Open Thread: Snow Day


Picture taken yesterday morning on my sister's farm.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  This is currently the only one:
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Blood Rayne 2

Blood Rayne 2

This evening's terrible Amazon Prime movie is dedicated to the Twitter person who yelled at me for doing these. Last night's BLOODRAYNE was pretty bad, but there's a 2 and a 3 and I'm a completionist PLUS sometimes sequels are better than the first shitty movie. We call this "Dungeons&Dragons sequel syndrome". The entire description is...the shortest description we've done so far. "Blood Rayne is back! This time, the sexy heroine battles a gang of merciless vampire cowboys led by Billy the Kid."

That sounds kinda awful, but on the other hand I liked PRIEST (2011) and that was basically the same thing but with Paul Bettany. Paul is doing god's work by keeping me bi, though, so he can carry a pretty weak premise. We're opening with theme music that makes me want to bust out HE RODE A BLAZING SADDLE!!!! I never played these games; are the movies anything like the game plot?

Film Corner: Blood Rayne

Blood Rayne

Ok, we're on a zombie roll so let's try ATTACK OF THE SOUTHERN FRIED ZOMBIES. "Lonnie, a crop duster pilot, must lead a mismatched group of survivors to escape the deadly zombie horde after an experimental chemical intended to control the invasive kudzu vine--" Oh no. Why wouldn't you test it first if you're going to SPRAY IT OUT OF AIRPLANES. Ok, it's a test field and not downtown Charleston, but there's kids in the field drinking illicit beers. Zombism ensues.

The duster pilot is telling the scientists that southerners LOVE kudzu and "we even cook with it". I-- Like, I'm sure kudzu is edible but please be careful where you pick because anything, like, growing ROADSIDE isn't great for you, I'm pretty sure. They're cooking goats who eat the kudzu and feeding people at a festival, so I'm assuming that'll be a disease vector. There's some kind of weird jingoism where the scientists are a Japanese woman and a German man, and they don't understand the rich cultural ways of The Great American Sith.* (*autocorrect, and it stays.)

Two girls are kissing! Downside: all the men are sexualizing them and I'm pretty sure one of them is the sister of one of the infected boys which means she won't make it past the 30 minute mark. ....we are twenty minutes into this movie and I'm about to bail from sheer boredom. The big drama so far has been over competing meat pie booths. THEY'RE STILL GOING ON ABOUT PIES, WE'RE HAVING A FIVE MINUTE CONVERSATION ABOUT PIES. I'M OUT. Why would anyone make a zombie movie and then fill it with fair grounds bickering over meat pie ingredients.

Ok, maybe the problem was choosing a ZOMBIE movie. Let's try vampires. Oh hey BLOODRAYNE is on Amazon Prime. That was a video game, right? I love video game movies. The description says she's "part human, part vampire, and all woman." That's...not a good sign. [TW] Oh, and apparently her vampire sire raped her mother. I guess we're getting the sexual violence out of the way in the description. Huh, 5 replies already on my "hey BLOODRAYNE is on Amazon" tweet. That's either y'all telling me it's awesome or y'all trying to save me. NO TIME TO CHECK BEFORE PRESSING PLAY.

Oh no uwe boll. Like. I know...maybe three directors.

We're opening with Pretentious Medieval Art that supposedly proves vampires are totally real. I never know if these are fake. MEAT LOAF IS IN THIS FILM??? WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SATURDAY NIIIIGHT. We're in generic Ye Olden Times.

Michelle Rodriguez is here I don't- Why.

Michael Madsen is here, I'm-

These are actual actors; I was led to believe actual actors knew about Uwe Boll by now. Uwe's name has been on screen four times now, you can't say we aren't warned. A bartender is giving them a lead on a carnival fortune teller; they're skeptical. A man walks up and asks for absinthe. A nearby mirror reveals he's a vampire, but honestly he ASKED FOR ABSINTHE. That's practically vampire movie shorthand for evil.

Why is there a fucking mirror on the bar, this is Ye Olden Times, that thing is expensive and drunks would break it. Is it just there for vampires. One of the hunters INSTANTLY stakes the guy; he crumbles into an ancient corpse and NOBODY IN THIS INCREDIBLY CROWDED BAR seems bothered. The bartender makes a quip. Ok!! Apparently this is normal!! I guess Rayne is already a vampire. She's a captive at the carnival. Water burns her skin, but drinking blood heals her. How can she have sewer levels if water burns her? All video games have sewer levels.

There's a young woman Rayne's age at the carnival and she's got an escape plan and I think they're in love. Oooh, right, she's a dhampir, not a vampire. The local Castle O' Vampires is upset about her being public (albeit against her will). [TW] A man tries to rape Rayne and she escapes the carnival, honestly movie, really? Jesus. I think he was a Black man, too, but I'm not sure because everything about this scene is super murky on my not-very-good tv, so don't quote me?? She's got, like, this Adrenaline Vision where everything is blurry and it's supposed to be artsy but it just makes everything hard to make out.

Oh, the hunters want to recruit her for help against the vampires. They arrive Too Late. Oh fuck, Rayne bit her girlfriend. The hunters kill the girlfriend, because honestly this movie. Hang on, the cats are fighting. Ok. Chip is just very frisky and Cookie is NOT, so there's friction. I wore them all out with the rainbow ribbon. Michelle's dad is a viscount and apparently part of the Hunter society, but he seems to have vampire marks on his neck that are accompanied by ominous music. You'd think you'd bite your mole in the thigh or something, but I guess No Homo rules trump subtlety.

On the road, vampires jump a family and Rayne jumps the vampires. Everyone knows what these things are!! They're so chill about using the word and everything! Is this alternate history? I'm not complaining, I just. Rayne has sensually sucked on TWO vampire ladies now so I am forced to call this a recurring theme. A fortune teller informs her where the plot is and the macguffin she needs to fetch. .....how are we only 20 minutes into this movie, it feels like hours.

The vampires appear to be moving in sunlight which, I mean, I know Dracula and everything, but it still seems vaguely wrong for the genre. Boy, Rayne just found the monastery "in the South" with no trouble whatsoever, huh. Her blood hunger really seems to come and go as the plot demands. Haha, nice, she found a puzzle room. Why...is the booby trap water? Does water burn ALL vampires? How do they...how...rain?? Oh my god, the Macguffin made water not burn her? I'm-

THE VAMPIRES WANT THE MAGIC AMULET OF WATER-NO-BURN. I CANNOT. I realize it's a creative replacement for sunlight, but water is in everything, it's most of what BLOOD is, this is just ridiculous. Well, now they're saying that sunlight does destroy them, so please kindly explain earlier. Lord God, how would vampires exist at all if sunlight AND water destroys them, like, I can't think of anything MORE ill-suited to life on this planet. Does oxygen give them a rash? That's the only way to make them even weaker than this.

OH, ok, the army from earlier was human thralls. Gee, movie, thanks for clearing that up now. This poor actress looks so uncomfortable with these ridiculous blades they have her using. Earlier in the movie: one tiny little drop of blood made Rayne go into a drugged rage. Now: hundreds dead from gushing sword wounds, she's fine. Rayne has been turned into the sexy sack of potatoes, which is unexpected when she's supposed to be the PLAYER CHARACTER AND PROTAGONIST.

Michelle appears to be picking up the protagonist mantle. Has there ever been a vampire--not a dhampir or daywalker or anything, just a REGULAR vampire--who hunted other vampires because it turns out that being turned doesn't brain wash you? SUNLIGHT burns her? But she was being hauled around in a carnival wagon with bars for walls????? PUTTING A VAMPIRE IN A BOAT KILLS THEM?? HOW DO THEY EXIST AT ALL.

The hunters decide to keep Rayne as a pet. Which is good because she NEEDS training. You'd think they'd give her clothes that aren't what her carnival captors dressed her in, but of course they have to match her video game look. Oh gosh, they seriously are offering her clothes. Hunter Boy tells her she hasn't got a lock on angst around here. This act of negging is apparently enough to spur her to jump him for sex and we get the contractually obligated tiddles.

Oh. Michelle knows her dad is a vampire. I just assumed that was some kind of reveal we were being set up for. I'm. She. Her dad, THE VAMPIRE, knows where the SECRET VAMPIRE HUNTER society is, and this is only just now become relevant????????? I gotta go get something to drink heavily. WHAT IS THE POINT OF TURNING A VAMPIRE HUNTER IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO DEMAND ALL THEIR SECRETS.

Maybe the Big Bad didn't KNOW he was a vampire hunter? Maybe the guy had morals and didn't rat them out? WHO KNOWS, YOU GET TO MAKE UP YOUR OWN STORY AS THE VIEWER!! They're buying holy water, but I don't honestly understand why. Oh gosh the GUY WE ALL KNOW IS A VAMPIRE and we all know HE KNOWS THE LOCATION OF THIS PLACE attacked unexpectedly and our water did nothing against the human army WE KNOW THEY HAVE and which we know WAS LOOKING FOR US.

"How did they find us?" YOU KNOW HE USED TO WORK HERE!!! AND HE'S A VAMPIRE NOW!!! TAKE A BLOODY GUESS!!! My god, they're trying to set Michelle up to blame for this but it's NOT HER FAULT. Rayne, having spent her entire life burned by the merest touch of water, can now SWIM LIKE A FISH AND HOLD HER BREATH LIKE MICHAEL PHELPS.

Michelle is dead. God, the writing is just so bad.

You gotta love a big fight scene where the protagonist is SHACKLED for most of it. Men don't get treated this way in movies, I swear to god. I do love that she unexpectedly brought them the last relic in a little box and absolutely nobody opened it to check. Oh, and they lied to the audience by giving it the heartbeat sound effect as though it were in the box. Mentor is dead. He lasted longer than most mentors.

She straight up would've died without Love Interest. Twice.

With everyone dead, Rayne sits in the throne which ties in nicely with previous scenes in which uhhhhh she....wanted....to be royalty?? Yeah, no, I got nothing.

Film Corner: Daylight's End

Daylight's End

Depression sucks and so do I but maybe a movie will help. This is called DAYLIGHT'S END and I assume it's going to be about vampires. My autocorrect wanted to turn that into babies, which is honestly more scary. Has anyone done a hoard of zombie toddlers. "Years after a mysterious plague has devastated the planet and turned most of humanity into blood-hungry creatures, a rogue drifter on a vengeful hunt stumbles across a band of survivors in a police station."

That sounds fine, but it won't live up to the idea of an army of toddler vampires. Think of the natural advantage they'd have!! No one would be able to hurt them just because human psychology is a real bitch about babies, and they'd be able to fit into any hiding space. Oh wow, someone actually put some thought into the premise. The car windows are all covered with fencing and the car handle is plated over for safety.

Open Thread: Winter Floof


Unfortunately it was a wet day, so Elliot's floofiness isn't as visible as ideal when one is naming the open thread after that floofiness.  None the less, that is a picture of a pony floofed up for winter.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  This is currently the only one:
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

-

Friday Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us here, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Ariel Redux

Ariel is absolutely the most important Disney Princess to me, and absolutely no one needs her to be white in order to identify with her story. The live-action casting decision is excellent. The Disney Princess decision you ought to be mad about is giving Belle to an actress who couldn't sing Belle's range.

IF* white Danes feel they are lacking in representation, I am reliably informed by 90% of cis people that you can just make your own movie if you don't feel like mainstream media has you covered. (*"IF", I said.)

Anyway, none of the Disney princesses NEED to be white. Their stories don't hinge on them being white in the same way that being, for example, Black is a literal plot point for Tiana. (It's why they try to refuse to sell her the building for her restaurant!!) We've spent so long using whiteness as a default for any character who didn't *need* to be non-white and that should be changed. This is a good step.

We've reached the point of the discussion where people who don't remember the movie tell me that TLM is antifeminist so: ARIEL IS A SCIENTIST WHO FLEES AN ABUSIVE FAMILY TO LIVE OUT HER DREAMS. SHE GIVES UP THE THING HER FATHER VALUED HER FOR IN ORDER TO BE HER OWN PERSON. And, yes, a boy is also there. Women don't become antifeminist for liking boys, sorry. Eric is an ally.

P.S. The weird insistence that life without a voice is a joyless nightmare is ableist as fuck. Stop it, and go learn sign language. It's a good thing to know, period.‏

The really interesting thing to me about The Little Mermaid discourse is that no one thinks it's weird for Cinderella and Rapunzel to leave their abusive mothers. Yet people completely forget Triton is abusive. I think it's a combination of misogyny and toxic masculinity: a father who violently "protects" his daughter's sexuality--even to the point of terrifying her and destroying her possessions--is normalized and even lionized in our culture.

I think, too, there's the problem that most of us want to be mermaids so we think Ariel left paradise. If she were a human leaving a human family to be a mermaid and wed a merman/maid, we'd be fully supportive. There's also a tremendous amount of ableism: that giving up a voice to be free is worse than death. Yet very few people think Rapunzel trading her hair and magic to be free was a bad trade. FREEDOM IS IMPORTANT.

I grew up in a household where my dad was the scary angry one when punishments were being handed out. I completely understood why Ariel was leaving. Eric isn't incidental, of course, but he's an anchor to hold onto: she wants to be human and he's a safe human who can help. There's also some bioessentialism: Cinderella and Rapunzel are being abused by non-bio-parents**. Triton, the redeemable abusive parent, is biologically related to Ariel. There's a strong implication that this is WHY he's "redeemable" at the end. We value bio parents most. (**I hesitate to call Gothel a parent because she's Rapunzel's kidnapper and captor, but for purposes of this discussion I believe it's worth analogizing to Triton.)

It's also worth noting that URSULA is the one that places and keeps the focus on Eric, because she thinks he's an Impossible Goal that Ariel won't be able to attain. I don't agree that Ariel left the sea "for a man", but even if she did that would really just make her...a mermaid Cinderella. The deal for her voice isn't fair. It's not *supposed* to be fair. Ursula is a villain, even though people seem to forget that, too. She's trying to set Ariel up to lose a bet. Ariel agrees because the alternative is an abusive situation she can't remain in. She can't run. Triton rules all the seas. Her only escape is land--and Ursula knows that. She's the devil, offering a bargain that seems too good to be true and which she intends to be impossible to win.

The reading of TLM where Ariel is a silly girl who gives up her voice on a whim for a boy is one that erases Triton's abuse, Ursula's scheming, and Ariel's agency as she attempts to wrest her freedom from her father and from his political enemies (Ursula).

@JanetteKirchner. My dad never destroyed my stuff (until I moved out) but the rage and the shouting *cringes* If memory serves, Triton was also patronizing "oh, her new found interest will pass in a week because teen girl" Which was used on me a lot.

Yeah, the bit where Triton is *thrilled* Ariel is in love until he realizes it's a human was VERY FAMILIAR to me as a queer girl being raised in a Christian cult who was only allowed to date male members of same. Yes, it would've been more subversive if Eric were Erin, and the queer subtext of their forbidden love had been textual. Sure. I'd LOVE to see that in the reboot. But the idea that girls dating boys is inherently not queer feels kinda bi-erasurey. And there's a whole conversation to be had about how everyone assumes a m/f pairing is straight, but I'm tired.