Award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski brings to screen the life and work of one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture.
This film is wonderful. Life-affirming, moving, inspiring and it’s done in such a tasteful way given its rather hardcore subject matter (not that that’s a requirement for me, obvs). It definitely has an art-house sheen to it but Karukowski sculpts his back story in such a way that you really become attached to the central protagonist, the titular Tom of Finland (played flawlessly, I thought, by Pekka Strang).
Support across the board is strong too, highlights for me being Tom’s sister, Kaija (Jessica Grabowsky) and Alijoki, Tom’s former Captain and friend (Taisto Oksanen).
When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.
Well this film was a blast from start to finish, genuinely. I took myself to a late night showing last Wednesday and the tiny theatre they showed it in was packed. Every one of us was cackling with glee.
As well as being hilarious, this movie is touching in all the right places and invests you heavily in the female friendships. It’s also very sharp on white privilege. One of my favourite scenes is the one in which Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) calls up her agent Elizabeth (Kate Walsh) on her use of African-American vernacular. She then says, of black event, Essence: “You’re a guest here, act accordingly.”
I’ve talked about how much I love Insecure before so you can imagine my joy that Issa Rae is currently back with Season 2.
Issa Dee is back in the dating game whilst struggling with her heartbreak over losing boyfriend Lawrence, after she cheated on him. Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji), her best friend and confidante is on hand to offer advice on how to ‘ho’ while also dealing with her own issues, namely the pay gap at work.
Special shout out to Issa’s white colleague Frieda (Lisa Joyce) as she tries to get her head around the black Principals’s open racism towards his Hispanic students – and Issa’s subsequent argument that they should let it go and focus on all the good they’ve achieved.
The Hound & Tormund, Game of Thrones
A selfish entry but it’s my blog so what? A special tribute to the Bromance developing between the mighty Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and my man, The Hound (Rory McCann) as they take on the White Walkers and fight on the side of the King of the North.
Sure, the season finale is tonight (at the time of typing this) so it may be nipped in the bud before it ever gets going but for now it’s beautiful and pure. Two warriors on the same side, quietly admiring one another’s immense skillz. It has also gifted us this amazing video.
If loving these two brutes is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Right?
I’ve been pretty happy with this season so far but there have been criticisms from far and wide, about the show giving in to fans wants (so?) or not being action-packed enough.
If I’m honest, I’m only really in it to see how The Hound ends up. I also care for Brienne, Arya, the Onion Knight and Sam but you know, heads have got to start rolling soon and I’m ready for that too. Still some of the most exciting TV I’ve ever seen.
This show is just so good, the movie references are sublime and so far up my street it’s scary. Season 3 opened really strongly but I think it’s the second and third episodes so far that have blown me away, the Mad Max homage in particular.
It’s still technically August and ‘Summer’ but you wouldn’t really know it from the cooler evenings drawing in. I swear we had the heating on last week.
I’m enjoying it though, being ginger and therefore not at all built for the hotter days. I’ve been enjoying a lot of layering, and even tights with boots for a couple of days there. Makes me think of my ultimate favourite season, coming soon.
I realised the other day, in the horror movie of my past life, that I am the Final Girl.
I’d already typed this post up a few times but when I read back my words they felt so clinical, nowhere close to what I wanted to say. It might be construed as unhealthy to look back on bad points in time but I do it to show myself how far I’ve come. Like, gurl, you survived that all on your own (with a little help from my friends, obvi).
So I’m retyping this from the heart because a) I want to pay homage to the Final Girl (and myself) and b) I think it’s important to revisit every now and again. Kind of like a modern-day Ghost of Lives Past. But first, to the Final Girl theory and what it all means.
If you’re any sort of a Horror fiend like me (and I’m starting to believe I really know nothing compared to some of the horror-heads in my life), you will already be well-versed in the Final Girl as a concept. If you don’t recognise it as a traditional horror trope, you will know, and probably love, plenty of final girls.
In my own words, the Final Girl is a Horror movie euphemism most dominant within slasher films, such as Halloween (1978) (God bless you Laurie Strode). It refers to the last woman left alive to face her antagonist, usually to tell the whole bloody tale.
It is important to point out that the Final Girl may be the last survivor of the horror but she doesn’t always live happily ever after (or at all). She is usually seen as more morally sound than the rest of her peers, often brunette in contrast to her blonder friends (not saying this is right or fair), sometimes academic, sometimes the only stability in another character’s life, a sibling or a parent. What makes her stand out from ‘the rest’ is the fact these moral standards never slip.
Sometimes she may veer away from the good girl stereotype (and don’t be mistaken, she’s not always a recognisably ‘good’ character). She may take on questionable characteristics in her fight to the bitter end but the back bone of what she believes will remain.
When I think of the Final Girl, I always think first of Sally (Marilyn Burns), only survivor of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Bloody, limping and semi-naked, this FG runs for dear life through the brush and only just escapes as Leatherface (whose weapon of choice is rather obvious) dances maniacally behind her.
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) of the aforementioned Halloween movies may be the best known Final Girl but there are lots of just as interesting ones.
Most notable for me are: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell, the Scream movies), Mia (Jane Levy, Evil Dead remake), Sarah (Shauna Macdonald, The Descent), Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence, Hellraiser I & II), Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara/Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and sequels, as well as the books) and Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle, American Mary), who’s own arc takes her from victim to perpetrator quite quickly, turning the whole issue of moral code on its head. This doesn’t stop her being one of my very favourites (I just fucking love the film, okay).
I recently watched Don’t Breathe (2016) which has a great example of the Final Girl at play (thanks Meghan Lightle). While the film for me was a little disappointing and messy – *SPOILER ALERT* – Rocky (Jane Levy, who also plays Mia in ED (2013)) is a fine Final Girl, rough around the edges, sure but with a strong sense of family (lovely younger sister, hateful mother, dreams of escape).
Of course this doesn’t excuse her actions but it does make you want her to get out and, once the true horror of her situation unravels, you root for it even more. Whether she gets out clean to start her new life with her kid sis is for you to find out but she’ll damn well give it a go.
She might not be the most empowered horror heroine I’ve ever seen but strength is conveyed in different ways (see the contrast between Game of Thrones’ current FGs*, Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Aria Stark (Maisie Williams) for a good illustration of this) – and sometimes the proof is in the pudding.
You see where I’m coming from with the Final Girl analogy, right? We are all final girls, or we can be. For a minute there I almost succumbed to surrender, to waving the white flag and accepting my fate: not actual death but the not living either equivalent. I wanted death, prayed for something, anything to stop the pain and then one day it did, turns out it was my own squeaky voice. The fight, when it comes, is the most beautiful feeling in the world.
To all the Final Girls onscreen and all the Final Girls IRL, I feel you. ❤
The world can be a cold and frightening place at times with events making you question everything you hold dear, including your own sanity.
When life gets you like this it’s always worth taking a moment if you can and thinking about the things that bring you joy. Partners, friends and family, food and great big crushes on grubby fictional characters should do it, I’d say.
This is my guide to my Top 5 Game of Thrones (Season 6) crushes:
*FYI spoilers! Seriously, don’t read ahead if you’re not up to date on this series*
“You didn’t know me back in my time. You don’t know the things I’ve done.” ~ The Hound
Okay, I’ve always had a thing about the gruff, not particularly nice Hound from day one. He’s done some heinous things in his time, including working as the short-lived bodyguard of hideous Joffrey Baratheon. However, he’s also gone some way to redeeming himself by protecting the two Stark girls in his own way, showing surprising (if brief) kindness to Arya and being so very very burly. But what was once a sort of joke crush has since developed into something far deeper for me.
Old Clegane was left for dead by the mighty Brienne of Tarth back at the end of Season 4 and that was that. Though as we’re learning, if you don’t see a character breath their last breath (and even then), you can never be sure they’re really gone. A rumour began soon afterwards that my number one thug might live to fight another day and I didn’t dare believe it. Except that I did and I never stopped hoping and dreaming that I would see his badly burnt face and chocolate brown eyes once more.
Well, I won’t go into much detail on his story line but let’s just say, he’s on this list and he’s more or less a lumberjack now, so I’m one happy girl. What happens next is anyone’s guess but when we last saw him he was waxing lyrical with the Brotherhood Without Banners and re-evaluating his life choices.
In my heart of hearts I long for a final battle between Sandor and his disgusting brother, Gregor (AKA The Mountain) somewhere in the near future. But since The Mountain became Robocop and rips spines out of bodies easier than I can open a packet of crisps, I can only imagine the outcome. The Hound I wouldn’t say is a nice man but he does have a certain moral code I can get behind – and I loves him.
“Plenty of little men tried to put their swords through my heart. And there’s plenty of little skeletons buried in the woods.” ~ Tormund to Jon Snow
Let’s take a minute to appreciate the beautiful beastliness of my favourite Wildling, the excellent Tormund. Just one name, like Madonna.
Monday night’s Twitter was awash with Tormund appreciation and that’s because he’s really come through this season and has developed so much as a character from Season 3 that he’s virtually unrecognisable. One thing you’ll never be in doubt of though is that fiery head of hair and glorious beard. It means you could never lose him in a battle. He’ll be the one headbutting someone before biting their face off btw.
Tormund started this game very much against the ‘high born’ Jon Snow and was fiercely loyal to his boss and leader of the Free Folk, Mance Rayder. He remained so until the day Rayder was burnt at the stake (and subsequently put out of his misery by Snow’s arrow). Snow won him round and now the Free Folk are onside which is lucky, as those fuckers can fight. Oh, and they have a giant.
Again, who knows how much further Tormund has to go? (To my bedroom, Sir, straight ahead). All I do know is that every moment we have him here is a blessing. Also, is anyone else holding out for a Tormund/Brienne lost tryst (as above)? Yeah, me neither.
“I’m going to find out who did this. I’m going to feed them to the sharks while they live.“
Possibly my favourite female character, after Brienne of Tarth and fierce as fudge Lyanna Mormont, Yara is a raw human being, crazy hench warrior and captain of her own long boat. She’s also flipping amazing.
I thought for a while that Season 4 was it for this character, as her attempt to rescue her brother Theon from the torture-loving Ramsay Bolton failed dismally, though not for want of trying on her part. For sure Theon’s brainwashed Reek was dead to her and I believed we might never get to meet the Ironborn again.
Luckily I was wrong and Yara is very much finding her own groove is Season 6. Not only is she in the running to become the very first Queen of the Iron Islands (as endorsed by Theon who recognises he isn’t fit for the job), she’s also managed to escape the murderous (but quite attractive) intentions of her dickhead uncle Euron who wants to take the salt throne for himself.
Right now The Greyjoy Siblings are in Meereen, kicking it with Tyrion and Daenerys, and hopefully with the help of the Mother of Dragons, Yara will get to her rightful place. I must say this season has shown Yara in her very best light, her tough love treatment of Theon is a pleasure to watch (because the boy so needs to pull his socks up) plus, I totally want to go for a pint with her.
Don’t even get me started on the medium level flirt fest of Episode 9 between our two leading ladies. If you haven’t yet got to it, then let me tell you, you are in for a T-R-E-A-T!
“You want me to have a god? Fine. King Stannis is my god. He raised me up and blessed me with his trust. He gave you a future I could never have imagined. You know how to read, you’ll be a knight some day. You think a fire-god commanded all that? It was Stannis, only Stannis.” ~ Davos Seaworth to his son, Matthos
Davos is a fucking legend. I just really think he’d be the best person to have on side in a fight as proven in plenty of ruckuses so far, including the Battle of the Blackwater where his son was killed. Loyal to Stannis Baratheon to the bitter end, Davos was especially close to Baratheon’s daughter, Shireen, who taught him to read.
Sadly, he wasn’t around to stop her being sacrificed by Melisandre to the Lord of Light. You best believe if he had been things would have been very different. For now I’m enjoying his allegiance to Jon Snow and Castle Black, while his blossoming friendship with Tormund is a real pleasure to watch. Keep on keeping on, you handsome bloody bugger.
“I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime: I’m guilty of being a dwarf!” ~ Tyrion Lannister
Last but by no means least, the lion of the pack, the handsome imp. What can I say about Tyrion that’s not already been said? He’s such a well rounded character, the light relief when you need him to be but he can break your heart in half in the blink of an eye.
I love his romantic heart, how kind he was towards Sansa Stark after their arranged marriage and now I’m enjoying him holding court in Meereen in the absence (not any more) of the Breaker of Chains. I love his chemistry with Lord Varys, with whom he pulls no punches in the banter stakes.
Tyrion has been a firm favourite from the start though I thought he was a goner at the Battle of Blackwater (where he acquired that gangster-looking facial scar). Thankfully he’s more resilient than that and went on to fall in love with Shae, who betrayed him in court and then in his father Tywin‘s bed (woman scorned and all that). She broke his heart into a million pieces and set in motion a chain of events that changed our darling’s life forever.
Tyrion is a force majeure and I just hope he’s there until the end as I don’t know what I’ll do otherwise. Also, he gets better looking every time I see him.
So that’s where I am with the objectification of these beloved characters. I’m not even sorry, though now I’ve played favourites they’ll all be killed brutally, probably all at the same time to teach me a lesson. George R.R. Martin doesn’t want me to be happy or comfortable.
You watching? Who’re your favourites? And what are your thoughts on this series so far? ❤
For the record I don’t condone violence against women or at all really. This is a tongue-in-cheek post celebrating flawed but wonderful characters. You know, just in case anyone asks.
I touched lightly upon my love of pins last month.
Since then things have spiraled out of control and I’m about to attend (and possible have to form my own) Pins Anonymous Group. I mean, there are just too many good ones and I’ve gotta catch ’em all.
I thought that this would be a more cost-effective pursuit come payday than sitting on ASOS as soon as my salary hits my account, but I was wrong. Especially when most of the good badges (as us Brits call them) live in America.
Whatever, though. IDEC! These are the ones I am loving right now (all available via Etsy.com):
*** This post may contain spoilers, not intentional ones but just in case, tread gently ***
Once this series of Game of Thrones wraps, I swear I am checking myself into a spa to deal with the fatigue. If not an actual padded cell.
Everything has happened in Season 4.
Last night’s episode actually turned my stomach and I’ve survived series one, the Battle of Blackwater and both the Red and Purple Weddings. So this is really no mean feat.
They kept us waiting until the final fifteen minutes or so of the episode in which we checked in with almost every faction; Little Finger in the Eyrie, Hound and Ayra on their walking holiday, Jon Snow and “You had but one job” Samwell Tarly (one job!).
Daenerys dishing out Justice like a badass while still somehow being the weakest character in the entire ensemble.
Even the naughty Wildlings flitted about doing what Wildlings do best and that isn’t tea and conversation, honey, if you know what I’m saying.
All in all even without the impending “Trial by Combat” it would have been a decent episode.
But then it was time and well, I can’t say anymore about it without dropping the ending in but let’s just say it was amazing and shocking, even though one warrior had to fall so it shouldn’t of been. In the end, in fact, it played out exactly as it should have, as we were all no doubt predicting it would as we watched it unfurl before our eyes.
I watched it standing up, about a foot away from the television, concern about square eyes firmly in the back of my mind. I screamed, I cried (not really) and I think I might have even begged someone; God, George RR Martin(?) to change the outcome at the last minute.
Mostly, I watched through parted fingers and annoyed my husband.
It was amazing. It was disgusting. It was pant wettingly exciting and I went to bed feeling nauseous.