I have noticed that a lot of people, both professional critics and random people in comment sections, seem to completely write off a story if the plot feels at all familiar to them. If they can guess any aspect of what’s coming, the story is trash. This worries me because it seems that both critics and average viewers are thinking mainly on a plot level, and not seeing that even mainstream stories (or the good-ish ones, at least) have themes and motifs that recur throughout the narrative.
Additionally, because of this plot-level thinking, there are entire essays and videos dedicated to 1) trying to figure out the internal logic of fictional universes (spoilers: there are almost always plot holes and inconsistencies), or 2) nitpicking lines or moments that the reviewer didn’t like.
An example of the first kind of video/essay is this 10-minute video of a guy trying to figure out how the Tablet of Akhmenrah works in the Night at the Museum franchise. While I agree with him that the Tablet probably imbues the statues (like Teddy Roosevelt and Sacagawea) with the souls of the people they represent, I think that he spends too much time trying to make the Tablet’s behavior throughout the series make consistent sense. NATM is a silly franchise (though it has its merits in terms of themes and character development), so the Tablet works whichever way the screenwriters want it to work to advance the plot. Yes, sometimes the inner works of fictional plots and plot devices really are that simple.
The entire St. Louis area is currently blanketed with snow and I am recovering from a cold that has stolen my voice and hidden it in a seashell somewhere, so on Friday afternoon, my mom, my sister, and I decided to watch Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which is the third film in the series.
Rami Malek’s feelings about Freddie Mercury: “I LOVE YOU, YOU BEAUTIFUL MAN!!!”
Both Lupita Nyong’o and Emily Blunt wearing reading glasses while presenting awards.
Anytime a movie that I actually saw won an award.
Also, I imagine that in the afterlife right now, Freddie Mercury is parading around in that big red furry cape and that enormous crown while David Bowie just rolls his eyes and waits for his inevitable biopic.
A lot of “10 Best Films of 2018” articles are popping up in people’s social media feeds right now, and I’m not going to write one of those because every time I look at one of those lists, I think, “WOW. I didn’t see ANY of those movies.” I enjoy movies, books, and TV, but I am definitely not a cinephile. I will never be one of those people who considers movie theaters sacred ground. Theaters are all right, but I like consuming media in the comfort of my own home, too. I will also never be one of those people who feels culturally and morally superior to other people because I watch/read/listen to obscure pieces of media. I’m just someone who loves stories, some obscure and many mainstream, and I’ll watch/read/listen to anything that piques my interest.
With that said, here are a few insights I had about popular culture in 2018:
Last week, I finally got to see Bohemian Rhapsody, the first-ever biopic* about Freddie I Mercury, First of His Name, King of the Virgos and the September Babies, God of Rock Music, Father of Epic Rock Logos, Immortal Gay/Queer Icon, The Great Pretender, Mr. Fahrenheit.
A certain type of masculinity has been in the news recently, and really, it’s been in the news ever since a certain orange fellow decided to run for President in 2015. It’s a type of masculinity that is brash, bold, angry, vicious, and really doesn’t account for the wants or needs of anyone except of the person performing it. It’s a macho masculinity for guys who’d love to have thrown a punch, but are afraid to actually fight anyone.
This post is NOT about that type of masculinity.
Today, I’m writing about an alternative masculinity that can pop up in fiction and in real life: the masculinity of the Cinnamon Roll. And I don’t mean the breakfast pastry.
The Dark Knight came out ten years ago. I was 18-going-on-19 when the film was released*, and I was absolutely obsessed it. It was so dark, so gritty, so unlike any other superhero movie at the time. It was raw and real and got straight to the darkness in men’s souls.
Ten years down the line, I kind of despise it for what it did to superhero and blockbuster movies.