he's looking at you like 'man this is a total waste of my fabulousness'

Hotel California (1/2)

Originally posted by sailorslayla

Title : Hotel California

Pairing : Mark x Reader

Genre : Fluff, Romance

Summary : Mark is a night-shifts receptionist in his own hotel and it sucks, until one of his client turns up to be a pretty, annoying girl.


It was pure agony. The mere idea of pulling an all-nighter for the sole purpose of work was agonising. Even the old coppered clock’s hand was limping, showing the wrong hour and the time was almost passing in slow motion.

Mark groaned when the opening credits of Frasier made its way on the small and very old television set.

“Excuse me…?” He heard a voice and checked the black and white monitor, spotting a middle-aged man in a tuxedo, tapping the counter. He got up, the desk chair wincing and took a small key from the numerous ones hung up the wall.

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5/3/17: FIRE WALK WITH ME vs PHENOMENA - The Comparative Analysis No One Asked For!

TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992) and PHENOMENA (1985) might not occur to most people as a pair, but they have two obvious things in common: They are products of two of the world’s best loved genre filmmakers, and they were thought to represent the nadir of each director’s career at the time of release. Incidentally, they are also both predicated on a sort of Alice through the looking glass format, and as such, they may have more to offer as a duet than a cursory consideration would suggest. 

At the time of its release, after David Lynch’s groundbreaking television series was cancelled, the former suffered a lot from the preciousness with which audiences regarded Twin Peaks. A show fan (as opposed to a Lynch fan) might accept cutesy kookiness but not psychoanalytic abstraction; they might welcome a few good scares, but not being subject to constant terror and misery; and importantly, they might enjoy the idea of a cheerleader with a dark side, but sicken when the facts of Laura Palmer’s life are laid bare unromantically in all their R-rated glory.Topping all that off with the absence of most of the show’s beloved characters and/or actor (many of who expressed bitterness over Lynch more or less abandoning the program in its oft-maligned second season), it is unsurprising that the film met with boos, walkouts and scathing reviews upon release.

After a fashion, FIRE WALK WITH ME enjoyed a favorable reappraisal by its public, but no such forgiveness would come for Dario Argento’s PHENOMENA. This grisly fairy tale in which Jennifer Connelly uses her psychic connection with insects, and the aid of Donald Pleasance’s wayward helper monkey, to solve a series of murders, was understandably considered by many to be the beginning of the end of Argento’s already outrageous career. Up to that point, fans delighted in the logistical acrobatics of manic detective stories like PROFONDO ROSSO, and happily accepted the relatively anemic narrative of a fever dream like SUSPIRIA in light of its astonishing aesthetic powers. (Wiser sorts might even call this lack of “sense” a virtue) However, even these adventurous viewers had a hard time with PHENOMENA’s delirious dialog, its hysterical score that blends opera with heavy metal and surf rock, and its entirely preposterous premise. I have yet to come across a piece of critical writing that values this film as more than a collection of extreme examples of Argento’s defining characteristics as an artist. With that said, I have preemptively congratulated myself for attempting to say something about it as a story.

Both FWWM and PHENEMONA tell a little girl lost tale, in which the girls are specifically lost in a world of intimate violence and betrayal, with supernatural overtones. The mountain town of Twin Peaks, where prom queen Laura Palmer will live and die, is bathed in a searing white light by day as if to parody the pretended purity and simplicity of its people. A similarly blinding daylight bleaches the eerie environs of the Swiss Alps where a movie star has sent his beautiful daughter, Jennifer Corvino, to a fancy boarding school. By night, a cursed darkness seeps out of the pines surrounding both settings, laying cover for libidinous young men and bloodthirsty murderers. Our schoolgirl heroines have to battle both the mundane evils of ignorant adults and predatory peers, and real monsters disguised as loving fathers, upstanding school teachers, and even innocent children.

Although FIRE WALK WITH ME is a prequel to Twin Peaks, Laura Palmer is already in deep trouble at the beginning of the movie. Because she’s the most popular girl in the world, no one in a position to help thinks to wonder about her erratic behavior, nocturnal flights from her home, and often transparent misery. Laura’s fate is therefore determined by the remaining men in her life–her boyfriend Bobby, who is more a rabid dog than a person; her secret boyfriend James, who doesn’t have the humility to imagine that anything could be more powerful or important than his shallow teenage love for Laura; and Jacques, the owner of a bar on the wild Canadian border, who feeds Laura’s cocaine addiction and her compulsion to endanger and degrade herself. As in real life, Laura’s relationships are patterned after her relationship with her father, who in this case is essentially the devil.

Jennifer Corvino is also haunted by the specter of her father, which has a huge impact on her life, even though he never materializes. When she arrives at the elite Richard Wagner Academy for Girls, she is burdened with the stigma of having a rich, famous, and desirable daddy. Her social life basically has two facets, which her new roommate Sophie demonstrates efficiently: Jennifer is either subject to other people’s sexual obsession with her father, or subject to their sadism and jealousy. When Jennifer reveals that she knows movie star Paul Corvino, Sophie mindlessly assails her with a lustful rant about his body, and an invasive question about whether she has fucked him yet. Jennifer patiently explains that Paul Corvino is her father, but it’s hard to blame Sophie for her reaction, since Jennifer has brought armloads of pinups of her dad to decorate their dorm. The oedipal vibe of this scene (and the movie in general) is underlined by a weird comic touch in which Jennifer, hungry from her long journey, eats a jar of baby food left behind by Sophie’s family. Throughout the film, Jennifer will pine for the father who has abandoned her for a foreign film shoot, and have to fight alone against even less caring adults.

Of course, where Jennifer’s character is colored by this subtle form of romance with her father, Laura’s life is entirely ruined by the very real affair that her father carries on with her during the twilight fugue states shared by both of them. Her awareness of this ongoing trauma bubbles up to her consciousness in the form of hallucinatory visions of a demonic older man called Bob, who has been raping her since childhood. Laura sees him lurking behind her bedroom furniture, blames him for pages torn out of her secret diary, and believes he that he intends to fully possess her and thereby incarnate himself as her. Laura has only one real friend in the world, who she can’t possible tell about Bob: Donna Hayward (played here by Moira Kelly rather than Lara Flynn Boyle, to pretty much universal dismay). Donna loves Laura with the kind of unconditional love that most often occurs when a person doesn’t really know anything about their loved one. Donna’s innocence is so comically total that Laura must shield her not only from the story of Bob, but from her crippling drug addiction and frightening forays into prostitution. Inevitably, Donna martyrs herself on the cross of their friendship, attempting to prove her devotion by borrowing some of Laura’s sluttier clothes, getting wasted and almost screwing a young tough in the middle of Jacque’s bar. The harrowing sequence concludes with Laura, who has been perfectly evil to Donna all night in an attempt to ward her off, giving vent to a shattering scream at the sight of her friend being molested. Still, she is unable to experience or express actual love, screeching at her best friend, “DON’T YOU EVER WEAR MY STUFF!” 

Donna’s love for Laura is as deep as her maturity allows, as FIRE WALK WITH ME and Twin Peaks frequently touch on the way in which teenage relationships are, paradoxically, exactly as passionate as they are shallow. PHENOMENA takes this a step farther, describing the corrosive, sadistic social environment that tends to sprout up between girls. After Jennifer tells the heartbreaking story of her philandering mother walking out on the family on Christmas (which, apropos nothing, has a curious similarity to Phoebe Cates’ dead santa story from GREMLINS), Sophie says, as if she hadn’t heard a word, that she’s glad Jennifer has arrived because she gets so lonely at night. Throughout their entire conversation, in fact, Jennifer’s dialog and Sophie’s dialog never seem to quite match up, as if they were in two separate movies. This makes for an acute description of the way in which young women readily perform the drama of being best friends forever, while not really acknowledging each other as individuals, or even liking each other very much. Shortly hereafter, Sophie absconds with Jennifer’s black and gold Armani pullover (all of the apparel in this film is provided by Armani, which contributes excellently to the film’s slick, icy look) to rendezvous with her boyfriend along the treeline. First she brags about knowing the daughter of a celebrity and stealing her clothes, but when she realizes that her boyfriend is now interested in Jennifer, she changes her tune. “She wears her hair like mine,” Sophie boasts, as if she were the influencer, and then cattily divulges that Jennifer sleepwalks, and must be crazy. PHENOMENA being essentially a slasher movie, Sophie isn’t long for this world, but Jennifer responds to her gruesome murder with a spirit of vengeance for her supposed friend.

PHENOMENA also boasts the mother of all mean girl sequences, a psychotic update of CARRIE’s “plug it up” scene, in which Jennifer’s classmates have cottoned to the fact that she “thinks” she can speak to bugs. A fabulous swirling tracking shot gathers a growing gang of girls around Jennifer, as they taunt her with insect noises which transform into a chant: WE WORSHIP YOU! WE WORSHIP YOU! Naturally, Jennifer’s insect friends descend on the school, threatening to crash through the windows as she declares messianically, “I love you. I love you all.” Of course, the grownups at the academy are partially to blame for the atmosphere around Jennifer. This revelation about her powers came to light because, guided by the psychic voice of a firefly, Jennifer wandered into the night to retrieve from the trees one of Sophie’s gloves, which contains a helpful maggot. This is another one of the film’s great and powerful scenes: Jennifer, cherubic in a white nightgown and dwarfed by the cold luminous cube of her dorm, glides across the pitch-black lawn as if in slow motion–while, in stark contradiction to this dreamy image, the soundtrack blares with a massive, speedy metal anthem. It’s a fascinating aesthetic device that Argento will employ again later in the film, accompanying slow, quite action with crushing, thrashy music. In any case, when Jennifer naively surfaces the fact that a maggot told her about Sophie’s murder, the domineering headmistress (the astonishing-looking Dalila Di Lazzaro, who is no Alida Valli, but she gets the job done) calls the men in the white coats. Jennifer is subject to a number of humiliating experiments and tests to evaluate her mental health (“Do you take anything? Like, do you understand…DRUGS?”), on which she storms out. Where Laura Palmer is almost totally alone in the world due to her perceived perfection, Jennifer Corvino is isolated by constant scrutiny.

Laura has just one, tragically ineffectual source of aid–generically, forces from the Black Lodge. The backwards-speaking Man From Another World seems to try to warn her, and Agent Cooper, of her fate, but he speaks only in poetic code. Dale himself tries and fails to advise her through her dreams, and Laura also receives strange messages from one of her Meals On Wheels recipients. Mrs. Chalfont and her grandson, a mute junior magician who hides behind a disturbing pagan mask, try to intervene with Laura, but only manage to terrorize her further. A person’s ordinary sources of support are absent or utterly corrupt, including Laura’s mother (the always excellent Grace Zabriskie), a terminally nervous chainsmoker who exists in a state of fragile, attenuated silence, unable to confront what she seems to know is happening between her husband and her daughter. Although Sarah Palmer also receives visions from the Black Lodge, she retreats from them in terror and resigns herself to her circumstances. She even accepts, tremulously, an obviously drugged libation from her husband before bedtime, when the trouble begins.

The great power of FIRE WALK WITH ME, and also Twin Peaks, is that Laura’s father is not pure evil. Even if you were to start totally from scratch for the movie, you could never in a million years cast a more perfect individual than Ray Wise as Leland Palmer. Wise’s limitlessly expressive face, physical vitality, and unpredictable vacillation between warmth and violence lend the perfect depth to Leland, who simultaneously inspires pity and fear. He truly loves his daughter, frantically trying to console her when they are shockingly confronted by the One-Armed Man in traffic, and even appearing tearfully at her nightstand in a display of emotion that amounts to a tacit admission of guilt. He evinces a genuine desire to be close to his daughter, which is unfortunately inseparable from his desire to be with her as a man. Leland is much more than a good guy by day, and a bad guy when witlessly possessed by an evil spirit. Within David Lynch’s supernatural fable is a completely authentic story about mental illness and incest that strikes all the right psychological chords.

While Jennifer’s father never becomes more than an idea, she does attract a separate father figure in the course of mission to identify Sophie’s killer, who probably also murdered another schoolgirl in the recent past. Donald Pleasance plays a paraplegic forensic entomologist who happened to have been close friends with the original victim. Jennifer meets him after one of her somnambulistic excursions, during which she narrowly escapes being gang raped by some virile college men. She is surprised in the woods by a chimpanzee, who she trustingly follows to the safety of Dr. John McGregor’s eccentric home in the woods. McGregor, who apparently has a way with teenage girls, quickly determines that Jennifer has a special connection to insects–specifically, he notes that a certain beetle in his care is trying to get it on with her: “You’re arousing him, and he’s doing his best to arouse you.” While McGregor is meant to be charming, and never does anything explicitly inappropriate, his role in the story contributes to a feeling that Jennifer can never escape her freudian circumstances, whether she is being accused of having sex with her father, actually pining for her father, or being eroticized by the nearest father figure in her life.

Whatever it may lack in psychological realism compared with FWWM, PHENOMENA takes much stranger strides in examining the role of the mother in this sort of saga. Already we have been introduced to the idea of Jennifer’s deadbeat mom, and the angry, jealous-seeming headmistress who tries to have her committed, but there is a third figure in play who the audience may have counted out at the beginning of the movie. Dario Argento’s erstwhile creative and romantic partner Daria Nicolodi (from whom he separated the year of this film’s release–and whatever it means, Argento cast his daughter Fiore, from another partnership, as the first victim) plays Frau Bruckner, an employee at the school who seems pretty dismissible at first. She suddenly becomes relevant toward the last act when McGregor is murdered by the mysterious killer. Seemingly sympathetic, Bruckner invites Jennifer to spend the night at her home–but once they’re there, the older woman suddenly becomes strange and threatening. Noticing a profusion of shrouded mirrors in the house, Jennifer prompts her hostess to deliver a disturbing monologue about her “sick” son, who we find out is the product of a rape. Whatever is wrong with him, she considers him a burden and a constant torment. “These things can happen in a woman’s life,” Bruckner observes darkly. Indeed, even a normal pregnancy is something that happens to a woman, something she cannot share with her husband nor her children. The child is under no natural obligation to empathize with the trials of motherhood, and inevitably, the person that the child becomes is under no one’s control. This can be pretty bad news on the part of the mother, but from the child’s point of view, if you are primarily identified as something that has happened to your mother, then what can you possibly expect from her?

For Jennifer, this type of logic leads her in an unfortunate direction. Things escalate quickly with the obviously bad-news Bruckner, leading to a chase that includes one of the gnarliest images ever to grace a screen: Jennifer, clad in her white-on-white uniform, plunges into the basement dungeon, which is occupied mainly by a pit that is brimming with a stew composed of putrifying human remains. Jennifer struggles to tread water in this rancid soup as Bruckner taunts her; nearby, an interloping detective is chained to a wall, and uses Jennifer’s diversion to break his own thumb and slip out of his manacles, attacking Bruckner with the chain. Jennifer flees the scene, and finds herself in the room of Bruckner’s little boy. Foolishly, she identifies with him, perhaps from one abandoned and stigmatized child to another, and tells him that he is finally free of his evil mother. When she removes the shroud from a mirror, the child flies into a rage, revealing himself to be indescribably deformed and equally violent. He chases Jennifer out to a lake and onto a motorboat, in a scene curiously reminiscent of the end of FRIDAY THE 13TH. She summons a swarm of insects that skeletonize the boy, and makes her way to shore, only to be confronted by Bruckner. The madwoman confesses to murdering McGregor and others in order to hide her son’s taste for schoolgirl blood, and nearly decapitates Jennifer with a piece of sheet metal–before she is attacked by Inga, McGregor’s helper monkey. This is preceded by the most ludicrous segment of the entire film. It is comparatively acceptable when Detective Jennifer went out into the countryside with a stylized glass box containing a corpse-sniffing fly, but it is truly hard to excuse when vengeful Inga goes on the trail of her master’s killer, finding a discarded razor in a garbage can, and presumably, tracing it back to Bruckner. Here at the end of this wild ride, Jennifer watches Inga slash Bruckner to pieces. As Wikipedia eloquently puts it, “With the ordeal over, Jennifer and the chimp embrace.”

Even detractors of PHENOMENA will usually admit that its high camp is extremely entertaining. FIRE WALK WITH ME has hardly a shred of humor, unlike the frequently kitschy and nostalgic Twin Peaks, making it a constant stream of wrenching terror and sadness. Laura’s appalling fate is sealed by a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy: She is being raped by her father, which produces in her a suicidal self-loathing, which leads to her become a whore, and then when her father discovers this activity, he chooses to murder her. Although FWWM is much easier to identify as a work of art, its finale has problems that are not dissimilar to PHENOMENA, and I personally find it less easy to like. Half-possessed by Bob, Leland drags Laura and another young sex worker off to a disused train car. There, he savagely brutalizes both women in an aria of sadism that forms the peak of the film’s grueling progression. The sequence is punctuated by hysterical confessions from Leland and Bob about their collaborative, lifelong victimization of Leland’s child. It is hard to watch, and even harder to look away. This is all well and good, but then, as if Lynch had painted himself into a corner, something utterly untrue to the world of the film takes place. Referencing a corny religious painting in Laura’s bedroom, an actual angel appears to the dying girl. As her soul leaves her body and is relegated to the Black Lodge for eternity, this tacky, cliched angel figure appears to give Laura some solace. If it is meant to be a hallucination, this is a lousy place for it, since Twin Peaks literally features ethereal figures all the time. If it is meant to be taken literally, and I believe it is, an angel is a lousy choice, since the Black Lodge is mainly dominated by (pseudo-) Native American ideology. There is a single reference to a guardian angel in an especially terrible piece of the second season, but I would refuse to accept that as a reasonable excuse for this. Just to pour some salt in the wound, the angel is accompanied by opera music, making a jarring aesthetic departure from the entire rest of the film and the show, which is characterized as much by Angelo Badalamenti’s jazz score as anything else. Lynch could at least have cast Julee Cruise as the angel to help keep us in the mood, but no such luck. This interruption makes it hard to stay focused on the film’s concluding image of Laura weeping in terror and relief, under Dale Cooper’s benevolent gaze, in the Black Lodge.

By this late hour, the reader may be wondering how I came to the conclusion that FIRE WALK WITH ME and PHENOMENA should be paired. The truth is simply that I watched them together one night, with no particular intention, and was totally startled by the way that they mirror and compliment one another. The excoriating sunlight, the ominous winds, the lumber, the simple savagery of youth, the special brutality of women, the unavoidable victimizing effect of parenthood on both parties, it was all there. PHENOMENA may present a more abstract account, compared with FWWM’s confrontational emotional realism, but a special synergy exists between the two films, in their address of their shared subject matter. Each presents an individual lens on the material, but together, they form a kind of piercing microscope that reveals profound truths about lost girl fables. I strongly recommend this double bill for all serious students of these tales.

Before I cut myself off, I would just like to make one further remark about FIRE WALK WITH ME. It is a serious shame that people remember Laura Palmer better than they remember the actress Sheryl Lee. Even I sometimes have a hard time remembering her name, and I do find that fans who can easily name Lara Flynn Boyle and Sherilyn Fenn have a hard time calling Laura Palmer anything other than Laura Palmer. I’m not entirely sure what accounts for this, other than the possibility that the Laura Palmer character is so archetypally exciting to people that she’s more important as a symbol, than as a body of work executed by a skilled performer. It’s completely unfair to Sheryl Lee, who gives us a performance that I wouldn’t even want to live through myself. The woman has to cry throughout the entire film, which seems exhausting to say the least, but it’s not a simple matter of emoting; she makes it so raw that it’s terrifying to watch. Lee takes a simple line like “Who was that man? Do you know him?”, and delivers it with the blistering urgency of a woman mounting the gallows. There is a lot to love about the formal composition of FWWM, but the truth is that without this actress’s torturous commitment to making Laura Palmer psychologically correct, the whole structure might come crashing down. Everyone whose life has been touched by Twin Peaks, even those of us who relate to the more iconic Donna and Audrey, owe Sheryl Lee more thanks than we have given her.

The Scorpio Woman, by Linda Goodman
“Consider anything only don’t cry …” The female Scorpio has a deep, mysterious beauty. She’s magnetic, proud and totally confident. But she has one secret regret. She was not born a man. I can almost feel the heat from here when Pluto women hear about that revelation. There’s not a Scorpio female alive who doesn’t think she’s all woman, and you may wonder what I’m talking about yourself, if you’re in love with one. This girl certainly has enough glamour, and she’s enormously seductive. But I didn’t say she looked like a boy, nor did I intend to imply she doesn’t do a bang-up job of being a female. It’s just that, unconsciously, she would prefer to be a man. Less restriction-more opportunity. It’s the one secret she even hides from herself, and seeing it exposed won’t sit well with her.

Once the Scorpio girl has figured out the difference between blue booties and pink booties, she’ll resign herself to wearing the pink ones, because she’s fabulous at making the best out of a situation. But pink is not her natural color. The true shade of her nature is dark maroon, or deep wine-red, not a female color at all. However, to give her proper tribute, she’s able to make you think it is. I know one who’s great at pretending to be a fragile, fluffy kitten. She purrs so contentedly most men guess she’s an ultra-feminine Piscean. They topple into her trap and wake up later, sadder but wiser. She is no kitten.

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This Motion Fails

pairing: Phan

genre: fluff

word count: 4,743 words

status: finished

warnings: underage drinking

Summary: Model UN!Phan where Dan and Phil go to a conference and are super touchy and everyone ships it, including the delegates in their committee.

A/N: I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here yet, but I’ve submitted a fic to phanficwritingcomp! Their results will be released will be released in about a week, but I’ll let you guys know what happens! Anyway, this fic was inspired by the recent Model UN conference that I went to, and for anyone who is still in school, I definitely recommend you go! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this, because this is basically exactly what happens lol. Heeeeere we go!

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This year, I watched more films than ever before (over 65 if I’m showing off) and enjoyed every second of pouring over their details, scrutinising and analysing them and their merits, and just generally being a nerd. I did have a full list of ten (it included Haider, Jigarthanda and Dedh Ishqiya if you were wondering) but I had nothing to say about them. They were perfect, solid, inventively sculpted pieces of cinema. I agreed with their aesthetics and politics. But it’s really hard for me to say what makes them so great. They just…are!

So the films in this list are simply the most interesting; the films which are perhaps not always perfect, but could not have been made in any other way, for any other audience, in any other language or cultural climate. They are works that have surprised me, will continue to surprise me, and that I’m sure will prove to be of great cultural importance to the industries they were produced in. I hope that all makes sense! So here we go:

7. Oohalu Gusagusalade

Sometimes the most brilliant films are not those that try to be everything, to break new ground, or impress with breathtaking craft. Sometimes, a brilliant film will utilise simplicity in such a charming way that you don’t even wish it tried to be ‘better’. If you are making a romantic comedy, you need a good looking lead pair, some relatable romance and some comedy that is actually funny. You do not need a club song or incessant innuendos or suicide and heartbreak. Kudos to this lovely little film which knew exactly what it was and what it needed to do, while subtly and brilliantly assessing the place of a woman’s choice in arranged marriage. 

6. Bangalore Days

An ‘epic’ is generally considered to be a film with massive production values, conjuring up a huge sense of escapism and a time and a place you never dreamed of seeing, complete with a sprawling time scale and a vaguely existentialist battle between good and evil. But then there is another kind of epic; the kind that boldly attempts to encompass the entire human condition, from youth to adulthood. One of Bangalore Days’ many strokes of genius was casting the ever-popular romantic pairing of Nazriya and Nivin Pauly as cousins, deftly pronouncing the importance of family and friendships that so many Indian films leave at the wayside. Bangalore Days is a whole life lived, with a cast of characters who will feel like your own kin when it’s over. 

5. Kill/Dil

How did Shaad Ali imagine this film? Where did the ideas spring from? What kind of brain can envisage such visual composition, such a rich colour palette, and this bewildering sense of kinetic energy on a two-dimensional screen? Films like this, that have a genuine madcap ingenuity and creativity behind them (and I’m talking about the physical, tangible CRAFT of the art-form) are destined to be critical failures. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. God bless Yash Raj Films, India’s most commercial production house, for allowing a filmmaker to experiment, and ultimately fail in telling a story, but excel in the art of making images. 

4. Hasee Toh Phasee

Meeta and Nikhil sit down at a bus stand after storming out of the family home. Meeta has returned after disappearing for years without a trace. The wounds are still raw. Nikhil is attracted to her mystery, the fierce independence in her actions. He wants to know what is driving all these choices. To explain, she takes out a red rubber ball. She drops it and it bounces furiously around the bus stand. It doesn’t stop. It just keeps bouncing. He was not expecting that. This red ball, and indeed Meeta’s character, are almost metaphors for this film - a small but vital shot of total insanity amongst the mundane.

3. Punjab 1984

Masala films have a lot in common with the post-apocalyptic genre: those barren, hopeless villages where ordinary folk are terrorised by archetypal evil landlords or corrupt rulers, to be saved only by a singular righteous hero. Using no tricks, technical machinery or effects, Punjab 1984 conjures up this otherworldly atmosphere quite beautifully, employing a steadfastly Indian mode of storytelling which never dilutes or insults the real-life significance of the issue at hand. This film was hard to trust, given that it stars BJP-member Kirron Kher and (allegedly) Sukhbir Badal-supporting Diljit Dosanjh, but its even handed, delicate treatment of separatism makes its ultimately humanist message impossible to disagree with. Smaller budgets make sharper filmmakers, and regional cinema is now the place to turn for honestly made and truly Indian movies.

2. Madras

On the surface, this is just a perfectly sculpted story we’ve heard a thousand times before: two opposing political forces exploiting impressionable youths into carrying out their dirty bidding. There are two best friends whose ideologies drift apart, a romance that becomes a vessel of redemption, and a vivid backdrop of an urban slum and its cast of colourful characters from gangsters to nagging mothers. On this level its a good, engrossing film, but little else. But then, notice the Ambedkar portraits that hang in every house, the Christian names, the political literature that lingers on the bookshelves. These characters are Dalits, once ‘untouchable’ people. And this colourful neighborhood they inhabit is government sanctioned 'slum clearance’ social housing - a ghetto in the most literal sense of the word. The film gains a host of added nuances. Every heartwarming interaction between friends or relations becomes a middle finger to centuries of disgraceful oppression. Their ownership of their environment becomes a reclaiming of this prison. Madras is either a perfectly told saga of wasted youth and failed democracy, or an important document of the current state of the caste struggle. Either way, its a fabulous entry into a canon of cinema that could only be made in the Tamil language, and a fervently proud, rebellious and working-class masterpiece.

1. Highway

I’m going to have to try and be critical about a piece of work which moved me so deeply and profoundly that I was quite literally in tears for half of its two hour runtime. I’m going to have to try and be critical about a film which was so personal to me that whenever I thought about it over the next few days, I burst into tears all over again. I’m going to have to try and be critical about a film which beautifully summed up everything I have ever thought about our futile material existence on this Earth, a film which explores love and kindness and compassion between human beings simply and poetically. This is a story about the haves and have-nots, about the divide between rich and poor, about our priorities, the very nature of the things which give us happiness. It is a film about women, about innocence, about childhood, about family. And all of this from the man who gave us Love Aaj Kal? Ok I’m finished, that’s about as critical as I can get for a film which is so much more than just perfect.

Once again, this list really took over my life. There are of course some fabulous looking films I didn’t get to see (and literally tons more of crappy ones that I actually sat through). These are the films which inspired me, got me thinking, and really forced me to engage with them critically. I look forward to hearing what you think! Much love, and happy new year!!

Monday Night Cuteness (Bucky x Reader)

Request: @thatbighairgirl - Sooo college!au Bucky is studying in the library till midnight and right as he’s about to head back to his dorm he gets a text from his roomate that he has a lady friend over for the night and he’s gonna need to find somewhere else to stay so he heads over to the reader’s dorm (his best friend) and they end up bunking together in those incredibly small dorm beds. +she doesn’t have a shirt big enough for him and he ends up shirtless +quiet giggles and convo so her Roomate doesn’t wake up

Words: 1,767

Warnings: Absolutely none

Monday nights consisted of pretty basic things. 

You would do tomorrow’s classes homework assignments once you got home, that way you would have plenty of spare time once it hit six o’clock. More times than not, you would end up binge watching Netflix until midnight and then be groggy all morning. You were currently binge watching Gossip Girl, all of the drama just lured you. You had no shame in it. 

All of the lights in your dorm room were off, the only source of light was your laptop that lit up your face. It was nearing midnight, and you were already in bed decked out in your sweats and hoodie. Your roommate was already passed out on her bed across the room, you couldn’t blame her though. She had been studying hard core the past two weeks for a big test coming up. 

You fought the urge to gasp when Dan and Serena got into a small argument about Dan’s long time friend Vanessa making a reappearance after a year of living away after Dan told her he loved her. The drama was unbelievably addicting, maybe that’s why you have an obsession over Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s as well. 

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anonymous asked:

5!!!!!! SS of course!

one night stand and falling pregnant au (prequel to this)

“do you remember the night we met?” he asks one evening. the words aren’t romantic. 

really, sasuke sounds confused — like this is a blank he’s been trying to fill for five years now. and somehow he’s not blushing and sakura figures that that’s because he actually doesn’t remember the night they met.

she takes a seat beside him on the couch and glances at the hall to make sure sarada didn’t escape from her bed. she looks down at the cushion and her cheeks turn pink as she recalls what she and sasuke did on it five years ago.

“you really don’t remember?” she asks.

he sighs. “it was naruto’s birthday. there were drinks involved.” he clears his throat. “a lot of drinks.”

sakura laughs and gives him an abbreviated pg-13 version of their meeting and the rest of the story afterward.

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Sugar Baby (Gay) & Sugar Bowl

Although I haven’t been active on here, as it pertains to my personal posts, I feel like I should take the initiative and create a post regarding all things sugaring in the gay community. I’ve noticed there’s been a sudden growth in male sugar babies (which I don’t mind, I actually welcome the idea) but the problem comes when there’s a clear differentiation between the two groups but answers to questions are not being reflected as such. For instance, I’ve noticed that most female sugar babies suggest to play the “damsel in distress” role when interacting with a POT/sugar daddy. Gay sugar daddies, at least the one’s I’ve come across, are not interested in “damsels.” They prefer someone who’s more aggressive, assertive, and leads the way - The “take charge” type. 

Everything that you know about female sugaring should be reversed when referencing the male sugar bowl. 

For starters, before entering the bowl know your worth.The most common question that I get from other gay sugar babies is, “How much does a male sugar baby make?” The allowance amount for any sugar baby isn’t correlated  to their gender but on their ability to finesse. The sky is the limit for anyone. If you believe that you’re worth a $5,000 monthly allowance, then don’t settle. Patience is a virtue and there will be someone who comes along that will agree to your demands. The majority of these men are business leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors who are used to negotiating deals so that they end up spending less & saving more. Keep that in mind when talking allowance with your POT/sugar daddy. If he’s offering you less than what you feel you deserve thank him for his time, efforts, and generosity but decline his invitation to move forward. If he truly wants you he will meet your needs by accommodating your demands. When it comes to securing a set amount though, you want to remain realistic. But again, don’t cheapen yourself. 

Most of you don’t know but there are subcultures within the gay community IE: bears, cubs, otters, masc, fems, etc. The list goes on and on. I, personally, do not agree with categorizing oneself to accommodate the masses with labeling. The majority of these men are looking for a fantasy - We get it. But it is never advised to adapt the persona of a complete stranger. We all have fetishes, desires, and things that we would never do in our daily lives but often times inquire about privately - That’s totally different. I am speaking to those who feel that who they are (whether it be physically, or based on their mannerism) is a turnoff or disgrace. There are some men who find effeminate men attractive and would actually prefer to be with someone smooth, submissive, and “fabulous” versus muscular, hairy, and the stereotypical “straight guy” role. Moral of the story: Don’t allow the idiotic title posts to make you believe that you aren’t attractive or desired. There’s always someone out there for you, as I mentioned earlier, patience is a virtue.  

The sugar bowl is not the end all, be all. As a man, you want to be goal-oriented, motivated, and able to make things happen for yourself in addition to utilizing the skills gained by your sugar daddy. No one wants a bum or moocher. That shit is not going to get you far in life, the bowl - or anywhere else for that matter. Set goals (short-term & long-term) for yourself to that you don’t become consumed with the dates, gifts, luxury trips, gym packages, and fast money. Invest in yourself and grow your money. Leverage is a key word in the sugar bowl. You want to sustain (your money) and elevate (professionally, intellectually and mentally) from your constant situation, whatever that may be. If you have nothing to show from being in the bowl but a couple of stamps in your passport, a luxury handbag or two, and a pair Louboutins, you’ve wasted your time. Material items are nice but in terms of solidifying a future, they do not compare. Diamonds depreciate in cost over time, bags lose their value once purchased, shoes can’t be sold for the selling price after signs of wear - but money, money is everlasting and will always sustain its value. Be smart, my sugaring friend. And may the sugaring gods be forever in your favor. 

Reblog for your gay sugar baby followers,

- g4ysugar 

Star Wars Rant-Along: TFA EDITION! (Chapter II)

Yo! So iAM bACK! drINKING the heliumwine, rantin’ bout Star Wars. It’s Sunday, so that means there’s another edition of Star Wars Rant-Along: TFA EDITION! For those of you who don’t know what this is aall about, basically I read through the TFA novel chapter-by-chapper drunk on cheap wine and cheaper chocolate, annnnnnnnnnn’ I rant about it. I rant about it lots. You can find a not-so-drunk explaination of this thing HERE. You can find Star Wars Rant-Along: TFA EDITION (Chapter I) here.

sOME of this will make sense. Most of it wont. I am alreadypretty drunk. You have been warned.

Alright, lets get this party sTARTED.

Originally posted by xdeathxinxpajamasx

CHAPTER II (In which we discuss Alan Driver’s hard-on for Rey)


  • Lastweek we met Leia, Finn (aka HE OF NO NAME), Hoe-my-hair-fabulous, Death-on-Wheels, Lorry and Kyle (the less-evil brother of Keith). No one gots a name except for BB-fuckin’-ATE and Poe with the hair. Lorry called Kylo a  sadist, annnnn’ kyle decided to fuck shit up.
  • THIS WEEK: Kyle meets the Hoe. Hoe is like ‘my hair is fabulous, right, I am the lovable rogue.” and because kyle got a stick up his ass he’s like bitch i’m a fucking hAIR model under this helmet, DON’T U MESS WITH ME. so tl;dr Kyle was having a bad hair day because lorry got the cuts and kyle lost the map. Poe was also beingA DICK. Finn continues to have a breakdown, death-on-wheels is getting the fuck outta dodge. Brienna of TARTH, aka MAMA PHASMA makes an appearance and rocks the shit out of a cape. Rey is introduced, gets a name, and Anal Driver spends a lot of time discussing how pretty Rey is cuz Driver wants to driver that HARD. ANYWAYS.

Notes (Livebloggin’, already drunker)

  • I gotsthe wine, I gots the wine, RED WINE, RED WINE, ONLY BASIC BITCHES DRINK REDWINE
  • And Ohtze. Always Ohtze. Wine never ends in Ohtze land!
  • Listening to beyonce. I blame the dinosaurs
  • I almost done the wine ALREADY. Fuck. Geeting more
  • PAGE 1. Page 1 of chapter tew: “poe saw the saber come to life. saw it start to describe its lethal art” what DOES THIS EVEN MEAN???? WHO SAYS ‘DESCRIBE’ WHEN DISCUSSING A SWORD FALLING. Fuk, this is theasarus syndrome; where u write a word but u think that word don’t sound smart enough so u go to thesaurus to get a bigger word.
  • PAGE 22 (of book, talking about kyle): “from behind the mask, eyes of preternatural intensity tracked the attack to its source.”
  • So like I wuz wrong. I started this chapter thinking anal driver only had a boner for rey, but he’s got a boner for kylo too. WHOSAYS PRETERNATURAL INTENSITY OUTSIDE OF A HARLEQUIN ROMANCE, LIKE SHIT
  • I think anal driver wants to drive the driver

Originally posted by little-scribblers-heart

  • PG 23: “kylo ren did not let his disappointment show.” rEALLY. REALLY NOW???
  • ON PAGE 24, the villagers are massacred. Like u shouldbe describing this in SO MUCH detail, but the whole massacre is contained to a single paragraph! LIEK ONE. and yet ANAL SPENDS SO MUCH TIME DISCUSSING THE DRIVER. HE SPENTS SO MUCH TIME DISCUSSING THE REY. This is romance trope, folks: in romance, u have ur fuckers. U describe the fuckers that are going to do the fucking in HUGE detail,  but u skip ovoer everything else. AND ALAN IS DOIG THIS. THIS IS THE OFFICIAL TFA NOVELIZATION IN HARLEQUEIN FORM
  • Pg 24, we are back to Finn, aka he with no name! he still doesn’t have a name, but he is apanicking still
  • Toot toot, tweet tweet. I now listening to this

  • Fuck music. Ohtz listening to fuck music, cuz this is a fuk book
  • Time for more wine
  • PAGE 26: “Contrary to much popular thought… TO …or, failing that, even people.” This whole paragraph is shit. Like total shit. You should show, don’t tell, and this paragraph is ALL telling. It is SO BORING. The only time anal river doesn’t tell is when he’s talking about kylo or rey. Remember, dis is a fuk book
  • See:

Originally posted by sterkiller

  • Fuk book
  • PAGE 27, MAMA PHASMA, aka brienna of tART, makes her appearance and rocks the shit out of a cape. And finn still don’t gets a name. STILL! We at LEAST need his designation code before this, but we didn’t get it till mama tells us
  • PAGE 27, LOOK.
  • LOOK
  • “it was where technology went to die.”
  • Like stories don’t have to be told linerally. You can mix shit up, and seriouslythis would have been SUCHA GOOD HOOK. OHMYGOD I’M SO ANGRY I’M SO ANGRYWAT A WASTED OPPORTUNITY

Originally posted by adreamemporium

  • Seriouslytho, anal driver spends so much time talking about rey. Likehe goes into SO MUCH DETAIl that it becomes less about what the BOOK is about, and what HE is about, as a riter
  • Fun story: long time ago, I used towrite everything in super super detail, but I hated writing sex scenes and my editorstold me to cut that shit out, because it made me look like a pride. Prude. Ayways, it gaveaway a lot about me, as writer, and what was going to happenwith this book. And this book? Howhe disccuss only kyle and the rey?WELLLLLL
  • Seriously tho, the parts with rey in it are halfway passabul. Good mixture of exposition vs. showing vs. telling UNLIKE ERVTYHING ELSE
  • Pg 29, Rey finally gets a name. too late to get a name. this is a bad name habit to have, alan. Bad alan. You gave a good man anxiety!
  • Pg 29: “for the hell of it, she executed a barrel roll?” I WUZ GONNA SAY THAT THERE IS NO HELL IN STAR WARS LIKE WE THINK OF HELL, BUT @avenrue coreected me. U win this round, anal driver. U win this round.
  • Pg 32, unkar platooie wants to have the sex with rey, but rey no wants to have the sex with him. ugh, gross unkar. U are like a fish
  • Pg 33, good description of rey’s home. Good, I like.
  • WINE
  • CHAPTER ends with rey and death-on-wheels meeting up! Cinnamon rolls decide to roll the fuck out of dodge, and teedo gets jack shit. Chapter ends. Wine is noo more. UNNNNNNnnnnnnnnHHHGHHHHHH


  • A harlequin. I’m reading a fucking HARLQUEIN
  • Alan dean wants to fuck anal driver, AND rey
  • On pg 31, thee is a scene where rey sees a mama n’ her baby and they have tattoos. Was this in the movie? I cannot remember
  • In book unkar wants to fuck rey but in movie this not there? u think they took it out on purpose?

Let us keep the convo goin!. Ohtze will be drunk-blogging until she drops.

Some creepy program can talk to your kid through Mattel's new Hello Barbie.

So, you go to Toys R Us to buy something for your kid and there’s a display for a new Hello Barbie.  She looks like all the other Barbies, but she’s new, so you pick it up.  Your kid opens it, loves it, everything is fine.  Then one night, you peek in and your kid is talking to Barbie, because sometimes kids talk to their toys.  Everything is fine until BARBIE TALKS BACK because your kid’s voice has been recorded, transmitted wirelessly to some central location, and a Mattel partner has picked the perfect response to send back.

I’m going to vote NO ON THIS because children aren’t that bright, creeps are everywhere, and somebody’s dumb kid is gonna be like “Barbie I live at 123 Everson Lane come visit!” and now you have some gross sweaty man in your driveway holding a box of cookies talmbout “your kid invited me.”

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Q & A with Matsumoto

As requested by bleachfan-hitsuhina-rangin. :)

Matsumoto will now answer some of the questions you all sent in!  

[And hey - there’s only a few weeks left in this series, so if you want more, you should request some on Monday! After seeing what’s already been done, of course!]

1. bleachfan-hitsuhina-rangin said: Why’d you cut your hair?

Matsumoto: I saw a bunch of people going to the salon - Renji, Hinamori, Yumichika, Kira….even Ikkaku for some reason.

Matsumoto: I decided that it seemed like fun, so I went with them!

2. suzuya-dono said: Matsumoto-san, what hair products do you use? / thelittlelotusgoddess said: Matsumoto-san, how do you get your hair so fabulous? I love it!~

Matsumoto: Aww, thank you!

Matsumoto: I actually don’t use any products!

Matsumoto: It looks like this naturally!

Matsumoto: Yeah, I know.

3. lanithanai said: Who has drunk you under the table?

Matsumoto: Only Kyoraku has that ability.

Matsumoto: Although it’s cute when other people try!

4. candy-sweet-ashes said: Matsumoto, do you ever miss visiting the human world?

Matsumoto: Oh, all the time!

Matsumoto: The world of the living has the best shops, and great food, and of course Orihime and Ichigo are wonderful!

Matsumoto: I think the captain and I should go after all this is over - I’m sure he wants to see his girlfriend again!

5. marshal-law-galloway said: if you could dress ichigo in anything what would it be?

Matsumoto: Something manly and well-fitted! 

Matsumoto: Like a nice, sharp suit….or maybe some tight jeans and a button down shirt!

Matsumoto: Oh man, we totally need to do a photo shoot with him!

Matsumoto: I bet Rukia could bully him into it!

6. hyoshiro said: What were your first thoughts when Toshiro ascended to captaincy? / evelyn2707 said: Does it bother you that Hitsugaya went from 3rd seat to Captain while you’re still the vice-captain? / dryedplum said: Didn’t you want to become captain when Issin left? / magicmilkbone said: How did you feel when you found out Hitsugaya was promoted to captain before you? / secretninja312 said: How did you feel when Toshiro got promoted to Captain over you?

Matsumoto: I was a mixture of offended that they skipped over me, and relieved that I wouldn’t have to take on the role of captain, which would have been a whole lot of work!

Mastumoto: But, I mean, Hitsugaya is a wonderful captain.

Matsumoto: I am proud to be working with him!

Matsumoto: And……….he does care a lot more about paperwork than I ever will.  

7. elinkamag said: If you could tell Gin one thing what would it be?

Matsumoto: I would tell him, “I don’t need you to take revenge for me, Gin, I just need you to stop leaving!”

8. angryfourthsquadcaptain said: Do you have a problem fighting and or have back pains with your …..uhhh….different center of gravity

Matsumoto: My giant boobs, you mean?

Matsumoto: Back pain sometimes, but I manage!

Matsumoto: Just so long as I don’t fall asleep on my stomach! Or back.

9. spikeface said: What has been your proudest moment?

Matsumoto: Mmmmm….

Matsumoto: Getting Kira and Hisagi down to their underwear and taking pictures was pretty sweet.

10. lologreenevines said: Do you think you’ll ever see the return of that piece of your soul Aizen took to create his hougyoku, and if so, do you think the fact that it has since effectively been blended up with a load of others (including Quincy souls) will have any effect?

Matsumoto: I don’t like to think about it at all, to be honest.

Matsumoto: It was - a long time ago.

11. can-kill-this-dragon said: Do you ever switch that necklace out for anything fancier?

Matsumoto: Nah, something fancier would be wasted, since it would end up smooshed between my boobs anyway!

Mastumoto: Besides, I like this one!

12. primtheamazing said: How do you feel about your Zanpaktou— like, your actual power. Ash.

Matsumoto: Not gonna lie. Was I a little bummed out when I first got my shikai and it was an ugly cloud of ash? Yeah, a little. 

Matsumoto: I’m still not 100% sure that Haineko isn’t just messing with me.

Mastumoto: But hey. At least it’s effective.

Matsumoto: And sometimes it’s fun to slide close to Byakuya and mention that our power is basically the same.

Matsumoto: You can almost see steam shoot out of his ears!

13. ggiofon said: do you ever wish your zanpakuto had a different type of animal motif?

Matsumoto: Well, if Haineko wasn’t a cat, maybe she wouldn’t be so stubborn and hard to manage!!!

Matsumoto: But then…..I guess I am a little cat-like myself…

14. rythik78 said: How do you haggle with the human shopkeepers to lower price and how was that experience ?

Matsumoto: I find that feminine wiles are the best bargaining tactic in any situation!

Matsumoto: Except with Ichigo for some reason.

15. littlenekosfan said:
Did you ever notice that Ichigo is the son of your capitan Isshin ?

Matsumoto: Huh, what are you talking about?

Matsumoto: Our captain…..he’s gone.

Matsumoto: And he certainly didn’t have bright orange hair!

Matsumoto: Anyway, if Captain Shiba were somehow Ichigo’s father, I’m pretty sure he would have said something when we were in his house!

Matsumoto: It’s not like he’s a little shit who….never….tells…Hitsugaya…and….I….anything………


Matsumoto: Holy shit.

anonymous asked:

Both winning the lottery -bellarke prompt

Of course his made the better story. After splitting a ticket with his sister’s friend (that’s her!), the poor orphan boy won millions in the lottery. He and his sister moved from a tiny apartment with only one bedroom (Bellamy slept on the couch) into a proper house with a guest room and a garden big enough for Octavia to run around in.

Sadly, O was too old for the swing set she’d always wanted. But they did build a treehouse. An epic treehouse.

For the first time, Clarke was a side note in someone else’s story - and she didn’t like it. Sure, the newspapers mentioned the lifelong friend of Octavia Blake who offered to share the lottery ticket with Bellamy Blake for unknown reasons (if they’d bothered to ask, they would have found out that she mostly did it to piss Bellamy off - he didn’t believe in this lottery bullshit). But they didn’t interview her. Her face was not in the papers.

Not that she wanted it to be - Bellamy deserved all this and more. Heck, she would have gladly given him all of the money instead of just his half. Instead she settled for paying off her student loans and looking for the right charities she wanted to support.

There was just so much money - and there were so many people who deserved it so much more than she did. She’d never struggled financially. Her dad left her everything in his will, and even when her mother cut her off when Clarke refused to go pre-med, she still had her trust to pay the bills. Shit, she’d just felt so guilty since she’d won this staggering amount of money. It shouldn’t be hers.

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Eggs, Bees, & Toilets: Jupiter Ascending as WomanSpace

External image

Last year I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy because of its bold visuals, energetic cast, and good pacing. It was not, I thought, an excellent film but I wasn’t bored while watching it, and these days the big ticket spectacle movies that should be my greatest love often bore me (I’m looking at you, Avengers and co) so a film that doesn’t bore me gets a thumbs up.

GotG features the appealing Chris Pratt in the lead role of lovable rogue, together with the well-worn but always popular story of reluctant comrades who turn into friends/family by the end (I’m not being sarcastic; I love this trope). It also features several memorable women characters, although unfortunately with a jolt of random and unnecessary slut-shaming. As is typical in many of these sorts of stories, the women’s roles revolve around or tie directly back into their relationships with men. Star-Lord left behind a newly-dead mother who never told him who his (mysterious) father really is and who left him a legacy of old pop tunes on cassette tapes. Gamora and her sister Nebula are tied together by their complicated relationship with their adoptive father, Thanos; during the course of the film they each ally with a man on opposite sides of a conflict, and it is their relationship to those men that defines them most (within the film universe; I haven’t read the comic).

This is the kind of setting for women I expect in spectacle film-making, alas. I’m usually just happy if there are more than two female characters walking through the ocean of men.

Standard Disclaimer: I like men! Men are great! I even married one!

Compare the opening scenes of Jupiter Ascending.

[If you are totally averse to spoilers do not read on.]

Jupiter’s father is brutally murdered before she is born (all we know of him is that he loves sky-gazing and her mother, and plays Jarvis wonderfully in Agent Carter) and leaves her a legacy of wanting to buy a telescope. She is born in a container on a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean amid a group of women–all women!–seeking to illegally enter the United States, for whom the birth of a girl child is an act of hope during an uncertain journey whose end (we all know) will in most cases involve them working hard to service other people’s needs. We see her first as an adult with the two central figures of her life, her mother and her aunt, and then later with her extended family who are difficult, argumentative, and selfish in the way families can be but who are later (of course) revealed to be supportive and caring in the way families can be.

We see her cleaning the homes of rich people, with her mother and aunt, doing the unsung work that most stories ignore and without which no society can function. Her basic empathy and likability is revealed when one of the rich women she cleans for, who seems oblivious to the gulf between their lives, asks her advice on “which dress to wear” in a conversation which may seem to not pass the Bechdel Test but which (in my opinion) really does. The conversation between Jupiter and Katherine Dunleavy centers on how Katherine must learn to trust and stand up for herself. The man she is to have dinner with that night is inconsequential, merely a vehicle for the discussion.

The veil between Jupiter’s humble life and the world that is coming after her to kill her is revealed when she goes to a fertility clinic to donate eggs (in order to earn money to buy a telescope). Eggs!

In the course of her escape (ably managed by a capable, handsome, and stoically angsty wolf-man) she discovers she is literally a queen bee in one of the coolest (but in retrospect most throwaway and ridiculously inexplicable) bits in the film.

It’s no wonder some people don’t get this film: eggs, bees, living mothers, trust between women, and cleaning toilets (which besides being receptacles for human waste are, of course, bowl-shaped). Even the spaceships are a complex conglomerations of parts rather than sleek pointy rockets. Where the heck have my phallic symbols gone?

Having said that, I take a brief detour to mention that Jupiter Ascending is kind of a hot mess. The visuals are stunning and the plot (despite criticism I’ve heard) is coherent, but the rescue-in-the-nick-of-time sequences feel like repetitive hiccups, several character threads are highlighted only to be discarded without further notice (WTF Sean Bean’s daughter?), and while the action sequences are well choreographed and dynamically filmed they all went on a few beats too long for my taste.

Here’s the thing, though. I feel OBLIGED to acknowledge the film’s imperfections, as if I will lose all credibility if I don’t list out a ream of reasons why we should all criticize its unworthy elements. Yet let me flip that script. It’s all too easy to find reviews of male-written and especially male-centered work that undercuts a mutedly rote recitation of the work’s flaws with a huge BUT WHAT SHINING BRILLIANCE AND GLORY THIS MAN HATH WROT!

So my point is: While I’m happy to acknowledge JA’s imperfections, I didn’t particularly care about them in the face of SPACE LIZARD-DRAGONS, and Bae Doona and David Ajala as competent bounty hunters who trust each other, and Nikki Amuka-Bird as the most bad-ass ship’s captain maybe ever. Plus an elephant pilot.

I didn’t care about imperfections because of the unusual way JA highlighted a woman at the center of a story in which her existence matters within two different family structures.

Now we move into the more spoilery part of the review.

No really. Spoilers.

When Jupiter leaves the mundane world of Earth behind she discovers she is the “recurrence” of the matriarch of an extremely wealthy ruling dynasty. At her death this matriarch left behind three adult children, fabulously played by Tuppence Middleton (the unambitious one who just wants to keep her perks), Douglas Booth (the charming sociopath), and Eddie Redmayne (who ought to be nominated for an Oscar for his magnificently over-the-top performance as The Sensitive One).

As the cleaning of toilets has alerted us, this is a story about those at the height of power, the few who literally consume the substance of the many in order to live longer and better lives. A constant jockeying for wealth and inheritance goes on between the three siblings, and the unexpected appearance of their “recurred” mother throws their usual interactions into disarray. Each in their own particular way try to rid themselves of the mother whose arrival upsets the equilibrium.

In some ways Jupiter (ably acted by an appealing Mila Kunis) can feel passive once she has left Earth behind but while I was sometimes frustrated by the way she let others guide her, I also found realism in the portrayal. She does not kick ass because she is not trained to do so. She has no idea what is going on and does not magically figure it out instantly. She observes, learns, makes the best decisions she can given what knowledge she has (and makes mistakes doing so), and at the last makes the hardest–and in a way the most selfish–decision of all (although in the end the plot gives a victory that negates that choice).

But as much as Jupiter gets rescued one too many times in exactly the same dramatically-constructed way, in her final encounter with Balem (Redmayne) she alone defeats this most dangerous adversary not because she is rescued or because she physically harms him but because she chooses for herself her identity.

When she emphatically tells him, “I am not your mother” she closes the loop and claims a place that is hers alone. She defines who she is in relationship to her own life, not who she is in relationship to someone else’s life.

Think about the radical essence of that for a moment.

I’ve seen at least one snide review that mocks the story’s choice to have her go back to cleaning toilets at the end but that’s exactly the point. She doesn’t go back to cleaning toilets. She goes back to the work that the least among us do, to get her head together, to ground herself in the face of the (ridiculously) astonishing truth about her new status in the world beyond. In no way does she give up on her “spectacular” future, but she is prudently appalled by the economic status quo of that other life because she already knows what it is like to be one of the people whose lives will be used up by others.

She gets romantic love, yes (although note that, within our bee analogy, she and her man have asymmetric status). What she really takes is something far more important: space to understand who she is and who she can become.