Ingrid Goes West: #IamIngrid…sort of.

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As I settled into my 100% cotton sheet covered (sheets you might find in a for-rent cottage), low-rise minimalist IKEA bed to watch Ingrid Goes West, I couldn’t help but feel a little trepidatious about it. Knowing the premise — someone who ends up moving to Los Angeles after obsessively following a popular “lifestyle” instagrammer and hoping to become her friend — I couldn’t help but feel a weird underlying shame-spiral coming to the surface. As someone who has developed the tendency of checking up on instagram/twitter accounts of certain writers, comedians, and pop culture enthusiasts that live and write out of LA, AND as someone who has the pipe dream of LIVING in LA one day (I guess?), I couldn’t help but ask myself: aren’t I sorta kinda like Ingrid?

Now, to be fair, at first glance Ingrid is not painted in the most sane light. She has a history of fully stalking people she wants to be friends with, and doing downright inexcusable, dangerous things in order to achieve this friend status. I would say I’m a fairly sane person and do not do things like break into houses or threaten murder upon those whom stand in my way. It’s just not my thing! But there’s something about Ingrid that’s undeniably relatable and hard to shake. In several scenes, she’s scrolling through Instagram, looking disheveled, double-tapping a series of posts consisting of trendy meals, carefully designed living spaces, and group hangout sessions at an aggressively alarming rate. She’s barely thinking, just swiping and liking and looking apathetic as she is surrounded by the remnants of several days’ meals and dirty clothes. Now, I’ve never quite liked as many posts with the veracity as Ingrid does (I have seen someone whom sits in front of me in one my classes whom HAS and it was very frightening to see! At least liking posts at 60 LPM), but I have spent a considerable amount of time tapping through instagram, catching up on the lives’ of artists and writers I admire, palm trees, neon lights, and cool art spaces often the backdrop of their faces and bodies. Sometimes this is a good experience and drives me to work harder, and sometimes it’s not.

Ingrid ends up becoming “best friends” with her idol, Taylor (played be Elizabeth Olsen), adapting her lifestyle completely, even when she sees glaring flaws in the practices of Taylor’s life. There’s either a social status that Ingrid will do anything to reach or just a desire to be loved and liked by as many people as possible because that’s what those thousands upon thousands of likes mean after all (this is all revolutionary thinking, social media is bad for us WE KNOW). But that’s not the point I’m necessarily trying to make. Just as Ingrid has moments of clarity throughout the movie (a scene in which she tells Taylor’s boyfriend how unauthentic Taylor can be around others, and scenes where she talks about her dead mother with her Batman loving faux-boyfriend Dan (played by O’Shea Jackson Jr.)), I have moments of clarity about the people I will look at on Instagram (I don’t follow them, that would be crazy! Wait…not following them seems crazier, doesn’t it?).

The thing is I don’t know these people. In fact, I know virtually nothing about them. Just that they’re successes and a general idea about their aesthetic curated in tiny squares. I can be inspired by them and find them hilarious and well-rounded and good-looking, but I’m not going to gain much by feeling myself growing envious and suddenly self-critical as I continue to tap and scroll with their aesthetically appealing content slowly taking on new meaning as some kind of fuel to an internal green envy fire (great now I’m thinking about that movie, Envy with Jack Black and Ben Stiller, did anyone else see that?). I think I have talent and a voice, just as I could tell Ingrid had one too.

I’m not saying I won’t get lost on Instagram or Twitter ever again or that I won’t feel envious of another person (if you have food and I don’t, I’m gonna get salty), but I might have a fleeting moment in which I feel I should be watching a movie or reading or exercising or laughing with someone or working on my manifesto in which I reenact EVERY scene in which Raven Symone does a pratfall, and I might end up doing one of those things! After all, I’m never going to truly know myself wishing for something; everything I could ever internalize and process in a way that is my own is right in front of me, just as Ingrid had all of the tools in front of her as well (she ends up gaining a following, but NOT in the best of ways as she was too far gone). At first something to easily scoff at because of it’s seemingly on the nose approach to social media stalking and modern careers became unquestionably relatable. And if we all can’t admit we’ve felt this way about others on social media than idk you’re a liar maybe? Work on that!

Ingrid Goes West is available to rent now! It’s a great movie with great performances and an awesome color palette!

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Game of Thrones Recap: Family Reunion

Have you ever heard of the term “bamboozle” or “to be bamboozled?” Well, it’s basically a super silly way of saying “to be fooled” or downright hoodwinked! Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure Joey Tribiani invented the word. The point is, I feel straight up bamboozled by Game of Thrones right now! After two admittedly mediocre episodes that set up seemingly inconsequential storylines and debuted some ahem, interesting? character choices, Thrones gave us a finale pretty much worth the begrudging energy it took to watch the previous two. Not to mention— although it did leave a spare few gaps in logic in it’s wake— the episode basically explained away all of the apparent nonsense it set up the past couple of weeks. Oh you hated that Tyrion and Jaimie talked for 3 seconds 2 episodes ago? Here’s a much longer, emotionally satisfying scene between the two! Loathed that Arya & Sansa storyline? Watch them both kill someone you f*cking hate! Not super into Bran’s borderline bratty behavior despite being an all-knowing beacon of information who could clear up a lot of misunderstandings? Here he is revealing the most important (and least well-kept) secret of the show’s mythos! And honestly, that just covers the surface of the well of satisfying moments in this episode. Mix that with a lil’ bit of the now signature Thrones’ craziness and we’ve got ourselves a delectable episode of television! Ahhhhhhhh I slept good last night, guys. It’s good to be here. It’s good to see you. Let’s. do. this.

The episode began with a stand-off between both the unsullied army and Dothraki facing the sturdy walls of Highgarden with both Jaime and Bronn holding it down. But wait, was this Highgarden? Pretty sure I saw King’s Landing in the background. Are both locales that close to one another? Jaime and Bronn couldn’t get over that the unsullied were d*ckless, but the point was Dany and her horde were arriving to King’s-High-Garden-Landing whatever? King’s Landing for sure!

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“We’re progressive and we know it.”

This episode was NOT messing around about getting all of these characters in one scene together, so next thing we knew we were seeing Tyrion, Jon, and the rest of their crew sailing into the harbor of the Capital. Before arriving though, we got to see The Hound check in on that pesky lil’ white walker locked up below deck. The white walker was so cranky!

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“Spring Break: King’s Landing ’17”

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“How’s my lil’ buddy doin?”

Meanwhile, Cersei was preparing for the arrival of her besties. No, just kidding, everyone to be in attendance straight up hated her guts and this was not lost on her. So, she told Sir Franken-Gregor to murder everyone if things got out of hand. It’s good to have a back up plan! Jaime did not look pleased.

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“I’ll wink if I want you to MURDER, OK GREAT!”

Then, we got a GOOD walk-and-talk of Tyrion, Jon, and crew in route to the Dragon pit, where this iconic meeting would be taking place. You could tell they were looking forward to marking a new tic on the historic timeline of Westerosi lore. Actually nope, they were all just super noivous!

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“Does anybody else have dry mouth rn?”

Bronn showed up to escort the crew to the pit, and the glorious reunions began. Tyrion was happy to see his boys Podrick and Bronn, offering Bronn a significant raise in pay if he joined Dany’s resistance, while The Hound and Brienne were pushing through the awkwardness of how they last met— fighting each other to almost-death with scary murder eyes. Brienne informed him that Arya was safe (and a badass) and The Hound seemed pleased with this information. The Hound has a big, swelling heart, ya’ll.

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“Almost murdering each other isn’t that awkward.”

Everyone arrived to the Dragon pit, and it was overall intimidating. The queens, lords, and their followers would be sitting center-stage under rich, Lannister-colored tapestry, surrounded by the crumbled, yet stately looking colosseum. This was not a routine office meeting, no sir! As the evil queen, Cersei was going to play up the drama (until it would be bested) by arriving fashionably late, leaving everyone shaking in their boots over fear of an ambush.

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“Okay but where’s the coffee and oreos?”

But alas, that would not be the case. Cersei strolled in with Franken-Gregor and Jaime at her sides and a regiment of guards and Yuron Greyjoy in her wake. Suddnely, everyone was making 2 second glances at each other brimmed with either pure hatred or awkward uncertainty. There was a lot packed into these mere glances and side-eyes and I appreciated it very much. This meeting was about to be AWKO TACO, my friends.

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“SIKE! WE HERE.”

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“Hate you.”

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“Loathe you.”

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“Hate myself.”

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“Love myself, but hate pretty much everyone here tbh.”

So yeah, Cersei thought she had arrived fashionably late but unfortunately for her Dany arrived even more fashionably late, and on a Dragon to boot! Her entrance was prolonged, clumsy, and hilarious. Not to mention that long walk from the edge of the colosseum to center-stage! Cersei. was. fuming.

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“Heeeeeeeey guys sorry I am late that is so like me!”

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“I’m more of a centaur person, myself. “

It was time to break the ice, and who better to do that than fan-anointed wordsmith, Tyrion. But not so fast! Yoron Greyjoy had some very problematic things to say: first he called out Theon to swear his allegiance to him, then he started saying discriminatory dwarf things to Tyrion. Ugh! Get this guy outta here! Cersei and Jamie made him sit his a** down.

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“MAKE WESTEROS GREAT AGAIN.”

Tryion laid out the ground work: they all hated each other, but they would not be there if they wanted to further the depths of this hatred. It was time to team up. Jon briefed Cersei on the white walker sitch, but she mostly just found it and him hilarious. Which, fair enough. Cersei then questioned whether she should enter a truce with a “would-be” usurper. How was she supposed to team up with someone whose ultimate goal was her fall and destruction? Again, fair enough. Tyrion understood this though and decided it was time to put their money where their mouth was. Cersei was about to see a pesky lil’ white walker!

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“WHY should I trust any of ya’ll?”

The Hound unleashed the rascal and it went straight for Cersei, because of course it did! The general mood in the arena was pure disgust and terror at the moaning, blood thirsty zombie. Truly, the look on Cersei’s face was nothing short of disbelief and astonishment at the grotesque thing. It seemed like this was going to be a mission accomplished.

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“My legs and back are so toned now!”

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“Me hungry for CERSEI LANNISTER! BOO!”

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“Am I lunch?”

Everyone wanted a piece of this zombie though! The Hound started battling it for sport, and Cersei’s wizard sidekick swooped in and started playing with the walker’s arm, which was now animatronically moving of it’s own accord. That’s when Jon came in and started his powerpoint presentation: 2 Easy Fool-Proof Ways to Kill White Walkers. Cersei was being an attentive yet admittedly shocked student. Who knew her professor would be so good looking and hunky!?

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*Lightbulb*

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“There will be no recess if we can’t stay focused!”

The effect was immediate. Yorun Greyjoy was fleeing for the Iron Islands after learning the walkers cannot swim and advising Dany to return to her island as well. Cersei wasn’t down with that though and admitted that the walkers WERE the true enemy at that very moment. I buy the “seeing-is-believing” rational behind getting enemies to fight the walkers now, I buy it so hard. Cersei had one condition though: Jon could not side with any of the warring factions of Westeros, and he was to remain where he belonged in the North. Then came the most head-smacking moment equivalent to watching someone spoil a surprise party: Jon told Cersei he already bent the knee to Dany. GROAN. Cersei was flat-out disgusted, left at the drop of a dime, and wished them all luck with the murderous ice zombies. JON BLEW IT!

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“Do ya’ll speak honor becasue I’m about to speak it.”

It was downright hilarious seeing Dany, Tyrion, and Davos tell Jon how retrospectively dumb he just was. It felt so middle-school project gone very wrong! I did feel bad for Jon though; it must be tough being the annoyingly honorable person all of the time. It probably would’ve helped if he realized he was being truthful to a lady that speaks solely in lies though. But it was too late, and there was no time for embarrassment (he was SO embarrassed!). Tyrion felt the only way to turn this around would be him having a one-on-one with Cersei (!), and with the crew’s blessing, he went.

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“That was truly dumb and NOT hot of you!”

From here came a nice little scene of Jaime wishing Tryion luck before he entered Cersei’s chambers. Despite everything, these brothers still really love each other and gosh darnit that’s something to applaud in this f*cked up family. Jaime seemed to be getting worn out by Cersei’s dramatics (about time, dude!).

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“<3 you bro."

As Tyrion walked towards Cersei they might as well have put a “For Your Consideration…” banner in the bottom right corner of our TVs, because yes, this scene was Emmy worthy on both sides, but mostly on Lena Heady’s end. Her desire to be ruthless in the face of Tyrion but ultimate failure to do so was captivating and layered so yeah, go ahead and give her all the awards, Emmys!

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“Let’s act the f*ck out of this.”

But anyway, despite the hilarity behind how obviously award worthy this scene was, it had a lot of ground to cover. Tyrion tried to explain his rational behind killing their father, but Cersei was having none of it. To her, Tyrion was the catalyst that brought chaos and enemies to King’s Landing, resulting in the deaths of Myrcella and Tommen. There was a straight up crazy moment where Tyrion double-dog dared Cersei to end him right then and there, but she chickened out, unable to give Franken-Gregor the order (so good!).

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*Great acting*

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*EVEN better acting*

From there, Tyrion walked over to the wine (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA CLASSIC TYRION!) and poured them both a glass after guzzling his own first. He was truly sorry for the loss of her two youngest; He loved them and she knew it. But still, Cersei could not help but see their demise in the eyes of Tyrion. She did not give a sh*t about protecting the people of Westeros; the only thing she ever cared about was keeping the ones she loved—the ones that matter— alive. Well, this was where she let down her armor and exposed her soft belly, literally and figuratively. As she rubbed her stomach, it was clear to Tyrion that Cersei was PREGNANT AF, and therefore served as the only reason she would want to help wage this war with the walkers.

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“I’m doing very well of hiding the fact that I’m pregnant!”

Cut back to Dany, Jon, and crew just chilling in the Dragon Pit like it’s free period. Jon and Dany got to talking about the fall of Dragons and the Targaryen legacy between strained moments of sexual tension and mutual attraction. They both feared what was next, but Dany was grateful for knowing Jon despite what may occur and despite his huge f*ck up earlier. It’s safe to say these two were to be keeping the Targaryen legacy ALIVE AND WELL. LOL! Ew.

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“They wouldn’t make us frick later would they?”

Then, Tyrion returned and although at first seemingly alone, Cersei and her posse were making a humble re-entrance after their initial dramatic exit. That takes guts! Her return was swift and powerful: her armies would march north with them to face the Great War without any assurances from any of them. WOW! Chills!

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“Don’t get it twisted: still hate you all.”

After all of that good stuff it was time to head back to the sh*ttiness that was the Winterfell storyline, but wait!: The storyline was GOOD in this finale. Littlefinger was continuing to “advise” Sansa and Sansa was feeling more and more trepidatious about Arya’s presence in Winerfell AND about Jon’s allegiance to Dany. Arya was an assasin and the WORST thing she could want is Sansa dead and to be named Lady of Winterfell (according to Littlefinger). “YOU’RE SMARTHER THAN THIS SANSA!” we all shouted at our TVS. It seemed these sisters were really going to turn against each other (kind of!)

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“Sansa, I am the man with the plan.”

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“Sure, sure.”

Later, Arya was called into the Great Hall, where apparently she was going to DIE? Well, okay, we knew that couldn’t possibly happen, so there had to be something up but what was it!? As soon as Sansa was done with the preliminary speech, the script was done flipped on who else but the sneaky snake himself, Lord Peter Baelish: was he ready to answer to his crimes? GASP. I wasn’t completely shocked but I was pleased, friends. Finally no more of Baelish’s raspy a** voice trying to convince our heroes to concoct dumb plans.

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“Sansa, what’s my line again?”

Bran, Sansa, and Arya laid out the receipts for Peter and all of the Lords in attendance. Peter Baelish literally started the entire conflict between the Starks and Lannisters and had done nothing but scheme and murder his way through various houses. As abrupt as it was, it was amazing seeing these three finally WORK TOGETHER this season. So satisfying. So with that—and Peter squirming around in a panic like the slug he is— Sansa gave the command and Arya slit his throat in one fell motion. Peter Baelish was dead. Hallelujah! F*ck that gross guy.

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“NOT MY RASPY VOICE!”

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“Murder is scary but this one was worth it!”

Perched at the top of the castle, Sansa and Arya were recapping the eventful day! It was the first sweet moment between the two in a LONG time. Arya assured Sansa that it was her who defeated Baelish even though she swung the knife and I agree with that mostly! Sansa outsmarted Baelish, and that meant truly winning against him. Who knows how long these two have been on the same side but I guess who cares? This was worth the painstaking, petty arguing they were doing for two super long episodes. The mention of their father was also very satisfying and reminded me of the firm roots this show and family stand on. STARKS FOREVA!

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“FEMMES OVER EVERYTHING.”

Back at Dragonstone, the gang was hashing out traveling and car-pooling plans for the trip up north. Ya know, stuff like who would ride with who, who was making a playlist, and who would be bringing snacks. Ser Jorah wanted Dany to ride her dragon north as to avoid being killed by a courageous specator. Jon, on the other hand, thought Dany and himself arriving together would send a better message to the northmen. Dany chose Jon! TEAM JON! EW JK IT’S SO GROSS.

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“Should I tell her I’ve been getting in to water polo?”

As Jon was getting ready to pack the car, he ran into Theon in the Queen’s hall. This was a great scene. Theon still felt very guilty for all of the murder and betrayal he did to the Stark family. Jon, being who he is, talked Theon off a ledge and forgave him for his truly messed up behavior. He also reminded him that he didn’t have to choose a house: He was a Grejoy AND a Stark. Amazing! And interesting!

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“Just tell me I’m trash.”

So with that pep-talk Theon went to reclaim what little was left of his dignity and rally his troops to save Yara. One guy was not buying it though and found Theon to be a coward, so it was going to take a fight to the death to prove himself. Theon basically drooled and flailed all over this guy—it was a hot mess of a fight— but he was victorious after getting kicked in his groin where there was no issue because he was d*ckless! Alfie Allen is so good in my opinion as Theon and I also really like the Iron Islands theme music. So this was a good scene! They were off to save Yara.

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“TAKE THIS AND THAT AND THIS!”

Wrapping up in King’s Landing, Jaime was READY AS HELL to go help Tyrion and fight for Westeros in the North but ah ah ah not so fast said Queen Cersei. It turns out, Cersei had not totally succumbed to Tyrion’s whims and had other plans; She was going to utilize the Iron Bank and some mercenary army called the Golden Company in Essos in order to ambush her enemies when the time came. It turns out that Yuron Greyjoy was actually on his way there now. Jaime was D O N E done and could not believe what he was hearing. The plan was stupid and came from a place of deep, inexplicable hatred and evil and he wanted no part in it! He attempted to leave but not before Cersei threatened to kill his a**. Jaime scoffed at that prospect and uh, I kinda thought he was gonna die? But thankfully it was all just hubris and Jaime was able to make a quick escape. BYE CERSEI.

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“Did you not read Jon’s pamphelt!?”

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“Just can’t seem to murder my bros :/.”

The penultimate scene of the episode was both cool and disturbing. We got Bran chilling fireside telling Sam Tarly (who had just arrived) of Jon’s true parentage AND Jon’s real name: AEGON Targaryen. Wow! The two pieced together that Rhager Targaryen and Lyanna Stark were married in secret, meaning that Robert’s rebellion was based on a lie. A great reveal but the disturbing part of it all was that it was cross-cut with scenes of Jon and Dany f*cking! What in G’s name!? I don’t know what we were supposed to think of all of that, but I was about 90% grossed out, 10% looking at Jon’s butt. Like was it supposed to be romantic? Were we supposed to be horrified? Feel bad for them? Who knows, but great for DB Weiss and David Benioff for making incest COOL again! Can’t wait for your show about the confederacy, guys! YOU’RE KILLING IT! But yeah, weird weird borderline straight out of a sociopath’s fan fiction type of scene. Who knows what this storyline is to bring.

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“I’ve got the tea.”

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*VERY ROMANTIC*

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*NOT THE SAME, SHOW*

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, we got a truly mesmerizing scene of the Night King and his white walkers reaching Eastwatch and using their newly-minted ICE DRAGON to destroy that section of the wall with some magical-icy-lightning breath. It was like disaster movie CGI, but the good kind, and you could really feel the doom of it all. These walkers made it past the wall. Winter was here. Now to see what our heroes and beloved enemies will do in the face of REAL ZOMBIE HORROR.

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“Ugh, demo’s the best part!”

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“We’re just going for a more ‘open’ concept.”

This season of Game of Thrones was evolutionary for the show. We saw glimpses of it in the occasional hokiness of season 4, 5, AND 6, but this season the show leaned in as hard it could into high-fantasy, dropping a lot of the scenes that focused more on political strategy and the machinations of rulership, and instead on FUN stuff like ice-breathing dragons, narratively impossible locale shifts, and incest? Huh? So yeah about 2/7ths of it was not great, but when it relied on the solid roots this show developed in its first three seasons, it was breathtaking. This episode gave us whacky in some scenes, but mostly gave us pay offs that were long due and super satisfying as a result. It didn’t matter how we got there in the end, because now the show is heading full throttle into its biggest war yet and there’s really no looking back (this is a lie obviously because we will be rewatching on HBOGo until season 7 premieres, do not listen to me). Point is, Game of Thrones has 6 episodes to wrap this craziness up, and we are ALL going to watch, even the haters. Although this finale didn’t quite reach the heights of last year’s phenomenal one, it came pretty da*n close and that IS ENOUGH for all of us. So lock yourself up in your room, bring like 5 bags of chips incase you get hungry, and turn on GoT season 1, because it’s gonna be a long 10 months. OKAY SEE YA.

Game of Thrones Recap: Ice, Ice, Dragon

Hey you! Yeah, you! Stop staring at the sun! The eclipse is now over and you will not be able to watch prestige television anymore, particularly very entertaining episodes of Game of Thrones! Not that there’s anything wrong with being blind, but imagine losing your sight the week before the finale of the only remaining water-cooler television show in the era of web streaming television (excluding Bachelor in Paradise, of course). It would be the ultimate FOMO, because even when this show is making downright baffling storytelling choices and character motivations, it’s still visually striking and probably the best show you could watch on a Sunday night. Last night, in a world before the solar eclipse when everything wasn’t blurry and black-spotted, Game of Thrones gave us its longest episode to date (until it’s inevitably topped by next week’s 83 minute finale), and, being the penultimate episode of the season, it delivered on the thrills while continuing it’s recent 2 week trend of veering into cluttered chaos, exhibiting pretty questionable character choices and virtually implausible plot points. In other words, it was one of those episodes of high-quality television that was simultaneously award-worthy and cringey as fr*ck! Aka, my favorite kind of television! Let’s get into it, but before we begin, a caveat: since this episode was super long, this recap will be fittingly SHORTER. It only seems right! Okay, here we go.

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“I have a d*ck, you have a d*ck, and he has a d*ck.”

The episode began with our newly formed rag tag group of bros beginning their trek beyond the wall to retrieve one of those pesky white walkers to bring to Cersei. Simultaneously playing like a scene from Entourage and an Aaron Sorkin walk-and-talk, these bros were hashing out their plan and really just getting acquainted with each other, and with that would come dick and balls jokes! Lots of ’em! Boys will be boys after all.

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“There’s just something about you…”

During these trek scenes, characters that had previous connections in one way or another were airing it ALL out. Gendry had a bone to pick with Thoros of Myr and the other Lord of Light guy for attempting to sacrifice him to the Lord of Light in season 3, but both men did not care what he had to say, nor did The Hound, and nor did I. Get outta here, Gendry!

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“Godric Gryffindor would want you to have this.”

Tormund had a discussion with The Hound, and his love for Brienne was illuminated in even more profoundly creepy yet charming ways than it ever had before. Nice! The most interesting walk and talk, however, was the one between Westeros’ two most honorable men, Jon Snow and Ser Jorah. Jon paid his respects to Ser Jorah concerning the death of his father, Commander Mormont, but Ser Jorah maintained that he was a sh*tty son. Then, Jon attempted to give Ser Jorah Longclaw, which was given to him by the Commander some seasons ago, and Ser Jorah basically said Jon was more of a son to him than he was, and that Longclaw was meant for him. Not sure if there was a larger purpose to this scene but either way it was nice!

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“GRRRRRRRRR!”

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“You are batsh*t now.”

Meanwhile, this episode also further leaned into the “Arya is inexplicably mad at Sansa” storyline back at Winterfell. For some reason, Arya embodied the spirit of a sexist reddit commenter, and relying on the letter she found last week that Sansa wrote to Robb while she was being held captive in King’s Landing, she basically attacked Sansa’s character and threatened to publicly assassinate it by showing the letter to some of Winterfell’s loyal Lords. What in G’s name!?!? The only basis for this kind of behavior relies on the fact that Sansa and Arya did not always get along because Arya was a tomboy and Sansa was a perfect girl; other than that, this is all out of nowhere and makes Arya look so dumb, especially because she is being puppet-ed by Littelfinger. After all those years of training, how embarrassing for her! So anway, Sansa was understandably skeezed out by Arya and her life since being separated from the Starks, which in itself is a much more interesting storyline than being attacked by her, and she basically told her to f*ck off (after being physically threatened by Arya with Littlefinger’s dagger. ARYA!!??). At this point, Sansa is a much more interesting character than Arya, and she probably has been for the past 3 seasons. And that my friends, is A HOT TAKE.

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“It’s HARD secretly being the most nuanced character on this show!”

Sansa had other concerns this episode as well. She received a raven requesting her attendance at a meeting in King’s Landing (!), where the Lords and leaders of Westeros would discuss an imminent threat with Queen Cersei. Sansa swiped left on that prospect, but she DID decide to send Brienne in her place. There was a lot of talk of Brienne and her oath to Catelyn Stark to protect both girls this episode, and I think without Brienne there, the Sansa/Arya fight will only get worse! NOO! It’s a shame too because the dynamic between Arya and Brienne that was glimpsed at in the phenomenal episode 4 of this season was actually super interesting and had a lot of potential. Still, I am liking this idea of Sansa navigating the loyalties of her followers while Jon is gone, it just sucks that it’s all tethered by Arya’s baffling insanity. Also why such basic, seemingly inconsequential drama between characters with only one episode left to go? I’d rather see a plan in motion between these two, and with that their struggle to see it through.

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“You heard of this thing called the wheel?”

Another major scene was between Tyrion and Dany at Dragonstone, patiently awaiting the return of Jon Snow and Ser Jorah. Tyrion took this opportunity to discuss future plans, AND to voice concerns about some of Dany’s recent ruling practices (aka all the murder). The discussion did not go so well! That wheel metaphor and how Dany wants to break it was brought up so many times that I was distracted by mental images of an old-timey wooden wheel, and then Dany insisted that her choices have been necessary ones. Tyrion then tried to bring up the topic of succession but Dany CERTIAINLY DID NOT want to hear any of that either. She did not even have on the crown yet and now Tyrion was imagining her death? Probably not the best topic to bring up to a prideful Queen. This scene started out borderline laughable but ended on a super interesting note. What can I say the dialogue was just super mediocre in this scene until it’s latter half. Last week’s episode was also poorly written; I’m sorry I still love this show I swearrrrrrr.

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“UGH SO HANGRY!”

Back beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and the Bros were seemingly now 30 miles from Eastwatch, but we would come to find out they were more like a mile away and the episode was finally about to give us the action it painstakingly (truly) set up in last week’s episode. The first obstacle they came across was a super cool looking, giant, scary, polka-dotted?, white walker polar bear. He or she was so scary! Just straight up howling and chomping it’s siberian-like fangs at our heroes. Thoros of Myr ended up getting munched on and thrown to the wayside like a used banana peel, and instead of dying right there, his Lord of Light bro gave him a flask of wine for anesthetic purposes, and used his flaming sword to cauterize his chest wounds. OUCH! Also some random guy that was with them died in this scene, and we would later see there were at least 3 other random dudes willing to die to retrieve this White Walker! I had no idea where they came from but it was making me laugh a lot, so thanks for that GoT!

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“Everything is so convenient these days I truly love it!”

The gang also encountered their first cluster of White Walkers near the mountain that looks like an arrowhead that the Hound saw in his vision in the flames. The white walkers were ahem, walking single-file (heard the DMV Beyond the Wall is unbearably busy!) and then someone in Jon’s crew accidentally farts or coughs or something and before we knew it the White Walkers were on the attack and the boys were in combat! When Jon struck one of the Santa Claus White Walkers with Longclaw, shatterring him, the rest of the walkers that followed him fell to their deaths as well! It seemed this was a quicker way to kill a bunch of walkers. Noted! These guys came here for a White Walker though, so just one of the walkers conveniently didn’t die so that they could tie him up and bring him back to King’s Landing.

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“Omg you guys don’t worry it’s just a flash mob!”

Since things started getting out of hand, Jon told Gendry to sprint his speedy a** back to Eastwatch in order to send a raven to Dany to come help them plz. While Gendry ran in his wintersuit like the little brother in A Christmas Story running to school, Jon and the gang got into even worse circumstances. They ended up getting encircled by a flash mob of White Walkers with the Night King and posse watching from mountainous terrain above. The fragile ice separating the gang on a rocky island and the white walkers was the only thing keeping them from dying. Meanwhile, we saw Gendry arrive to Eastwatch exhausted, and Davos was like BWHAAAATTTTT HAPPENEEDDDEDEDEDDEDEDED!???? It was time to send a raven.

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“Listen, me AND my outfit are about to save the day.”

Back at Dragonstone, Dany got Gendry’s text and took off to save the crew with ALL THREE dragons in tow, much to Tyrion’s dismay. Dany was wearing her very first winter queen outfit and honestly, I was pretty impressed and just glad she did not look like Elsa from Frozen.

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“This is sewwwww easy!”

Waking up probably hours later, Jon and the bros were cold and exhausted. Thoros of Myr died from his wounds and the cold so they burned his body so that he would not transform into a walker himself. The Hound was feeling bored so he threw a rock at those dummy walkers but ooops! one stone ended up falling on the now-solid ice and I guess these white walkers were smart enough to realize they could attack! It was a kill-them-as-they-come-to-you situation and it was simultaneously exhausting and nail-biting to watch. Tormund looked to be at almost certain-death with a swarm of walkers toppled over him, but luckily he was rescued by the Hound. Another random guy died (LOL) and it all seemed hopeless until Dany arrived on Drogon with Viserion and Rhaegal at her side. They laid waste to hundreds of walkers in mere seconds, and the gang was ready to GTFO of there. Dany reached for Jon’s hand but for some reason he wanted to keep fighting instead (because honor?), so the rest of the bros, including Ser Jorah, climbed atop Drogon’s back. This honestly was a cool fantasy moment and the dragons looked fantastic.

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“Seems to be some pain in my right side.”

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“:(“

Unfortunately though, the Night King saw the perfect opportunity in all of this dragon loading to lessen the dragon count. He threw an icy, magical spear and it hit Viserion in mid-air, unspooling masses of his blood as he crashed into the ice lake, dead. It was so gruesome and sad to watch, and Dany’s reaction was heartbreaking. Props to Emilia Clarke; she was very good in this scene and the remainder of the episode. As silly as the “they’re my children” comments can be, this was an admittedly sad and character-defining moment.

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“If only there were room for two on that darn horsey!”

Because Jon was being a hero (I guess?) Dany and gang reluctantly left and returned to Eastwatch. About to die, Jon was saved by Benjen Stark (oh hey) who then decided to be the hero himself (I GUESS!?) by attempting to fight off a sh*t ton of walkers while Jon escaped on horseback with plenty of room for another occupant. Honestly, just so baffling but whatever!

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“Anything for my aunt—I mean, Queen!”

Upon Jon’s return, him and Dany had a very, very, very heartfelt conversation on the ship about to take off to Dragonstone. Despite the sexual undertones that at this point have no purpose or direction, the scene was great. Jon, looking like white Europeans’ depiction of Jesus, was sincerely sorry for what happened, and Dany, although seeming broken, did not regret going to save them. In that moment, she committed to defeating the white walkers with Jon, saying it was something she “had to see.” Honestly, I bought this explanation and it kind of worked in favor of this seemingly crazy plot to bring a white walker to Cersei. These are prideful, power-thirsty people; They won’t believe a potentially distracting threat until they see it. In the same breath, Jon called Dany his queen and she was over the moon. Again, a great moment, just wish it wasn’t underscored by icky sexual chemistry. THESE PEOPLE ARE RELATED, GAHHHH!

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*BAD TO THE BONE, BUH BUH BUH BUH BAD*

We then got a closing tease of the Night King pulling the seemingly dead Viserion out of the ice lake. The camera zoomed in on Viserion’s giant eye-lid only to spring open to reveal an icy-blue iris. ICE DRAGON!!!!! Honestly, who didn’t see this coming but still exciting and cool!

Game of Thrones is definitely a different show than it once was, and maybe even what it promised to be last year and at the beginning of this season. In two episodes, the writing has devolved into over-explanation, inconsistent character choices, and convenient story-telling. Although the action is still thrilling in moments, there isn’t as much investment as there was a mere TWO episodes ago during the Loot Train Attack or in fantastic white walker battle episodes like Hardhome. There is a certain fun, care-free element to show now that it isn’t too worried about keeping everything so tight, but it still can’t help but feel like the creators are sick of doing the show and want to rush to the finish line. Honestly, pretty disappointing for a show as monumental, visually impressive, and ambitious as this one has been over the past 6 years. Maybe next week’s finale will give us some great character moments, and maybe the last 6 episodes next year will prove all of these worries wrong, but until then I remain skeptical, while still enjoying the show. Plus, who can get sick of those CGI Dragons? They look so cool! RIP Viserion.

See ya next weeeeeeek!

Game of Thrones Recap: Back, Back, Forth, and Forth

Sometimes we return from a major life event and we just feel drained. Everything that I’ve ever accomplished, the moment after I’ve accomplished it, I just want to nap and never do anything like it AGAIN. Trust me, the quilting club from my high school is still trying to recruit me for the upcoming season in order to rekindle some of the magic of our glory days. I GRADUATED, guys, leave me alone! But anyway, perhaps last week’s Game of Thrones was so good, that it was inevitable that this week’s wouldn’t quite live up to our expectations. That’s cool, that’s fine. Not every moment has to be perfectly orchestrated battle scenes ripe with memorable character moments, or Dany riding her dragons as they show off the best of their abilities. This show is rich but it ain’t that rich! That being said, even though this episode of Game of Thrones didn’t quite give us the thrills of last week, it still gave us lots and lots to think about. That means there were LOTS of scene changes, LOTS of dialogue, and LOTS of teleporting across the expansive landscape of Westeros. Remember when, in the distant past of this series’ lore, it would take at least 4 or 5 episodes for a crop of characters to go from one locale to the next? YEP, if you haven’t noticed, that is no longer the case! Again, the creators are wasting NO time this year, and yeah, it may make the editing seem a little awkward and disorienting, but what are we gonna do, watch Tyrion and Davos Seaworth talk about onions or Jon Snow and his crew play I-SPY surrounded by black seas for multiple episodes? No! Let’s get to the goods.

JAIME

The episode started right where we left off…Well, kind of. Jaime and Bronn emerged from the bay they fell into at the end of last episode, but they were somehow at the complete other end, at what seemed like at least a mile away. How did they…? I already had a billion questions, but then I decided to ignore it and so should you. Now safe and far from the remnants of the battle, the two men had a little post-battle chat. Bronn asked Jaimie WTH he was thinking in the moment he decided to attack a queen protected by a seething dragon, and Jaimie stated that he was thinking about ending the war. After seeing the dragon in all of it’s hell-fire glory, Jaime and Bronn both thought that King’s Landing didn’t stand a chance against Dany and her dragons, which duh! So now their task was to tell Cersei that they were STILL losing this war despite all the headway they made over the past couple of episodes. GOOD GRIEF!

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Then, back on the other side of the bay, Tyrion was admiring some of the cool, post-battle destruction that he was going to work into his next photography assignment somehow. No, just kidding, he was super disgusted by the now ashen, bloody landscape and wanted out of there ASAP. Unfortunately for him, he would be seeing a lil’ more death and horror in a couple mins! Hang in there, Tyrion!

HOW2TRAINURDRAGON!

Distant enough from the destruction to where she didn’t have to see it in her peripheral vision, Dany, along with the Dorthraki and Drogon, was perched on top of a rocky mass that was now serving as Drogon’s personal nesting/napping area. AW! Dany had all of the surviving men of the opposite side grouped at the bottom of the hill awaiting their fate. Dany’s ultimatum was simple: bend the knee or die. But first she insisted that she was not NEARLY as ruthless and authoritarian as Cersei, but she was willing to murder and burn if that’s what it came to. One snap of the fingers and a Dragon ROAR later, and most of those scaredy-cats were bending the knee, leaving only a spare few still standing and I guess ready to die? One of these men was a Lord that was not a fan of foreigners, more willing to die for the pure evil Cersei than to bend the knee to a strong-willed, good-hearted queen with questionable ethics. For that, he would have to burn, but first he would be joined by…

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DICKON Tarly! HAHA. Even though these two were being pretty stupid, at least they were choosing SOMETHING to fight for. After all, all they are is pawns in this crazzzzy game. But yeah, these two ended up getting toasted and roasted, with Dany barely flinching. Meanwhile, Tyrion was continuing to question his queen, and her tendency to retread some tracks her psycho father left behind…

NOT STUBBORN

Next thing we know, Jaime was back in King’s Landing (the battle must’ve been pretty close, right? right? Ah, who cares!) and ready to confront Cersei. Although Cersei was willing to admit that her armies are no match for 3 dragons, she was still looking for options that would keep them in this war. That meant utilizing the Iron Bank and buying some mercenaries to join their military ranks. After Cersei sarcastically suggested they ask Tyrion to help negotiate with Dany, Jaimie saw his chance and had to spill the tea. He ends ups telling Cersei that Olenna was the one who killed Joffrey, NOT, much to her dismay, Tyrion. BWHATTTT!? NO, we knew that, but watching Cersei’s face go from doubtful to suddenly horrified by the truth was quite entertaining. It takes some convincing, but Cersei believes Jaime after he explains Olenna’s motive. Now enfuriated, thinking about the loss of her children, Cersei is ready to go out fighting and beckons Jaime to do the same, as a soldier would. YIKES!

PAT PAT

Now for a magical scene! Jon was in the middle of his daily sea-mist, all-natural facial routine on top of a dragonstone cliff, when Dany and Drogon land to greet him upon their return. As Drogon dismounted, he seemed to be naturally curious in approaching Jon. Jon was sh*tting his pants, but he felt the need to cautiously approach Drogon and carress his giant nose. It all felt very kindred and beyond any connection a normie would try to make with one of Dany’s dragons. WONDER WHY!? Anyway, it was a wonderful, classic Game of Thrones fantasy moment that should get people talking. You can add this to another thing Dany likes about Jon aside from the fact that he is super hot.

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Afterwards, Dany enrolled Jon in Dragon-Mothering 101 and explained to him that her dragons are her children, not beasts! Jon was slightly weirded out, but kept an open mind. They then discussed Dany’s ambush and recent kills, and although Dany knew Jon was skeptical of her actions, she assured him that in order to rule, rulers must show strength. Jon can’t argue since he had to fight and kill his way to retrieve Winterfell. Then Jon almost spilled that he was murdered by his ex-Night’s Watch boys and then reincarnated by a Red Preistess, as you do, but the pair were interrupted by…

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BWAHHHHHT!? again! Ser Jorah Mormont! No just kidding, we knew he was on his way to see Dany because duh, he’s obsessed with her. After that super complex and challenging greyscale remedy (cutting it off), Jorah was ready to serve his queen. And trust me, despite her newest flirtation, Dany was ready to accept his service. She could not stop heart-eyes emoji-ing at Jorah this entire scene, and all of the sudden it felt like old times. But guys, I could not help but think there was a super weird love triangle brewing here. Jon DID NOT look happy about the sparks flying between these too! YUH OH! TEAM JON. No wait! TEAM JORAH even though he is old! F*ck you team Jon! (This is weird I feel weird).

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Heading north, Brans eyes were rolling in the back of is head because he is over it. No, actually, he was having another vision just like Raven Baxter! Bran saw the White Walkers lead by the Night King continuing their journey towards East Watch, the Night’s Watch tower that the red-headed wilding who is in love with Brienne is holding down. So, Bran sent out some ravens to Jon and the Citadel to warn them of the incoming threat.

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All of the sudden we jump to the Citadel (where Sam’s at) receiving the very Raven that was just sent out! It gave me whiplash but that’s okay. All of the maesters were being super stuck-up and jaded, denying any plausibility of an army of dead men and an all seeing three-eyed raven. Sam is in the room with them, and even when he tries to attest to Bran’s claims, the stuffy maesters treat him like human garbage. Sam leaves after his mentor says they’ll consider what the raven says about the threat, and then reveals to the maesters that he’s yet to tell Sam that his brother and father have been burnt alive..by..by…DANY! Sorry, I just realized that Dickon and that other guy were Sam’s family (forgot that dinner scene last season). Oops! Well, now I know. Now you know. Maybe you already knew. Let’s move on. Either way, the maesters totally suck, so Sam sneaks into the forbidden section of the library all stealth-like to grab some important documents, grabs Gilly and his son and GTFOutta there. Honestly, a great idea since he was mostly just emptying out cast-iron pots filled with diarrhea.

MURDER

Back in Dragonstone, Tyrion and Varys were having a classic Tyrion and Varys chat, goblets of wine in hand. Varys warned Tyrion of the slippery-slope of watching a ruler take liberties when it comes to, ya know, murdering ALL THE PEOPLE. As a former hand to the Mad King, Varys was complicit in watching countless brutal, flesh-scorching murders. Basically, Varys wanted Tyrion to get creative and find a way to get Dany to listen and just stop murdering. Varys then said that the note he’s holding is for Jon Snow, but the contents are pretty boring. LOL. Admit it, we all read our neighbors mail at least thrice a week! No, just me?

COASTING

So then we got a pretty cool scene of Dany and crew discussing the contents of Bran’s raven. Jon was shocked to hear that Arya is still alive, but the matter of dealing with the White Walker threat was the main concern. Soon, the discussion turned to Cersei and how they could get her to help fight the incoming threat. WOAH. I knew that they would maybe consider teaming up with Cersei but now that it’s all happening so fast I’m shocked! I guess anything to save Westeros, right? The plan, concocted by Tyrion, is to just straight up go capture a White Walker and show it to Cersei so that she’ll believe. Uh, okay. Fair enough. Next thing we knew, Jon was respectfully freeing himself from the clutches of Dany’s friendly captivity, and offering himself up to retrieve the White Walker. Jon Snow couldn’t just hog ALL of the spotlight, so Ser Jorah offers to go too. After all, he was there to serve his queen. Before long we had the makings of a rag-tag White-Walker hunters gang in development! Dany was super pleased with all of this.

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Next, we headed north AF and got a closer look at the most recent Stark reunion that was put into development last week. Turns out, all of the Lords that pledge fealty to Winterfell like Sansa better than Jon, and they want her to be their permanent ruler. Innnnerseting. Arya was being sneaky, as she would continue to be throughout this ENITRE episode and confronted Sansa in her bedroom. Arya was not even throwing shade, but just straight up reading the f*ck out of Sansa, saying Sansa likes holding all the power, and that she didn’t even bother defending Jon’s name during the council meeting. But not so fast Arya! Sansa rightfully stated that Arya does not know the man power and assistance from the other houses it took to take Winterfell back, and she has to be careful to not offend their loyal supporters. TRUEEEE. But still, Arya maintained that Sansa is still thinking about being the sole queen; she can’t help it. And by the looks of Sansa’s face, Arya was right.

WHERE

Back in King’s Landing, Tyrion and Davos Seaworth were pulling up to shore (whiplash) to set up a secret meeting with Jaime (unbeknownst to him). They meet in the dungeons where all the dragon skeletons are after Bronn drags Jaime down, and the meeting is…anticlimactic? All of these reunions have been, honestly. Tyrion got a chance to defend his choice in murdering their father for a hot second, stating that he would have been executed otherwise, but Jaime didn’t want to hear most of it. Instead, Tyrion suggested there is something bigger at play and that Cersei does not need to bend the knee to Dany and her dragons quite yet…

SURPRISE

In the mean time, Ser Davos found a familiar face in the merchant section of town. Remember that kid that started rowing about 3 seasons back? It was Gendry Baratheon! Davvos knew he would be hiding right under Cersei’s nose. Gendry was game to leave and join Dany’s crew, so he brought his giant sledgehammer and they were on their way.

DUMMYSEZ

As these two were packing up the row boat to make a quick getaway, two guardsmen approached them. Davos did some quick thinking and sent them on their way with gold and mouths full of crab meat. Then Tyrion walked down at the most inopportune time and before being recognized, Gendry just had to kill the guards with his sledgehammer. Sometimes these things happen! They were on their way.

MRSNOW

Later, back at Dragonstone (WHIP LASH!!!!) Davos had plans to introduce Gendry to Jon Snow under a pseudonym, but Gendry just outright decided to tell him he’s Robert Baratheon’s bastard son. At first shocked, Jon was happy to hear that Gendry wanted to join their excursion beyond the wall. Davvos was EXHAUSTED and I was loling. The White Walker Hunters were almost assembled!

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In King’s Landing, Cersei and Jaime were having another heated conversation. Cersei said she knew Jaime met with Tyrion, and that she allowed it to happen. Knowing that a meeting for armistice with Dany was inevitable, Cersei wanted to co-opt her father’s clever gameplay and use Dany’s strength to her advantage. She then revealed to Jaime that she is pregnant! Aw, but actually ew. These two were turning a new leaf in the wake of their loss to Dany, but Cersei still had to warn Jaime to never betray her again. Welp, Jaime’s in the clutches again. Can’t wait for Lady Olenna to be proven right.

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Going back to Winterfell, Arya was out-sneaking the sneakiest snake of all, Lord Baelish. After catching him meeting in private with several shady cronies around the castle, she found him slipping an archived letter written to Jon (I think?) from Sansa in a mattress. She snuck into the room after he stows it there, but little did she know he was watching her from the arch way a couple of feet away. OooooOO! Look at these two sneaky lil’ rascals! Out sneakin’ each other. Snoopin’ and what not. Think if they teamed up and ran their own detective agency! I have no idea what the letter means.

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After a breezy 2 episodes and what seemed like a feature length movie, Jon and his hunting crew were saying their goodbyes at Dragonstone. Ultimatley it had been a successful visit; Jon was able to harvest some dragonglass and Dany was ultimately charmed by Jon’s honor and self-respect. These two will definitely be meeting again! Ser Jorah said a pained goodbye and it seems like he and Dany still have a strong, poignant connection. Good for them I guess. Team Jon! Wait was I team Jorah before? I forgot. I’ll miss Jon on Dragonstone, it suited him.

BRIENNE

Upon the crew’s arrival to East Watch, they met up with Tormund, who wasn’t super excited to help them go beyond the wall again, but he was ultimately down. He also couldn’t help but name drop Brienne. Ooh la la! Tormund took them to meet some prisoners who just so happen to be The Hound and the Lord of Light followers from the brotherhood. Gendry warned to not trust them, telling us they tried to sacrifice him to the Lord of Light. Whatever, Gendry! Everyone straight up ignored him and then Tormund realized that Jorah is Commander Mormant’s son, who he hates. RAG. TAG. TEAM. Finally, Jon cemented the crew by saying they’re all on the same side because they’re all breathing. Does Jon Snow just get it at all times? He really gets it! Cue a dope ending montage of the team opening the gate beyond the wall and walking into the sinister blank-white mist. All of the sudden I’m super excited again!

DONOTMESS

So, that episode laid a lot of groundwork in a little bit of time! Just doing this recap I was completely floored by how many fr*cking scenes there were. Even though it was at times off-putting and required some suspension of disbelief, this episode still had a lot to offer. We had some good tense stand-offs amongst characters, and even though THOSE were short-lived, we at least can expect more stand-offs in future episodes. The threat beyond the Wall keeps getting closer and it’ll be interesting to see if the houses will truly unite to fight off their common enemy, despite their interests in ruling the Seven Kingdoms. After that explosive episode last week, this one had to pick up the pieces again, and make some proper set-ups in order to go full steam ahead for the last two episodes of the season. From Dragonstone, to Winterfell, to King’s Landing, to the Citadel, we were all over the place this episode, but I think next week we’ll be more grounded and stay in these areas a little longer. I’m still IN this, are ya’ll? Let’s do this again next week!

BYE.

Game of Thrones Recap: “Dracarys! Oops This is Kinda Messy Isn’t It?”

In my opinion war is not great. A lot of people die, it hardly ever solves anyone’s problems, and the post clean up seems like a nightmare! Forget bucketing grotesque blood and splayed internal organs, imagine picking up all of those arrows. We’re talking 100s upon 1000s of arrows just covering the war field like a pack of tooth picks spilled onto the dining room table. Frankly, it’s kind of rude to leave them all there and both sides should team up after the battle is over to clean it all up, not just the home team. Plus, if you live in a medieval fantasy story you might have to wear a bulky helmet. So embarrassing! Game of Thrones featured a virulent battle tonight, featuring everyone’s favorite dragon, Drogon, and I have to say this was in the top ten episodes for me by far. The show did what it does best when portraying different ruling factions at battle: it depicted war like the gruesome, complicated, and straight up baffling thing that it is. Not only that, but the rest of the episode was amazing too! From the continuation of long awaited reunions, to some honestly jaw dropping, beautiful character work, this was PRESTIGE (ugh, I know) television at it’s finest. I cried exactly three times. LET’S GET INTO IT SHALL WE.

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“I doubt I’ll be indebted to you any further!”

The episode started with the aftermath of Jaimie and the Lannister army’s siege of High Garden (R.I.P. Lady Olenna). Him and Bronn have this talk about how Bronn isn’t exactly getting his fair share in exchange for his service to the Lannister cause, EVEN THOUGH he’s received a modest amount of gold. It’s kind of boring, but becomes pretty important later down the line. Mainly this scene just reminded me how much I love Bronn. He knows how evil Cersei is, so if he’s gonna fight for the “bad” side he might as well REALLY be getting paid. HON, yes, get that $$.

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“Just bein’ smug”

Then I think we see (recapping this from memory) Cersei being super smug at the Red Keep, basically just chilling with one of the bankers from the Big Iron Bank. She has Jaimie coming back from High Garden with solid gold in tow, so she ensures the banker that her debt will be paid. He’s impressed. Everyone say it with me now, “A LANNISTER ALWAYS PAYS THEIR DEBTS!” Okay, great, glad that’s your twitter bio. Also I get that Cersei is fully evil now but is that black, scaled evil queen dress the only one she owns? Like come on, doesn’t she have a blood red gown lying around anywhere? Or even gold! Just wearing pure solid gold is pretty evil, right? The Red Keep’s fashion designer must have been in the The Sept of Baleor when that whole wildfire sitch went down. Oops!

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“Whosa whatsa whosa now?”

Okay, so now we get to the good stuff. Bran and Meera arrived at Winterfell last episode, and this episode we got to see them adjusting to their new (but familiar for Bran) surroundings. Bran has a meeting with Littlefinger and he utters something honestly so indecipherable I had to rewind five times and I still couldn’t figure it out (UPDATE: He says “Chaos is a ladder,” referencing Littlefinger’s speech to Ned in season 1). All I know is that it was not something Bran was supposed to know (but of course the Three Eyed Raven does) and that Littlefinger was totally thrown off by it, which is very rare. During the meeting, Littlefinger also gives Bran the dagger made of Valyrian steel that was meant to kill him a couple years back. THIS DAGGER FEELS IMPORTANT THIS DAGGER FEELS IMPORTANT. Start theorizing folks. Anway, it was a tense scene. Then Meera walks in and her conversation with Bran pretty much establishes what we had a feeling about the last couple of episodes: Bran isn’t really Bran anymore. He’s overwhelmed by the pain and suffering of the world and he has no time to give warm sentiments of gratefulness to Meera, who has been traveling with him for YEARS now and decides to make her way somewhere else. This made me frown face guys, but it didn’t make me cry YET. That would start a lil’ later.

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*I’m comin’ home, comin’ home, tell the world I’m comin’ home*

The second Stark reunion of the season started with Arya’s arrival to Winterfell. Which, honestly? These reunions have been super lowkey and not that epic, which I feel is the right choice? Seeing your family after a long, long time is great but also pretty awkward, no? ESPECIALLY for these guys, who are now completely different people. Anyway, ignoring that scene with the bumbling comedic relief Winterfell guards, Arya ends up in the crypt under Winterfell to see the memorial of her late father. Sansa meets her there and again, they’re happy to see each other but there is pain here, guys. Neither of them knows for sure what the other has seen or felt, but both of them knows it’s not great. Both gals were great in this scene, and I have to say, Maisie Williams has always been good as Arya but this scene really seemed to flex her muscles more than usual and she kinda blew me away. Believe it or not, I still wasn’t crying yet, but this scene definitely laid the ground work for the tears that were to come.

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“I mean sure I’ll take the knife wasn’t gonna ask but ya sure didn’t even want it, it’s Valyrian steel you say?”

There was another “yeah, about Bran” moment that I have a feeling people in Winterfell will be saying a lot from now on, and from there Sansa and Arya went straight to visit him in the gods wood. Arya seems to get a little more out of Bran, seeing as they were so close, but honestly he just emotionlessly gives her the Valyrian dagger, after claiming he’s useless having it. Also, he spills the tea that he knows the contents of Arya’s kill list and that he expected her to be in the Red Keep if anywhere else. Sansa catches the mention of this kill list again, and internally she’s pretty much like: I think my lil’ sis is an assasin? But she seems COOL WITH IT. I am very excited for these three to learn more about each other.

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“We did sex are you proud?”

So now we venture south to Dragonstone, to revisit our favorite but slightly #problematic queen, Dany, her dragons, Jon Snow, Tyrion, Davos Seaworth, Missandei, Varys, and others. Next time I’m just going to say “Dany and gang” or “Dany and crew,” cool? Dany is walking with Missandei down the castle stairs, and Missandei lets on that her and Grey Worm GOT IT ON (in a nice, well done scene) last week on our tv screens. Dany wants to continue this convo so bad but Jon is beckoning her at the bottom of the stairs. Jon Snow has gotten to work on venturing into the caverns filled with dragon glass under the castle after his and Dany’s contentious first meeting. He wants her to see everything he’s found, and we see later that it helps his cause a bit. Now, there are going to be lots of jokes and comments that are probably correct about SEXUAL CHEMISTRY and ATTRACTION between these two, and uh, yeah I felt that too, BUT underneath it I feel like there’s potential for a good brother/sister type relationship. Is that a weird thing to say? I don’t know, I’m choosing to IGNORE whatever weird potential shipping we’re picking up from these two (are they just both so hot that we inevitably think they have sexual chemistry?), and looking forward to their realization that they are aunt and nephew. OKAY MOVING ON, phewf.

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*John Williams score*

So the cavern scene was amazing. Jon shows Dany the glistening, primordial walls of dragon glass, and the whole thing was enhanced by a magical score in the vein of John Williams’ repertoire. And, so this is pretty embarrassing but THIS is the moment I started getting a little dusty in the good ol’ eye sockets. The scale of it was breathtaking, and when Jon started showing Dany the etchings on the walls from the Children of the Forest, and later the drawings of them uniting with the first men against the white walkers, I couldn’t help but feel the immensity of it all. It felt classic and grand, even though those White Walker drawings were too animated and detailed, lookin’ like a Saturday morning cartoon version of the real thing LOL.

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“And this is where they storyboarded Disney’s Frozen.”

So, basically, Dany is enchanted by the whole thing as well (Stop shipping them, damnit!) and she agrees to do everything in her power to help the North stop the white walkers… as long as Jon bends the knee. Oh ho ho, you have to admire Dany; she really sticks to her guns for the most part! Jon is again, hesitant, saying that the northerners would never be ruled by a southerner again. But Dany insists that it’s only his pride in the way that is stopping him from bending the knee, not his people in the North. Which, okaaaaaay can we talk about YOUR pride for a second Dany? Either way, the power dynamic between these two is super interesting and I’m loving it.

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“It’s probably time to burn.”

Right after exiting the cavern, Tyrion, Varys and crew are ready to break the news to Dany about the immobile state of the Casterly Rock seige. Tyrion is super nervous and for good reason: Cersei and Jaimie straight up bamboozled team Dani by pretty much letting the Dothraki take Casterly Rock, but first they made sure to take ALL OF THE FOOD and then settle matters in High Garden. So yeah, that leaves Cersei with the Iron Islands and a majority of the Reach (which is the South-West region of the Seven Kingdoms, I googled). Dany is short on allies and she is FRUSTRATED, so we get to see HER pride on display in slightly bad-tempered, yet understandable fashion. She just wants to ride her Dragons, burn some sh*t, and take the Red Keep. She barely has any allies in the Seven Kingdoms, and if anything she’s losing more time. Tyrion advises her against it but she’s not having it so she asks Jon what she should do. He says the same thing Tyrion says but steeped in so much honor and goodwill that you were either disgusted or turned on. I’m not saying which I was. This was another really cool scene that explored the changing dynamic between Dany and her crew.

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“We are literally two perfect people.”

Next, we got my favorite scene of the episode not including the forthcoming battle. We’re back at Winterfell in one of the courtyards where Arya confronts Brienne and asks her to train with her. Brienne is feeling grateful that the two girls she swore to protect are alive and healthy, so she says “Of course, hon!”. From here, we get a jaw-dropping scene of Arya showing off her Nameless assassin combat skills and Brienne bascially meeting her match. It’s one of those silent sword fights where all we hear are grunts, prolonged looks of intimidation, and sword clinks. Brienne definitely pulls it together in the end, but she is WINDED and borderline shocked by Arya’s agility and nimble moves. Watching these two women train together, seeing the power dyanmics change, all with the idea of the long journeys and the sh*t they’ve had to deal with along the way in mind, was truly mesmerizing and powerful. It felt like an amazing character moment for both women, even with there being virtually no dialogue! I’m not sure if this was foreshadowing some kind of team up, but either way Sansa and Littlefinger were watching from the second-story, looking either worried or suspicious. As Sansa walks away, Arya makes eye contact with Littlefinger and looks trepidatious as well. Maybe she’s shown TOO MUCH of her skillset. This was all just so good. Brienne and Arya are wonderful characters for many reasons. And yes this was the second time I cried!

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“Just leave me alone I’m tragic and I know it.”

We’re getting to the battle I promise. Back at Dragonstone Jon and Davos speak with Missandei about her journey and her homeland’s customs. Where she is from, there is no concept of a “bastard” because there is no marriage, making Jon’s whole hangup about being a bastard and The Seven Kingdom’s conception of it all seem real dumb. When Missandei says she was stolen from home by slavers, Jon says “Oh, I’m sorry,” feebly. She gives him a slightly annoyed look. It was funny. They also question her loyalty to Dany and ask if she is truly free. She insists that she is and believes that her Queen would liberate her if she asked to be. She also reiterates Dany’s resume. Fair enough. Then, a ship with Greyjoy sails pulls into shore, and Jon is reunited with his frenemy Theon Greyjoy. Jon is none too pleased to be seeing Theon again, and he makes that plain saying that if Theon had not protected Sansa, he would kill him. Ugh, poor Theon. He’s had it rough, just like everyone else. Theon says he’s there to ask the Queen to help get Yara back from his uncle’s captivity, but the Queen is gone! Which brings up to….

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“My name is Dickon and there is NOTHING funny about that, sir!”

THE LOOT TRAIN ATTACK. Jaimie, Bronn, and the Lannister army are on their way back to King’s Landing with all of the amenities they took from High Garden. They speak with a young Lannister soldier named Dickon and Bronn laughs really hard at his name and so do I. Dickon feigns pride in his first effort at battle, but after knowing looks from Jaimie and Bronn, he tells them he grew up with a lot of the men on the other side. They all mull over the ambiguities and overall sadness of war and then DANY AND HER DORTHRAKI HORDE AND HER DRAGONS MAKE THE MOST POORLY TIMED ENTRANCE EVER! UGH, if only they knew what these three were just talking about! So yeah, it’s pretty much war. Jaimie lines up his men, but they are all sh*tting their pants at the numbers and the overall strength of the Dorthraki headed their way. Bronn thinks they should flee, but Jaimie insists that they can hold them. Uh huh, K. Cue Dany flying in on Drogon ahead of a hazy, sepia-toned desert horizon line and these guys are pretty much screwed. Dany commands her signature, “Dracyrus!” and Drogon lays to waste everyone in his path. It’s brutal, turns the battleground into a kind of dustbowl of ashes and flame, and everyone is forced to battle in a blinding, manic haze.

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“Has anyone seen a dragon?”

I’m not even huge on war movies, but even I can admit the way Game of Thonres’ battle scenes are crafted is commendable. The choreography, the intensity of it all, and the pure vulnerability of physicality in the performances is undeniably immersing and just crazy to watch. Jaimie’s and Bronn’s flustered looks throughout are particularly striking; These two have seen a lot but they’ve never seen anything like this. So as Dany is flailing around in the sky with seemingly no qualms about her destruction, Bronn is tasked to shoot Drogon with the giant cross bow Cersei had made a couple episodes back. Bronn loads the device with an iron arrow and shoots, but he misses. And okay, I know Cersei is evil and everything, but the smallest part of me wanted Bronn to hit this d*mn dragon! The way the dragon is showcased in this battle is not quite as triumphant but more… SCARY and just plain domineering. Meanwhile, Jaimie is feeling disoriented by the destruction and carnage and Tyrion is watching in disbelief from a hilltop with some Dothraki. Knowing these two brothers were on opposite ends of the same battlefield GOT ME, and I could feel full fledged tears ready to spill again onto my leftover pizza.

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“It looks like a dragon but it could be a seagull or a bat!”

So Bronn loads up the cross bow again, and this time he has Dany’s attention. For some reason she heads straight towards the crossbow hoping to set it ablaze, and as Drogon opens his mouth to unleash his firey hell, Bron releases the arrow and it hits Drogon square in the shoulder! At first I thought he got him right in the throat and I immediately realized I did not want this dragon to die. He’s just too cool, y’know? Also Dany has come too far and I really want her to figure out this whole conquer and rule thing. So anyway, it’s a minor setback and as they reach the ground, Bronn takes cover while Drogon destroys that stupid cross bow. Like really, did we think that was going to kill a dragon? Way to show up to a flamethrower fight with a butter knife, Cersei.

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“This feels right.”

As Drogon settles to the ground, Dany dismounts to remove the arrow. Jaimie is just across the bay and he spots a spear of his own he can use to finish this all now. As Dany is tending to Drogon, Jaimie is on the move. It’s a crazy, desperate move, and Tyrion is watching it all go down, calling Jaimie a f*cking idiot. I am too sort of, but I’m mainly just feeling bad for everything that’s going down. Jaimie is almost there, spear mounted, and Dany turns looking worried. Drogon opens his mouth to really finish this and as the fire is ejected Jaimie is saved by Bronn (I think) as he throws themselves into the bay with the fire filling their void. Jaimie sinks into the abyss of the deep blue water as the screen fades to black and the credits role….

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“Very uncool!”

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“Save me when that battlefield is immaculate!”

What a cool, weird ending to an emotionally charged battle! I honestly loved it so much. Not really a cliff hanger (we know Jaimie’s alive), but just a plain somber ending to a series of people doing desperate things for the sake of things like power, love, and blind loyalty to rulership. This episode really doubled down on letting the relationships between these characters speak for themselves in prolonged, pained looks and through heart-stopping, beautifully crafted action. Turns out 60 previous episodes of us watching the loyalties between these people shift and their ever-changing locales really pays off in an episode like this. Game of Thrones is relevant, guys. It’s well-crafted, the special effects are amazing, and the acting is better than ever. It’s here for 9 more episodes and at this rate, it doesn’t have room to feed us filler. With stakes these high and more importantly, character interaction at an all time high, I think it’s safe to say we’re in for more emotionally satisfying and thrilling television. Okay, I’m gonna go get on my horse and help pick up those arrows now.

Misery is Worth A Re-Watch For Kathy Bates’ Facial Expressions Alone

Last night I watched Misery for the first time and boy was I glad that I did. Doubling down on hilarity and claustrophobic creepiness, Misery has all the makings as both a classic and as an off-kilter psychological horror. Not only is the movie scary, but it also brings to the forefront a campy hilarity encapsulated almost entirely in Kathy Bates’ then star-turning performance as the psychotic Annie Wilkes. That’s right, folks, get your screen grabs ready because Bates’ facial performance alone is entertainment value to the highest degree.

Probably commenting on the downsides of fan culture associated with pulpy content like romance novels and serialized television, Misery imagines the worst-case scenario that might materialize between a creator and an overbearing fan: being held hostage by them! From the second Bates’ character is revealed hovering over her favorite author, the weary Paul Sherwood played by James Caan as her latest victim, we know she’s not your run-of-the-mill, amiable small town farmer. No, this lady has psycho burned into the fabric of her being and in the blank stare of her eyes. At any second her folksy geniality could switch on a dime into enraged, insecure rambling about being wronged, and indeed this does occur several times throughout the movie! These are the moments I suggest relishing in, especially in one instance where Bates shouts the term “Cockadoodie” so loud you won’t know whether to laugh or be utterly terrified.

But that’s the brilliance of Misery. It embraces its campy qualities­—the dutch angles, the hardened lighting, the outrageous dialogue­­—all while keeping us creeped out rather than distracted by the absurdity of it all. Yes, Annie Wilkes is at times a hilarious character (anyone that goes from sweet and nurturing to outraged and shouting at the drop of a dime should be laughed at), but when we see what she is capable of (that hobbling scene!), we realize we would never ever ever even want to be in mixed company with this lady let alone locked alone in a room with her. And that’s when you get your poms-poms out and serve as James Caan’s personal cheerleader because every fiber of your being wants him to make a grand escape, or more importantly, somehow kill that crazy lady before she harms anyone else.

A movie with a setting this remote almost always is hinged by the performances of some great character actors, and Bates and Caan completely fulfill that role in every respect. Caan plays Sherwood with a modesty and sincerity that really speaks to enormity of his situation. Clearly a smart, creative person, he still chose to cash in on writing a romance franchise but is being held hostage what he deserves? Caan evokes this internal struggle subtly through his performance of confusion and desperation for survival. An honorable mention goes to both the late Richard Fransworth and Frances Sternhagen, who play the skeptical sheriff and his witty wife respectively. Every moment those two are on screen is electric and adds to the almost Fargo-esque levity of the movie.

So, when you’re rummaging through the streamable classics you have queued up, watch Misery whether it’s your first time or a revisit. Either way, Bates’ dubious grin will pull you in, surely solidifying her in your mind’s eye as one of the greats and by extension this movie as an undeniable classic.

Aftermath: Elián is an Engaging Doc and Vampire Cleanup Department is Supernatural, TV Fun

Quick question: is it possible to rent out like, a couple of seats in a movie theater monthly? You know, to like sleep on, clip my nails on, and eat tv dinners on? What I’m asking is, is it possible to live inside the State Theatre in Traverse City? I would prefer a balcony space, but I suppose I could manage living amongst the popcorn roaches and sticky Diet Coke remnants of the main theater floor. As long as the roaches aren’t f*cking me over when it comes to p-corn clean up, wrapper hoarding, or soda straw repurposing, there should be NO problems. Look, if I’m going to build a shelf made of straws I need as many as I can get, and I do not have time for greedy roaches.

Even if I don’t end up living in the State Theater, I would like to watch EVERY movie there from now on. Only containing one theater room, it’s big enough to hold at least the entirety of a traveling circus, and the screen and sound are so impressive. The screen even has these cool theatrical curtains that dramatically rise up as the screen itself widens and the projector gets to work lighting it up. Not to mention, there’s these super ethereal LED-lights installed into the ceiling, making it all just feel MAGICAL. It reminds me of when I watch TV during the holidays with two lil’ twinkling Xmas trees on both sides aka the best way to watch TV. Anyway, I’m no critic of theater construction or atmospherics, but it was just a genuinely cool place to see some great movies and I cannot wait to go back and bring everyone I know that loves movies.

So on Thursday, we ended up seeing two movies at around the same time we did the day before (9 pm and MIDNIGHT, because we are YOUNG and FREE and we don’t abide by bedtimes!!). This means that we had a lot of time to uhm, eat and drink all day? Okay, so I know I’m about to talk about the movies we saw and what I thought about them, but I wasn’t that drunky. If anything I was buzzed, promise! Plus literally the second the documentary Elian started (after a giggle fit about the never ending list of sponsors..SO MANY, so many transitions to the next page of sponsors, and the next one, and the next one, NEVER ENDING) we were in for a sobering experience. So yeah, Elian, which revisited the media blitz surrounding the Cuban boy that was found in the ocean on his way to Miami, was amazing and honestly, very relevant and utterly mind-boggling to think about when it comes to government factions and their petty agendas. The midnight movie we saw, Vampire Cleanup Department, which is an amazing title for any movie to have, was hilarious and surprisingly complex, although the characters (especially the female ones) could’ve used a little more fleshing out! So let’s. get. into it.

I’m not exactly a documentary stan, but damn if Elian didn’t make me want to watch every “important” documentary ever made. The editing, the interviews, and depiction of events surrounding this ownership battle over a 5 year old boy was immersing from the second it started. Plus, the doc is coated in moral shades of grey: when a movie has you weirdly sympathizing with people associated with Fidel Castro, you know it’s done a good job of blurring the lines between good and bad.

I think I was too busy playing with my Barney dolls and Batman toys to comprehend any of this when it was ACTUALLY going down in 1999 and 2000, but wow, watching the actual news coverage made me straight up hate the media. Like c’mon, you had to know having cameras on this little boy at all times when he was living with his uncle and cousins in Miami would have lasting psychological effects on him in some way. There are a lot of moments where Elian is shown meeting important political figures and going to events in his name and he looks lost, nervous, and disconnected to everything happening around him. Truly, America is not even the good guy in this one (shocking I know!), with our country using Elian as a puppet in the name of capitalism just as much as Cuba did in the name of communism.

Again, shades of grey basically everywhere here. One minute you’re looking at members of Elian’s family in Miami like they aren’t genuine, utilizing the media almost too perfectly, and the next you’re crying because all they truly want is to remain in the presence of this amazing boy, and I’ll get to Elian in a bit. Your heart also hurts for Elian’s father and abuelas who all live in Cuba, and are parading themselves throughout the media, pledging loyalty to Fidel Castro, when again they more than likely just want Elian back. One depiction of a phone call they have with Elian ending in a complete breakdown in emotion is enough to see what’s really at stake here: spending more valuable time with their loved one. Unfortunately, both sides of the family are forced to choose sides in an ideological war amongst political factions.

The documentary stays pretty impartial for the most part, but you can kind of tell that Castro is more than likely using Elian and his family for his own gain. Seeing Castro alone when he is meeting Elian for the first time since he arrived back to Cuba is chilling. That man was truly imposing and the fact that he was able to charm so many people despite his dictatorial agenda and human rights violations just makes him that much more scary. I would say it reminds me of someone currently in power in the United States now, but that guy is the exact opposite of charming. Either way, it’s hard to feel happy for Elian and his father because of their blind loyalty to Castro. It’s mostly just sad, and representative of good/smart people supporting problematic figures. Again, the relevancy, guys. See this doc. Some guy we talked to at The Little Fleet said this one will probably be on Netflix soon, and even though he said it in a snouty way like we were stupid for seeing something that we would have access to soon, I’m happy to utilize his b*tchy comment for good: It’s going to be on Netflix soon! Look out for it!

Moving on to our FINAL midnight movie: Vampire Cleanup Department. I literally thought this was a Chinese movie from the ’80s from both reading and looking at the screengrab they used for its preview in the pamphlet, but it turned out to be a new, original movie that was pretty charming! I would say that this one was going for a horror-comedy vibe, but it actually was more like a superhero origin story mixed with a lot of supernatural/horror elements. IN FACT, it reminded me of a little, amazing show on MTV called Teen Wolf which is now in it’s final season and available in it’s entirety on Amazon Prime. The oddly complicated mythology, the sitcom-like humor, and the focus on familial relationships is all of what this movie has going for it (AND TEEN WOLF!).

Some of the best and quirkiest material stems from the lead actor Babyjohn Choi who plays Tim Cheung. He’s an underdog orphan who lives with his outrageous grandmother (who is also maybe the best part of the movie? The fact that she was confidently rocking out-of-date Kanye West blinder glasses alone). After a run-in with a vampire that looks and acts more like a zombie but who cares, Tim is welcomed into the Vampire Cleanup Department, a secret government funded organization that rids Hong Kong of vampires and has the ability to reincarnate them as humans through some type of magic. I think? Again, it was honestly kind of complex! All the good stuff basically happens when the whole crew is together though; In a twist that anyone who hasn’t seen any type of superhero movie where the hero is an orphan would not see coming, we come to find out that Tim’s parents were a part of the Vampire Cleanup Department, and the remaining members are mostly relatives of his! Cue a badass training montage where, after being forced to sweep the department and scrub the floors, Tim is able to practice hand-to-hand combat based on the same body movements he used cleaning up. LOL. I really did like this movie’s cute, quirky sense of humor.

The only thing that WAS NOT cute about the movie though was it’s horribly written female characters. Tim’s love interest, a vampire from the 19th century who is reincarnated, is a typical example of the Born Sexy Yesterday trope, popular in many supernatural and sci-fi features. The trope basically involves an attractive looking female, reborn or incarnated through magical or scientific means, who is oblivious to the societal and behavioral expectations of the modern world, so the male lead has to teach her everything about the new world, all while flirting with her and admiring her beauty. It’s a weird, pretty sexist trope that I was sad to see a new movie revisit, but at least Lin-Men Chen, who plays the vampire love interest, now has some good physical comedy on her resume! Right? Sigh. But yeah, the other female character is apart of the Department and she organizes things or something. She spoke twice I think.

Beyond the movie’s faults though, the wackiness of the characters that DO get to speak is fun to watch, and the final battle with the main vampire baddie is pretty inventive and entertaining. Also, they have a car that they drive around a la Ghostbusters, but it’s not in the movie enough! I did like this movie and I’d watch it again. Probably the main take away is that it was like a very special episode of your fave supernatural TV show, extended by 30 minutes. Have you started watching Teen Wolf yet?

So, thank you for following me on this life-changing journey *record-scratch* just kidding my life is exactly the same, I just got to ESCAPE it and have the best time with one of my best friends for 3 days. So yeah, this is over now you’ll never have to read anything I write ever again *record scratch* JUST KIDDING AGAIN! I’M GONNA DO THIS ALL OF THE TIME NOW. MUAHAHAHA. It’s so fun and I love it so whenever I feel like writing about movies, tv, or stupid pop culture-y stuff it’s going DOWN right here! Let me know if I should recap that small, wildflower of a show, Game of Thrones that I heard just can’t seem to pull in the viewers. K, gonna go put a deposit down on those main floor seats with the roaches as neighbors, BYE!

 

 

Infinity Baby was Silly Fun and RAW is One of My New Favorite Horror Movies

What a start!

Yesterday we saw Infinity Baby at 9 pm, then pregamed some more in a lil’ booth at the reject bar U&I, only to make our way right across the street to the seriously amazing State Theatre to see RAW, a movie I’ll (we’ll) honestly never forget.

Infinity Baby was good. Soundtrack was amazing and maybe my favorite part of it? Ron Swanson was basically Ron Swanson again except he wasn’t disaffected when it came to running his company, that being the titular Infinity Baby enterprise. I kind of forgot some of the details when it comes to how the company was run (by the government? some private enterprise? Idk), but honestly all of that was not important and just served as a vehicle for giving us a look at the often whacky lives and personalities of the characters that were connected to Infinity Baby.

Overall, the humor was pretty solid and was probably the best thing the movie had going for it. The chemistry and banter between the creepy uncle from Grounded for Life and Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks, Silicon Valley) was really fun to watch. But probably the funniest person in this movie is Megan Mullally, who plays the “mom” of the main character, who is McCauley Culkin’s brother. Every time she’s on screen you’re just reminded that she’s funny in everything she’s ever done. What a pro.

Culkin’s character is some dude that has some major commitment issues and thinks he’s some kind of messiah when it comes to the inter-workings of men and women. Aka he was so annoying and hard to watch. But I guess that was the point? Anyway, he brings his girlfriends to meet his mom whenever he feels it’s time to break up with them, the idea being that if his mom doesn’t like them, he has no choice but to end things because he values her opinion too much. So yeah, this storyline was fine it just wasn’t as fun and electric as the one between Starr and creepy uncle from GFL. As salesmen of Infinity Baby, they end up raising one together and THE ANTICS, guys. So funny. It’s basically worth it just to see creepy uncle spray cleaner into Starr’s eyes for an extended period of time, blinding him, or to see Starr be a little sh*t (pun intended, you’ll see) and shove infinity baby feces in creepy uncle’s face. But yeah, by the end of the movie the beating heart pretty much lies with Starr’s character, who serves as some kind of moral compass throughout.

Again, the sci-fi elements aren’t that important. Just a tool to talk about stuff like societal expectations of men and women. Again, fine. Just wish they would’ve leaned in a bit more with the whackiness and cheekiness of it all. I like to laugh okay! Check out the soundtrack.

Okay, so Raw. Insane. I don’t wanna get too detailed because I’d like people to just see it, but I will say it was one of my favorite movies I’ve seen in a long time. Totally atmospheric from the first shot, it’s hard to look away even when the main character is eating uhm, raw meat and humans. Cute! Although the movie is shocking, it’s also self aware and funny, and really finds the humor in this college girl suddenly having an urge to eat her fellow students. I’ll mention one scene in which she’s dancing in front of the mirror, embracing her new instincts, listening to the most blasphemous “bad girl” rap song that is now my ringtone. Here’s a family friendly lyric: I don’t want you to 69 me, I want you to 666 me. I mean, the lyricism alone! Please watch this with all of your friends and add your own commentary Mystery Science Theater style, because it’s a perfect movie for that kind of thing. But also expect to be entranced by the relationships and the characters. It’s all just very good. I also really loved her gay roommate, played by Rabah Nait Oufella, who is confident but also so REAL. Good gay storylines are so hard to come by, and although this one almost slips into the familiar trope of “heterosexualizing” the gay character, it ultimately corrects course by the end in which he very clearly states he is gay and mentions the shame he used to feel about it. MY HEART.

One more thing: the score is also amazing and reminiscent of the synth horror glory days, a la John Carpenter and Wes Craven. Very similar to It Follows as well. SO GOOD.

So yeah, see RAW when it comes out to rent or if you can find a theater or festival to see it at I recommend you go. The audience reaction was so fun and hilarious, even when this one girl completely forgot where she was and asked Steve if he wanted to go out for a smoke. Like it was SO LOUD, I thought for a second it was maybe apart of the movie or performance art but it wouldn’t have made sense. Also thought we were all gonna get eaten by her in some meta-a** moment, like that Italian movie Demons where everyone dies in the theater by those stylish vampires. AHHHHHH!

What a fricking fracking fun start though. We haven’t set anything on fire yet or been scolded or worse, banned from the premises yet so that’s good. DAY 2 LET’S DO THIS!

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Me looking optimistically at the remaining 2 days. Awwwwww <3.

LET’S DO THIS. Traverse City Film Festival 2017.

So, this week I am deciding to crawl out of my cave made of bed sheet linens and On the Border tortilla chip crumbs to attend the annual Traverse City Film Festival! I’ve never been before but I am so excited to sit in some cozy lil’ theaters and watch some great movies. Not to mention, P SURE I’m going to be watching The Force Awakens on a giant screen OUTSIDE on the beach with a glass of rosé in hand. Please don’t be too jealous of this prospect: in Michigan it’s legally mandated that everyone has to do it at least once I don’t know why though.

I don’t really have an itinerary yet, which if you know me personally is not surprising at all, but I hope to see at least 5 movies over the next 2 and a half days. And yes of course these movies will be intermixed with some quality downtown time with my airBnB host because again for some reason it was a requirement in their listing? I don’t know where these rules keep coming from. Also, I have to write a novellette about our excursions in their guest book, weird right? (JK, I’m stayin’ with one of my great friends who lives there! WOO!). So, I’m just gonna leave some options here and if you’re feelin’ chatty feel free to let us know what we should see. It’s an overused, old-fashioned mantra at this point, but Drake did say You Only Live Once and I really want to make the most of this trip so PLEASE CMMNT whether it’s through the hacky post about this blog on my Facebook page or directly through the source here.

WEDNESDAY 

I’m rollin’ right into town Wednesday at around noon, thinking about getting two movies in before the end of the night, so here’s what’s playing that day:

LANDLINE directed by Gillian Robespierre (9 pm)

Landline - Still 1

This one looks promising! By the director of the super charming Obvious Child staring Jenny Slate and that guy that always plays the extremely earnest, yet sarcastic nice guy, this movie brings back Jenny Slate and pits her with Edie Falco and one of the Duplass brothers. Also it’s supposedly set in the now v nostalgic ’90s and seems to just concern 20-something life SO basically right up my alley!

PARIS CAN WAIT directed by Eleanor Coppola (3 pm)

Paris Can Wait

Oh sh*t. I may really need to see this. For one, it’s directed by Eleanor Coppola (married to Francis Ford Coppola, you may have heard of him) and it’s her debut feature. Secondly, it stars Alec Baldwin and Diane Lane as a struggling husband and wife as they live a bougie a** lifestyle in France while being members of the Hollywood elite. Okay, so parts of that seem insufferable but I can’t not see it, right?

INFINITY BABY directed by Bob Byington (9 pm)

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Oooooooo, this one’s a weird lil’ science fiction movie starring Nick Offerman aka forever Ron Swanson, sorry. It’s set in a near future where parents can purchase a real “infinity baby” in which it never cries and does not age past 3 months. Basically, heaven. But something tells me it doesn’t end up being that simple and that there’s room for some ripe satire on idk genetic modificaiton or something? Who knows and I probably won’t if if I end up seeing it. Sounds cool.

ICARUS directed by Bryan Fogel (6 pm)

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A documentary in which the director explores the effects of doping for competitive sports by doping up and competing himself aka it’s Super Size Me with a sporty flair! APPARENTLY this was a giant problem during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. COLOR ME SHOCKED.

QUEST directed by Jonathon Olshefski (12 pm)

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Another documentary, but this one seems really sweet and heartfelt. It’s about a black family over the years living in North Philadelphia and how they let artists of all ages record music in their basement studio. It just seems like a raw, honest series of vignettes with a real human element. Count me in, can’t wait to weep in the streets afterwards.

RAW directed by Julia Ducournau (9 pm)

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I heard this was insane. A new veterinary student and committed vegetarian eats raw meat in a desperate move to fit in with her peers who are hazing her. The experience unearths an animalistic urge and she turns into a cannibal. This sounds a lot like my freshman year of college.

THURSDAY

Okay Day 2. Some more great options. Hopefully I’ll have time to get a noodle bowl or something.

BRIGSBY BEAR directed by Dave McCary (Thurs 6pm)

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Starring Kyle Mooney from those iconic “oh yeah dude lesh shmoke” youtube vids and oh yeah, SNL, this one is about an imaginative man who revolves his life around a TV show called “Brigsby Bear Adventures” that apparently never existed. Forced to live in the real world and hopefully dressed in a bear suit the entire time, werid/dreamy/esoteric antics ensue. Looks like one of those quirk-indies that are usually always good in my opinion.

ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM directed by Reuban Atlas and Sam Pollard (12 Noon)

AcornandtheFireStorm

Damn, this sounds intense. It’s a documentary about the collapse of the political nonprofit group ACORN (who were heaviily involved in the election of Barack Obama), orchestrated by one of those demons that started Breibtbart news. I know nothing about this so it could be well worth the watch and super interesting. Ugh, POLITICS THO, Amirite? Over it.

ALPHAGO directed by Greg Kohs (9 pm)

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OH MY GOD, this is also a documentary but it sounds like the best sports drama ever. In this one, some giant London tech company pits an AI computer against a seasoned pro in the ancient chinese board game, Go. Definitely wouldn’t mind seeing this and then in a couple years again when it’s optioned as an intense-a** biopic.

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON directed by David France (9pm)

MarshaPJohnson

A vastly important figure to the LGBT community in New York and world-wide, the story of Marsha P. Johnson’s sudden death still reverberates today. This doc explores the people that knew her, and delves into what might have actually happened before she was found dead in a river, despite the police ruling it a suicide. This would be a tough one to watch but seriously important. Again, catch me weeping in the streets afterwards if I end up seeing it.

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO directed by Raoul Peck (9pm)

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Heard nothing but good things about this. James Baldwin was amazing.

FRIDAY

Okay, Friday’s got some okay ones. I’m so tired of writing these little previews and they’re kicking me out of this coffee house even though I said I would do a dance for them. They didn’t like it. I might not even go to this anymore. Just kidding, I’M GOING. Anyway, these are gonna be shorter!

DRONE directed by Jason Bourque

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Starring the man that always dies in everything, Sean Bean is a drone pilot working for the CIA who accidentally kills innocent middle eastern civilians and is faced to deal with the ramifications of what he’s done when a knowledgable Pakinstani man pays him a visit. I don’t know guys, I’m pretty against war do I need a movie to tell me that it’s all really f*cked up? Maybe!

AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL directed by Rodrigo Grande (9pm)

Attheendofthetunnel

A Spanish movie about a girl, mother, and cute dog who rent out a room in a widowed man’s house who’s desperate for some extra cash and finds his way into a group of thieves that is tunneling UNDER HIS HOUSE to pull off a heist at a nearby bank. Uhm, HUH!? That sounds crazy, but I love crazy movies. And thrillers. Will keep this in mind.

MANIFESTO directed by Julian Rosefeldt (9 am)

ManifestoMovie

It’s another Cate Blanchett magnum opus filled with her playing like 30 different character artists in one movie. WE GET IT YOU CAN ACT. No, just kidding, she’s probably so good in it. Also, who am I kidding. 9 am? I’m not seeing this!

THE WOMEN’S BALCONY directed by Emil Ben-Shimon (6 pm)

The Women's Balcony

A Hebrew film about a family in Jerusalem preparing for a giant Bat Mitzvah. Sounds so cute and good!

WHAT ABOUT BOB 

WhatAboutBOB

A classic Bill Murray dark comedy that I’ve never seen but will be watching on the beach with a giant bag of flaming hot cheetoes and a flask of whiskey. Cheers!

 

I might be writing a little bit more about the movies I see if I have time, but if not then definitely later down the line when I get back. If you’re asking why I’m doing this it’s because I don’t have an internship and have an inordinate amount of time on my hands. Also, I like it hehe.

Stay tuned!