Friday, October 30, 2020

Upcoming Blogathons

This is me quick mentioning three blogathons that are coming up in the next couple of months.  I'm joining them and thought you might like to know about them too!

First up, a week from today the With Glamour and Panache: A Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly Musicals Blogathon begins Nov. 5 and runs all weekend.  It's hosted by Along the Brandywine, and it's a pretty small event so far, so there's lots of room for more entries!  I'll be contributing a list of my ten favorite Gene Kelly movies.

Later next month comes A Blogathon to be Thankful For hosted by 18 Cinema Lane from Nov. 19 to 22.  I'll be contributing a review of a little, obscure, forgotten film called Rocky (1976).

And next month will be the 2nd Happy Holidays Blogathon hosted by the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society from December 11 to 13.  I'll be contributing a review of the strangely charming film Holiday Affair (1949).

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Halloween Femnista Article about "The Blue Dahlia"


This year, our Halloween issue of Femnista focuses on film noir and other stories of obsession.  My article, "A Noir Rhapsody in Blue," is out today, and you can read it here.  It's mostly about the film The Blue Dahlia (1946) and how screenwriter Raymond Chandler had to change the ending, but also a little about my obsession with Alan Ladd...

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Femnista Article about "Falling Snow" by Skye Hoffert

 


I've got a new Femnista article out today, my exploration of why I love the Snow White retelling Falling Snow by Skye Hoffert, which is included in the Five Magic Spindles anthology.  You can read my article here.

What's your favorite version of Snow White?

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Why Do I Love Din Djarin?

Good morning, and welcome to the last of the rambly posts where I natter on, trying to explain why I hold a particular Star Wars character dear!

I haven't loved Din Djarin for nearly as long as I've loved Cassian Andor (almost 4 years) or Han Solo (more than 20 years).  In fact, I've loved him for less than a year, as I was late to the Mandalorian game.  And yet, my love for him is as fierce and strong as my love for Cassian -- they tie for my second-favorite Star Wars character.  And I probably have more merch revolving around him than I do the other two combined.  (That's partly due to the fact that there's so much Mandalorian merch available right now, though.)

Like Han Solo and Cassian Andor, I primarily love Din Djarin because he hasn't got anyone to love him.  Like the others, he's quite sure he's better off alone, and initially shuns any sort of relationships with others because he's been hurt in the past and doesn't want to be hurt again.  Like Han, Djarin was orphaned very young, but unlike Han, he did not grow up fending for himself.  Adopted by the Mandalorians, Djarin grew up in a very structured environment.  Yet he struck out on his own at some point.  While he still follows the Mandalorian creed, he did not seem to be part of a unified group when we first met him.  Instead, he traveled the galaxy hunting people for money.  

Like Han and Cassian, he's engaged in a less-than-savory occupation, but unlike them, his job is legal.  Like them, he has a strict moral code that he adheres to but, unlike Han and Cassian, his comes from outside his own conscience.  We get the sense that both Han and Cassian have lines they have determined they will not cross, whatever those may be.  Din Djarin has lines he will not cross because This Is The Way.  

Of course, Han Solo is supposed to be a cool outlaw like Butch Cassidy or the Sundance Kid.  And Cassian is supposed to be a cool spy like James Bond.  But Din Djarin is supposed to be a cool bounty hunter like Josh Randall (Steve McQueen on Wanted: Dead or Alive [1958-61]) or Vin Tanner (Eric Close on The Magnificent Seven [1998-2000]), and bounty hunters get paid by working WITHIN the law, not outside it.

Anyway, though Djarin is a member of the Bounty Hunters Guild and a Mandalorian, he is very much a loner.  He lives alone, generally works alone, and even eats alone.  Han and Cassian had sidekicks when we first met them, but Djarin didn't.  He acquires a sidekick of sorts, but a sidekick that he must nurture and care for, not one that is a fun buddy to hang out with.  Though his sidekick turns out to have wonderful powers, it's also fairly helpless, and that appeals to Djarin's protective instincts.

And yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah, that totally appeals to MY protective instincts.  As a firmly dedicated Protector of All Whom I Love, I often find other Protectors pretty darn attractive.  Even when they shroud themselves in armor and masks and nearly never reveal their faces.  I actually tend to be attracted more to WHO a character IS than what they actually look like anyway, so the whole mask-and-armor thing hasn't been a hindrance to my growing affections at all.  Maybe because I read a LOT and am used to not physically seeing the faces of characters?  Dunno.

Anyway, Din Djarin must care for the Little One who becomes his ward, and that leads him to care about him as well.  Funny how those two things can get tangled up, isn't it?  We can start to care about someone we care for, and we generally want to care for someone we already care about.  Doesn't really matter which comes first, in the end.

I have no idea where season two of The Mandalorian will take us.  I'm excited to find out, but I'm also nervous because... I love Din Djarin dearly now, and I worry they'll somehow mess up his character in the next season and then I'll be annoyed.  Really hoping that doesn't happen, heh.  In some ways, it feels emotionally more risky right now to love Djarin than to love Han and Cassian because... I know how their stories end.  No more surprises there.  But Din Djarin?  It would appear that his story is just beginning, and we have to tag along for the ride to find out where it ends.

Okay, enough rambling about the marvelousness of a ruthless, compassionate, faceless, handsome loner who adopts a foundling.  I'll just end this by saying that I can only dress up like one Star Wars character for Halloween this month, which means I had to pick one, and you might think that would be a hard choice, but it wasn't because... I already have my helmet, and this seemed like a good reason to get a hoodie that looks like Beskar armor... 


This has been my third and final post for the Everything Star Wars blogathon hosted by Coffee, Classics, and Craziness and I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read).  This has been such a fun event!  Thank you for hosting it, Eva-Joy and Katie!

By the way, if you also love The Mandalorian, I've reviewed and analyzed each episode in extreme depth, complete with hundreds of screencaps:

"The Child" (2019)
"The Sin" (2019)
"Sanctuary" (2019)
"Redemption" (2020)

Friday, October 16, 2020

Why Do I Love Cassian Andor?

I said in my post yesterday about Han Solo that the main reason I love Han is that he needs to be loved.  This is also true for why I love Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).  In fact, I think he needs to be loved even MORE than Han Solo does.  I mean, Han has Chewie for a best friend, so he's not alone in the world.  But Cassian?  He's got nobody.  Well, except saucy droid K-2SO.  And yes, droids can be good friends in the Star Wars world, but... Cassian is still very much alone.

Oh, he's got co-workers.  He's part of the Rebel Alliance.  He has fellow spies, and he's got a cause he's working for, but emotionally, he's alone.

Very alone.

And I think he's miserable.  He has dedicated his life to fighting the Galactic Empire, sacrificing everything to the effort: his own self-respect, his own moral compass, his own needs and desires and comfort and happiness.  Cassian Andor has laid everything about himself down at the feet of the cause.  He's dedicated, he's determined, he's an incredibly effective spy and warrior... and he's miserable.

When we first meet him, Cassian has to kill an informant to keep him from getting captured and spilling information to Imperial troops.  Then he rescues Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) just so he can use her to get to her father, and then carry out his orders to kill her father.  Cassian is ruthless, that's for sure.  And he doesn't appear to like himself better for what he's had to become.  But he considers the Rebel Alliance to be worth more than himself.  He's been fighting for the cause since he was six years old.  It's all he knows.  It's all he has in his life to care about.  

Well, aside from his snarky robot, K-2SO.  But you can only care about a robot in a limited way.  And they can't really care about you, not like a person can.  Don't get me wrong -- I love K-2 and think he's one of the best robot sidekicks ever.  But it's not the same.

And then... Jyn.  She befriends him, sorta.  He befriends her, sorta.  She's as friendless and ruthless and lonely as he is.  And, by the end of their story, they've both found someone who will care about them, and that they can care about.  They've made a connection with someone human, someone to fight for.  Not just a faceless cause, not just a monetary reward or their own survival, but a friend.

Sooooooooooooo... this was another rambly post.  But yeah, I love Cassian because he's broken and miserable and wonderful.  Mmmmmmmm, so much salty goodness there to love!


This has been my second post for the Everything Star Wars Blogathon hosted by I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read) and Coffee, Classics, and Craziness.  Come back tomorrow for one more post, this time about why I love Din Djarin!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Why Do I Love Han Solo?


A couple of years ago, I started to wonder if I really loved Han Solo (Harrison Ford) best of all Star Wars characters.  I mean, he's been my favorite since I saw the original trilogy for my first time when I was in my early teens.  Maybe I just kept loving him out of nostalgia mixed with loyalty?  That happens to me sometimes, that I insist something is still my favorite even if I discover something else I like better right now.  (This happens to me with ice cream flavors, for instance.  I say mint chocolate chip is my favorite, but if you give me a good mocha ice cream, I will probably like it better.)

However, this summer, I showed my kids the original Star Wars trilogy over the course of just a few days.  And I realized that nope, it's not nostalgia.  It's not loyalty.  I really do love Han Solo best.  No other Star Wars character makes my eyes shine and my lips curve up and my heart beat a little faster the way that he does.

And it's not just because Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors.  Nope, I still love Han even when he's played by Alden Ehrenreich.  Though I do prefer him when he's played by Harrison Ford, Han Solo is Han Solo, either way.


So, why do I love him, anyway?

I think I love Han Solo because he needs to be loved.  

In fact, that right there -- that nutshell of a sentence -- is basically why I love many of my favorite characters.  Maybe even most of them.  Possibly all of them, now that I think about it.


I love Han Solo because, when we first meet him, he's convinced he's unlovable.  He's trying his best NOT to be lovable.  He doesn't need any friends except Chewbacca.  He is too cool to care about people, and too cool to care if other people care about him.  (Shh, that sentence totally made sense.)

My dudes and dudettes, you do not get that way by being a happy person.  Show me someone who insists "I don't need anybody" and I will see a person who has been hurt in the past, and hurt badly.  Who is still hurting.  Who desperately needs someone to care about them, care for them.


I volunteer as tribute!  I will care about you, Han Solo!!!  I will dedicate the Star Wars section of my heart to caring about you.  Vehemently.  Passionately.  For decades.  Unreservedly.  You are now mine, I am now yours, and that's what makes the world go 'round.

I think that's why I like Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) so much.  It confirms my belief that Han Solo had been hurt in the past and had created his I'm-too-cool defensive shields as a result.

Anyway.  This post is totally a ramble by now.  But yes, I love Han Solo because he needs someone to love him.  And, over the course of the original trilogy, he finds such people!  Or, such people find him.  He makes actual friends.  He falls in love with someone who loves him back.  He learns how to be caring, how to be cared for, and his whole outlook on life changes as a result.


Also, he's sarcastic.  I love sarcastic characters.  And characters who are super nice and kind and helpful inside, even if you can't always tell at first.  Han didn't become a helpful guy, he always was helpful, even while he was also a scoundrel.  He's right, you know, when he tells Leia that he's a nice man.  He is.  A nice man AND a scoundrel -- not an impossible combination, you know!  Simply an irresistible one.  I could eat him up with a spoon.


So, yeah, I do love Han Solo best, of of all the thousands of characters in the Star Wars universe.  He's a cynic who learns to hope, a loner who learns to befriend, and a hotshot who will always be the best pilot in the galaxy, as far as I'm concerned.


This has been my first contribution for the Everything Star Wars Blogathon hosted by Coffee, Classics, and Craziness and I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read).  Come back tomorrow to find out why I love Cassian Andor!