slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. ((default))
Disclaimer: I do not claim to know anything about the actual events on which this movie was based or the people involved. This post refers only to the fictionalized version of events and characters shown in the movie.

There is a TRIGGER WARNING for intimate partner abuse and violence for this post.


So yesterday, my dad, Nigel, and I went to see Unstoppable. It was pretty good--I'm pretty sure it doesn't pass the Bechdel test1, but I enjoyed the story anyway. Worth my two hours and my dad's $20; your mileage may vary, especially as regards what I'll talk about below. I have the privilege not to have been triggered by this. Not everyone does.

Then we went out for a late lunch and discussed the messages the movie sends about intimate partner abuse and violence.2

Before the events of the movie, Chris Pine's character engaged in criminal and if I may say so fundamentally stupid behavior involving threatening a cop with a deadly weapon because he thought the cop was hitting on his wife, Darcy. He describes the incident--which began when Darcy received a text message and wouldn't tell him whom it was from, and he tried to grab the phone away--in the characteristic way that abusers do, minimizing his own behavior and portraying it as a big misunderstanding.

He didn't hit her, he says. He scared her, but he didn't hit her.

They almost never admit they hit her. They only do it when they can't avoid it, and then they'll say it wasn't that hard, and they'll talk about how they didn't mean it or it was an accident or she deserved it.

Sometimes they will alternate between these minimizing lies.

The character then went to the home, I think it was, of this cop who had been friends with Darcy for years and who, according to Chris Pine's character3, has "always had a thing" for her, and took him for a ride in his truck with a gun on the dashboard to say, "Stay away from my wife."

So, well, the way he tells it, the cop and his cop friends prosecute him for this, and the court enacts a restraining order so he can't be with his wife and child.

Now, friends, I don't know. Okay? I don't know. Is it possible that the courts would enact a restraining order protecting Darcy and not the cop he actually threatened with the gun? Maybe. Is it probable that this would happen if she herself didn't also press charges? I don't know. I do know that for many, maybe even most, women who are afraid of men of their acquaintance, it's fucking hard to get a restraining order. You have to prove a lot of shit beyond "he tried to take my phone away", and sure, "he pulled a gun on my friend because he thought the friend had contacted me" will go a long way toward that in some courts4, but not if you, the victim, are standing there saying, no, there's no abuse, it's fine, it's all fine.

"I scared her," the character says, "but I didn't hit her."

I don't know whether to believe him or not, but for the purposes of this discussion I'm not sure it matters.

Because the scaring, the intimidation, that's abuse too.

I have been afraid of a lot of people in my life. I've been afraid of my mother, my sister, kids on the bus, guys at work5, guys at school, teachers, men on the street, men at the gym, you know, there are a lot of men on this list, but you know which man is not, has never been on it?

My husband. He fucks up sometimes but he doesn't intimidate me, he doesn't let his anger turn into something he can use against me to make me feel small and afraid. We argue--we argue a lot about money these days--and sometimes it gets loud, and sometimes we say things we shouldn't, both of us. And I wish it wasn't that way. But he doesn't scare me.

He certainly wouldn't scare me over a text message, even if it was a text message from someone he thought might want to sleep with me. Because you know what? My husband knows I'm queer, and he knows I'm still in touch with some of the women I've had things with in the past.6 This is a man who, when I came out to him, was so uneducated as to think it must mean I was telling him I wanted to sleep with women while I was with him; this is a man who knows that if I had lived closer to a woman named Nikki before I met him I would probably be in a relationship with her right now, and who knows that now I live within an hour of her and sometimes we hang out. He doesn't get jealous about it. He doesn't get possessive and controlling. He doesn't yell at me for talking to any of these women and he doesn't try to intimidate me or them into cutting off contact. Because he respects and trusts me.

In the movie, the incident is portrayed mostly from the abuser's point of view. When we see Darcy's side of it, what little we see is her visibly feeling conflicted and still loving him. Then he saves the day and she leaps into his arms.

The whole thing is portrayed as a big misunderstanding. It's heavily implied that she misunderstood what he was trying to do when he grabbed for the phone, because grabbing for someone else's phone out of their hand is supposed to be totally innocent and not a huge sign of disrespect for their belongings, boundaries, autonomy and personal space. Then the way he tells the story is perfectly tailored to make it seem like it was all blown out of proportion and we shouldn't judge him harshly for it, because what he did wasn't really that bad. But the real misunderstanding is his misunderstanding--the part where he lets regret color his voice--the part that means it wasn't even worth it.

The text message was from her sister.

Friends, the way this is revealed--the way he says it--we are meant to sympathize with the character, oh, he just made a mistake. But what that would mean is, if Darcy had received a text message from her cop friend, Chris Pine's character's behavior would have been justified. And it wouldn't. Nothing justifies abusive behavior.

She wouldn't tell him whom the text was from when he asked. That could be nothing. Or it could show that he's been asking her that kind of thing and she resents it, and/or that "my sister" has been an unacceptable answer in the past, one he wouldn't believe.

It wasn't her who got the ball rolling on pressing charges. Maybe that's coincidence. Maybe it means he's already taught her she deserves his treatment or that there's nothing she can do about it, nowhere she can go.

She takes him back; he gets her pregnant again. Maybe he was sorry, maybe he learned his lesson, maybe they're happy and maybe she wanted this.

Or maybe, just maybe, he was on the news as a real life goddamn hero, and everybody was talking about how he couldn't let that train take out the town where his wife and child were living, and she didn't feel like she could stand up in the face of that and say she didn't want him back, knew she would be shouted down if she tried to say he was anything less than a fucking angel, that maybe someone could save a town but still be an abusive asshole. Because we don't, as a culture, believe that's possible.

Maybe she thought it was a sign he was going back to that sweet, caring, romantic man she fell in love with, that this was proof he had changed. Maybe he had; I don't know. It's never resolved, how he treats her, what happens with them.

The little epilogue text at the end of the movie tells us they have a second child on the way. I'm sure that we the viewers are supposed to see this as proof that she's happy with him, because obviously she wouldn't consent to sex or to getting pregnant if she didn't want to be with him.

And I guess if you ignore the reality of intimate partner rape and of men who browbeat and manipulate their female romantic partners into getting pregnant, that makes sense.

The character was abusive. The way it's presented in the movie, we're supposed to see the abuse as "not that bad" or possibly "not really abuse", but it is that bad and it is abuse. He saves the day and he gets her back. His past behavior is erased. We're not even shown that he learned any kind of lesson from the restraining order.7 There's no indication that he won't do exactly the same thing again, or worse. But he's A Hero, so it's all good now.

Abusers can be heroes. It's entirely possible. Someone can do something amazing and awesome in public and still be an asshole in private. It happens all the time. The problem comes in when, as a culture, we pretend this somehow makes up for the abuse. Because it doesn't.

So let's look at the story another way. For "oh how sweet, he doesn't want anything to happen to his wife and child," read, "he still sees them as his possessions even though she kicked him out". Remember that if he had failed, not only would he have been killed, but Darcy and the child probably would have too. It's not exactly the same as, but not entirely unlike, the abusive dudes who kill their wives or girlfriends and children before killing themselves because they don't want anyone else to have their possessions.

And there will be those who say I'm reading too much into this; save your breath. I've heard it before. You could be right; like I keep saying, maybe the character has changed, maybe he's learned something, maybe he really was doing it all to save her, maybe even to prove himself to her. Maybe he goes home to her and treats her, not like a princess, but like a human being, an equal partner, and trusts her and doesn't "let" her have whatever friends she wants because he knows it's not his to "allow".

But the movie should have shown us that, if that's what they wanted us to believe. Otherwise it's irresponsible storytelling. And more than that, it sends an irresponsible message.

By telling the story of abuse from the abuser's point of view, we legitimize the abuser and marginalize the victim. By taking him at his word when he says he didn't hit her and implies it wasn't really a big deal, we minimize the reality of abuse.

The reality of abuse is minimized enough already.

1. On the basis that while Darcy and her sister talk about the runaway train before they know Chris Pine's character is on it, I don't think the sister has an actual name; Denzel Washington's character's daughters only talk to each other about him; Rosario Dawson's character talks to at least one other women, but she is a nameless, faceless receptionist or administrative assistant on the other end of a telephone; none of the reporters are given names, nor, I don't think, do they talk to each other; and the diner server neither has a name (unless she was wearing a nametag I didn't notice) nor speaks to anyone but the dude with the ponytail and the big truck.
2. I love my dad. He doesn't always get it, but when he does, he really gets it.
3. The character's belief that this man wants to sleep with or date his wife, or whatever, is not evidence of anything either way. Abusive, controlling men are often very jealous and often believe that any man who talks to their intimate partner is trying to "steal" her. I'm not sure if this is just because of the controlling and possessive aspect to the abuse or if it is also informed by some kind of subconscious knowledge that not every man will treat her like shit and if she figures it out she'll leave. Or maybe that's conscious knowledge, I don't know.
4. There are courts where this won't mean jack shit. There are courts where "doesn't want another man talking to his wife" will be seen as evidence of "loves her deeply, puts her on a pedestal".
5. Not where I work now, but in the past.
6. I'm not in touch with any of the men--it just didn't work out that way.
7. One of the first, if not the first, scenes of the movie is Chris Pine's character stalking his wife and child. He drives his pickup truck over to where he knows they'll be and watches them from, presumably, just outside the restraining order's radius. And I thought, oh god, we have a divorced or broken up relationship and he's going to get her back by saving the day; I hate when that happens. I didn't know it could be this much worse.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I have just discovered this excellent work of HP gen fanfic by Thanfiction entitled Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness. It is absolutely amazing and chronicles the offscreen badassery in which we never got to see the DA engaging in Deathly Hallows. It is Neville-centric and made of utter win.

I keep saying to myself, reading it, that this is the book I wanted to read. I'm only up to chapter 8. I have no doubt it will continue to be just as awesome right up until the end.

I am going to talk about the awesome but I don't want to spoil anyone for the fic (BECAUSE I EXPECT YOU ALL TO READ IT IT IS AMAZING), so I'm going to talk about it under the cut. )

Anyway, this fic? This fic has got me on the delicious emotional rollercoaster, has got me feeling that same sense of adrenaline-fueled suspense, has got me throwing my hands up in joy and squeeing and covering my mouth and my eyes welling up and nodding helplessly because it's so perfect because yes that's what happens of course of course just like my early experience with the books, during the three-year summer when I devoured one through four in a week (Goblet of Fire in thirty-six hours not stopping to sleep and then straight to work in a daze feeling like I was high it was the best summer ever).

This is the book Deathly Hallows should have been.

Oh, all right, it isn't everything, it doesn't give us anything of Harry's story (because we know it already), but if we had got this in between the important parts of the camping, it would have been perfect.

An unprecedented seven out of four pawprints. Read it now.

...Yeah

May. 14th, 2009 11:41 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
Memo to self: Reread Knife and write glowing review, as was the plan in February until I got sidetracked by the fact that my copy was in [livejournal.com profile] bloodchan's possession.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So of course today I went to see OotP, and as usual I went with teeny notebook in hand, ready to take teeny notes, so that I could then come home and write a review.

But first, let me say that I was literally the only person at my showing who dressed up (although, sadly, without my "TRUST SNAPE" armband; I can't find it since the move). Yes, I know, I didn't go to the midnight showing, but I pretty much couldn't--in my town the only people who get to go to those are the ones who win the relevant radio contests, and I never win those things. But seriously. You can't tell me nobody dresses up on actual release day because they weren't hip enough to get a ticket for the night before. Come on, rural Michigan fandom. You're letting the side down.

Something, however, that I found delightful was the presence of the lady sitting directly in front of me, who was earnestly explaining to the wide-eyed tots she had accompanied to the cinema exactly why the ending of HBP proves Snape is a Good Guy. It was beautiful. I leaned forward and squealed, "I like you!" but she, quite sensibly, ignored the crazy girl behind her who had come alone and in costume.

But now to the point. )

All in all really, truly excellent. Six out of four pawprints and if Severus turns out evil I'll eat my carefully-cabled alpaca/silk hat.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
(One of these days I really am going to have to get going on the little pawprint images I was going to make for these review things I do.)

Forgot to cut this the first time. Anyway. Within: Review. )

Squee...?

Sep. 6th, 2005 11:07 am
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So I saw Red Eye last night.

It rocked.

Cillian Murphy will always have my lust, no matter what sort of character he plays. He can be an evil, evil bastard and I will still wish to pounce upon him like a pouncing thing that pounces. With lots of pouncing. And then, the oral sex.1

My god, that movie was awesome.

Pardon me, I'm feeling lots of incoherent rage at the moment because large numbers of people in the library are being fucking loud for no reason.

I just.

I can't even.

Six pawprints.

1. Except for the part where I cross that out, because, damn.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
My new boyfriend is hot. In both senses of the word.

Four pawprints. Parts are trite, but again...hot.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
(It would have been six, but anything with Katie Holmes in gets an automatic deduction in the amount of one pawprint just on principle.)

I have seen this movie twice within the last three days. It would have been two days--I would have been doing this yesterday--had I not had to work. I intend to see it again just as soon as I can scrape together the cash.

If you haven't seen it yet, seriously, what the fuck are you doing sitting in front of your computer? Beg, borrow or steal the ticket price and go see this movie. Now. I am in no way kidding.

Back? Great. So, like, what happens when the Batmobile catches a flat? )
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So I finally saw Kingdom of Heaven today.

I had no idea Remus and Dr. Bashir were in this movie. Was pretty psyched to see them; they did a fantastic job, of course. But the best part about that is in fact that Dr. Bashir is now in a movie with a character named Odo. No lie. Check the credits.

Had a pretty easy time convincing Maris that my boyfriend was much more attractive than hers, but then, I have a crush on a deformed guy in a mask, too, so I guess I can't tease her too much. XD

(In point of fact, although I had known about the whole masked!leper!king thing beforehand, when I first saw Ed Norton on screen my immediate thought was, "ZOMG! Since when is Erik the king of Jerusalem?!" Hee.)

I am deeply. DEEPLY. In love. With this movie. I am in no way kidding. This movie and I? Will be very happy together until the end of our days having lots and lots of half-human, half-celluloid freak-babies. I mean! Catapults! Siege towers! I say, you won't find those in the SCA! Methods of defending against siege towers consisting of more than "Just fire stuff at them until they make the wall, then kill anything moving that comes out of them"! Gah! Ring maille! Crossbows! People fighting with bastard swords and hand axes! *geekgasm*

Oh, yeah, and Orlando Bloom. He's hot. I kind of want to fuck him. Except for the "kind of" part.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
I was supposed to do this yesterday, but my mum had just come back from Vegas, and there were Christmas presents from my sister and my mum had bought me a bracelet1 and then there was book-buying to be done and I had to go to work...

All of these are merely excuses. I am a lazy, lazy Wolf.

Without further ado, therefore, I present to you the promised detailed analysis of the "Fantastic Four" trailer.

The difficult bit about looking critically at this film through this trailer is that the trailer isn't really very detailed in itself. We get--I can't remember if there was a voice accompanying the text on the screen, but it doesn't much matter--acknowledgement of the basic storyline, a slew of action shots--short ones, fast, one after the other--and that's basically that.

First trailers for action-y films often do this, but I find it quite annoying. Even the X-Men film trailers gave us some of Chuck's lines.

All that aside, Ioan is looking, as usual, edible, which, combined with the fact that he is currently portraying a character with the ability to "bend, stretch, and expand his body in any imaginable way"2, causes my mind to go to a very happy portion of the gutter. Having done some research on the Marvel site in the time between learning he had been cast and, well, now, I feel personally qualified to attest that this is a role in which he will be truly excellent. I'm very happy about this in general. Although I'm not really up on these things3, I know that I personally had not, for example, heard of Hugh Jackman until X-Men, and though the Fantastic Four comics do not have so much of a following as X-Men among my personal friends, I had heard of them, which, given my non-comics-oriented upbringing4, is saying something. Judging by the state of Fanfiction.net, as well, one can infer that his role as Lancelot (whatever my personal misgivings about the film) has acquired for him a certain number of annoying, obsessive teenage fangirls on this side of the pond, and as everyone knows, you haven't made it big in America until you have vapid sixteen-year-olds kissing posters of you in their bedrooms.

My major hope for this film, although it does, from what little I have seen, look like it will be rather good, is that when I mention one of my favourite actors the other people in the immediate vicinity will not say, "What? Who?"5

I have to say, however, that I remain unimpressed with the choice of Jessica Alba for the part of Sue Storm. It's not only that I harbor some vague and irrational dislike for Jessica Alba--not necessarily as a person; I don't know enough about her; but certainly as an actress--but also that the character is supposed to be blonde and blue-eyed. It's the same set of reservations I had about Colin Farrell as Alex the Pretty Good6, minus "too old for the part". I think Sarah Michelle Gellar might have been an effective choice, although she may be too short. But then, how tall is Jessica Alba? She doesn't look, to me, to be built like someone who's 5'6".7

Tangent over. The film looks, as I said earlier, from what little I saw, to be rather good; I described it to April as "'X-Men' good", I believe, and I quite enjoyed "X-Men".9 I'm very excited about it and continue to anticipate its wild success; future trailers may add to or detract from this excitement and anticipation. Your mileage may vary. Not valid in all areas. Some restrictions may apply.

1. I have a pride flag wrist cuff from Hot Topic, and it's gotten pretty ratty over the months--even though I throw it in with my colours when I do the laundry--so Mum brought me this little magnetic-closure charm bracelet from the Hallmark store in, I gather, one of the airports, with a little rainbow bead on it. Definitely much classier-looking, although less obvious. What I would really like, however, if anyone would make such a thing, is a bisexual pride flag bead or charm. It sucks being a kind of queer that lots of other people think doesn't exist or doesn't need its own pride movement.
2. Per the film's official site.
3. Or, at least, wasn't up on these things until well after X-Men came out.
4. Not that many people necessarily have comics-oriented upbringings. I'm just saying, the comic about which my father used to wax nostalgic was "Little Lulu". I didn't get interested in any of this stuff until college.
5. Instead, these people will much more likely say, "Oh, is that how you pronounce it? I couldn't figure it out."
6. Also sometimes known as Alexander the FABulous--but I tend to reserve that title for MR!Lex.
7. Of course, I have an odd impression of these things, because I probably don't appear to be built like someone who's 5'8"; I probably look much taller, owing to my tiny, tiny head.8
8. I wear children's spectacles. I'm not kidding.
9. I didn't "only enjoy 'X-Men' because it had Ray Park in". That's an unsubstantiated rumour. In actual fact I only saw it because it had Ray Park in. My ensuing complete obsession with it was just an unanticipated bonus. Besides, Patrick Stewart! Ian McKellen!
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
So, I've just managed to get my internet back after a slight battle with my ISP over whether or not I had in fact paid my bill last Friday. (I totally had. Bastards.)

Over the weekend, Chi and I went to see The Grudge. Oh my god, seriously, go see this film. But either pee first or bring a change of pants, because it'll startle you out of your freaking mind.

The Wolf gives it an unprecedented six and one-half pawprints. SPOILERS AHEAD OMG )

Is it bad that a horror movie set in Tokyo makes me want to move to Tokyo all the more?

And what is it with me - so, now that I've been to a ridiculously elaborate haunted house and not been scared by it, I'm immune to horror movies? I used to be the world's biggest wuss, and yet this film didn't even scare me, whereas 10% of the audience in my theater ran out about fifteen minutes in.

Still not into slasher flicks though. Again, don't chop people up and expect me to like it. There's a reason I almost failed Anat./Phys. I mean, besides not paying attention in class. And did I mention I can barely stand to handle raw meat?
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
This is the Wolf's reaction to The Village. It is rife with spoilery goodness. Do not, repeat, do NOT read it before seeing the movie or it will RUIN it for you. You have been warned.

The bad colour is not to be seen. It attracts them. )

Four pawprints. I can't think about this anymore, it's making me jump at small noises.
slythwolf: Some unlucky soul has an incomplete Pai Sho set. (Default)
As posted in my DeadJournal.

I enjoyed the King Arthur movie, but there were lots of minor points of historical inaccuracy. I ignored them with minimal difficulty until SPOILERS )

I feel kind of sad that it wasn't as great as it potentially could have been, to the point where it disappoints me and I don't want to see it again. Which saddens me further because I feel like a bad fangirl for not jumping at the prospect of staring at larger-than-life!Ioan for two hours as often as possible.

Although, seriously, I hate facial hair*, but he totally makes it bearable.

*Except on Oded Fehr and Sean Connery. But they are special cases.

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