more like ultimate favorite character in anything ever but that works too

Theory on the Future Fate of the Blue Lion

 First off, if you haven’t seen the new reboot of Voltron or listened to the SDCC Voltron panel, let me warn you that this post will contain some spoilers so stop reading right now and go watch Voltron. 

Ready? Okay, here we go.

Now I know that ever since season one of Voltron has ended, the growing fandom of Voltron has been producing A LOT of theories of what season two will bring us. And the trailer for season two has only doubled the hype for the upcoming season and for the fan theories. 

The two theories that seem to dominate the Voltron tag are definitely the theory that Keith is either a Galra/Human hybrid or Galra/Altrean hybrid (seriously this theory has pretty much taken control over all Voltron art and fanfiction in the last few weeks) and the second theory is that Shiro will either by killed off like his forgotten 80′s Norwegian brother Sven (rest in peace dear Holgersson) or be captured for long period of time allowing Keith or Allura to take over the Black Lion. (Though this theory begs the question that is Keith has to lead Voltron and pilot the Black Lion to do so does that mean Lance will take over the Red and Allura pilot the Blue? Will Keith have to give Lance his precious red jacket? Will Lance grow a 80′s mullet too? This theory brings up so many questions)

Both these theories are awesome and have pumped up a lot of great material from the fandom so far and will probably continue to do so until season two comes around later this year.

However, there’s been a theory mulling around in my head for a while now and so far, I haven’t really seen any other fan pick up on it. And since I have no one to discuss this with, I’m going to lay it all out right here for you Voltron fandom!

As the title of this post suggest, this theory revolves around the Blue Lion which automatically means a lot of it is going to deal with this guy:


 Why so scared? Not every Voltron theory is filled with angst and- oh fuck, nevermind.

Yes, while the most fandom are biting their nails over the fates of poor alien Keith and the possible death/capture/brainwashing of Tadashi- oh nevermind that’s Sven- I mean Shiro- I’m sitting in my isolated corner of outlandish theories mentally preparing myself over the possible horrendous fate that could possibly await our favorite Blue Paladin.

But “Why?” you, anonymous tumblr user, will ask.What solid clue can be found in season one that could possibly hint that anything bad could happen to Lance and the Blue Lion in the coming seasons?

Well, simple. It all begins with this lines right here:

                 Foreshadowing or too much Film Theorists? Probably the former                                 but who cares, I’m finishing this post.

Even when I first watched the series the first time around, this line always stuck out to me. I know it’s supposed to lead to a snappy argument with Keith to lighten the area on the serious mood of the scene, but it still felt a bit odd.

Then I began to wonder if it might foreshadow to something coming later in the series. Many of the writers of the new Voltron reboot have written stuff for The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra- both series that have been known to plan ahead and leave foreshadowing to future events in small ways so I wouldn’t put it past the team of Voltron to do the same.

So, the question is, will Lance’s mind because fused with a giant ship in the future? Perhaps with with one…..

     Yeah, stop smiling Blue, this theory doesn’t really end well for you.

Of course, since Blue technically already has her own sentiment mind, this couldn’t work unless something were to happen to the Blue Lion that would make her lose the Quintessence, the life form, that allows her to be more than a plain machine….

….Something along the lines of Zarkon destroying one of the lions as a last ditch effort to prevent Voltron from ever being used against him. 

Because damn it if he can’t have his Voltron action figure than nobody should get the Voltron action figure.

But seriously, wouldn’t this be the best plan all together if everything else fails?Why waste all the time and resources trying to steal the lions when he can just destroy one of them and prevent the so-called ultimate weapon from being used against him in the first place? He was doing an okay job of conquering the universe without the Voltron for the last 10,000 years. 

But why the Blue Lion you of little faith ask? If that’s his last ditch plan, then he could destroy any of them to make it work.

Well you’re right- there is no solid evidence to support the idea that it would be the Blue Lion could be destroyed or permanently damaged if these theory plays out. 

But from a writer’s standpoint, if any of the Lions’ were to be killed or damaged, the one that would hit most with the audience probably be Blue.

Look at it this way- who was the lion that the main characters, and we as an audience first met?

                                             Love at first sight.

That’s right. It was Blue. And by all accords, she is the lion that we spend the most time with solo on screen. We get to see more of her personality and grow attached to her at the same time as the main characters to. She is the Lion we, as an audience, have the most emotional attachment to. If anything were to happen to the lions, it would hit the hardest if it happened to Blue. 

And you can bet that the writers did that on purpose.

              How dare they make me feel emotions for this giant robot cat.

So Zarkon destroys Blue to make forming Voltron impossible. Maybe he absorbs her quintessence to make himself more powerful just as he did with that one planet. So her mechanical body may still be somewhat intact, but her lifeform that makes her a living being is gone. She is a lifeless shell. But of course, Lance, her pilot, would share the same Quintessence as Blue. What if, as the ultimate sacrifice, Lance will give up his own Quintessence, his very life force, and fuse with the Blue Lion, thus in a way, becoming the Blue Lion himself?

                                        Oh look Blue! We’re a match!

But, you argue, could this be possible? Making an AI out of memories like with Alfor and the Castle Ship is one thing, but Lance literally becoming the next Blue Lion? Impossible! Nay! Nay!

Don’t worry, I’d be “naying” in disbelief with all of you if I hadn’t realized that we’ve been watching organic beings becoming sentient warships (aka the Robeasts) throughout the entire first season. Haggar and druids have doing this since the very beginning. For example:

This guy

became this asshole

And Haggar’s weird pet lizard

became a digimon I’m pretty sure

Based on this evidence, I’m pretty sure the Lions of Voltron probably all used to be actual organic beings at one point in time before becoming literal weapons to protect the universe.  Haggar and her druids probably rediscovered this same magic to create their own Voltron Lion wannabes.

But if this theory comes true and Lance does sacrifice himself to become the next Blue Lion, then the question is, who would be the next Blue Paladin?

The answer of course, for those who have watched the original series is….

                                Literally fuck anyone who just said Sven. 

Yes Princess Allura. Who else? Blue is literally one of the key colors that represents her in the series. And I don’t think it is just a coincidence that out of all the paladins it was Lance that Allura first saw when she woke up from her 10,000 year long sleep.

I’m going to ride you one day…And not in the way you’re thinking about, pervert.

You would think that the writers would have had Allura fall into Keith’s arms (who was her love interest in the past series) or maybe Shiro’s (since there seems to be some hinting of romance between them), but no, she falls into Lance’s arms, thus already starting the connection between future pilot and lion.

So there you have it folks! I’ve just tossed in my theory for what might happen in the future of the series. Of course, this is all just plain, fun speculation! And whether you agree with it or not, I’d love to hear what you think about it!

Spider-man: Homecoming basically stole from Miles Morales

I’ve been seeing some willfully obtuse shit regarding this where Marvel fans essentially ignore that Peter stole traits from Miles’ origin and story. So here is the list of the ways it was done.

1. Ganke Lee/Ned Leeds

Of course, I had to start with the most obvious.

Not only that he looks like Ganke, but he fucking acts like Ganke. Has Ned Leeds been Asian before? Yes, in Spectacular Spider-man Tv Show, but it would be hilarious that Disney and Sony actually stole from Greg Weisman after they both collectively screwed him twice. The thing about this character is that he acts more like Miles’ Ganke than he does Peter’s Ned Leeds.

Peter’s Ned Leeds was never a close friend of Peter’s, let alone went to the same school as Peter. He was an acquaintance at best or a fellow work mate at the most. 

Ganke, however….

..Is Miles’ best friend. He was introduced in Miles’ second issue ever. He has been a constant character ever since. That is Miles’ number 1.

If you noticed that Ganke was playing with Legos, guess what hobby Ned Leeds’ favorite hobby is?

That is a Lego Deathstar. And before you say, well in the panels’ he’s just playing with it. He doesn’t seem that interested in Legos.

And why Legos are integral to Miles and Ganke? Miles is not as Science smart as Ganke or Peter Parker so he cannot remake the Web fluid. Ganke is that smart and Legos are suggested by Chemists as great toys children to play with because it helps them visualize molecular models. Ganke is as important to Miles’ Spider-man as he is to Miles.

For all intents and purposes, Ned Leeds probably is just his best friend on account of Peter not telling Ned Leeds that he is Spider-man. Speaking of which, the whole Peter having a confidant in on his identity situation…

He never had one. Peter never told anyone that he is Spider-man. He never once shared that info with Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane(she always knew, but never revealed that she knew), Harry Osbourne, or anyone. In Ultimate Spider-man, Peter did confide in Mary Jane, but that was a case of her being his only friend.

Miles only revealed his identity to Ganke and eventually his father.  Well in the case of Ganke, Miles never had to reveal anything because Ganke was there to help him become Spider-man. It just the scene how Ned leeds found out.

Look familiar?

The same parallel as Peter’s.

Also, Ganke is girl obsessed like Homecomings’ Ned Leeds is. And yes, you are a little too infatuated with the opposite sex if you know by heart what a woman has worn previously and what she hasn’t.

The first thing Ganke does when Jessica Drew presents Miles with his new costume is to declare that he will start talking to girls.

After a deep conversation about what to do with Miles’ thieving ass Uncle, Ganke is pressed to go with Miles’ not to provide comfort, but to stare at his mom(who is really attractive).

As soon as he meets Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy, Ganke immediately switches gears and starts hitting on them.

Ganke making a gift out of Legos for Gwen Stacy.

And it working…

Ganke trying to use Miles to hook him up with Dagger, and refusing to believe anyone is too hot for him.

Ganke is girl obsessed. It’s part of his charm.

So Peter took Miles’ best friend. Great.

2. Miles motivation of proving he is a superhero

I remember when I called this out and some moron said Peter had to prove himself to the Fantastic Four in his debut. No.

He wasn’t trying to prove himself with the Fantastic Four. He wanted to join the Fantastic Four so he can earn money.

The FF did not have an opinion on him, except Ben who did not like Spider-man for being a show off like Johnny. 

Just for your closure…

Miles’ however, had to go through a proving ground to not just be Spider-man, but also be qualified as a hero.

Instead of Tony Stark being the one supervisor of Miles, it is Captain America. It’s a long story as to why Cap feels the need to restrict Miles, but he is the one Miles has to prove his worth to.

After fighting with Captain America, Miles pops the question.

And to tie it into the Civil War, Miles’ asks to be the Ultimate equivalent of the Avengers, the Ultimates.

This is not a coincidence. You may say that they needed Peter to join MCU somehow, but how they are going about it is eerily similar to how they went about it with Miles. Peter never once had to gain recognition from his fellow superheroes. He never once had to ask to join the Avengers because they respected him as a hero. Miles’ did.

This is not the first time Peter took this from Miles either. The Ultimate Spider-man cartoon has Peter,again, taking Miles familiarity with Nick Fury and forming a super team just like Miles Morales. It’s annoying.

3. Younger Aunt May/Parental figure and having stability

Before I start this, yes, Ultimate Spider-man had a younger Aunt May and Uncle Ben. I know this. You seen her above when she is talking to Miles and you see her when Gwen kissed Ganke. But she did not look like this.

Now Marissa Tomei is a young looking 52 year old woman. Girl fucking looks good. Slay.

But Ultimate Aunt May did not look like she was pulling dates off tinder. Ultimate Aunt May also did not stay in an upscale Queen suite. Peter was not raised in an economically stable environment. There was always bills to be paid and Aunt May did not work.

Miles however lives in Brooklyn. His mom is a nurse and his father a cop. It is a stable household.

As you can see, Rio is hot!

Anyways, what contributed to Peter’s anxiety and neuroticism was that he never had a stable household. They were always just above the red. With Ben gone, Aunt May had to take care of the household in spite of Peter’s new adventures.  Peter is lower middle class. Miles’ is middle class when it comes to living in Brooklyn.

4. The charter school

This especially pissed me off. 

Miles goes to an advanced charter school for gifted children. How he did so?

You ever see the documentary, “Waiting for Superman?”

Okay, so there is a literal lottery for gifted urban youth(usually youth of color) for them to attend advanced schools. If they do not get the right lottery, then they are sent back to attend the shitty Inner City schools where they most likely won’t excel in life. They will most likely excel if they go to Charter School. It sucks, but that is a reality youth face.

Miles had to enter this lottery to attend his charter school(with the number 42, Jackie Robinson’s number to mark the significance). Peter has never been placed in a situation where his race and environment did not cheat him out of a future or reduce his options. His intelligence has always gotten him out of academic situations and guaranteed his success. Miles had to enter a fucking lottery to ensure his future was stable. And that is highly fucked up that Peter just took that trait from Miles without the significance of it being appreciated and realized.

That is four things that Spider-man: Homecoming leeched from Miles Morales and his story. And people want to act dumb as if these characteristics have always been attributed to Peter. Bull fucking shit. They wanted a relative character that was not presented on screen or the audiences did not already know. They exhausted Peter’s story, characters, and even abilities through 5 movies, several cartoon, and several video games and a fucking live action play. 

What pisses me off is that people have called Miles the inferior Spider-man or not the real Spider-man, yet Peter, this motherfucker, is literally taking aspects from Miles and no one is calling it out. You love everything about Miles when it is on a white character, huh?

It is also an aspect of Marvel canabalizing off of legacy characters. DC gave Wally a chance to be the Flash over Barry Allen. DC gave several Robins a chance and did not create an amalgamation of Robin. DC gave Jon Stewart a chance ahead of Kyle Rainer and Hal Jordan. Fuck, Marvel you gave Scott Lang a chance over Hank Pym in spite of making Hank Pym’s main villain the villain of Avengers 2(And Hank Pym fans did not deserve that). 

We heard every excuse in the book as to why Miles could not be the first to enter MCU when Peter’s story has been told 5 fucking times on screen.  Miles Morales was trending when it was announced that Marvel was making a Spider-man film. People wanted his story to be told. And we heard every excuse in the book as to why Miles could not be selected. There was fucking press release that basically said Peter Parker had to be white yet you don’t mind diversifying the rest of the cast. We heard that his story was too new, but that did not stop you from making Robbie Reyes the new Ghost Rider. That Miles is a legacy. Yet you made Scott Lang, the legacy to Hank Pym, the first Ant Man on screen while acknowledging that Scott Lang is the second Ant Man. You just did not want him on screen because Miles is not white. End of story. You liked his story so much that you attributed to Peter. You took his cast. You took his financial situation. You took his precarious school situation. You took one of his arc. And you gave them to Peter. By doing that, you all but ensured that Miles would be stuck in his comic book and not being getting a damn thing.

The only reason I am interested in this film is Zendaya because black women, even bi-racial women, are hardly romantic leads in super hero in general. They are rarely presented as such and that sucks. I really don’t are about this movie outside of that. It looks good, but whatever.

Imagine Jared Leto is Your Best Friend’s Dad - Chapter 13

Chapter 13 - A Broken Frame

*mature gifs ahead*

This chapter was inspired by the song Guys My Age by Hey Violet. Feel free to listen as you read, it’s a great song and really fitting to the character ;-)

Morning came even quicker than last time. I feel the warmth of his body against my back. It was so comforting, his lean arm draped over my body, connecting us.

I studied his forearm. His skin looked and felt so smooth, not oily or dry, but just healthy and clear. I outlined his arm, taking in the shape with my hands.

Remembering it.

Memorizing it.

I glided my fingers down to his hand, tracing his palm. His hands weren’t as soft and smooth as his harm. Callouses outlined his palms, either from working out or all that housework he must do. The memory of his cart full of household cleaning items came across my mind. Funny thing, Mr. Leto never talks about a gardening. It must be for the houses he sells.

My mind wandered back to his warm body pressed against my back. I lapsed back into the memories from last night of us wrapped in each other’s arms, inseparable.

I felt myself melt into his arms. A soft kiss on my neck broke my train of thought.

“Someone’s awake,” he said groggily. The huskiness in his voice sent chills down my spine and was literally, the sexiest thing to wake up too.

“Someone’s still sleepy, ” I retorted playfully as I turned to face him .

“For you, I’d be awake in a heart beat.” He said suggestively.

His voice paled in comparison with his looks. Yep, he was just as flawless as he was before. My eyes outlined his perfectly handsome features. I started with is eyes, then his cheek bones, his jaw , down to his neck and stopped at his clavicle. I decided to give my eyes a break and grazed my fingers against his shoulders and chest.

He stared back at me calmly as I touched him. I felt peaceful in the oddest way.

“I don’t want to leave. I could stay in bed with you all day.” I said out loud to myself.

“Don’t say that Kerri, or I’ll just might have to make that happen.” He tapped my nose with finger with his finger.

I laughed as I inched closer to him. He leaned in, kissing me tenderly. He proceeded to kiss down across my jaw tracing down to my shoulders.

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Cole Sprouse Opens Up About Growing Up in the Public Eye.

Cole Sprouse once left his Disney mouse ears behind for a cap and gown, but he’s recently pulled on another famous hat—or, should we say, crown beanie? Sprouse returned to the small screen this year as the lovably brooding Jughead Jones on Riverdale, the CW’s twisted take on the beloved Archie comics.

If you haven’t heard of the Gossip Girl–meets–Twin Peaks hit, you’re probably the only one. Since its premiere in January, it’s become a cult favorite. If he were any other member of the cast, Sprouse might be overwhelmed with the fame and recognition. But he’s been here before.

We talked to the 24-year-old about life as a child star with his twin brother, Dylan, weird fan interactions, feminism, and those divisive Riverdale ships.

A lot of the Disney cohort went on to major acting careers and projects right away—what made you choose to go to college and take a different route?

I think regardless of success, all those kids were dealing with a similar dilemma when it came to their maturity and their publicity and fame, and how they were viewed in the public eye. Some people choose sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll to come to terms with it. Some people find religion. [College] seemed like the most productive way to prove to people we were coming into ourselves. I was finding out my identity and growing by going to an institution where I could evolve and become more adept at understanding why I was thinking certain things, and how society viewed me.

Acting requires a great amount of empathy for real lived human experiences. I hadn’t lived any real human experiences outside of homeschool and being in a sound stage, and there was really no other option. I couldn’t continue to live in a bubble and hope to be an empathic actor. It doesn’t work. I was really sick of the entertainment industry and wanted to step away. Dylan and I were nonstop—we were being recognized and it was overbearing, and I figured it would be nice to let that dissolve. I didn’t know if I was going to return, and then this project sort of crept up.

Are you enjoying it now that you’re back?

Yeah, it’s fulfilling, and I think that’s the only currency I am looking for right now. As long as it stays fulfilling, I will continue doing it, but the second it stops being fulfilling I’ll leave.

What does your brother think of 'Riverdale’?

He supports the show…. I don’t know if he enjoys it. This kind of programming has never really been our flavor of choice. I don’t really want him to watch anything I do and I don’t really watch anything he’ll do. We have a very easy time separating work and play and I wouldn’t really care less if he watched or if he enjoyed it. I don’t really have an easy time watching myself, so I guess I sort of imprint that upon my friends and family.

Originally, you you argued to keep Jughead asexual and aromantic, as he is in the comics. What did those conversations sound like?

When we got the parts, the creative team sat down with the actors and asked how they saw each character. I had argued for a super faithful representation of Jughead as he lives in the comics, which inherently was also me arguing for the aromantic, asexual Jughead. But [they] are two very different versions of the same character in two very different universes.

It’s very strange to me how much attention this [has received]. I am an actor. I have an idea of what I see for the character and I can express that idea and that opinion, but ultimately it is out of my hands. If this were a different kind of programming or it were my show, it would probably look a little bit different, but the commercial success of Riverdale and how people are talking and liking it shows that we’ve gone in a direction that makes a lot of sense and works.

It’s one of those things that needs representation but has not been properly represented. It’s something I still fight for and it’s something I fought for about the second season, but ultimately it’s not in my court. I guess we will see where the narrative takes us.

On a lighter note, once and for all, because the internet can’t agree, is the Jughead/Betty ship called Jetty or Bughead?

[Laughs] I think it’s Bughead. It’s the single strangest name for a coupling ever, but it works.

There seem to be two main Riverdale fan ships: Bughead and Beronica (Betty/Veronica). Which one are you behind?

I actually really ship Betty and Archie. When I would read the Archie comics when I was younger I was rooting for Betty and Archie way over any alternative. [I think I would have seen] that long-lived, childlike romance from two people knowing each other since youth as probably quite romantic. I am a sucker for that childhood romance narrative.

I know our fans take very specific camps with who they ship and who they want and all those camps are at huge war with one another. Riverdale is about to ignite into flames considering how the camps are at war with each other. I try not to involve myself too much.

I am sorry I just brought you into it.

[Laughs] Well, the question we get all the time as a cast is, 'Are you a Betty or Veronica person?’ I don’t like that. I think it’s hard and it also puts the cast members against one another in a strange and competitive way that makes me a little uncomfortable. So most of our cast don’t even answer it.

How did your fan-catcher Instagram account @Camera_Duels get started? Are you ever going to bring it back?

I was younger and just about to go to college, and very discontented with the way people were treating me in the public sphere. Sometimes you can read someone’s aura and actions—they’re shifting and fidgeting, and they’re fumbling for the phone. It’s a dehumanizing, very obvious kind of thing.

I would always be dissatisfied that people wouldn’t just ask, because I always say yes. So @camera_duels was born. It was a way of coping or trying to turn it around in my favor and give me more agency in a situation. I felt sort of like a man behind a glass wall. It ended up really helping me, so much that I stopped. I found the whole thing not to really disturb me anymore.

I am sure with Riverdale increasing ever so slowly in prestige, it will only increase in intensity and I’ll bring it back. But I think it deserves something a little bit more now. I’ve been thinking about getting a film camera with a quick auto focus and a nice flash to make it into something that could be found in a gallery space, which I think would be more enjoyable to me.

You recently subtweeted yourself, over a comment you made as an 11-year-old, where you said you like girls who don’t wear too much makeup. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

There is no question I consider myself a feminist, but I also think the term 'feminist’ has become a topical thing to say without backing it up with any real action. My satirical tweet about my old opinion doesn’t solidify me as a figure within a conversation that’s so much greater than my straight, white male opinion. My Twitter is a joke toilet and I filter all these old, cringe-y parts of my brother and my childhood through that, in an attempt to flush it down the drain forever. When you grow older, you unpack the way masculinity teaches you to view women.

Going back to the question of whether I am a feminist or not: Yes. I think the core of that question is do you support equality for women, and of course. It’s funny that it even becomes a touchy or sensitive thing for people to announce formally, it’s kind of fucking ludicrous. There is not a question in my mind. There are, of course, places and spheres where I wish I would have done more to make those actions back up the title, but I think that’s something that as I grow and I age and I get a little more agency within my society, I’ll always try and work towards that.

More dumb Bendy And The Ink Machine headcanons even though no one asked for them: This time actually about everyone’s favorite dancing demon and Henry/Joey’s falling out that caused Henry to leave

-Henry’s appearence would resemble Walt Disney and Joey as Chuck Jones, though quite a bit younger 

-Bendy generally got mistaken a lot for a cat, which was often a running gag in the cartoon shorts, which mainly started cause from my views of the old concept designing on the abandoned studio’s walls Bendy appeared far more like Felix The Cat rather than Mickey Mouse ( but that’s probably more so about avoiding copyright infringement. ) 

-Bendy’s general plot of his cartoons was to fit in his with his new life on the surface world after getting kicked out of heck by The Big Guy TM (cause ya can’t talk about Satan or hell in kid programming after all) for not living up to roles in torturing sinners for all eternity, often by being too merciful and instead cheering up the souls by giving helpful advice to move on from their shady pasts and how to be a better person.  He had one last chance to prove himself that he’s a real demon, and that was to take a single sinning soul down to heck after bounding them to a contract.  

-His contract was already chosen for a mortal who went by Boris The Wolf.  A local band who plays for the the bar, but Boris would often have a drink first and than make a fool of himself for screwing up his friend’s performances.  Bendy instead “bends” the rules (haha puns) and ends up saving his new friend’s life after Boris stormed out after threatening to quit the band after his band member fellow woodland animals yelled at him for messing up another performance, but Boris was too intoxicated to realize he walked in the road of an incoming car!  Bendy quickly shoved the unknowing wolf out of the way as the tried to quickly shift into a puddle of inky goo before the driver could have seen him and swerved themselves into an accident.  Once Boris realized this, knowing Bendy just saved his life, he pulled the shocked demon into a tight bear hug (not caring that his fur and clothes now smelled like fresh ink) and he would have done anything to repay him.  Bendy’s only request was that he stop drinking and together shake hands on it.  Or rather paw to covered gloves?  

-Boris and Bendy are voiced by Joey and Henry themselves.  Henry attempts his best slightly drunken southern drawl and Joey does his best attempt making Bendy sound playfully impish, a sort of Bugs Bunny type of voice.  At the time, Bendy and Boris was based off their friendship

-Unfortunately, the fame although short lived went to Joey’s head and often took credit for Henry’s character designing and work.  Which is super not cool.  Henry began to grow irradiated for this sole reason and began losing passion behind what was once his dream.  

-Joey in his spare time, often read books about alchemy while working.  His favorite?  The Illusion Of Life 

-Henry ultimately decided to let Joey run the studio by himself after their big argument, quitting alongside with his wife, an assistant story boarder and moved to start a new life and a family, yet the feeling of regret always seem to linger in the back of his mind.  Joey had already been so stressed about building the ink machine AND trying to keep the studio in business still afloat with even less co-animators.  Last thing Henry knew was Joey yelled something about “everyone will know my name of “Joey Drew Studios” with or without a partner.  I’ll do something no one’s ever done!  You’ll see, you’ll ALL see!” Joey looked like he hadn’t slept in days by the clear bags under his eye, and not just from overworking.  

-Though still angry at Joey after all those years, Henry couldn’t say he doesn’t look towards his own cartoons with slight nostalgia of happier times, even if he now realizes how annoying Bendy’s voice is to him now

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The train scene in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is one of the most memorable, beautiful, and baffling moments in the film. So what does it mean? What’s going on? What is its purpose?

(I think I fixed the problem youtube was having with the copyright. So yay!)

Transcript below the cut:

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I was headed to work today, looked at the date, and realized today is the day, two years ago, that I full immersed myself in all that is CrissColfer and began to tip toe my way into this fandom. And what a crazy, fun, interesting, frustrating, sometimes sad trip it has been.  I think you all know, I consider myself, prior to finding this world, a naïve New Yorker. I was a fan of Glee, Klaine, and Chris and Darren for the entire duration of the show. But I never thought to look closer. It simply did not make sense to me that Hollywood would force an actor into the closet who was playing an openly gay character on TV.  

And so I accepted the narratives that were sold. Chris was dating a guy named Will that I really did not know much about aside from a few pictures and that Darren was very straight and had a girlfriend named Mia. While I was a fan of Glee and Klaine, I had no idea what fandom was. Sure, I was often reading the message boards on the Glee Forum, quick to read any spoilers as they pertained to our favorite couple. I will say, I would sometimes fall upon appreciation post of miarren and I could never really understand what there was to admire. Despite the fact that I believed it was real, and again, didn’t give it more than a passing glance, it always seemed off.  Something seemed wrong.  It started with a pic from Joey Richter’s Easter celebration at his parents.  There was a possessiveness to the photo that made me feel extremely uncomfortable and from that day forward, whenever a picture was posted of the PR duo, I really questioned the chemistry and the intimacy. But again, I didn’t look any further.

 Then on March 24, 2015, the infamous twitter hack occurred.  Being a curious person, when I read the tweet, I was instantly curious. After all, not too long before, it appeared that both Lea and Chris had been hacked and it led me to wonder what Darren had tweeted.  And upon googling I discovered what all the fuss was about:


Now my interest was piqued. Why would one bother to tweet, “twitter hacked trying to resolve” about something as innocent as a favorite. I cannot tell you how many times I have accidently touched that icon. It seemed silly and ridiculous and not worth the mention and so, I started to slowly explore.

 March is traditionally my busiest season at work.  For those who practice employment based immigration, this is our tax season or what I “lovingly” refer to as my version of March Madness.  Its long days, stressful, and at least 6 days a week. So I put my research aside until Sunday, March 29. A day where I was utterly exhausted and decided a lazy day of research was exactly what I needed. And well, I never turned back.

 I spent hours that day discovering this crazy world called tumblr. Reading master posts. Discovering the main CC blogs.  And by the end of the day, I had read enough and seen enough to know that all was not as it appears.  

 And I entered the world of fandom.  Something I was not prepared for and had no idea what it was all about. Sure, I have always been a fan. As a child it started with Duran Duran and moved to my complete obsession with all things INXS.  Since that it has taken many turns, sometimes more music, British actors, sports, theater, and of course Glee. But never did I experience anything like this. And so I started my own blog. With the sole intention of reblogging things that were interesting and following the people that seemed to have insightful and interesting things to say, with the intention of remaining quiet. Just observing.

 I have no idea how I started with that and ended up here, someone who is a pretty strong and vocal voice in this community. It happened gradually, starting with a post about the TLOS and the acknowledgments to where I stand today.  And it has been such an insane and crazy ride. And I wouldn’t change making the choice to be here.

Over the past two years, I have personally talked to so many of you. I have had the pleasure of meeting a few of you at events like Elsie and Broadway Con. I have even had the pleasure of traveling to LA and San Fran with some of you.  Just last night there was dinner and a little singing to celebrate the birthday of one of the very first people I ever spoke to in this fandom. I am so very grateful for all of you, whether  we agree or disagree.  Whether we talk a lot or on occasion. It has taught me a lot. And has often shaped my opinion.  

And of course, the reason we are all here- Chris and Darren.  Two men I have my complete admiration. I may not always agree with their actions, but I think considering what they have been handed, they have handled this burden incredibly and bravely.

I think you all know that I am one of those that firmly believes in CC. That they have been a couple for years and I have seen enough that I do not waiver in my beliefs. I think a large part of why I decided to write so much more is because I think it is so important that people learn about the reality of Hollywood.  And how the constraints that are placed on actors have a profound impact on their lives.  

I often field like I want to take them and shield them under my wing. And if I feel that way, I can only imagine how their families feel. I often wonder if Cerena cries at night and the nightmare that her son in particular has endured.  And it has touched me in a way I cannot explain. And that is why I continue to be here and support them regardless of whether I agree or disagree.

Anyway, I was just feeling a little nostalgic today and I felt the need to write it down.  Here’s to hoping that the journey ahead becomes smoother and a little less tortured and that these men start their journey towards the light.  As I have said, I have no idea what their plan is for the future or how long it will be until we ultimately get to the truth, if we ever completely get it, but I will continue to be a supportive voice through it all. And if I can convince one person to see the truth and start to support the real Darren and Chris than I will feel that I have accomplished something small.

 And if perchance my words ever reach them, I will smile knowing that perhaps my support meant something to them personally.

anonymous asked:

Just curious-- what makes the 2009 Emma adaptation a work of art?

*cracks knuckles* *pulls out color coded binder* I’m so glad you asked.

I’ve seen a lot of Emma adaptations: Clueless, Emma (1996), Aisha, the other BBC series (the one with Kate Beckinsdale and Mark Strong), Emma Approved, and of course, the 2009 BBC Miniseries. The 2009 version is my favorite, it always has been, and it always will be. Most of that comes down to characterization, but it is also about the way it captures Austen’s story magnificently though language, set design, costuming, and music.

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‘River on the Rise’ by Debra Blake for Vegetarian Times, March 1988 (Part II, final)

How the family took their vision to Hollywood dates back 10 years ago, to their final days in Venezuela. The family had little money when they left the religious community and River, along with his sister Rainbow, often took to the streets, restaurants, and even airport waiting areas to sing to people, entertaining them while trying to earn a dollar. River had been playing guitar since before he was 5 years old, and his talent became increasingly apparent to Arlyn and John. Back in the States, the family headed straight for Los Angeles, where Arlyn took a job at a broadcasting company to get the family’s collective foot in Hollywood’s door.

“We weren’t going for the glamour or the fame of it all,” Arlyn says. “We were going to take the kids’ talent-which was so obvious-to us-and turn it into something and help make change at the same time. That’s why we went.”

Weren’t they afraid that the kids wouldn’t share their vision, or perhaps lose sight of it as the endless glittery parties began to welcome them, threatening to turn them into Hollywood brats?

“No,” says Arlyn. “I knew they wouldn’t get into the Hollywood scene. We had our own business to attend to, and it wasn’t Hollywood. It was making change in the world.”

River’s business is making change, too. He’s clear on that score. “If I didn’t think I could be a part of a movement that could influence,” he says, “and be a part of helping and change, if I couldn’t help that through what I’m doing, I wouldn’t do this. But I’m seeing that through this position-in this career, and where I have these magazine interviews- I can be an example, and I think that’s important. In all the interviews I do, I say something about my being vegan. I don’t want to come off as if I’m a savior. I’m only a very small part of anything, but I think it’s important to be involved. I’m interested in meditation and finding spiritual fulfillment. But for me to just go off and devote my life to monkhood in the jungle would be ultimately abandoning the world, and the consciousness would be on a selfish level. I think I can do a lot more good for this planet if I am out there.”


River is still young. Does he share his mother’s confidence that he’ll be able to withstand the pressures that Hollywood places on young people-pressures that make them grow up quickly, losing their dreams and ideals in the process?

“Being out there,” River says slowly, looking around at the giant oak trees on the lawn, “you can go astray, and everything can be destroyed. I’m aware of that, but I don’t think I’ll get into that. Maybe I’m lucky; I’m not really attracted to all of that now. I think I’ll be strong enough, but I do see there’s that chance.

"You can’t really make any plans about things like this, though. You go with the flow but still against the grain, not for the ego of it but for the belief of it. The only thing I have to show is how I live. The vegan thing is one of the main things. I’m a peaceful person; I think that’s manifested through how I live. I don’t start trouble. But time will tell.”

River has moved around a lot over the years. He was born in Oregon, went with the family to South America as a young child, and has lived in countless California towns. He’s traveled-sometimes with only part of the family-to different countries to film on location. Just before last Thanksgiving the whole family moved to Florida, where they now reside. They wanted to leave the Hollywood scene and revive ideals about living in the country.

Florida winter afternoons are warm, and River spends hours in the garage, hunched over his new 12-string guitar. His hands are square and strong, and after so many years they’re used to playing the chords that sound good to him. He has the guitar plugged into an amplifier, and the rock rhythms echo out in the yard. He’s not in school (he was privately tutored for most of his life), and he says he’s not interested in working until the summer. These days he’s mostly hanging around, traveling a bit, hoping a bass guitarist will read the signs he placed around the University of Florida campus. “Needed,” the signs read. “Bass guitarist with young blood who’s into progressive rock and roll, jazz. For demo recordings.” River is looking for a buddy to jam with.

If he didn’t have his acting career, River thinks he could be a musician. He’s driven to it. “I love music,” he says. “It’s so much a part of me.” The roster of his favorite musicians is long and eclectic; he’s especially into early Squeeze and U2. But the rest of his list reads like the playlist of an early ‘70s FM station. “I like jazz, folk music, Bob Dylan. Older Bowie and old Roxy Music to fall asleep to. I like old Steely Dan music and some Pink Floyd. Old Led Zeppelin, too. The Beatles are my Bible; that goes without saying. And I like classical music.”

Modern music disappoints River, and he doesn’t like much of what’s commercially produced. His tastes in books and movies also show that River has one foot in a different age. He sounds a little frustrated by that, and says things like “movies nowadays. ..books nowadays. .. music nowadays.”

He doesn’t see too many new movies, preferring witty, intelligent classic comedies, and he likes the great slapsticks. But his idealism comes through even here. “I haven’t seen Cry Freedom [about Steven Biko, a martyred black South African], but it’s top on my list for a real conscious movie. And I liked Brazil. I like intense movies. Did you ever see Brother Sun, Sister Moon? It’s about St. Francis. I felt a rebirth after I saw that.”

He doesn’t find much time for reading, though he’d like to, but somehow he’s picked up a lot of information on health and political issues. The novels he’s read, or would like to read, are those that kids grew up on 15 and 20 years ago: Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, Richard Bach’s Illusions, Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

As for his own movies, he’s hot enough to be selective about the scripts he accepts, and he’s been pretty happy with the results. “I feel no need to invest in a movie unless I have an incredible passion for it,” he says. “And one that will not only be good for me but one I can be proud of-one that’s a benefit to society. I always hope the movie will, if nothing else, be a part of good art and influence people in a good way.”

Up to now, there’s been no compromising in River’s work, and he’s not planning on changing his record. Even as a child, no commercials he ever made endorsed white bread, and when he was in Seven Brides, the family made sure he wouldn’t have to go fishing or wear a coonskin cap.

River still chooses carefully, hoping the ideals he lives by will be reflected in the characters he plays. He liked his character of Chris Chambers in Stand by Me, directed by Rob Reiner. “Chris came off as a victim of the mentality of his town, but he was a good person. He was a great friend, he was loyal and he wasn’t an idiot-not just a big dumb l2-year-old. He was a real sweet guy, smart and intelligent. A good character.”

The last movie he worked on was Sidney Lumet’s Running on Empty. (Lumet directed Dustin Hoffman in the Academy Award-winner Tootsie.) River plays the son of parents whose antimilitary activities have kept them on the run for years. River likes the character but sees him as a victim, too.

“In dramas, kids usually are victims, either to their parents or to society:’ River explains. "I want to get away from that. It would be wonderful to see someone already in a clear-minded reality take it from there and maybe go beyond that, show what can happen.”

He can’t say precisely what kinds of films he’d like to do or what kind of work will draw him next. Theater would be interesting, perhaps, and possibly directing at some point. Unlike many actors, he’s not even thinking about who he’d like to work with. “I would like to work with Rob Reiner again,” he says, “Maybe just a cameo role in one of his movies. But for the most part I don’t think like that. I figure that time will tell, and if it’s right, I’ll meet the right people and work with them at some point.” Outwardly, River has few doubts about himself, as an individual and as a Phoenix family member. “I’m definitely an individual,” he said. “I feel very secure as an individual. And I’m proud of my family and what we’ve done together. I’m a product of my family, just like everybody else. These are my roots.

"I just want to live my life. Acting is what I love to do, and it’s worked out this way. I don’t know if it’s God’s perfect plan or whatever, but for me, not only do I love it and get great satisfaction out of it, but also I can work my beliefs in. I’m free to believe in what I do, and I can share those beliefs with others. Not in a preaching way, not telling others, but just by what I do. I find that very fulfilling.”

After lunch-tabouli, nori, blue corn chips, tofu omelet, tahini dressing-River and Rainbow, like older brother and sister in any family, take the family jeep to pick up the other kids from school. Back home, River runs into the yard to swing on the rope hung from one of the oaks. “Hey, look at this!” he yells. While Rainbow watches, River laughs, jumps high and grabs hold. 

A Phoenix on the rise.

A (Somewhat) In Depth Analysis On Why (And How) Danny Phantom Should Go Ghost Again

Part One - Three Possibilities

There are three possibilities as to what is going on with all the hype surrounding the return of Danny Phantom, and these can be simplified as the “good,” the “bad,” and the “ugly.”

The good option, which I personally believe is the least likely, is that Nickelodeon HAS greenlit a fourth season, and we just don’t know about it yet because it’s so early in production. If this is the case then we probably won’t see any news or promos until at least 2018, seeing as how the hype train really got its start around August 24, 2016, when Butch uploaded a video called “Danny Phantom 10 Years Later” and the green light would have happened not long after that. Again, this seems extremely unlikely, but if it’s true, then Butch has been doing a good job building up hype while keeping it a secret.

The bad option, which will be the main focus of this post (and also isn’t so bad), is that as much as Butch wants to bring the show back, Nickelodeon isn’t so keen on the idea, and that’s why he’s turned to the fandom to build up hype, and THEN maybe Nick will listen.

The ugly option is… Well, it’s ugly. I hate that this is even a possibility, but as I’ve stated before, the good option is the least likely, making this one a decent possibility. Maybe there are no plans to #goghostagain at all, and the hype is all just a ploy to rake in the views and attention. Maybe it’s all just one big promotion for Bunsen Is A Beast (which by the way I think is a sub-par show, but I’ll get to that later). It’s disappointing to think about, but if it is the case, then here’s what I have to say: Butch, you are better than this. If you aren’t serious about this, then don’t go around trying to get people excited for something that doesn’t exist. Please and thank you.

Part Two - Forget The Hype

I wouldn’t be surprised or upset if nothing ever came out of all this hype, but since we’ve come this far we might as well take the extra step to convince Nickelodeon this is a good idea. Of course, there’s not a whole lot the fans can do to sway the opinions of the executives, and at this rate we’re DEFINITELY not going anywhere. Most of what I’ve seen has been “I love this show so you should bring it back” with no other reasoning. It’s all based on pathos with little to no logos or ethos, and that’s what I’m hoping to make up for with this analysis. There are plenty of reasons for Danny Phantom to get a fourth season, it’s just a matter of letting them be heard through the multitude of YouTube videos saying “Look, Butch said this one thing this one time!! Season 4 confirmed!!!! I am so HYYYPE!!!1!!!!1!”

Part Three - The Passage Of Time

Like many good shows, it ended too early. Apparently the ratings were a bit too low for Nick’s liking, so they told Butch to find a way to end it. (I don’t have a very good source, so if you can find one with real numbers and add it in, that would be great.) This is a common trend. Good shows don’t get the advertising and promotion they deserve because the network wants to spend more time on their cash cows like SpongeBob and Teen Titans Go, and then the good shows get cancelled because, “Well no one was watching it, so it’s not worth keeping, right?” Then, as the years go by, more and more people find the show and say “Why was it cancelled? It’s so good!” The good news here is that if an old show comes back with a much larger and stronger fanbase, it will do really well! Unfortunately there is one problem with the way the fans will probably watch it, and that is the internet. After watching the original episodes online, that’s the way they’re probably going to expect to continue watching them. This was a HUGE problem with The Legend Of Korra! (Again, source needed) So I guess this is more of a message to the fans than the executives: Watch the show on the TV, or AT LEAST set it to record!

Another problem that The Legend Of Korra had (it’s really only a problem in the eyes of the execs) is that the audience was mostly adults and older teens. You know, the people who either 1) Where the same people who originally watched The Last Airbender and are now a bit older, 2) Were old enough to use the internet in a way that allowed them to find ATLA in the first place, or 3) Are the type of people who enjoy more in-depth, plot-driven, mature-themed shows. I think that the third option is what networks like Nick, CN, and Disney are most afraid of when it comes to choosing which shows to pick up and air. These channels are supposed to be for kids, right? Well, first of all, these networks are wrong to think that kids can’t enjoy more complex shows than SpongeBob or that the most important thing in determining a show’s worth is how much money it brings in, but I digress. Instead, I’d like to talk about how Nickelodeon SHOULDN’T worry about having a repeat of TLOK if they were to continue Danny Phantom.

Part Four - Plot And Audience

Unlike the Avatar series, which were extremely plot-driven and weren’t afraid to get a bit dark, Danny Phantom is a lot more episodic in nature. Now, if it were too episodic, then I probably wouldn’t be arguing for it to come back. I mean, I love My Life As A Teenage Robot, but there’s no real reason for it to come back other than the usual “This is one of my favorite childhood shows! Why did it have to end?” You see, Danny Phantom had a nice balance of episodic plot vs overall plot that made for a great show for kids and teens alike. If it were to come back using the original formula, it would probably do really well with the “intended” audience of preteens. Hardcore fans (the ones who have been begging for a fourth season ever since it ended) might have mixed reactions, though. It all depends on the direction the show goes.

Again, the original formula will work, but what exactly should the plot be? Should there be a time skip or not? These are all questions that I’ll talk a little bit more about later, but ultimately can not answer. The biggest question that I CAN answer, though, is should it cater more towards the new preteens audience or the older, hardcore fans? The answer is a resounding “HARDCORE FANS!!!” We KNOW there are plenty of things that were planned that didn’t make it in, and we want to see them happen in a way that satisfies our nostalgia and our (slightly) older tastes. I personally think that even though the episodic nature works from a business standpoint, this continuation should have just a little bit more of an overarching plot. Just a little bit.

Part Five - Butch’s Other Shows

I don’t want to dwell on this topic too long, but it’s important enough that it’s worth mentioning.

Fairly Odd Parents: To put it bluntly, it’s dying. We could talk about how Sparky and Chloe are terrible characters, but there’s no point because the whole show has been moved to NickToons. It’s the channel where Nickelodeon shows go to die, and as unfortunate as it is that FOP has been drawn out to the point that the original fans don’t like it anymore, soon enough it will get low enough ratings that it will finally be cancelled. Rip

TUFF Puppy: I didn’t really watch this show, but from what I’ve seen and heard, it’s not that great. I mean, it’s not horrible, but it just doesn’t have a whole lot going for it that makes it worthwhile to talk about. It ended in 2015, so whatever.

Bunsen Is A Beast: This is another show that I haven’t seen a whole lot of, and I don’t really want to. I feel that even though it has a good message of being inclusive and stuff, it doesn’t really go about it in a unique way. You know what show has a similar setup of a character from another dimension going to a human school but is actually good? Star vs the Forces of Evil. I know I’m not the intended audience for Bunsen, so I’m not really in a position to complain, but between it’s obnoxious loudness, ugly characters, and seemingly random-for-the-sake-of-random humor, it isn’t as good as it could be. Don’t get me wrong, I respect Butch for trying new character styles and whatnot, but it just isn’t working.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that there IS room for Danny Phantom to return. FOP is dying and it wouldn’t hurt for Bunsen to die off as well. Good programing is what we should be after, not money makers.

Part Six - Questions And Suggestions

This is the part where I re-introduce the hype and fangirling. It’s not part of the main message that the show should come back, but it is important for the follow up question of how. So here are some important questions for Butch. *Takes a deep breath*

How will season 4 go? What’s the plot? Is it gonna pick up where it left off or will there be a time skip? How big of a time skip will it be? Will the intro be the same or will it be something new? What, if anything, will be retconned? What new characters will be introduced? When and how will Vlad return from space? Did Vlad meet Wheatley? Will Dark Danny make a return? Is Danielle gonna be adopted by the Fentons like you said? How are you gonna make up for the fact that the technology is so outdated? What about the Unworld and the Elsewhereness? What is the meaning of the universe??? *Incoherent screaming*

…I might have gotten a bit carried away just then.

Well, time to answer some of my own questions. I think that a decent sized time skip would be a great way to have the characters age with the show’s original audience, and it would also avoid any weirdness with the outdated technology. I’m not sure how big it should be, but 10 years does seem like a good benchmark number. If there is a time skip, this could also be a convenient excuse to brush over a lot of nothingness and say “It took Vlad [this long] to find a way to return, and now, after a long time of peace and quiet, the main antagonist is back to wreak some havoc.” Maybe the first episode of the new season could be a recap and summary of everything that happened between seasons 3 and 4, including an introduction to the new plot. There should be little to no retconning because this is a continuation, not a reboot. If something small needs to be changed to help the overall flow of the story, then so be it, but don’t go erasing the entire last episode just so Danny’s powers are still a secret or something like that. There should definitely be a new intro and theme song that are more related to the new story, even if there isn’t a time skip. The overarching plot should heavily focus on that Elsewhereness stuff mentioned in the video “Secrets of the Ghost Zone Revealed” and somehow include the conflict of ending up in the Unworld. As far as new characters go, I would much prefer to see older characters more in depth, but a few new villains couldn’t hurt. Dark Danny NEEDS to return because he’s my favorite character of all the one-off villains, he’s the only one with an entire two-part episode dedicated to him that basically ended with the promise of his return that never got the chance to happen. I only mention this guy above all the other villains because he’s my fave he is literally an alternate version of the main character. And if there is a 10 year time skip, then that would make Danny the same age as his evil counterpart and–

You know what? I could go on about this hours, but this post is already long enough as is, and I don’t want to turn it into a fanfiction. I think I’m going to leave this here for now and allow all of you to add on to it as you wish.

Part Seven - Sources???

    I’m really bad at including sources, so if any of you can find good and relevant ones for me, that’d be great. Just reblog this post and add them along with any other comments or theories you have related to the return of Danny Phantom. Let’s make this one big cluster of ideas, and hopefully we will one day see that our efforts have paid off.

Girls final season: Hannah & Adam

With the final season of Girls here (a show that there isn’t typically a disk sitting in my Blue Ray player ready to go) I am very sad. As I listen to the music used in the show, certain songs remind me of favorite scenes. Seriously, I feel like openly crying. (I probably will a few times before I get over it.) I am going to REALLY miss seeing new episodes, but at the same time, thankful that I was able to discover this show and the brilliant mind that is Lena Dunham. To have a woman listed as Creator, Writer, Director, Producer, Actress…we need to see a lot more of this.

In a recent interview, Adam Driver assured us that season 6 is “ending on a note that they can control, that it seemed to make sense. It’s not just an arbitrary ending.” Lena recently said her and Jenni made “hard” decisions this season. I used to think that I wouldn’t be satisfied unless Hannah and Adam got back together. I mean, after all, the show did spend a hell of a lot of time with the ins and outs of these two, but now I am thinking a show like this will probably not end easy in many ways and not in a “happily ever after” way either. I think we will see the girls grow, but at the same time, I am not so sure that includes Hannah, or even Jessa, ending up with anyone. The show is ultimately about these girls and their friendships after all, and in the long run, they really don’t like anything getting in the way of that friendship…..including a man.

For some reason, in season 5, the egomaniacal Hannah is the biggest mess ever. As an aspiring writer, we know about her endless desire to pursue interests and different experiences for a good story. This has led her at times to be self-centered and self-destructive, however, it seems like lately, she has been trying extra hard to just test everything. Showing her crotch to her boss, trying to blow Ray, the ridiculous fights with Fran (“Oh, Hannah wants to do something rude, disruptive, and inappropriate. What a twist.”) and her talent to bring unprofessionalism in the work place to (an albeit hilarious) new high, are a few examples of the more, irrational ways Hannah has been acting out. It was all heading towards her growing and taking a big step forward in her life. Besides where she wants to go, what she wants to do as she gets older, one truth she has to face, I believe, is her lingering feelings for Adam.

Adam. In the first season, he starts out as sort of a creepy, “emotionally tone-deaf” sex addict that Hannah was in pursuit of. We wondered why she was bothering with him as he was not exactly “boyfriend material”. He was working on homemade “wood working” in his work shop which was his mess of an apartment. (Not so sure the genius even had a plan on how to get that boat out of the front door if he ever completed it!) He was just this non-committal guy that Hannah would have sex with when he felt like returning her text messages or answering his phone. (For the first 6 episodes, we weren’t even sure if he owned a shirt!) None of Hannah’s friends had ever met him, and the first proof of his exsistance to Marnie (besides the occasional bruise on Hannah’s ass) was a dick pic he accidentally sent to Hannah that wasn’t even meant for her!

As a couple, we get to see Adam grow more as a character we care about. He is still quirky and intense, but having Hannah to give advice to, share his interests with and love, helped make him a better person. A person we cared about and found intriguing as well. When he does do something as normal as eventually say “I love you” or suggest that they move in together, Hannah (after being conditioned to expect anything from him from bad treatment to extreme sweetness) reacts like it’s way too soon for either one of them. It was all moving too quickly for her and I don’t think she trusted him yet, or wanted the newness of the chase to be over. Adam had his mind made up with his tunnel vision and he was in it “for the long haul” so of course, he has a hard time with their first break up: “My desire for you cannot be repressed. And to quit my pursuit would be to shirk self-respect and abandon my own manhood, and that’s not going to happen.” He wrote and performed horrible (hilarious) songs which he sent her to watch and was kind of stalkerish for a bit. It proved to be very hard for him to let go. Not too sure if he ever really does. So we have Adam trying to feverishly move forward without totally letting Hannah heal from his past not-so-nice treatment, and we have Hannah kind of playing with his emotions and not really being too empathetic to his state of mind.

Regardless of Hannah’s self-absorption (all the Girls seem to have this issue from time to time) and Adam’s sometimes callousness, there still seems to be some kind of connection that thrives between them. (“Hannah is accepting of my brand of difficult.”) Adam cleaned up his act some and we get to see him at AA and learn more about what made him tick. While he was dating Natalia, and ran into Hannah in front of the bar, it really did something to him. (I love the way Driver’s voice got all raspy as he asked her to put on some pants.) He, the ex-alcoholic, went back in and after seeing her, had to order an alcoholic beverage, which led to one of the eventual reasons of that relationship coming to an end. The song playing was Fiona Apple’s “Valentine” and it surely wasn’t about Natalia. (Adam messing with his ear like a nervous habit, odd coincidence to what Hannah was going through?) We know now that if Hannah can affect him in this way, then he obviously must have feelings for her. He never stopped loving her in his own way, and he is there for her hard core. As he ran to her across the city during her most desperate time, when she felt the most lost, never fails to bring tears to my eyes. (the heavy mood is lightened a bit when while running, he has to suggest that a driver “go suck a fucking spikey one”) With the dramatic music playing while he runs to Hannah is just so emotional and it is beautiful and very romantic, the most romantic scene ever in Girls. He is there for her. He cares for her. He loves her. “I was always here”.

By season 3 end, Sackler’s acting career turned into his new addiction. Hannah panics at some people warning her of how Adam is going to change with his new career instead of just trusting him and seeing how it all works out. She always has had a knack for taking bad opinions and advice to heart instead of trusting a bit more in herself. She develops a codependency on Adam just when he wants some space to learn his lines and do this right. He just wants his first show on Broadway to be perfect. Of this he assured her. She has a hard time sharing Adam with his new endeavor, because not all of his attention can be on her. When she finally gets accepted into the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Adam does berate her for telling him at the wrong time, by which he means the wrong time for him. (Although, letting him know minutes before he hits the stage of his opening night show was probably not the best.) Once again, he takes it hard, as did Jessa, which I felt was selfish of her, as she always had a knack of simply disappearing from time to time on her friends. I never really understood the whole guilt trip on Hannah for accepting school and attempting to better her career. It was at this point that I wondered why the girls even kept trying so hard to stay friends. They are not even very nice to each other. Adam and Hannah never officially break up, but seeing the sadness and loss in his eyes as she left was rough. The morning she was leaving, he couldn’t even face saying goodbye. He pretended to still be sleeping. We realized that part of him would always love her.

After trying Iowa, Hannah found she didn’t like the distance away from Adam, (not real sure why they seemed to have stopped communicating) among other factors at the school, and decided to come home, just a month later. Upon returning to her apartment, she shockingly found out that Adam had gotten a new girlfriend and Hannah didn’t even know they’d broken up! Yes, at the same time it was left sort of open ended, but it didn’t seem to have taken him anytime at all to move on. This was heart breaking, her surprise and desperation, truly a very rough episode to watch. We find that Jessa knew about it the whole time while Adam was putting Hannah’s belongings in storage. To make matters worse, she had selfishly worked at hooking Adam up with Mimi Rose simply because she wanted to get with Mimi’s ex, Ace. Some friend, eh? It was so hard watching him basically tell Hannah that he was not in love with her anymore (but we knew better) and he was “trying something out". What a nice surprise to come home to! Mimi Rose was the opposite of Hannah to the extreme, and really didn’t ‘need’ him, she liked having him around. It was a one-sided relationship for the most part, Adam’s side. It was a bad choice for him as he discovered that he does want a partner that loves and needs him a bit more than that. (But maybe not as needy as Hannah) A while after that relationship ended, Adam turns around and begs desperately with Hannah to come back to him. “I just think I was confused, and I think I made a mistake. I miss you so badly.” He tries to reach for her. With how he hurt her so deeply, the wound was still fresh. With her self-respect in full force for once, Hannah says, “I can’t do that” and stands her ground despite Adam’s pleas. He insists “yes, you can” like it should be an easy choice. Did he think she would just come running back to him? With tears in both their eyes, (and ours) it was still nice to see her hold her own and turn him down. Truly a moving scene.

I really enjoy everything about the show, it’s all brilliant, but Hannah and Adam’s relationship, is to me, quite a lot of what makes Girls the show that it is. I cried with Hannah like a baby as her bottom lip quivered in heartache and betrayal when she realized at the play that Adam and Jessa were together. When he made eye contact with her, his look said so much. There was some pain there and just so much not said. Hannah tells Tally she was probably just using Fran to get over Adam and that Adam is the only man she’s ever truly loved. (a bit of foreshadowing)  She was feeling left out and confused, “The worst part is, I miss them both. I love them both so much I don’t know who to warn about the other one.”

The end of season 5, Adam (who sure has come along way since we first met him) has like the biggest, most outrageous reaction anytime Hannah is mentioned, it’s like he is trying so, so hard to break that connection to her. He tries to turn it into hatred and blame. Then there is Jessa, who at the same time, got a guilty conscience, dredging everything back up to the surface when he is trying to forget Hannah. Jessa, who constantly over the seasons has a knack for telling other people to “grow up” but seems to not be capable of taking her own advice. She and Adam butt heads over everyday things and can’t even get through babysitting his niece. When Jessa cannot illicit his total attention away from the baby after it barfs on her and she wants Adam’s help to clean up, (in mid-season four he did call her out on being manipulative) asks her to stop, “You’re an adult. She’s a baby. Why do you need more help than a baby?“ With the tension thick, Jessa takes it out on Adam which leads to an unnecessary (but entertaining) blow-out between the two. She blames him for getting between her and Hannah (were they ever truly friends?) and basically spells out their doomed relationship: “I’m a hateable kind of person. I don’t know why, I can’t help it, but I know, I know that I have principles and one thing I don’t do is steal people’s boyfriends. But you ruin that. Don’t you see that?! I’ll never forgive you. I will NEVER forgive you for that. We could die in the same bed and I will never forgive you!” I really don’t think there is any coming back from that, at least nothing long term anyway.

Hannah did show some growth with her story at The Moth Story Slam. She admitted, “I’m Hannah forever. No matter what I do. No matter whether I start a nuclear crisis with my emotions or if just sit back and chill and give someone a fruit basket. I can only control the mayhem that I create around me.” she told the room, explaining the note she left outside of Jessa and Adam’s door that read, “Good luck. I mean that sincerely. In perpetuity, Hannah.” However, she heard them fighting and was relieved to not be inside there. “I heard screaming and I heard my name and I heard madness. And I knew that I was free. At least for tonight.” she says. Hard to keep a dry eye. This was a huge step for her. When it comes to Hannah and Adam, I don’t think I have cried or felt more emotionally attached to fictional characters in all my life. (and I don’t think Frankie Valli has ever made me cry before).

In the season 6 opener, we do see a more thoughtful Hannah. We learn that the New York Times had her write her story to be published in their Modern Love column. She appears to still not be holding a grudge, but the same cannot be said about Jessa, (for some reason) as she refuses to read Hannah’s column. Adam on the other hand, read it with deep interest with a bit of a hurt expression on his face. Seeing their story in print did mean something as I think he realized some truths. (It’s the only time we see him looking serious, about anything, in the episode.)

Hannah still doesn’t seem entirely satisfied with her life, but she is on a new assignment away from NYC, where she becomes open and more relaxed. She is still silly, entertaining, awkward Hannah getting drunk on the dance floor, spilling drinks all over herself, pointing at the surf instructor/rapper and proclaiming “I know him! He’s my surf teacher! I’m gonna fuck him!” (a favorite moment and why we love her) She was able to forgo some of her usual rage impulses even after Paul-Louis admitted to having an open-relationship girlfriend. This was really a change in attitude, she was not happy about it but I think she did learn from Paul-Louis maybe something to think about:  “It’s so much easier to love something than to hate it, don’t you think? Love is the easiest thing in the world. Hate takes energy, loves makes vibes.”

We find Adam in an opposite situation. It seems he and Jessa decided to stay together, even as that means that they have been seemingly estranged from the rest of the group of friends. They are holed up in the apartment not even having the decency to get dressed when Ray comes over, or to answer a text, and they are just being obnoxious. Ray said why he didn’t want to go in there: “its repulsive” and “smells like they are always reheating fish”. (Are they doing drugs?) Not quite sure what is wrong with them. Kind of seems like Adam took a few steps backward. So, I am guessing he still has some emotional growing to do, which I am sure, will work it’s way out over the season.

Lena recently said “The show’s never been about that traditional connection, where it’s four best friends who just can’t get enough of each other. So to do a traditional everybody-gets-their-happy-ending finale didn’t feel right. At the same time, we wanted people to have the satisfaction of closure. I think we found kind of a creative way to do that. We’ll see if other people feel the same way.”  If she did feel that Adam and Jessa could make it, then they will. (However, eventually they would kill each other and we all know it’s only a matter of time before the next battle) Maybe no one “ends up” with anyone. Maybe Hannah does find the right man for her and it is not Adam. Perhaps Hannah doesn’t need or want a boyfriend for right now. Hannah and Jessa could rekindle their friendship and it doesn’t include any man between them or maybe this time their friendship is beyond repair. Adam could land a killer theater gig or movie role out of the state or country. All I know is how I feel, and for myself, after all the emotions and all the tears I have shared with Hannah and Adam, and with all that build up, shared history, and connection they seem to have, it’s just a lot of time spent on their story if they don’t figure it out.

My husband recently pointed out that Hannah shouldn’t get back with Adam, she deserves better, “Adam has been a dick.” Yes, he has and yes, he can be. “They have been abusing the shit out of each other for years,” Lena has said of unexpected support of Hannah and Adam as an OTP. Its been messy, sure, but people grow. Maybe they give it a try and are forced to come to terms that they would be heading down the same path and eventually keep hurting each other, making the difficult, yet, adult decision that they can’t be together. I am really leaning towards the no one ends up with anyone route. If not as a couple, I like to think that they will at least remain something to each other.

Anyway, I am pretty confident the love is still there in some form or another. To me that is partly what this show has been about. After everything they have been through, deep down inside, I will always feel they should finally be together…and happily ever after.

bells  asked:

What are your thoughts on Ouma's prison mode character ending? Thank you again for all your wonderful meta!

Now that I’ve actually had a chance to translate and analyze Ouma’s prison mode ending for myself, I can honestly say it’s probably my favorite bonus mode ending out of any character! There are quite a few bonus mode interactions which are sweet and touching when it comes to characters who get a chance at developing in a way which canon never allows for—and Ouma’s really fits this particular niche perfectly and makes me emotional in quite a few ways.

His prison mode ending is, in my opinion, the perfect counterpart to his FTEs. While his FTEs are certainly fun, and he’s always happy and intrigued when Saihara goes out of his way to interact with him despite him telling Saihara that he’s “going to kill him in [x number of events],” there’s always a certain feeling of distance. He keeps his walls up, in other words, and he never ever allows himself to get too close.

Ouma is a cautious person by nature. He understands better than any of the other characters in ndrv3 how the killing game is a situation in which blind faith and optimism gets you killed, in which even decent people can be pushed to kill depending on circumstances. He doesn’t want to let his guard down completely around anyone, not even Saihara—but he’s clearly sorely tempted to do so, especially when there’s no one else who manages to surprise and impress him so much.

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anonymous asked:

Hey there :) I love your writing so much and your taste in fics recs. I guess amazing writers recognize equally talented work. While I love reading fanfic, I've been trying to get into reading books lately but am unsure of where to start. I was wondering if you have any book recs (really any genre is fine I trust your taste, but if you have anything with magical realism or an unnerving eerie horror vibe I'd love you to the moon and back)? thank you so much <3

Hey! Sorry to take so long to respond, I love this ask and I’m flattered that you want my recs!!

As for an unnerving eerie/horror vibe, I think Universal Harvester by John Darnielle would be something you might love, especially as a kind of starter book because it’s a very quick and absorbing read– one caveat is that if you like a mystery where everything is neatly explained at the end it will frustrate you, but even as someone who felt kinda ‘huh’ at the end, I enjoyed reading it a lot and would recommend. There are two skin-crawling moments in this book I will never forget, it’s so effective. I need to read more horror but I’m very squeamish about both gore and psychological horror so it’s hard for me to find stuff like this that’s effective and scary without disturbing me too much.

I wish I had more magic realism recs (I wanted to like Kelly Link, jfc I really tried ;___;) but the only thing that’s coming to mind is One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is one of my favorite books and one I should reread since it’s been a while.

OH OKAY this is a somewhat corny book but if you have tolerance for romance (and if you like my stuff you probably do lol), I love More Than You Know by Beth Gutcheon– the ghost story is so fucking creepy! It has major character death but even though you can see it coming a mile away it didn’t feel cheap to me; it’s more about the MC’s memories than the romance itself. And I love this so much, from the opening: “Somebody said ‘true love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about and few have seen.’ I’ve seen both and I don’t know how to tell you which is worse.”

I have a lot of feelings about George Saunders these days but I lovedddd Pastoralia when I was first getting into contemporary short fiction and I still reread his older stuff sometimes. There’s some good surreal & creepy stuff in that collection.

My favorite book of all time ever is The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch and it’s surreal and creepy as fuck in places, but really in a more comic way than anything else, ultimately. If you read it and like it, I recommend everything by Murdoch, she’s my favorite writer.

I recommend Like You’d Understand, Anyway by Jim Shepard to everyone because it’s my favorite short story collection. If you’re just starting to get into reading short fiction I might start with my second favorite though, Birds of America by Lorrie Moore.

I read A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin last year and now it’s on my favorite books of all time list, it’s emotionally brutal though (but in such a satisfying way, if you’re up for that!)

Earlier this year I read Signs and Wonders by Alix Ohlin and it really impressed me. (I’m reading her older collection now and one of her stories has inspired a new Kylux idea in me lol…)

Now I’ll wander past my bookshelves to see if there’s anything else I need to mention….

OH: Observatory Mansions!! by Edward Carey. omg now I want to reread this. It’s super surreal and creepy in what I think is a unique way, at least in my relatively limited experience of contemporary fiction, and I still think of it often and feel attached to the main character. This is one of those books that probably had a lot of subconscious influence on my own stuff now that I think about it, I really need to reread it….

Gob’s Grief by Chris Adrian is frustrating as fuck but it’s another surreal and creepy novel that I sometimes consider rereading because a lot of it stayed with me and because the short story that got me interested in it (which became a chapter in this novel), Every Night for a Thousand Years, is one of my favorites.

Also The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall is one of my favorite books and Letting Loose the Hounds is a good short story collection by the same author (the story about the moose. I’ll never forget it).

I also always recommend Passion by Alice Munro to anyone who likes romance. It’s one of if not my absolute favorite short stories, I reread it a lot.

I’ll stop there– thanks again for asking, and I hope you’ll enjoy some of these! <3

Regina Retrospective: At the End of OUAT

(pre-reboot/retool ouat anyway)

People who read my criticisms of OUAT probably think I hate Regina Mills. I don’t, not really, beyond some moments of venting. I post in the anti-regina tags sure, but that’s because in our hyper polarized fandom any analysis that isn’t glowing praise, any hint of criticism needs to stay in the anti tags. Main tags are for gush, anti tags are for any level of criticism, measured or firebrand. Thing is, looking at how things started I do honestly feel Regina could easily have been the richest character on this show.

And she wasn’t. 

Due to a combination of rushing her redemption, refusing to allow her character to grow, an over-reliance on the Evil Queen aspect of her character, and outright whitewashing her crimes Regina ended up an utter waste of character potential.

Season 2 set her up so, so well. We got reasons for why she is the way she is, she actually sought therapy, there were bigger bads to face allowing her a chance at heroics, she acknowledged her wrongdoings and tried to make up for them. Even her backslide could be forgiven as we know she was scared of Cora.

But things started to go wrong after Cora died. Even ignoring the disservice it did to both Snow and Regina’s storylines (Snow angsts over killing someone who was going to kill them all while Regina snaps back to blaming Snow for Daniel’s death instead of ever putting the blame where it belonged, on Cora) we then got the stupid “kill magic” plot which a) once again showed how awful Regina was back when she was evil and b) ended up hinging on a superweapon that Regina herself made. Regina’s big redemption moment in the season finale is essentially cleaning up her own damn mess.

Imagine, if you will, that Greg and Tamara aren’t here causing issues. That instead Greg really was some random guy who drove into SB and the town doesn’t know what to do about it. Tamara is just Neal’s fiance, nothing more. Cora faked her death and tries to use Neal to get to Rumple or does something else to stay in the big bad position for the whole season. Instead of saying “well, Snow killed my abusive mom and my son still doesn’t want me to have custody of him, I’ll just kill everyone” Regina instead finds the strength to oppose Cora herself, to confront her abuser, the woman who killed her true love.

Now does that sound cool or what?

(Now we can’t be too hard on the end of s2, there were some hasty rewrites due to everyone’s favorite pirate’s actor getting injured, but notice the lack of Hook in the plot I just described? It could have been done. Hell Neal could have swung by the hospital to see Hook and they could have dealt with their relationship and history outside of how they relate as Emma’s love interests. And we still could have had Neverland be next.)

Ah, Neverland. More wasted potential for Regina. We already know she hates Emma, writers, having her be a bitch to Emma Swan is nothing new and just makes her look bad. Regina frees herself from a trap by declaring she has no regrets which, um, yeah, not good for someone who is technically on a redemption arc. We do confront and have her fix one of her misdeeds (Ariel) but also have her confronted by Tinkerbelle who rightfully calls her out. Such wasted potential for a friendship there by Tink just kinda vanishing.

The pattern after this is essentially Regina acts like a terrible person (usually in the vein of whining, being ungrateful, being ill-tempered, or taking very cruel actions the other heroes would never get away with but for her are excused) except in isolated moments when we’re supposed to feel sorry for her. She repeatedly wangsts about how she’s good now and thus should get what she wants while a) not really being all that good and b) being good just to get what you want isn’t being good. Add in constant flashbacks to her Evil Queen days of her doing awful things and you’ve really got to wonder what were the writers thinking? he never really progresses beyond that point. She might look like she’s going to but don’t worry, a backslide will put her right back where she was.

And I’ll admit, I have no idea what the writers thought they were doing in doing that. There is such a disconnect towards how everyone acts around Regina and what Regina has actually done that I have to imagine that several sombodies doing the writing thought something had gone down to fully redeem this woman in all ways and that she was a changed character…while they kept adding to her crimes and having her act like a terrible person. It feels like there are whole chunks of the show missing where Regina atoned for all her evil offscreen or something…which still does not explain her bad attitude and meanness to people who have done her no wrong.

And then we got to the ULTIMATE insult plot that was her season six storyline. In some bizarre acknowledgement that Regina still has a lot of the EQ in her (without acknowledgement that maybe she should start trying to make up for all the shit she did) the show literally splits off the EQ from Regina…while still having Regina act like Regina. Officially the potion splits off the part of yourself you don’t want people to know about so…Regina doesn’t want people to know she’s still evil…? Yeah, never addressed. And instead of finally learning to accept her history as an evil despot who ruined lives that she can start trying to make up for at any time there is a whole town of people you have hurt right there Regina sends her other self off to…live a happy life with an AU Robin? Huh? Split!EQ was practically a cartoon character at times I don’t expect he rto be capable of a full relationship…so yea you just sicced your worst aspects on the dream world. Assuming she’s not executed by AU!Henry.

So Regina got the magical retcon 4B denied her after all, she gets to be seen as totally separate from the bad part of herself (it should be noted again that Regina’ behavior does not change, nothing had in fact really been “removed” from her and she is not acting “good” without the EQ bit) and…yeah her arc’s over with that. That is the last bit of character development Regina really gets this season. We end on the weirdest version of redemption ever “just split off the part f you that did bad things and now you don’t have to feel guilty and no one will treat you like the bad guy anymore (not that very many people were treating her like one anymore anyway).

Something constantly reiterated in seasons 3 and 4 was “villains don’t get happy endings.” The show for some reason never took this to the conclusion of “but if you work hard to redeem yourself you are no longer a villain and thus can have a happy ending” which would have been the best route for Regina. Regina got her first happy ending with the curse, and when that was broken she seemed to associate “happy ending” with “get whatever it is I want right now” (Henry, Robin, a child to raise with Robin, and so on) and anything roadblocking that even slightly, even in a way that could be overcome with work, was treated as the whole universe being against her because villains are some nebulous group that just gets denied happy endings as the way of the world (instead of, say, as consequences for their actions). 

Well Regina got her happy ending and if you ask me, she was still a villain at the end of it all just one who managed to get in enough with the good guys somehow to where they and everyone else utterly ignored it. At most she mellowed a bit. This is a woman who a season ago was threatening to murder another woman’s true love out of sheer jealously and got no pushback for it.

It reminds me of how Rich Burlew described the character development that Token Evil Teammate Belkar Bitterleaf underwent in The Order of the Stick thru the fifth arc: that of a sociopath progressing to a higher functioning sociopath who can at least work well with others to get what they want (Belkar even faked in-universe character development to stay relevant!). Regina is similar: she did not change; she simply learned how to play along enough to count as a member of the good guys. And apparently that was all the narrative dared ask from her.

I hesitated over making this recs list for awhile now because I’m not sure I actually consider myself a shipper of this pairing or if I just like the friendship. I mean, I like all the friendships from the Fellowship! But rewatching the LotR movies last year kind of kicked my Aragorn/Legolas semi-shipper back into gear, then… with the end of BOTFA… well. At the same time, I have a difficult time shipping Legolas with mortal characters because it just seems like it’d end in heartbreak with the whole “elves mate for life” thing! And yet… the heart wants what it wants.  Sometimes.  This is my “I’m not sure I’m in this fandom, but here are some of the good fics I’ve found” list and I refuse to be given shit about it. ;)

TOLKIEN FIC RECS - ARAGORN/LEGOLAS:
The Question by eyebrowofdoom, aragorn/legolas, NSFW, 3.2k
    Elves, you know? They’re hundreds or even thousands of years old. They sleep with their eyes open, *if* they sleep – frequently they just stand around all night, still and straight, waiting for the sodding humans to wake up and get on with it. They’re just bloody weird, really. Aragorn, travelling with Legolas, is reminded all over again.
The Sun In His Hands by JastaElf, light aragorn/legolas + implied aragorn/arwen, 4.8k
    Near the end of Aragorn’s life he spends a rainy afternoon with Legolas, discussing the past, sealonging, & love…
Night and Day by ELG, aragorn/legolas + eomer + mentions of canon pairings, NSFW, 11.9k
    A meeting with Éomer and the apparent death of Aragorn make both Aragorn and Legolas re-examine their feelings for one another.
This Mortal Joy by lightgetsin, aragorn/legolas + fellowship, 2.6k
    The ring calls to Aragorn, but not for the reasons he had expected.
How to Save Your Marriage by eleveninches, aragorn/legolas + aragorn/arwen breakup, humor, 4.4k
    Aragorn needs an heir. Arwen wants to go home. Legolas is just there for the free food.
The Birth by elceri, aragorn/legolas + implied aragorn/legolas/arwen + gimli, pregnant!legolas, 4.1k
    Aragorn greets the birth of his first child with trepidation and doubt, but Gimli helps restore his faith in Legolas, himself, and their future.
Aphrodisiac by Erandir, aragorn/legolas, NSFW, 2.8k
    What exactly did they put in Legolas’ wine? Aragorn is about to find, and out in the most unlikely way.
Until We Meet Again by iiiionly (Tanis), aragorn/legolas pre-slash, 4.3k
    The elf knew, long before the trees of Ithilien began gossiping among themselves, of the king’s coming.
In Between by edibleflowers, aragorn/legolas, NSFW, 2.2k
    After the battle, before the war: a moment’s rest
Curiosity Caught the Elf by TheBraveButShrinkingViolet, aragorn/legolas, 4.5k
    A young Legolas Thrandulion encounters Aragorn in the forests of Mirkwood and can’t contain his wonder at the dark scruff which covers the ranger’s jaw…

full details + recs under the cut!

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  • tips for a productive study break
  • when should I go to bed?
  • microsoft word equivalent
  • can’t do your homework?
  • “no homework” excuses
  • make flash cards
  • math problem solver (2)
  • online ruler
  • pull an all nighter but do well on your exam
  • a whole blog dedicated to study motivation, tips, and advice!
  • techniques for studying and learning
  • time management
  • help on reading and research
  • help with memorizing and testing
  • ultimate educational website
  • Thinking & Memorizing Tips
  • Research & Reading Tips
  • Finals Help Guide
  • Homework Help
  • Math Help

Writing:

  • Writing Masterpost
  • A website for big words
  • alternatives to “said”
  • alternatives to “whispered”
  • ultimate writers resources masterpost
  • tip of my tongue
  • writing fantasy stories
  • Masterpost of writing software
  • character flaws
  • writing a death scene
  • bio help
  • degrees of emotions
  • writing ref
  • Fictional Character Name Generator
  • Fictional Character Name AND Personality Generator
  • you’re a writer? here’s a whole bunch of writing-related blogs
  • read/post fanfiction
  • read/post stories

Learning languages:

  • Learn terms and glossary in Quizlet.
  • Learn a language for free on Duolingo.
  • Learn a language for free on Busuu.
  • Oxford Dictionaries.
  • Games and fun activities for English learners.
  • Irregular English verbs.

Do your research:

  • Google scholar.
  • Scholarpedia.
  • You can learn anything (KhanAcademy).
  • Didn´t listen in class? (Crash Course).
  • Simple Wikipedia.
  • Learn littérature without having to read it(SparkNotes).
  • Wolfram Alpha.
  • TED.
  • Open 2 study. (Online studying)
  • Free college courses.

Amazing tips on writing:

  • 10 practical tips for writing better exam essays.
  • Writing an essay.
  • Harvard writing resources.
  • Writing application essays.
  • Writing a personal statement.
  • Genre characteristics.
  • Writing a literary analysis essay.
  • Answering essay questions.
  • Get feedback.
  • Bibliography maker.
  • What is the word you´re looking for?

Reading <3

  • 8 tips to remember what you read.
  • How to read Shakespeare.
  • Effective reading and note-taking.
  • How to take notes while reading.
  • Note taking tips.
  • 170 free textbooks.
  • 1000 free textbooks.

Studying & organization

  • Time Management
  • Get your school life in order with organization.
  • Reach your goals.
  • Goals worksheet.
  • Finding information on the internet.
  • Using sources.
  • Get a hold on mind mapping.
  • How do you learn best?
  • Sound without music (Such as cafes).
  • Make flashcards.

 Stress and anxiety management

  • Coping strategies.
  • Stress reduction tips.
  • Stress relief for students.
  • Managing test anxiety.
  • Dealing with test anxiety.
  • Self help: Keeping calm.
  • Introverts in college.
  • Coping and calming down. N.1
  • Coping and calming down. N.2
  • Do nothing for two minutes.

Test help:


  • Study skills for test taking.
  • Study tips for finals.
  • Multiple choice exams guide.
  • The seven days study plan.
  • 15 steps to success.
  • How to prepare for a test.
  • Checklist for essay tests.

 Classroom participation

  • Active listening.
  • Classroom discussions.
  • Presenting projects in the classroom.
  • Preparation before class.
  • Participating tips.

Software and pages:

  • Openoffice and Libreoffice.
  • Dropnote.
  • Google docs.
  • EverNote.
  • Prezi (For presentations.)
  • Calculator.
  • Grade calculator.
  • Grammar check.
  • Staying focused for Mac, Chrome and Firefox.
  • Plagiarism check.
  • Best apps for students masterpost.
  • Homework help.

Self care tips:

  • 100 000 stars.
  • Workout masterpost.
  • Movie masterpost of masterposts.
  • Self-help masterpost.
  • 8Tracks.
  • Learn and do yoga.
  • Voulenteer.
  • Learn to play guitar.
  • The thoughts room.
  • Disney games because hell yeah.

College needs:

  • Advice on college
  • Alternatives to buying expensive textbooks
  • AP Cram Packets
  • Cheat sheet for becoming an adult
  • Dorm room survival
  • Free online college classes
  • How to survive college masterpost

Helpful sites:

  • Challenge your brain
  • Feed the hungry while using your vocabulary
  • Free online textbooks
  • Grade calculator
  • Quizlet
  • Rape Escape
  • Whole page dedicated to studying/organizing

High school needs:

  • For Juniors or Seniors With Low Income Families Looking For Scholarships
  • How to survive freshman year

Mental health resources:

  • a website that is always relevant.
  • falling asleep tips
  • How long to sleep
  • how to talk to and help an anxiety-ridden friend
  • how to wake up in the morning
  • keep taking your mind off of it
  • mental illness recovery tips
  • need a motivational speech? i like this one for myself.
  • not having a good day? :c
  • picking up a hobby can relax you during the school year!!
  • seriously just please try to relax ily
  • take your mind off of it
  • tips on self-love
  • when to go to sleep/wake up
  • working out is a total stress-buster.

Misc resources:

  • download free books
  • express yourself with make-up
  • Hobbies masterpost
  • I fucking love to study to this.
  • please remember this.
  • Sick ass movie list I have more but, this is a school one so message me for more.
  • Sites to help you not get distracted with other sites. (Mac)(PC)
  • Various ways to where a scarf
  • What’s the fucking weather

Motivation:

  • earn a cute kitten picture after writing
  • how to get motivated
  • Procrastinator?

Music/Sound:

  • calm/nature sounds
  • chill playlist
  • coffee shop blues
  • coffee shop sounds
  • concentration playlist
  • relaxation
  • study playlist
  • 4hours of classical music

School resources:

  • An already typed essay at your fingertips(type the subject and press random stuff and an essay forms. TO KIND OF HELP)
  • bibliography maker
  • educational links fucking galore
  • my favorite tutoring website
  • online ruler
  • pull an all nighter but do well on your exam
  • Social media citing
  • study like a college kid
  • Time Management
  • Psychology Lectures by a Professor from Yale University

Stress relief:

  • Calm
  • compliments generator
  • how long to nap
  • go to a quiet place
  • learn more about anxiety.
  • panic and anxiety information masterpost
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Stress Analyst
  • the thoughts room
  • take a guided relaxation
  • yoga poses

Studying/school help:
English/History:

  • Best place to get help for English
  • essay structure guide
  • essay writing help
  • free microsoft word alternative
  • Grammar and spell checker
  • Graphic Essay Organizer
  • Help on reading/researching
  • Make a kick ass essay
  • Masterpost of writing software
  • microsoft word equivalent
  • more essay writing help
  • On books you you don’t want to read
  • Tip of my tongue

Foreign Languages:

  • Learn, Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, German, Italian

Geography:

  • learn geography

Math/Science:

  • calculators (includes graphing, geometric, stats etc)
  • College/high school Chemistry notes
  • math problem solver (2)
  • Periodic Table
  • Thinking/memorizing
  • This is the math god

Study Needs:

  • Answers to the textbook
  • Beneficial studying tips
  • Crash course in any subject with John Green
  • Free Educational resources for anyone and everyone
  • help in a ton of subjects
  • Helps you in any subject
  • homework help
  • how to google
  • how to study, Study guide
  • finals survival guide
  • improve your studying skills
  • Learning Websites Masterpage
  • Looking for a word
  • make flash cards
  • One of the best learning websites
  • Scholarpedia
  • Tips before/during an exam
  • Tips on Exams

I know that school can get hard at times and sometimes it may feel like you’re trapped. I hope these links can help at least one person out. I know that they’ve helped me. (:

Character Profile Meme: Lirelle Dawnbrook

art by @rishnea, outfit by @dorksworn

Full Name: Lirelle Dawnbrook

Other Names: Dawnmender Stabs, Lirs, Ass

Universe They Exist In: World of Warcraft

Gender and Sexuality: Cis female, very straight.

Pronouns: She/Her

Ethnicity/Species: ex-High Elf, Blood Elf

Birthplace and Birthdate: Born in her home of Dawnveil 369 years ago. Birthdate May 8th.

Guilty Pleasures: Shitty romance books (more later), drinking to excess, messing with her housemates.

Phobias: ‘Failure’, death of friends.

Keep reading

Katniss isn’t the mockingjay… but her children are

I don’t mean to insinuate that Katniss isn’t the central character of The Hunger Games series or that she isn’t the catalyst for a revolution or the symbol of rebellion to her people. She is all of those things and more. She is cast by the rebellion as the Mockingjay, and she comes to identify as that role, albeit reluctantly. I would argue, though, that she just isn’t the mockingjay. There’s a qualitative difference between the two. One capital letter can make a world of difference. So let’s talk more about that little “m.”

The Hunger Games is, among other things, a treatise on how we, as a society, care (or don’t) for our children. It’s a pacifist call to stop using our children in the theater of war. This is corroborated when Katniss thinks, “[S]omething is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children to settle its differences.” She even comes to embrace what Peeta cautioned against in his first Capitol interview, that humans as she knows them ought to die off so that “some decent species [can] take over.” (MJ 377)

This new species of human is the mockingjay.

Suzanne Collins goes through great pains to relay a few basic truths to the reader from the outset of The Hunger Games:

  • Katniss is a “mini me” version of her deceased father. Whereas her mother and sister are delicate and fair like the merchant class, Katniss is Seam Strong: she’s not only darkly complected like her father, but she shares his rebellious and free spirit. There is nothing merchant class about Katniss. She is, to her core, Seam.
  • Katniss can’t bear the thought of having children in the world she knows. If it strikes you as odd that Suzanne Collins would have a 16-year-old girl talking about having (or not having) children within the first several pages of the series, then you’re onto something. This is an overarching theme and preoccupation, and it’s perhaps the most important one to Katniss as a character. Having, or not having children, is representative of Katniss’ future. By not wanting to have children, she is resisting the system in the only way she can as a disenfranchised person. It’s her way of opting out of the future altogether.
  • There is a specific mythology behind the mockingjay as a species, and Suzanne Collins wants us to get it exactly right. (we’ll talk about that more in a sec).     

Why do these three points matter?

Let’s start with the mythology behind the mockingjay. Here’s what Collins tells us:

“They’re… something of a slap in the face to the Capitol. During the rebellion, the Capitol bred a series of genetically altered animals as weapons. The common term for them was muttations, or sometimes mutts for short. One was a special bird called a jabberjay that had the ability to memorize and repeat whole human conversations. They were homing birds, exclusively male, that were released into regions where the Capitol’s enemies were known to be hiding. After the birds gathered words, they’d fly back to centers to be recorded. It took people awhile to realize what was going on…Then, of course, the rebels fed the Capitol endless lies, and the joke was on it. So the centers were shut down and the birds were abandoned to die off in the wild.

Only they didn’t die off. Instead, the jabberjays mated with female mockingbirds, creating a whole new species that could replicate both bird whistles and human melodies.” (THG 42-43)

Apologies for the extended quote! But this is some heavy stuff… it’s the heart and soul of the series. The Capitol creates a weapon against its people, the male jabberjay, a bird excellent with words. Ultimately the jabberjay proves useless to the Capitol- worse than useless, even. Destructive. The rebels use it for their own cause. And then the jabberjay mates with the female mockingbird and creates a new species that should never have existed. Suzanne Collins might as well have put a “spoiler alert” before this paragraph. This foreshadows exactly what happens in the series. And she just told us on page 42. That saucy minx.

Katniss is the mockingbird. She isn’t a mutt of anything; she is purely her father, a product of the Seam. She is so “Seam” she is practically a monolith. As a child, she overhears her father singing and spouting anti-Capitol political rhetoric, and she replicates his call, getting scolded by her mother. (THG 6, MJ 123) When her father would sing, all the birds would stop to listen to him. And lo and behold!, the same is true of Katniss. (THG 301). Throughout the series, Katniss only ever sings the songs her father taught her, those she heard as a child. She doesn’t have a song of her own. The mockingbird, in literature, symbolizes innocence and purity. And, despite the countless horrible things Katniss thinks about herself, she is an innocent. She isn’t privy to the political machinations of the adults around her. She doesn’t even know the content of her own heart. She’s pure (but for Peeta she’s perfect).  

….Which brings us to Peeta. He is the jabberjay. He is described by Katniss as being good with words more times than it’s useful to recount. One of my favorite examples is when Katniss thinks, “Peeta doesn’t need a brush to paint images… He works just as well in words” (MJ 22) In fact, following his first interview with Caesar Flickerman, she adds, “I don’t care [that he is a traitor]. Not what he says or who he says it for, only that he is still capable of speech.” (MJ 27) He is the voice of reason in her world, the leader she envisions in a just society. Just as Peeta hears her call and is “a goner,” so too is Katniss for him. They are two songbirds impossibly, irrevocably attracted to each other.

Peeta isn’t just a songbird, though. He is, specifically, the jabberjay.  He is tortured by the Capitol, turned into an “evil-mutt version” of himself, and is sent to destroy Katniss and, therefore, the rebellion (MJ 243). When he is rescued and brought to District 13, the Capitol’s scheme has apparently worked. He tries to kill her (let’s not talk about that), and his attraction to her is “gone” (her words, not mine). He uses the “L” word with Katniss for the first time- in past tense (ouch! it burns!!!). And he says to her, “You’re not very big, are you? Or particularly pretty?” (MJ 230) Let’s just say that hijacked!Peeta isn’t immediately a fan of the bird in front of him. But he’s a homing bird, and time after time, he finds his way back to her. In the beginning of Mockingjay, Katniss notes that “Peeta would have nothing to come home to anyway. Except me…” (9). And he does. Again and again, he finds his way back home to her.

If Katniss is the mockingbird and Peeta is the jabberjay, that makes their children the mockingjay. Katniss had been drawn to the mockingjay since she was a child, admitting that there was “something comforting about the little bird” (THG 43). Despite her insistence on not having children within a totalitarian regime, the mockingjay always served as a symbol of hope for her, even if she didn’t want to admit why. Katniss and Peeta’s children are that hope- and “only Peeta” could give her that. Peeta finally gets Katniss to buy into that future, to allow herself to feel the hope he has always represented to her. Falling in love and having children together is the way to show the world that they, as people, are more than just pieces in anyone’s Games.

So Mockingjay must end with the children, with a girl and a boy who possess traits of each of their parents and who are a new species of mutt that the Capitol never intended to exist. These children are the most important characters in the series. Katniss and Peeta’s children are the symbol of hope that we were promised, as readers, from the very beginning. They are the mockingjay. They don’t know that they dance on the ashes on the dead, and that’s okay. The fire and ashes are in the past, and the mockingjay is the symbol of a hopeful future, freewheeling in a sunshine-filled meadow. Suzanne gives us that token to carry with us, to take into whatever games we find ourselves forced to play.

(And a shout-out to everlarkedalways for inspiring me to write this)

TOP 25 FILMS OF 2014

This is coming a few weeks later than I would have liked, but I’ve finally seen everything I wanted to in order to consider the year completed for me, so without further ado here are my Top 25 Films of 2014, counting down from #25: 

25. PRIDE (Matthew Warchus)

The history of the world is rich with stories of diverse groups of people coming together in the face of adversity, but one such joining of forces that hasn’t been well-covered in film is that of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign, wherein a group of lesbian and gay activists sought to raise money in order to help those making a stand during the UK miners’ strike of 1984. Pride captures a moment in time that we sadly don’t see enough of in the world, even today – people from different sides of society coming together and recognizing a unity in one another which creates a bond stronger than any hardship that seeks to tear them down. It’s not a particularly heavy picture, as even the weighty themes are handled with a lighter touch than your more substantial efforts, but what director Matthew Warchus brings to the table is a jubilant atmosphere that keeps things on their feet with a rich surplus of well-timed humor to go along with the inspiring narrative. His energetic, almost musical direction keeps things flowing in a charming spirit that makes it impossible for Pride not to keep a smile on your face and he’s aided by a cast rich with talent both young and old, with the relatively fresh faces bringing a rambunctious spirit that meshes well and further illuminates the dependable efforts of a rich veteran class. 

24. MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Woody Allen)

The common perception lately has been that whenever Woody Allen makes a great new film, he follows it up with something significantly lesser by comparison. I can’t say I follow that belief to the letter that some do, but signs indicated that after the Oscar-winning triumph of Blue Jasmine, Allen’s next film – the much lighter romantic comedy Magic in the Moonlight – wasn’t going to be up to snuff. For this viewer, however, I found this frolic in the south of France circa 1928 to be a welcome change of pace in a summer loaded with one drab, over-produced blockbuster after another and as I walked out of the theater I found a warm smile across my face and the opinion that it’s one of Woody’s best in recent years, even better than Jasmine. Starring Colin Firth (a natural fit for the filmmaker) as a magician who is sought by a friend to try and unmask a woman (Emma Stone) parading herself as a mystic, Moonlight wears its thin plot on its sleeve but its predictability belies a genuine charm that kept me delighted throughout its entire run regardless of the fact that I knew more or less where it was going the whole way. Ultimately, the film is about how finding the beauty in life is something anyone can do, whether it’s in the magic or not, which may be too slight for some, but it hit me in just the right spot. 

23. WILD (Jean-Marc Vallee)

Perhaps rejuvenated by seeing the career renaissance of fellow Southerner, rom-com stable and general punchline Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon has clearly put herself on a mission for returned glory in the past few years and with Wild, it looks like all that hard work is starting to pay off. Her longtime passion project come to life, this is held up on the shoulders of what is easily the best, most committed performance of her career. Director Jean Marc-Vallee brings us a much more grounded, uncinematic experience than you’d expect this true story of Cheryl Strayed’s solo hike across the Pacific Crest Trail to be, foregoing the usual emotional manipulation, big walloping scenes and over-reliance on lush scenery shots. The decidedly muted ending was a decision that could come off too abrupt and unrewarding for some, but I think it cements the fact that Wild isn’t the kind of inspirational epic that many may be expecting from its somewhat generic trappings. This was never a story designed to reach out and show you how to take hold of your life, to go out into the world and face the dangers of the wild just like Strayed did. It’s a true telling of one woman’s belief that she needed this experience to find herself, and watching Witherspoon convey the serenity she feels when her journey is completed is as satisfying and emotionally cathartic as any grandiose finale could have ever been. 

22. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Wes Anderson)

The fact that The Grand Budapest Hotel is easily my least favorite Wes Anderson film to date says more to the fact that this is one of the most consistently brilliant filmmakers working today than anything else. I found it missing the core element of emotional resonance that has made me fall in love with his other films, but even without that it’s an absolutely joyous romp of an adventure with tons of entertainment value and incredibly consistent laughs. It’d be hard to argue with anyone who would state that Anderson is the most efficient and creative world-builder working in cinema today. Each of his films exist in their own universe outside the realm of the normal and even further outside anything existing alongside them in the industry, and Budapest is far and away his most elaborate and inventive world to date. Taking place in several time periods, but primarily in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka in 1932 on the verge of the great war, Anderon’s attention to detail is so dedicated, with no hint of the slightest bit of imperfection, from the choreography to the set design and beyond. Grand Budapest is a swift breeze of a film that’s a lot more focused on narrative than any of his other work, which doesn’t allow much time for character development or dynamics, but nevertheless it’s a wild ride filled with eccentric characters and sharp humor. 

21. LOVE IS STRANGE (Ira Sachs)

In the tradition of Make Way for Tomorrow and Tokyo Story, Ira Sachs has brought us a look into the generational divide as seen through the experiences of an aging couple in his newest feature, Love Is Strange. One of the most surprising aspects of the film is the way that Sachs takes something which could have been incredibly plot-heavy and loaded with subplots that are teased along the way and instead turns it into a naturally told story of human beings trying to connect and the way that we can cross lines into each others’ lives. There are no villains, no outwardly menacing characters in Love Is Strange, yet quietly these people struggle in dealing with the intrusions of their friends and family into their every day lives in a way that they had never experienced before. In establishing the relationship between Ben and George (played marvelously by John Lithgow and especially Alfred Molina), we see two people so familiar with one another that they’re comfortable with all of their flaws and niggling qualities but as the two separate and become acquainted with the lifestyles of others, they become burdens or find themselves burdened by their new surroundings. It’s a familiar story to anyone who has had relatives or friends stay with them or vice versa, and yet Sachs brings it to such vivid, unemphasized life. 

20. NIGHTCRAWLER (Dan Gilroy)

Even for someone like myself who has been astonished by Jake Gyllenhaal’s recent work in films like Prisoners and End of Watch, his turn as the mischievous and ambitious central figure in Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler is something that I don’t think anyone could have ever expected from the actor. The way that he portrays the darkness of Louis Bloom through his serpentine veneer, all with a Cheshire Cat grin, puts a lump in the throat and chills the bones. That’s not to say Gilroy (making his directing debut) doesn’t play a key part in establishing and orchestrating the cold, clinical (a little too much so) atmosphere of the movie, or the subtle as a sledgehammer commentary on the modern media news cycle and their culpability in the kind of illegal, morally disturbing behavior that people like Louis feed on, but at the end of the day this is Gyllenhaal’s movie through and through and it’s simply another startling turn in a string of phenomenal performances from the star. The actor is fully immersed and committed to this part on a primal level; he’s deeply unsettling and perhaps even more disturbing is the simultaneous way in which he (and the film) is dementedly hilarious. As much as Nightcrawler is a captivating thrill ride through the dark, bloody streets of late-night Los Angeles, it’s also in many ways a pitch black comedy that keeps the laughs coming in the most unexpected of places. 

19. THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (James Marsh)

The Theory of Everything, James Marsh’s film detailing the life of renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his struggle with motor neuron disease, has all the makings of yet another bland couple of hours that can’t possibly succeed in condensing one person’s life into such a duration, but refreshingly it doesn’t strive to and in actuality it’s not necessarily a biopic on Hawking at all – at least not in the traditional sense. Adapted from a novel by Stephen’s ex-wife Jane, it’s about the relationship between these two people and it’s there in which this film separates itself from the pack of familiar, disposable pieces of Academy catnip in exchange for something far more grounded and emotionally potent. To say that the audience I saw The Theory of Everything with spent the whole of two hours openly weeping would perhaps be an understatement and through the strength of the performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, along with the delicate, unmanipulative direction, not a single tear was unearned or contrived through any pandering means. Sure, Marsh’s film isn’t “edgy” or “unpredictable”, but why should it be? It tells the story of these two people beautifully without hiding their individual, personal struggles outside of Stephen’s disease and it still manages to not shave off any of the less-glamorous sides of their relationship. It’s part traditional biopic and part love story, with the bittersweet awareness that sometimes you can fight through this kind of war together and make it to the other side but still lose sight of one another. 

18. INHERENT VICE (Paul Thomas Anderson)

After charting a new path down heavily dramatic, philosophically dense and structurally vague avenues with There Will Be Blood and The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson has again made a sharp turn towards the lighter side of things with Inherent Vice, his most purely entertaining picture to date. Closer to Boogie Nights, without reaching the darkness that the ‘80s bring, this adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel is light on its feet but retains the twisty nature of its source material and is distinctly the child of its creator. Anderson may be having more fun than we’re used to seeing, but there’s no denying that this is a unique and ambitious filmmaker at work, with the result as conceptually original and narratively befuddling as his previous effort. Inherent Vice may be too narratively erratic and structurally aimless for its own good, but it does seem that there’s a method to the madness in Anderson’s attempt to capture the spirit and experience of its leading character, hippie private detective Doc Sportello, and time period above all else. It’s a film loaded with surprises, from the technical mastery that accompanies all of Anderson’s work to the rich ensemble of memorable performances (Josh Brolin in particular absolutely steals the movie), all guided through the narrative perspective of yet another unique and inventive character that Joaquin Phoenix brings to life in its fullest possible form. 

17. BEGIN AGAIN (John Carney)

Two lost souls spurned by life coming together after a chance encounter has been the basic premise of a lot of films over the years, most of them trite and sentimental romantic comedies. Seven years after John Carney brought us the tiny musical-that-could Once, whose plot could be broadly described this way, he’s delivered another entry in that same vein on a slightly larger, Americanized scale with Begin Again. Back in the world of music, the film sees Mark Ruffalo’s spiraling downward record producer and Keira Knightley’s jilted ex-girlfriend of a rising rock star come together one night in a small, cramped New York bar and light up a spark in one another that sets the course for a charming and easily appreciable experience that takes two great actors and simply lets them win the audience over as they take their act to the streets to record a raw, guerrilla-style album of songs performed by Knightley’s Gretta. Begin Again is a love story, but not in the way that you’d expect or even that Carney’s script teases it becoming from time to time. Gretta and Ruffalo’s Dan do find themselves thanks to their relationship with one another, but the most refreshing thing is that it’s not about finding themselves within the other person. It’s about finding your own love in whatever that may be, whether it’s riding your bike away from your past on a lovely New York night or sitting on a bench listening to an iPod with someone you cherish. It also feature Knightley’s best, most luminous performance, from a year full of her displaying her underappreciated versatility in a string of individually marvelous work. 

16. CALVARY (John Michael McDonagh)

John Michael McDonagh's Calvary centers on Father Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson), a good priest who’s never done any of the type of acts that others in his field have been convicted of but he still has to suffer for their crimes in his own way. He remains a member of the community but he can’t seem to walk around without being reminded of the kind of thoughts that come to mind when people see that collar in the modern day. Every scene in Calvary is from Lavelle’s perspective and yet we become privy to every dark temptation, twisted secret and perverted behavior that the people in this small Irish town are party to. As a priest, whether it’s from people mocking you, looking for absolution or just aware that they can say whatever they want to you under the guise of seeking counsel and you can’t do anything about it, Lavelle is forced to harbor all of this knowledge in his mind and with that kind of a life it’s no wonder that someone could maybe want out, an idea that forges one of the many running themes of McDonagh’s deceptively complex screenplay. When I first reached the end of Calvary, I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of it; I found it interesting but without enough meat on its bones for it to truly make an impact. Strangely, I found it sitting with me and as I reflected on it more and more I grew to appreciate it and come to realize the many fascinating, thoughtful layers that McDonagh textures underneath what at first could be seen as almost mundane. 

15. NIGHT MOVES (Kelly Reichardt)

Kelly Reichardt has made her name as a director who can take the most typical of genres, from a love story between a woman and her dog to a western set on the Oregon Trail, and turn them on their head for something far different than what you may expect to see. As a result, it’s no surprise that her newest feature, Night Moves, is far more meditative and complex than the initial premise would lead you to believe. Centered on a trio of radical environmentalists who plan an explosion of a hydroelectric dam, Reichardt and her writing partner Jonathan Raymond have taken the measured, methodically paced atmosphere they’ve cultivated on their previous three pictures together and brought it to the realm of the environmental thriller. The results are typically captivating, with the duo focusing their lens on the psychological ramifications of those who hastily endeavor in acts such as these in a way that other films of its type rarely have an interest in delving into. If Night Moves represents a transition for Reichardt into more accessible material for the mainstream crowd, it certainly doesn’t bring with it any sense that she’s going to lose sight of the perspective that makes her such a distinctive, standout filmmaker in the industry. 

14. STARRED UP (David Mackenzie)

There aren’t a lot of prison movies out there, especially these days, and there are even fewer good ones but it’s a subgenre that I take a particular shine to so when one comes along that I can fully embrace, I am more than happy to take the plunge. Such is the case with David Mackenzie's Starred Up, a brutal and explosive journey into the world of Eric Love, a violent teenager so dangerous he’s transferred to the adult prison where he comes face to face with his own father, another inmate he’s now locked up with. Written by Jonathan Asser, who took inspiration from his own experiences as a voluntary prison therapist, Mackenzie pulls no punches in getting to the nitty-gritty of prison lifestyle in an almost clinical fashion, wholly unafraid of putting his actors through the wringer. Chief among them is Jack O'Connell, giving a true “star is born” turn as Love, exploding like a force of nature from first scene to last, fully immersing himself in the untempered rage that Eric lives with every moment of his life. Admittedly, the narrative movements of Starred Up aren’t quite as engaging as the performances that really bring it to life but it’s thanks to those, alongside Asser’s personal experience with the world, that Mackenzie is able to create such a vivid, authentic environment that feels far truer than the vast majority of prison dramas we see put on screen. 

13. IDA (Pawel Pawlikowski)

Taking minimalism to its furthest point, Pawel Pawlikowski’s deeply personal black-and-white drama Ida draws on his own history to cement the themes of familial background and how that can shape who you are. Set in early 1960s Poland, this is the tale of a young woman about to take her vows to officially become a nun when she discovers that she has an aunt she never knew, her only living relative, and the two embark on a road trip to discover what really happened to their Jewish family during the war. What follows is a beautifully restrained study of a woman who never knew her true self having to look into the history of the family she never had in order to discover who really is. Agata Trzebuchowska takes on the lead role, in her first performance ever, and you’d think she’d been at it for years with her remarkable ability to say so much with her muted expressions and silent glances. Just as impressive is Agata Kulesza, as her aunt, using her body language to let the audience in on the fact that there’s a deeper sadness lurking in this woman than she is willing to reveal. Pawlikowski keeps the film at an economical 78 minutes and at first things feel a bit rushed in getting to the meat of the story quickly, but it comes to really milk every minute it has and the evolution of these women is incredibly felt by the end of it, with both of them so far off from where we first met them. 

12. EDGE OF TOMORROW (Doug Liman)

I’ve made no secret of my general disdain for the state of blockbuster filmmaking in recent years, with its endless factory machine of dreadful, derivative sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots and whatever else pumping out a new financially-driven piece of forgettable fluff every week, but once in a while there’s a big-budget summer movie that truly takes me by surprise and Edge of Tomorrow is the best one to come along in years. Seeing such a well-written, phenomenally paced, tremendously entertaining action adventure with a human element that is neither too shallow it diminishes the overall product nor too prominent that it distracts from the pulsing narrative, I was reminded of the capacity to be amazed by this kind of film. Taking its Groundhog Day premise, where Tom Cruise’s unwilling soldier is granted the ability to relive the day every time he dies during a war with an alien enemy, Edge of Tomorrow is like a video game brought to the big screen, without any of the negative assumptions that conjures up, perhaps because it’s adapted from a graphic novel rather than an actual game. Director Doug Liman executes this film with an exhilarating sense of fun, combining the gripping action sequences with a surprisingly sharp script and able performances from Cruise and especially Emily Blunt as one of the most kickass action heroes of any gender this year. 

11. SNOWPIERCER (Joon-Ho Bong)

While Edge of Tomorrow was the cure for my increasing dissatisfaction with the Hollywood blockbuster, Snowpiercer (another graphic novel adaptation) was the balls-to-the-wall kick in the teeth from the independent world that proved you don’t need $100 million to make a genre flick that is explosive, energetic, entertaining and, most importantly, brazenly unique. The first English-language picture from the great South Korean director Joon-ho Bong, Snowpiercer sets itself entirely on board a massive, luxurious train that travels around the planet non-stop in a future where a failed attempt to prevent global warming has resulted in the destruction of all life and a new ice age. With the train’s chambers divided by class, Snowpiercer uses this socially relevant starting point for what is ultimately a much larger and more complex weaving of themes. Taking a sprawling international cast on a journey through the many different, exquisitely detailed chambers, Bong sends up genre convention with a balance of vastly contrasting tones that he masters with effortless ease. Whether it’s Tilda Swinton giving monologues with a shoe on her head or an absolutely riotous Alison Pill, with her angelic presence, leading a classroom of children to sing a jaunty tune about the many ways they could all die, Snowpiercer keeps the laughs coming as ferociously as it does the heart-pumping violence.

10. BORGMAN (Alex van Warmerdam)

A priest delivers a sermon before loading up a gun and heading into the woods with a group of men, stern determination on their faces. A disheveled man with wild hair and an ungroomed beard wakes up in his shelter underneath the ground, hearing the footsteps of these men above him. The group starts poking holes in the ground, attempting to cave in the shelter and uncover the man. The disheveled man makes his escape through a secret passage, running through the woods and exposing other similar shelters where he informs other men that they have been discovered and must run. We are given no understanding of who this man is, why he was living underground or why the priest and these other men were after them, presumably on a mission to bring their deaths. This mysterious, breathtaking sequence is the opening to Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman and it only gets more strange and fascinating from there. It’s a potentially infuriating film due to its lack of straight answers, but for those who give in to what the director is aiming towards (as I did), Borgman is an utterly intriguing experience practically unlike any other I’ve had to date.

09. THE IMITATION GAME (Morten Tyldum)

Knock it down as Oscar-bait if you want, but The Imitation Game is a riveting piece of history telling a story that deserves to be witnessed. Award season is loaded with movies about important men who did significant things, but what was interesting about this year was the surprisingly unconventional decisions as to the directors assigned the task of bringing these stories to life. Nowhere was this more true than with Morten Tyldum, the Norwegian director making his English-language debut after his last effort, Headhunters, provided one of the most unpredictable, deliriously entertaining experiences of 2012. The decision to put him in charge of this powerful biopic of Alan Turing (played in a career-best turn by Benedict Cumberbatch), whose vital role in cracking the Enigma code during World War II couldn’t prevent the unjust crime his own government perpetrated against him for his homosexuality, was a daring one that gives it an energy far removed from the stuffy trappings you may have expected to find contained within. The Imitation Game is an intelligently designed portrayal of a man whose story deserves to be told and for too long was hidden in the backroom of a nation too afraid to admit the injustice that was committed against him. At the same time, that atrocity shouldn’t take any attention away from the significance of his contribution to his field and the war, and finding the proper balance is the film’s greatest strength of all.

08. THE ROVER (David Michod)

Only the second film from David Michod, after 2010's Animal KingdomThe Rover proves that he was no one-hit wonder as this cements his position as one of the most exciting and bold filmmakers to emerge so far this decade. Whereas Animal Kingdom took a conventional story of a criminal family at odds with law enforcement and turned it on its head, The Rover is a much more polarizing film from the structure up. Animal Kingdom played with expectations in a way that revitalized the crime genre; The Rover doesn’t even tease the idea that you know what you’re getting into. Michod strips down the picture as far as he can, removing from the film any desire to give the audience knowledge of the background of its situation in any respect. We don’t know what caused the apocalyptic event that led to this barren world other than the vague description of a “collapse”. We don’t know why the overwhelmingly nihilistic Eric (a career-best turn from Guy Pearce) is so adamant about getting his car back from a group of men who stole it in this world where you can take whatever you want and have no need for possessions. Leaving so much open for the audience to fill in as much or as little as they please can be frustrating at times, but Michod creates the world of The Rover so vividly and his two-hander road movie (with Pearce sharing the screen with a sensational Robert Pattinson) is ultimately just the blink of an eye amid a sea of something much more expansive. 

07. ENEMY (Denis Villeneuve)

The unexpected team of director Denis Villeneuve and actor Jake Gyllenhaal did wonders last year with the dark kidnapping thriller Prisoners (my second favorite film of the year), but Enemy took things in a decidedly bolder and more abstract direction. The logline tells us that it’s about a college professor (Gyllenhaal) who seeks out his exact look-alike (also Gyllenhaal) after spotting him as an extra in a movie, but the calamity that results from this chance sighting is far more complex than at first glance. With Enemy, Villeneuve constructs a piece that feels like a fusion between the great Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. While the premise feels like something out of the former’s canon and there’s a palpable feeling of foreboding suspense the way there was in many of his works (Vertigo springs to mind for obvious reasons), there’s also the surrealism and hypnotic, deeply unsettling atmosphere present in much of the latter’s work. It’d be easy to classify this as a mood piece above anything else and maybe that remains true, but it’s also a fascinating dissection on the idea of identity and the reconciliation of ones fantasies with the reality of living in a world where sometimes you have to settle and stop living in your dreams. 

06. THE IMMIGRANT (James Gray)

Only the fifth feature from director James Gray, The Immigrant maintains many of his traditional themes like the familial ties that bind his characters and keep them questioning their decisions, along with the New York setting, but it’s a departure for him in many ways. He’s done period work before, but this one sends him much further back to another time and a very unique style of filmmaking. What’s fascinating about what he brings to the film is how it feels so much like a lost relic of another era, yet at the same time is imbued with the brooding, heavy atmosphere that has defined his career. The Immigrant is best described as the old made new again. On first glimpse it may feel like an homage or imitation, but the further it cooks along the more it feels like nothing but the genuine article. There’s no stench of artifice to his directing here, no wink at the audience to let us see that he’s in on the fact that this isn’t how films are made anymore. With a career-best performance from Marion Cotillard, as expressive and heartbreaking as ever, and another addition to the strongest actor/director collaboration in film today that is Gray and Joaquin Phoenix, The Immigrant is a breathtaking experience from start to finish, with one of the most defining closing shots in years thanks to the great Darius Khondji. 

05. FOXCATCHER (Bennett Miller)

For better or worse, Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher is the most interesting, deliberately uncomfortable American film of 2014. Depicting the ominously tense dynamic that developed between Olympic wrestlers (and brothers) Mark and Dave Schultz with the peculiar millionaire John du Pont, Miller has created a film that is by its very design cold to a fault. He purposefully places us at a distance from these characters (with the help of the astonishing work from DP Greig Fraser), which can make it hard to engage with or invest in at times, but this remove also helps in establishing the eerie, foreboding mood the director confronts the audience with that creates a positively chilling atmosphere from first frame to last. In his previous film Moneyball, Miller handicapped the surprisingly thrilling script with his bland, tediously vanilla direction but here it’s the opposite effect. A shaky, inconsistent script threatens to derail the magnificent work of the man at the helm, but Miller keeps you entranced, aided by stars Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell and especially Channing Tatum. Foxcatcher appropriately stands out as an incredibly physical movie, one which says more without words than it ever does with them. 

04. GONE GIRL (David Fincher)

The must-talk-about novel of 2012 has become the must-talk-about film of 2014 with David Fincher's Gone Girl, a twisty labyrinth of bad people doing very bad things. Adapted to the screen by the book’s author Gillian Flynn, the writer and director combine to pull off a seamless transition from page to screen. While excising unnecessary characters and subplots, the duo have maintained the page-turner aspect that keeps the audience on their toes with every insane twist and turn in Gone Girl’s dizzying narrative littered with one fascinating character after another, where the center stage is taken up by a venomous marriage that exposes a dissection and utter skewering of the modern idea of matrimony and the way that we put on a facade for the media, our partners and ultimately ourselves. When reading the basic logline (wife goes missing; husband is suspect), it’d be easy to assume that Gone Girl is simply a generic thriller but Flynn employs a deceptive, incredibly tricky framework that seamlessly combines flashback and voiceover to split perspective and unravel a mystery far more fascinating than that of where Amy Dunne is. Dunne herself is a character for the ages and she’s an enigma right in the heart of a wonderfully layered, masterfully designed and howlingly bitter dark comedy of utter despair that sees Fincher having the most fun he’s had in ages. 

03. THE SKELETON TWINS (Craig Johnson)

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are primarily known for their multiple Emmy-nominated work on Saturday Night Live and after leaving their long stints on that program behind in recent years they found themselves coming together again in a very Sundance-typical tale of two troubled siblings in Craig Johnson’s darkly comedic, surprisingly abrasive and endearingly heartfelt drama. Yet despite its cliches, The Skeleton Twins is loaded with moments that pull on the heart strings in natural, believable ways without ever descending into nauseating “indie quirks” that would pull you out of the authentic experience of these two characters colliding forces with one another and knocking their damaged lives back into perspective. Their Milo and Maggie stray the line between likable and loathsome, even teetering over into the latter at times, but Hader and Wiig constantly keep you invested in them and the clever, impactful writing makes sure to leaven the heaviest moments with plenty of warmth throughout. The film’s centerpiece, in which the two come together over a lip-sync rendition of Jefferson Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, is as crowd-pleasing a moment as any you’ll see on screen this year and a testament to the fact that no matter how much Maggie and Milo can dig their claws into one another they will always have a bond that no one can manage to break or fully understand. 

02. A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (J.C. Chandor)

It may be set in 1981, and released in 2014, but A Most Violent Year feels like the kind of New York cinema that emerged straight out of the dark, crime-ridden climate of the 1970s. Up there with Lumet and Coppola, J.C. Chandor has captured an ambiance that builds in the pit of your stomach and reaches around you the same way that this world does for his characters. Another admirable venture into a drastically new territory, after the dialogue-driven financial crises of Margin Call and the almost entirely wordless man-at-sea survival story All Is Lost, Chandor has delivered what is easily his strongest work yet by combining complex character drama with lasting universal themes to create a slow-burning thriller that only ratchets up the tension when you’re about to reach fever pitch. Highlighted by one of the best performances in years from Oscar Isaac (who led Inside Llewyn Davis, my favorite film of last year), the director assembles all the right ingredients and calibrates them to peak efficiency for a film that breathlessly captures an intimacy of character in collaboration with a far wider scope that lends so much texture to the world these people inhabit. 

01. WHIPLASH (Damien Chazelle)

The drive for artistic perfection is naturally nothing new in the world of cinema, but in Whiplash, writer/director Damien Chazelle has brought us a two-hander so aggressive, combustible and emotionally violent it will make you feel like you’ve never seen anything like it. Only 29 years old when the film was released, Chazelle has the precision of a director twice his age as he captures a precise, elaborate style that sucks the viewer in and keeps you on the edge of your seat, but at the same time this is a film that relies heavily on the two men at its core. J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller are two actors at very different points in their careers, one a veteran whose work spans decades in supporting roles and the other a fresh face just breaking out into the spotlight, but there’s a good chance that neither of them will do anything this strong ever again. The war between these two men is fraught with emotion and turmoil, and Chazelle’s direction elevates Whiplash to something that works as more than just a riveting two-hander with great characters and performances. Whiplash centers on two characters who are hungry to cultivate one of the great artists of their time, and watching it gives the impression that we may have found one ourselves in Damien Chazelle.