Too excited about Fury Road to write a proper review

My twitter feed, facebook, and all of the websites I love have been exploding over their love of Mad Max: Fury Road since it came out 2 weeks ago. Last night I finally got a chance to see it and guys… you were all right. So very, very right. This is an amazing movie. I want more of this, and more like this.

I don’t always love action movies. I get tired of the blood and fire and death and rape that fill up the screen. I hate when things are shown just for shock value. Fury Road still had plenty of gore, but it didn’t feel as awful or shocking as other movies. The action scenes were so deliberate, almost like a ballet. And most excitingly, the action scenes were full of kickass women.

There are so many things to love about this movie. The wide variety of amazing women, the visual spectacle, the crazy guy with the guitar, the worldbuilding. I love the woman who plants seeds, both plant seeds and anti-seeds, or bullets. I love that they never once point out Furiosa’s missing arm. It’s simply a part of who she is, and it never prevents her from driving her truck, defending herself or her friends. I love that Max never takes over or tries to lead the group. This is her story, he’s just helping.

There’s so much here to talk about, and I’m so excited about it. This is what I want from movies I watch and stories I read. Read some of the articles below for more eloquent discussion of how fantastic this movie is, and why you should see it a million times.

Sleeps with Monsters: http://www.tor.com/2015/05/26/sleeps-with-monsters-mad-max-fury-road/

Kameron Hurley: http://www.kameronhurley.com/wives-warlords-and-refugees-the-people-economy-of-mad-max/

Vanity Fair: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/05/mad-max-fury-road-eve-ensler-feminist-triumph

Slash Film: http://www.slashfilm.com/mad-max-masculinity/

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My Offbeat Home post about swordfighting is online now!

I have a post up at Offbeat Home today! I was a little nervous about sharing my body issue images with the world, but so far everyone who has read it and commented has been incredibly positive. Check out the link below!

http://offbeathome.com/2015/05/sword-fighting

Here’s a bonus me-and-a-sword picture just for you readers here! Funny story, I’m not a huge fan of pink, but pink was the only color available for gloves and shoes in my size. The color is growing on me though. I love the juxtaposition between my stereotypically girly pink accessories and my stereotypically manly sword fighting.

bonusswords

Conversations about Game of Thrones, and Why I’m Continuing to Watch

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Why oh why, Game of Thrones? We put up with your violence, we put up with you killing and torturing characters we love. We put up with a lot from you. Why couldn’t you just try a little harder to be more worthy of our attention, our love, and our money? Why did you do it?

There are been a lot of reviews, podcasts, tweets and other conversations about what happened this week in S5E06, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. Some people and websites are even choosing this as their time to step away from the conversation. While I respect that choice and think that it’s a good way to protest against the lazy storytelling and sexual violence in the show, I’m going to keep watching. For me, a lot of the fun I get out of GoT is the conversation surrounding the show and the books. I listen to podcasts, read reviews, and talk about it with my friends and family members. Week to week I am enriched by the fan community around the show. Even when Especially when I don’t agree with choices the show makes, I can take comfort in the thoughts and opinions of others. They can often put it in a larger context and help me understand it in terms of the whole show, our current society, and history.

I think that conversations is vital with a show like Game of Thrones. This is a show that puts on displays of extreme violence, sexual violence, and emotional violence. It isn’t always a fun show to watch. Often, it’s upsetting. Sometimes I think the show goes too far, not because I’m morally against depictions of violence, but because I feel that if you’re going to show it, it needs to move the story forward. If you’re going to put something terrible on screen for entertainment, it needs to serve a storytelling purpose. I don’t think this week’s episode did that, and that’s why I’m disappointed. This was a choice they made, completely separate from the book. They decided to add the rape of a young girl into a story that didn’t need it. As other people have already discussed, Sansa already has reasons to want revenge. We already know Ramsey is the worst person in Westeros. Theon also knows both these things. Maybe they’ll surprise us all and this will have turned out to matter, but I can’t think of a way the show could go that they couldn’t have done without this scene.

I hope we’re coming to a tipping point with displays of sexual violence in entertainment. I hope that someday soon this will be rare. I think we’re getting there, and I think that talking about it and writing about it is an important step towards getting there. We want better stories, and there are two ways we can get them. We can write them ourselves, and we can ask for more from creators of our entertainment.

Sidenote: What is with all of the people saying this was “how it was back then” as if that is some defense? First, this is a  fantasy television show from the imagination of G R R Martin, not history. Second, as the folks over at Storywonk  like to say, reality is no defense for fiction. Unless you are writing a non-fiction account of a historical event, you can always change things, make them more interesting and better.

I love Game of Thrones. I’ve loved the books for years, and I’ve spent many, many hours watching and thinking about the show. I think it’s a magnificent piece of fantasy entertainment, and I’m so happy that it’s on television with such a big budget and wide audience. But for all of that, I also think it is deeply flawed. The book has plenty of problems, but the show seems to be creating new problems. Be better, Game of Thrones. Find new ways to surprise and shock us that don’t involve sexual violence. Give us more rich, interesting characters of both genders. Give us more POC, and more LGBT representation.  Prove to us that you’re worth all of this time and money. Many people think the books changed the landscape of fantasy fiction, and I’d like to see the show do the same.

Jumbled thoughts on graduating during the recession, rejection, and moving forward.

Sometimes things suck, but the way forward is together, that’s the message of this short comic by Jackie Roche. As someone who also graduated in the middle of the great recession, this comic hit closer to home than I’d like to admit. I finished my MLIS almost 5 years ago when I was 22. In a month I’ll turn 27, and I will still not have found a full time job in my field. Since graduating, my career has had its ups and downs. I’ve worked minimum wage jobs that had nothing to do with libraries, and I’ve gotten close to the dream by working part time at a public library reference desk.

Sometimes when I think about my career, I feel sad. I didn’t think it would be like this. When I graduated I expected I would spend a few months working as a library assistant, then I would find a “real” job as a reference librarian. The months went by, I had interview after interview, but nothing was a “good fit.”

Knowing how many people out there are in my situation makes me feel lucky. Thanks to the support of my parents and my fiance, I’ve been able to mostly work part time jobs related to my field. Currently, I’m unemployed. I split my time between volunteering at a local historical society, writing, and housewifing. As much as I sometimes feel bitter towards the economy, I can’t let it drag me down. I try to focus on the opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to get. I keep putting myself out there with applications, volunteering, and sending out my stories. Most days, I get a rejection email for one thing or another.

On bad days I feel like a failure. On good days, I know that my career doesn’t have to be a straight line. It’s okay to zig zag, and it’s okay to get rejected. In a month I’ll turn 27, and at least for today, I’m hopeful.

The Best Movie I Almost Didn’t Watch

Last night I was feeling down on myself and I wanted to watch something on Netflix. After a few tries, I settled on Tracks starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver. I figured if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get me out of my own head, it’s watching someone overcome hardship and “defeat” nature. I expected it to be  a cheesy docudrama style movie that would lure me into dreams about Australia and adventures. I expected to half pay attention and turn it off halfway through.

I did not fall asleep. This movie grabbed my entire attention, and for 2 hours I was completely enthralled. I cried multiple times, and not just during the sad scenes. Tracks is a beautifully shot movie. I’ve never spent much time thinking about or learning about the Australian desert, so I’m certainly no expert, but this movie brought the outback to life for me.

Tracks is based on the book by the same name by Robyn Davidson. Davidson was the first woman to cross the Australian desert alone on foot, with only four camels and a dog. For most of the journey, Davidson was alone. She met up with the National Geographic photographer a few times to do photos, she spent some time walking through sacred lands with an Aboriginal elder, and there’s a lovely scene where she spends a night with an elderly couple in the middle of nowhere, but for most of the movie Robyn is alone. Mia Wasikowska rises to the challenge as the only person on screen. She shines on screen as “the camel woman.” Wasikowska brings Robyn to life with nuance and complexity. She doesn’t shy away from the deeper, more traumatic things that movie deals with.

One small warning (and also a spoiler) for people who want to check this out: it has the most upsetting dog death I’ve ever seen on screen. It isn’t gory–there are a few violent scenes in the movie and none of them are gory–but it is heartbreaking. Even thinking about it today while writing this review has brought tears to my eyes and I’m not even a dog person.

Tracks is a truly beautiful, moving film. It’s one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, certainly the best one I’ve watched on a whim. I’m excited to find a copy of the book and to learn more about the true story behind this amazing film.

tl;dr: A+++, 100 stars, watch this movie.