loved this film too and douglas is so will like in it

10 Reasons to watch Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

1) It features an amazing collection of female characters, who pass the Bechtel test while actively supporting and encouraging each other.

There’s Bart, who manages to be the most terrifying badass to ever grace the screen while still somehow retaining her child-like wonder and innocence.

There’s Farah, who isn’t afraid to step up and fight for the people she loves, all while battling acute anxiety and the biggest inferiority complex I have ever seen.

And then there’s Amanda, who is utterly fearless despite a near crippling disease that restricts both her freedom and her independence.


2. None of the above women are ever sexualized/objectified. At no point are they raped. At no point does anyone threaten them with rape. Even when they are placed in scenarios where we would expect rape, the threat never arises. In a world where sexual violence against women is commonplace and used extensively in media, this is both refreshing and strangely uplifting.


3. The male characters are almost completely useless and yet utterly charming.

There’s Dirk, who reluctantly allows the universe to chart his course, this despite the obvious trauma of his childhood and his unbearable loneliness.

There’s Todd, who so thoroughly hates himself he can barely stand to let another call him a friend.

And then there’s Ken, who overcomes overwhelming terror to find his place in the universe.


4. Two of the six main characters are characters of colour. And not only are they well-written, they are also central to the plot.


5. All of the bad guys are idiots. Literally. This isn’t a show where the above heroes need to outwit impossibly smart supervillains. It’s a show where the bad guys have no clue what’s going on and can’t even begin to figure out how they got themselves into this situation. This both simplifies the narrative and provides tons of comedic relief.


6. Pacing. Plot. Continuity.

If you’re looking for a show that holds together start to finish, where every little nuanced scene connects to the bigger picture, then this is the show for you. Try watching it through a second time. It’s seamless.


7. Time Travel.

I just love time travel, okay. Especially when it’s done well.


8. It’s weirdly hilarious. I love a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I love a show that throws convention and commonality out the window. I love a show that isn’t afraid to be weird. Especially when they’re adapting Douglas Adams.


9. It’s filmed in Vancouver! Wondering why there are so many SPN extras? That would be why. But more importantly, Vancouver is stunning. As a result, so is the show. BC is the perfect backdrop for the show’s vibrant use of colours. It’s really quite lovely to watch.


10. Finally, there are a plethora of ships.

There’s Dirk/Todd, who are utterly adorable in those moments when they do connect. Dirk is the loneliest, neediest person on the planet. Todd is filled with self-loathing. Dirk makes Todd feel worthy of love. Todd offers Dirk a connection. It’s a match made in some weird vortex of time and space.

There’s Bart/Ken, who somehow fit together in ways you’d never anticipate. Bart gives Ken’s life meaning. Ken helps Bart navigate the world outside of killing. They dig on each other like crazy.

There’s Farah/Amanda, who nicely counterbalance each other. Let’s face it, Farah’s a mess, but she’s protective as fuck and Amanda, who actually has her head together, often needs protecting. These two complement each other like crazy.

And then there’s Amanda/Rowdy 3 (yes there are 4 of them), who seem so well matched you’d think they were one soul inside 5 bodies. Plus, these boys would protect her with their lives and yet never once seem to see her as a sexual object.

Don’t like any of the above? How about Amanda/Dirk? Or Todd/Farah? Or Dirk/Farah? Or Dirk/Todd/Farah? Honestly, it’s an open universe, with so much potential and so many possibilities. Heck, I’m even shipping Rapunzel/Shark-Kitten.

But see, you don’t need ten reasons to watch it. You just need one. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a ton of fun, and it’s available on Netflix. There is literally nothing standing in your way.

MARCH 23: Joan Crawford (1904?-1977)

Joan Crawford was an American actress - an old school ‘movie star’ from Classic Hollywood Cinema. While some of you may have seen her movies, her character is also currently on our screens every Sunday night played by Jessica Lange in FX anthology TV series Feud.

Joan Crawford between takes on Torch Song (1953)

Joan Crawford was born Lucille Fay LeSueur on March 23, 1904 (although her birth year is disputed) in San Antonio, Texas. Rather than Lucille, she much preferred being called ‘Billie,’ and dreamt of becoming a dancer. She lived with her mother and stepfather, who was a minor impresario and ran the Ramsey Opera House; but at 12, she went to St. Agnes Academy as a working student, where she spent more time actually working (cooking and cleaning) than studying, and briefly attended college afterwards.

 Her career started as a stage dancer and singer in the choruses of travelling revues, and she was soon discovered and offered a contract by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. She was credited as Lucille LeSueur in her early movies, but her name sounded too much like ‘sewer’ according to the MGM publicist. She was first supposed to change her name to ‘Joan Arden,’ (and we’ll pass on the connotations of gender crossing that come with that Shakespearian name ‘Arden’, and the reference to ‘Joan’ of Arc) but as it was already taken, she became Joan Crawford.

Joan Crawford, still from Today We Live (1933)

Her success at the MGM rivalled that of MGM actresses Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo, and she made a smooth transition from silent movies to talkies – which was not always the case for other actors. She often played the young, hard-working woman who found love and success at the end of the movie, which was quite popular with Depression-era audiences and especially women.

But then, having a contract with studios also meant having an obligation to be in movies, the quality of their script notwithstanding. Furthermore, her popularity declined in the late 1930s. So, like many other actors of her time, she was dubbed ‘Box Office Poison’ in 1938, a label designating actresses whose talent was indisputable, but whose high salaries didn’t reflect their ticket sales.

Trailer of Mildred Pierce (1945)

After the ending of her contract with the MGM, she signed with the Warner Brothers in 1943, and managed an Oscar-winning comeback with Mildred Pierce in 1945, which revived her career for several years, and gave her a second Academy Award nomination in 1952 for Sudden Fear. But then again, passed 40, she had to struggle with ageism in Hollywood, as roles became scarce for women her age. Garbo had left the industry, Shearer as well… She starred alongside Bette Davis in horror movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? which garnered publicity mostly for the rivalry between the two actresses, though their performances were outstanding and earned Davis her tenth (and final) Oscar nomination. She retired from the screen in 1970, and from the public scene in 1974.

Joan Crawford and Bette Davis discussing their script on the set of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) From Bettmann/Getty Images.

Joan Crawford’s private life is often depicted as chaotic. She was married four times, first with actor and screenwriter Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (1929-1933), then with actor and director Franchot Tone (1935-1939), with actor Philipp Terry (1942-1946), and finally with Pepsi-Cola CEO Alfred Steele (1955-1959). She adopted her daughter Christina as a single mother in 1940, then her son Christopher while married to Philip Terry. After the death of her last husband, she adopted identical twins Cathy and Cynthia in 1947.

She disowned her two eldest child, and Christina wrote an infamous book entitled Mommy Dearest one year after Crawford’s death, in which she depicted a mother more worried about her career than her children, obsessed with her look, who was often drunk, and physically and psychologically abusive. It was denounced by many of some of Crawford’s friends, co-workers, as well as her two youngest daughters and ex-husband, but confirmed by others. The book became a bestseller, and made into a movie with Faye Dunaway in the leading role.

Joan Crawford with her four adopted children, Christina, Christopher, and the twins, Cathy and Cynthia, in the early 50s. From Underwood & Underwood/Corbis.

Although she was famous for her numerous husbands and love affairs with men, she was allegedly also attracted to women. But it was kept secret – as always, what was publicised was what the public was willing to hear, and what would profit their contractors: love affairs with men, and feuds with fellow actresses. For example MGM paid $100000 in 1935 to prevent the release of a pornographic lesbian movie Crawford had appeared in at the age of 19 – but on the contrary, they fuelled the rumours of a feud with fellow actress Bette Davis on the filming of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (see the documentary or the FX series’ first season to know more about it!)

As for women having affairs with other women? Mum’s the word of course where the studios are concerned. This is why there are far less clues about Crawford’s romances with women – but still, here is what we know:

When Greta Garbo and Crawford met as co-stars for the filming of Grand Hotel (in which they didn’t have scenes together), Garbo famously took Crawford’s face in her hands and said, “What a pity; our first picture together and we don’t work with each other. I’m sorry. You have a marvellous face.” Crawford later commented that, “if there was ever a time in my life when I might have been a lesbian, that was it.”

Director Dorothy Arzner and Joan Crawford during the filming of The Bride Wore Red (1937). The filming drawing to an end, there were tensions between the two women who apparently only communicated through messages. There are only rumours about their romance, but Crawford said, reflecting on her film directors, that she liked to think that they had all fallen in love with her - and that she knew it had been the case with Arzner.

But then she also got on well with one of the first women directors in Hollywood, Dorothy Arzner, and according to the latter’s biographer, their relation went beyond mere friendship. She was also rumoured to have had liaisons with actresses Martha Raye, Claudette Colbert, Barbara Stanwyck, and Alice Delamar. But mind you, nothing can be really confirmed.

So, cheers to this great woman and legendary actress who managed to have a long career in movies while surviving Hollywood sexism and ageism - on screen and behind the scenes - and, had a place amid the secretive - though not so secret now - Hollywood Sewing Circle!

- Lise

anonymous asked:

hi! do you know any blogs that are like yours, just a later time period? like the 30s-60s? i want to find blogs like that, i'm just having a hard time doing so.

I hope I haven’t classified these too inaccurately (I’m sorry; I know that I can’t even describe my own blog so I shouldn’t be trying to describe others, lol!! I just didn’t want to give a list of names with no information), and they’re not all quite what you’re asking for, AND I’m not done adding to the list, but these are all absolutely fantastic history blogs, so: 

@route22ny (Mostly late 19th century to mid 20th, art deco, lots of beautiful street scenes and super in-depth research, great information on great old buildings and transportation)

@kittyinva (Mostly 1920s to 1930s, lots of lovely magazine covers, ephemera, art deco, celebrities like Mary Pickford and Clara Bow, flapperwear - she’s super knowledgeable!)

@lwom (Mostly classic Hollywood era, classic stars and disney!)

@wehadfacesthen (Mostly classic Hollywood era, great shots of stars like Jean Harlow and some lovely street scenes as well)

@deforest (Mostly classic Hollywood era, great old movie clips and shots of stars, beautiful paintings)

@zeehasablog (Late 19th century to mid 20th, everything from daguerreotypes and paintings to the classic stars)

@thescrewlooseduck (Mostly early to mid 20th century, lots of great photographs and vintage comics)

@sparklejamesysparkle (Classic Hollywood, beautiful portraits and candid photos of starlets, actresses like Jean Harlow and Carole Lombard) 

@jollyfairbanks (Mostly classic hollywood era, lots of Douglas Fairbanks!)

@hoopskirtsociety (Mostly Victorian and Edwardian, gorgeous dresses)

@jazzagebass (Mostly 1920s - 1930s, Hollywood stars like Mary Pickford but also street scenes and magazine covers, art deco, and other great stuff)

@jazzbabyyvette (Mostly 1920s - 1930s, lots of celebrities like Mary Pickford, art deco, and ephemera)

@artdecoblog (mostly 1920s - 1930s)

@pixeljazz  (Mostly late 19th century to mid 20th)

@books0977 (Books! some fantastic paintings and early 20th century book covers, with descriptions)

@postcardtimemachine (Mostly early 19th century to mid 20th, great postcards)

@onceuponatown (A whole lot of fantastic historic photography)

@shewhoworshipscarlin (Mostly classic Hollywood era)

@historicaldress (Mostly beautiful Victorian and Edwardian dresses)

@whenwewerecool (Mostly midcentury)

@vintagehandsomemen (Early 1800s to 1930s, some lovely Victorian and Edwardian furniture and houses, sometimes a little NSFW)

@rustydennis (Pre 1950s, lots of 19th century, sometimes NSFW)

@felixkeepswalking (Mostly early animation, comics and cartoons, some great behind the scenes stuff)

@allbrightandglittering (Late 19th century to mid 20th century)

@ray-danger (Mostly retro mid-century but some earlier 20th century stuff as well)

@speakeasyanne (Mostly 1920s, lots of clips of stars like Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton)

@omgthatdress (19th century to late 20th century, lots of beautiful historical dresses and accessories)

@mudwerks (Mostly early 20th century to the 60s, classic stars, retro stuff, great artwork, sometimes a tiny bit nsfw)

@jinxy7 (Mostly mid-century, classic celebrities, awesome retro illustrations and photographhs)

@misforgotten2 (Lots of midcentury, retro advertising and illustrations with funny commentary)

@calumet412 (Historic Chicago, many great photographs!)

@museumofcityny (Historic New York)

@heavyarethecrowns (A lot of current day royals, so this one’s different from the rest of the list - but when she does spams of historic royals, which happens pretty frequently, she really nails it! If you go through her tags there’s lots of candid pictures of the Queen, Princess Margaret, Prince Charles, Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor, The Queen Mother and King George VI and many more!)

@musicandvintagestuff (20th century, early 1900s to the 80s)

@jeanfivintage (19th century to mid 20th century photographs and paintings from around the world, classic movie stars and historical military shots, sometimes nsfw)

@whataboutbobbed (Mostly 1920s to 1930s, lots of classic celebrities, sometimes nsfw)

@yeoldenews (Historic newspaper clippings - a blog after my own heart!)

@fuckyeahmodernflapper (Mostly 1920s but some midcentury too, photographs and illustrations)

@girlflapper (Mostly 1920s and 1930s, portraits, advertisements and illustrations, classic celebrities)

@detroitlib (Everything historic Detroit!)

@michiganpast (All sorts of stuff exploring Michigan’s history - photos, newspaper clippings, advertisements)

@memento-nobis (Found photos! Super interesting; orphaned photographs - where did they come from? When were they taken? Who took them? memento-nobis digs into the clues given in the images to figure it out!)

@inquisitorian (Lots of historical art like paintings and statues, architecture, etc)

@la-belle-crawford (Retro, a lovely feminine mid-century aesthetic, classic Hollywood starlets)

@sydneyflapper (1920s! Edwardian through to the 1930s. Lots of ephemera - so many great postcards, magazine covers and illustrations! Vintage clothing.)

@the-dark-city (Precode Hollywood, Classic Horror and Film Noir)

@peashooter85 (Very cool historic firearms and other oddities)

@vestisferrea (Historical photographs showcasing mighty dapper men’s fashion!)

@the-art-of-mourning (Showcasing the beauty of Victorian mourning)

@animationproclamations (The history of vintage comics, cartoons and animation in general)

@dialnfornoir (Classic Hollywood in general - with a good dose of noir!)

@noirgods (24 hour noir!)

@comicslams (All sorts of vintage comics - single panels without reference, which are hilarious)

@midcenturyblog (What it says on the tin! A great collection of midcentury photos and advertisements)

@modern1960s (Everything 60s: celebrities, advertisements, food, signage, everyday people!)

@olivethomas (Classic Hollywood: silent film, precode and midcentury)

@scrapzion (Mostly midcentury - lots of great advertisements and photographs)

@nebraskaccess (Vintage Nebraska!)

@losangelespast (Lots of lovely photos, vintage Los Angeles)

@vintagelasvegas (A look into the past at classic Las Vegas)

@fuckyeahvintage-retro (Vintage - and retro! - photographs, advertising, kitsch, artwork and more)

@carnaby-girl (The 60s and 70s. Retro clothes, street scenes, movies, magazine covers)

@joeinct (A lot of artistic photographs, mostly from the 1940s to today. Lots of mid-century!)

@archimaps (Gorgeous architecture and maps, mostly European)

@aintthatakick (classic Hollywood - fantastic edits!)

@danismm (lots of great retro artwork)

@classic-flicks-chick (lots of great classic Hollywood)

@magictransistor (an electric mix of art, some very cool surrealist stuff, lots of historical illustrations)

@artofrestraint (beautiful historical artwork)

@holdhard (historic photos of the royal family, traditional England, men’s fashion)

[ENG Trans] JB on Urbanlike Magazine October edition Interview
  • Q: There’s this strong impression of JB that he’s a leader who carries heavy responsibilities on his shoulders. Have you heard about this a lot?
  • JB: I don’t think I can say that I can’t feel the responsibilities or burden as a leader. But now, before we also know it, it’s been 3 years for us. Each of us, to some extent, had accumulated experience, and so we’ve grown to believe we can do well on our own. Thanks to that, more than the start, I think I can let go of my burden.
  • Q: Also because the members have all somehow become more mature.
  • JB: Exactly. Now if I want to say something or stop them from doing something, I think it’d be like nagging, so now if it’s not something that should be corrected when we gather up for a meeting, I wouldn’t say it.
  • Q: It’s a relief that you’ve become more comfortable. To JB, I thought books would somehow be a breakthrough for your leader’s responsibilities and burden, wouldn’t it?
  • JB: I think I read a lot of self-improvement books. I’m sure that it has helped me a lot with me being a leader. When you read self-improvement books, you’d think “I need to be careful in this situation”, and I can recognize it if it happens again. I also think I read analects quite well. Without me even knowing, I’m able to gain comfort from those kind of books, so I like them.
  • Q: Have you ever looked for self-improvement books more about positions in the team?
  • JB: I’ve read books deliberately on self-improvement in leadership’s cases. How to do it, am I able to become a little better at being a leader. I also thought that I wanted to live like a decent human. Even if I can’t live being formal every second, I want to keep a certain standard.
  • Q: Anyhow, the position of a leader is difficult, isn’t it?
  • JB: It was difficult at the beginning. I wanted the members to open up comfortably, and it’s been like so, but somehow I think from the “leader” position there’s the next limit. For example, there are times when you have to speak sternly, as a leader, but if that situation builds up, since when, the members would also conceal their weakness, or the bad parts of them that they don’t want to be seen. Then later on, when I came to know, I’d be like “If they were to be honest, I wouldn’t have said anything back then. Why did they hide it?”, I get upset thinking that the members were hiding. I think that kind of situation that can’t be helped is a bit difficult. But now I tell the members not to think of me as a leader, but a teammate. I think now all 7 people have shared the responsibility of the leader position.
  • Q: Have JB-ssi enjoyed reading since you were young?
  • JB: I used to just went straight to sleep when I read books. I was first immersed in books through fantasy novels. I couldn’t remember exactly what book, but I was somehow so concentrated that I drew out the world inside the book in my head. I think that’s how I came to find books interesting. There’s a hyung who danced with me enjoyed reading self-improvement books and analects, and as I read the books that hyung recommended me every once in a while, I naturally came to read books.
  • Q: You came to pick up reading under the influence of someone, and now you’ve become someone to influence someone else to read books. We heard that the largest part of Jinyoung-ssi liking books was from JB-ssi.
  • JB: Rather than recommending a book, I remember giving a hint to Jinyoung who didn’t read books like he does now, by saying “How about reading?”. I didn’t say anything but “Reading is really good. It helps a lot.” Jinyoung began to read one or two books. I think that him reading consistently until now is because he likes it himself.
  • Q: Do you also usually talk to each other about books?
  • JB: I recommend the books that I liked, and I as I say to Jinyoung “This book might be fun,” there are also some books that I gave him. Jinyoung is currently reading "The Big Picture" from Douglas Kennedy. Then we’d talk about it, right? “Up to where have you read? Then if you read a little bit more there’ll be this aggravating part.” (laughs)
  • Q: I’ve also thought about GOT7’s image in the waiting room. You might have different ways to spend your own time, but how was time mostly spent?
  • JB: If we go on music broadcast, we spend almost all of our day in the waiting room. If during the time we don’t do anything, time will go on meaninglessly, doesn’t it? That’d be a waste, also when we practiced singing while traveling. I’ve tried working on music. Among those, the most effective way to spend time was to read books. While reading books, if there was a good word, I’d write it down. I think that’s the simplest way too, to be able to make good use of time, so I mostly read books in the waiting room.
  • Q: Anyhow, I think that because you’ve been together with Jinyoung-ssi since JJ Project, you’d have particular sentiment towards each other. Now you’re influencing each other in reading too.
  • JB: That’s right. We don’t go that far to discuss about books, but sometimes we talk about the books each of us read from time to time. “I thought about it this way, but I guess Jinyoungie thinks that way.” When that kind of talk comes up, I think I get inspired. More than anything, the thing I learnt from Jinyoung, I think it’s him managing himself thoroughly. Looking at him not neglecting to manage himself, I feel the lead of my goal changing for sure.
  • Q: What kind of book are you reading now?
  • JB: I’m reading Alein de Botton’s "Essays in Love". I’m still at the early stage of the book so I’m still reading the part that’s overflowing with love. But it has sort of a difficult feeling. I started with saying I read a novel, but I have a feeling that I think I need to learn about words or expressions.Q: They say when reading books, if you look back at yourself you’d feel embarrassed. I’m curious when you ever felt that sentiment.
  • JB: When I read self-improvement books, I think I’ve felt that. I don’t think people can be perfect, but when I can’t do something I already knew or there’s something I can’t do properly, I feel embarrassed on my own. I started reading self-improvement books and fix my weaknesses. Looking at the things I can’t carry on properly, I feel doubtful as of why I read these.
  • Q: Even so, what’s your reason of reading?
  • JB: I think I want to relieve my stress through reading. I also want to feel the story inside the books and its emotions. There are a lot of things that are similar to the cases in novels, aren’t there? When you put yourself in the shoes of some character, you’d feel the same emotions that character feels just through reading. The book "The Moment" (Douglas Kennedy) was like so. Set in Germany in the past, it’s about the tragic love of two people. As I reach the end of the book, without me even knowing, I was reading the book while crying. (laughs)
  • Q: Who was a character in books that you’ve felt specially emotionally connected?
  • JB: The story of the wandering teenager in "Kafka on the Shore" hit home to me. I didn’t want to wander around like the main character but some more time to myself to reflect on deep thoughts. All these days I think I couldn’t make efforts to get to know myself more, so I’ve always felt bad. Therefore, I think I could sympathize more with that.
  • Q: Seems like you read a lot of novels lately. Is there a specific genre of book that you like?
  • JB: I don’t nitpick about the book’s genre. But then there’s a book that evokes the feeling that “This might be difficult for me”. Judging from the fact that I can’t focus, I’d put that aside and read it when I can focus later. Now if I can read I focus on one book.
  • Q: Do you have your own way of reading books? Before, you said to take notes of good words.
  • JB: That’s right. When I read books, if I somehow read an influential line/paragraph, I read it while underlining it. This thing you can also sometimes see in a book, but if you read a book in some country, and that book is so good, they say to leave it behind so another person can also read it. Looking at it, I thought it was a very cool idea. If it were me, I think others might notice my emotions, so I don’t think I can do that. (laughs) Ah, there’s this thing too. At first, every book that I’ve read, I cut the last part of the bookmark I put in the book and tied them in a knot. That’s my personal sign that I’ve read them all.
  • Q: That sounds interesting. Then what kind of method do you use for marking now?
  • JB: I put my name down on the front cover of the book. I use my pen-name DefSoul though. I write down that name. And instead of using bookmarks I fold the books that I read. Then when I opened the book again I’d know, oh so I’ve read up till here. That way I’m able to know easily.
  • Q: I know that you went to school in a theater department. Of course you write lyrics but Do you have any stories or scripts you’d like to try writing more?
  • JB: I’ve tried coming up with scenarios through school assignments, but it’s really hard. While writing lyrics is from a particular situation, or the words you’d want to say to someone, scripts are about getting the big picture and from there, you have to write dialogues one by one. That is still not an easy thing. Instead, now I write down the emotions that I feel. I write down the date today, how I’ve been feeling today, what emotions I felt.
  • Q: If you have a subject matter or story in mind, what would it be?
  • JB: At school, I also made a film for a school assignment. A story that had a fantasy element. One day, when the main character was sleeping, he met his ideal type. He didn’t know for certain who that was, but he felt and remembered the silhouette. But when he opened his eyes, he felt the intuition that this person was somewhere in the real word and came to find the girl. In the movie that I made, I gave it a twist. In the end, the girl was the person that the main character killed, and the character fell into amnesia because of guilt. One day, he opened the closet to go on a date. That girl’s corpse was there. It was a 3-minute film so it ended shortly. That was the story.
  • Q: I think you can make a full movie with that. (laughs) Lately, what has been on JB-ssi’s thought the most? Is it the comeback that’s coming up?
  • JB: That’s right. This album had a lot of self-composed songs that the members wrote by ourselves. Among 13 tracks, 11 tracks were directly written by the members. I also took part in 3 songs. While making the songs, 2 were the tracks that I was writing while thinking they would suit GOT7. One track was more about the kind of music I wanted to do.
  • Q: So that’s a song that’s more to your own taste. It’s your 2nd full album. Personally, and between the members, is there a new goal?
  • JB: Although it’d be nice if we can also get first place this time to have the chance to grow more, I think I have no regrets about not caring about the rankings. While working on this album, we came to take in many opinions on the direction we want to head more to. Every time we make an album, I think that we want to grow more. I think that growth should not just be seen in numbers as a result, but what you want to relay as an artist. You concentrate while working and work with precision, then when you play you won’t be able to regret about playing. I want to be able to grow so that people would say “GOT7 are such diligent and cool artists!”.
  • Q: Usually, when talking about this, is it JB-ssi’s turn to talk?
  • JB: I’m actually just listening in the back. Jackson and Jinyoung would do the talking. I listen to what the kids are saying, and later on add on “In order to reach your goal, I think it’s better to do it this way.”
  • Q: Such a natural leader. I think you’re very mature for your age.
  • JB: I think that’s the only way. More than me being a leader, I think among all 7 people, there needs to be a person to organize like this, so I’m just taking that role.
  • “As time goes by, I read a book I’ve read once again. When time passes and you’ve gained more, you’ve changed a lot. I feel that each time. I’d have to keep reading incessantly.” - In JB’s interview

victorian-enjolras  asked:

yo please teach me about oscar wilde i really wanna get into him but i dont know where to start

oh boy have you come to the right place!!!! let me tell you about this man!!! 

this is probably my favourite picture of him because of his expression… i mean how is that not universally relatable…

Crash Course Biography:

  • Oscar marries his wife Constance in 1884, had 2 kids & decided he didn’t actually like her all that much & i’m like 70% sure they never had sex after kid #2
  • 1886 Robbie Ross (light of my life) turns up & is unabashedly homosexual - most people attribute Robbie as the one to bring Oscar to the Side of Gay.
  • Oscar struts about town, living a life that Henry Wotton would wholeheartedly advocate. He assumes the role of a ‘dandy’ - think flamboyance from every angle & add some frills. This was cool for him as it wasn’t seen as synonymous with being gay, just being a dramatist. 
  • 1891 is when Lord “Bosie” Douglas turns up & introduces Oscar to more gay stuff & more illegal stuff like weed & brothels & prostitution 
  • 1894 is when Bosie’s dad finds out about their relationship, flips out & takes Oscar to court for being illegally gay in 1895 :(
  • 1895 Oscar counters the charge by saying the case was unfounded (it totally wasn’t, he really did have a lot of sex) & whilst his epigrams / wit won him initial support, it all went downhill quite quickly. there’s another 2 trials for Oscar whilst all his friends pack up & get out of England (Robbie breaks into Oscar’s house upon request & packs up some of Oscar’s stuff, then legs it out to Paris) 
  • I think that the judge doesn’t even let Oscar have any last words in court i mean is that not the most heartbreaking, soul crushing thing you can do to this man 
  • Oscar does his sentence of 2 years hard labor in prison & gets hit in the head / ear - this injury & botched treatment is to be the cause of his death
  • He goes to Paris under exile & as far as I can gather lives with Robbie’s help but spent a lot of the time rejecting his help too. Also Oscar tries to live with Bosie again but both of their families are having exactly none of that behavior.
  • Oscar dies in Paris at the age of 46

Works:
Importance of Being Ernest is the 1st work of Oscar’s I read & I have never looked back. it’s short & sweet & hysterically funny, the humour is in no way dated & I love it
Picture of Dorian Gray please read this book as I have read it more than 7 times now & I need someone to rhapsodise about this with. It’s honestly a brilliant book with a totally cool plot & 3 fascinating characters (3 guesses who my fave is…it’s basil… it’s always basil)
The Ballad of Reading Gaol is the last work Oscar created before his death, & it’s about the harsh reality of prison & honestly I cry just because of the context
The Happy Prince & Other Tales so, my parents used to read these to me as a kid & like…is it really any wonder i love Oscar Wilde so much…I really honestly adore these stories!! 

Films:
Wilde (1997) Stephen Fry has been my standard image for Henry Wotton but he does make a damn good Oscar & also Michael Sheen as Robbie Ross is everything
Dorian Gray (2009) now…i have to admit i haven’t watched this but with all things considered i think i’m slightly justified in that due to the blatant disregard of Dorian’s descriptions in the book

Articles / other things to check out!!
queerhistoryproject has 2 great articles on Oscar here & here!! 
An article on Dorian Gray which is great 
This article explains a bit about where Oscar was coming from in the whole ‘aestheticism’ movement!!
And if you’re really keen (like me) there’s this one on Ernest 

I’ll cut my info dump off here - it seems like an ok place to stop! I’ll probably make more posts about Oscar-related things & any lit revision that I think might be useful to put up on this blog? I hope you enjoy the crash-course in Oscar Wilde & that this is all somewhat useful!! :]

Quick word about PPZ

Okay guys I’m procrastinating so hard right now that I thought I might give you a few opinions about the trailer and the cast.

Okay so basically I probably never wanted this movie to see the light of day. I haven’t read the book, maybe one day I will, but I’m not a big fan of zombies so I didn’t want to ruin PP by mixing zombies in it. Now that the day has come (okay the film premiere in Finland is in early April but anyways), well… The more I watch the trailer to more eager I am to see it. It looks ridiculous but who knows? It might work. 

And I must say they have an _amazing_ cast. I absolutely loved Lily James in Downton, Douglas Booth is an absolute sweetheart and so is Matt Smith, he might be the first Collins I don’t hate (I mean Collins is hilarious but he sets my teeth on edge). But can we take a moment to appreciate Sam Riley??? I was scanning through the youtube comments in one of the trailers and some people said he didn’t resemble Darcy at all and I was all

Originally posted by realitytvgifs

They said that Darcy is supposed to appear mysterious and if Riley wasn’t mysterious then what was he?? Also they said that he seemed too soft for the role but can we look at this idiot 

Originally posted by dinedesigirl

He was too pure for the world since the very first scene he was in, and he still made such a thrilling portrayal of the character. I think that every actor and actress in PP must always bring something new to the role because what would be the point of new adaptations if they would all be the same?

So let’s just appreciate this sweetheart okay?

Originally posted by thebookboyfriendharem

Okay I get it that not everyone likes his raspy voice but I happen to love it so those eyes and that dark hair make me swoon. Speaking of dark hair has there ever been a blonde Darcy? I think that would go too far… 

But let me just say that Riley doesn’t get enough appreciation I mean this is what came up when I googled PPZ Darcy:

I get it, he is absolutely gorgeous but so is Riley!

Also look at this picture I found:

These two cinnamon rolls looking happy as ever (too pure)

and then there are these two

I’d say they were made for each other

Okay this wasn’t quite as quick as I had hoped but thanks if you read through all this bye

Originally posted by therealelizabethbennet

8

Interview Magazine | Paul Anderson

[HQ]

Paul Anderson (Panda) talks about The Revenant, Peaky Blinders, Legend and Tom Hardy. Legend comes out November 20 and The Revenant will be out in limited release on December 25 and wide release January 8, 2016. Season 3 of Peaky Blinders is also due out in 2016.

*Top photo shared by Paul on instagram. Tom and Panda on the set of The Revenant (2014). @biggierayman “Another one!!!”

Paul Anderson and Team Arthur

As the protagonists of Steven Knight’s Birmingham-set television drama Peaky Blinders, the Shelby siblings haven’t had it easy. Tommy (Cillian Murphy), the second brother in age and the first in everything else, drowns his World War One shell shock with opium. His younger brother John (Joe Cole) is trying to raise his young children following the death of his wife. Ada (Sophie Rundle), the only sister, defies her brothers and marries local communist Freddie Thorne only to have him die unceremoniously between seasons. Finn, the last of the lot, is too young to be a part of the Shelby brotherhood yet remains at risk from their enemies. Then there is Arthur, played by Kennington, South London native Paul Anderson. As the eldest sibling, Arthur should be the patriarch, but he’s not, because Tommy got all the family smarts and Arthur got all the family rage. While he might not be smoking opium, he does plenty of self-medicating with whisky, cocaine, and visceral violence. By the end of the show’s first two seasons, Arthur has accidentally killed a young man in the boxing ring, tried to hang himself, and almost been murdered by Jewish gangster Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy). Occasionally, however, Arthur channels his energy more productively as Tommy’s right-hand man. When he does, it’s infectious; he’s Arthur fooking Shelby, the sort of character that inspires YouTube supercuts. And because you never know quite where he’s going to fall, there is a certain audience affection reserved only for Arthur. As one YouTube commentor writes,  "The actor playing Arthur does a great job at making him really likeable even when he’s doing dumb shit.“

Until about seven years ago, Paul Anderson wasn’t an actor at all; he was a ticket scalper. "I loved it. A wealth of experience,” he recalls in his thick South London accent. “I earned a lot of money out of it, but that was all I got out of it. Artistically, there was nothing in that for me, so I’d always wanted to do something else.” Anderson did not, however, want to be an actor; “I always wanted to be a frontman in a band,” he says. “Not a footballer. Not an actor. Certainly not a policeman or a fireman. I wanted to be a lead singer. Nothing else,” he continues.

Keep reading

Hey nerd friends, where you at?! (Especially you, book people)

Hi friends. I’m gonna try and start posting bookish things more often bc books are cool as fuck and I love reading but I need me some more cool book loving nerd friends! Like/reblog/send me an ask/whatever so I can follow you if you seem like you have good/similar taste. Some of my favourites(a lot are series so I’ll just put a basic title) are:

H.P. Lovecraft
Sherlock Holmes/Arthur Conan Doyle
Hitchhiker’s Guide/Douglas Adams
Belgariad/David Eddings
Johannes Cabal/Jonathan L. Howard
The Expanse/James S.A. Corey
Harry Potter/J.K. Rowling
A Darker Shade of Magic/V.E. Schwab
The Grisha Trilogy(and Six of Crows)/Leigh Bardugo
Tithe/Holly Black
Descender/Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen
The Rook/Daniel O'Malley
1Q84/Haruki Murakami
Jack Caffery/Mo Hayder

I’ve got a long list of titles I’m interested in but haven’t gotten to read yet, too. Magical Realism is good. Fantasy and sci-fi, good. Victorians, good. All of the above? My body is ready.

Other stuff I like: medical things, history, iron man, mythology, Victorians, science, mysteries, art, Monty Python, The Fifth Element, Star Trek, Sherlock, House M.D., languages, comedic Kung fu films, Gravity Falls, Phantom of the Opera, LOTR, Pirates, puns, food, animals.

Idk man just if you like any of these(especially the books) follow me and I’ll follow you and we can go crazy.

anonymous asked:

kristin honey, what wilde thing should i read after dorian? because i loved dorian so much and want to broaden my wilde horizons and fully become a part of the wilde fanclub of which you surely are the president.

(firstly I LOVE YOU WHAT AN HONOUR. secondly, sorry i took so long writing this i went to get my books to remind my self of titles and ended up reading the whole of the portrait of mr. w. h.)

ANYWAY. it depends what you’re into?? if you like the more narrative elements of his work, like to know him as an author/creator then definitely his Short Stories  (a lot of them are for [his] children but doesn’t make them any less great!!) my favourites are The Happy Prince and The Nightingale and the Rose

then there are his more “serious” Novellas (they’re basically longer stories than the shorts and shorter than TPODG)(they also sort of link to each other)

and ofc His Plays (but obviously the reading the play format is different to a story and i know some people don’t like it)(there are a lot so here are my faves) 

  • The Importance of Being Earnest (also watch the film)
  • Lady Windemere’s Fan 
  • A Woman of No Importance 
  • Salomé
  • More

AND POEMS. he has a lot so just …. HERE

Special mention to The Ballad of Reading Gaol(said Jail) he wrote whilst imprisoned for his crimes in Reading Jail.

and The Sphinx because it’s the ultimate Aesthetic Poetry. 

OK NOW to know him more as a person and a character?? on a more personal note: His Letters

DEFINITELY FIRST AND FOREMOST-  DE PROFOUNDIS. (its quite a read but v v beautiful and sad and gay) which he wrote to his lover aka Alfred Lord Douglas aka basically the reason he’s was in the prison and yet still blames himself aka Bosie

More letters and essays (god bless this website tbh)

Finally I finish with this. If you can find them, the letters he wrote to Robbie Ross, if you can find them.
One contains one of my favourite lines Wilde ever wrote about Bosie:

“He is quite like a narcissus - so white and gold… Bosie is so tired: he lies like a hyacinth on the sofa and I worship him.”

Pretty.Odd Books

I’ve made a compilation list of books I’ve read that remind me of P!ATD’s album Pretty.Odd. One of my favourite records of all time!

For one reason or another I think these stories, poems or essays encapsulate a little bit of the essence of those songs. There are no fanfics in here but I might make a future list with fic suggestions if that’s something you guys would enjoy!

I hope you like it! I’ve previously made a short list of books that remind me of Ryan Ross. I’m considering making a AFYCSO book list and PO, AFYCSO films + TV shows compilation too.

Notes:

* I came up with these titles in one go so I’m almost 100% sure I’ve forgotten many others that remind me of Pretty.Odd. I’ll try to add them in the future. Feel free to add yours too! Also in many cases I would have to write almost every author’s work because they all have a similar vibe, but I limited myself to writing one or two.

* I’ve written this super quick so sorry if there are any spelling mistakes in the titles/authors names.

* If you have any questions/suggestions my ask box is always open. x

Now the list:

I’d like to dedicate it to @gwenie for being amazing although I basically disappeared for almost a month!

PRETTY. ODD BOOKS

Fairytales:

- Sun, moon and Talia. Basile.
- The buried moon. Joseph Jacobs.
- Magic America. C.E. Medford.
- Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll.
- Through the looking glass. Lewis Carroll.
- Peter Pan. James Barry.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Frank Baum.
- Hans Christian Andersen Fairytales.
- Grimm Brother’s Fairytales.
- The girl with glass feet. Ali Shaw.
- The little prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
- The ocean at the end of the lane. Neil Gaiman.
- The book of lost things. John Connolly.
- The girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making. Catheryne M. Valente.


Classics:

- Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu.
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Douglas Adams.
- The razor’s edge. William Somerset Maugham.
- A season in hell. Arthur Rimbaud.
- Illuminations. Arthur Rimbaud.
- Poems by Walt Whitman.
- Les fleurs du mal. Charles Baudelaire.
- The picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde.
- Lolita. Vladimir Nabokov.
- Enid Blyton books.
- A midsummer’s night’s dream. William Shakespeare.
- Steppenwolf. Hermann Hesse.
- Siddharta. Hermann Hesse.
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Richard Bach.
- Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Robert Pirsig.
- The secret garden. Frances Hodgson.

60s related:

- Prodigal summer. Barbary Kingsolver.
- Bohemian manifesto. Laren Stover.
- Hippie. Barry Miles.
- The hippie handbook. Chelsea Cain.
- Bob Dylan: Chronicles. Bob Dylan.
- Shout! A Beatles biography. Philip Norman.
- The Kinks. Jon Savage.
- Summer of love. Lisa Mason.
- In his own write. John Lennon.
- A Spaniard in the works. John Lennon.
- Me, I, myself. George Harrison.
- The electric kool aid acid test. Tom Wolfe.
- The doors of perception. Aldous Huxley.
- On the road. Jack Kerouac.
- Howl. Allen Ginsberg.


Modern (ish):

- Dash and Lily’s book of dares. David Levithan.
- The Prophet. Kahlil Gibran.
- Looking for Jack Kerouac. Barbara
Shoup.
- Reunited. Hilary Weisman.
- Station Eleven. Emily St. John.
- The perks of being a wallflower. Stephen Chbosky.

Curiosities:

- Emerald City. Mathew W. Klingle.
- Legends of the Chelsea Hotel. Ed Hamilton.
- The rainbow goblins. Ul de Rico.
- The rainbow book. Kate Ohrt.
- Flower crowns: 30 enchanting DIY floral creations. Christy Meisner.
- Grow your own vegetables. Joy Larkom.
- Tree houses you can actually build. David Stiles.
- Bohemian style. Elizabeth Wilhide.
- The edible flower garden. Rosalind Creasy.

anonymous asked:

Favorite period dress from a film?

HNNNNGGNNGnggngn DONT DO THIS TO ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! fuck fuck fuck fuc k FUCK THIS IS LIKE CHOOSING A FAVORITE CHILD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ok SHIT ive narrowed it down to my top 5 and i do have a #1 favorite but i wouldnt feel right not mentioning the runner ups so: 

AURORA’S TOP 5 PERIOD MOVIE DRESSES (IN ASCENDING ORDER): 

5. Juliet’s blue dress from Romeo and Juliet (2013) 

this dress… is so fucking beautiful when i saw it for the first time in the theater i straight up gaSPED. i love the stars and the sky motif, and the shades of blue are SO stunning. its not super accurate as far as 16th c italian dresses go bUT it is so beautiful i literally dont care. and its not horribly inaccurate the underbust cut, the sleeves – those are all legit. 

this dress also caused me to look away from douglas booth’s perfect face for like 5 seconds at least which is a huge feat 


4. Snow White’s pink and yellow dress from Mirror Mirror (2012)

this isnt techincally a period costume because the period it comes from is like… fairy tale but i .. do not care sorry. every. single. costume in this movie blows my MIND. they are the work of the genius eiko ishioka and they are S T U N N I N G. this is actually one of the more tame costumes of the movie but its my fave bc it is so lovely and beautiful and is totally perfect with Snow’s character in the film. 

the cape itself is FJFJFHEIGHEIGHIEGHIE !!! i have NO WORDS YALL. and the dress under it is so whimsical and lovely and i lovE IT 

the use of applique on the skirt and the bodice to add  3D to the pattern… the color scheme… the use of organza for the sleeves… these are things i would never think of to combine but they work SO WELL 

3. Cecelia’s green dress from Atonement (2007)

THIS DRESS MAKES ME SCREAM OUT LOUD OH MY GOD. like. okay. okay. [clenches fist]. this dress is fucking REVOLUTIONARY. like in the story this dress is Very Important and it fucking KILLS IT LIKE. iconic. i c o n i c. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the bias cut 1930s dress is one of my favorite styles of dress of all time (and it pains me so much because this style of dress would look terrible on my body type) and the emerald green… the ruching at the back …. i died every day waiting for this dress…

2. Edith’s yellow dress from Crimson Peak (2016) 

ok real talk when i saw this in the theater i like inhaled too much of my icee and like almost died BECAUSE OF !!! THIS !! FUCKING !! DRESS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the construction of this dress is fukcing INSANE and i fucking love the 1890s sooo much and this dress is the DRESS OF MY DREAMS like THE UFKCING POOFY SLEEVES…. WITH THE CREEPY FLOWER EMBROIDERY … THE DRAMATIC BLACK BOW… THE WAISTBAND … THE BELL SHAPED SKIRT….THE GOLDEN COLOR…. WHAT A FUCKING LOOK 

look at the front i truly cannot.. i gotta go take a walk or something this dress is Too Much 

#1 Cinderella’s blue ballgown from Cinderella (2015)

okay. let me tell u something. listen to me. this dress straight affected me on a deep soul-level. like. the moment i saw this dress in the first cinderella trailer i was like …. Nothing Was The Same. this dress honestly changed my life???? and it inspired me to sew so much more because it is straight up the most beautiful thing ive ever seen. before the movie came out i was obsessed w this dress and i looked up every interview w sandy powell ab it and after i looked at all the cosplays of it. also my life like started to get better around the time after i saw this movie???? coincideNCE ??? I THINK NAUGH T !!!! 

this dress is my phone lock screen its also the background of my desktop. this is like. My Dress u know it is just the best thing ive ever seen i could stare at it forever. did u know there is more than 12 layers of differently colored organza that make up the skirt?? and under that there is a petticoat and a crinoline cage??????

the design of it is just. brilliant. the fact that sandy powell started w the idea of cinderella running away from the ball and the movement of the dress is SO great and pays of big time on screen. this is a phenomenon that cannot be expressed thru pictures so please watch this video and feel calm in ur soul and also appreciate the Best Scene In Cinema History 


thank u for caring ab my opinion ab dresses and i hope u enjoyed hearing me yell ab dresses i truly love period dresses so much 

nytimes.com
Jonathan Groff on "Looking" and What's Next
The actor, who received a Tony nomination for “Hamilton,” is working on a David Fincher series for Netflix and saying goodbye to HBO’s “Looking.”
By Erik Piepenburg

Jonathan Groff showed off a photo on his phone. It was him, a baby faced and smiling fan meeting Sutton Foster at the stage door during her Tony Award-winning run in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” more than a decade ago. He swiped right, and there they were again. This time they were backstage — with Mr. Groff in a “Millie” wig — headlining a concert at City Center this month. The smile was still there.

And for good reason: Mr. Groff, at 31, is having a whopper of a year. He received a Tony nomination for playing King George in “Hamilton,” leaving to shoot a David Fincher series for Netflix.

Right now, Mr. Groff is smiling about “Looking: The Movie,” a 90-minute film-cum-finale with an HBO premiere on Saturday, July 23. Directed by one of the show’s creators, Andrew Haigh, the movie brings to an end a drama about a group of gay friends in San Francisco. The series divided viewers with its talky storytelling, go-there sex scenes and spotlight on Mr. Groff’s character, a narcissistic video game designer.

Despite lasting just two seasons, Mr. Groff said “Looking” would be remembered as an empowering way for gay men to see themselves on television, not “living vicariously through a woman,” as he did as an avid fan of “Sex and the City.”

Mr. Groff recently talked about the legacy of “Looking” and the church of Fincher. Following are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Keep reading

Good Ole Swizzle and I go way back, we’re old friends - she just doesn’t know it. 

Back in 2007 there was this dude I had convinced myself I was in love with (hindsight is a funny thing) and we were going to get married….but he had a girlfriend. At the time ‘Misery Business’ by Paramore was the song that fit the situation perfectly “ I waited 8 long months she finally set him free” and at this point they had been together 7 and a half weeks so of course I was confident in two weeks time BOOM KAPOW she’d be gone. 

Nope. Not even close.

So there I was on Radio Disney one day and I heard this song that mentioned his name in it and it completely fit my situation. My new hope came from a young lady named Taylor Swift who had left the below phrase in my mind.

I had to download her album, it’s like we know each others brain right! BEST FRIEND FOREVER!! So there I went to Itunes and bought Taylor Swift which then set me up with more and more hopes and dreams ; Mary’s Song, I’m only me when I’m with you and then I had a really close Friend Drew . Teardrops on my Guitar was more proof that this girl and I were destined to be besties even though there was never any romantic feelings there she had a best friend named Drew as well and this was far to coincidental. 

I spent my summer searching and finding any unreleased or Bonus Song I could find ’ I’d Lie’ became an ultimate favourite of mine as well as ’ The other side of the door’ however the latter would only become to mean more to me in later years.

Flash forward to October 2008 and there is a music practical assessment due as I wasn’t talented enough for any other instrument I decided I would sing. The song of choice was the recently released 'Love Story’, no body else had heard of it but I was fortunate enough to have a music teacher who could recreate the chord progression and melody on the piano to accompany me.

Every body made fun of me for choosing a 'Lame Country Song about Romeo & Juliet’ however I just ignored them and performed my little heart out and got a great grade for it. Little did they know that the below phrase is incredibly hard to get the breathing correct on, the amount of times I had to go over and over this phrase to nail it is phenomenal.

In February 2009 Taylor had a concert in Brisbane at the Tivoli however my mum didn’t think I should be going to a concert 2.5 hours from home on a school night with no one I knew. I was of course devestated but I couldn’t do anything about it, I moved on and got over it. Until the day after the concert a girl the year above me at school announced that she had gone last night and it was wonderful - if only I’d known she was going my mum probs would have let me go. 

When I was in Port Douglas for Easter 2009 I bought the Deluxe Fearless Album and discovered the secret messages in the booklets, I spent hours of my holiday learning lyrics and decoding messages. approximately a month later You Belong with Me became the song everyone loved at my school, all they could talk about was how cool Taylor Swift was and how good her other song Love Story is… the same people who made fun of me for singing the exact same song 6 months ago. I was a tad concerned about their mental state after such a 180 that I even asked a few of them

For mothers day I made my mum a mixed CD for her car, The Best Day was the last on the CD and was her favourite. She watched the film clip for it over and over when it was released.

For Christmas 2009 I received 3 tickets to the Fearless Tour in Brisbane, if I didn’t already love Swizzle that tour certainly cemented her in my heart. She was happy and excited and interacted with the audience like we were her friends. 

When Speak Now was released I had just ended a tumultuous relationship with a boy with a name none other than John. I spent hours singing along with every word 'Don’t you think I was too young to be played by your dark twisted games when I loved you so’ and Taylor had once again reached straight into my life to find inspiration for a song. 

When we graduated high school in 2010 my friends and I took Speak Now with us to Schoolies and blasted Long Live and Sparks Fly throughout the week.

The line 'The end of a decade but the start of an age’ found itself resounding in our minds the entire week.

Christmas 2011 I received 2 tickets to the Speak Now World Tour and took my cousin Laura with me. We were the front row of the first tier and Taylor walked right pass us to make her way to the B- Stage. The two of us were probably 2 ft from touching her but she never looked our way unfortunately. 

We sang and danced to every song and were blown away when the fireworks went off inside the arena during Dear John.

I bought the Speak Now and Fearless Sheet Music books and poured my vocals and fingers into learning every piano chord and melody line I could.

September of 2012 my boyfriend broke up with me and I cried in my bed with my best friend while I listened to 'Last Kiss’ on repeart

In 2012 when Red was released there was excitement at a new sound and new secret messages to uncover in the booklets. I pre-ordered the album and tracked the delivery of it all day via Australia Post. I sat in my room and listened to every song on repeat whilst reading the lyric booklet. I fell in love with 'All Too Well’ just as everyone else did as well as Starlight. I danced in my car to Stay Stay Stay and 22 and reconciled with my boyfriend and danced to 'The Last Time’. 

In 2013 I left work early through an evacuation to make sure I got home in time to get the Taylor Nation Pre-sale. I was in and out of that check out within 2 minutes and got wonderful tickets around 25 metres from the stage. Even luckier though is that the Brisbane Concert was being held the day after my sisters wedding on the Saturday the 7th December.

The days before the Concert and the Wedding I spent hours creating fairy wings with fairy lights strung through the exterior wires and glow in the dark glitter paint with the words Red and Taylor Swift written on the wings. I also bought glow in the dark nail polish.

 On the morning of the 7th I skipped out on Maid of Honour duties and drove to Brisbane with my cousin Laura and we spent the day buying glow in the dark paint and glow sticks to create shirts and stand out in hopes of Taylor or Mumma Swift to see us. 

We had wonderful seats and were having a great time 

Then the pit broke, and everyone who was in the pit were told to stand in front of our seats. We couldn’t see and we couldn’t stand comfortably as there were people pushing us back into our physical seats. People behind us left and many were left disappointed. 

We still had a wonderful time though despite the hiccups.

In 2014 I was 'sick’ the day of the Taylor Swift Yahoo live chat and watched with the rest of the world as she announced 'Shake It Off’ and '1989’ I text my Cousin Laura straight away and told her to make sure she went onto youtube straight away. We texted back and forth the entire day discussing how excited we were when we heard shake it off on the radio in the car and how many times we had watched the film clip. 

In September Taylor started hosting the '1989 Secret Sessions’ and I got as excited as those who were invited, I downloaded Taylor’s cookie recipe and even followed some of the fans on Instagram. I watched and waited as each City had a secret session, I was in Nashville 4 days after she had the Secret Session there. As I finally made my way to New York Taylor flew to Australia, I was so upset that she would be having a secret session there and I wouldn’t be there. 

She didn’t have one and I relaxed finally.

When I returned from America 1989 was about to be released I waited with anticipation and avoided any leaks on Tumblr and Reddit. I waited until I received that pretty little album in my Itunes account. I loved it, it was wonderful and I listened repeatedly.

 

At the end of 2014 I left work early to purchase Pre Sale tickets for my cousin Laura and I through the Taylor Nation pre-sale, once again I was in and out within 2 minutes. $700 dollars later and I got us B-Stage Pit Tickets.

Also

I don’t have any friends who are anywhere near as tall as me so if Swizzle would like to be my  maid of honour when I eventually get married that would be swell. help your curl sister out.

Sir Christopher Lee - obituary (The telegraph)

Actor of aristocratic bearing who was closely identified with the role of Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and Count Dracula

Sir Christopher Lee, the actor, who has died aged 93, defined the macabre for a generation of horror film enthusiasts with his chilling portrayals of Count Dracula; in a career that spanned more than half a century Lee played the sinister vampire no fewer than nine times in productions including Dracula (1958), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) and The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973).

With his saturnine glamour and striking physique — at a gaunt 6ft 4in he was a dominating physical presence with an aristocratic bearing, dark, penetrating eyes and a distinctive sepulchral voice — Lee was an ideal candidate to play the bloodsucking Count. “Dracula is a very attractive character,” he insisted, “he’s so heroic – erotic too. Women find him irresistible. We’d all like to be him.”

After almost 20 years of playing Dracula, Lee eventually tired of the role. He moved to the United States where he enjoyed a lucrative career in both films and made-for-television mini-series such as The Far Pavilions and Shaka Zulu. While in America Lee resisted all offers of parts in soap operas including Dallas and Dynasty.


“You find yourself appearing with 15 other guest stars,” he recalled, “and word gets round that you’re on the skids.” Instead he surprised his fans by accepting “voice roles” in various animated films, playing Uncle Drosselmeyer in Nutcracker Fantasy (1979) and King Haggard in The Last Unicorn (1980). More surprising still was his acceptance of the role of Prince Philip in the ill-fated television film Charles and Diana: A Royal Love Story (1982).

After decades in the film industry, Lee remained as eager as ever to take on new roles. In 1990 at the age of 71 (and having undergone open heart surgery) he appeared in 12 different films within 14 months. “I get restless and frustrated if I don’t work,” he insisted, “I like a continual challenge.” In his eighties he gained a new audience, bringing sulphurous intensity to the role of Saruman in Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings films.

Lee’s one regret, he maintained, was his decision not to become an opera singer. “I was born with the gift of a very good voice,” he said, “and I have been asked to sing in various concerts but I’m too old now.” Late in life, however, he was persuaded to lend his rich bass tones as a narrator to various heavy metal records including those of the symphonic power metal group Rhapsody of Fire. In 2010 he released an album of his own, Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, followed two years later by Charlemagne: The Omens of Death.

Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born on May 27 1922 in Belgravia, London, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Geoffrey Trollope-Lee of the 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Lee’s father had fought in both the Boer and Great Wars and had later married an Italian contessa, Estelle Maria Carandini, a descendant of the Borgias whose parents had founded the first Australian opera company. Among Lee’s stories of his early life he claimed that his father was descended from a band of gypsies in Hampshire and that his mother was descended from Charlemagne.

Christopher’s parents were divorced when he was four and his mother remarried. Lee grew up in his wealthy stepfather’s home, where he was waited on by a staff of five (a butler, two footmen, a chauffeur and a cook). He attended Wagner’s in Queensgate and Summerfields preparatory school, Oxford, and sat for a scholarship to Eton before being sent to the more affordable Wellington College where he distinguished himself as a classical scholar.

Fluent in Italian and French, in later life Lee added Spanish, German, Russian, Swedish, Danish and Greek to his repertoire. When his alcoholic stepfather was bankrupted in 1938 Christopher Lee was forced to leave school at 17 in order to find work. For the next 12 months he worked as a city messenger, licking stamps and making tea for a wage of £1 a week.

When the Second World War broke out, Lee joined the RAF and was promoted to flight lieutenant. He won six campaign medals, was mentioned in despatches and received decorations from Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. He also worked for British Intelligence. “Serving in the Armed Forces was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he insisted. “I did not know how other people lived.”

After the war, Lee served with the Central Registry of War Crimes, work that took him to several concentration camps including Dachau, but when he was finally demobbed at the age of 24, he remained undecided about which career he wanted to pursue. He toyed with the idea of becoming a ballet dancer, opera singer and diplomat before his cousin (at that time the Italian ambassador to the Court of St James) suggested he try acting.

Greatly against his mother’s wishes — (“Just think of all the appalling people you’ll meet!” she warned him) — Lee met the Italian head of Two Cities Films, part of the J Arthur Rank Organisation, signed a seven-year contract, and joined the Rank Company of Youth (otherwise known as the Rank Charm School) in 1946. He made his film debut with a bit part in Corridor of Mirrors (1948).

A succession of “walk on” parts ensued until, in 1951, he appeared in a speaking part as a swarthy Spanish sea captain in Captain Horatio Hornblower RN. It was one of Lee’s last films for Two Cities and when his contract ran out neither he nor the Rank Organisation were eager to renew it. Instead Lee accepted roles in a television series — made in Britain but shown first in America — Douglas Fairbanks Presents, appearing in some 40 half-hour productions.

After a series of military film roles in the mid-1950s, including a lieutenant in Innocents in Paris (1953), a submarine commander in The Cockleshell Heroes and a captain in That Lady (both 1955), Lee landed his first horror role for Hammer Films. He played the Creature in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), a part which required him to be coated in artificial gangrene and which left him looking, in his opinion, “like a road accident”.

Described as “the first gothic horror film made by Hammer”, The Curse of Frankenstein was graphic in its depiction of large quantities of gore. The film was extremely popular and Lee, playing opposite the studio’s resident star Peter Cushing, was enormously successful as the monster. Realising that a film about Bram Stoker’s vampiric Transylvanian nobleman might prove equally successful, a Hammer executive, James Carreras, offered Lee the role of the Count in their next production, Dracula.

The film proved to be one of the seminal horror films of the 1950s. Lee looked the part (tall and thin, as in Stoker’s novel) and imbued the character with a dynamic, feral quality that had been lacking in earlier portrayals. With his bloody fangs and bright red eyes ablaze, Lee made a frighteningly believable vampire. In contrast with Bela Lugosi’s eerie, somnambulistic count of the 1930s, Lee spoke his lines with crisp assurance and tried to portray what he described as “the essence of nobility, ferocity and sadness”.


With Cushing cast this time as the vampire hunter, Dracula (retitled Horror of Dracula in America) was a box-office success for Hammer and horror aficionados at the time labelled it “the greatest horror movie ever made”. Lee also regarded the film as the best of the series of Dracula films which he made with Hammer. “It’s the only one I’ve done that’s any good,” he recalled. “It’s the only one that remotely resembles the book.”

With the success of his portrayal of the Count, Lee treated himself to a grey, second-hand Mercedes and became established as a horror star for the first time. He was swamped with offers of film roles and took leading parts in several films throughout the late 1950s.

In productions such as The Man Who Could Cheat Death, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Mummy (all 1959), Lee played characters ranging from Sir Henry Baskerville to a 2,000-year-old corpse. He later claimed that the make-up for The Mummy was so uncomfortable that he swore never to submit to special effects again. The exceptions were the essential, red contact lenses for his appearances as Dracula. Lee found the lenses excruciatingly painful but, as he had worn them in the first film, continuity demanded that he wear them in all subsequent productions.

Lee continued to be in demand throughout the 1950s and 1960s, starring in more than 20 films in only six years. Although he accepted some unlikely projects (including The Terror of the Tongs and The Devil’s Daffodil, both in 1961), he was also able to make films in which he had a personal interest. Lee had long wanted to play the Chinese arch-villain Fu Manchu and in 1965 he was offered the title role in The Face of Fu Manchu. The film was so popular that a series of four more were filmed, including Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968) and Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1968). After roles in horror films such as Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors and The Skull (both 1965), Lee returned to his earlier incarnation in Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966).

He was less happy with the second film. He had become too expensive a star for the Hammer studios, and in a cost-cutting measure his scenes were kept to a minimum and remained devoid of dialogue. Lee was reduced to making a soft hissing noise which drew laughter from audiences when the film was screened. He enjoyed more success with the lead in Rasputin, The Mad Monk (1966). Although the film was badly flawed, Lee was convincing in the title role.

He returned again to the role of Dracula two years later in Dracula has Risen from the Grave, on the understanding that he would have well-scripted dialogue. The film made more money than any previous Hammer production and Lee was persuaded to appear in the 1970 project, Scars of Dracula. But he had by this time become disenchanted with the role. He feared that he was being typecast and that the quality of scriptwriting had deteriorated to an unacceptable level.


Nevertheless Hammer were eager to continue with Lee as their horror star and persuaded him to make two more Dracula films that year. After rapidly completing Taste the Blood of Dracula and The Magic Christian, Lee devoted himself to non-vampire roles for a period.

Later in 1970 he played Sherlock Holmes’s brother Mycroft in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (“so commandingly good,” reported The Sunday Telegraph, “that this must surely be the end of shabby Draculas for him”) and followed it with a tiny appearance as Artemidorus in Julius Caesar in 1971. After four more Dracula films, including a modern interpretation titled Dracula AD 1972 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula the year after, Lee was increasingly unhappy with the manner in which the character was being portrayed. “It’s ridiculous,” he complained, “you can’t have Dracula in a modern office block, it completely undermines the original idea.”

Taking another break from the Count, Lee appeared in one of his favourite films, The Wicker Man (1973), playing a Scots laird who practises human sacrifice in the 20th century. He then went on to play the evil one-eyed Comte de Rochefort in both The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974) before appearing in his first Bond film as the assassin Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (also 1974). Lee was finally persuaded to make one more Dracula-style film in the 1970s, Dracula Père et Fils (1976), before giving up the role for good.

Despite his physical likeness to the Count, Lee’s affinity with his baleful character stopped there. Throughout his career he had a reputation for being a long-winded raconteur whose reminiscences tended to focus on himself. In 1976, when Lee left Britain for the US, the move prompted an acquaintance to joke that “the population of Los Angeles were dusting out their bomb shelters in anticipation of a barrage of anecdotes”.

According to another account, on one occasion an actress got off an aircraft looking ashen and exhausted. Questioned about her health by airport staff, she explained that she had been seated next to Lee and that he had not stopped talking about himself during the 10-hour flight.

Through the late 1970s, Lee continued to make films at a prodigious rate, appearing in 10 in two years. He accepted roles as diverse as Captain Rameses in the science fiction film Starship Invasions (1977) and that of the head gypsy in the Second World War drama The Passage (1979).

In the 1980s, Lee combined his film career with a return to television, appearing in mini-series including Charles and Diana: A Royal Love Story (1982) and The Far Pavilions (1984). In 1985 he suffered a heart attack, returned to London and underwent heart surgery. Instead of seeing this as a signal that he ought to retire, Lee was back at work within a year and had returned to the horror genre for the dreadful The Howling II (1986), subtitled Your Sister is a Werewolf in America.

Although Lee continued to work prolifically throughout his life, he never again enjoyed the same success as he had when playing Dracula. He made some fatuous comedies in the mid-1980s such as Rosebud Beach Hotel (1985) and Jocks (1986), and continued the trend into the 1990s with a starring role in the spoof horror film Gremlins II — The New Batch.

He starred in the title of role of Jinnah soon after the 50th anniversary of the founding of Pakistan in 1997, and was Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002). He returned to the same role in Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith in 2005, and was the wizard Saruman in two of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films (2001-2002), in two of his Hobbit series (2012-14) and in various video games.

With Uma Thurman, Lee was scheduled to appear as a retired surgeon in The 11th, a feature film about the lead-up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, which is due to be shot in Denmark this autumn.

Reflecting near the end of his life about the role of Dracula, Lee said: “There is a lot of misunderstanding about me in that role. It had never been played properly before that. With me it was all about the power of suggestion to make the unbelievable believable.”

He published two volumes of autobiography — Tall, Dark and Gruesome (1977) reissued as Lord of Misrule (1997) — and was appointed CBE in 2001. He was knighted in 2009 and made a fellow of Bafta in 2011.

Christopher Lee is survived by his Danish wife, Birgit (née Kroencke), a painter and Dior model known as Gitte, whom he married in 1961, and by their daughter Christina.

Sir Christopher Lee, born May 27 1922, died June 7 2015

The Diary: Tom Hiddleston

Before deciding to become an actor, I read Classics at university and my favourite lyric poetic epic is still the Odyssey. Homer’s eponymous hero – the guy we’re all rooting for – is a man of many wiles: a sailor, traveller, warrior, lover, and adventurer. But perhaps the most important reason why Odysseus achieves the glory of eternal renown is simply because, after 10 years in Troy, and a further 10 at sea, he makes it back home. He returns to his family: to his wife Penelope, to his father Laertes, and to his son Telemachus. His very status as a hero depends upon the success of his return home.
I was thinking about Odysseus last weekend at Los Angeles International airport. As Colin Firth accepted his heroic, long-deserved best actor Oscar for The King’s Speech – a familial odyssey for George VI of a slightly different kind – I was on my way home. I caught the early part of the ceremony in the departure lounge, and boarded my London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight just moments after Kirk Douglas had shown us what old-fashioned-movie-star charisma used to be. So I calculate that at near enough the exact moment that Colin Firth’s feet left the ground so, too, did mine (in a more obviously practical sense). I fell asleep during take-off. I’m not sure Colin Firth has landed yet.

I had been in LA to help put the finishing touches to Marvel Studios’ next comic book super-hero adventure movie, Thor, directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins. I’m proud to say that I am continuing a long tradition of British baddies and play the film’s villain, Loki, Thor’s younger brother and the Norse god of mischief.

It is a Marvel comic/epic Norse odyssey all of its own in which Thor, the god of thunder, is cast out of Asgard and has to find a way home. As the damaged and jealous Loki, I do my best to stop him. The film is an explosion of brilliant, bright-coloured thunder and lightning, with stormy family dynamics at its centre, and, I hope, will be huge fun.

I was glad to be coming home, though, not least because I was coming back for the release of another, very different film, of which I am extremely proud.  Archipelago is the new feature written and directed by Joanna Hogg. It’s her second film.
Her first, Unrelated (2007), was my first job, just two weeks out of drama school, and Joanna and I were as surprised as anyone when the film was taken up and championed by critics and audiences alike, and Joanna was hailed as a new, astonishingly confident, British auteur. I played Oakley, an arrogant, irresponsible, sexually cavalier 19-year-old, and both learned invaluable lessons about the craft of screen acting, and won some stripes on my lapel to be proud of.
In Archipelago, I play Edward, a 28-year-old who has just left a burgeoning career in an investment bank, and has committed to the beginning of his own personal odyssey: 11 months of voluntary service with Aids-suffering communities in Uganda. His mother and sister have organised a family trip to Tresco, 25 miles off the coast of Cornwall, as a send-off. They are all hoping his father will come down to the island later on, but he never materialises. As you may have guessed, the tensions created by his struggle for personal freedom and self-definition, outside of the family unit, are crushing and suffocating.
In order to define himself, Edward needs to travel, to journey, to adventure, to set sail, in order to be able to come back, to come home.

Joanna Hogg is unique, because she makes films about the people she knows – the English upper-middle-classes – and in a manner inspired by the film-makers she loves – Eric Rohmer, Michael Haneke, and Yasujiro Ozu. I don’t know anyone like her. She makes very European films about very British people. Her work is unashamedly austere, challenging, and open-ended. The camera is still, the takes are long, the pace is slow. Her characters are quiet, passive, often remote. Nothing much happens, nothing much is resolved. But beneath the surface is a quiet desperation, an undercurrent of a powerful subtext begging to be articulated. In my playing of Edward, Joanna asked me for a vulnerability, a compassion, a sensitivity, for the quiet pain of a young man who bottles up all his own emotions lest they take up space in the room. It’s very English in a very particular way. It rarely gets put at the centre of a story in cinema. Most of us understand drama as arising from conflict. Drama is extremity. That’s what the Greeks tell us. Or is it?

One week after shooting wrapped on Archipelago, I sold my flat in Kentish Town. One week after that, I moved into an architect’s studio in Venice Beach, California – my home for the six months it took to make Thor, and I’m unashamed to say they were some of the happiest of my life.
I ran along the Pacific coast every Saturday morning, with the sun on my face, in February, and never for one second took it for granted. One month into Thor and I was off again – this time for my sister’s wedding – to Chennai, in India, where she now lives with her husband Yakov, and where they hope to start a family.
Five days of blindingly bright Indian colour and non-stop Bollywood dancing accomplished, and then I was back and happily ensconced in Venice, and, like Odysseus with Calypso, I thought I’d be there forever. But home called me back, and before I knew it I was in London again, preparing for Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (guess where?), and the prospect of a role in Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of War Horse.

I left drama school in the summer of 2005. It has been the most amazing odyssey ever since. I’ve worked in Paris, Moscow, New York, Milan, Reykjavik, Brussels, Ystad in Sweden, Santa Fe in New Mexico, Los Angeles and, of course, London. I never know where the wind will take me next. I often miss my family when I’m away. And yet, every film, every story is about family in some way.
While we were filming Thor, Anthony Hopkins once leant over and whispered, “You know, all the great actors – James Mason, Robert Mitchum, Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton – they were all such open, charming, optimistic people, but they each had a little suitcase of pain, and that’s what made them great.”
I have lived out of many suitcases, and it’s my frequent professional obligation to turn up on set and excavate some pain. Sometimes you have to go a long way round the houses to come home. I haven’t had to fight quite so many gods and monsters as Odysseus. But it’s been one hell of a journey, so far.

By Tom Hiddleston - March 3, 2011 1:09 pm

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From August 9th to August 10th, eight innocent lives were lost. So much has been said about their deaths, that people forget their lives.

Steven Parent was an 18 year old recent high school graduate who resided in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte with his parents and three siblings. Working on electronics soon escalated from just a hobby, to an obsession for the teen. His youthful exuberance and extreme fascination wound up getting him into trouble on more than one occasion. Radios seemed to be what interested him the most, he would end up stealing several–just to take them apart, see how they worked, and put them back together again. It was foolishness, not maliciousness that was the cause of the thefts. His intentions made no difference in the eyes of the law, and he was arrested more than once. While in a youth correctional facility he tested at a near-genius level for electronics. In spite of the petty theft arrests, he was a very upstanding young man. He was planning to attend Citrus Junior College in September of 1969. He was saving money for his education and future by working two jobs.

Wojciech Frykowski was born in Poland in 1936. He was an intelligent man who graduated with a degree in chemistry. His greatest friendship nearly began as a brawl. Wojciech was known for being a troublemaker, so when he went to a school dance, the young man working the door would not let him in. Wojciech did not get in, but he very nearly did get into a fist fight with the young man who would not let him in, Roman Polanski. A few weeks later the two encountered each other at a local bar. Wojciech bought Roman a drink and by the end of the night, a friendship had been forged. Wojciech’s family had a fair amount of wealth due to his father’s textile printing company. That led to Wojciech financing an early short film by Roman, Mammals. When Roman made his first full-length picture, Knife in The Water, he hired Wojciech as a lifeguard. Wojciech kept a hard exterior, which led to bar brawls after filming had wrapped for the day. Years after Knife in The Water, Roman Polanski said this about his friend: “Beneath his tough exterior, Wojciech was good-natured, softhearted to the point of sentimentality, and utterly loyal.” During that period in his life, Wojciech ended up marrying twice. One marriage resulted in his only child, a son named Bartek. His second marriage was to poet Agnieszka Osiecka. In 1967 he made the decision to leave Poland and traveled to Paris. After spending some time there, he then set out for New York City. It was in NYC that writer Jerzy Kosinski introduced him to Abigail Folger. The two became friends, and then a couple. Early on they had to communicate in French, which was the only language they shared since he did not yet know English and she did not know Polish. He took copious amounts of notes while she taught him English and American customs. In August of 1968 they left New York for Los Angeles. In 1969 Roman Polanski began planning his next film, Day of The Dolphin. Wojciech happily agreed to help him to research for the project. Roman had also asked Wojciech and Abigail to stay in the home he shared with Sharon Tate, because he did not like the idea of his pregnant wife being alone while he was working in London. It was during this time that Wojciech wanted to reconnect with his son, and was working on plans to bring his son to the USA from Poland.

The name Jay Sebring was given upon his birth in Alabama on October 10th, 1933 was Thomas John Kummer. The family, including his parents and three siblings, ended up leaving Alabama for Detroit. After his high school graduation he joined the Navy for four years, and served in the Korean War. He became a barber in the Navy, and it was then that his entrepreneurial skills presented themselves. When his time in the Navy came to an end, he moved out to Los Angeles to begin his career. Along with the new career came a new name, Jay Sebring. Sebring came from the Florida car race, which he was a fan of. His unique style of cutting hair and charming personality gave him some of the most high-profile clients in Hollywood. Kirk Douglas took an instant shine to him and convinced Stanley Kubrick to hire Jay as the men’s hairstylist for Spartacus. The high-profile film brought him all kinds of new work and clients. Friendships were very important to Jay along with professional and romantic relationships. In ‘64 he met and became friends with martial artist Bruce Lee. He would end up giving a video recording of Bruce to Batman producer William Dozier. Not too long later, William Dozier cast Bruce Lee in another series, The Green Hornet. Even though Jay was most comfortable working behind-the-scenes, he would occasionally appear on camera. His appearances were on the television shows The Virginian and Batman, along with the film Synanon. From time-to-time he’d appear on talk shows and game shows like To Tell The Truth. In his personal life, his marriage to model/actress Cami Sebring lasted from 1960 to 1963. The divorce would not be finalized until 1965. It was during Thanksgiving of 1964 that he met Sharon Tate at the Whiskey A Go Go. The relationship became serious quickly, and they spent as much time together as possible. Dominick Dunne would later recall Sharon spending her time with Jay in his home salon while he worked on clients. Some rumors say that he wanted to get married, while she did not. Others say that she wanted to get married, while he did not. Either way, the romance ended in 1966 when she fell in love with director Roman Polanski. Even though their romance fell apart, he remained her friend, and became a good friend of Roman’s as well. As the 1960’s progressed, so did his career. Perhaps his best known style was the iconic look he crafted for Jim Morrison. By 1969 he had three salons, which became four by summer. He also worked on product lines that would expand his business to the whole country. His investors included musician John Phillips as well as friend Abigail Folger. He was a hairs breath away from having his own empire.

Abigail “Gibbie” Folger was born into wealth as the daughter of Peter Folger (of Folger’s Coffee) and Ines Mejia in August of 1943. The couple divorced in 1952 when Abigail and her brother, Peter, were still quite young. Her father married his much younger secretary in 1960, and the then-17 year old Abigail did not attend. Even early on in her life, it seems that Abigail was trying to figure out who she was and what kind of life she wanted, outside of her family’s wealth and influence. Her family provided her with the best education possible, which she took full advantage of. During her days at Radcliffe she dabbled in the theater, but it appears that performing did not hold her interest. Instead, she began educating herself on social and political issues. In 1967 she ended up working at the University of California art museum in Berkley, which seemed a good fit considering she possessed a degree in Art History. In the summer of 1967 she was dating photographer Jim Marshall, and accompanied him to the Monterey Pop Festival. The relationship didn’t last, and neither did her job at the art museum. She left California for New York, and briefly worked for a magazine publisher before settling into a job at the Gotham Book Mart. While the store was her official day job, she also devoted time to volunteering for Robert F. Kennedy’s Presidential campaign. She was already a very socially-conscious young woman who believed in Kennedy’s message. It was through her work at the store that she met writer Jerzy Kosinski, who in turn introduced her to Wojciech Frykowski. At the time of their meeting, he spoke no English. Instead, they communicated through French, which was a language they both spoke. The friendship blossomed into romance. She taught him English and American customs. They travelled around New York together, and eventually began living together. In August of 1968 they packed up their belongings and drove to California, and settled into a house on Woodstock Road, becoming neighbors with singer Cass Elliot. Upon returning to her home state, she decided to fully immerse herself in volunteering and social work. She volunteered for the Haight-Ashbury medical clinic with her mother and spent much of her time in ghettos, doing her best to help the young children there. She became political again, contributing to, and working for the campaign to elect Tom Bradley mayor of Los Angeles. Bradley’s campaign failed, leaving her disillusioned. She also protested against the war in Vietnam. It’s unknown how her anti-war position was viewed in her family, because her brother Peter was serving in the Armed Forces. The stress of her job as a social worker was taking a major toll on her. She ended up telling a friend; “A lot of social workers go home at night, take a bath and wash their day off, I can’t. The suffering gets under your skin.” In 1969 she and Wojciech moved into Roman and Sharon’s Cielo Drive home at the request of Roman. The relationship between Abigail and Wojciech was beginning to crumble. Arguments became more frequent, along with drug use. She ended up telling her therapist that she was planning on ending the relationship.

From the day that she came into the world in 1943, people were quick to make remarks about Sharon Tate’s beauty. When she was only a few months old she won her first pageant, Miss Tiny Tot of Dallas. She formed a strong bond with her mother early on. Because of her father being in the Army, the family moved around frequently and she didn’t necessarily spend a lot of time with her father, Paul. Her mother Doris was her constant, and they both leaned on each other for love and support. The 1950’s brought her two sisters, Debra and Patti. It also brought her more pageant wins, including Miss Richmond in Washington state. By the time the sixties began, the whole family relocated to Italy. It was there that Sharon became Homecoming Queen and made friends with fellow Army Brats who understood what it meant to be the child of someone in the Armed Forces. When movie crews began showing up in the area, she and her friends decided to try out as extras. A few seconds in Barabbas led to an innocent date with actor Jack Palance. When actor Richard Beymer came to Italy to film Hemingway’s Adventures of A Young Man, the two began to date. He encouraged her to go to Hollywood and gave her the contact information for his agent, Hal Gefsky. Initially, her parents were less than supportive of her desire to go to Hollywood. They wanted her to go to college, but her mind had already been made up. People began to take notice of her right from the start. Hal Gefsky took her on as a client, but later let her go to Martin Ransohoff. Ransohoff signed her instantly and set to work on making her into a sex symbol and star. Her relationship with Richard Beymer eventually fizzled out and she began seeing Philippe Forquet. The romance was tumultuous, at best. After it ended in 1964 she met Jay Sebring at the Whiskey A Go Ho during the Thanksgiving holiday. That relationship was much more stable, and unlike her former beaus, Jay was older and had an established, steady career. Part of her preparation for stardom with Ransohoff was getting out in front of the camera. He wanted to keep her low-key, so he had her wear a dark wig when she played Janet Trego on The Beverly Hillbillies. Her first major film role was supposed to be in a Tarzan film, but for whatever reason, it never came to be. Instead, she appeared in the film Eye of The Devil. It was a small but important role which allowed her to know and work with Kim Novak, Deborah Kerr, and David Niven. She greatly admired Novak and Kerr, and when she was younger she had a crush on Niven. The film was shot in Europe, and she ended up getting an apartment in London while Jay remained in Hollywood. For her next part, Ransohoff wanted her to be in a vampire comedy by Roman Polanski. The initial meeting between the two did not go well. Later, after seeing her reaction when he decided to frighten her, he decided she would be a good choice for the film. As production on The Fearless Vampire Killers progressed in 1966, Sharon and Roman fell in love. When Jay flew out to Europe to see her, she ended their relationship. When the movie wrapped, Sharon went back to California for her next film, and Roman went with her. They began living together and frequently went out to parties at some of the most exclusive clubs of the day. In 1967 she filmed Valley of The Dolls. She was not a fan of the book, and the film’s director treated her cruelly. She managed to rise above and give the best performance of anyone in the film, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She became known as one of the most beautiful, and kindest actresses in Hollywood. She and Roman wed in January 1968, with a lavish reception at London’s Playboy Club following the “I Do’s.” During their honeymoon in Paris, a man put his hand up her skirt, which immediately resulted in Roman attacking his wife’s assaulter. At the end of the fight he had a cut upper-lip. Which was a tiny price to pay for protecting his bride. Later in 1968 she appeared in spy spoof The Wrecking Crew, with Dean Martin. By many accounts it seems that was her most enjoyable experience with making a film. She was more comfortable with light comedy, and her chemistry with Dean Martin is fun to watch. She was also taking hold of her own career by leaving Martin Ransohoff. At home, she played hostess to many friends and took joy in making meals for everyone. When she and Roman became a couple, she started learning Polish recipes specifically for him. While they loved each other deeply, they still had issues. Their biggest issue being his repeated infidelity. While he had been fairly upfront about his activities, it still bothered her. But for the most part she let it slide, because she loved him. It was sometime around the end of 1968 when she became pregnant. When she told him about the pregnancy in early-1969 he was not particularly happy. Given all of the loss he encountered during the Holocaust, his reaction was somewhat understandable. Eventually, he accepted that they would become parents. In February, they rented a home on Cielo Drive and the following month left for Europe. She went to Italy to film a comedy called The Thirteen Chairs. Production was sometimes difficult because her pregnancy caused her to become tired at times, and as time went on, more elaborate means were used to hide her growing belly. When it finished, she and Roman spent more time at their home in London and buying things for the baby. In July she sailed back to the USA while Roman remained in London to do prep work for his next film. He promised her he would be back home in time for their child’s birth. She settled back in at home with house guests Wojciech and Abigail. When the Moon Landing happened, she watched it at home with her parents and younger sisters. Before they left, her mother asked if she needed anything. She replied that she had everything she needed.

Paul Richard Polanski was named for his grandfathers and conceived during a joyful time period for his parents. His father, Roman, was reaching new professional heights. His film, Rosemary’s Baby was a huge critical and commercial success all over the world. He had earned the admiration and respect of his industry and the movie-going public. Nearly a year earlier he had married a woman whom he loved, and who loved him in return. He was a far cry from the young boy who saw tragedy first-hand in the Holocaust. Paul’s mother Sharon was having her own professional success, albeit not as great as her husband’s. She was a Golden Globe nominated actress who had recently freed herself of her ex-manager’s shackles. She was an in demand cover model and was beloved by family and friends for her kindness and humor. The couple had not intended to conceive a child, but they did. Sharon was ecstatic about becoming a mother, but was nervous about how her husband would react. As she suspected, he was not thrilled about the pregnancy. It brought back the memory that his mother had been pregnant when she was killed in a concentration camp. His wife assured him that everything would be okay. They rented a home which she dubbed as her “love house.” It was a beautiful place. The home wasn’t monstrously large. It was comfortable. A perfect place for a family of three. Enough room for a baby to grow into a toddler. It would be perfect for games and happiness. It even had a pool, a good place for a child to learn to swim. Sharon wanted her child to be happy and healthy. She had given up smoking, a habit she had picked up years earlier. She cut out alcohol. She was taking care of herself, which was how she took care for the child growing inside her. She would be a hands-on mother, like her own. Once she completed the film she was obligated to co-star in her career would take a back seat to motherhood. Because of the Hollywood jet set existence she and her husband were part of, it was decided that it would be a good idea to hire a nanny as well. Sharon wanted an English nanny with “kind eyes.” Roman noted that her life quickly became about the life of their child. She loved buying baby clothes and toys. She didn’t care that she didn’t know the sex of her baby. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was making sure it was healthy and happy. She wanted to make sure that her husband would be comfortable taking care of his new child. She enrolled Roman in a class for expectant fathers. It would start once he came home to her from London. There were all kinds of hopes and dreams for the child of Sharon and Roman.

In August of 1925 Pasqulino Antonio LaBianca was born to Italian immigrants Antonio and Corina LaBianca. He was called Lino, but eventually changed the spelling to Leno. He had two older sisters, Emma and Stella. His mother remained home with the children while his father ran two successful businesses. One business was a super market, while the other purchased food at wholesale prices and then distributed it to the local grocers around the Los Angeles area. By the time he got to high school, he was excelling in his classes and extracurricular sports. His intelligence allowed him to skip a grade while his athleticism earned him the nickname “Flash.” When he wasn’t in school or competing, he was working for his father’s supermarket. He fell in love with a classmate named Alice, and was upset when his family moved into a home on Waverly Drive, because that meant he had to change school districts. Instead of staying at the new school, he forged his father’s signature on a change of address form and went back to his old school, and his girlfriend. In 1942 he began studying Business Administration at Los Angeles City College and began working for his father’s wholesale business. Not long after he transferred to the University of Southern California. 1943 brought his induction into the Army, and 1944 brought his wedding to Alice. He was eventually shipped to Europe while Alice moved in with his parents. By the time he came home in 1946 he had earned the rank of Technical Sergeant and joined the Army reserve with the rank of Sergeant First Class. He and Alice began having some marital issues but they reconciled and in 1948 their daughter Corina was born. Two years later their son, Anthony, arrived. Professionally in this time period he was elected to the Board of Directors and became Vice President of his father’s businesses. When his father passed away in 1951 he became President of both businesses. By 1955 his marriage to Alice was at an end and they separated. Their third child, Louise, was born after their split. The wholesale company proved to be too stressful, so he sold it and focused on expanding Gateway Ranch Markets. Around this time he finally received his Bachelors degree in Finance. In 1959 he met and married Rosemary Struthers. As time went on, he realized that the grocery business was not something he wanted to remain part of. He found his passion in breeding and racing thoroughbred horses. In 1968 he purchased the Waverly Drive house from his mother, and quickly moved back in with Rosemary and her son Frank. By 1969 he was making serious plans to leave Gateway Ranch Markets behind.


It’s thought that Rosemary was born in Mexico in December of 1929. That aspect of her life remains a mystery because no one knows about her parents. It’s been said that they were Americans, but they either died or abandoned her. Rosemary’s childhood was spent in an Arizona orphanage until she was about twelve years old. She ended up being adopted by the Harmon family who lived in California. In the late '40s she was working as a carhop at the Brown Derby Drive-In, in Los Angeles. It was there that she met and fell for Frank Struthers. The courtship was rather short. In 1948 she gave birth to her daughter Suzan, whose father was a man Rosemary had been having an affair with. In 1955 she gave birth to Frank Jr. By 1958 the marriage of Rosemary and Frank Sr. was over. In 1959 she was working as a waitress and met Leno LaBianca. They both fell head over heels and married in Las Vegas. Rosemary became close to Leno’s children from his first marriage, especially his daughter Cory. They quickly bonded over style and fashion. Even Leno’s first wife remarked about how Rosemary did many things with Cory that she herself didn’t have time for. Rosemary had a distinct and sophisticated style which did not go unnoticed by family and friends. In the late '60s she decided to go into business using that style. It was a mobile dress shop that she called Boutique Carriage. It quickly became such a hit that she opened up an actual storefront in the Gateway shopping plaza. She ventured outside of just her shop, investing in stocks and commodities. By 1969 the girl who had been left at an orphanage had grown up into a smart business woman who had made over a million dollars.

Eggs, Bees, & Toilets: Jupiter Ascending as WomanSpace

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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.

Ten years ago today I lost my dear friend John Glick.

A year ago, as I often have, I attempted to musically eulogize him. These will always remain feeble and unworthy stabs in the dark.

John died stupidly. A young woman in throes of some kind of a state I find hard to dignify, no matter how miserable, drove her car 100 mph into a car containing John and his two close friends, Michael Dahlquiston and Douglas Meis, on  a lunch break from where they worked at Shure microphones,  each of them embedded deeply in the Chicago music scene. A tree of misery was born from their death, its branches extending far beyond their immediate friends and family. Their car was  stopped at a red light.

John was my roommate at college, the one and only year it could barely manage to contain me (I tried to drop out after one semester). I was suffering from horrible, debilitating anxiety. And John was never not there for me and it, this thing that was suffocating me there. John and I sang together, got drunk together, made little films together, along with our other pal James Leaver. We videotaped entire dinners we made for each other, the stars of our own My Dinner With Andes. The pasta we threw to the ceiling to see if it was al dente, remained throughout our brief tenure there. We glued the chairs in the kitchen to the ceiling in the middle of the night. We smoked awful ineffectual pot, then smoked Earl Grey tea through a Vitamin C bong that James made for us. We were both a little hooked on Nyquil I might have got him on that kick. Mostly we played each other music we loved, a disproportionate amount played for me – as he introduced me to the likes of Brian Eno, X, The Minutemen, Roxy Music, on and on. I know when he walked in the door, that first day in 1988, and saw his crates of vinyl, and Elvis Costello’s “Armed Forces” peaking through, we were gonna be okay. Somehow, all off this light, in the shadow of all this anxiety that was so badly afflicting me. All this, with John.

John and I probably saw each other a total of maybe 20 times since college, but our friendship endured and transcended the distance between us. He’d always call from Chicago or Wisconsin or Maine on New Years and tell me, in Los Angeles, how the world looked in the future. After he died I couldn’t help but be sadly struck by the irony that he came to know such an unknowable future, far too soon.

This here is bullshit, this attempt at  due diligence to honor the memory of a man whose spirit and contribution to the lives of others is ineffable.

In searching my inbox I found an email John wrote me in 2005, a condolence regarding the passing of my dog Jack,  eerily only 6 months before we lost John. It’s something of John. And it’s much better than anything I can muster…because it’s John.

Oh Adam. I’m so sorry. He was way too young. It doesn’t matter how or when it happens – it’s still the same – but hopefully there can be some solace in, as Rio brings to mind, he didn’t experience the kind of prolonged pain that some of us will always associate with the passing of our pets. Can there be solace in that? I don’t know; probably not now, right?

Becky and I are thinking of you guys. I still owe you a response from a month ago, I think. Leave it to fucking grief to bring us out from under our rocks. Where we’ve pretty much been since September. Now’s not the time for an update though. Suffice to say we went to St. Martin last month for our belated honeymoon…but enough about us. All our thoughts and love to you, C.  and the Sherriff.

xoxo
John

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Ant-Man Review-Spoilers!

SO I just got from seeing latest Marvel movie the ANT-MAN. I think I’m part of a certain minority perhaps: I was really excited for this movie, I did not mind the director change (especially now when certain bits of information have been leaked), I really like Ant-Man as a character and I think his powers were cool. So I walked in to this movie with super-high expectations and with a heart that already likes the Ant-Man character. And what did I get?

Honestly- I expected a different movie. But I did not expect this to be the THIRD BEST MARVEL MOVIE TO DATE. Yes, I’m saying this: Ant-Man is one of the best Marvel movies and superhero movies yet.

Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) tries to stop his protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from developing his shrinking-formula to dangerous levels. And he needs help to save his legacy and the world from it. That help comes in a form of burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). Hank and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) start the task of training Scott to steal the dangerous tech back, and to become the hero called Ant-Man. Hijinks ensue.

Let it be said: This is a heist movie, pure and simple. But it is also a very awesome, heartwarming and visually amazing heist movie. With superheroes. And if you don’t generally like heist movies, that might be a problem. Personally, I love heist movies. Plot is very similar to many other heist movies. The team gathers, makes plans, tries to test it and almost gets caught/something bad happens, the mark is asshole and something goes wrong during the heist. Here this pattern is used too, but with interesting characters, cool ideas and some actually good surprises. If you can make your characters interesting and bring something new to a old plot, there is no need to try to be artsy or try to invent wheel again. It’s like Scott says: “ If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Like I said, the characters are the power of this movie. Paul Rudd’s Scott is very likable crook, and he really plays well the affection he has for his daughter. And he kicks ass very well. I really liked the interactions he has with Falcon (yay he’s back!) as he really respects Falcon as he is a superhero. But the still kicks his ass. Michael Douglas was really nailing his part as Hank Pym. The younger version of him was incredibly well done, I totally believed that he was young Douglas. And I’m so glad that they removed all references to his comic-book counterparts highly overplayed traits. You know what I’m talking about. After playing Tauriel in the Hobbit Evangeline Lily really shows again why she is so likable and is go-to actress for badass ladies. Corey Stoll was intense and managed to make best of the character that has no history beyond two issues of the comic book. Praise goes as well to Cassie Lang who was the most adorable human child in the existence. But the biggest surprise was the Scott’s three sidekicks. I really did not like the human characters in Thor: Dark World. They were there just to make cheap jokes and look funny. These three? They are comical geniuses and they are used correctly. Never in the film I got the feeling that they were useless or that they were overplayed. They saved Scott’s life, helped with the heist and proved to be more that just one-note characters- especially Luis (Michael Pena). He really broke stereotypes: he was a criminal, yes but also went to wine-tasting, expressed love to art (Neo-Cubism is his thing) and makes belgian waffles. I really liked that guy.

Visual effects of this movie were incredible. They did as I hoped and took everything shrinking superpower can give and just ran with it. Battles, training montages and infiltration- when you are ant-sized, world looks and feels different. And 3D does not play big part in that, except when they go to the eldritch location that makes your head spinning-the quantum-world. There it makes it look even more abstract with itäs kaleidoscope-esque alien geometrics. Movie is worth of the ticket just to witness that. 

Then there are the two things I REALLY liked that I realized after seeing the movie.

1. Darren Cross in basically Ultron from the comics. He is Hank’s sort of surrogate son. But the problem is that he is too similiar to Pym, and that’s why Hank resents him. Darren certainly has some daddy issues, and those issues mirror to his actions. Hell, even the Yellowjacket’s helmet reminds me of the Ultron’s head.

2. One thing that I realized watching this movie is that certain humanity is lacking from some of the superhero movies. That humanity is not gone here. These characters are so real. Scott’s love for his daughter is there, as is Cassie’s love to his father. The step-father Paxton could have been played as typical evil step-dad that is just a jerk. NO. Paxton cares for Cassie and Maggie, and is ready to sacrifice himself to save her. And he too realizes his errors and actually befriends Scott. Luis saves a random security guard that he had knocked out earlier. That NEVER happens in movies. He knows that the guard is not a bad guy and was just working there, and takes his time so save people. That is important to me and I loved that scene. Even the big bad Darren is not “for the evulz” bad. They made clear that he is not right in his head, thanks to exposure to Pym Particles. You can see that he tries to be the most succesfull man in the world and just to make Hank acknowledge him. When the Pym Laboratory faculties blow up, his face flashes with thousand emotions. He is realistic character who is in mental battle with himself.

All in all, Ant-Man was great. I was glad that they used all those jokes about the name in the trailers and did not use those in the movie. I can make fun of superhero tropes, but I like more when you play this tropes straight. No one makes fun of the name, and they use the titles frequently. “They called her The Wasp” made chills run up my spine. The end credit scenes were also amazing. First one showed us the modern Wasp suit - FINALLY! So excited to see her in the future movies. Second one was very surprising, but in a good way and reminded us what is coming next. But for me the Wasp was more exciting. 

Ant-Man was very funny action-heist with some really heartwarming moments and humanity that makes the characters memorable, timeless and relateable. It looks great and has some really good scenes and twists in it. I encourage each and everybody to go and see this movie and see for yourself why Ant-Man is one of the Marvel’s greatest heroes. I am excited for the future and can’t wait to see Ant-Man in new adventures. 

Phase 2 is over.