15 Movies – Part 3

15 movies that stuck with me, in no particular order, part 3

11. The Doom Generation: The one that started it all, the movie that cemented my devotion Gregg Araki and post-modern queer cinema in a single night, and thank the fat busted Jesus that the Hollywood Video in Glendora, ass crack of suburbia, had it on the shelf. All do respect for the Godfather, John Waters, our exulted creator, but his movies never spoke to me the way Araki’s did. They belong to the West coast and the 90s in same absolute way that Water’s all belong to Baltimore and the 80s. If you know what I mean. I wrote my thesis on the post-modern satire of Araki’s Nowhere, arguably his best work. The professor asked me what grade I thought I should get. I said a B. And I got a B. I still wonder if there was any actual criteria for my grade beyond what I felt I should get. It would be sort of perfect if there wasn’t. Considering the subject matter.

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12. Shelter: It’s hard to put my finger on why exactly I love this movie so much. The plot is middling, the dialog is basically awful. And yet, it pulls on my heart strings every time I watch it. Young artist reunites and forms a friendship with his absent best friend’s older brother and they fall in love amidst the drama of poverty paired with dysfunctional family drama. The shots of San Pedro and Laguna Beach more than make up for the mistaken portrayal of those two far apart cities as being next to each other. It sounds boring when I say that the cinematography is the best thing about this film, but the perfectly framed shots, long pans of the ocean, and moody switches between love story and family story are the reason nobody notices the crap dialog or the shaky plot. I could turn the sound off and watch this whole film, and every second would be perfect. The acting of the two mains compensates for the dialog and the plot as well, although supporting roles aren’t reliable. I didn’t think that much of it the first time I saw it, but I find myself watching it over and over. Especially when I want something beautiful to zone out to.

13. Cool World: Young Brad Pitt, young(er) Kim Basinger… what’s not to love? Slutty cartoon temptress Holli Would tries to trick her creator into making her a real girl, but everything goes horribly wrong. I watched this movie with my dad when I was a kid, then I found it again in high school in the dollar bin at the library. It’s amazingly campy.

14. SLC Punk: I used to think this movie was so important. It spoke to me, man. If there’s ever any indication to what a tool I was, it’s the fact that I thought SLC Punk was deep. But I still love it. The hair, the angst. The teen-age declarations of truth, beauty, and the American way. It stinks of nostalgia. It’s probably been my most favorite movie for the longest period of time.

15. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry: I get so much shit for liking Adam Sandler, and I don’t care. I love him and I want to lick his face. People will call me a philistine, and maybe I am, but Sandler movies, in addition to being about directionless man-children, are also about loving your friends and your family, being there for them and supporting them no matter what. When Sandler is good, he’s heart-clenchingly good. As in angelic, and Chuck and Larry is a prime example of this. When you love your bros, you’ll do anything for them. Up to and including gay marrying them so their kids don’t lose their health insurance. Or whatever weird reason they had to get married for.

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Sadly, I don’t have much else to contribute.

I binge watched some of the new shows. Forever is like New Amsterdam, except not broody, and not nearly as vapid. I think it works. I like it, and I want it to do well. The big bugaboo mystery that they’re starting is sort of a whatever for me, but I understand why they need it. Maybe I’ll settle down and be into it as we go along.

Selfie is actually way more engaging than I thought it would be. Come for the Karen Gillian/John Show ship, stay for the Karen Gilliam/Accessories OTP. It’s trying to make me feel Better Off Ted feels, and it’s almost kind of nearly there. The casual sexual assault the boss seems to visit on the entire office is for sure an analogy for how C-suite dick bags are raping our country. I’m in for now.

I watched exactly 15 minutes of Blackish before Ben made me turn it to a drama. He hates sitcoms. I think I’m onboard. I laughed my ass off a couple of times. And I relate to a lot of the shit going on. You don’t want to be promoted or hired just because of your ethnicity, but ethnicity is kind of a selling point in some places, so you use it, but then you don’t want to get labeled, but you also don’t want to be a sell out… the struggle is real. I’m definitely going to watch more. I’m not sure how they’re going to make a whole show about it, but I always think that about sitcoms. The sits always seem to get so stale.

Anyway. Work is, of course and as usual, taking up all of my time and brain power which is why it’s basically all I can do at the end of the day to turn on the Hulu and paint my damn nails.

15 Movies – Part 2

15 movies that stuck with me, in no particular order, part 2. Read part one here

6. Tank Girl: The fact that Lori Petty is apparently kind-of a bitch doesn’t stop me from loving some Tank Girl. I have the comics too. At least, some of them. There’s kind of a long tail on the Tank Girl story. Apparently at least one person is still making comics. Although I’m pretty sure the last iteration needed a Kickstarter to fund it, despite it’s legacy and cult status. If you want an idea of how well that’s going…

7. Die Hard: This is the only Christmas movie anyone will ever need. It’s got everything. Blood, sweat and twinkly lights. And, setting a bad bitch precedent, Holly Gennaro-McClane is a stunning counter-point to hero John McClane. It’s a family favorite. Get on board.

8. Sliding Doors: The plot follows two versions of the same life. One in which the main character makes her train, and one in which she doesn’t. I used to watch it every time I felt worried about the outcome of something. Until feminist Ben pointed out that in each version of the movie her life is only okay when she meets the right man. Everything else she accomplishes along the way is basically meaningless. So now I can’t watch it anymore.

9. Legally Blond: This is my new go-to movie for down times. Elle is smart, strong, resourceful, and energetic. Even though there is a romantic component in the movie, her achievement hardly has anything to do with him. It’s basically the most feminist film on the market.

10. The Birdcage: I wanted Robin Williams and Nathan Lane to be my dads so badly the first time I saw this movie. I rewatched it recently and, man Val only gets more obnoxious with age. He was such a butthole. Look, dude, if you’d rather have Calista Flockhart, than the powerhouse duo of Williams and Lane, you can have her. Leave the cool artist dads to me, take your basic bitch lady and die in suburbia.

Good News: Your Dick is the Least Important Part of You

An anonymous reader requested that I talk a little bit about penis size. Namely, how very sad it is that porn seems to have made average guys feel inadequate, and how very unimportant size is anyway.

Your wish is my command.

PENIS SIZE IS NOT IMPORTANT.

Women have had this experience for a long time. It seems to be catching up with men lately in other areas, but especially in the penis department. The entertainment industry, in this case the porn industry, makes its trade by displaying unnaturally perfect examples of unattainable physical beauty in order to evoke an emotional response on the part of the consumer. In the battering-ram sensibilities of porn, bigger is better. So a nine inch penis is better than a seven inch penis, itself already two inches above average size.

And gentlemen, when I say that five inches is average size, I mean that, in the average of three penis size studies puts 5.75 inches at exactly the 50th percentile. Smack in the middle. Half of all dicks are smaller than 5.75 inches.

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As you can see from the chart, if your dick is seven inches, you are in the 93rd percentile. 93% of dicks are smaller than yours.

But, none of this matters. Your dick could be three inches long, with only .04% of dicks being smaller, or you could -gasp- have no dick whatsoever, which happens to be the reality for many transgender men, and it wouldn’t matter at all.

NEWSFLASH: Dudes without dicks are just as valid as dudes with two dicks. Dudes with seven inch dicks are just as valid as dudes with three inch dicks.

Your dick really is the least important part of you.

Your dick has no baring whatsoever on your ability to please a sexual partner.

If you feel like 2-4 inches of penis is what’s standing between you and a fulfilling life, you need to reevaluate your priorities. Hell, of you feel like 2-4 inches of penis is what’s standing between you and a pleasant morning, you need to reevaluate your priorities. Whichever end of that penis you see yourself on.

There is more to sex than penetration, there’s more to penetration than penetration with your penis.

Figure out what is possible, figure out what you care about, and go with that. If you want to have pleasurable sex with someone you care about, penis has nothing to do with that. If you want to have bad sex with multitudes of strangers, if you want to have self-confidence and take pride in your body, if you want to win friends and influence people, penis has nothing to do with any of these things.

Put porn and other media where it belongs: in entertainment. The guys in porn have clown-shoe penises because that’s the unrealistic standard that they’re promoting. Same with the tits, and the plots, and all of that shit. Real people, real sex, has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

The Most Thought Provoking Slave/Master Porn You’ll Read This Year – Review of “Anchored” by Rachel Haimowitz

cover53361-mediumAnchored by Rachel Haimowitz

Thanks to NetGalley and Riptide Publishing for the review copy.

Riptide does it again. There’s no wrong way to go with these guys, is there?

Anybody who doesn’t have a stomach for violence, or for alternate universes where basic human rights are not only not a thing, they’re kind of a new idea altogether, should not read this book. There are horrific beatings, and violent rape, although they’re not told in such a way as to be arousing, unlike some other books I’ve reviewed with varying degrees of approval.

Anchored is one of two books set in a universe where slavery, specifically Western slavery, where slaves have no rights, was never made illegal. It is an extremely dark look at the notion of privilege, ownership, and power, and how those things can influence relationships. A psychologist would have a field day with these characters.

Daniel is a successful news anchor and lifelong slave, owned by the corporation who produces his show. When the flagging network turns to “leasing” him out nights and weekends, he can only be happy that he’s been leased to one man, and not hundreds, like some other television slaves.

Carl buys Daniel as a companion, not only because he’s admired him on TV, but also because he’s a fellow news man, and thinks Daniel would be a good friend outside of the bedroom. His complete lack of insight into the horrors of slavery was familiar to me in that I’ve seen the same shocking obtuseness in some of my #notallmen friends. To a much smaller degree, both situations tend to look like an otherwise good man trying, and mostly failing to peer across the veil of culture to see the very real divide between himself and someone he would have as a fellow.

Daniel is terrified of getting fucked by his strange new master, and the man’s inability to see his reality comes across as either cruelty or idiocy more often then not. Something I’m sure a lot of us can relate to. Whether they can get along, whether they can provide any small comfort to each other in a world so stratified, is yet to be seen.

This is the second edition of Anchored. Riptide has revised it, and added more than 10,000 words, which sort of makes me wonder what it was like before. The emotional twists and turns that a person is required to make in a situation where he does not have the right of choice are on display, as are the issues we find when a person of privilege tries to relate to someone on whom that privilege is built. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s amazing in it’s own right.

The scope of Anchored is broad, and the emotional landscape it lays out is a veritable mine field, but but it succeeds in being an extremely compelling and provoking thought-experiment that tries to answer the question: Can a slave truly love a master?

Because the only context I have for this is, of course, my own reality, I ended up interpreting a lot of the interaction through the lens of privilege, and to that end, this is a fascinating read all around. Every character is so real in their imperfection, in their raw humanity, that they could be people I know in my own right. When another, wise and maternal slave advises Daniel that it would be better for him if he resigned himself to what she regards as his sexual obligations to their master, I could almost hear my own mother and grandmother speaking in that moment. Her own history, and her own experience keep her a sympathetic character even after this horrific mutation of the birds and the bees talk. For this, and for so many other reasons, this book is a must-read for anyone who can take the violent, disturbing nature of the content.

Ultimately, things get a little too poly-anna for my feminist heart, but I also wasn’t outraged by the turn, and I could easily see myself being pissed had things gone another way. The fact that there is about 50% of a happy ending was, I think, a good choice given the venue. On the one hand, there’s no way a writer could have been so flippant as to give a life-long slave a happy ending, on the other hand, there’s no way a writer could be so cruel as to not give a life-long slave some kind of happy ending. Basically, I ain’t mad.

4 stars out of 5

And I Will Always Cover You – Review of “The Walls of Troy” L. A. Witt

cover53338-mediumThe Walls of Troy
L. A. Witt

Thanks to Netgalley and Samhain Publishing for the review copy.

You guys know I love me some L.A. Witt. She can take a story that might seem dull in another writers hands: mature, career oriented body guard falls for his younger, and saucier charge, and make it a cover to cover compelling read.

Navy copy Iskander Ayhan takes his first bodyguard assignment as yet another step in a military career ladder he desperately wants to climb, but he can’t see how guarding an admiral’s 22 year old son is anything but a joke. The only reason he can think of for the “need” for a body guard would have to do with political grand-standing, something Iskander sees as an all too common waste of taxpayer dollars. But when he gets to his post, it’s anything but grandstanding. If only Troy Dalton would be honest about the very real danger is in.

Troy has a secret, but the chances of him opening up to Iskander are slim to none. That is, until the sparks flying between them prove to me more than just skin deep. Can he trust his new body guard on the basis of their shared sexuality alone? Either way, he’ll have to trust someone. Before it’s too late for both of them.

Like I said, L.A. is the reason to read this book. Her inherent skill in storytelling and pacing take this out of the regular, everyday gay romance for me. The fact that nearly every novel she writes is a new and interesting journey is also a plus. It’s not the story, which is fairly run of the mill, but the way in which it’s told that make the difference between an okay book and a really good one. As usual, this is a good one.

4.5 out of 5 stars

It’s 1 am

… and this is all I have to show for it.

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That is our cat with a hair tie on her tail.

I’ve been putting my forelock back into a ponytail while I’m working because it gets in my eyes.

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It’s not what I’d call a hot look, but it gets the job done.

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15 Movies – Part 1

15 movies that stuck with me, in no particular order, part 1

  1. The Wizard of Oz: A little girl wakes up in a world she can’t relate to and has to journey deeper into the weirdness in order to come out safely on the other side. Also, sparkly shoes. I was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz. I was the Wicked Witch of the West three Halloweens in a row. My grandmother also had the books, which went on beyond the Wizard of Oz. I can’t remember most of it, but the gist is that Dorothy continues to save Oz and be far more awesome than anyone on the farm could ever realize.
  2. Mystery Men: When Ben and I moved to Portland we realized that, between us, we had four copies of Mystery Men: two VHS, a DVD and a BluRay. Of the two VHS, one of them was a Spanish-subtitled version I picked up at the friends of the library bookstore in Glendora for $1. The other came with him, and the DVD and BluRay were both purchased in the last 10 years. This movie has everything. It’s basically Mighty Ducks, but with awesome superheroes and no dumb kids.
  3. Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood: My dad used to let me stay up late to watch In Living Color because he was afraid I wasn’t getting any “culture” growing up with my white grandma and step-grandfather. I grew up on the Waynes family. I never really watched SNL, so when I think about the comedies my childhood, it usually has at least one Wayanes attached to it somehow. Don’t Be a Menace is probably the best example of the spooftacular style that went on to be most popular in movies like White Chicks and Scary Movie. I’m sure it can’t be as awesome as it seemed, but I wanted to be a Wayanes so bad when I was a kid.
  4. Spaceballs: This is another dad-influenced pick. I’m pretty sure I watched Spaceballs before I ever saw Star Wars. In fact, I remember confusing the two and getting made fun of for it. I have way more love in my heart for Mel Brooks than George Lucas could ever inspire, even if we don’t count episodes 1-3. I tried to show Ben how great Mel Brooks was with Blazing Saddles, and it wasn’t even a third as funny as I remembered. It was kind of a reverse-Django in that long instances of silence were punctuated with the N word. Since then I’ve been afraid to watch my fave because I’m not sure I could take it if that scene with the storm troopers and the giant comb wasn’t as awesome as it was when I was 15.
  5. But I’m a Cheerleader: I watched this movie in high school because Kate was shocked I’d never seen it, and I instantly fell in love with it’s gooey, campy goodness. Not to downplay the massive sex-appeal of Clea Duval, but I knew this movie was for me when the butchy tom boy with a shaved head tells the entire house that she likes balls. As in man balls, and the counselors say that there’s no way she likes balls because she was abused by her uncle, so she runs away in tears. Her butch-ness was played for laughs, in the same way as the guys fayness was, but I still loved every second of that movie. It’s not something that anybody could get away with today. Already a lot of it is pretty dated. But I don’t care, I like balls!!!

Read part two here