Thursday, September 5, 2013

So I'm a Fangirl -- So What?

Les Miserables premiered on HBO last Saturday, and as I get virtually every premium channel thanks to my cable company screwing up my installation and my roommate complaining enough, I have watched it at least five times since then. I saw it in theaters, of course, but months after it came out, and I went before noon so I could get the matinee price at AMC. I cried, of course, but I cry at everything, so that's no big revelation. I enjoyed the cast's performance at the Oscars, and I listened to the soundtrack once or twice on Spotify. But I didn't buy it on DVD, nor do I own the soundtrack, and my sudden desire to completely devour this movie isn't necessarily because I'm a fan of the movie (though I do enjoy it) or musicals (though I am), but more so because all of a sudden I realized how awesome Aaron Tveit is. Which of course has led to repeated viewings of the movie (seriously, it'll come on one HBO and then the west coast version of that channel and I'll watch it again) and many listens of the soundtrack. Which led to tracking down the soundtracks to Next to Normal and Catch Me If You Can and watching multiple videos on YouTube of Aaron in Wicked and Hairspray and Rent. And his album comes out tomorrow. And I'll end up watching Graceland.

But I guess not everyone feels this way? I have friends who don't understand how I can read a book more than once, let alone 8000 times like Harry Potter. People question why I saw a movie multiple times in the theater, though granted I've done that for some questionable films. Even my family members roll their eyes when I start talking about things like how the Teen Wolf fandom exploded when Brittany Snow's birthday pictures got hacked and released without her permission.

I can tell that they think I'm weird, and they're wondering when I'm going to stop being a freak and start being normal.

This is what I do. Always. Whenever I "discover" something, whenever I become a fan of something, I can't just like it. I have to know everything about it. I know that casual fans exist -- people who can just watch a television show and don't become overly invested in the characters or the cast. I am not a casual fan. I never have been. And people may not understand why I get so into something, but I don't understand how you can NOT get into something.

If I'm a fan of an actor, odds are I've seen everything he or she has ever done, even the shitty movies. (Do you have any idea how many times I've seen Hall Pass simply for Tyler Hoechlin's 10+ minutes of screen time? Oh my god, have you SEEN Grizzly Rage?) I set up Google alerts so that any time they're mentioned anywhere I can find out about it. I know their birthday and their favorite color and if I find out they're going to be in NYC I try to figure out how I can "casually" bump into them even though to this date it has never worked.

I go through phases. I'll refer to a movie and go, "That was during my Josh Hartnett phase," which is why I saw The Faculty a ridiculous amount of times or actually got Pearl Harbor on DVD (even though I've yet to actually watch the DVD).

If I'm a fan of a television show, odds are I've seen every episode multiple times. I could probably quote entire seasons to you if given enough time. I own it on DVD and have it on my computer so that I can easily make graphics. I probably own a few t-shirts devoted to it, much like the Weeping Angels shirt I am currently sporting. I spend more time discussing the lives of the characters than I do people I actually know. I will get into passionate arguments as to why Merlin and Arthur were totally in love. I have written fanfiction and made shipper videos.

Thanks to the internet (particularly Livejournal and Tumblr), I know that I'm not alone. We're called fangirls, and people tend to look down on us and dismiss the entire group as hyperactive, overemotional teenagers, even though a lot of us are none of those things. Because there are some people who do creepy things, like actually stalk the actors instead of just joking about it, or Tweet them weird things, or hack their photo accounts and post their personal pictures without permission. They bully other fans for various reasons and they generally act like huge shits, and so "fangirl" has a negative connotation.

Being a fangirl (or fanboy) isn't a bad thing, but people act like it is. I don't get it. People who tell others "it's just a TV show" usually have something they're super into that they probably wouldn't appreciate other people dismissing. What's so wrong with liking things? So I like to talk about a relationship that probably won't happen between people who don't really exist instead of politics. It doesn't mean I don't know about politics. I just don't want to talk about it.

People tend to think that those of us who fangirl and devote our time and attention to fake relationships and fake people aren't intelligent. Anyone who thinks that hasn't been talking to the right people or read any decent meta. Or maybe they have spoken to these people, and written off their analyses as something that isn't important. And perhaps a treatise as to why it's obvious that Derek and Stiles interacted over Teen Wolf's four-month time jump isn't as important as, say, the current political situation in Syria. But I don't understand why people having interests, and wanting to discuss those interests with others who have the same interests, is such a bad thing. Who cares if it's a television show?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: The Internship

If you follow me at all on social media (and you should, I'm hilarious), you'll know that I have been ridiculously excited about the new Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson collaboration, The Internship. The primary reason for my excitement is Dylan O'Brien (Stuart), because I am a huge Teen Wolf fan, and Dylan is going to have an amazing career. I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of this film, to be able to see Dylan on the big screen for the first time First Time.

Yesterday I managed to score tickets to an advance screening of the film in honor of New York City's Internet Week, something I hadn't even heard of until I showed up at the theater and people were wearing badges. Josh Brener (Lyle) introduce the movie, which was pretty damn cool, as Lyle ended up being one of my favorite characters. (He didn't stick around after, so I couldn't congratulate him on his performance. Bummer.)

I'm going to be honest, my expectations for this movie weren't that high. I was going to see it regardless, because of Dylan. I don't know why I wasn't expecting much, because I really liked Wedding Crashers, which is the last movie Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn did together. I was very pleasantly surprised, because it was much better than I thought it would be. You know how a lot of times, with comedies, they use the best jokes in the trailer, and then the rest of the movie is just kind of lame, because you already saw the best jokes in the trailer? This is not the case with The Internship. I actually think they used the dumbest jokes in the trailer. (For example, Lyle going for a fist bump and requesting the Vince and Owen "fist him".) There were a lot of smarter jokes, though -- internet and fandom and nerd jokes and references that, as a nerd, I really appreciated. (I think I was the only person in the audience who reacted to the Game of Thrones reference.)

There's even an entire scene focused on Quidditch. I don't think you understand how much I freaked out when I learned that they play Quidditch in the movie. My friends have a Quidditch team, I sometimes play pickup Quidditch with them, and when "regular" people find out they give me a look like I'm nuts. So I was eager to see it portrayed on the big screen. Also, Dylan O'Brien playing Quidditch is the sexiest fucking thing I have ever seen. Ever. I have some nitpicks about the actual play (no one had any set positions, and they didn't have enough for a full team) but overall they portrayed it fairly accurately. Also, IT'S QUIDDITCH. IN A BIG STUDIO MOVIE.

The supporting cast did an amazing job. They were appropriately multi-ethnic and just weird enough that you can see why they were the "leftovers" when the interns were asked to divide into groups. Lyle tries to be cool but falls drastically short. Homeschooled Yo-Yo (Tobit Raphael) has a tendency to pluck his eyebrows as punishment for failure. Neha (Tiya Sircar) is full of false bravado and a dirty imagination. Stuart puts on an "I'm too cool for everything" act and cloaks his insecurities in sarcasm. But Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) inspire them to come together as a team to complete the required challenges that are part of the internship program.

Billy and Nick's main obstacle is overcoming the generational gap between them and their twenty-something teammates. That's the hook of the movie, after all -- two relics from a bygone era are forced to fight for jobs in a world that they know absolutely nothing about. They're allowed to enter the internship program because of their life and career experience, but once in they actually have to keep up. That's the real challenge they face. It's a great message, that you can teach old dogs new tricks.

However, it isn't enough that they have to deal with their own shortcomings, so the film gives you a physical antagonist in the form of Graham (Max Minghella), a stuck-up douche with little to no redeeming qualities, who makes it his mission to taunt and destroy Billy and Nick's rag-tag team despite the fact that none of them ever did anything to him. It's not just that he's out to win one of the coveted jobs (the winning team of interns are offered jobs at the end of the program), because he doesn't seem to give a crap about the other teams.

There is a love story, which thankfully takes a backseat. As I said, the film is about Billy and Nick and how they reintegrate themselves into a society and culture that makes no sense to them, so the relationship between Wilson and Rose Byrne (whose character's name I can't remember, and try finding a cohesive character list for this movie, yeesh) is secondary. There is a really great scene where they have their one and only date, which he got by convincing her that she could get a decade's worth of bad decisions over with in one night. She's upset when he's actually charming, because he's supposed to be a jerk -- so then he starts being a (very convincing) jerk to make up for it.

The Internship is a good movie. It's a feel-good movie that teaches people that hard work and dedication can pay off if you stick with it, but also plays up the importance of connecting with people and working as a team. It was really funny, more so than it may seem in the trailer (and I just rewatched the trailer and there are a lot of scenes in it that aren't in the film, like the ping-pong match and the Rubik's Cube competition, what's up with that?), and I think a lot of you are going to enjoy it. If you're a fan of Dylan O'Brien you're going to REALLY enjoy it, because he was fantastic.

On a personal note, I may be in a commercial for the movie. You know how sometimes they have commercials where they show audience reactions? They interviewed us afterwards for one of those. I'm pretty excited about the prospect.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

If anyone ever tells you that spending too much time on Twitter is a bad thing, remember this: thanks to Twitter, I got to see Star Trek: Into Darkness ten days early. And it was GLORIOUS. I won tickets in a contest over Twitter and attended a private industry screening on Tuesday. I'm telling you this in hopes you'll forget my six-month absence from this blog. How did I do?

I will do my best to be spoiler-free in this review, but I don't know how well I'll stick to it, so this is your warning that there may be spoilers so you may want to proceed with caution.

Here's the thing: I love Star Trek. I do. And there are probably tons of little things about Into Darkness that I could rag on for this or that reason but the fact is that it was epic and awesome and even though I had to pee throughout virtually the entire movie, I didn't realize it. This movie made me forget that I had to pee. Glowing praise right there. It's about two hours and fifteen minutes, but it didn't feel like it at all.

I saw it in IMAX 3D. I am not a fan of 3D in general and ordinarily I would not choose to see it in that format, but this was a free screening so I wasn't going to complain. It is not necessary to see this movie in 3D. Other than a few sight gags at the beginning (I did actually flinch as an arrow fired at McCoy seemed to fly right at my face), the 3D didn't really add to the movie at all. If you want to see it in 3D, if you love 3D, then of course do what you want, but my recommendation is that if you don't really care, save your money and see the regular version. It's not going to be any less awesome.

This is the second Star Trek reboot movie, and as such, there were echoes of the original second Star Trek movie, Wrath of Khan. There's a scene in one of the trailers that sent people into fits because of the throwback -- if you've seen Wrath of Khan, you know which scene I'm talking about (there are hands involved). Yes, it's just as incredible as you hoped it would be, and yes, you should definitely bring tissues. There's also another, bigger one. I won't ruin it for those who don't know, but if you do know what I'm talking about, what I'm talking about. (Who you thought he was? He is.)

Some of you probably want to know about Benedict Cumberbatch. In a word: chilling. There's a scene near the end where he does this thing, and it seriously freaked me out. He's so cold and calculating when he speaks, and then he fights, and you need to get the hell away from him or die. Just ask the Klingons. (Yes, there are Klingons! Yes, Uhura speaks to them in Klingon, and she's not generally my cup of tea, but Zoe Saldana speaking in Klingon is sexy as hell.)

A lot of the focus in the movie is on the big three: Kirk, Spock, and that guy played by Benedict. They get much of the action, although the opening sequence throws in some McCoy -- and he and new crew member Carole Marcus get a scene that's pretty dramatic -- and Scotty gets some great lines (if you've seen the preview clip where he calls Kirk Captain Perfect Hair), as well as Uhura's awesome Klingon-speak.

There is plenty of action and drama and suspense and humor, and since it's a JJ Abrams movie there are lens flares for all. There will be laughs and tears and gasps galore. Is this movie going to win awards? Probably not, except maybe an MTV Movie Award. Is this movie going to entertain the crap out of you? Yes. Yes, it is. You should all be prepared to have your socks sufficiently rocked.