Archive for the 'Movies' Category


Hey folks!

I do love snark-tweeting a movie. I used to do it a LOT, mostly because I had no social life. Now I DO have a social life, and it includes people who apparently find nothing more amusing than taking me out to dinner, getting me a bit soused, taking me back to their house where we can watch films on big tvs, and then unleashing me on social media.

Annnnnd that’s what happened last night. The movie? Breaking Dawn Part 2, or That Fifth Twilight Movie, or Breaking Your Mind Cuz They Act Like It’s Fine The Adult Werewolf Is In Love With An Infant.

Yeah, that one.

To read the feed, you have to scroll all the way down and read them bottoms up. Everything in life is better bottoms up, so don’t complain. Also, at some point I got put in Twitter jail for excessive Tweeting (the noive of ‘em!) and had to switch to Denise Townsend’s feed.


  1. Denise Townsend @DeniseTownsend 13h


  2. But I’ve enjoyed live tweeting all of you, Twilight. You were beautiful, in a crazy, slightly patronizing, ultimately horrifying way.

  3. Okay, it looks like I’ve wrung everything there is to be wrung out of this vomitous mass.

  4. Did they take out the subplot of the female werewolf, which was one of the only interesting subplots there was?

  5. Lee Pace. Rhymes with no-no place.

  6. OMG it’s never going to end, is it? I’m trapped here, tweeting this shit, for eternity?

  7. “No one has ever loved anyone the way I love you!” -said every teenager, ever.

  8. She has the same facial expression in every single montage scene. Including when she’s drowning. And getting married.


  10. Yeah, you keep those hands in your pockets, Jake.

  11. “I’m glad she has you, fully grown man in love with my apparently five year old daughter,” said no real person, ever.

  12. Please don’t go back to the Nookie House.

  13. Siegfried and Roy are super pissed.

  14. Jacob’s excited! Renesmee will be full grown 7 years after her birth. Then they can GET. IT. ON. Feel free to vomit in your mouths.

  15. “I am half human. Half vampire. And all MAN.” *he rips off his loincloth and starts dancing*

  16. Why are all the “natives” not allowed to put on a pair of jeans???

  17. Dear god they’re trotting out more “natives.”

  18. IT WAS A VISION! Shit. Jasper’s still alive. DRINK!

  19. Seriously, their heads pop off like pez dispensers.

  20. Bella and Edward V. Michael Sheen! Who will win???

  21. Erm, are vampires made of porcelein? They break like Hummels.

  22. They be rippin’ off heads left and RIGHT in this mo’. Vampires should work on making their heads less ripple-offable.

  23. Carrying on ‘s stream over here. She’s taking a pee break. BRB

  1. . They decapitating errybody! Hide yo’ kids! Hide yo’ wife!

  2. I’m uncomfortable with Renesmee riding Jacob. I really am.

  3. Fuck, this is a dream, isn’t it? Nobody decapitated Jasper, did they.

  4. Please someone decapitate Jasper. Thank you.

  5. I’m glad Renesmee wasn’t around to see her granddad decapitated.

  6. Something’s happening! This wasn’t in the books. WHAT THE HELLZ??????? HE RIPPED OFF HIS HEAD! DRINK!!!!!

  7. Dear Jacob: When Bella says “take care of my daughter,” I don’t think she means that kind of care.

  8. Jasper is so lame. I’m sorry. But lame.

  9. Alice acting all spazzy! Drink!

  10. “You see, there’s no law broken here. Except for the one where they adult male is gonna marry the toddler. That’s fine!”

  11. Who is the other kid? The male Dakota Fanning? Was he Percy Jackson?

  12. Dakota’s character is wearing more liquid eyeliner every cutaway.

  13. They gave the only two women of color face paint.

  14. And a beheading! DRINK!

  15. That’s like 1/2 a virgin. But I shouldn’t give Jacob any ideas.

  16. Did no one ever stop Stephanie and say, “WTF is half mortal???”

  17. How the hell can you be half mortal???

  18. If the baby makes out with Michael Sheen, I’m out.

  19. I love that Bella’s not made a single facial feature until she meets the guy who MIGHT kill her daughter, then she exudes disgust.

  20. I hope Bella’s dad turns up with a Rambo kerchief and mows them all down with a machine gun.

  21. Seriously, though, nothing happens at the end of this film. It’s the most amazing bout of nothing happens ever. So what did they jimmy?

  22. Why is Michael Sheen dressed like a member of a marching band?

  23. They are woefully outmatched!

  24. Where’d all those werewolves come from? They been breedin’. Hopefully not with toddlers.

  25. It’s all fun and games till Renesmee overgolds!

  26. The vampire locket is some bling.

  27. The Transylvanian vampires are ridiculous. They’re like Siegfried and Roy female impersonators.


  29. Seriously, when did dad get a girlfriend? And why aren’t I the one sitting on his lap???

  30. If Jake got Renesmee lingerie from “Santa,” I’m out.

  31. Did they use every grey outfit in the US to make this film?

  32. “Jacob will protect you. And then he’ll make you a woman.”

  33. I love how calm Bella is about letting her small child run away with the man who wants to mate with her.

  34. Bella got a bad case of the dressin’ like a slutz with her vampirism!

  35. I love how they act like Bella’s dad is so mentally deficient that he’ll totally accept that the granddaughter has grown like 15 feet.

  36. Not sleeping would be hell. Also, can this bitch not walk ANYWHERE instead of doing the vampire dart??

  37. What are you SAYING, Pattinson? You mumble! You’re an actor!! YOU HAVE ONE JOB!

  38. Please no more scenes in the Bonkin’ House.

  39. Every time the Twilight saga gives girls a bad message, like their human bodies are gross or children grow up super easily, DRINK!!!

  40. Bella practicing her triumphant face. It’s like that sweet relief when the Activia kicks in.

  41. Grrr rawr pushing daises guy can push my daisies….. Sorry. Hendrick’s talking.

  42. Ummmmm, Dakota Fanning has aged considerably since the first film.

  43. Seriously, Bella, Activia. It’ll sort you out.

  44. There’s a chubby vampire!!!! Chubby for eternity! She is SO pissed.


  46. Apparently, they’re not Volturi spies. They’re…. Transylvanian?

  47. The spies from the Volturi are dressed like chorus boys from the Three Penny Opera.

  48. Don’t mate with those other youngsters too, Jake! Just “your” girl, kay!

  49. “I didn’t know your wife is a shield.”

    “A panty shield?”

  50. Sorry, there’s two. The other one has a bow and arrow.

  51. I like how there’s one non-white vampire. And she’s “exotic,” in the most offensive way possible.

  52. I feel funny in my no-no place!!!!


  54. They have some supermodelesque vampires in pygmy gear??? CULTURAL SENSITIVITY.

  55. For a species that can’t reproduce, Meyers’ vampires are wicked heternormative.

  56. Actually, why do all the vampires look like rejects from a Housewives of Miami pilot?

  57. Why are all the vampires so well dressed?

  58. K-Stew looks more pained than usual in this film. Like “not even Activia is making a dent” pained.

  59. Oooooooo They just pulled off that ladies arms and head!!!!!!!!!

  60. Baby butchers!!! Now we’re getting somewhere.

  61. I gotta give Michael Sheen credit: his ability to overact absolutely nothing happening is admirable.

  62. It’s like Pantene shat on all their heads.

  63. Volturi! Or Vultures. Or Vomitoriums. Whatever.

  64. Pattinson playing the piano! DRINK!!!

  65. Why don’t we just have all vampires in our olympics???

  66. The child just gets creepier as she grows up. Creepier, and creepier, and creepier.

  67. If this is Bella looking “more alive,” I can’t help but shake my head.

  68. Every time Jacob gives Renesmee a look of longing and you gag a little, wash the bile down! DRINK!!!

  69. Every time the vampires make-up lines are clearly visible, DRINK!

  70. Every time the baby gives us a freaky CG smile, DRINK!

  71. Every time Robert Pattinson gives us a long side-eye, DRINK!

  72. We need to start a drinking game to carry us through.

  73. There’s barely even enough to make fun of. I miss the “dad ripping a baby out of his wife’s stomach” shenanigans of BD4.

  74. “Dad, you’re going to have to trust that I’m fine. Pale, and withdrawn, and totally okay. I’m totally not in a cult. Really.”

  75. This is the most boring movie EVER. I feel bad for the screenwriter. She was all, “YAY MY CAREER!” and then “OMG WHAT IS THIS SHIT.”

  76. Also, vampire dad is super creepy. Am I the only one who thinks he’s creepy?

  77. The vampire family is the most boring family EVER. They’re like the Waltons on lithium. This is for eternity????

  78. I feel so old at the fact the only character I want to bonk in this shit show is the dad.

  79. For a movie that’s all about family, Bella’s human parents REALLY get the shaft.

  80. Jacob’s sad because they’re taking his baby away from him. And by baby, I mean baby. Literally, a baby.

  81. Doesn’t basically nothing happen for the rest of the book?

  82. Jacob’s watching his child bride. So sweet!!

  83. So basically, all they have to do for eternity is bonk?

  84. Feist, is that you? I’m ashamed for both of us.

  85. I expect more from two vampires than that vanilla shit. Really.

  86. Oh jesus. The vampire sex.

  87. K-Stew, y u look so surly all the time????

  88. Pottery Barn bed department is pre-programmed into the speed dial.

  89. Oh noes!!!!! THE BONKING HOUSE!

  90. I love Jake’s “I was never attracted to you, but to one of your pre-fertilized eggs!” excuse for crushing on Bella.

  91. B’s not pissed that an ADULT MALE imprinted on her baby, but that she’s “mine!” This is some MTV Teen Mom’s parenting right here.

  92. “It doesn’t mean what you think!” — said every pedophile, ever

  93. Oh dear god. Is this the awkward moment when Jacob explains he’s mated to the INFANT?

  94. Jacob is so protective of Renesmee!!! TILL HE SCREWS HER.


  96. Also, creepy baby is creepy.

  97. Renesmee is the stupidest name EVER. If that becomes a thing, to name your baby that, I’m ripping out my uterus in protest.

  98. “Wanna come meet your daughter? We’ve left her this WHOLE TIME with the adult male who thinks he’s mated to her. It’s fine!”

  99. The reason Jacob hasn’t left yo’ house is cause he wants to screw yo’ baby. Which apparently is fine with everyone!

  100. How does she have NO blood on her? She just ripped into the throat of that wildcat like a …. wildcat.

  101. She just went HOUSE on that puma! Puma 0 – Bella 456.

  102. K-Stew has opened up her acting repertoire to impassioned grunting. Impressive.

  103. She climbs like a mofo.

  104. Or is she gonna eat the rangy human in green lycra???????

  105. I want Bella to just rip into all that fucking wildlife. Just start tearing its throats out and BATHING in its blood.

  106. Now that Bella is no longer a gross, real human teenager with a gross, real teen body, she’s so SEXY!

  107. She’s all strong when she pulls him towards him. If they f-ed up that many beds when she was human, Pottery Barn is gonna be rich.

  108. It’s like a bunch of Apple employees made a movie.


  110. Opens with her as a vampire. I’m already gagging.

  111. The music is very moody. Almost as moody as an adult werewolf who has to wait for his toddler-bride to grow ups.

  112. “He gave her the Dakota Fanning. She nearly passed out.”

  113. Dakota Fanning sounds dirty. I’m sorry. But it does.

  114. The family portrait in the title page is already freaking me out.

  115. There’s an extended edition of Breaking Dawn part 1? Does it include an actual make out scene with the baby?

  116. And it’s starting. Lionsgate, I’ve got high hopes after the “man falls in love with baby and it’s okay” montage from BD4.


April Really is the Cruelest Month . . .

Just cuz it’s so busy! Lots of grading leading up to the end of the semester, of course, but I also have a book due May first, which always makes for a horrendous time.

That said, I may be out near you this month! I’ll be at RT in Chicago and at Malice Domestic in Bethesda. Check my upcoming appearances for more info.

In between those travels my parents are coming to visit, and my friend from the UK is supposed to be coming too, at some point, for a week. Or two. He’ll let me know . . .

I just keep telling myself it’s allllll going to work out.

Cuz it is! I’m nearly done with book six, and although I know it’s a bit of a hot mess, I know that’s okay. Rough drafts are rough, right! It’s not till revisions they get pretty.

This is another thing I keep telling myself. ;-)

In other news, I saw The Hunger Games. I thought they did a good job casting, and they did some interesting things with all the child-killing. Lots of cutaways and camera effects. That said, still pretty awesomely horrifying! I loved seeing Lenny Kravitz, not because he was particularly good but because he’s beautiful. Especially with golden guyliner. He was made for golden guyliner.

In case you’ve been under a rock, here’s the trailer:

I did have one movie shock recently, though, and that was 21 Jump Street. I was OBSESSED with the TV show when I was a child. And I mean a child. I think it came out when I was seven? Anyway, looking back, it was absolute shite but at the time I could not get enough. Please enjoy this stunningly bad example of the original show that also stars Brad Pitt. Yes, Brad Pitt. It’s like Depp and Pitt sloughed off the vast majority of their bad acting on to the show, only to leave shining and clean to start their new careers. Here it is:

So it was with great trepidation that I went to see the new movie. I had read a glowing review by Roger Ebert, that shocked the hell out of me, but I thought maybe he was having a blind/deaf/dumb day and hadn’t actually seen the movie he was reviewing.

But the new 21 Jump Street was hilarious. A great, self-aware buddy comedy that mocks buddy comedies. And cop shows. And being self-aware. Basically it was a great big meta-ironic laughfest, and I adored it. Best of all was being so suprised at liking it at all–I sort of went feeling I had to pay homage to my younger self. But I left delighted, not least by the amazing cameos from the original stars of the TV show. Here’s the trailer:

It was great, and I highly recommend it.

And now, in the spirit of sharing, I’m going to expose my shameful secret. I was one of those weird kids who was never into boy bands, or whatever, and I never understood NKOTB or any of the other crushes all of my friends had. Then I saw 21 Jump Street, and fell in love with Johnny Depp. That’s not the shameful part. I think that was an eminently sensible choice.

The problem was when Dennis Booker was introduced onto the show. He stole my young heart. I think I wrote him a fan letter. Maybe two. That’s my shame.

I found this amazing montage on YouTube:

This footage might be from his own spinoff, Booker, which I watched assiduously, probably while penning said fan letters.

Anyway, I have to shake my head at my young self for that crush, not least as I blame it for a lifetime of fawning over unsuitable, slightly sketchy men who simply aren’t going to age well. And speaking of sketchy, and not aging well, this article makes Grieco sound so quietly desperate.

Maybe they will have you back, Dennis Booker. My inner seven-year-old would stand up and clap.

The rest of me would burn with quiet shame. And then blog about it.


Movies I Like: Art & Copy

If you follow me on social media or are unlucky enough to have to put up with me in real life, you’ll know I’m obsessed with Mad Men. My poor students went through the first weeks of the semester being told how EVERYTHING WE WERE STUDYING WAS ACTUALLY DONE BETTER IN MAD MEN. My obsession is fundamentally abnormal, and is discussed here, in this blog post.

So I’m not going to bore you with more Mad Men adulation (at least until the new season starts). Instead, I’m going to bore you with my adulation of a documentary that, at least in the first half, was awesome to watch as a Mad Men devotee.

The movie is Art & Copy, and here’s the trailer:

I love documentaries as much as I love Mad Men, and when I’m not tweeting my #lessonsdumadmen, I’m tweeting my outrageously excited reactions to things I just learned in a documentary. But I found Art & Copy to be so riveting, I couldn’t even tweet it.

The first half of the film is perfect for anyone who loves Mad Men. They talk about the age of advertising in which Mad Men is set, and they even discuss some of the real ad campaigns that Mad Men references, often as successful campaigns created by Don Draper. It was also interesting to see the “real” Peggys: the women who became powerhouses of their industry at a time when most women were relegated to the secretarial pool.

But the whole move was a fascinating reflection on how advertising works in our society in general, as well as its effect on our culture. For you creative types out there, it was also–especially in the second half–a really fascinating riff on creativity and the creative spirit.

If you’re not interested in anything I’ve mentioned, the second half of the documentary is worth a watch just for the interior design of the headquarters of the top firms. I gotta say, I wish writers could have offices like the big advertising companies. If any of y’all want an Urban Fantasist In Residence, I am THERE. Especially any of you in NYC or Frisco. Just sayin’. ;-)

Bottom line: if you like Mad Men, like a good documentary, or are interested in either the nature of creativity or the effects of advertising on our culture, you should love Art & Copy.

And wait till you see the Nest! That’s all I’m saying. Nest.


When My Ears Burn, It HAS To Be Good . . .

For this Monday I thought I’d fire off a couple of recommendations. One is a film and one is a novel, but what both have in common is some of the most creative, hilarious use of vulgar language I’ve heard in quite some time.

As you’ve probably already figured out, I have a bit of a potty mouth. And by “a bit” I mean a rat infested sewer of a mouth. As a wee little girl from Niddrie (a council estate near Edinburgh) told my friend, in a lovely Scottish accent, no less: “I love swearing. It’s fucking great.”

I come from a family of swearers, I am a swearer, and many of my friends are swearers . . . so when I find something that shocks me–that reminds me of the power of a truly inspired bit of obscenity–it’s gotta be pretty extreme.

Therefore, if you don’t like swearing, never, ever go near the following film, although this theatrical trailer is (relatively) clean:

The film is In the Loop and it’s up for an Oscar. All I know is it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in years. On a superficial level, it is utterly, absolutely entertaining. I laughed through the entire film, as did all of my friends. I want to see it again because not only were the lines so rapidly delivered, but everyone in the theater was laughing so hard, at times, that it was hard to hear. It felt like I sat down, started laughing, and then suddenly it was all over, leaving me wanting more.

That said, the film is also brilliant, with one of the bleakest, most frightening portrayals of modern politics I’ve ever seen. It’s easy to miss, simply because you’re too busy watching the characters tear around insulting everyone. But underneath all that humor, In the Loops suggests that modern politics are still as much about ego, competitiveness, and personal aggrandizement as Shakespeare depicted them in King Lear. Only the weapons have changed, making the stakes so very much higher and deadlier.

With fantastic performances all around, and a storyline that works on a number of levels, I can’t recommend In The Loop enough.

And speaking of King Lear, my second recommendation is Christopher Moore’s The Fool:

Bawdy and irresistible, this is another story that works on two levels. I was pinging from one image to another (little man in a canoe!) and reveling in the language of this work, but meanwhile the literary academic in me was squealing over the layers of allusions to various Shakespeare productions. I adored this book, as did all of the ladies in my book club. And it wasn’t just the Chatham Artillery Punch, talking, either!

So if you’re bored this weekend, try to get your hands on either of these fantastic works. Due to the Oscar nod, In the Loop is back in theaters (especially independents) the Fool is coming out in paperback any second. Both will floor you with their use of language, but also with their wit and intelligence. Filthy AND smart . . . it’s a combination I find absolutely irresistible. ;-)

And just because I’m in the mood for a little heinous fuckery,* here’s a picture of my trifle:


The song was, indeed, originally, “my trifle brings all the boys to the yard,” till that bitch changed it.


*For true heinous fuckery in action, you have to read The Fool



“Jumping Jack Flash” Might Be Jane’s Missing Mother and League Pimpage

First of all, I am flexing my wrist in preparation of EXERCISING MY PIMP  HAND.

For the ever lovely and fabulous Dakota Cassidy’s new book, Accidentally Demonic, is out tomorrow!

I haven’t read this one, yet, but I’ve read all the other books in this series and they’re SO FUN. Dakota’s marvelous sense of humor shines, her characters are adorable, and these books are always fab reads.

So go forth and purchase if you already know and love Dakota. Or, if you’re looking for a new para rom series to embark upon, try the first in the series, The Accidental Werewolf:

As for me, I have been having a fabulous start of the semester. I much prefer teaching my ENG 115 class to the other freshman comp course, my night class is my favorite ENG 215 (so very little pressure for a lot of enjoyment), and Modern Poetry is turning out to be very manageable and enriching, for me, as a writer. In other words, my primary career is going very well, and the writing is fab, as well! I’m figuring out my plan of attack for editing Jane True book 3, Tempest’s Legacy, and I’ll start writing my edits soon.

In the meantime, however, I’ve been watching a lot of movies and series on my Netflix, and one of the movies that I was randomly inspired to order was the 80′s classic, Jumping Jack Flash:

I was OBSESSED with this film when I was a kid. I adored it. I can’t really describe how much I adored it, because it would be like me trying to explain how much I love my family . . . it became a part of me and I would give it my kidney if it asked politely.

This film came out in 1986, eight years after my birth. And watching it as an adult I can absolutely see where it had a HUGE influence on me and my writing.

First of all: the swearing. I swear like a pirate, this is true. My family is a family of swearers, in general, but I seem to have taken up the swearing mantle and run right the fuck off with it. Then I watched this film, again, and Whoopi has a mouth so potty it’s like a psych ward.

Second of all: my love of a non-traditional heroine. Where do I start with my admiration for this film, in terms of its heroine? First of all, Whoopi is BLACK. How many films can you name that star (entirely) an African-American, let alone an African-American woman? And that are mainstream? Even nowadays? Second of all, while I think Whoopi is an extremely attractive individual in this film, she is by no means your traditional blonde bombshell. She’s Whoopi, and she’s gonna wear some MC Hammer OVERALLS (cause the only think that makes Hammer pants better is some straps!), and dreads, and YELLOW REEBOKS and she’s not gonna give a fuck! For dress up, she caps off that outfit with a turban!

As a kid, I was blonde and blue eyed, but I was also way too smart, way too mature (in some ways), and already short and chubby. So I knew I was never going to be the leggy, doe eyed thing expecting some hero to come along and rescue her because even though she’s a bit of a bint, DAMN SHE IS PHOINE.

In other words, I was looking for films that expressed my solidarity with the outsider, the underdog, the eccentric, for those who “sang his didn’ts” and “danced his dids.” For the most part, however, I was getting Melanie Griffith. And, while I love me some Working Girl, I knew that while my brain was going to be all about sin, my bod would, at best, most likely suggest white-collar misdemeanors or parking violations.

So Jumping Jack Flash was a revelation. I wanted to be Whoopi: a woman who was strong because she was smart, passionate, and brave, not because she’s beautiful and manipulative or, like Red Sonja, beautiful and ‘roided right the fuck out.

On watching the film as an adult, as well, I clap at how it handles “the issues.” Whoopi is constantly being told she’s not welcome because of her gender, her skin color, and her class. But she enters anyway, on her own terms, and uses her enemy’s cultural expectations against them. If they expect an African-American woman to be a singer, by golly she’ll dress up like a Supreme. She’ll give them what they expect, in an unexpected way, to get what she wants from them. If they expect a woman to be weak, delicate, and easily victimized, she will BITE HER WOULD-BE EXECUTIONER IN THE NADS. Cuz that’s what she does! Bites him! In the nads! I think this is partly why the film, despite being over twenty years old, hasn’t aged. Okay, the computers look a bit silly, but the real story is based on Whoopi’s character. And she is both ageless and paradoxically original, for Hollywood, it seems to me, has actually gone backwards in terms of its depiction of real women of any race.

My final plea: If you haven’t seen this film, please do. I think you’ll see some of Jane True in it, and you’ll definitely have a good time. Watch out for the giant toothbrush!


Young/Old Sherlock Holmes

In 1985, when I was seven, there came a movie that would be my obsession for many a year: Young Sherlock Holmes.

I adored everything about this movie. The special effects were, at the time, out of this world. The story was amazing. And I already loved Sherlock Holmes.

This will be a shocker to (none of) you, but I was raised on PBS. So I was already well familiar with Holmes, as played by Basil Rathbone, and I was becoming increasingly familiar with the Sherlock who will forever remain my quintessential Sherlock, Jeremy Brett. He first played Holmes in 1984, and, for me, he will always be the closest Holme’s to Conan Doyle’s ever created.

Watching Young Sherlock Holmes, then, offered a lot of insight into the depictions of Holmes I already knew: how he came by his method, why he wasn’t married, etc. But there was thing that bothered me. Granted, the young Sherlock Holmes was, indeed, young, but he also has so much energy in that film. He’s so alive, and physical, that I couldn’t see him growing up into the Holmes I “knew” from television.

And that’s where the newest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes comes into play. I went and saw it recently, and I adored it. It’s great fun, with amazing visuals, and RDJ and Jude Law have fantabulous chemistry together.

But what I really loved about that film is that this new Sherlock Holmes is the clear sequel to that movie I loved as a child, the Young Sherlock Holmes; Robert Downey Junior’s Holme’s is that little boy (whom I admit I had a bit of a crush on) all grown up.

That certainly wasn’t Guy Ritchie’s intention when he made the film, and he probably never even saw Young Sherlock Holmes. But that’s what the film felt like, to me. And that’s why, even without the bustles and the carriages and the like I would have loved it. That same energy and joy that infused the character of young Sherlock Holmes is in this Sherlock Holmes, and it made the film a pleasure to watch.


And in Other News . . .


Locus has weighed in on Tempest Rising, saying, “From small-town hijinks to otherworldly intrigue, this is a fun start to a new series, and a promising first novel.”

And finally, for those of you in the San Francisco Bay area, I will be attending this public event, at Borderlands Books,  hosted by io9.


On Avatar…

I have quite a few weird habits, and one of them is that I love seeing movies by myself. As long as it’s not a comedy, for I like sharing the jokes with my friends, I love going to an early matinee of a film all by my lonesome. I get to have the “movie” experience, with all that visual stimulation, but then I have the rest of the day to work.

So today I went to the first showing of Avatar–IMAX and 3D, cause I’m fancy like that. And the movie? My most powerful impression is this: Avatar is totally manipulative, full of those sorts of emotional tableaux that fill Titanic, and there’s never a second when you don’t know exactly what will happen next.

That said, it’s gorgeous, nearly perfectly paced, and has some wonderful performances. It also has that element of katharsis that so many other James Cameron movies have, especially Titanic. I loathed that film. Or, I tried to. In reality, I refused to watch it for as long as I could, and then I cried my entire way through it. There are old people! Holding each other in bed as the ship goes down! They know they’re going to die, yet there they are holding one another!

Cameron knows what Hallmark learned from Aristotle: show us certain images (such as a little girl dancing with her father, then cut to that girl dancing with her dad at her wedding) and we will cry. Cameron understands the power of communal drama, of those visual cues that are nearly archetypal in their resonance, and he has no compunction about wrenching about our heartstrings. In fact, I would say that his genius is in how he pulls and pulls and pulls. It’s almost a form of chutzpah: he’s like Dylan, repeating “lay, lady, lay,” ad infinitum. Just when we think, “Holy shit, he can’t tell her to lay across his big brass bed one more time,” Dylan does. Eventually, we discover to our surprise that we want to lay across his damned bed.

Cameron does something similar. He finds very good actors and actresses, and he has them do and say the things we know deep in our bones they are going to say. We know because they’re the expected actions of villains, heroes, and heroines everywhere. We know because they’re what we would like to say, or do, or think, but usually we’re too cowardly, or petty, or busy.

Cameron gives us what we want, and–like a skilled lover–he knows that good things can only get better if they’re done with enthusiasm, confidence, and at least three times.

So I was hooked from the first few moments of the film. It doesn’t hurt that I’d sop Sam Worthington up with a biscuit, but Avatar is, quite simply, a really entertaining and worthy film. And I mean worthy in both senses of the word: it’s worthy because it’s obviously had buttloads of talent poured into it, from all sides, but also because its message is eminently worthy.

As most of you know, the point of Avatar, in a nutshell, is that humans are greedy, destructive, corrupt little monsters. You are told that from watching the previews, this is not a spoiler. After all, the point of watching a film by Cameron is not to try to figure out the surprise ending; it’s to plug yourself into the emotional ride he takes you on as he gives you the message you know is coming.

Aristotle thought this sort of emotional manipulation was important. He believed that drama could help purge humanity of emotions (both positive and negative), making them more productive, malleable members of the community. Even today, catharsis is still a concept discussed in dramatic theory, and any member of any audience will attest to the special power of viewing a production as a member of a large crowd. It’s the only reason movie theaters exist in the age of On Demand and Netflix; there’s something special about seeing a film in the company of lots of random strangers.

For me, that’s why I love seeing a film on my own. I love being a member of an audience (part of a crowd) and yet I am alone. I’m not holding anyone’s popcorn while they go to the bathroom, or checking to make sure my husband turned off his cell phone. I come in, I sit down, and before the film starts, I people watch.

Today, at the theater, I got an eyeful. It is only a few days after Christmas, after all, meaning that families who are used to the buffers of school or work have been with each other for a while. And they’re getting stabby. Parents were whining at children not to whine; children were moaning they’d rather be at home playing with their new toys.

One especially delightful gentleman–sensing the real meaning of an American Christmas–shouted from the aisle to a woman sitting in the center of the theater, “Are those seats taken?” When she responded, “Yes, they are,” he peered across the dozen or so children sitting between them and yelled:


It was wicked classy. So much so I gave him my best sarcastic clap, which was picked up by a smattering of people around me. He responded with the finger, so I gave him the British reversed peace sign. The kids next to me loved it, mostly because they appeared to think I just didn’t know how to give the finger. The oldest boy was about to correct me when his mother intervened.

Anyway, yeah, it was a rowdy crowd that went in. But going out? We were all quiet. We’d watched beautiful blue people (if bizarrely nippleless in the case of the women) fight and die for their planet, defending themselves against humans who had already destroyed their own home.

Filing past the overflowing bins full of popcorn and candy boxes, I knew that few of us were going to go home and reduce our carbon footprint. But ya know what? We all waited, patiently, to hand back our 3D glasses, despite the fact the kid kept dropping the bag. Nobody swore, or tried to push through. Then we waited in line for the bathroom, all of the ladies washing their hands reflected pleasant expressions in the mirror. And driving out of our rather stupidly-planned local theater, not a single person honked his or her horn. People even waved through those waiting to cut in, and those who were let in waved their hands in front of their rear-views, in thanks.

For a few moments, it felt almost like Christmas, the way it used to be when I was very young.

Until, on the main road, I was nearly sideswiped by someone who wasn’t looking and tried to pull in my lane. I’m no lip reader, but I could see that her response to the audacity of my existing in her path was to call me a bitch.

She should really go see a good movie.