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The Female Perspective: Don’t Go In The Water…40 Years Later

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Jaws has been one of my all-time favorite movies since as long as I can remember and with it being re-released into theaters for it’s 40th Anniversary I thought, heck, I’ll write a wee little blog post about a big shark and the gang.

Jaws Original Poster (1975)
Jaws Original Poster (1975)

Why Jaws Is Still Awesome

If I had kids I would make it a point to show them Jaws as soon as it was logically possible because it is the epitome of what a horror movie should be: it has great characters, a story and…a giant shark that you don’t even see until near the end of the film!!!

Now, as many people know by now, the reason for this was the malfunctioning shark, Bruce, that just wouldn’t act on demand (those darn mechanical sharks are quite the diva’s, I hear). It was a lucky break for all of us because the amount of tension that is built up by not knowing what the darn shark looks like (even though we know what sharks look like) makes this movie a classic in the horror genre. It builds a level of suspense that few movies can match.

It’s one of those movies that simply holds up (unlike the TV adaptation of The Stand, that thing does not hold up, dear me), the effects are pretty stellar (and minimal) and the shark is scary as all heck.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie you need to get on that. Like now. Oh, there be spoilers ahead!

The Feminism In Jaws

Mr. and Mrs. Brody.
Mr. and Mrs. Brody.

This being a blog with a feminist slant,  I have to chat a little bit about the women in Jaws and this pretty much includes poor, doomed Chrissie at the start and Mrs. Ellen Brody, played by Lorraine Grey. Yeah, so the one thing about Jaws is that it is definitely a man-fest, which actually works quite well in my opinion. While it’s not exactly a pro-women stance, at least the women aren’t relegated to damsels in distress so much as…unimportant, to a certain extent. Don’t get me wrong, Ellen Brody is a great character, she is clearly Brody’s rock, his emotional tether and she does her best to keep him from going nuts but other than a few scenes and a mushy goodbye at Quint’s boat, we don’t get all that much from Ellen (until the sequels, but we’ll not go there in this blog today).

I won’t fault Jaws for being lacking in the lady department because of two reasons: One, Jaws is based on a book and from what I understand (I have not read it) the characters go entirely different ways in a lot of respects and I think that I would have liked Ellen quite a bit less in the book than I did in the movie. Two, Spielberg treated the ladies in the film pretty well (especially for the 70’s) so I’ll give it a pass this time. I’m just grateful there wasn’t any excessive nudity or crap like that! So for a lot of reasons, I give Jaws a pass for being less than awesome on the female front. It needed to be a story about the 3 men, battling the shark, It made sense. Or maybe I’m allowing it because this is one of my favorite movies, hey, I never claimed to be perfect!

My Favorite Scene(s)

I have a few honestly, but my all-time favorite scene that gets me every time? This one, right here.

When the camera zooms in on Brody (while Ellen tries to relax him) I want to scream, it perfectly, PERFECTLY represents the total, poop in your pants fear that Brody is feeling when he sees that poor kid on the yellow raft (aka Alex) get killed. It’s Brody’s worst nightmare, it’s the thing he’d been fearing all this time. Another person has been killed, a child no less, and he was right there, powerless to stop it. Then all goes quiet and you see bloody surf, a torn yellow raft and you get chills. Chills. Things are about to get real folks.

The 3 Amigos- Jaws Style! Quint, Brody and Cooper.
The 3 Amigos- Jaws Style! Quint, Brody and Cooper.

Now, my second favorite scene is a popular one with many folks, it’s the Indianapolis Speech. Good lord almighty, Quint (played by Robert Shaw) makes you understand his character is so much more than you thought at first. His speech gives dimension to a guy you thought was just some salty sea dog type who hated people.

No way man, this guy has seen…stuff. The kind of stuff you never want to ever see.

Yeah. I think we all need a moment now.

On to the last one, this clip will give you smile…

AHHHH! Classic!

Brody is all peeved about having to chum and BOOM, everything changes in that instance and he utters one of the most famous lines in cinema history. What really strikes me is his calm, his utter calm. He doesn’t yell, doesn’t scream, he simply stands upright quickly and backs away to utter his famous line to Quint. That’s the moment folks, that’s when we see what Jaws is really about. It’s the moment that we realize Jaws is no teeny tiny shark, he’s at least 24 feet long and he is going to be quite the adversary. It’s also the moment where you can’t help but wonder, can these guys prevail?

The Jaws Legacy

Perhaps I am biased but as someone who has seen her fair share of horror movies I can honestly say that few have managed to capture the same feeling of fear and tension that Jaws still does 40 years later. It’s a classic for a reason folks and I try to watch it at least once a year, usually in the summer too. This year, I might finally have the opportunity to see it on the big screen, which would be a rare treat for many of us diehard Jaws fans.

Spielberg in the Jaws of...well, Bruce.
Spielberg in the Jaws of…well, Bruce.

What is your favorite scene, or scenes? Do you think there is a better horror film than Jaws

Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Women Baring It All For a Reason…But Is The Message Lost?

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Yesterday, a group of women decided to bare their breasts for a cause. They wanted to protest the lack of coverage over deaths of women at the hands of police. Their argument being that ALL lives matter, not just male lives.

About a dozen topless protesters stopped traffic on Market Street this morning, as part of a National Day of Action for Black Women and Girls. Using the hashtag #SayHerName, protesters sought to draw attention to black women victims of police violence, such as Rekia Boyd and Kayla Moore. ~SFWeekly 

If you read this and thought, who is Rekia Boyd or Kayla Moore, you wouldn’t be alone. I only recently heard of the Rekia Boyd shooting and it broke my heart to realize for the first time that these shootings are happening at a rapid rate and I sadly know very little about them. It’s a sign of nothing more than a willingness to put blinders on. I don’t watch the news because it’s “too depressing” and while I see some stories in my Facebook newsfeed, I never saw anything about Boyd or Moore. This article was, to me, a sign that I need to get my head out of the sand and really pay attention.

#SayHerName protest group on May 25th.
#SayHerName protest group on May 25th.

The fact is, not all police officers are bad and I want that said right up front so anyone reading this understands that I am in no way railing against the police. There are good officers out there, good men and women doing their best in a corrupt system. There are also quite a few bad ones and sadly, the bad ones make the news.

Rekia Boyd was killed accidentally by a police officer who was then let go because the "wrong" charges were brought against him. #Blacklivesmatter
Rekia Boyd was killed accidentally by a police officer who was then let go because the “wrong” charges were brought against him. #Blacklivesmatter

I digress though, this post is about the women who decided to take a stand, bare it all and say “enough is enough.” My question is this, by baring your breasts you get attention, it’s true, but is your point lost in the shock of seeing half naked women marching? Is your message lost amidst the sensationalism of the act? All I know is what I see and what I see is people not responding to what the women are trying to say but what the women look like or I see juvenile men getting all weirded out by the breasts in front of them.

Firstly, grow up.

Secondly, please listen to the message. Realize that what these women want people to know is that there are more victims of police violence than Freddie Gray or Michael Brown or Trevon Martin. There are countless other nameless faces being killed for no reason and we as a people need to see it and realize that something needs to be done.

Recently, a clothing company called PacSun was under fire for selling a t-shirt that had an upside down American flag on it. The upside down flag represents an America in distress and is deeply insulting to Veterans, active military and other patriotic people. The thing is, when I read the article and learned exactly what an upside down flag meant I wondered to myself- but isn’t America IN distress right now? Aren’t we fighting a quiet “war” with the police force? Aren’t we troubled by racism, homophobia and sexism every day? Maybe this t-shirt is more relevant than what PacSun thought it would be. I don’t mean to be disrespectful of any America-loving (being an America lover myself) person but the truth is, America is in distress.

PacSun recently removed this shirt from their stores due to protests.
PacSun recently removed this shirt from their stores due to protests.

But who will save us if the problem IS us?

Many will tell you that an upside down American flag means “the country is in distress.” The US Flag Code allows this use of the flag in situations of “dire distress,” but the intention was distress as in immediate danger to life and limb, such as your ship is sinking at sea, an SoS signal.

I write in this blog a lot about feminism in terms of pop culture, movies and comics. I am a proud feminist and I get very tired of the subtle and not-so-subtle sexism that is prevalent in the world today. I get excited when I see progress, such as Ireland allowing for same-sex marriages. I get angry when I see people being hurt or brutalized by others. Not only am I a feminist but I am also a humanist. I want equality for everyone, not just women or homosexuals or various ethnicities.

So you might be asking yourself, what point is she trying to make today? I suppose my point is this, women baring their breasts to try and raise awareness around the female deaths at the hands of police; a clothing company selling an insulting t-shirt but accidentally also making a valid point about the state of America today; the need to realize that we are all one people and should act like it, are all part of what makes America such a beautiful and wonderful place. All of these arguments, protests and discord are part of what makes humans human.

But that doesn’t make it right.

The #SayHerName protest should be treated with respect, not jokes and breast humor or ogling. It’s sad to me that PacSun had to remove the t-shirt from their stores because of the uproar it caused (what happened to #FreeSpeech?) but I also understand it, it is disrespectful and the upside down flag should not be used to sell clothing. The fact is, the truth is hard for many to face but face it we must. The truth is, America is hurting, we are all making mistakes and I am fearful of the boiling point, the point where it all falls apart. What will we do then?

Let’s hope that before that happens, we find our way towards peace and equality.

world-peace-090420w

What do you think about the state of America today? Are you fearful or confidence we will fix it? Sound off in the comments.

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The Female Perspective: Ageism AND Sexism Rears It’s Ugly Head in Hollywood…Again

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Recently, in an interview with TheWrap magazine, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal discussed ageism and sexism in Tinseltown, revealing that she was turned down for the part of being a love interest to a 55-year old man- Gyllenhaal herself is 37. Oh yes, clearly she is a hag at this point.

Maggie Gyllenhaal arrives at the 40th Anniversary Gracies Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Maggie Gyllenhaal arrives at the 40th Anniversary Gracies Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

It’s no surprise that Hollywood treats female actresses differently than males. It’s been happening since any of us can remember. In fact, a study conducted recently stated:

A study of the top 265 earning actresses and actors in Hollywood films between 1968 and 2008 released last year by the Journal Of Management Inquiry revealed actresses are paid less as they get older, with wages increasing steadily through their 20s and dropping rapidly after 34. Meanwhile, actors’ salaries do not peak until 51 years old and do not decrease with age. ~Huffington Post

Basically, if you are an actress over the age of 34 you are out of luck in terms of getting paid the same as your male counterparts (unless you are Meryl Streep, that woman is unstoppable!). So why is this a badly kept secret that the actresses themselves seem to do nothing about? Sure, they speak out about it in magazines, but are they doing something about it to make studio’s pay them what they are worth? Or, are they fearful that by taking a stand against a studio, they may never work again? I’ll never pretend to understand Hollywood and the weirdness that goes on there (why they keep “rebooting” films is beyond me, don’t people have new ideas anymore?) so I’ll keep this brief, my confusion is about the fact that a woman like Gyllenhaal, a talented actress, who is at 37, too old to be the lover of a 55 year old man. If anything, she might be too young! It’s a bizarre situation and I give her a lot of credit for being able to discuss it gracefully.

“There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,” Gyllenhaal said. “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

Good for you!

As I read more about the study I mentioned earlier regarding the pay rates of women actresses versus men, I couldn’t get angry, anger is the wrong emotion to feel here. What I feel here is sadness. Sadness that this is what Hollywood has become. This is why getting a Superhero movie starring either Wonder Woman or Black Widow is nearly impossible, this is why we can’t have nice things!

According to the study, “Men’s well-worn faces are thought to convey maturity, character and experience. A woman’s face, on the other hand, is valued for appearing young.”

No wonder young girls starve themselves to death or try to surgically enhance themselves to the point of danger (the Kardashian lip situation rings a bell here), Hollywood rarely takes responsibility for what young girls (or even boys) do to themselves in order to look “right” for the movies. The fact is, when you look back on the “good ole days” of movies, people looked NORMAL, women had curves for pete’s sakes, they had all different hair colors and cuts. Nowadays we see a lot of the same thing, straight hair and skinny ladies. Now, I’m not hating on the skinny gals (or straight hair), I love them just as much as my curvy ladies, but what I’m saying here is that we need INDIVIDUALITY these days, not a bunch of Stepford Wives.

Apparently these lips are worth disfiguring yourself for. Go figure.
Apparently these lips are worth disfiguring yourself for. Go figure.

I feel that even as I type this it’s a waste of my time. Hollywood isn’t changing- well, not entirely.

Maybe I’m actually wrong about that, the recent Mad Max: Fury Road film is a good example of how an action movie has become something more, something feminist. Maybe those are the little changes that will eventually effect BIG change?

Only time will tell for sure on this one and even though I sound hopeless, I do actually have some hope for the future of women in film. Maybe at some point Hollywood will see that it’s okay to show an “older” woman on screen and no one will die. People won’t turn from the theater in fear or disgust. Maybe I have to be patient and wait this out.

Even the 70s Stepford Wives were more individual than some ladies today!
Even the 70s Stepford Wives were more individual than some ladies today!

What do YOU think? Will Hollywood every change? Are older actresses appealing? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: “Mad Max: Fury Road” – Does It Go Furiously Into Film History or Is It Feminist Propaganda?

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


VROOOM. VROOOM!
VROOOM. VROOOM!

I’m going to start this article off with the following warning, if you haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road than you are 1) Missing out on a seriously fun film and 2) There may be spoilers ahead.

You have been warned!

That out-of-the-way I want to also say that I loved this movie. Seriously, I loved it. I would go see it again in the theater, which is not something I normally say (theater prices are HIGH) so that’s a high compliment coming from me. Let me begin to list the reasons WHY I enjoyed this movie.

  1. It stays true to the Mad Max mythos. This is mostly because George Miller was at the helm and if anyone is going to keep Max where he belongs, it’s going to be his creator. Besides that though, they managed to keep this new movie (that was what, 30 years after the last one?) in tone, look and feel without blinking an eye. Tom Hardy as Max couldn’t be better casting. He managed to imitate Gibson’s Max without it seeming like an imitation. It seemed flawless, like Hardy was meant to be Mad Max.
  2. Charlize Theron is awesome in everything she does.
  3. The cars. Oh my good lord, the CARS were amazing.

The beauty of Mad Max: Fury Road is that it tricks you. When you see the trailer you think it’s going to be a Mad Max movie with cars, sexy ladies and big chase sequences with little in the way of plot and heavy in action and destruction.

mad-max-fury-road-poster2

Well Fury Road delivers more than that, it has the sexy ladies but they aren’t just set dressing. They do stuff, even if it’s little things like load a gun or a cool stunt. They aren’t “things” as they say often in the film and damn if that isn’t true. This film is a nod to feminism in the most wonderful way, by not being overtly feminist. Well, it’s not overtly feminist to me, but to some menfolk, it seems to have struck a nerve.

In a post on the blog Return of Kings, Aaron Clarey is calling for men to boycott the new Mad Max movie:

Not only REFUSE to see the movie, but spread the word to as many men as possible. … Because if [men] sheepishly attend and Fury Road is a blockbuster, then you, me, and all the other men (and real women) in the world will never be able to see a real action movie ever again that doesn’t contain some damn political lecture or moray about feminism, SJW-ing, and socialism.

[…] men in America and around the world are going to be duped by explosions, fire tornadoes, and desert raiders into seeing what is guaranteed to be nothing more than feminist propaganda, while at the same time being insulted AND tricked into viewing a piece of American culture ruined and rewritten right in front of their very eyes.

This is fantastically laughable. This guy not only gives credence to the fact that men SHOULD go see the movie (I mean, seriously, FIRE TORNADOES people) but it also makes men sound like very simple, stupid creatures who are easily confused by movies featuring strong female characters and that there is no fate worse than becoming a male feminist and learning to (gasp) respect women.

The fact is, Fury Road does NOT contain any “political lectures” or “moray’s on feminism,” it’s simply a story about a group of women who are tired of being brutally used and ask the (ever-awesome) Charlize Theron, as Imperator Furiosa, to get them away from the evil leadership of Immortan Joe (played to diabolically disgusting perfection by Hugh Keays-Byrne). That’s it, that’s the plot folks. Simple and not nearly as feminist as Aaron Clarey would have you believe. 

Charlize, you are my favorite ever.
Charlize, you are my favorite ever.

Let’s all take a step back to realize that this movie isn’t about shoving feminism down the collective throats of the masses, it’s about telling a story. A crazy story about the end of civilization and of a world bathed in blood, fire and dust. I think that the reason these folks are so bent on calling Fury Road a feminist film is because women are at the forefront of the story, instead of Max or other male characters. I suppose, to some extent, that does make it a feminist film but for some reason that irritates the holy heck out of me. Why do we have to label everything? Why can’t this simply be an insane film about insane people doing insane things and leave it at that without making it something else?

Oh, that’s right, because we have to obsess and label everything. That’s right. I forgot for a second.

Then there’s this:

Anybody who has seen the original three Mad Max movies knows that women exist for one of four man-created reasons: to be raped so Mel Gibson can get mad, to be sexual partners with a guy trying to kill Mel Gibson, to be murdered so Mel Gibson can get mad, and to force Mel Gibson to fight in the Thunderdome.

I for one, am so HAPPY that Miller decided to add another category to this list. Now women in the Mad Max world can be tough, bad-ass broads who actually save the day. There is no better example of this than with Imperator Furiosa’s character.  Her sole purpose in this film is to help the wives of Joe and get them to “the green place.”

If there was a better choice out there for the role of Furiosa than Charlize Theron, than I don’t think any of us have heard of her. Theron embraces her roles like few actresses working today. The mess that was that Kristen Stewart Snow White story was only watchable because of Theron being the evil Queen. Theron doesn’t slack off in Fury Road, she powers through the role, giving her character softness, depth and power without us ever thinking that she is less powerful than her male counterparts. In fact, she is what keeps everyone moving, even in the face of unendurable loss.

Tom Hardy as Max is perfection.
Tom Hardy as Max is perfection.

Does this also make it feminist film? I suppose it does. You know what? I’m perfectly fine with that because it means an ACTION MOVIE just also became a FEMINIST movie. That’s pretty darn awesome if you ask me.

Let’s not forget about Tom Hardy as our beloved apocalyptic bad boy, Max. He is perfection. Yep, I said it, PERFECTION (and you can tell I’m excited because I keep using ALL CAPS). There were times where he sounded like Mel Gibson and there was even one time where he actually looked like him. It was perfect casting. Hardy barely spoke in the movie (I’m pretty sure his entire dialogue in the movie took up no more than one page) but when he did, he made it count and he was every inch the Mad Max we have all come to enjoy watching.

I want one of these vehicles. Imagine how quick I would get everywhere!
I want one of these vehicles. Imagine how quick I would get everywhere!

This movie was (and get ready for some cliche’s!) action-packed, super fun and totally bad-ass. The soundtrack kept you on the edge of your seat and the chase sequences were so engaging that I felt tense while I watched them (which is a great compliment). The few quiet moments were an opportunity for the audience to catch its breath and move the plot along a bit (and let me tell you, those were few and far between). Well done George Miller. WELL DONE.

Now go see it if you haven’t yet. Seriously. Go. Now.

Did you see Mad Max: Fury Road? What did YOU think of it? Feminist Tour-De-Force, Awesome Action Film or Something Else? Sound off in the comments!

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The Front Row View: The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro.  He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.

rh

[Editor’s Note:  Jim posted this nod to a Hollywood classic on May 16th in another forum]

Whoops, I’m one day late—one of classic Hollywood’s greatest entertainments premiered on May 15th, 1938: Michael Curtiz and William Keighley’s swashbuckler The Adventures of Robin Hood. I have some great memories of watching this one Saturday afternoons with my dad. The incomparable Errol Flynn as Robin Hood (a triumph of casting), the impossibly pretty Olivia de Haviland as Maid Marian, and the most hissable villains to oil their way across a movie screen, Claude Rains’ Prince John and Basil Rathbone’s Sir Guy of Gisbourne. The best swordfight in movie history. A boisterous supporting cast in a perfectly paced classic. All in shimmering Technicolor. Welcome to Sherwood!

-Jim

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The Female Perspective: Supergirl, Then and Now

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I was originally going to write about the new “Mad Max: Fury Road” controversy of men being angry about the movie being “feminist propaganda” but instead, I want to talk a little bit more about Supergirl – both the 1984 movie and the upcoming TV series on CBS.

1984 Supergirl. Rock on Supergirl, ROCK. ON.
1984 Supergirl. Rock on Supergirl, ROCK. ON.

First, we’ll start with the 1984 movie. I am going to state right up front that I LOVE this movie. It was the very first superhero movie I ever watched (that I recall) and not only that, it starred a female hero. My budding little feminist heart was thrilled beyond measure to see a woman kicking butt and getting stuff done with grace, ease and amazing strength and without looking like a hooker. I watched this movie a lot as a girl and I recently re-watched it as “research” for this piece. Though, to be fair, I didn’t need to re-watch it since I pretty much have it memorized.

Faye Dunaway as Selena? She pretty much ate up the screen in her scenes.
Faye Dunaway as Selena? She pretty much ate up the screen in her scenes.

A lot of folks don’t like this movie for various reasons I simply don’t understand. Sure, it’s 80’s cheese in some degrees but it has an all-star cast, I mean, seriously, FAYE DUNAWAY as the villain Selena, how can you go wrong? Not to mention Peter O’Toole as Supergirl’s mentor and friend, Zalfar. It’s a pretty stellar cast if you ask me. Helen Slater nails the innocent power that is both Supergirl and Kara Zor-El from Argo City.

Kara, after an unfortunate accident that is equal parts Zalfar and her faults, finds herself on Earth. She has powers and can fly for cripes sake! She is also on a mission to find the Omega Hedron and save her city from certain death (by suffocation no less). She spends a few moments (during some really awesome wire work) flying around and getting used to her new strength and her new world before she gets back to work looking for the Omega.

What gets me most about this movie is the utter strength of the women in this film. Dunaway’s Selena is crazy as all good villains should be, but she is also powerful and confident in her power (with the exception of a few amusing fumbles), she doesn’t need a man and continuously tricks them to get what she wants. Slater’s Supergirl brings out the appropriate amount of gravitas and fun that Supergirl should have. Honestly, for me, it’s like watching a comic on-screen.

If you are a regular reader of my blog than you know that my favorite part of this movie is the ending sequences. When Supergirl has to escape the Phantom Zone with Zalfar, she loses her friend and has to go on alone. That moment is precious to me. It is Kara realizing her true power and strength. She has to keep moving and DARN-IT, that scene gives me chills every time I watch it.

To me, this is a perfect movie for young girls to see if they want to see a female superhero or even before they start watching the CBS show to get a feel for Kara Zor-El and the Supergirl universe. Not only is Supergirl not treated like a sex object, she is actually treated like an equal to the men around her (to be fair, the male characters are pretty much reduced to stumbling buffoons, funny but not my favorite part of the film). This is a feminist movie that isn’t trying to be a feminist movie. That’s what I love about it.

Oh Zalfar. "On Girl!"
Oh Zalfar. “On Girl!”

Sadly, it flopped in theaters and we never saw another Supergirl film. Lucky for us, the recent rise in the love of all things comics (Green Arrow, The Flash, The Avengers, etc) has brought Supergirl back to us. Later this year, CBS will launch their version of Supergirl for TV audiences. They recently released a 6 minute preview of the show and I have to admit, I am pretty psyched. Check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

https://youtu.be/Lm46-envrHo

It’s a long preview and it shows a lot of good stuff. It also gives us a lighter, more fun superhero show. it comes from the mind of the creators of The Arrow and The Flash which only makes me more excited. On Arrow the women are as strong as the men, they fight side by side with them. Not to mention, the action/fight sequences should prove to be beautifully choreographed. Besides all of that I have to say that I’m pleased with her costume, her attitude and oh, everything about it. It looks fun and kick-ass, a winning combination – if you ask me. I have the hope that it will be a proof to all those Execs out there that think a female-centric superhero show/movie can’t work, that lady hero’s are just as watchable as male hero’s. I mean seriously, look at Agent Carter! She was step one, let’s hope Supergirl will be step two to us finally seeing a female hero movie on the big screen.

Our new Supergirl. She looks very promising.
Our new Supergirl. She looks very promising.

I’ve read varying degrees of happiness and unhappiness about the trailer which is to be expected. I mean, you can’t please everyone, right? What irritates me is when people nit pick. For example, I saw one complaint that the guy playing Jimmy Olson isn’t wimpy or unattractive and is (gasp) being played by a black man and not a pale-faced ginger. Listen folks, it’s OKAY to change things up every once in a while if the story stays relatively true to the characters. I don’t care what color Olsen is as long as he’s a good actor. I’ve also seen complaints that they mention Superman too much. Sigh. Really? The 1984 movie talks about him a lot, they even go so far as to show a poster of him in Linda Lee’s dorm room. It’s allowed people, Superman IS her cousin and they share super powers! Seems to me that it would only be natural, as Kara finds her power, that she talks about her cousin who knows of what she speaks.

I personally am ready to check out this new Supergirl and I have high hopes for it, Lord knows I needed a win this week after the debacle that was the Jem and The Holograms trailer!

Time will tell and hopefully I won’t be writing another blog in a few months complaining about our new Supergirl.

So tell me, what do YOU think? Did you love the 1984 version of Supergirl? Did you love the comics? Are you excited for the new show? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Jem And The Holograms or How Movie Execs Ruined Another Childhood Memory

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


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I never watched a ton of cartoons growing up, I remember the Smurfs and GI Joe and Transformers but more than any of those, I clearly remember watching Jem and The Holograms ALL the time. It was one of the few (the only?) cartoons centered around girls and it was also about a woman with dual identities who had and created kick-ass music and the color…oh my Lord, the colors! Not to mention, it often featured action scenes that made it exciting and conflicts as Jem tried to grapple with her multiple identities.

You can imagine that I was excited at the idea of a live action Jem movie, really excited in fact. Until this week. What happened this week you ask? Well first we saw some set photos emerge and they looked like this:

Ummmm...
Ummmm…
Huh?
Huh?

Pretty glum. Not at all like the vibrant fun of the cartoon- and before you say it, I didn’t expect it to look exactly like the cartoon, I simply expected more than this…blah-fest. I mean, come on…

Cartoon versus Movie. See the difference?
Cartoon versus Movie. See the difference?
Sigh.
Sigh.

When you compare the two…it just seems unfortunate. I know they wouldn’t follow the source material perfectly but this…this seems a lot like what happened with World War Z, they used the title of the book but that was it. It seems to me after seeing more and more about the Jem movie that they are using the names only, the rest is of movie execs creation. Sad but an unfortunate reality in today’s world. They want to make money, they don’t care about fans. I simply wish there could be a balance between the two, a middle ground between making loads of money and pleasing the fans.

There is no comparison...the movie is taking a "darker" tone.
There is no comparison…the movie is taking a “darker” tone.

I was still willing to give the movie a go because it’s JEM and THE FREAKIN HOLOGRAMS and I figured, how bad could it be? Even if the photos from set made it look gloomy and…well, dull. Then the trailer came out.

How do we go from this:

To THIS???

SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!  As stated before it seems that the movie execs decided to just use the name Jem and then go a whole different direction. A seemingly bad direction. The direction of the horrible Josie and The Pussycats movie or just about EVERY OTHER movie out there today. A young girl has to wrestle with new-found fame and blah, blah, blah.

In case you have no idea what Jem is about, here’s a quick synopsis from Wikipedia.

The series revolves around Jem, the mysterious lead singer of the rock group “Jem and the Holograms”. Her real name is Jerrica Benton, and under this name she is the owner and manager of Starlight Music. Jerrica adopts this persona with the help of a holographic computer, known as Synergy, which was built by Jerrica’s father to be “the ultimate audio-visual entertainment synthesizer” and is bequeathed to her after his death. Jerrica is able to command Synergy to project “the Jem hologram” over herself by means of the remote micro-projectors in her earrings, thus disguising her features and clothing enabling her to assume the Jem persona. While disguised as Jem, Jerrica is able to move freely without restrictions and on several occasions other people have been in direct physical contact with her without disrupting the holographic projection. Jem, through the use of her earrings, is also able to project holograms around her and uses this ability throughout the series to avoid danger and provide special effects for the performances of her group.

Add to that the rocking awesomeness of their rival band, The Misfits, and Jem’s love interest, the purple-haired Rio and you have the recipe for a pretty awesome show. Jem/Jerrica was independent, strong and, most of all, FUN. This Jem/Jerrica seems boring, sad and WITHOUT HOLOGRAMS!?!?! Will there be action sequences? Doubtful. This Jem looks as if she doesn’t want to ruin her hairdo or makeup. Ugh. I detest when female characters are minimized in what could be a fun and exciting role.

I really had hoped for more from this attempt, but it’s clear that movie execs don’t want my demographic (I.e. women who watched the cartoon) in the seats for this one, they are trying to reach a younger audience who don’t have fond memories of playing with their Jem dolls as kids, the dolls that had a switch in the neck that turns on the famous earrings. Clearly they figure my age group doesn’t go to the movies anymore and it’s a bummer.

Finally, what also annoyed me was seeing some of the other posts about the Jem trailer last night, various guys saying, “Well it could be worse, at least it’s not as bad as the Transformers or GI Joe reboots.” Um, yeah it is, just because you didn’t watch Jem as a kid, doesn’t mean that this isn’t as disappointing for those of us who did. (FYI, I was also disappointed by the Transformers and GI Joe movies too and I’m a girl, so yeah, there’s that). Just because Jem was considered a “girl” cartoon doesn’t make it any less than the “boy” cartoons. It’s disappointing for the fans, plain and simple.

The fact is, Jem and The Holograms was special for me and I’m bummed out that the movie seems to have gone the route of so many “chick flicks” (I detest that term). Oh well, I can always just watch the cartoons and enjoy it in all it’s colorfully wonderful splendor.

Tell me, where you a JEM fan growing up? What do YOU think of the trailer? Sound off in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 5/13/2015

Welcome back true believers to the 16th issue of the Crank File. Speaking of the number 16, On Saturday, May 16 Great Stories takes its first step down the road towards brick and mortar, opening up shop at Bernats Antiques over in Uxbridge, MA. Stop by if you’re around this weekend. You can pick yourself up some sweet collectibles and meet some great people. Coincidentally, May 16 also happens to be my birthday. Excelsior! May I live all the days of my life.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Saga # 28 Image

Saga_28-1

In case I haven’t made my feelings about Saga completely clear by now, I love this series. Any week that Saga is out, it’s the first off the pile. It’s really that good. I promise you. You need Saga in your life.

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #2 Marvel

SW2

Not only was the Alex Ross cover for Secret Wars #1 gorgeous but it was made of that textured paper that feels velvety to the touch. Fuzzzzy. As for the actual story, I seriously enjoyed the deliberate pacing in issue #1. Hickman dished up plenty of action without a ton of exposition, allowing the tension and drama to build naturally before cutting the cord on the Marvel and Ultimate Universes. Some serious stuff went down with too many A-list casualties to list (or believe) and the return of the Dark Phoenix, who’s a dude now. Now that the great schism has occurred and the status unquo’d, I’m looking forward to seeing where this creative team is going and whether they can keep the momentum going. I have my eyes on the Wolverine action figure variant for issue #2.

The Indie One: Mythic #1 Image

Mythic

Science is a lie, an opiate for the masses. The truth is, magic makes the world go ’round. And when magic breaks, MYTHIC is the team assigned with keeping the gears of the supernatural world turning, and more importantly, keeping you from ever knowing about it. An intriguing premise from an award winning creative team. A $1.99 introductory price makes it easy to check out this new #1 from Image.

The #1 One: Injection #1 Image Cover B

Injection-1-B-Cover-Haunted-Variant

I’m buying cover B for the soft, white cover and insanely detailed pencils. The subdued colors and flowery patterns look sweet and delicate and then you realize that it’s a face with a horrifying fungal infection. Get ready for a dose of sci fi and horror from Warren Ellis and the creative team behind his brief yet memorable run on Moon Knight.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Thor #8 Marvel Phantom Variant

Thor8

Bonus points for revealing the identity of Lady Thor. Another ASM #300 cover swipe from Phantom. You guys keep printing them and I’ll keep putting them in my collection. Which character do you want to see get the 300 treatment? My vote’s for a Hulk cover with green numbers.

The Speculation One: Darth Vader #5 Marvel

DV5

Darth Vader is my favorite of all the Star Wars books out now. It’s an insightful look into one of the most powerful and complex characters in the Star Wars universe. But it’s not all about the Vader. The secondary characters like Aphra and triple zero have been delightfully twisted, evil, and memorable. Issue #5 promises to introduce some more characters, with unidentified green and yellow lightsabers crisscrossing the cover. Do they belong to Jedi? The force is strong with this one.

Carpe Comics!

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The Female Perspective: Supergirl and Pose-able Ta-ta’s: It Must Be Monday!

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


There are some days I wonder why I write this blog (those days are usually when I have a lot of writing work to do and no time to write the kind of stuff, like this, that I want to write!), those are the bad days. Then there are days that I am so glad I have this outlet for my perspective, for my voice. Those are the good days.  Today is one of the good days.

Oh Marvel, I'm disappointed in you.
Oh Marvel, I’m disappointed in you.

So much came into my inbox today, articles about a leaked Marvel email about why we can’t have nice things…wait, it was about why a female-centric superhero film wouldn’t work. The email then went on to site 3 examples of failed superhero movies, one of them, Supergirl from the 80’s was filmed THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Author FYI: I love Supergirl. It made me feel like girls could be powerful. It also makes my day every time I watch it and actually, I sense a viewing coming my way very soon. I mean, seriously, FAYE FREAKIN DUNAWAY as the villain!! And Peter O’Toole!!! Dear lord…when Supergirl has to escape the Phantom Zone I die every time, it’s one of the best, most perfect examples of “girl power” I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, watch this…NOW (please).

Seriously, when she stands up in front of the light with that music playing I get chills, CHILLS.

Anyway, I lost my point there for a moment, I’ll come back to it now. The fact is, in terms of money, the film Supergirl was a flop and I full understand that that is all movie execs look at and consider. In the interveneing 30 years though we’ve had Wonder Woman the TV show, we’ve had Agent Carter which is coming back for a 2nd season (Can I get a Hallelujah for that!?) and we have Black Widow in the various Avenger-themed movies. We have there 3 prime examples of women super hero’s getting it DONE with power and style. To try and say in this day and age that a female-centric hero movie wouldn’t work? Well, that’s antinqated and useless thinking. it’s thinking that shouldn’t be working at Marvel anymore.

The author of the Marvel article (linked above) did a fantastic job making the arguments I would have made, the point being that there have been PLENTY of failed superhero movies with men at the helm (Daredevil with Ben Affleck or The Green Hornet with Seth Rogen are just 2 examples). What matters to comic fans and movie goers isn’t who is the star (though, that is taken into account), it’s whether the movie stays true to the character and is well written, acted and directed.

The guy at Marvel who penned that email should be fired and then fired again for good measure and perhaps even fired one more time to prove the point that he needs to retire and/or educate himself on what draws people to theater.

Super girl played by Helen Slater
Super girl played by Helen Slater

Another example of why I love being able to write this blog is because I also came across an article about an action figure, the title of the article is this:

This Metal Gear Solid V Figure Has Poseable Breasts

I thought it had to be a joke at first but nope, it’s a real thing.  From the article itself.

Hideo Kojima tweeted out images of a figure of the character that is being designed by PlayArts. It reveals that some of the material it’s made of is softer so it can be “lifted” and “pushed”. That material is on the character’s breasts. ~ Bleeding Cool

There truly are no words for how … puzzled I felt when I read this.

There are some days where I think that women have come in terms of equality only to find out that really, women will almost always be treated like pose-able figures to be manipulated at will by fans, dirty old men or other strange people.

There isn’t much more to say here because either (as the author states), you’ll love it or you’ll hate it and that’s your prerogative either way. Which I agree with to a certain extent. I do believe people can make their own choices but the fact is, when toys (is it a toy?) like this are sold it demeans women while also perpetuating the sexism that is rampant in video games, comics and other forms of entertainment. If no one bough it, they would stop making it. Sadly, I’m not sure I believe that that will ever happen.

The words can't even help me express my displeasure at this one...
The words can’t even help me express my displeasure at this one…

The fact is, being able to write this blog gives me an outlet for my frustration and my amusement at the abject sexism that abounds in our world. Some days it breaks my heart, other days it makes me laugh and still other days it makes me good an angry. I can tell you that I’ve gotten comments from readers that either know or not (who am I to judge the words of others?) that they are being sexist and it frustrates the holy heck out of me. My retaliation? I do my absolute best to respond with kindness, reason and intelligence. Once I’ve said my piece I move on.

The beauty of our world being so connected is that it gives people like me an opportunity to talk about what I truly love and I love talking about comics and feminism and pop culture. It really makes my day. I also just realized that I love to talk about the movie Supergirl and I cannot wait for the TV show that’s coming our way (fingers crossed). I can only hope that it is as good or better than the movie because the movie made Supergirl powerful and it made her a woman who finds her inner strength and defeats the bad guys which this feminist nerd loves.

Exactly.
Exactly.

What do YOU think? Is a toy with “pose-able breasts” acceptable? Why or why not? And what do you think about Supergirl – is she indeed a super feminist girl or something else entirely? Sound off in the comments!

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The Front Row View: My Fair Lady

The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro.  He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.

myfairlady

The perfect Mother’s Day movie to watch with yo’ Momma—George Cukor’s 1964 classic My Fair Lady. Lerner and Loew’s amazing songs, the great performances by Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn, the stylish sets and costumes by Cecil Beaton and the witty dialogue by the great George Bernard Shaw as adapted by Lerner. It’s first-rate Old Hollywood entertainment. Happy Mother’s Day!

-Jim