser lounge two scenes later? How do the emojis know the history of their app? Why do actions in some apps affect Alex’s phone while actions in other apps do not? How to the antiviruses find Gene and his crew over and over again? Why didn’t Smiler send any antiviruses after Jailbreak when she first left Textopolis? Why does Alex try to delete his phone after sending one incorrect emoji and having it make noise in class twice? How does the illegal antivirus get into Dropbox? How did Smiler get the illegal antivirus? Why did Smiler feel the need to kill Gene in front of the other emoji? Why did Smiler feel a need to kill Gene in the first place? Why does the girl on the Dance Now app ignore jailbreak messing up after the second time? How do all the emojis come back from deletion? If the trash is emptied out daily why is an email from weeks ago still in there? And, most importantly, why did I choose to watch this movie. The Emoji Movie does not answer these question, because it doesn’t care.

           The Emoji Movie doesn’t care about its story, its congruity, or the specifics of its world, because none of it matters. The story beats, directly stolen from other, better, movies, are still in place, and none of the specifics beyond set up for this formulaic and unoriginal wholesale feel-good message have any relevance to the story. The pink-haired rogue stolen straight from The Lego Movie has no personality beyond what the plot demands, and the same can be said for almost any of the other characters. Gene, or, discount Wreck-It Ralph, has the defining personality trait of “feeling things” and his story arc leads to him “feeling more things” and Hi-5’s slightly more defined emotional journey leads from him wanting fame to wanting friends. All the other characters in the story are even less one-dimensional, somehow, with personality traits that are all literally written into their very names and appearances.

           But ultimately, these characters are simply set pieces. There is no investment in the world of the emojis, no feeling when the entire phone is deleted. Half the scenes in the movie are just cash cow product placement filler, and it becomes clear when one realizes halfway through the movie that none of the adventures they have seem to matter, even within the context of their own story. When the characters themselves seem to realize that their journey is pointless, it becomes impossible for an audience to care about or interact meaningfully with the film that they’re viewing, and the best that any viewer can conjure is a “meh.”

PART TWO

           The story of The Emoji Movie is a clear cash grab, and rivetingly unengaging in its poor execution, but more lies beneath the surface. The morals that The Emoji Movie tries to impart to its audience are well-intentioned (as any moral is), but also inherently flawed, and violently mangled in every scene where they are introduced. Indeed, the heaping dumpster fire of a film that titles itself The Emoji Movie exists on multiple levels of terribleness, not using poor storytelling techniques, but imparting poor morals through these techniques as well. It often contradicts itself, falling flat on its face and hopelessly bumbling between individualistic self-love and a quite utilitarian doctrine—almost impressive.

           The Emoji Movie has all the markings of a summer Hollywood “live your true self” movie at its beginning. The main character has a specific, boring role that he is expected to serve unquestioningly, and is made a pariah for breaking from this role. His sidekick also rebels against the system in his own right, trying to cheat his way back into a position of power. By focusing on these two, the story accentuates the flaws with the emoji system and how it emotionally damages those who are forced to suffer under it. Even the villain, Smiler, is affected in her own right—he constant need to maintain happiness seems to have driven her to a place of near insanity. In the opening monologue (a completely different problem), Gene points this out this flaw to the audience by noting how the laughing and crying emojis can never break their character and the viewers begin to see the thriving city of Textopolis as a flawed dystopia. However, after the first scene, little attention is given to these flaws, instead focusing on Smiler herself as a villain. The plight of the “loser emojis” (emojis that don’t ever get used) is also fantastically mishandled. They are only seen twice in the movie and the second time is in a post credit scene where they remain in their basement, unaffected by the event of the entire movie. After sitting through an entire movie with the message that we should be ourselves instead of acting how society tells us to, we see that by nature, some people will (or must) always be excluded from the metaphorical “emoji dance party” for being themselves. The “self” that The Emoji Movie pushes is not just a best self, but also a “most useful” self.

           This is expanded upon in Gene’s journey, where he goes from being a hyperactive “meh” emoji to (briefly) being a good “meh” emoji to finally learning to use his true power as a multi-faceted expression emoji. In the stages before he discovered his true potential, Gene was outcast by his peers—and any viewer could argue that this was rightfully so. Gene broke the emoji picking device and injured dozens of emojis in the process of his one mistake and possibly endangered the safety of the entire phone. Gene then realizes his mistake and goes off to “fix” himself, only to come back stronger and more useful than ever. As is the case in many stories, Gene is accepted only after his usefulness becomes apparent, and the villain is revealed as a bloodthirsty authoritarian rather than the level-headed leader the denizens of Textopolis cited her as being. All is forgiven for Gene and the emojis are given a world where they can serve their own purpose to society, whatever that purpose might be.

           Utilitarian theory is nothing new, and it has both its merits and its flaws, but the type of utilitarianism presented in The Emoji Movie is inherently flawed, as it places Gene’s happiness above the well-being of the collective for the majority of the movie. The ending in itself is also serves as a perfect propaganda point for the utilitarian theory that it begins to uphold later on. Gene obtains happiness when he is most useful to the group collective—and thus, happiness becomes associated with utility to the group. Instead of positing that happiness can be found through the self, or that the self can and should be used to help others, The Emoji Movie combines the two, raising the idea that true bliss can only be achieved when your “self” is given to others.

           Ultimately, this idea is an idea that I disagree with. Whether or not you choose to side with me is up to you, but, speaking objectively, the romanticizing of self-sacrifice is an idea that has tangible harm on audiences who are fed it without question. Modern Japan, for instance, continued to have problems with high suicide rates due to the presentation of hara-kiri, or suicide by sword as “altruistic” in many historical texts (Suicide in 20th Century Japan, 150). This is not to say that using one’s self to assist others is harmful—good deeds are the basis of a functioning society—it is simply to note that the mixed messages that The Emoji Movie gives point towards both complete discovery and complete subjugation of the self in an unhealthy and shoddy portrayal of a moral that has always been cliched at best.

           The Emoji Movie also makes the mistake of attempting to tackle “women’s issues,” despite not even passing the Bechdel Test. Throughout the movie, Jailbreak’s primary motivator is that she wants to be free to express herself however she wants, which she will obtain by reaching the cloud. The movie attempts to attach this to womanhood by attaching this to Jailbreak wanting to escape the oppressive strictures of heteropatriarchal femininity—except, in the finale, she is framed as being in the wrong for not reciprocating Gene’s feelings for her. Not just this, but the day is saved by her using her femininity and consenting to be with Gene, despite her feelings on the matter never being brought up for discussion. Despite the single throwaway line about “men getting credit for women’s work” The Emoji Movie is not pro-woman, and could easily be interpreted as the opposite of that. It defines traditional femininity as being the most useful aspect of a woman to a society and inherently ties all its female characters to something within that stricture, pushing its heteropatriarchal utilitarianist propaganda points deep into the dirt as it tries the make the point that “sensitive guys are cool too.” This is not to say that women who embrace their traditional femininity are by any means being women incorrectly—The Emoji Movie just happens to portray its women poorly, using them always as tools for the man-driven plot and never fleshing them out as characters.

           Tony Leondis offered his own interpretation of The Emoji Movie’s story, calling it a “coming-out story” which is significant, as Leondis is both the director of the movie and a gay man. If one looks from a distance and squints, the similarities between The Emoji Movie and a coming-out story can become visible. Gene is outcast for his “malfunction” as many gay teens will be. The butchering that follows this plot point is incredibly poorly done, and leads to something to utterly offensive and heterosexual to be called a “coming-out story.” First and foremost, a “coming-out story” needs to reach the very low bar of deviating from traditional heterosexuality in its story’s romantic subplots, somehow. This seems to go without saying, but the team of The Emoji Movie conveniently forgot this, instead tripling down on the action and giving the audience three heterosexual romantic subplots, those being the ones between Alex and Addie, Gene and Jailbreak, and Gene’s Mother and Father. None of these deviate at all from a traditional heterosexual romantic story, and, if anything, Gene and Jailbreak’s story enforces obligatory heterosexuality instead of contradicting it. Not only that, but the farther one goes into the plot, the less a coming out story makes sense. When Gene’s father reveals that he has the same malfunction, is he being implied to be the emoji version of “gay?” In a better movie, this could have been used as a tool to foster an emotional connection between Gene and his father, but The Emoji Movie is not that better movie, so this plot point is essentially forget after it becomes irrelevant. In the finale, Gene actually watches his parents get “erased” and can’t break out any expression except a “meh,” which is telling of how well the emoji movie establishes connections between its characters.

           The themes explored in The Emoji Movie are explore poorly at best, and offensively at worst, often taking a back seat to the far more important message of the film—the advertisements. Ultimately, the reason that The Emoji Movie does such a terrible job with its ideas is that these ideas are only borrowed plot points, there to mask the movie for what it really is—a massive commercial for phone apps. The true message of The Emoji Movie isn’t “be yourself” or even “make yourself useful” it’s “buy our product,” and everything beyond this is simply pointless fluff.

PART THREE

           It’s no secret that The Emoji Movie was a corporatist cash-grab, but it was astounding to see just how deeply that had sunk into the movie itself. The entire story is product placement after product placement, a journey to Dropbox, through Candy Crush and Dance Now,  so unabashed in its capitalism that it made me question the film industry as a whole. Where do we draw the line between business and art? At what point do we leave all hope of creativity behind and choose to instead sink into shameless cash grabs and commercials like The Emoji Movie? Then I realized, with a sinking feeling in my gut, that The Emoji Movie had indeed killed art.

           On its first day, The Emoji Movie made ten million dollars in box office sales—a fifth of what it cost to produce. Despite withering reviews and constant scorn from the demographics it seemed to be targeting, The Emoji Movie will chuckle through its entire life as a movie, because it played us all. This movie is a Frankenstein’s monster created by Hollywood, a mishmash of everything that makes money crammed into one pandering mess of a film, and I’m sure it knows this. I’m sure it knows that it looks like a dumb, out of touch, unwatchable pile of garbage, but I’m also sure that it doesn’t care about this, because it’s found a way to make money without even trying.

           The Emoji Movie probably paid for itself in the sheer amount of advertisements it crammed into its ninety minute runtime, and the young, impressionable minds watching it will all be immediately entranced by the colorful scenery of lands like Spotify and Candy Crush. Sales will go up for the sponsors, and the Hollywood capitalist fat-cats who decided that a movie should be made out of emojis will laugh all the way to their enormous Beverly Hills mansions. They knew that they could take advantage of the “car crash phenomenon” that makes people stare at things they shouldn’t, so they sent The Emoji Movie out to their theatres and made a quick buck for Sony Animation.

           But beyond this, The Emoji Movie sets a precedent. It showed that idiots like me can be drawn to this shit like moths to a light. It showed that movies do not need to have good quality, or have be art, to be marketable, and that the film industry should prioritize business and profits above all else. The Emoji Movie has proved, statistically, that quality cinema should always come second to quality advertising. The time to organize against the Hollywood capitalist is now. A boycott of terrible Sony films is the least the we can do to stop them, even though such an action would be little more than a thorn in their hide. We Must accept that our idiocy and submission to this trash is at least partially responsible for the state of film as it is in America today, and we must break free of the chains that force us into our roles as submissive cash cows.

           Good cinema does good things for those that watch it. It can be used as a tool to convey important and revolutionary ideas, or to relay important information to those that are systemically spat on by traditional education. Historically great films have caused great controversy, such as the movie adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird which caused riots in the south upon its release. When we let film fall to business we lose a part of our cultural identity—we submit art, heritage, and storytelling as just another part of a capitalist machine.

           We have the buying power. We choose where we spend our money, and where we place our values. No longer can I sit idly in my movie seat and watch terrible movies for fun—the time for action against the greatest threat to art in the western world is now. Resist capitalism, resist the state, and resist the attack upon the most basic human freedom of expression.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Until next time, Comrades.

-Sunshine

10 Things I Loved About Mass Effect:Andromeda

Warning: Spoilers! And I wrote this on the spur, so there might be grammatical errors.

1.      I enjoyed the story. Yeah, people will say it recycles from the trilogy, but come on, people. Why are you surprised? Bioware recycles their plotlines all the time. It’s pretty much the same in all of their games. A protagonist gains special abilities and leads a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits team to defeat a big threat. And I’m not bothered by that. Sometimes familiarity in your franchise is good, just as long as you do new things to the formula, and I think they do.

What interested me the most was the theme of starting over. A lot of people in the Andromeda Initiative were former criminals or outcasts. The reason they joined was to start a new life, and it’s explored in the main questlines, the loyalty quests, and numerous side quests. I was worried about the game talking about colonization since humans are looking for a new home, but I was pleasantly surprised that the game made it clear that Andromeda is the angara’s home first, and humans and other Milky Way species will have to work with them. Thank god! No Mightey Whitey trope this time!

2.      Ryder as the player character. I honestly never thought I would love Ryder as much as I did when I played the game. Sure, no one will ever replace Commander Shepard, but Ryder isn’t meant to replace the Commander, rather show a different perspective in a new story. Commander Shepard is the hero we want to be while Ryder is more of a relatable character. Ryder has to learn through the entire game how to be a leader while going through the obstacles of their inexperience and youth so people will take them seriously. And it was compelling, uplifting, and at times amusing to see them become a hero in their own right and step out of their father’s shadow.

Also Sara and Scott felt like their own person. In the original trilogy, the player character is pretty much the same no matter what gender. But sometimes the dialogue can be different depending on if you play a male Ryder or a female Ryder. That’s because they are two different people who have had their own experiences and personalities. That really adds to the replay value!

3.      Female aliens everywhere! One of my major issues with the original trilogy was the lack of female Turians, krogans, and salarians. Sure we had asari an all-female race, and female quarians, but it felt weird that we met so many aliens with very few ladies. Not only do we get a female Turian squadmate, we also get plenty of lady alien NPCs gathered everywhere for random quests. We also have Kesh who works at the Nexus. And we get to see female salarians! And they kind of look the same as male salarians except with different voices. Thank god! It would’ve been horrifying to see salarians with boobs. Uh! And I’m pretty sure there were just as many female angara NPCs as there were males.

4.      The romances. Especially the queer ones. One of the things I love about Bioware games are the romance paths. Bonus points if there is a queer option. And as of patch 1.08, this game has the most number of queer romances in any Bioware game. I think my two favorite romance paths are with Sara and Vetra and Jaal and Scott. While representation for the LGBT community is improving in media, there’s no denying we still have a long way to go. And after again the crap year 2016 where we had a huge number of queer women characters die in tv shows, it was so wonderful to have a healthy and happy relationship between two women when I first played the game. And even if it wasn’t added until the patch, the romance between Jaal and Scott is absolutely sweet since we see two men show a lot of love and affection for each other which is rare to see in media.

5.      The Tempest Family. I adore every single character on the Tempest, and they really did feel like a family once you played further into the game. I am a sucker for found families, and to see these people who are trying to find a home ending up finding a home with each other just gives me so many feels!

Since there’s not really a huge crew in the ship like in the original trilogy when Shepard had an army of humans. In Andromeda, we have six squad mates, four additional crew members, and Ryder. And I think it made the family more intimate. It’s like our own little family lives on the Tempest.

Also I liked how there were more quests spread out throughout the game with the squad which I think was lacking in Inquisition. Plus. Movie Night is the best scene ever!

6.      In my opinion, the side quests were fun. I think this was one thing they improved from Inquisition. Inquisition side quests just felt like a bunch of fetch quests that got kind of boring pretty quick, and didn’t really add to the overall story. Some highlights from Andromeda were: Kadara, the angara reincarnation questline, the Turian jailed for murder, the anti-AI group, meeting Zaeed’s son, and those kids sending out a distress signal for a new light for their weed plant. HAHA!

They were compelling in their own right and included cut scenes instead of the Inquisitor going to some location like in Skyrim to do a thing come back to the quest giver saying, “I did the thing.” “Ok, good.”

7.      Unlike in Inquisition, there’s actual payoff for some of the quests you do. I don’t mean to be mean to Inquisition, I still love the game, but remember when we were promised that you had to build your forces up in order to defend against the main threat. Yeah, you built forces to get influence points to gain perks, and that’s it.

In Andromeda, while, yes. It’s not the same level as Mass Effect 2. When you actually complete quests and help out leaders, you can get different results during the final battle. Like, there’s a chance Captain Dunn may not survive.

Also, when you get 100% viability on all the planets, you get a special surprise on Habitat 7- being told that it will one day be habitable because of our efforts. Sure it was a side quest, but it just felt so rewarding!

8.      The climax was actually fulfilling and exciting. Again, something else Inquisition was lacking in. Seriously, when I first played Andromeda, I legit gasped when the archon was taking control of SAM node. The villain was actually living up to his threatening nature!

Just when we think we got everything under control, and are about to find Meridian, the Archon fucks shit up, and our sibling has to step up to save the day. Then we have to gather people we helped out and prepare for a final battle, and Ryder can finally prove themselves as a true Pathfinder and kick the Archon’s ass once and for all. People are saying the ending was as disappointing as ME3’s? Pfft…What are you even talking about?

9.      The angara. Bioware never fails to make me love an entire fictional species. Yeah, it feels a bit off that they pretty much have the same faces and the same 3 voice actors, but I really do love their culture. And I appreciate that they were clearly coded as POC while Andromeda didn’t go through with the whole Mighty Whitey Trope. The game wants you to respect their culture and to respect their home.

I love the angaran people are open about their feelings, I love how their religion believes in reincarnation, I love how we see angaran scientists, soldiers, merchants, mercenaries, and civilians. Also Aya and Hivraal are absolutely gorgeous!

And when Jaal finds out his people were created by the Kett, I was worried it was going to go the Dalish elves route, but Jaal points out that it doesn’t change anything about the angara. They are still their own people. And that was such an uplifting message.

10.  The overall light-hearted tone. I wrote a small post that got a good number of notes. (Probably the biggest number I’ve ever gotten), so to quote: “There was always this sense of hope and optimism about finding a new home. ‘Yeah, things may have gone totally wrong, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them better’ was the overall message I got.

And really, with so many bad things happening in the world right now and too much of our entertainment supposedly being our escapism being dark for the sake of dark, this was something I think a lot of us needed.”

Mass Effect 3 had its light-hearted moments, and I love it, but man, that game was emotional draining.

It’s a bit discouraging to love something so much and get recommended videos on youtube pointing out the same flaws of that certain game, and why they thought it was a huge disappointment. Do I agree with some of their criticisms? Sure. Does the history behind the production explain the flaws? Oh absolutely.

           But people seem to forget that the original Mass Effect trilogy wasn’t without its flaws. I mean, sure everyone can agree on the Mass Effect 3 ending, but I could make a list of all the issues I have with the other Bioware games including Dragon Age: Inquisition (which despite winning Game of the Year, kind of suffers the same problems Andromeda had).

           So yeah, after the crap year of 2016, I was so excited to get a newly-released game that made me happy. And still makes me happy, and makes me in the mood to play another Ryder.

Despicable Me is so important

if you follow my blog at all you’ll know that I absolutely fucking love Despicable Me. Like… LOVE. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. The writing, the comedy, the timing, the animation; it’s all incredibly well put together. 

In fact, I’m a fan of Illumination Studios in general. 

Granted, I’m not a fan of their movies. 

LE GASP you say. How can you be a fan of a studio but not all their movies

Becuase, dear reader, their movies lack a lot of things. And, for the most part, many of their movies aren’t really displays of “We Do What We Want”. They’re more “We Do What the Audience Wants.” Which… sort of makes sense. They’re a new studio. They don’t have the funds to really take huge risks yet. But god, their audience-pleasing choices can be so…. 

Originally posted by gif-007

Like remember that time a few people stood up and said “hey those Minions were sort of cool”

and Illumination Studios said 

OKAY HOW ABOUT WE FLOOD THE WORLD

Originally posted by minionnation

And brought us one of the most annoying things to grace this planet. 

Goddamit Illumination. 

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the ‘no longer human’ (2010) that you probably haven’t seen (and nakahara chuuya’s significant role in dazai osamu’s life)

You read that right. ‘Ningen shikkaku’, or as we know it, ‘No Longer Human’ had a movie that came out on 2010, directed by Genjiro Arato and starring Toma Ikuta as Oba Yozo (and to a lesser extent, Dazai Osamu). 

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It Comes With the Job

Originally posted by thatmalikass

requestedA request in which you are a stunt double and while “fighting” Tom he actually hits you and then feels really guilty about it, just fluff pleaseee.

send your requests here!

pairings: tom holland x reader

word count: 1014  i got a little bit carried away

warnings: swearing, some descriptions of pain

a/n: i tweaked it just a lilllll bit, hopefully it works out!!! this was fun to write too–i need to incorporate some more angst and stuff into my work….not saying i don’t enjoy the fluff because zoo weeeee mama i love the fluff. anyways, enjoy my underoos!! <333


You were a renowned stunt coordinator in Hollywood, one of the youngest in the industry, and you enjoyed working closely with many different actors on many large projects. The most recent one you had signed on to was the upcoming Spider-Man film–the director asked for you specifically to work with Tom Holland himself, the actor cast as the lead.

The two of you hit it off from the start, you breaking the ice by saying one of your favorite films of his was The Impossible, which he graciously thanked you for. You loved working with him, he was extremely coordinated and well-balanced, and you flowed together like a rushing river. He was surprisingly sweet, and very funny,  always asking how you felt after you both had a tough day of training–and making you laugh to lift your spirits. One of your personal rules–your strictest one–was to never get involved with anybody you worked with. But as each day passed by that you spent working with Tom, you felt a passionate flame kindling in your chest that you tried your hardest to suppress–but knew you would never be able to extinguish it.

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captainhouliouniverse  asked:

I had a question regarding the mixtape. When I saw the scene my brain didn't go to the Dean MADE Cas a mixtape scenerio. It went to Dean GAVE Cas one of his mixtapes. And I can't decide if the latter holds the same value. I saw it as it was a tape that Dean made for himself many many years ago, and it has been in the Impala with him on every adventure, and through everything, and its part of him. I wondered what your thoughts were on that secenerio and if it still holds the same weight?

Hi! Since the show does not explicitly tell us which it is, we can only speculate. I’m personally really on the fence about it, because honestly if he actually painstakingly made a mixtape for Cas…I mean it just boggles my mind. I just can’t believe how overtly romantic a gesture that is. I want to believe, sure, but at the same time I’m so used to SPN keeping us on our toes, keeping everything between Cas and Dean juuuuuuust enough in the subtext so that we can’t truly point at any moment and have everyone agree that it’s romantic (I mean, there have been plenty of romantic moments, but a casual viewer won’t be convinced because they are (or in Cas’s case his body is male at least)  two dudes *shrugs*).

But if Dean made this mixtape from scratch just for Cas? And wrote tracks as tra xx? Yeah I have no idea how you can explain the gay away there.

But I guess that’s partly the reason why they left the origin of the tape vague. They could’ve had Dean say “I made it for you - it’s a gift. You keep those” and we would’ve 100% known for sure. But they didn’t so we can only guess.

That being said, if this is actually a tape that Dean had made ages ago for himself, that still doesn’t diminish the romantic and deeply personal nature of the gesture. As @mittensmorgul points out in this post:

And someone like Dean who has a shoebox full of his favorite tapes in the car, and who has lived on the road most of his life, would get that. Those tapes are HIS ENTIRE LIFE.

Can you see the symbolic weight of him just ~giving~ one of those to Cas?

Like some metaphorical piece of himself?

Because that’s the narrative weight that tape carried. No matter how you try to explain it away, there’s no reading of the symbolism of that tape that isn’t coded romantic. Period.

I agree 100% with this :) Therefore it kinda doesn’t even matter all that much which one of the two scenario’s it is. End result is the same.

Dean gave his heart to Cas. And refused to take it back.

justanotherhamiltrash  asked:

Hi there, do you have any recs for long drarry fics? I'm not very good at finding them

Hello!! I’ve done a rec list for long, slow burn fics in the past, so please check that out because I love every fic on that list to death! But OH MAN I could talk about long Drarry fics for the rest of my life, so here are some more! All very long, but not necessarily slow burn this time ;)

What We Pretend We Can’t See by gyzym (131K)- Seven years out from the war, Harry learns the hard truth of old history: it’s never quite as far behind you as you thought.
This is the only one I am going to copy from the slow burn rec list, because I just want to rec it every day of my life. It is quite literally my number one favorite fic ever, and I am not exaggerating. Do you see how serious I am right now? I am never serious. This fic is so amazing it turned me serious. I’m not even going to summarize it again because if you trust me at all you will just go read it nooooooow.

Turn by Saras_Girl (307K)- One good turn always deserves another. Apparently. 
Of course in the middle of declaring my favorite fic ever, I had to remember Turn and how utterly brilliant it is and how I’ve reread it and it was STILL utterly brilliant the second time and have a crisis because MAYBE THIS IS ACTUALLY MY FAVORITE FIC???! Aaah help, I can never choose! Anyway, are you a drarry fan who hasn’t read Turn yet? Really? Well, in that case FUCK YOU BECAUSE I AM SO JEALOUS YOU GET TO READ IT FOR THE FIRST TIME YOU LUCKY BASTARD. *ahem* Anyway, in this amazing fic, epilogue-compliant and worn-down Harry goes to an alternate dimension in which he is happily married to Draco, owns the best pet snake ever, and makes furniture for a living (love artsy Harry <3). It’s truly a masterpiece, and as always with my recs there is a happy ending, so don’t worry!

Tales from the Special Branch Series by femmequixotic (272K so far)- (Summary is from the second part of the series, which is the first long installment: Lost in Your ArmsThree months after their brief encounter, Draco has almost forgotten about Potter–or so he tells himself. Then a Dark wizard shows up on the Auror radar and all hell breaks loose. Draco will have to choose between everything he holds dear–everything he’s worked so hard for–and a few stolen moments of passion with a certain green-eyed Inspector, once his sworn enemy and now something rather different entirely. He’ll make the right choice, won’t he? Who is he kidding? He’ll ruin everything, as per usual. Bad choices and the name Malfoy go hand in hand.
This series is a WIP, but a regularly updated one and the FIRST CHAPTER OF THE NEXT BOOK IS BEING RELEASED TOMORROW AND I AM SO EXCITED!!! I feel so lucky to be following along with it as it comes out, because let me tell you, this is an instant classic! There is lovely forbidden fornication between a boss (Harry) and his subordinate (Draco) (the prequel was written for the kink fest so you can bet the sex is SCORCHING), a very compelling mystery/case, and truly brilliant characterization! I identify so much with this Draco. And I also love that Harry isn’t the perfect flawless cinnamon roll he is often portrayed as in fics. Everyone in this series is very human, and I am just dying of excitement to find out what happens to them next! I know I’ve already gushed about this fic in several other places recently, and I’m sorry to repeat myself but I really can’t get enough! PLEASE JOIN ME IN ROOTING FOR @femmequixotic AS SHE KINDLY DEDICATES HER SOUL TO US ALL FOR THE NEXT BIT OF HER LIFE <3

Secrets by Vorabiza (395K)- Beginning with Draco’s unexpected arrival at the Dursleys, Harry’s summer after sixth year becomes filled with activity and many secrets. As his summer progresses, Harry generates several unexpected allies as he finds himself actively becoming the leader of the Light side. 
OMG it’s the first fic I ever read!! The fic that brought me into the fandom! I have suuuuuch a soft spot for this fic, and it is just so so so good! It’s probably my favorite adventure/wizarding war plot of all. Harry is just so confident and he embraces his Slytherin side and really Gets Shit Done, and it’s SO SATISFYING. Also, I love any fic in which Draco helps with the Horcrux hunt. Also there’s a baaaaaaby (no mpreg) and mentor!Snape, which is really nice. This fic was written post-HBP, but is SURPRISINGLY accurate in its predictions. Oh, and the sex is super hot too ;)

Checkmate by Naadi (245K)- Draco has the perfect plan to get Harry Potter and challenges him to a game of Dare Chess. But is it love, or betrayal, he has in mind? A real chess game is played throughout the story.
This fic is so lovely! It’s an “alternate 7th year AU”, written after Goblet of Fire. It’s fluffy and funny and lovey and then dramatic and passionate and YEAH I LOVED IT. The real time game of chess, in which Harry and Draco take turns making “moves” (on each other) is just such a wonderful idea. Read the author’s note for more info! 

Leo Inter Serpentes by Aeternum (658K combined so far)- Just one conversation between two eleven year old boys goes slightly differently, and the world changes. Just how much will be different with Harry being sorted into Slytherin, and how much will stay the same?
SLYTHERIN HARRY ALERT SLYTHERIN HARRY ALERT! Yep, a Slytherin Harry rewrite, and a REALLY GOOD ONE. Like usually I love the idea of Slytherin Harry, and then once I start reading I either find I’m bored because everything is just a repeat of canon or I can’t get into it because everyone is so OOC. But not this one! This fic is engaging and different enough from canon to be interesting and I love the eleven-year-old baby drarry friendship that eventually turns to romance! This fic also features benevolent mentor!Snape, which I suppose is either an enticement or a warning depending on your preferences. You SHOULD be warned that it’s a WIP. But the author is currently actively posting the 6th book, and I have hope it won’t be abandoned :)

Any Instrument by dicta_contrion (131K)- Draco Malfoy wouldn’t go back to England for anything less than an exceptional case. Being asked to figure out why Harry Potter can’t control his magic might be exceptional enough to qualify.
Okay I have a HUGE thing for healer!draco and this fic portrayed him so so so perfectly. Harry is having complications with his magic after an operation gone wrong. So Draco comes from France and of course they can’t get together because Draco is Harry’s healer but OMG THE UST and then let me just say that when they finally do have sex, it’s the most beautiful, moving, heart-stopping sex scene you will ever read. Like, I felt it in my soul. And the character development is so compelling and there are literally no flaws in this fic whatsoever.

Starts With a Spin by Maxine (120K)- It started with the spin of a bottle, and now Harry and Draco have gotten themselves so far into their own game there’s almost no way out again. Except to keep playing.
AAAAH this fic has all the teenage drarry feels! They’re so in character, always trying to one-up each other! And like these constant party games are happening and they’re being “forced” to go further and further with each other by their friends until they’re actually having sex, and YET THEN THE WAR IS STILL ON AS WELL, and it’s just super well-written and great! Another classic :D

Changing of the Guard by Lomonaaeren (210K)- Need a perfect stranger? Ask Metamorphosis. Harry Potter runs the business secretly and becomes whoever’s needed for each occasion. He’s not sure whether he should be more surprised, worried, or amused when Draco Malfoy comes to Metamorphosis and requests an actor who can play his boyfriend so that his parents will disown him. Yet Harry has even more dangerous choices after he creates Brian, Draco’s “perfect” boyfriend. Draco doesn’t know who Brian is, but he’s trying to find out—and now so is Harry.
Aaah Lomonaaeren! Drarry writer of my dark, dark heart! And yet I know some people aren’t huge fans of her style and I don’t want to be reccing her fics all the time, so I try to keep the Lomon recs relatively infrequent. But if you are looking for long fics and you do like her style, I’m pretty sure she can keep you busy for like an entire year. This woman is more prolific than Steven King, and it’s a true blessing. As for this particular fic, Harry basically has Dissociative Identity Disorder, but he has been making the most of it by running a whoever-you-need-for-hire business. Only then Draco arrives, and Harry’s world had to come crashing down at some point and that point is NOW, and the drama is just so so good and this fic gave me ALL THE FEELS. It’s possibly my favorite of her fics :)

andreil happy fics! ♥

basically, I’ve spent the previous week going through the AFTG tag (yes, I went through all the 1250 works) on ao3, because I needed more content, official or not. and since it was so freaking hard to find some quality happy content™ (bc apparently y'all like to suffer that much —which, to be fair, I should have expected and I can #relate), I thought I could make it easier for anyone else seeking it and share it here! 🎉

so this is a recommendation list with my favorites ones so far; they’re all from ao3, and if you find any of your works there and want me to remove them from this list, just message me and I’ll remove it. if you have any recommendations for me to add here, message me too! ♥ I haven’t read anything from ff.net or tumblr just yet, but I plan on doing that later this week.

they’re not all entirely happy and they’re not that happy either, but then again that’d be hard considering the amount of trauma and tragedy the authors have to work with (thanks nora). but!!! they’re happy enough to make it to this post, so yeah! you’ll probably gonna enjoy them.

right now there are more oneshots, canon-ish, mostly set right after TKM or a few years in the future. I might add an AU and multi-chapter category later, so keep checking for updates! and don’t forget to show appreciation for the authors by leaving comments and kudos! ♥

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jdscanvas  asked:

I usually have answer for questions like these...but what specifically about Mobius: XYL made it so horrendous that not even someone with actual writing talent like Flynn could save it? I'd say that it was just a blank slate and that any competent writer could fix it.

*Sighs, pulls out a bottle of whiskey and a shot glass. Pours the glass. Takes the shot* 

Alright, before I get into the specifics, I’m gonna contextualize a few things for you. I want you to picture a comic book, one built primarily (but not exclusively) around action, and despite the intense quality issues it tends to suffer from its still pretty popular, with a fairly vocal fanbase. One day a character is teased- the daughter of a major character, hinting towards an amazing story that will show the future of your favorite characters. Years past, the hype builds up. A hint of what’s to come is given in a story where this mystery character is featured, pulling forth an intriguing scenario in which her father, one of the heroes, will become a villain years later. 

Finally it is announced- at long last, this much anticipated storyline is going to happen! We’re going to see the future of the setting, the future of the characters and their offspring! Oh, what things will await? What mysteries will build in the interim? What new villains will operate in the future? What will the children of the heroes be like? 

Well, eventually, the storyline finally comes. All that waiting, all that excitement and hype, all of that theorizing… and all it amounted to was a fart in the wind, all noise and fury signifying nothing. 

That, in a nutshell, was Mobius 25YL. 

Now let us get into specifics. Forgive me if I miss anything, for there is a LOT to get into, so I’ll just summarize what comes off the top of my head. 

-Firstly, there was Lara-Su herself. Oh, poor Lara-Su. That’s really one of the great tragedies of the Pre-Flynn era. She had the design. She had the concept. She had the hype- people were doing fanart and fanfiction of her long before she debuted properly in the book. And then 25YL came along, and what we saw was… 

….yeah, that. See, it turned out that she wasn’t being trained as a guardian. She was just a normal leading a normal teenage life, and my GOD it was boring. Our opening scene involves her thumping her stupid cousin on the head with a book for insulting the Guardians, and this? This is how she became a Guardian. After everything we had been led to believe, everything we had been wanting to see, the mysterious, much-anticipated Daughter of Knuckles… turned out to be a whiny, entitled little rich girl who literally whined her way into being a Guardian. Not that we got a chance to see her tenure as a guardian, oooh no- it was FAR more important to see her sweet sixteen and a sleepover with her friends, and of course pool party antics. Which brings us to the next point….

-…namely that this story went *nowhere*. Like it was literally the last few issues that the damn plot moved forward and reached a climax. THe build-up took a back seat to what Penders evidently felt was what the audieance REALLY wanted- DOMESTIC DRAMA! Marvel in Lara-Su getting in fights at school because someone had an opinion! Wonder in the glories of her sweet sixteen! Behold the pool parties! Amaze at Sonic’s son being a little pervert! Hey, do you know what we needed more of? Sonic and Knuckles getting in a belching contest at a dinner party! And so on and so forth- the whole thing was basically a domestic drama, a really, really cheesy and badly written one, and these aspects of the story overtook everything else. Even worse, this story dragged on and on and on at a snails pace, and as I said, the only remotely exciting thing happened literally within the last few issues, with the build up being drawn out and unengaging. 

-The future was boring. Very, very boring, and even worse, we were told exactly how it got that way. What portions of the story weren’t dedicated to observing the Domestic Life Of The Teenage Echidna were spent infodumping and expositing about the events of the past that led to the present time. And at the present time? Everything was so peachy and perfect it could make you sick. There was no danger, no new menaces to fight in the Post-Robotnik Mobius, everything was just bland and happy and nooo real problems whatsoever. The Kingdom of Acorn now ruled Mobius, and Angel Island was now a superpower, and all the enemies of the past were either defeated or domesticated (more on that below). There was nothing to draw people in. No conflict to engage the readers. Even worse, ss this at the time was regarded as ‘the’ future and not just a ‘What-If’ (the debate of which caused an infamous feud between Penders and Bollers), the exposition ensured that there could not even be a potential mystery in figuring out how things got to this point, because the entire future was now laid bare before us. And since we now knew that this achingly perfect and tranquil future was to come, and exactly HOW Eggman was going to be defeated, there was little reason to become invested in past stories. What’s the point of sticking around when you know how its all gonnna go? Every conflict that took place in the past was now rendered irrelevant thanks to this future, which pretty much gave away the ending. 

-On top of all that, the developments of the characters from the past who were featured in this future were… nonsensical, and in some cases deeply insulting. Knuckles, for example, who had grown up in the wilderness away from cities and the like, was now in a position of power as not only Guardian but the head of the EST, and living very comfortably in a manor, with a maid of all things. Even accounting for the fact that the years change people, this doesn’t really feel like the kind of life Knuckles would ever want to live or COULD ever want to live, instead feeling like a reflection of Penders’ own ideal for what a happy ending should look like. Worse though was what happened to Julie-Su… while her depiction as such was not always very stellar, there was at least a token amount of effort applied to depicting her as a capable soldier and action girl, and prior to the release of this he swore up and down that she would STILL be a badass. This was false. This was very, very false. She was pretty much a stay at home mom who did upkeep on the house, acting as a *painfully* cliche ‘50s Housewife’ at utter odds with her prior depiction. While there is nothing wrong with being a domestic or anything like that, the fact was that this was definitely not how anybody ever wanted to see Julie-Su, and even worse, despite Penders’ touting of the ‘non-traditional’ nature of their marriage (which I should add was a reflection of the fact that he and his own wife operate under a common-law marriage), the fact of the matter was that the marriage was even MORE tradtional and bland than most marriages in media at that time. 

And it didn’t end there either. Sonic was now King of the world and pretty much going through a midlife crisis, and Sally, who actually WAS a leader of men during her youth and Queen of Mobius, was now happy and content with taking a backseat to Sonic and letting him make all the major decisions. There are many arguments about whether or not Sonic should have ever been a king or if it fits his character, but the point of order is, nobody at all wanted to see THIS from Sonic, or Sally. The decision to make him King was especially baffling because in real life, that’s not how European monarchy’s work. Sonic is not nobility, and even if he were, his lower rank would ensure that he would only ever be a prince or a regent at best, while Sally would be the one calling the shots thanks to her being higher ranked than him to begin with. 

And then there was Lien-Da. Recall how I said some threats became domesticated? Well this here is Exhibit A- wanna now what kind of future Lien-Da has after a lifetime of terrorism, deceit and murder? She’s living comfortabltly in suburbia with her son (with no mention or hint of who the father could be), and is just so gosh darned chummy with her half-sister that they gossip like a couple of old hens. I mean sure, Lien-Da helped murder Julie’s mother and their father, and then had Julie mindwiped twice-over, to say nothing of spending generations trying to murder the Guardians, but it’s all coooool, brah! No hard feelings, no bad blood whatsoever! Why, even Dimitri himself confirms that all of Lien-Da’s ambitions would never ever come true anyway, so hey, why carry a grudge? Family trumps all!

Yeah, I digress. Whatever people envisioned for the future of the characters they loved, this wasn’t it. At all. 

-The kids sucked, both as characters and from a design standpoint. For visuals, Lara-Su got off easy, having a reasonably unique and recognizable design that made her an instant hit with a lot of fans… the fact that Penders didn’t design her might have had something to do with that though. Everyone else? Clone children. Clone children as far as the eye can see. Literally they were all just traces of their parents with different clothes, and they had even less going on with regards to personality. The one with the most distinct personality was Manik, who was such a loathesome little creeper that everyone kind of wished he really WAS just as bland and forgettable as everyone else. While obviously children are gonna resemble their parents, making them flat out clones was just a step too far (sadly this would plague the sequel series as well). There have been many fan ideas and conceptions of what the children of our heroes would look like- all of them were better, or at least made more of an effort, than this. 

-While the book might have been called “Mobius: 25 Years Later”, it was actually more like “Angel Island Twenty Five Years Later”. Given that this storyline started out as a special called Knuckles: Twenty Years Later, this isn’t really that unexpected, but for a storyline that billed itself as the future of Mobius itself, the focus on Angel Island at the expense of everything else left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. WHile it would be impossible to cover everyone, it was Knuckles and his family that got the most coverage, with the extended cast getting cameos or token mentions regardless of how important they were in the past. Bunnie and Antoine didn’t show up, Tails only showed up much later, we barely get any action from the other Chaotix… you get the idea. Even worse, Knuckles was pretty much revealed to be the destined savior of the planet, the one to finally defeat Eggman instead of Sonic, and the reveal of what was causing problems in the future would eventually be revealed to be SOnic’s fault! The Knuckles favoritism was incredibly grating, and incredibly disappointing. People wanted to see the future of *Mobius*, not JUST all the parts most relevant to Knuckles. This was the storylien that really did much to establish how little Penders cared about the title character of the series and how hellbent he was on ensuring the ‘legacy’ of his personal pet despite the Knuckles series having been gone for years by that point. 

-On a retroactive front, the reveal of Rotor being gay, or rather the rationale and circumstances of it, did a lot to taint the perception of the series. Even when the series was going on, Penders hinted that one of the cast was gay, and didn’t reveal who it was until years after he had left the book…it just happened to be Rotor, who just happened to be tortured in the new 30YL storyline while his supposed lover, Cobor, was dead. That he timed the reveal in such a way that it made Flynn look like a homophobe was suspect enough, but his reasoning behind the reveal was especially troubling, with him declaring that Rotor was gay due to his shyness. Adding insult to injury, there was absolutely no chemistry between Cobor and Rotor, like at all. In a fandom where two characters so much as looking at eachother too long can result in shipping, this was especially noteworthy, as nobody at all shipped Cobor and Rotor before the reveal… and after, for that matter. Penders loudly patting himself on the back for this despite how little he had done in-story to indicate it did a lot to taint the storyline in people’s eyes, and forever made Rotor’s sexuality a touchy subject due to knowing that Penders would always be eager to take credit for it despite having done nothing to build it up. While there was only so much one could really do at the time it was written, that doesn’t excuse the fact that there was so little affection and so little to read into with regards to Cobor and Rotor, due to the fact that believable, human interaction is well beyond Penders’ capacity as a writer. 

There is probably more I am not considering. Anyone who has anything to add is free to do so. But in conclusion? For everything that this story promised to be, and for all the ways that promise was broken, this whole thing became a black hole of wasted potential, a vortex of suckage that would consume everything in proximity, and that is why despite everything, a lot of people are not that eager to see it re-visted, believing that its just impossible to un-anchor it from the awful, awful story that spawned, and that there is nothing worth salvaging from it. 

They might have a point. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming

I just watched Spider-Man Homecoming and I loved every bit of it. 

Don’t forget to stay for both after credit scenes. If you are patient, you will be rewarded. 

Maybe I’ll do a full review on my blog. Idk. For know its just a list.

Spoilery stuff below the cut. Basically don’t read the rest of this until you have watched the movie.

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IN HONOR OF THE SERIES FINALE APPROACHING...

I’M GOING TO POST MY FAVORITE, MOST GROUNDBREAKING DRAMATIC ACTING SCENES ON PLL FROM EACH LIAR! 


((((EVERY DAY I WILL CONTINUE IT WITH ANOTHER LIAR UP UNTIL THE FINALE :())))

First off the legendary, iconic Sasha Pieterse aka Alison DiLaurentis who was running this show at only 14 years old. Even though most the series she was either dead or kind of out of the inner circle, she constantly found ways to steal the moment. Even when Alison could’ve been a total bitch, you found yourself rooting for her (well if not her then Sasha because damn girl you can act lol)

Heres my list of dramatic Ali faves (it is in order from least to most):

1. Episode 3x17 (I still have no clue who Beach Hottie is for sure)

2. Episode 3x23 (Which is one of my favorite episodes in the series. I just always loved this moment.)

3. Episode 7x02 (This was so hard to watch, I felt bad seeing my baby like this)

4. Episode 5x24 (YALL… When I tell yall I was in TEARS!!! I thought they were really really going to jail. I was really telling people ‘free my girls’ that’s how invested I was)

And my very favorite emotional, scene stealing performance by Sasha was THIS….

5. Episode 4x24 (I FELT this entire scene. I didn’t see Sasha in this scene I saw Ali. I was crying. I felt for her so much. I lost it at ‘Can’t you see me breathing?’)


Tell me some of your favorite dramatic Sasha/Ali scenes that didn’t make the cut!!!! 

Everything you need to know about Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812!

Lately I have been totally obsessed with a Broadway musical called Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. I finally convinced one of my best friends to take a listen to the soundtrack, but I wanted her to fully get a feel for the show before she did. It can be confusing, especially because it’s sung through (like Rent and Hamilton) and because it can be a struggle to grasp the musical concepts the first time you listen to it. So I figured I would post this so that anyone who wouldn’t have the chance to see the show or who didn’t have a ton of Broadway background knowledge would still be able to enjoy this soundtrack! 

Disclaimer: This post is going to be exactly the opposite of spoiler free. 

Why you should listen to Great Comet:

  • It had the most Tony nominations out of all of the Broadway shows this year (12!)
  • The director is a Jewish female.
  • Three women have played Natasha, all of whom are women of color.
  • The actors are all relatively new to Broadway— this is their big break, for many of them. And they kill it.
  • The ensemble won two awards for best ensemble, which isn’t surprising because the energy is insane. They got the ACCA Award for Outstanding Broadway Chorus, and the Chita Rivera Award for Dance and Choreography. 
  • It’s a weird, complex, smart, insane, energetic, fascinating piece of work.
  • This is a once-in-a-lifetime musical when you see it in person. The soundtrack gives you insight into why that is.
  • If you want to get a vibe for the energy and chaos and insanity, watch the Tony performance! “The Abduction” is featured in here, and it’s my favorite part of the musical. “Balaga” into “The Abduction” fucking slay.

The Set-Up:

Before we go into the plot, I’m going to tell you a little bit about the set-up of the show, because, honestly, the plot is the least important part, in my opinion.

When you walk into the theater, the first thing you hear is the strains of loud Russian music wafting towards you. Although the entire show doesn’t sound like this, it is really good at getting you into the mode of that classic Russian music. A lot of the exposition is written in that style. Personal character songs/moments are more stylistically pop, hip-hop, musical theater, soulful, etc.

Great Comet started off, essentially, as dinner theater. As such, the production is in the round. There’s audience members sitting in seats along the stage. They get to be up-close with the actors (sometimes the actors do interact with you, but it’s not cheesy, cross my heart. I hesitate to tell people that because they usually write it off immediately but TRUST ME, I’M INCREDIBLY JUDGEMENTAL. They don’t talk to you or anything, they just play off of your reactions at specific moments for comedy. Oh, and they yell at you in Russian if you’re filming them. Which… fair.) There’s also ten or so people sitting quite literally on stage at tables, in the midst of the action, as well as people sitting directly next to the pit, which is very small and visible in center stage.

Then you can sit in orchestra, mezzanine, and rear mezzanine. In orchestra, you have something like a catwalk curving through the audience. You will get people dancing right next to you all the time, followin’ dat yellow brick road. The distinction between the mezzanine and the rear mezzanine is that there’s a little, mini “stage” (more like a box) set up for the ensemble to dance on. They’re up there basically 75% of the show (as well as onstage. They’re all over the place all the time. Directing this musical must have been a goddamn nightmare.)

(Note: Any seat in the theater is partial view. You’re not going to be able to see the people on the catwalk from the rear mezzanine. You won’t be able to see the people dancing up on the rear mezzanine from the orchestra. It’s a trade off. Just for some perspective of the theater!)

Another beautiful thing about the theatre is the lights. They’re all around the entire auditorium, so no matter where you’re sitting, you’ll probably have these beautiful, small yellow lights next to you that look like stars. They move up and down (physically, not in brightness, although obviously that happens too) throughout the show, so that sometimes you feel like you’re standing out in the night with the characters, looking up at the stars that they are gazing at.

A really cool, small touch is that there are little round tables with these lovely purple lamps on them that glow up and down with the lighting. Which, by the way, is tremendous. The lighting design is ridiculous. But so is the set design! There’s little posters of Russian historical figures all around the theater. 

The Pit:

Remember how I said the pit appears to be small? The reason for that is threefold:

  1. Actors frequently play instruments. You’ll see an ensemble member in combat boots, a plaid skirt, a tight jacket, and a giant-ass clarinet. Anatole plays the violin. You’ll also see cast members coming out to beat a drum or something to that effect. (The show is super meta, but we’ll get to that later.)
  2. The pit also has to be small because Pierre spends most of the show chilling down there, reading his books at his desk. Sometimes he plays the piano or the accordion or little symbols or, you know, a little bell. He’s just chilling. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  3. I have slightly lied to you because technically the pit is NOT that small— it’s just that not everybody can always see them because the musicians are spread around the theater. When they were in rehearsals, the director and music director and writer of the show sat all around the theater to listen and found that spreading the orchestra around the theater meant that each person sort of heard something unique. Obviously when you’re in the rear mezzanine, you’ve got musicians that are closer to you than the people sitting orchestra do, a vice versa. Therefore, you hear the arrangements differently. It’s very beautiful.

Plot:

Now that that’s out of the way.

Great Comet actually has very little to do with the actual comet (sorry, science nerds.) Actually, the part of the title that you want to pay attention to is the names at the top— Natasha and Pierre. Spoilers: these characters actually don’t interact in the context of the show until the second to last scene. But they symbolize enormous turning points in each other’s lives, which is why I think they’re the title. Natasha is the start of the show (she’s the first character you’re introduced to.) She is also the start of Pierre’s ending shifting into something new. Which I’m not going into right now, but just know that the fate of Pierre’s heart is tied to Natasha’s heart.

Natasha is a young girl visiting her godmother in the wildly social site of Moscow, Russia during the war. She and her cousin are staying with Marya D. while they wait for their fiancés to return from aforementioned war. Over the course of the story, Natasha (naïve, innocent, lovely Natasha) becomes seduced by both the Russian society and by its most handsome playboy— Anatole.

Antonole is like… he’s like a 19th Century Russian fuckboi. He’s like… oh my god, he’s 19th century Chuck Bass. Natasha is season one Jenny. Sonya is Vanessa. Helene is Blair. PIERRE IS BLAIR’S SHORT JEWISH STEP-DAD. This is an amazing analogy.

Characters

Now that you have some backstory, let’s talk about the characters! Most of what you need to know about them can be found in the first song— the prologue (or, for the full version without acting): This is all in your program, you are at the opera. Gonna have to study up a little bit if you wanna keep with the plot. Cuz it’s a complicated Russian novel, everybody’s got nine different names. So look it up in your program, we appreciate it, thanks a lot.

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Six Times Voltage Inc Tugged at my Heartstrings

I’ve been playing Voltage games for about four years now, and I have to say, there were moments in certain routes that made me Feel Things™. Generally, Voltage games aren’t really known for being cynical or overly emotional. Heck, their games, while having some mature content, mostly have an optimistic feel to them. However, there were some moments in particular that stood out to me—those scenes were written powerfully enough to shake me to the core.

I have to admit, it was difficult for me to select a few moments from hundreds of routes, but I tried my best to narrow it down as much as I could.

Disclaimer:

  • I limited it to one character per game to avoid repetition.
  • I haven’t played every Voltage game (or route for that matter). The moments I’ve chosen only come from the games I’ve played.
  • I didn’t include SLBP because I only started getting into it recently (plus I don’t know too much about the other lords to make solid conclusions about them lmao).
  • This is all my personal opinion, so that means you probably won’t share the same views as I do, which is cool (I’d actually appreciate it if you told me what your favorite moments were :D).

Anyhow, let’s begin! (long post below):


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Submission by @r-nd

Um, so I’d at first reblogged because it seemed easier, especially with the length of this monstrosity, but reblog was fucking me over, so I hope you don’t mind that I’ve instead submitted this. I just—I couldn’t stand how messed up it was, and it was bugging me so bad.

I just wanted to share the idea. What can I say? I’m a share-er. Occasionally. About certain things. But I’m glad you liked the idea, and yes, I did have Thoughts about other villains. To be honest, Doom wasn’t the first villain I’d had in mind when I was thinking about which villain would fall in platonic-love with Tony. I’m not sure why I went with him first in the end. It kinda just happened?

Anyway, as a newbie in the fandom—both the comics and MCU—there aren’t a whole lot of Marvel villains I know, but since I’m not a total heathen, I at least knew Magneto. He was actually the first villain I’d had in mind. Originally, I’d intended for Tony to do something like making a charity in his family’s names: the Magda Lehnsherr Foundation to provide families of mutants with the resources they might need to raise their mutant child and the Anya Lehnsherr Foundation to help mutants get out of abusive situations.

But then I wasn’t sure how to continue from that, so I thought more about it, especially after your reply, and I ended up with something like this:

(I would like to add that this got away from me, like, by a lot. I did not intended for this to be this long, Jesus fuck.)

Erik didn’t hear it at first, too immerse in his battle with Charles’s students. It wasn’t until he’d knocked that Summers boy into a car—not hard enough to paralyze him; enemy or not, the boy was still a mutant—that he heard it: the desperate, terrified sobbing of a child.

The battle stopped. He made it stop. There was a child here. A scared child. He paid no attention to the confused looks and shouts of Charles’s students, nor the long-suffering sighs of his own men. Instead, he searched for the source of the cries.

And found what he thought was a silver cat.

It was tiny. A kitten, really, the size of his palm. When he approached it, he nearly fumbled in the air, shocked, because he could feel the presence of metal in that direction. The kitten felt like metal to his senses, which made no sense. He’d never seen a robot—it had to be a robot—so sophisticated that it looked like a real animal.

It explained the child-like sobbing at least.

He must’ve made a noise, for the kitten stopping crying—it was still sniffling, like it couldn’t bring itself to stop just yet—and looked at him with glowing maroon eyes.

Papa!” it cried with such relief that Erik didn’t register the word at first.

At first.

He choked on air when he realized what it’d said—remembered Anya, how she’d run to him every time he came home, how she’d jump at him, trusting that he’d catch her—and didn’t notice it running to him until he sensed an incoming metallic object.

It jumped.

He couldn’t—he couldn’t. Decades later, decades without Anya, and his arms still opened to catch it—she’d always had such faith in him, his little Anya. He couldn’t have stopped himself for anything in the world.

It snuggled against his chest and let out a childish, high-pitched purr.

“I looked for you everywhere,” it—she, that voice, it was the voice of a little girl—said, and Erik stared down, realizing belatedly that she was speaking German.

Why? How? Only Charles knew of his past. He’d made certain to hide his identity from the world.

(Erik Lehnsherr had died with Magda and Anya.)

“What is your name?” he asked, his iron-will ensuring that his voice did not break. (Where was his iron-will when the creature had jumped at him?)

The kitten was still rubbing its face against his chest. “Silly Papa. I don’t have a name yet. You’re ’posed to give me one, the Mechanic said so.” She looked up at him, and Erik could see, even with the glowing red eyes—an excellent intimidation tactic, he thought distantly—the utter trust in them. The faith.

“What’s my name, Papa?”

Erik decided then and there that he could kill this Mechanic. If he—she?—thought to manipulate him through his grief, or worse, thought to replace Anya, Erik would sink the Mechanic’s entire city.

“I am not your father,” he told the kitten, but the kitten simply shook her little head.

“You are. The Mechanic didn’t say so, but I know you are. Everyone’s got a Papa and a Mama, even if their Papa and their Mama don’t live together. The Mechanic’s my Mama, and since I was ’posed to look for you, you must be my Papa!”

It was the kind of logic only a child could have, and before he could stop himself, he said, “Lorna.”

It was the name Magda had wanted to give their next child if it was a girl, after that character in Lorna Doone. It was her favorite book.

Erik wasn’t sure what was more unforgivable, that he’d softened with old age or because he’d heard a little girl’s voice call him Papa. The situation was made worse by the fact that he still didn’t know if the kitten was a means to manipulate him. For all he knew, she was completely unaware that this Mechanic intended to use her against him.

“Erik?”

Raven.

He turned enough to look at her, but most of his body remained still, facing away. Shielding the kitten from everyone.

“Are you all right?”

No. No, he was not. All he had to do was hear a child call him Papa and he got attached. Pathetic.

 “I like Lorna,” the kitten piped in, so incredibly happy. “It’s a pretty name.”

Erik felt something in his chest crack.

“Can we go home, Papa? I’ve looked for you for so long. I’m tired, and it’s scary here.”

“Tell the others to withdraw,” he ordered Raven. Thankfully, his voice remained firm, seemingly unaffected by the situation, by this tiny kitten who wouldn’t stop purring and rubbing her head against his chest.

Raven’s brow raised, and he knew he’d have to explain himself to her later, but for now … for now, he couldn’t stand to be here any longer. Couldn’t stand to be out in the open with—with Lorna.

“You will tell me about the Mechanic once we get someplace safe,” he said. Not the base. As compromised as he was, he wouldn’t allow anyone to know the location of the Brotherhood’s headquarters. Lives could be on the line, especially if the Mechanic was ruthless enough to use a parent’s grief against them. A hotel, perhaps.

Lorna hummed. “Okay.”

Erik had enough presence of mind to incapacitate Charles’s students before leaving the scene and in such a way that they could not see him or Lorna. His men, though, had already seen the kitten.

It was a mark of their intelligence that they didn’t question him about her.

That’s about all I had in mind story-wise. Headcanon-wise, however …

It takes months before Erik lets his guard down about the Mechanic. In that time, he falls more and more in love with Lorna. He realizes that he’s done her a grave injustice when they first met. She isn’t Anya, nor is she Anya’s replacement. She’s her own person, and she’s such a sweet little girl. Easily frightened, though she tries to hide it and be brave, just like you, Papa.

The Brotherhood teases him about Lorna—behind his back, of course, they’re not suicidal—but after, like, two days with her, they all but worship her. She’s so tiny and cute and okay, the glowy red eyes are kinda freaky, but she’s so earnest. She calls Sabretooth Cousin because “You’re a tiger, and I’m a cat, so we’re related!” And when one day Raven gets all quiet because of the child she never had the chance to raise, Lorna’s all “Then you can raise me. I’ll be your child! Mama said some people had more than one Mama, so you can be my Pretty Mama!” Which is quickly followed by, “Not that Mama isn’t pretty. You’re just prettier.” Maybe that should’ve crossed a line, but Raven can’t help but soften for this little kitten who just wants to help.

It’s hard not to love someone who’s just that pure-hearted, okay? That’s the Brotherhood’s story and they’re sticking to it.

None of them notice how their actions are becoming less and less destructive and how they’re slowly changing from a terrorist organization into a very terrifying activist organization.

And then one day, Lorna tells Erik about how she’s linked to her big brother Jarvis, you know, just in case something happens or if she needs maintenance or something, and Erik remembers, he doesn’t know who the Mechanic is. He forgot to figure out what kind of crazy idiot sends a fucking terrorist an A.I. that, he kids you not, regularly hacks into the fucking NSA, CIA, and FBI to keep track of the government and their stance on the Brotherhood.

So he asks, and Lorna points a paw at the TV where the news is showing and says, “That’s him. That’s my Mama.”

It’s Tony fucking Stark.

It takes Erik a while to reconcile Lorna’s Mama with Tony Stark.

What Erik doesn’t know is that before all this, Tony was researching him because it seemed like a no-brainer to keep an eye on the guy who has control over metal when a metal-something is keeping him alive. And also confront the guy, you know? Deal with the guy now so there won’t be any problems of the heart-attack variety later.

Jarvis had accepted Tony going to Latveria, albeit very, very reluctantly and with so many protests, but he put his foot down at going to Erik. He controls metal, Sir, and if I have to freeze all your accounts and ground the armor, I will.

So Tony sent Lorna off, showed her who she’d be looking for and promised that Jarvis would keep an eye on her. Him, too. They’d both help as much as they could.

Tony choked on his spit when Lorna called Erik Papa. And then choked again when she called him Mama. (He’s getting desensitized to it. Dummy heard Lorna call him that, and now he calls Tony Mama, too, despite all of Tony’s efforts to stop him. Jarvis, occasionally, calls him Mother, but mostly as a joke and also when he really wants to win an argument because Tony gets all quiet and flustered and agreeable when he’s called Mother.)

Neither side meets each other until Tony’s shot down from the sky while in Iraq. Jarvis can’t get a location on the armor, it’s powered down, he can’t reach Mr. Stark, and while he’s panicking, Butterfingers, the quiet little sneak, contacts Lorna and tells her what’s happened to Mama.

Lorna cries like she hasn’t cried since the day Erik met her, and the Brotherhood? They will wage fucking war against whoever it was that made their baby girl cry like this, they are not joking around. Lorna should never be sad. She deserves all the laser pointers and cat trees her little mechanical heart desires.

Erik personally goes to Iraq, and he flies around, using his power to get a sense of something metal. It takes him a while, but after many false positives, he finally finds Tony trying to cross the desert while dragging the Iron Man armor behind him. Erik intended to intimidate him because Stark’s a hero and he most definitely is not. (He still hasn’t caught on that while he may not be a hero, he’s sure as hell no longer a villain, not by a long shot.)

But then Tony smiles and is just, Hey, Erik, what’s up? How’s Lorna? He’s seen how Erik is with Lorna. You think he’d give just anyone an A.I. and not monitor how his baby’s being treated? Of course, he’d go through Lorna’s memory banks—with her permission—and he’s seen way too much of some of the most feared mutants in the world cooing at Lorna. Him and what fear he may have had of the Brotherhood have parted ways a long time ago. Jarvis has even stopped threatening to play country instead of rock when he’s working, and if that isn’t an indicator of how much things have changed, nothing is.

One thing leads to another, and every two weeks, Tony drops by to play with Lorna and make sure everything’s okay with her maintenance-wise. Erik and the Brotherhood don’t realize how attached they’ve gotten until one day when they watch Tony guide a missile through a wormhole. After that, they basically move into his New York mansion—they’re sneaky about it, of course, because the government’s understandably still kinda touchy about them—and keep him company and help him cope.

The Avengers aren’t there, and while Erik wants to ask, he doesn’t push. Neither does any of the Brotherhood. They just remind their crazy, stupid genius that it’s not like they have anything absolutely pressing they have to do, so you know. If he needs anything.

(On a side note: Butterfingers is a shy, shy introvert. He’s almost anthropophobic. Raven has made it her mission to interact with him without him running away. She’d been insulted by that at first, but Tony assured her that he did the same to him when he first came online. So Raven keeps trying every day, that is, after both Jarvis and Tony assure her that she’s not pushing. If it seems like Butterfingers is stressed out, she backs away immediately and she never goes after him after he runs away, never even approaches him again until the next day. She hasn’t gotten Butterfingers not to run away yet, but he beeps at her before running away now, so she thinks she’s making progress.

Dummy insists on playing fetch with Sabretooth. Victor might’ve been insulted, except Dummy wants Victor to be the one throwing and he sounds so happy and pleased with himself when he brings the ball back that Victor can’t bring himself to say no. Raven would mock him endlessly about it, except she’s not immune. Dummy has this way of drooping his arm and beeping lowly and sadly that it might as well be a war crime to deny him anything.)

(On a side, side note, Vesna is Not Pleased. She’s not like Lorna, not sweet or earnest or pure-hearted. Her Mother—yes, she’s adopted that term, too, and she’ll fight with anyone who tries to tell her the Mechanic isn’t her mother—has been hurt and someone will pay.

Doom can’t deny her anything. He can’t, okay? And really, he doesn’t want to. He and Tony have a distant, but still very fond relationship, though he tells himself it’s just because he needs Tony alive to keep Vesna in good health. An attack on Tony is an attack on Doom, and Doom doesn’t tolerate attacks on his person. The attempted coup of ’02? There were no survivors. He does not play around with this, and with Vesna on his side, it’s a quick, bloodily efficient resolution.

Dummy and Butterfingers know nothing of this. Tony and Jarvis suspect, but Vesna knows better than to confirm anything. Her boys are too soft-hearted for this, and Lorna’s too pure to even consider that her big sister might’ve facilitated in the mass murder of several hundred terrorists.

It’s a secret between her and Doom.)

(Also: Apparently, I can’t add tags, but if I could, I’d add that “Tony is a reverse cat lady.” Good day.)

birthday headcanons for our favorite blue boy
  • he gets a lot of stuff. like, a lot of stuff, including but not limited to:
  • a cup of peppermint tea in his favorite chipped mug waiting for him when he wakes up, piping hot and extra sweet 
  • an old broken keyboard and a bunch of tools and cool things that make really unique sounds that he can fix it with
  • a few hours alone in the garden in the back of the house during the early morning, during which he meditates and tinkers with some of the mechanical things he’s been collecting and writes down a few lyrics and chords
  • a thatching kit
  • no headaches today for some reason because the universe was in his favor today and because of that he’s clear-headed and alert 
  • russ gets him a really nice flickcomb with a cool handle and some vintage vinyls of the human league and the clash. he also gets him a hat because russ is the hat expert and one of those sensory weighted blankets that are supposed to reduce anxiety because russ has one and 2d always says how much he likes it
  • noodle gets him an entire outfit, like the fuckin cutest crop top and a shit ton of neon and pastel nail polish colors and a choker and crazy socks, and also gets him heelys that can light up (part of the reason she got him so much stuff is because she also got it for herself because they essentially share a wardrobe at this point. also bc they’re rich and they can do what they want). she gets him the head of one of the zombies at kong too because she’s metal like that and 2d gasps and says “this is WICKED” like he’s a 10 year old on christmas
  • murdoc tosses a pack of cigarettes at him when he comes downstairs in the morning and grunts “here you go” but then he buys him a drink or two later. that afternoon 2d finds home baked scones in the shape of swans and really nice cologne and a leather jacket in his room. he also gives him a legit collar “because you seemed pretty excited about it on that track” and 2d goes all red 
  • they make him get in the car after lunch and surprise him by driving up to crawley to see his mom and cyborg noodle. his mom pinches his cheek and says that he gets handsomer every year and shows everyone embarrassing baby pictures of stu. cyborg noodle’s body gives him a little salute and shows him her bike all decked-out with streamers on the handles. they all have cake and sing him happy birthday and then murdoc gets too excited and pushes his face into the cake as a joke and starts a food fight with 2d and noodle for a few seconds before russ breaks it up
  • they take him to the fairgrounds by his old house for a few hours. he eats too much cotton candy and they all go on the ferris wheel together and he and noodle make the ferris wheel car swing back and forth and murdoc looks like he’s gonna be sick. russ wins him a fucking massive stuffed animal at the ring toss and he carries it around on his back. 
  • also random people at the fair come up to him like “omg are you the singer for gorillaz? ??  i LOVE your music” and he’s like haha yeah and then they go “my favorite album of all time has to be the fall” and 2d just chokes and looks like he’s gonna cry 
  • when they get home he helps russ and noodle make dinner (it’s vegetarian and has rice noodles) and the whole band eats it sitting on the couch together as they marathon zombie movies. 2d talks the whole time about films and behind-the-scenes facts, so much that murdoc has to remind him to eat his dinner. 
  • he falls asleep with katsu on his lap and russ and noodle and murdoc cuddled around him and he is warm and safe and loved and happy 
No Happy Endings | Wonho [M]

Originally posted by wonhontology

Warnings: Strong language, lewd comments.

word count: 3,532

“We’ve got a problem,” Hoseok tells Kihyun through the phone as he paces the length of the bathroom.

1 | 2 | 3 | …

Part 4: Breakups, Makeups, and Break-Ins.


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people.com
Did Dan Stevens Really Sing? What Worried Emma Watson While Waltzing? Beauty and the Beast’s Secrets Revealed!
Ten burning Beauty and the Beast questions asked and answered — with important insider facts about the hit new film

How many people, animals and props were involved in making the opening musical number, “Belle?”

According to Disney, there were more than 150 cast members and extras involved, along with 28 wagons and carts, hundreds of live animals (horses, cows, mules, ducks, geese and hens) and countless props and set decorations. The set itself was also the production’s largest, measuring 28,787 square feet.

Bonus fact: The town is named Villeneuve, a fictional French village that was built on the backlot at Shepperton Studios outside London.  The town’s name is an homage to Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, the author of the original Beauty and the Beast story.

How many horses played Belle and Maurice (Kevin Kline)’s trusty steed, Philippe?

Three.

“Belle and Maurice’s horse Philippe was played by three different horses, two of which had to be painted on a daily basis,” says a rep for the studio.

How did they pull off the waltz scene between Belle (Emma Watson) and the Beast?

Carefully! Watson and Stevens first had to learn the choreography, and then Stevens had to master it on stilts. The British star tells PEOPLE practice makes perfect when it came time to learn how to walk and dance in the steel contraptions.

“You’ve just got to get in ’em, start moving around!” Stevens says with a laugh. “Fortunately we had about three months of pre-production for rehearsals, learning the songs, the dances. Initially with the waltz I learned the steps on the ground and graduated to the stilts, which was slightly terrifying for me but probably more for Emma. I think she was very worried that I was going to tread on her toes in steel stilts, which could’ve ruined the movie, but I didn’t, so I’m very proud of that.”

Is that Dan Stevens’ real singing voice?

Yes! And it was a welcome challenge for the actor.

“Singing was a relatively new thing to me,” Stevens, 34, says of re-training his singing voice. “I’d sung at school and when I was younger, but in my 20s I [hadn’t] sung as extensively so reengaging my voice, retraining the voice was a big challenge.”

Did they use Dan Stevens’ actual face for the Beast?

Yes, although the finished product is a computer-animated and significantly hairier version.

Stevens wore a 40-lb. “muscle suit” and performed the role on stilts — first so that the size and movements of the character were captured on set during filming, and then again for the visual-effects teams so that his face was captured and later computer-animated with the Beast’s hair and fangs.

“Every couple of weeks I would go into a special booth and my face would be sprayed with about 10,000 UV dots and I would sit in what I used to call the Tron cage,” Stevens says. “Anything I’d been doing in the previous two weeks in the scenes, whether it was eating, sleeping, roaring, waltzing, I did it again with my face, with Emma [Watson] sitting on the other side of the cage, and we would capture the Beast’s face.”

What’s with Dan Stevens’ hair in that Prince reveal?

It’s a wig. A stringy, scraggly one.

“The hair at the end, was it extensions? I think it was a wig,” Stevens says, trying hard to remember the hair accessory he wore two years ago during filming. “It was quite awhile ago. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was a wig,” he adds with a smile. “And what a wig!”

Which costume was the most challenging to create?

Belle’s red “montage” outfit, aka the one she wears outdoors for her snowball fight with Beast. Why? Because costume designer Jacqueline Durran used all eco-friendly materials in its design.

“Because Emma is so interested in sustainability and fair trade, eco fabrics and eco fashion, we applied those criteria to making a costume from head to toe,” Durran tells PEOPLE. “That [red] costume was made entirely from sustainable fabrics. We dyed it in vegetable dyes in our workroom, we had shoes made with eco leather, and we did the whole thing from top to bottom to be as thorough as we could. People learned different skills in the work rooms to be able to do it, so the dyers learned to dye with strange vegetable dye. Sometimes it took two weeks to dye something because you’d have to leave it in there for that long to get a rich color. It really was a learning curve for all of us, I’d certainly never done that before.”

How did the filmmakers decide on which songs to feature from the animated film and Broadway musical?

The answer is by hiring and deferring to the animated film’s composer, Alan Menken, who also co-wrote the music for the new film.

“It was challenging,” Menken told EW. “[The] Broadway show had songs that I would have loved to use for the movie, but the form for a film and the form for a Broadway show are different, so the song we wrote for the Broadway show was not going to work. Consequently, we wrote a brand-new song. The challenge is just to maintain the balance of what we originally had for the score and what we had for the show, and at the same time allow this film to have its own character.”

How many new songs are in the film?

Three.

Menken and lyricist Tim Rice (The Lion King) wrote three new ballads for the film. They are: “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” performed by Belle and her father (and sung by Celine Dion over the end credits), “Evermore,” which Beast sings for Belle when he releases her (and is sung by Josh Groban over the end credits), and “Days in the Sun,” which is sung by the objects in the castle and Belle when they are going to sleep.

What was left on the cutting room floor?

A lot — including a clever Frozen reference. Please allow LeFou (Josh Gad) and Gaston (Luke Evans) to explain:

“I mean, Gaston dies. Is that a spoiler?” Gad says with a laugh, when PEOPLE asked him and Evans during a recent sit-down if there are any Easter eggs fans should look out for. “The Easter egg I fought for [director] Bill Condon to put in but we never did, there’s a moment in the original where a bunch of snow falls on LeFou and he becomes a snowman and I thought, this could kill. It’s a little meta but it could be great [For those who may have forgotten, Gad played Olaf, the snowman in Frozen].”

Evans says his favorite scene that didn’t make the movie is one filmed during the castle battle, in which Gad’s LeFou has a fight with a bathroom appliance.

“What I miss, which we shot and is not in the film, is you having a fight with the toilet,” Evans says to Gad.

Adds Gad: “Played by Stephen Merchant (from Hello Ladies and the original Office)!”

“Yeah, it didn’t make the final cut,” Evans says with mock sadness.

Both actors joke that they have no idea what might end up on the DVD/Blu-ray because no one tells them anything.

“Nobody guarantees us anything,” says Gad. “We’re not even guaranteed that we’re going to be in the movie. It’s all based on our interview performances.

Adds Evans: “Which so far have been terrible.”

Wynonna Earp 2X10 Thoughts and Faves

I’ll be honest, I was expecting an episode with a complex plot and crazy reveals.  Instead, we got  an episode that was so simplistically beautiful in its focus that it took my breath away at times.  Don’t get me wrong, I know over the course of the final two episodes we’ll find out things are connected in all sorts of crazy ways we didn’t see coming, and big ‘ole twists will happen, but this week the focus was on the individuals and their relationships. So many quiet truths about the characters played out on screen over the course of the hour, and all I can say is, Andras & Co. can throw my expectations out the window anytime they like.  

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