Guest Post: Ghosting Amongst Friends

I was recently lucky enough to find Kenzie via her GREAT blog This, On Purpose (or she found me, it doesn’t matter). What matters is that I love what she writes and we share a love of horror films and pop culture in particular.

Based on this, and the fact she’s a very cool girl, it was a no-brainer to ask Kenzie to be involved in the She’s All That series. Go check her out on her blog forthwith!

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Image via Unsplash

Christa, the lovely creative behind A Voluptuous Mind, has graciously invited me to guest blog here. I’ll readily admit I’ve had one premise in mind for it as it’s kicked me hard over the past couple of months, so I thank Christa for giving me an alternate outlet for it.

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There are no greater friendships than the ones that press on.

At 43, I ought to know this by now. At 43, I still sometimes have trouble.

“Ghosting” is a strangely appropriate slang term often reserved for when one is dating. One is left in the lurch, completely disconnected of all communication from the other. It’s an invisible-man sort of phasing out of existence, a shitty passive-aggressive “good bye” consisting of no return calls, no return emails, no return texts. Nothing.

Frankly, I think the term is too limiting in its definition because “ghosting”, such as it is, occurs amongst friends as well.

I was eleven when I first experienced ghosting from a friend. There was this girl gang, a clowder of cats with feathered hair and pastel-neon colored clothes. Eleven, and I was too earnest. I didn’t understand “mean” coming from girls my age whatsoever. “Mean” belonged at home with angry family members. “Mean” came from schoolboys confused about the changes happening, the wolves coming out to hunt. Susan led the girl gang, the clowder. Susan with her glinty eyes edged with bright blue ice queen liner.

Susan didn’t like me much. Maybe it was my naturally curly hair that hadn’t been frizz-permed into a sticky Aqua Net mold. Maybe it was my pale skin that couldn’t turn golden in the sun. Instead, it went all strawberry and wetly peeled. Maybe it was my temperament, the fact I cried about anything because I didn’t understand.

Or maybe it was because I had something Susan wanted: my best friend, Holly.

Holly and I had shared much and had been through even more together. We were also survivors, sisters-in-arms, having been stalked and tormented by a nasty trio of teenaged boys with their jagged leers and switchblades. We were inseparable; we were true.

Then one day, Holly shut it off, she shut it all off. We’d no cell phones in the ’80s, but we didn’t need them. In middle school, back then, we were all about passing notes and recording, whispering secrets and communing. One day, Holly simply disconnected me by ignoring everything I said, everything I did, anything I could do to get her attention. All I saw of her in those weeks after was the view of her rigid back coupled with the occasional sidelong glare and eye roll.

It was Susan, of course, the one responsible for Holly’s ghosting of me. Susan would say something that scratched and left marks, often something scathing (and utterly unoriginal) about my appearance, and Holly, standing there, finally in the midst of the clowder, would laugh as it was expected of her, glancing every so often at Susan for approval. Even still, Holly didn’t look at me when she joined in the taunts and jeers.

In middle school, cats like Susan would inevitably get tossed in the water, left to fend for themselves. It took both time and a horribly embarrassing situation for Holly to reappear in my world. I was several weeks into my Susan-concocted invisibility when my first period (yes, that) hit me while I was on the school bus on the way back home. I was sitting in the back, well away from Holly and her siblings. They all sat in the front of the bus, her siblings acting as a barricade in case I tried to come up to talk to her.

It was always a long ride after an arduous day at school. We had a bus driver who made it clear to everyone on board, every day, that he hated kids. He also had a habit of pulling over to the side of the highway to take a piss right there, out in the open, in front of the world and its children. Anyway, the bus driver regularly screamed all sorts of colorful obscenities if any of us attempted to shift into another seat, so I quietly stayed put in my misery, thanking the gods of frumpy clothing for the long, baggy windbreaker I had on that day. I don’t know if it was an act of blatant stupidity on my part, but I was so desperate for a friend who would sympathize about the torment I was going through. So I did what any other eleven year-old girl would do in such a predicament: I sent Holly a note from my place at the back of the bus, one of those meticulously folded things that would’ve taken a Rubik’s Cube expert to unravel.

I’d taken a risk, of course. The bus was dotted with kids who’d be more than likely to attempt to unfold my note and read it aloud to anyone even half-listening. Luckily, everybody on the bus then was much more engrossed in the thrash metal music one of the 8th graders insisted the bus driver play on the way home (he didn’t like the 8th graders either, but if it got everyone to shut the hell up, so much the better). I watched her from the back as Holly carefully unfolded the note and read it, her lips moving as she took in every word I’d written. When she’d finished, she carefully folded the note and stowed it deep in a backpack pocket. Her gaze was steady towards the front. She seemed deep in contemplation rather than apathetic, which was a good sign. After a minute, she shifted in her seat, facing the aisle and rear of the bus, her eyes locking with mine. She nodded at me and held up a finger for me to wait. Then she glanced over at the bus driver, who was focused on both the road and the cassette that was suddenly being eaten whole by the cassette player.

Holly quickly slung her backpack over her shoulder and, head down, scurried to the back of the bus. When she finally reached me, she plopped herself down right beside me, and I knew right then the ghosting barricade had been lifted, especially when she leaned against me and whispered, “Does it hurt?”

“Not anymore,” I said. We grimaced at each other, at the very thought of womanhood, so gross. Just as the bus driver caught on to what had happened and yelled at Holly for having moved, we started giggling like mad.

Our bond reinstated, we dealt with all the Susans, all the unlucky circumstances, all the mishaps and dangers that come with the cusp of teenaged life. We remained friends until our families relocated due to military obligations.

It was like that then, far easier to forgive at eleven years old.

I’d not really been affected by “ghosting” from adult friends until the past several years or so. One good friend in particular quite recently decided it best to cut me off for some inexplicable reason, to “ghost” me, if you will—this, even after we’d talked a lot about just how shitty the act of “ghosting” was. (Yeah, I like my betrayal served with a hefty side of hypocrisy. Who doesn’t?)

Adult friends recognize that ghosting is not polite, it’s not civil. Adults are meant to talk to each other. If there was a problem, drinks and conversation ought to do the trick. It’s the kind of talk that lasts well into the evening when the sky is a bruised, brushed curtain and time has grown meaningless. There’d be some tears shed, some egos deflated, if only for a moment. Nevertheless, it’s a time when hats are off, but no one goes home without answers because that would simply defeat the purpose.

There are some adults around though who’d prefer not to face their problems with another, head on, and I don’t understand it at all. It’s almost as if they believe that by cutting off someone else, they’re doing that particular so-called friend a favor. After all, what kind of person in her/his right mind enjoys confrontation?

Hell, I call cowardice on the matter.

So I end this with a(n unsolicited) warning for those friends, good friends, better friends, and best friends out there, particularly those grownups who are on the cusp of ending it outright without informing the other about it:

If so inclined to keep things mum, be well aware that friendship’s done. An attempt to rekindle that friendship true will undoubtedly be greeted with a fitting ‘Fuck you.’

Ghost Shark (Film) Review

“Frank, that doesn’t even make sense!” ~ Sheriff Martin to Mayor Stahl, which pretty much sums up this film

maxresdefault (1)Don’t let that put you off though.

This is the last instalment in our Shark Month and I’m part sad, part relieved. These damn movies are all starting to blend into one. Next month’s theme is still being decided but whatever happens it will be very, very different.

Until then, let’s focus on this made-for-the Sy Fy Channel special which, for want of a better way to describe it, is bonkers. Seriously, seriously cray balls.

Let’s also take a moment to say see ya later sharks, it’s been real.

*Beware spoilers*

Ghost Shark (2013)

Director: Griff Furst
Stars: Amy Brassette, Sloan Coe, Lucky Johnson, Dave Davis, Jaren Mitchell

IMDB Synopsis: When rednecks on a fishing trip kill a great white shark, its spirit comes back for revenge, and soon turns its sights on the town of Smallport.

My Review:

Oh god. Oh my actual god. Well, at least the synopsis is a bit different, although every time I think of it, I think of 1990’s Ghost Dad. An interesting little tidbit there for you, if not particularly savoury. I’m sure Ghost Shark is the lesser of the two evils.

We begin with some arsehole fishermen (on the whole are fishermen really this dislikable? They’ve been portrayed very badly in every one of these movies). I say fishermen but there is a female present. Through every fault of their own, this heinous pair (against the wishes of the captain of the boat) manage to torture and kill a great white shark, simply for doing what great white sharks do.

“Boo, Motherfucker!”

I can’t really understand why the shark sticks around so long, but this isn’t the first time I will seriously question something in the next 90 minutes. The shark is eventually badly injured (via the medium of kaboom), so drifts off to die in a small cave next to a lighthouse, nothing odd about that.

Oh but wait, the cave begins to glow eerily, showing off some weird neon markings on the wall. What does it mean?

Well it means this isn’t the end of Sharky’s story (let’s not beat around the bush: he manifests as Ghost Shark) and justice is served piping hot on those nasty killers. Sadly, that includes the innocent captain which is a bit of a shitter as he’s a well-known local in the town of Harmony, with two daughters who are understandably concerned when they find his boat bobbing unattended in the middle of the lagoon (?).

If in doubt, stuff your face (my kind of strategy)

From here it feels more like a shark movie (bikinis, teenagers, flying heads) but I’m pleased to report that, apart from the bitchy Queen Bee of the group, who doesn’t survive this introductory scene, the kids are alright. We have; plucky Ava (Mackenzie Rosman), her sister Cicely (Coe), laid-back potential love interest, Blaise (Davis), quite hot Mayor’s son, Cameron (Mitchell) and joker of the pack, Mick (Shawn C. Phillips).

I have to admit that I was bracing myself for a fat joke or ten at the expense of Mick, who’s a big boy but there weren’t any and that was refreshing to me. Look, you have to take decency where you can find it sometimes.

In fact, although this film does not appear on my favourite website, the Bechdel Test Movie List and I forgot to monitor it myself, it’s clear at all times who the hero of this story is, and it’s Ava. Women always tend to do well in horror and they particularly excel in shark movies *bicep emoji*.

“Look ma, no hands…”

How many more deaths before someone fucking believes them?! (FYI if there was a big dog in this film you could legitimately pass it off as a Scooby Doo movie).

Honestly, I can’t thrash back and forth all the way through this review because that will be very dull but there’s a pool party at Cameron’s house to commiserate Vicky’s death (so sweet!). It’s okay though, because everyone knows sharks are sea creatures only. LOL! Carnage ensues and we begin to lose some of the core group.

One of the perks, apparently, of being a ghost shark is that you get to pop out of any body of water to wreak horrible revenge, so absolutely nowhere wet is safe. Bath tubs, taps, puddles, buckets of soapy water being sponged onto sports cars by bikini clad co-eds, even cups of water from the cooler – *anywhere*.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”

Ghost Shark doesn’t even seem mad anymore, he’s just hell bent on killing everybody and I don’t really blame him. Murder never looked so fun and nobody is exempt. Eventually the towns people realise what they have on their hands (duh) and Mayor Stahl (Johnson) who’s very shouty, goes out on a boat with Sheriff Martin (Murphy). He has A. Plan but you can guess how well that turns out.

Meanwhile, Ava and Blaise meet the museum curator who’s strangely creepy but informative and they find out a little more about the ancient cure on the cave (I think, honestly I tuned out a lot towards the end). They then team up with the Sean Connery, who’s a drunk and rumoured to have killed his wife.

“Give us a kiss!”

He tells the kids some more about the cave and they work out what they have to do to destroy Ghost Shark. There’s a big bad showdown at the end and someone wins.

Fin.

Questions:

Will the plan work? Did Sean Connery kill his wife after all? Who will make it and who will end up as chum?

Buckets of talent

My Thoughts:

Uh. Actually, this isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen. I mean, it was almost worth it for the car wash attack alone (the scene itself is so damn gratuitous). In addition to the babes in swimwear, I feel as though the filmmaker did at least try to give this a back story and as mentioned, there was a strong female lead who didn’t have to hook up with the guy to be interesting.

She was steely, spunky and focused, exactly the person you’d want in charge during a ghost shark hunt. Imagine a team of shark hunting women comprised of Ava, Rosie and Nova? You’re welcome Sy-Fy Channel. Jill, perhaps we should write and direct it? (Although they’d only be hunting bad sharks, you understand).

The other characters were okay but not indispensable, Cameron was probably the strongest alongside Ava but I don’t know if that’s just because I fancied him a bit. Besides the bucket bit, my favourite scene was when Blaise finally twigged that as long as they stay away from water, they’ll be okay. Um, YAH.

The effects are horrible which makes them brilliant, the story is beyond stupid but it was entertaining at least.

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My Rating: 3/5. It’s no MS Vs. MS but it was gory af and that pleases me. 

Did Jill want to wreak bloody revenge on those who wronged her (aka. the director of this movie)? Or… did she like it? Find out here, if you dare!

Ps. If you see this is and enjoy it, there appears to be a sequel

Guest Post: I Want to be Just Like Her

13256249_10153557579543456_2036357381745081756_nWhenever I have a shitty day at work, I only have to look to the left of me to be reminded that things aren’t all bad. That’s because my angel, Tatty is there and that makes me luckier that anyone on this planet. (This post is one big mutual love-fest so if you’re looking for something other than that, normal service will resume on Monday).

Tatty, of lovely blog Camelia Ophelia, is one of the most driven women I’ve ever met. This girl is ridiculously gorgeous, as you can see, but she’s more beautiful on the inside. She’s razor sharp, super creative and has an eye for detail like nobody I know, in fashion, at work, everywhere. I’m a braver, cooler person for having Tatty in my life and I’ll always be grateful for that.

I think there’s a Twitter rule about re-tweeting compliments, well I’m breaking that for this post, which is the loveliest thing I’ve ever read and I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have a friend like this. Check out Tatty’s blog for yourself straight afterward, and thank me later. (Love you girl)❤

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I feel honoured to have been asked to feature as a guest post for my most favourite blogger out there. You may, or may not, know that Christa and I get to spend 5 days a week together at work so she’s one of the closest people to me. She’s seen me go through my ups and downs over the last few years and is there supporting me all day long.

When I first started to have a think about what I could write I had a bit of writer’s block. I totally love the theme based around positivity, body image and empowerment but I didn’t find much standing out to me.

As a woman, I have a lot of feelings and emotions flowing through me every day, so I thought I would talk about how I handle myself when I was feeling down or in a certain uncomfortable state of mind. But if I’m truly honest, I have no idea and I can find myself quite lost a lot of the time. I don’t think I handle my emotions in a way good enough to give advice on. I tend to bottle things and then explode, I get really moody or I lash out on the people closest to me. So overall, I’m in real need of working on that.

Anyway… I of course am inspired by people including my Mum, my friends and people I follow on social media. But again, not enough to tell you all about and not enough to write about in detail that I feel you would be interest in.

And then it came to me…

Mrs Bass. The most inspiring women I know. Christa inspires me alone by just asking fellow bloggers to write about something that could be so meaningful. It’s not rare that Christa will write a post about how she’s feeling that I couldn’t have related to more.

Due to my writers block I am concerned that I won’t tell you everything I love and appreciate about Christa in a few paragraphs so I have put together a list. This, I hope, doesn’t take away any sentiment of what I’m trying to say.

  1. Work. Christa is like my right arm. No joke. I have told her this a couple of times recently as it’s become more obvious over the last few months than ever. Work can be tuff sometimes, as it is for everyone, but we all need someone we can rely on. There’s no one I rely on more than her and no one I would trust to rely on more. I dread a day when she’s not by my side. Her work ethic is an ideal match to mine. She gets things done without a fuss and will always support anything I need. 
  2. Friendship. In everything that Christa does she puts her care and love into it, but from what I see she does this best with her friendships. I feel a lot of love and care from people around me but as a friend, I have never felt as loved than I do by Christa. From surprising me with a work day treat like, Grazia or a crème egg, to having my back when I’m not happy with something or someone (to put it plainly – when I’m ‘bitching’). Each and every day she surprises me with her support for me and everything I do. I’ve spent a couple of Birthday’s now with her and the level of detail she goes to when gift buying is second to none. Because she listens to me when I blabber on, she knows everything that I like and dislike to a T and that is more touching than you can appreciate until the time. When you gaze upon a pile of things that you may as well have ordered yourself is a true sign of love from a friend (I think). Always getting a high volume of likes on her pictures and comments on her status’ shows there are people all over the world that love and cherish her as much as I do (I know we’re not meant to measure things by social media but in this case it’s acceptable). You couldn’t ask for a better friend and couldn’t find one either. 
  3. Feminism. Now, I have my own views as we all do but before meeting Christa I didn’t quite understand how I felt about the world we live in as a woman. I hadn’t really thought about it. Christa upholds the most positive and strong (but not pushy) views on feminism. Christa doesn’t ask you to think like her or bombard you with her opinions. I don’t even think she knows how much she’s taught me as it’s just her way of being that I have learnt from. She has taught me how to respect myself more as a women and the women around me. It’s been one of my biggest changes over the last few years as women in regards to how I now react and respond to situations, so therefore extremely valuable to me. As I said, I really don’t think she realises what she has taught me and will I’m sure to continue to teach me about myself. 
  4. Love. Christa’s approach to her relationship. It may sound silly but we all have an idea of how we wish to best interact with our partners. How we’d like them to respond to us and our thoughts, how we’d like to feel with our other half. From early small conversations about Christa and Glynn I knew I was on to something to learn from. Christa will recall how Glynn may appreciate another lady’s ‘behind’ and she couldn’t care less because she knows she’s the most beautiful to him. As a young woman this is so enviable. It takes every bone in my body to not feel a twang of jealousy over my boyfriend looking at another girl. The confidence Christa has within her relationship is admirable, especially in my generation. People now are always looking for the next best thing but they know there’s nothing better out there for either of them than each other (that’s a presumption but I’m pretty sure that’s the case!). Saying that, that could just be true love which we all search for and hopefully, one day find.

I could go on but I think I can summarise it pretty well now. When you think of the kind of women you want to be like when you grow up, I think of Christa. I want to be just like her. She is beautiful, caring, conscious of other people, extremely loving and the most supportive friend I have. I probably don’t appreciate her enough but I know I will always cherish our friendship.

Writing this has almost felt empowering in itself. Woaw. I feel so grateful at these times that I am able to surround myself with people that I may not have come across in my usual friendship groups. I’m so glad that I don’t shut down the idea of being close to people because they don’t have the exact same interest as me or they don’t do the same things that I do. That would be the most boring life. A life I wouldn’t learn from and wouldn’t help me grow.

I’m sorry if I went a bit deep or a bit of course but when I think of positivity and empowerment, I think of my favourite lady, Christa Bass.❤

Ghostbusters (2016) (Film) Review

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It’s 2016 and I’ve just been to see a Ghostbusters film. What is this madness?

A lot has been made of the decision to “reboot” such an 80’s classic and with an all-female team of ghost hunters no less. If we’re frank, most of the comments about its impending release have been negative, or at least these are the easier ones to remember.

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This is my favourite picture of anything, ever❤

The die-hard Busterites have been up in arms about their beloved films being tampered with in any way which I understand, yet it’s very hard to separate this train of thought from that of the misogynists who can’t bear the thought of women in any context other than draped over the bonnet of a car or making a sandwich. That’s before we even think about the racial slurs against Leslie Jones, whose only crime in life was to take a role and not be white.

I’m only touching upon this stuff because I want to focus on the way the film made me feel but the way Leslie’s been treated is appalling. And while I doubt justice can be served to an army of cowards hiding behind their keyboards, I hope she’s engulfed in love and continues to feel great pride in what she’s accomplished with this film. Because it’s fucking ace.

I’m not reviewing in the traditional sense, nor giving anything away because that would be foolish. I hope everyone goes to see this film, even if they have misgivings because it has been joyful to tap back into my childhood for a few hours. As with the whole Pokémon Go phenomenon, I think we’re learning recently that there’s a huge space in our lives reserved just for nostalgia. I blame Trump, British Politics and all the violence in the world, in no particular order.

But to the film. If I were asked to review in just three words, I would say:

Loved. Every. Minute

I did. I smiled like a dufus from beginning to end and threw my head back to laugh out loud a hundred times. Sure, sometimes I was guffawing at a fart joke but what else do you need on a balmy Hump day evening?

The writing overall is very strong and of course it is, it’s written not only by Paul “Bridesmaids” Feig but also Kate Dippold who has Parks & Recreation (2009) and The Heat (2013) under her belt. It is a female-centric film with gender reversal very much at the forefront but it’s done well and is never mean or dismissive.

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Chris Hemsworth‘s Kevin the Receptionist for example is objectified to the hilt but in the nicest possible way and even though his prettiness far outweighs his intellect, he never feels 2D and that’s skillful writing if you ask me.

The ladies are spectacular and I have huge affection for each of them. McCarthy is gorgeous, Jones is hilarious and wonderfully expressive. Wiig brings vulnerability to the role of Erin Gilbert while making me really buy into her childhood history with BFF Abby Yates while Kate McKinnon, lovely, lovely Kate, adds an injection of kook to engineer extraordinaire Dr. Jillian Holtzmann.

Holtzmann, FYI has caused the internet to implode with lust, as gay and heterosexual women the world over are crushing hard all over her character. While her sexuality is not openly stated at any point, we’ve given enough material to reach our own conclusion. My conclusion is that it’s fucking awesome to see four interesting woman helm a movie without a sniff of patronising love story on the horizon. In fact, scrub that, the love story is about their unswerving loyalty to one another.

Twitter also remarked that this is probably the first film you’ll see that doesn’t make you feel bad about your body and it’s true. I loved seeing big bodies onscreen and I, for one, am stoked Melissa McCarthy is out there being an attractive, sexual and funny fat woman who gets shit done while being someone I can identify with.

(Also, two posts on this blog mentioning Kristen Wiig and McCarthy in a row. You’re welcome).

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Honestly, I’m not here to criticise this movie in any way, I’m just not going to do it. The effects take me right back to 1984, the acting is hammy where it needs to be (the main villain) and the music, oh god that theme – it’s still everything. The cameos were also fun but I don’t want to spoiler them.

I’ll sign off here just by saying that I’m glad this is such a strong film. Those haters are going to hate regardless but I’m delighted it touched me the way it did. So far I’ve heard nothing but praise for these modern-day Ghostbusters, which was respectful to its forefathers by taking its own path and I’m closing my ears to anything but because I don’t care.

I ain’t afraid of no troll (I am).

Guest Post: It’s Okay to be Broken or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Flaws

UntitledFirst in my new She’s All That series is one of my dreamiest real-life friends. In fact, it would be true to say that Ms Lightle was my first real friend in Canada and one does not quickly forget that. United by our mutual love movies, amongst other things, Meghan and I used to work together then go and see as many films as we could get away with in one sitting. One Summer that’s all we did because we do what we want (and fuck the outdoors, apparently).

Meghan is a constant inspiration what with her strong writing, sharp mind and unlimited bravery. I want to be more like her when I grow up. For more from Meghan, go visit The Lightle Side of Life (for all sorts of life gems) and That’s Lightletainment! (for more entertainment based subject matter) and for now, enjoy this post.❤

There’s something alluring about a mess, isn’t there? I mean, it’s overwhelming and sometimes you wish it would just go away, but isn’t there also some part of you that believes if you have enough time and the right tools, you’ll be able to square it all away and won’t that just be an amazing accomplishment? This is a metaphor for my life. I’m a mess. My house is a mess. My love life, such as it is, is a mess. I thought by the time I hit 30 I’d have it all sorted and be living in a clean and spacious apartment and hosting dinner parties on the weekends and curling up with my lover and our puppy at night.

So.. not quite.

But maybe that’s okay. And you know how I know? Because I’m not the only one still sorting herself out. And I know this because every once in a while someone creates a character, a grown woman, who doesn’t completely have her shit together and honestly if it’s good enough for them, what am I complaining about?

I’m speaking, of course, about the female anti-heroes.

Of course there’s already been a lot of inked spilled about your Cersei Lannisters, your Lisbeth Salanders (although I believe she’s pure hero) and your various Catwomen, but since I skew more comedy as a rule, I’ve decided to explore the female anti-hero through a different lens. One that makes me laugh.

bad-teacher-14In the beginning, there is the protagonist of Bad Teacher, Elizabeth Halsey, played with delightfully evil glee by Cameron Diaz. From the second she pulls the croutons out of her friend’s salad, uninvited, I was like YASS QUEEN this is my kind of woman. She picks the lettuce off her burgers and eats corn dogs for dinner. She smokes weed and drinks constantly. She couldn’t remember her fiance’s birthday. She’s selfish, cruel, manipulative, and conniving. Her only goal in life is to get a rich husband. To land one, she needs breast implants which she plans to pay for by stealing and cheating her way to the top. Does this sound like the kind of person you want to have over for Christmas dinner? No, of course not, but that doesn’t stop one of her student’s mothers from doing that exact same thing, which only leads to her making fun of said student’s sweatshirt. A gem, if ever there was one. Honestly, this movie made me a life-long fan of Ms. Diaz. I found her so enjoyable to watch and root for, I didn’t even care what a terrible person she was. That’s the kind of female anti-hero I’m after.

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Still somewhat in the vicinity of “evil doer” we have Mavis Gary, played by Charlize Theron in Young Adult. Mavis eats about as well as Elizabeth and I have to admit I felt a kinship with her when in her first scene she’s seen drinking Diet Coke straight out of the bottle while standing in the fridge. Take out the diet part and that’s me.

Mavis’ plan is even more simple. She’s going to save her high school boyfriend from his wife and new baby by blowing back into town and seducing him away with all the trappings of her (somewhat exaggerated) success. She is missing deadlines at her job and pulling out her own hair but all she needs is another chance with the one that got away. Instead she spends a few days getting to know the biggest loser from her high school. She teases him, drinks his limited edition “Star Wars” whiskey, and uses him to validate herself, all while being blissfully unaware of how her actions might be affecting people. I love this film because even in the end, nothing has convinced Mavis she’s doing anything wrong. She just packs up and goes home. Just like in life.

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Moving on to something even more depressing, we have Maggie Dean, one of the titular Skeleton Twins, played by Kristin Wiig. Wiig has a couple good anti-heros under her belt, if you include Bridesmaids (I do) but I especially want to talk about The Skeleton Twins because of how infidelity is portrayed in the film. Maggie has been cheating on her husband for a while when we meet her. She’s feeling lost and angry and instead of, idk, talking about her feelings, she’s pushing him away. It would have been really easy to make her husband an asshole (looking at you, This is Where I Leave You) so we would immediately sympathize with her actions, but no, Lance (Luke Wilson) is the sweetest, most laid-back, accommodating, and noblest husband that’s ever been cheated on. There’s no question that Maggie has some fucked up views on love and marriage left over from a traumatizing childhood and fraught relationship with her mother and brother. I really understood Maggie and I loved seeing the representation of an extremely broken woman up on screen.

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Bridesmaids was great for a myriad of reasons, the least of which was introducing the world to the comedy of the great Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy is a comic genius, an amazing actor and performer, and a plus size, big boned, voluptuous, fat woman. I adore her. As far as I am concerned, she has never made a bad movie. Her characters are fully realized, distinct, and compelling. Naturally I feel that Spy is her best work to date, but if we’re talking anti-heros, there ain’t no one greater than Shannon Mullins from The Heat.

Mullins should have lost her badge YEARS ago. She is unprofessional, rude, insubordinate, and terrorizes both her fellow officers and the suspects she brings in for questioning. However, she’s also a damn good cop and just as her male counterparts have known for years, you can get away with anything if you have the skills to back it up. She eats the same cheese sandwich for three days and has turned her fridge into an armoury. Her family is mad at her for doing her job but she won’t admit how much that hurts her. She is prideful and stubborn. She has no time for a serious relationship and has to constantly turn down former lovers who desperately want to be with her. She’s fiercely independent, a true lone wolf, and until she met FBI Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) she hadn’t a friend in the world. Not much changes by the end of the movie.

So if you’re a little crazy and jealous or boisterous and difficult, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Representation matters and there’s no shortage of flawed yet sympathetic women out there to relate to.

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (Film) Review

mega_shark_vs_mecha_sharkI’m loving Shark Month so much I’m not even mad at last week’s terrible choice (though I should be). This week is very much in keeping with the creature feature/B-Movie fare both Jill and I love so much – and it’s actually quite compelling.

Without further a do, let’s get down to some fishy business, shall we?

*Spoilers ahead* in case you’re worried about keeping some suspense.

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (2014)

Director: Emile Edwin Smith
Stars: Christopher Judge, Elisabeth Röhm, Matt Lagan

IMDB Synopsis: A new mega shark threatens to destroy humanity. The government creates an exact robotic copy of the shark, either equal to or greater than the original. Now they must fight to the death while people and whole cities get in the way.

My Review:

A tugboat pulling a giant iceberg into Egypt (?) accidentally unleashes hell on the world when a Megalodon shark escapes from within. (I don’t know either but let’s go with it). I laughed out loud as the aforementioned tugboat was flipped across Egypt by the Megalodon’s tail, knocking off the head of a sphinx as it went.

The unintentional unleashing of this giant prehistoric sharky bastard really fucks with the chi of the world as boats are no longer safe to go about their business without being attacked and honestly, this big boy is pissed at something. I mean, normal sharks don’t attack boats just because they can, right? I guess being trapped that long in a giant ice cube can take its toll.

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“This cannot be good…”

We piece together just how much devastation is taking place through the cleverly stitched global news reports and Meg (let’s call him) is being very naughty. We also learn that global warming is to blame and I like that nod to reality, very much touched upon in 3-Headed Shark Attack and Sharknado, though you’d be forgiven for  blinking and missing it. Basically, if we don’t recycle and stop with the over use of hairspray, we’re in for the same fate.

So while Meg crashes about causing chaos, husband and wife wonder team, Rosie (Röhm) and Jack Turner (Judge) are the bad asses selected to take him on. But how prey tell does one go about doing something like that? Why, build an exact replica out of steel and have them battle it out, obvs!

Rosie is the captain of the Mecha, having proved her chops on a smaller vessel, which is co-piloted by special A.I. “Nero”. “Nero” (voice by Paul Anderson) is basically “K.I.T.T” from Knightrider but flirtier. Jack is un-enthused about Rosie going into the Mecha before it’s been tested fully and without “Nero” to boot but she’s a plucky women who does what she wants so she goes anyway.

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Oops, wrong movie!

Straight away this turns out to be unwise and there’s a bodged attempt to stop Meg. Admiral Ackbar Engleberg (Lagan), who’s in charge of Mecha operations is a bit grumpy when it comes to this failure, as his brother was killed by the Meg. (Somewhere along the line there is a reference to this being the third time the Meg has popped up though I don’t think you need to have seen those movies to follow this one).

So Engleberg has a personal investment in the Meg’s demise and that seems fair – Meg is kind of a dick. Anywhoo, Jack manages to convince him that installing “Nero” into the Mecha is the least they should do and soon “Nero” is wise-cracking with the best of them. Jack is adorable btw as he’s obviously madly in love with his wife and just wants her to be okay. He’s a good egg and also, looks like exactly the kind of person you want on your side in a crisis.

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The Posh & Becks of the Mechanical Shark World

Rosie meanwhile is a remarkable woman who shows emotion several times on the job but pulls herself together and gets on with it, like women do. All the while her high ponytail never messes up. She’s also, and I don’t mind my heroines in any form of attire, remains fully clothed throughout the movie and looks her age which made this character, and therefore the film, stand out to me. The genre is not always kind to the female form as we all know.

Oh yes, so Debbie Gibson’s Doctor Emma Macneil pops up to warn the Admiral that the Megalodon is aggressive (yes, thanks dear). I guess from this cameo that she’s kind of a big deal in the Mega franchise (a little digging shows she was in Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (2009)) but she doesn’t half state the obvious. She does add though that his aggression is down to the fact that he’s looking for a mate and that explains it all.

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“Give me a song and I”ll whistle it.”

During a battle with Meg, Mecha discovers a damaged oil line and Jack lectures Rosie about the environment (good boy) so she uses Mecha to seal the pipe. Rosie tries to take Meg down with a torpedo but he’s horny AND clever, thus flipping it at a ship with his tail fin causing the needless death of hundreds. Bearing in mind he’s already destroyed an oil rig and damaged countless ships, Meg is on a roll.

In the ensuing drama, Mecha is thrown to the bottom of the ocean and Rosie is knocked out. Poor Jack is beside himself but “Nero” has a plan, which works and gets Rosie to the surface. Meanwhile, Meg is free to body slam the USS James Stewart Aircraft Carrier, killing everyone horribly.

Can I take a minute here to praise the excellent work of all the submarine and ship crews? They either bob around in the background like extras from Spaceballs (1987) or are thrown into utter panic mode by an explosion. These actors give their all to their small roles and I love them for it.

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Double your sharky goodness

Rosie is okay (don’t worry guys) but is definitely out of sorts. The one bit of the film that kind of annoyed me was the flashback we get to the couple obviously having lost a child which is touched upon as Jack stirs Rosie back to consciousness. Really? Just so you know the only thing ever driving a woman is a tragedy, usually to do with a child! We must make her more sympathetic after all.

Minor bug bear but really! Anyway, “Nero” says he can pilot the Mecha alone and even though cautious Jack is reluctant, really what choice do they have? I got a bit lost for a while as I was putting my dinner on, but Mecha is go once more.

Oh yes, on recovery Rosie and Doctor Macneil hook up (not like that) and Rosie flies to Auckland where the scientists discuss what’s going on. They think he’s heading back to his birthplace, Australia, the spawning ground for his species. (Wait, does that mean there are loads of lady Megs just kicking it round Sydney Harbour?). Smells like a sequel to me.

In Oz, “Nero” malfunctions and goes rogue, Mecha is now somehow on dry land causing more damage that good (basically, his safety filters are off so he’s programmed to kill Meg without think about his surroundings, you dig?) and it’s all a mess. Oh, and look: a kid’s just got separated from her mother! Someone has to stop and find her! Better ask a woman!

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“When Mummy says don’t run off, maybe don’t run off, Kid!”

Yes, Rosie puts her life on the line to save a snotty brat who doesn’t understand basic instruction and all because a) she’s a woman! b) she lost a child remember! c) she’s a woman in case you also forgot that! (I know I’m overthinking but honestly). Also, Rosie is a damn decent woman (unlike any woman who hasn’t had a child), so she rescues the poppet and also meets up with Jack at the same time.

I won’t go too far into the climax because frankly, you’re already expecting a fight to the death, right? But Rosie has to get back on Mecha to lure Meg away from Sydney Harbour and hopefully be destroyed so everyone can go home and wash the bloody chum from their glossy locks (only Rosie then).

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A Woman’s Work

Questions:

Will the final mission go off without a hitch? Will Rosie live to fight another day or will she break her damned husband’s heart? Did Michael Bay direct the action sequence throughout the streets of Sydney? Will Meg meet his match?

And finally, will Admiral Ackbar finally get his revenge?

My Thoughts:

I was actually into this and almost non-sarcastically. I mean, it’s ridiculous but everyone’s really giving it their all so you can’t be mad. I really enjoyed the central couple, who I actually buy as one and I cared if they made it or not.

It was funny in places and how can you not be impressed by the sheer scale of the Megalodon? (I actually believe in them so this is practically a documentary in my eyes). My only small bug bear is the adding a sad backstory malarkey. I know what they were trying to do but it’s clunky af.

All in all probably my favourite shark-ie so far this month.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Enjoyable actually. More like a real action movie than the rest so far with good leads and not too horrific effects.

Oh yes and… totally passed the Blechdel test!

Did Jill love this monster or was she ready to flip it into next week with the tail fin? You know the drill.

Bite Your Tongue

43e39040You know how I feel about picking your fucks

You know that try as I might I am not your average ‘No Fucks Given’ kinda person. It’s a crying shame and I wish I was more inclined to think that way, however, I am already starting to give too much of a fuck about not being that person so I will stop now. Step away from the fucks.

This weekend I was full of angst for no real or good reason (life) but I talked it through with my lovely mum and she said “Bite your tongue for now, if it isn’t worth it” – and you know what – it isn’t worth it.

It’s not worth it to be shredding myself up from the inside out because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future (the economy, the government, the Kardashian/Swift feud).

I might not be fulfilling the secret ambitions I don’t even know I have and I might be freaking out about turning 40 but I can’t do anything about it. Time turns and I will be that age soon and then way beyond it, whether I like it or not.

I may turn into a troll with a wrinkly neck and I may get fatter, I may get thinner and I may lose friends and make friends and lose jobs and save money and spend it all again. And I may sometimes lie awake at night and wonder if all I have is built like a house of cards, destined to all come toppling down with the faintest wisp of breath. Or that I will upset someone or hurt them or dismiss them accidentally and lose them forever. I will be loved and disliked and I can’t control every person I meet and it doesn’t matter anyway, does it?

So here’s to biting your tongue if it isn’t worth it.

Here’s to respecting the love and friendship we have and enjoying life as much as is humanly possible. The world may crumble around us but we still have so much good to really give a fuck about, to really yell about. In those moments, never bite your tongue, shout your joy from the highest window, as often as you can. Fight for what is right and true in your heart and use up those fucks, flap that tongue then – but only then.

Thanks Mum❤