the-pickpocket

Who’s Got The Smarts

Viktor Nikiforov has lived his international life getting ferried places by Yakov, exploring with world-savvy Christophe Giacometti, and being led around on the arm of rich sponsors who wanted to take him out for a night.

Yuuri, on the other hand, has spent several years in Detroit– not quite the crime capital of the USA, but close.

This shows when the Katsuki-Nikiforovs start taking more vacations.

In Rio de Janeiro. “Why can’t we just take a shortcut?” Viktor asks, peering down a narrow and dark alley. “We’d make it back to the hotel faster.”

“Vitya, no,” says Yuuri. 

In Chicago. “Yuuri, that was such a nice man, and his dog was the best dog, besides Makkachin.”

“Good dog,” Yuuri says, grabbing Viktor by the lapels to pull him in for a kiss, and to tap his cheek with Viktor’s leather wallet. “Terrible pickpocket. Don’t worry, I got it back for you.”

It even shows when they’re traveling close to home.

“This is my favorite restaurant in Sochi!” Viktor chirps. “Their shades are closed, so paparazzi can’t see in. They’re all fans, and always ask me about skating, but they never bother me for pictures with them! So discreet! It’s like my own little escape, so I wanted to share it with you. Do you like it?”

“It’s wonderful,” says Yuuri through gritted teeth. He grips Viktor’s hand tightly throughout the entire experience, and every time Viktor pitifully tries to ask, “how is the borchst?” Yuuri just smiles grimly at him and scoots closer.

“Darling,” Viktor pouts once they’re back in their hotel room, “I’ve told you that if you’re anxious we can always leave, but you never gave me the signal we agreed on–”

“Vitya,” Yuuri says, and sits him down. “Vitya, that restaurant is very clearly a cover for the Russian mafia.”

“Oh,” says Viktor. “Um.”

“I’ve always thought it was a miracle that you were alive,” Yuuri sighs and snuggles down into his husband’s lap. “Now I’m realizing just how much of a miracle it is.”

In London. They go out for a pub trivia night with Yakov and Yurio. Their team– carried completely by the living legend– destroys the rest, even though Viktor is tipsy and has been chattering with both the French family at the neighboring table and two Germans at the bar in their native tongue. Facts? Viktor knows them all: 18th century literature. Obscure historical references. Chemical compositions. The exact words Beyonce tweeted 3 months ago.

“What the hell,” says Yurio. “This idiot introduced himself to me five times when I first came to the rink. He can’t remember what he ate for lunch. What. The hell.” 

“I think I love him,” Yuuri blurts. They have been married for two years, and his husband is showing the Germans his belly-button. “We have to protect him.” Yakov just smirks.

“He’s all yours, son.”

I always liked how New Vegas companions weren’t really romanceable. You could flirt with them, but even then they clearly had specific likes and wants. Arcade was gay. Cass was bisexual. But there was never a LOVE ME dialogue option. Every character was dealing with their own loss and difficulties and didn’t build their lives around the courier. Why would they. The courier is some random asshole who walked up to them a week prior and said “hey wanna fuck shit up.”

It’s almost like they were actual carefully constructed characters and not hastily thrown together cliches that would marry you after you pickpocketed all of Diamond City.

kids are fucking wild

i work at a daycare/day camp thing with six and seven year olds

-*points to my ring* are you married?
me: how to i explain that i am 16 and im dating a piece of shit

-“are you a boy or a girl?”
me: what makes you think im a boy or a girl?
kid: you have short hair!
me: girls can have short hair!
me internally: gender is an illusion my children

-*kid pickpockets the radio from my coworkers pocket and presses the button* “can we order pizza?”

-me: our craft today is making snakes out of paper!
kid: CAN MINE BE POISONOUS
me: sure!
other kid: can it bite me i want to go home
other other kid: i got bit by a python once
other other other kid: yeah sure craig

-i herd the kids outside and they all hang out by the door waiting to go inside. when i ask them why they say that its hot out. its only 84 degrees

-me, to my coworker: oh i get off in ten minutes
ten minutes later: “REY IS LEAVING EVERYONE TACKLE HER OR HIM” (they didn’t believe me when i told them i was a ‘girl’ so now use “her or him” when referring to me. i dont correct them because they are on the right track)

Of all decks

Context: My mother played a rogue back in the first edition and her group was some of the most hard core players.

R: I’m bored of this fight. I’m gonna pick pocket the wizard.

DM: Okay, you pickpocket a Deck of Many Things.

R: I sit down and start playing solitaire.

Group: Why do these monsters keep just appearing? [DM] why have you forsaken us? 

DM: Look man, this ain’t me.

The Best Films of 2017 - Mid-Year List

There have already been many great films so far this year, so I felt it worth doing a run down of my favourite films of the year so far. These all reflect the cinema releases we’ve had so far in the UK in 2017 - for that reason this list includes some films that were released in the US in 2016. Enjoy, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the best films of the year so far!

Honourable mentions: Their Finest, Colossal, Gifted

1. Get Out, dir. Jordan Peele

This film really knocked me for six, to such an extent that I simply had to see it twice in the cinema. It got even better upon a re-watch, when I was able to watch it with full knowledge of the characters’ underlying motives and the things to come. It’s a terrifying concept (the racism of an all-white suburb is taken to a horrifying extreme) executed with incredible panache, and you feel every emotion that Chris goes through thanks to Daniel Kaluuya’s excellent performance. Get Out also represents one of the most brilliantly communal experiences I’ve ever had at the cinema - I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say that the audience erupted into spontaneous applause at a key moment in the climax. Simply fantastic. 

2. The Handmaiden, dir. Park Chan-wook

This film is exquisite - it’s first and foremost a beautiful boundary-smashing love story, and an absolutely marvellous tale of female defiance. It transplants Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith to 1930s Korea, and the story is effortlessly adapted to become intrinsically interwoven with its new setting. Sookee is a talented pickpocket plucked from a thieves den and sent as a handmaiden to trick a rich heiress into falling for a conman. To say any more would spoil the twists, but this film is just a masterwork of suspense, keeping you guessing throughout a series of interlocking pieces that take their time to reveal their secrets. I’ve seen the theatrical cut and the extended version, and they’re both great - you’re in for a treat with either.

3. Jackie, dir. Pablo Larrain

This is a film that soars on the strength of Natalie Portman’s incredible performance, which is complemented by Mica Levi’s haunting score. Portman’s performance is painfully vivid, with her agony and wretchedness coming through so intensely that it’s often uncomfortable to watch. Jackie is probably the best portrait of grief I’ve ever seen, and it sucks you into a famous historic event by providing an incredibly intimate perspective on it. This is great cinema, but be prepared for suffering.

4. A Cure for Wellness, dir. Gore Verbinski

This is a delightfully strange Gothic fairy tale of a film, and I’m amazed and impressed that a Hollywood studio gave Gore Verbinski a budget sufficient to pull it off with such beauty and style. I’ve seen this film attract love and hate in equal measure, but I adore it - the trailers set you up for a rehash of Shutter Island, but nothing could be further from the truth beyond the isolated setting. If I had to compare this to anything, I would compare it to Roger Corman’s Poe cycle of films from the 1960s - it has a similarly lurid sensibility and a deep-seated sense of fantastic romanticism at its core. Great if you’re after something uncompromisingly bonkers.

5. Wonder Woman, dir. Patty Jenkins

This film represented pure joy for me - I couldn’t have anticipated how emotional I was going to get at witnessing a (wonder!)woman crossing No Man’s Land and deflecting bullets with her bracelets. This simultaneously rejects the wry self-awareness of the Marvel films and the grim self-importance of the previous DC movies, instead unabashedly depicting a superhero who triumphs thanks to her overriding belief in love and compassion. Patty Jenkins adds endless little touches - from funny moments to quiet scenes where characters talk simply to learn about each other - that enrich the film and make it feel vivid and intimate in a very rare and special way.

6. Silence, dir. Martin Scorsese

This is truly the work of a master filmmaker, and it represents a stunning artistic achievement and a moving and intelligent investigation of the threshold of faith. Scorsese tried to get this made for decades before finally succeeding, and his passion for and belief in the project shine through in every painstakingly crafted frame. Silence is equal parts beauty and brutality, and it uses this contrast to illuminate the painful questions that the faithful must ask themselves when faced with the harsh reality of the present world. It’s heavy stuff, but well worth your time if you’re up for a film that raises more questions than it answers.

7. In This Corner of the World, dir. Sunao Katabuchi

I had no idea this film existed until a few days before I saw it, but I was really struck by its poetic treatment of the joys and tragedies of life. This film follows a young bride who moves to live with her husband’s family in WWII-era Japan, and while it deals unflinchingly with the trauma and horror of war - particularly the bombing of Hiroshima - it’s also surprisingly funny and ultimately hopeful. The power of this film comes through in the little moments of human connection and the way that the full potential of animation is exploited to maximum effect.

8. La La Land, dir. Damien Chazelle

A lovely ode to the classic Hollywood musical, La La Land is a technical marvel that sticks with me because of its heart and humanity (those words are recurring a lot, right?). It tells a very small story of a love affair between two dreamers in Hollywood, but it feels much bigger than them because of the way in which their story is told. La La Land draws from influences across the spectrum of cinema, and its homages to the classics are joyful and loving. The final ‘what might have been’ sequence represents the perfect marriage of raw emotion and filmmaking virtuosity. 

9. Okja, dir. Bong Joon-ho

Not many films can balance flatulence jokes with uncompromising critique of capitalist greed, but Okja pulls it off with aplomb. The core story hinges on the innocent and endearing friendship between a young girl named Mija and a bio-engineered super pig called Okja, and the film succeeds because you totally buy their connection and desperately want the two of them to have their wish and live together in the mountains. I’m delighted that Netflix gave Bong Joon-ho a platform to make such a weird beast.

10. Logan, dir. James Mangold

Logan may be bleak, but that isn’t what makes it great - Logan is fantastic cinema because it remembers that superheroes are still people who struggle with their own souls as much as super-villains. This film features the best character work managed in any of the X-Men films, and Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and - in particular - Dafne Keen give heart-rending performances that really ground the film and give it an emotional core. I hope we get more superhero films like this, and that the takeaway from it for the industry is the importance of stressing character rather than frantic spectacle.

Most anticipated films still to come: War for the Planet of the Apes, Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets, Dunkirk, The Beguiled, Mother!, Logan Lucky, Blade Runner 2049, Murder on the Orient Express, The Shape of Water, Annihilation, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

LGBTQ+ Movies of 2016: Part 1

First Girl I Loved

Seventeen-year-old Anne just fell in love with Sasha, the most popular girl at her LA public high school. But when Anne tells her best friend Clifton - who has always harbored a secret crush - he does his best to get in the way.

Heartstone (Hjartasteinn)

A remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it’s time to leave the playground and face adulthood.

Teenage Kicks

Seventeen year old Miklós Varga’s plans to escape his migrant family and run away with his best friend Dan are crushed by the accidental death of his older brother Tomi. Only Mik knows the events that led to this tragedy, and he is suddenly forced to navigate his guilt and explosive sexuality to find the man he can become.

The Handmaiden (Ah-ga-ssi)

1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, a new girl (Sookee) is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress (Hideko) who lives a secluded life on a large countryside estate with her domineering Uncle (Kouzuki). But the maid has a secret. She is a pickpocket recruited by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count to help him seduce the Lady to elope with him, rob her of her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. The plan seems to proceed according to plan until Sookee and Hideko discover some unexpected emotions.

Being 17 (Quand on a 17 ans)

Damien lives with his mother Marianne, a doctor, while his father is on a tour of duty abroad. He is bullied by Thomas, whose mother is ill. The boys find themselves living together when Marianne invites Thomas to come and stay with them.

Don’t Call Me Son (Mãe Só Há Uma)

After discovering the truth about being stolen by the woman he thought was his mother as a child, Pierre (AKA Felipe) must deal with the consequences of his mother’s actions and must try to cope with his biological family.

I Love Her

A young street musician girl must conquer her own fears and ghosts from the past, including the social influences of Ukraine, where she has grown up, in order to admit her feelings for a beautiful deaf-mute girl.

Moonlight

A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5