Shaw’s a really unique character within the television landscape, I feel. She’s a bisexual, non-neurotypical woman of colour doctor badass whose heritage is discussed and who is never demonized for the way her mind works. In a lot of ways, I think Shaw is, on paper, a character that would be a villain in most shows and films. The ex-government assassin with an atypical way of processing emotions that wants some revenge. I feel like I’ve seen that archetype used as a villain dozens of times, and I think the fact that Shaw fits that trope and yet is a hero really makes her stand out as a character.
While I felt like Emerson and Caviezel, to a lesser extent Henson and Chapman, needed a little bit of time to grow into their roles, Shaw crashed onto the scenes with Shahi feeling like she had done this role for years. I believe I read that she only had two weeks or so to prepare, but man does it not show on screen. I’m coming back to a point I made in my ones for Finch and Reese, but I think it’s perhaps done the best here, the restraint of the performance. Shaw’s not a showy character really, she’s very understated and the performance manages to handle that perfectly. I think people underrate sometimes just how hard it is to give a minimal performance like this, focusing on more showy ones, but Sarah Shahi really kills it. Her best performance though for me, bar none, is in 6,741. She manages, over the episode and the season, to seamlessly blend Shaw as we know her with the effects of what Samaritan has done to her. She’s acting different, but still very Shaw. Nothing about it betrays her character, yet allows for further insight into her as some of her feelings she’s been wallowing in for so long through the endless simulations are brought closer to the surface. It’s just all around a brilliantly done performance, and one I think deserves more attention than it often gets.
The Mayhem Twins dynamic really brings a lot to the series, injecting a lot of life into everything. Not that the series didn’t have it before, but Reese and Shaw have great chemistry and it’s fun to watch them bounce off each other. Like Shaw fills the role of Reese’s deceased sister, and Reese fills the void left by Nathan for Finch, Reese for Shaw fills the spot where Cole used to be. Her partner, and the one person she considered an exception to her disinterest in having friends, something Reese, as well as Fusco, Carter and Finch become to her as well. Their dynamic really comes back to a line he says to Shaw in Trojan Horse, “In our line of work, you walk in the dark. Doesn’t mean we have to walk in it alone.” And I think there’s no better way to sum it up than that line.
After she was revealed alive in M.I.A., and especially following Martine tormenting Root a little in Asylum by telling her about how Shaw pointed them towards her cochlear implant, I remember a lot of discussion about Shaw being turned. I am immensely glad they didn’t go down that route for her. I feel like it would have felt a bit too typical, a bit too easy, and would have gone against her character. What we got instead, with Shaw sacrificing herself over and over again, just like she did in If-Then-Else, that felt like Shaw. Instead of going down the somewhat lazy, in my opion, turning her to working for Samaritan route, they stayed true to her character as well as brought out a new dimension in Shaw. She experienced killing herself instead of Root-but-not some 7,000 times, and when she gets back, we can really see how the experience changed her particularly in terms of this relationship. Prior to everything Samaritan put her through, I don’t think Shaw would be the type to enjoy the softer things, moments like Root and her holding hands in TDTWWA. And when Root’s being her usual self in the face of a gunfight and flirting with Shaw, instead of the usual brushing it off, Shaw smiles. She missed this. Because the simulated Root was never really Root, and not just in the fact she wasn’t real. It was always just a bit off. Root wouldn’t be trying to get Shaw to sleep with her minutes after she returns, for example. None of them were quite right, and while Shaw’s not 100% when she gets back if this is real or if the simulations had just gotten really good, either way, she missed the real thing. Seeing how Shaw’s stripped down by the simulations is heartbreaking to watch, but brilliantly pulled off, allowing for a new lens on her as a character.
The Root and Shaw relationship is without a doubt my favourite romantic pairing in anything. It’s a relationship where both participants are fully formed, fascinating characters in their own rights and doesn’t feel the need to play by any will they/won’t they, love triangles created to pad things out. I wish more TV shows would approach relationships with this level of maturity, instead of relying on tired tactics to drag it on. And what I really love is how it develops them both, how they challenge each other. With Shaw, I think we see a little bit of Root’s perception of The Machine having rubbed off on her in Death Benefit. When the team is confronted with the Trolley Problem, Finch falls in the camp of uncertainty but thinking murder is out of the question, Reese doesn’t trust The Machine as herself but trusts the rules Finch gave her, Shaw meanwhile is willing to trust in The Machine. Maybe it’s just me, but I think seeing how she and Root work and how everything that Root did with The Machine’s instructions had a larger purpose that she didn’t see at the time but they couldn’t complete the mission without grew that trust. I think it’s also what made Shaw the ideal pick for an analogue interface for The Machine down the line. And then there’s a smaller little development of teasing in their relationship, from Root flirting and teasing and Shaw looking irritated through season 3, to Honour Among Thieves when Shaw gets to be the one doing the teasing. One of the many things I love about their relationship is that it’s not everything their characters are, but at the same time, it’s big part and something that you can’t remove from the series without it falling apart. Seasons 4B and 5 can’t work without it, because this show understands that it needs to write for characters, not plot. The plot is informed by the characters, their wants, their desires, their fears, their hesitations, their impulses and decisions, those things are not dictated by the plot. Both these points are fine lines to walk, but this show pulls it off and makes it look easy.
“What is love if not being seen?” The Machine poses to Finch in Synecdoche, and I think this is a line that perhaps applies to Shaw most of all. The show, and Root within the show, never felt the need to change Shaw. It handled her non-specific aneurotypical personality respectfully, not acting like it was something that needed to be cured or gotten past. It wasn’t something wrong with her, it’s just who she is. And as The Machine says in return 0, she’s special and loved by Root for who she is, not as some kind of project, not as someone with something wrong with them, for being Shaw, exactly the way she is.
Hello nerd, could you please expand on what you were saying about there being canon evidence for will being gay???
Thank you so much for this ask, I know I’ve already talked to you about this a million times but believe it or not I have YET MORE to say on this topic so HERE WE GO:
Okay, so the first thing I need to say is that I don’t necessarily think any of this is intentional, or that the writers are actually planning for Will to turn out to be gay, or anything like that. I mean, it’d be super nice if I was wrong and in future seasons it turns out that Will totally is gay and they planned it that way all along, but I really doubt that’s going to be the case. In all likelihood, this entire post is just a collection of coincidences and me reading too deeply into the values dissonance between the early 1980s and the modern day that the show enjoys pointing out. That being said, there are a lot of things within canon that, in my opinion, strongly contribute to the reading of Will Byers as a gay character, even if it’s not intentional on the part of the writers.
The thing about Will is that, by the very nature of the plot revolving around his disappearance, most of what we learn about him is secondhand, i.e. Will as seen through the eyes of other characters. One fact that comes up frequently–like, really frequently, like, noticeably frequently, like, more often than pretty much anything else about Will besides The Clash and Dungeons & Dragons–is the fact that Will is bullied because other characters perceive him as gay. Now, being perceived as gay obviously does not mean that someone actually is gay, but I find it striking how this repeatedly comes up about Will, the character who we primarily learn about through other people’s views of him, and no one else. (Seriously, the only time orientation (other than heterosexuality) is mentioned outside of comments made about Will is when Steve tells Jonathan, “I always took you for a qu**r, but I guess you’re just a little screwup like your father.”) Whenever the show references the bullying/abuse Will faces, it always involves him being called gay:
When Joyce reports him missing, she tells Hopper that Lonnie used to call Will homophobic slurs. Notably, Hopper’s reaction is to ask, “Is he?” and Joyce simply reminds him that Will is missing. This scene happens not even twenty minutes into the first episode–we’re still forming our basic knowledge of Will as a character, and one of the first things we learn about him, before him being “good at hiding”, before his love of drawing or The Clash, before basically anything,is that he’s experienced homophobic treatment at the hands of others. It reminds me a lot of (sorry to bring literally everything I do back to The Raven Cycle, but) the scene in BLLB where Tad makes a gay joke about Adam and Adam doesn’t respond to him–and of course, that scene exists specifically to plant the idea in the audience’s mind, “Hey, maybe Adam’s not straight?” The Stranger Things scene is almost definitely not meant that way, especially since Hopper asks similar questions about other things Joyce says in the scene (e.g. “What’s wrong with his clothes?”), but for me, Hopper’s “Is he?” and Joyce’s ignoring of the question felt like it served a similar function to that TRC scene, drawing attention and adding significance to Will’s sexual orientation.
When Troy tells Mike, Lucas, and Dustin that Will’s not missing, he’s dead, he makes a point of working in a jab at Will’s perceived orientation. Now, Troy and James are violently over-the-top bully caricatures and everything they say should be taken with a near-lethal amount of salt, but it strikes me as noticeable that these characters who we see pick on each of the boys for one particular trait (Lucas’ race, Dustin’s cleidocranial dysplasia, Mike’s “frogface”) single Will out as “the gay one”, despite the fact that there is so much other stuff to make fun of Will for. That makes me sound mean–I’m referring to stuff like his clothes, which Joyce says other kids make fun of him for, or his artistic nature (which admittedly could be what they mean by calling him gay, but this scene happens before we even know that Will’s artistically talented), or the fact that the Byers family is clearly not well-regarded by a decent chunk of the town population. They could have picked on Will for any one of these things, but no, Will is “the gay one” for seemingly no reason–which isn’t exactly unrealistic, especially given the time period, but from a writing standpoint it kind of makes me wonder.
During the school assembly, Troy makes yet more homophobic comments about Will. The fact that homophobia is yet again the go-to insult about Will is just… so odd to me from a narrative standpoint. Like, there is a lot of emotional weight to this scene–Troy is mocking a seemingly dead child to said child’s best friends, for God’s sake–and the writers chose to, yet again, emphasize Will’s perceived sexuality over literally anything else Troy could insult him for.
To be clear, in-universe, this doesn’t mean anything, because calling someone gay doesn’t mean they’re gay and assuming that everything bullies/abusers say about their victims is true is gross. From a meta standpoint, however, the fact that homophobia is one of the main insults we see used against Will, and only Will, makes me think that the writers may be subtextually associating Will with being gay, though whether or not they’re consciously aware that they’re doing it is up in the air. (Hey, I’m a former Supernatural fan, I don’t trust TV showrunners an inch when it comes to gay subtext.) And again, none of this would be as noticeable if Will was a regular character who was actually onscreen regularly to give us an objective, firsthand view of who he is. But instead, he’s a character who the audience knows mainly through the other characters’ opinions of him, and one opinion the writers repeatedly remind us is shared by multiple characters is that Will “seems gay”.
As for when Will is onscreen, there isn’t much to go on, but I do want to talk about one scene in particular: Jonathan’s flashback to showing Will The Clash. This is only the second insight we get into Lonnie and Will’s relationship, the first one being Joyce’s statement to Hopper, and oh, hey, what does this flashback make a point of showing? That Lonnie doesn’t approve of Will’s interests. That Lonnie thinks Will is weird. That Lonnie tries to force Will to be “normal”. Jonathan even tells Will outright that “you shouldn’t like things just because other people say you’re supposed to, especially not him.” Is this supposed to be a metaphor? Probably not! But goddamn could it work as one, especially given the context that all we knew about Lonnie and Will’s relationship prior to this scene was the homophobic treatment Will endured from him. In other words, the very first things we learn about Lonnie and Will’s relationship are: 1. Lonnie used to call Will qu**r and a f*g, and 2. Lonnie wanted to make Will like the (traditionally masculine) things he thought Will should like, rather than accepting Will’s actual interests. Maybe these aren’t related–maybe the parallels are totally unintentional–but I can’t completely shake the feeling that there’s a connection between the two scenes, especially given their placement before anything else we learn about Lonnie and Will’s relationship.
Now, if you’ll permit me to really hurt my arm with all this reaching I’m doing, here are some more things to consider:
“He’s not like… most.” - Joyce, talking to Hopper about Will like 17 minutes into the first episode, shortly before telling him what Lonnie used to call Will.
“[Friends] tell each other things. Things parents don’t know.” - Mike, who was definitely not talking about Will’s sexual orientation but come on, tell me you can’t at least a little bit see this hypothetically being relevant to Will’s sexual orientation.
Are these lines actually intended to be allusions to Will being gay? Almost definitely not, no. But the fact that they could be seen that way, paired with the fact that the show prominently features the idea that multiple characters view Will–specifically Will, just Will, Will and no other character in the entire show–as gay makes me think that there is a certain degree of validity in reading Will Byers as a gay character.
To summarize: Is Will Byers gay? Not canonically, no. Are the writers planning to reveal Will to be gay? Probably not, although it would make a lot of sense if they did. Is there in-universe evidence that Will is gay? Maybe, but it’s a hell of a reach at best–he’s just not onscreen enough to draw any firm conclusions. However, from a purely meta standpoint, one focusing not on the in-universe meaning of any characters’ words but on what ideas those words plant in the audience’s minds, does it make sense to interpret Will as gay? Hell yes.
Jared and Jensen Meet and Greet Tidbits PHXCon 2016
Despite your bullshit threats, nothing ever gets deleted from the Internet. 🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻
“So…..I’m not allowed to talk much about Jared and Jensen’s meet and greets. Creation has really cracked down…we can’t even bring in a piece of piece of paper with our question written down, presumably so we don’t gnaw off our fingers and scratch down notes in blood.
But I feel like this is my experience. I paid for it, just like everyone else, and I feel I should be allowed to share at least some of it if I want to so that’s what I’m going to do.
Since there were a couple of questions that were the same for both Jared and Jensen I’m going to write the reports together. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask and I’ll try to answer.
I’ll start with Jared. First off, he came in carrying a can of Coors Light. We all noticed but just kind of shrugged it off, it was almost lunch time, so why not? Jared started telling a story and cursed, then caught himself, joking that he shouldn’t swear before noon. We all laughed at that and someone pointed out he was already drinking beer, so why NOT swear?
Jared looked startled and started to insist that of course he wasn’t drinking beer, it was Diet Coke. He held up the can to prove it, and we all started laughing again. He promised it was an accident, he’d meant to grab soda, and gave the (unopened) beer to a fan who wanted it. Later in the session a volunteer brought him a Diet Dr. Pepper instead.
My question was the last one, and Jared specifically asked us not to repeat what he said, so I’m respecting that. However, I will note that I asked Jensen the same question and he did NOT make that request. What I asked was (paraphrased): you and Jensen said in Rome that you basically rewrote the finale. How was the decision made to have Sam NOT protest Dean’s imminent death, or offer to go with him? Jared answered very thoughtfully and gave us a lot of insight into how the ep SHOULD have been.
Jensen had a lot of interesting things to say about the finale and the eps right before it as well. He said that there were a lot of people involved in the re-write (“I wouldn’t call it a re-write…more like triage.”) and reminded us that a lot was going on behind the scenes at that point, including the fact that Jeremy Carver had moved on to his new show and that change had caused a lot of chaos and confusion that had to be dealt with. At one point, he and Jared proposed that the finale ep simply be pulled and the season cut back to 22 eps; that conversation evolved into serious discussion of pulling the final three eps so that the season ended with 11.20 and picking up the storyline in S12. Unfortunately, the network stepped in at that point and nixed the whole idea because advertising had already been paid for. Jensen added that he thought 11.20 was a really powerful ep and would have made a great finale.
Another great question was about all nuances of body language that we see in the show, for example Sam and Dean standing by Mary’s grave but choosing not to look at each other. The fan wanted to know if that was scripted or if Jared and Jensen make those choices.
First Jared thanked us all for noticing these details and for paying so much attention. He said that knowing how much we love the show and appreciate what they put into each ep makes being away from their family a lot easier for him and Jensen. He said that the decision not to look at each other, and a lot of the other scenes like that, are on Jared and Jensen to work out. They chose to play the scene in the graveyard the way they did, and Jared was glad to hear that it worked so well and that the emotion and intent really came through. Then he went on to talk about his scenes with Lucifer, and how he tried to be very conscious and aware of Sam’s history and fear and reflect that in his reactions. There was supposed to be a scene where God makes it clear that Sam and Dean don’t have to fear Lucifer that got cut, but he still wanted that fear and wariness to be acknowledged.
Jensen also had a great answer for this question. He also thanked us for noticing the details and care he and Jared put into the eps, and gave us some bts info about shooting the scene in the graveyard.
*Sidenote: PLEASE ASK JENSEN MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS BTS. He loves to talk about it and go into all the technical details that go into making the show.*
Okay. So Jensen told us about shooting the scene in the graveyard. He confirmed that the decision not to look at each other was made by him and Jared when they blocked the scene before actual filming, and that those kinds of decisions are left up to them as long as it isn’t going to interfere with filming by requiring more cameras or more takes. He gave us some great details about how shots are filmed that really make it clear just how hard everyone involved in making the show works. Jensen’s coverage was shot in the rain, and he told us about how difficult it is to make rain show up on film (like bees? someone asked. Yes, Jensen said very dryly. Like bees.) He also talked about how film flickers and how they sometimes have to do multiple takes for shots where they are firing a gun because the muzzle flashes are so fast they can be missed.
He then segued into the scene where Dean confronts God (I’m pretty sure that was part of the question or that the fan interjected it, but it’s hard to remember.) He mentioned that his first instinct was to be angry, but the more he thought about it the more it seemed like Dean would really be hurt rather than angry. He was sitting going over the script and the scene in his mind and Phil (I think?) told him that was perfect. It was really great to hear about how much respect he and Jared get from the writers, directors and crew, and how much trust everyone has in them to know and understand their characters.
There was some really great comparisons to John and God and how Sam and Dean relate to each character, but I can’t remember if it was Jared or Jensen who talked about it. But it was really insightful about how they view Sam and Dean and their relationships with John and God.
In the course of this discussion, Jensen mentioned that he specifically asked to do his coverage first in the scene where Dean is talking to God. He usually doesn’t care that much, but in this case he said he knew it was going to be a difficult, emotional scene and he wasn’t sure how many times he could do it before it started to become forced. As it turned out he needn’t have worried–he said the emotion in this scene was so powerful that even during Rob’s coverage he still found himself reacting to words being said, and with tears in his eyes.
This led to Jensen talking about always being ‘present’ in his scenes–that he works very hard not to ‘space out’ when the camera isn’t on him. He always wants to give the other actor cues to work with and to react as though he’s really having the conversation or going through the scene with them. He told us that the editors have noticed and thanked him for it–they appreciate that he always gives them something to cut to if there is an issue in the scene. For example if someone doesn’t quite nail a line or reaction, they feel they can always cut to Dean to distract from it.
As Jensen was finishing up his answer, I couldn’t help interjecting a follow up question about whether or not he found that to be more tiring, physically or emotionally. He said that yes, a lot of the time it is, but that he considers it worthwhile. He doesn’t mind needing an extra cup of coffee or a little more sleep–he feels he owes it to everyone he works with to give them his best, and that includes being present whenever he’s able to.
Another question for Jared was a request for advice on getting into acting, which he used a a chance to remind us all that we are always enough. We may not be right for a particular job or role, but that just means we will find something we are suited for later. I truly appreciate his efforts to encourage and uplift fans whenever he can.
Jared was also asked about the ep Dark Side of the Moon, and whether or not Sam’s memories had been manipulated by Zachariah. Sam said that they had, and again thanked us for noticing details like that.
Someone asked Jared who his hero was when he was 14 was and he replied without hesitation that it was Eddie Vedder. He then told us the story of meeting Eddie at a small benefit concert. He was adorably embarrassed, and said the next day he looked and Jensen and said “Did I do that…?” and Jensen just nodded and said “Oh, yeah.”
Here are the other questions that were asked that I remember:
Did you design your own house? (Jared)
What was your favorite ep to film in S11 other than Baby? (Jensen)
Jensen was deeply disappointed not to be able to choose Baby, to the point I’m not sure he gave an actual answer to the question. He turned it back around on the fan who’d asked, and she was adorably flustered by the attention.
What is your favorite piece of theater? (Jared)
Something about being driven to work (Jensen)
(Jensen gave a really great and lengthy answer to this one that was a lot of fun, but I think I’m probably pushing the the limits of what I should say pretty hard at this point.)”
What are some movies or tv shows that do an excellent job at fight (and gun) scenes? I wanted to know what you think, so that I can use them as a reference -- be it for drawing or writing a story.
Okay, there’s an easy way to do this and a useful way, let’s start with the useful route. Find names. Not actors, and not usually directors. You’re looking for stunt choreographers, sword masters, or fight choreographers. Unfortunately the name for the positions vary. They will usually be credited in the stunts section on IMDB, if you’re using it. These are the people that actually train the actors and stunt performers. I’ll be honest, these guys can be a pain to track down. If you’re looking for excellent swordplay, the late Bob Anderson is probably the place to start. If you want hand to hand choreography, you’ve got more options, find someone who’s style looks good, and see if you can find other entries in their career where they’re actually coordinating the stunts.
Also, shows will trade off stunt coordinators, sometimes on an episode by episode basis, 24 had at least four different coordinators over the years. Films will sometimes trade off stunt coordinators when they shoot in different cities. So, if you’re looking at a specific fight, make sure you find the stunt coordinator from that episode or scene.
Everyone in stunts are criminally under-appreciated. These are often, very talented martial artists whose names you’ll never know. Tracking down a specific stunt fighter can be tricky, following their career can be even harder, but it is more likely to be useful than a loose list of random films and shows.
So, here’s the random list of films and shows that can get you started:
The Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings films have absolutely fantastic swordplay. Some of it is a bit over the top, Tolkien’s races of men aren’t really human, like the setting’s Elves and Dwarves, they’re a mythical race of super beings, so keep in mind that normal people can’t actually fight while being turned into an arrow pincushion.
Heat and Collateral. Both are focused on highly trained professional criminals with military backgrounds. Heat climaxes around the halfway mark with a North Hollywood shooting style bloodbath. Michael Mann’s work also deserves special mention for his commentaries. After you’ve watched Heat and Collateral, go back and rewatch them with the director’s commentary. Some of this is simple cinematography, or story development (which should still be useful for you), but some of it gets into his observations on criminology, and operations. The remake of Miami Vice also has a standout commentary from Mann (as I recall).
Spartan is focused on a semi-anonymous government operative. It’s treatment of violence is instructional. Also, if you’re writing characters with military hand to hand training, this is what they will do to people.
Strange Days. This is one of the rare films where the violence is really unsettling. It hammers home a lot of things we say on a regular basis, like how going up against multiple combatants is a losing game. (Also, one of the antagonists is a rapist who kills his victims, so a Trigger Warning: Rape is in full effect.)
Burn Notice, sometimes. The early seasons are better about this, but the narrator does offer some pretty solid advice, from talking about how to stage an ambush to explaining why you can’t just burst in shooting, this will give you a lot of the “why”, that controls what your characters do.
24. The writing’s hit or miss, and some of the seasons don’t really coalesce into a single story. You’ll probably learn more about staging and executing cliffhangers from the series (that is it’s forte), but it keeps the violence brief and explosive. It also goes through characters like kleenex, so it’s worth watching for that. The torture scenes waffle, and you’re going to have to use your own judgment on what you’ll accept. If you want to use torture, this is a good primer, then watch Burn Notice to remember why torture just doesn’t work.
If you’re dealing with a setting where some of your characters (particularly your villains) have superpowers, Blade Runner. Most of the combat in the film is unusually slow, as the replicants try to subdue their foes with their strength alone. It does show why the whole “stronger = better fighters” is crap. It’s also a fairly solid presentation of a character who is effectively a hired killer, going up against foes that can literally rip him limb from limb.
Highlander: The Series. Adrian Paul’s hand to hand form is a little unusual, but he is pretty good. The show alternates between actors someone tried to train in martial arts, and good martial artists turned actors. Still, there’s a lot of good swordplay, and writing that’s far better than it has any business being. If you’re wanting to write immortals of any streak (includingespecially vampires), this is a must see. The sword work in the first two seasons were choreographed by Bob Anderson, so, if you’re using swords, keep this one in mind.
If you’ve never seen it, watch Aliens. The first film is good, but not really relevant for this list. The important thing going in is that Aliens is a Vietnam war film set in space. Disciplined, well equipped soldiers up against a guerrilla force.
The film adaptation of Starship Troopers takes some of the same themes and pulls it clean into uncomfortable territory. I’m not going to recommend it for its combat, (though, that is well presented), but I would say it’s worth watching for the insight into military jingoism. Then realize you’ve been basically cheering for Nazis and now want to go vomit blood.
For reference: the film of Starship Troopers is a subversive parody, and the critical cue is seeing Paul Verhoeven’s name as the director. Similarly, Robocop (1987) is a pretty brutal take down of using violence to solve problems. Though, again, this is played straight.
Man on Fire (2004). I keep wanting to skip this one, but the fact is, it’s actually pretty good for what it’s doing. It also manages to convey, in a visceral sense how unexpected violence in the real world can feel. Though, I’ve probably spoiled that sensation by listing it on here. Forget that you read this here, forget the title, forget the fiery image on the cover and go watch it.
Sandbaggers is probably the most realistic presentation of violence in the espionage genre. Which is to say, avoiding it at all costs.
The only Tarantino film I’d actually recommend is Reservoir Dogs. The violence is self contained, and the bulk of the writing is the characters responding to the violence. This is actually some pretty smart writing, and you can probably learn something from it. (For the record, I like most of his work, but, it’s just not as applicable here.)
Mortal Combat (1995) is a goofy movie. But, as we’ve said before, the martial arts are technically good, and slow enough you can follow.
I almost never recommend video games, but, Spec Ops: The Line is an exception. (You can ignore the prior games in the franchise, they’re completely unrelated.) At first glance it looks like a conventional cover-based modern military shooter, it isn’t. The game isn’t particularly realistic, at least the combat isn’t, it’s also not conventionally “fun.” But, it is a very solid study of combat fatigue as well as the burdens and responsibilities of command.
This is a game that will make you do really horrible things, wear you down, and leave you numb and exhausted. If you want to tell the story of an action hero presented with real combat, you really need to play this. No, you need to play this. Nothing will cure a casual violence addiction faster.
Watching LP videos won’t carry the same effect, this is one of those times where you really need to be the one responsible for your actions, to get the full effect.
This is a Heart of Darkness homage (it’s not really an adaptation), if you want a hint of where it’s going thematically.
(Also, TW: Violence, because Spec Ops gets really messed up in a way nothing else on the list approaches.)
Watching the PoA movie immediately after the PS and CoS movies is such an incredibly jarring experience. Like the first two movies had their own style - the kids always were their Hogwarts uniforms in most of the scenes for example, then fast forward to PoA and they randomly go around in t-shirts and jeans, and the first two were pretty faithful in terms of plot points, but PoA, while very sleek and shiny, made no sense, like how does Sirius know about the Map? Who is Moony? What is going on???
I agree with you COMPLETELY!!! That’s why I feel like the HP film franchise largely doesn’t work as a whole - it doesn’t feel like one cohesive piece. And that’s because none of the directors after Chris Columbus attempted to continue or maintain the original vision for the series - they all insisted on imposing their own style onto the films and in the least subtle way possible.
For me, it’s the most obvious in the third film - like you said it’s so completely jarring and that’s because it takes the largest departure from the original two movies. It’s a completely different animal. The pacing is different, costume design is different, characterizations are different, lighting and color pallet is different, the tone is different, the story-telling is different, how they cast spells is different, the music is different, etc, etc, etc. It does not follow what was established in the previous two films and I think it fails to capture the spirit of the books, which is something that I think the first two films were very successful in.
Because I think the books are very funny - I really do - like so many of the jokes leave me in absolute stitches but they aren’t trying too hard to be funny, the humor is very natural. But this film…not only does it miss the opportunity of using some of J.K. Rowling’s brilliant dialogue, but it inserts jokes that are very…slapstick. And overtly silly. And again that really alienates it from the films that proceeded it, but it also just really doesn’t fit and I personality find it unnecessary. Because, again, the book was funny enough on its own, it doesn’t need ridiculous talking heads or cheap jokes.
(Also I think we can all agree that Draco’s hair looked terrible I fell out of love with him in the movie theater)
Another point against the film is that it really doesn’t make sense when you haven’t read the book - like it really doesn’t. My parents hadn’t read the series at the time of the film’s release and they were so confused - and this was before the series had gotten complicated like it’s a simple enough storyline. The problem was, like you pointed out, they left out key points of the book as well as really important explanations in favor of what? Pointless sequences of a bird flying around the grounds? Why did anyone think that was vital to the film like I get they wanted to show off the beautiful Scottish scenery but there were more important things that needed to be addressed.
Like maybe they should have explained who the Marauders were. And that James was an animagus. And that he took on the form of a stag. Which is why Harry initially thought that James had saved him and Sirius. Also, why the three of them became animagi in the first place. And Sirius’ prank on Snape.Those are really important things! And they didn’t touch upon them at all! PoA was a really great book for a lot of reasons but it gave some life to Harry’s parents; we got to know them a bit better - James in particular - through information on their relationship with Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Like when characters have as little screen time as James and Lily do, it’s important to mention the little things that give us insight into who they are as people.
And there are other things, of course, but that’s what is coming to mind at the moment.
Anyway, I hate that movie. As well as most of the other HP films. And I will never forgive Chris Columbus for stepping down after CoS and for directing the first Percy Jackson movie because that was complete shit
After what felt like a week of really high anticipation we finally got The Brothers Jones. When there is that much buildup I always worry about being disappointed but that wasn’t the case at all with this one! It managed to avoid all the speculation I didn’t want to have happen and give me all the stuff I wanted!
We opened right in the thick of it with Henry and Cruella which both surprised and pleased me. I am glad they dispensed with any kind of explanation scene and jumped right into the action. Henry used his Author-sense to find the Apprentice! Whose unfinished business turns out to be Henry. He coped to being a bit shady with the truth in order to protect Henry from a difficult decision. Oh and BTW magic works different in the Underworld so forget what I told you before. Except the part about not writing events, that’s still a big no-no.
What I enjoyed most about this was the Apprentice giving Henry all the information but then telling him that in the end it had to be his choice. My mom totally parented that way. She laid out the options, taught us right from wrong and then trusted us to make the right decision. This is the opposite of what Emma did to Killian and I think it was a clear line that show was drawing about the right and wrong way to handle people. It was Henry’s hero test and one he passed with flying colors.
The Captain Swan healing scene came next and honestly I wasn’t ready. I think I just shut down my emotions cause I knew it was going to hurt. The “nursery” went completely unremarked upon which was sad but I am sure it will come back up eventually. When Killian rejected Emma’s kiss I may have whimpered a little bit. Killian said “I hate myself” about six different ways in that scene and it’s just so hard to watch. The fact that he recognized how much stronger Emma was against the Darkness and Emma turning right back around and trying to tell him that he was strong just nearly broke me. This is a conversation I have wanted them to have and I genuinely couldn’t believe that we got it on screen. This is why I love this ship because they get to be real and to develop and I am just really happy even though a lot of their scenes hurt.
It’s taken me a little while to write up my thoughts on this
chapter because I’ve been taking a training seminar and struggling with a
migraine. This is one of my favourite
chapters in the entire series (if not my outright favourite), and there is so
much that happens within it that it’s taken a while just to work through my own
thoughts. I’ve always loved the way
Terajima says so much through the way he composes panels, and there is a fair
bit of that going on in this chapter.
But what also makes this chapter unique is the way some of the things
that have only been suggested implicitly in the past are made explicit.