Is Cinderella Weak or Strong?

Cinderella or The Glass Slipper is a folk tale with thousands of adaptations and no one really knows where the story comes from or when it was first written. The protagonist is a young woman living in poor circumstances that are suddenly changed to surprising serendipity. There are many different origin stories about this story, all claming to be the real one. 

The story is often said to be a folk tale for children, though many versions are any but child friendly. In many versions of the tale, Cinderella is a teenager with fairly wealthy parents. First her mother dies of an illness, then her father remarries and suddenly he dies, but we are left questioning whether he died of a disease or if his second wife murdered him. In the Grimm Brothers’ Aschenputtel, which came out in their fairytale compilation  in 1812, Cinderella goes to her mother’s grave every day and weeps, but remains pious and good, despite her circumstances. It has the same story of her stepsisters ripping her homemade ball gown to shreds and her godmother giving her a new one and telling her to go and have fun at the ball, but the spell is broken at midnight, but with darker parts. 

In one scene, one stepsister cuts off her toes to make the glass sipper fit. Also the stepsisters and stepmother are more than just verbally abusive to Cinderella, they are also physically abusive and only feed her enough to keep her alive enough to abuse more. In the scene where Cinderella marries the prince after the slipper fits her, she rides off in the carriage to the castle with her new husband and though the stepsisters and stepmother are invited to the wedding, the birds claw their eyes out, pull their hair and rip up their clothes and scratch their faces bloody as well. How is this a children’s story? 

In the Chinese version, the godmother is replaced by a fish and Cinderella doesn’t mope around waiting for her happily ever after, she is actually a witch who can disappear. Charles Perrault’s Cinderella, is the closest to what we know and what Disney used as the basis for the 1950 animated movie. But Grimms read his tale and added their own twists of Germanic folktale tradition and came up with an equally weird and more disturbing version. 

But there have been arguments for decades and centuries about whether Cinderella is weak, strong, a feminist character, or not. In the Perrault version of the story and Disney films, she is nineteen years old and maybe that was still considered a child in that day and age, but by today’s standards, that’s legally an adult. Actually eighteen means you are finally legally an adult in today’s society (at least in America). So if that had been case and she were legally a grown up, why didn’t she get her share of her parents’ money and get her own place? Why did she choose to stay behind with her evil stepmother and stepsisters? Why did she allow them to abuse her? Why didn’t she stand up for herself? Why didn’t she run away when she had the chance? 

If she was legally still a child, I guess she didn’t legally have a choice, orphanages didn’t exist then, so she couldn’t have just gone and gotten adopted by a hopefully loving family. I guess living with her steps was better than being homeless, at least she got a roof over her head, a bed, food and water. But even if she was rightfully a woman, women in her time had little to no rights. Only men could be lawyers, judges, rulers of kingdoms and oftentimes married first. Women usually did whatever men told to do without question. Men also made more money. Women seemed to only be there to be wives and mothers, maids, seamstresses or governesses. Cinderella maybe valued herself more or just had no choice by to stay at home with the three devils. 

Oftentimes Cinderella is said to be strong and a role model character for females. But how is she a role model if she doesn’t even stand up herself and/or fight back or go get herself some help? What screams heroine about her? She just stands there taking all their mistreatment of her, she is pretty much a human punching bag. Either she was weak, stupid or both. She doesn’t enjoy the treatment she goes through, but does nothing about it. It makes no sense at all, because a real hero doesn’t crap from anyone, but she does. 

She accepts sleeping in a cold dirty attic without a bed, no soap, only freezing cold water to bathe with, eating scraps and doing chores all the time and being taken advantage of badly. I’m sure, had she gotten out of that situatuation, someone would have taken her in and given her a better life. But I guess the strong can come from how she takes all the abuse and still remains strong, nice and hopeful. But can she be both fierce and weak? In my opinion she is. She remains tough through the daily bullying she receives, but doesn’t do a damn thing to stop it at the same time. 

Cinderella isn’t exactly a positive role model, especially for girls and young ladies, but she isn’t exactly the worst either. She’s not one that I would my daughter, granddaughter, niece or even friend’s daughter to be like. I’d want them to not take any crap from anyone. I’d want them not try and avoid abuse and if they can’t to get help immediately. There are positive messages that come from the story we know of Cinderella, like being positive and staying, but there are negative ones too like, it’s okay to be miserable do nothing about it and you can only find true love when you’re dolled up, because they won’t love you any other way. 

Overall, this story is not one that should be used as a teaching lesson in staying strong, feminism or finding your soulmate, but can be used cautiously to teach being positive. Don’t use her full blast since she does let herself get hurt 24/7, until her fairy godmother comes along. But why then, why wasn’t the godmother there earlier? Why just for the ball and why just until midnight? Who knows. This is another twisted folktale that makes little sense. Is Cinderella strong, weak, or both? What’s your opinion? 

The Batman (2022)

The Batman is a 2022 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Batman and directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Peter Craig. It stars Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis and Colin Ferrell. The film follows Batman, who has been fighting crime in Gotham City for two years, unveil criminality while going after the Riddler, a seriel killer who goes after Gotham’s high society citizans. 

On Halloween, Gotham City mayor Don Mitchell Jr. is murdered by a man who calls himself the Riddler. Hermitlike billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has worked as the sharp-eyed Batman, investigates with the Gotham City Police Department. Lieutenant James Gordon finds a message written for Batman by the Riddler, but Commissioner Pete Savage scolds him for bringing hero to the crime scene and makes Batman leave. The Riddler soon after kills Savage and leaves another message for Batman. 

Batman and Gordon find a thumb drive left behind in Mitchell’s car containing pictures of Mitchell with a lady, Annika Koslov, at the Iceberg Lounge – a nightclub operated by the Penguin, mobster Carmine Falcone’s lieutenant. While the Penguins pleads stupidity, Batman notices that Selina Kyle, Annika’s roommate, works as a waitess at the nightclub. Batman follows her home to ask Annika questions, but the roommates disappears, so he sends Selina back to the club to get answers. Selina shuts off comunication with Batman when asks her about her relationship with Falcone. 

The Riddler abuducts Colson, straps a timed collar bomb to his necks and forces him to interrupt Mitchell’s funeral. When Batman showas up, the Riddler calls him via Colson’s phone and threatens to denotate the bomb if Colson cannot answer any of the riddlers his is given. Batman helps him answer the first two, but Colson refuses to answer the third one, because the answer maybe the Penguin, who may track him to make a drug deal. 

Batman and Gordon follow the Riddler’s track to a runned down orphanage, funded my Bruce’s murdered parents, where they learn that the Riddler holds a grudge against the Wayne family. Selina tells Batman that Falcone is her father, though Falcone doesn’t know. She learns that Falcone strangles Annika because Mitchell told her that Falcone was the witness and decides to kill him. Batman and Gordon arrive at the lounge in time to stop her, but the Riddler kills Falcone as he is arrested. The Riddler is unmasked as forensic accountant Edward Nashton and incarcerated in Arkham State Hospital, where he complains about failing to kill Bruce. He doesn’t realize Bruce is Batman, whom he idolizes when he became a criminal. Batman learns through searching Nashton’s apaprtmant, that he has stationed car bombs around Gotham and had an online following that plans to kill the may-elect. 

Being a big fan of Christian Bale’s Batman, I was skeptical about Robert Pattion playing the character, but he does a great job. The film is action packed, violent, disturbing and uses lots of foul langauge. Over half of the movie is filmed at night. The effects are great, the all of the costumes are fantastic, except for Selina’s/Catwoman’s mask, that’s basically just a pointed ski mask that’s been cut up. At least the terrible Halle Berry Catwoman had a sexier costume. 

Robert Pattinson is outstanding as Batman, bringing to the character a ruggedness, toughness and sensitiveness. Zoe Kravitz is great as Seline Kyle aka Catwoman, bringing sexiness and resilience to her role. Paul Dano is amazing as the Riddler. Colin Ferrell is fantastic as the Penguin and the costumes and makeup are so well done for his character, that he is completely unrecognizable. Jeffrey Wright does a superb job as James Gordon and John Turturro is terrific as Carmine Falcone. Peter Sargaard does a fine job as Gil Colson and Andy Serkis equally good as Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s butler. 

The film is very well done, but parts are very slow and too much time is spent on the Riddler, so the movie should have been called The Riddler and not The Batman. It is a very long film at nearly three hours and does drag on, making wonder if it’s ever going to end. I found myself at times very bored and some scenes are really hard to watch, especially those involving the Riddler. Many scenes are too long like the scene in which Batman, Gordon and the rest of the investigators are investigating Riddler’s apartment. The Riddler escapes his home and they just stay a bit too much longer inspecting his place, instead of trying to capture and lock him up and then going back to his place. Also the scene where Batman visits Naston in jail and Nashton starts getting angry and upset, is stretched out too far and Batman doesn’t get to say much to him. 

Had the film been shorter, less violent and disturbing and had more sunlight, it would’ve been more enjoyable. It wasn’t awful, because the acting, costumes, makeup and cinematography was magnificent, but it wasn’t sensational. Sorry Matt Reeves, but Christopher Nolan’s Batman has you beat. 18+ 3.5/5 

Best Dance Scenes in Films

  1. Jumpin’ Jive – Stormy Weather (1943)
  2. Final Ballet – An American in Paris (1951)
  3. Begin the Beguine – Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)
  4. America – West Side Story (1961)
  5. Take Off With Us – All That Jazz (1979)
  6. Dancing in the Dark – The Bandwagon (1953)
  7. Ballet Sequence – The Red Shoes (1948)
  8. Whatever Lola Wants – Damn Yankees (1958)
  9. Opening Sequence – La La Land (2016)
  10. Dance Battle – You Got Served (2004)
  11. The Way You Make Me Feel – Center Stage (2000)
  12. Dance Scene – House Party (1990)
  13. Crazy Rhythm – The Cotton Club (1984)
  14. Let’s Face the Music and Dance – Pennies From Heaven (1981)
  15. Got a Lotta Livin to Do – Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
  16. The Duet – White Nights (1985)
  17. Closing Scene – All of Me – (1984)
  18. Rich Man’s Frug – Sweet Charity (1969)
  19. Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  20. More Than a Woman – Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  21. I’ve Gotta Hear That Beat – Small Town Girl (1953)
  22. I’ll Take Tallulah – Ship Ahoy (1942)
  23. Title Number – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  24. Never Gonna Dance – Swing Time (1936)
  25. Barn Dance – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
  26. Final Dance – Dirty Dancing (1987)
  27. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Stepmom (1998)
  28. Dance Rehearsal and Competition – Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
  29. Twist Contest – Pulp Fiction (1994)
  30. Next – A Chorus Line (1985)
  31. Pick Yourself Up – Swing Time (1936)
  32. Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  33. Final Dance Scene – Flashdance (1983)
  34. Step in Time – Mary Poppins (1964)
  35. Cheek to Cheek – Top hat (1935)
  36. Cool – West Side Story (1961)
  37. Super Freak – Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  38. The Big Audition – Save the Last Dance (2001)
  39. Ballroom Scene – Enchanted (2007)
  40. Dance Scene – Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
  41. The Inconceivable Sight – Strictly Ballroom (1992)
  42. Sixteen Going on Seventeen – The Sound of Music (1965)
  43. Final Scene – Billy Elliot (2000)
  44. Tango Scene – Take the Lead (2006)
  45. Shall We Dance? – The King and I (1956)
  46. The Best Things Happen While Your’e Dancing – White Christmas (1954)
  47. Brand New Girl – Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
  48. Someone in the Crowd – La La Land (2016)
  49. Born to Hand Jive – Grease (1978)
  50. Nightmare Dance – Black Swan (2010)
  51. Cell Block Tango – Chicago (2001)
  52. You Should Be Dancing – Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  53. The Final Dance – The Artist (2011)
  54. Too Darn Hot – Kiss Me Kate (1953)
  55. A Lovely Night – La La Land (2016)
  56. Girl Ballet Hunt – The Bandwagon (1953)
  57. Human Waterfall – Footlight Parade (1933)
  58. The Time Warp – The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  59. I Got Rhythm – An American in Paris (1951)
  60. Prologue – West Side Story (1961)
  61. Make ‘Em Laugh – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  62. Opening Credits – Do the Right Thing (1989)
  63. Thriller Dance – 13 Going on 30 (2004)
  64. Rain on the Roof – Paddington 2 (2018)
  65. Bohemian Dance – Funny Face (1957)
  66. The Lady in the Tutti-Fruitti Hat – The Gang’s All Here (1943)
  67. Line Dance – Footloose (1984)
  68. Mein Herr – Cabaret (1972)
  69. Street Dance Scene – Fame (1980)
  70. The Swan – Funny Girl (1968)
  71. The Laendler – The Sound of Music (1965)
  72. Good Morning – Sinin’ in the Rain (1952)
  73. Stepping Out With My Baby – Easter Parade (1948)
  74. Every Dance Scene from 42nd Street (1933)
  75. Dance Scene – For Me and My Gal (1942)
  76. There’s No Business Like Show Business – Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
  77. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Mary Poppins (1964)
  78. All That Jazz – Chicago (2002)
  79. Hard Knock Life – Annie (1982)
  80. Big Spender – Sweet Charity (1969)
  81. Aquarius – Hair (1979)
  82. Put On Your Sunday Clothes – Hello, Dolly! (1969)
  83. What a Swell Party – High Society (1956)
  84. I’ll Capture Her Heart Dancing – Holiday Inn (1942)
  85. Dancing on the Ceiling – Royal Wedding (1951)
  86. The Binge Transh Can Dance – It’s Always Fair Weather (1955)
  87. The Prison Dance – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
  88. Gamble Dance – Guys and Dolls (1955)
  89. You Gotta Have a Gimmick – Gypsy (1962)
  90. Can Can Dance Scene – Can Can (1960)
  91. Beat Out Dat Rhthym on a Drum – Carmen Jones (1954)
  92. Day-O (Banana Boat Song) – Beetlejuice (1988)
  93. Ain’t Too Proud to Beg – The Big Chill (1983)
  94. That’s Entertainment – The Bandwagon (1953)
  95. Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off – Shall We Dance (1937)
  96. Slap That Bass – Shall We Dance (1937)
  97. Dancing in the Stars – La La Land (2016)
  98. The Club – Int the Heights (2021)
  99. Christmas Dance – Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
  100. Every Dance Scene from And Then We Danced (2019)

Dog (2022)

Dog is a 2022 American comedy drama road film directed by Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin both maing their directorial debuts. The film stars Tatum as an Army Ranger who must take the dog of his fallen commander to the funeral. The film also stars Jane Adams, Kevin Nash, Q’orianka Kilcher, Ethan Suplee. Emmy Raver-Lampman and Nicole LaLiberte. 

U.S. Army Ranger jackson Briggs is commissioned with bringing Lulu, a Belgian Malinois military working dog, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington to Nogales, Arizona in time to attend her handler’s funeral. On the way, Briggs has to come to terms with his post-traumatic stress disorder as well as his trouble with making emotional connections. 

This movie is filmed mostly on the road. Tatum’s character, Jackson Briggs is at first very unlikeable, because he is a selfish, heavy drinker and tries to pick up random ladies. He leaves the dog in his truck, ususally tied up alone with no food, water or chew toys. The dog goes crazy with boredum, hunger and cabin fever and starts barking incessantly, tearing up items in the truck as well as destroying the seats. Eventually, Briggs learns how to handle Lulu and stops the negligence and abuse towards her and she becomes calmer and friendlier and even sweet to him and the two become best friends. 

Some of this film is tough to watch, as it can be offensive to dog and animal lovers, especially the way Lulu is mistreated for much of the story, also the way Briggs treats himself in the beginning by constantly drinking, trying to pick up ladies, drinking and driving and not wearing a seatbelt. But once you get past all that, the film is heartwarming and will make you tear up. This movie is so touching, it will make even a cat person cry. 

Channing Tatum is great throughout the movie, bring the humor, ugliness and love to the main character. This is definitely one, if not the best of his roles. Parts of the film are extremely offensive like I said, the animal abuse, and the scene where Briggs pretends to be a blind war veteren with his war veteran guide dog just to get a room at a fancy hotel and dinner and drinks at an expensive restaurant. The latter scene does have a very sweet part where it has Briggs with Lulu in a bathtub, giving her a bath. 

I wish this film hadn’t spent so much time on the road and more time was spent on his time in the Army with his Army dog. So much of the time that was focused on his Army time and Lulu’s handler’s time is told and shown in a scrapbook and a DVD of camera footage from Lulu’s collar camera (though we don’t get much of that). But the movie does a great job of going from making you uneasy to to warming your heart and making you believe in the power of dogs and how much impact they have on the lives of humans. 

Tatum is not an actor of a destinct range, but he knows what his viewers want and this film, he gives them more than what they expected. He has come a long way from the “Magic Mike” Tatum that made him a household name. He is doing more serious roles and trying not to become typecast like so many others. This is not a film that deserves any awards and at times it’s a bit slow, but it’s not bad or even boring despite that. 

On the surface it looks like just another road trip movie or another “Tuner & Hooch” but it’s not, though at as funny or entertaining, it’s story has layers and makes it worth watching. It makes you love dogs even more and believe in the power of love and friendship. You don’t have to be an Army supporter or dog person to enjoy this movie or get any deep emotions from it. It is a well done emotional film from beginning to end, though maybe not the best of this year so far, but likely not the worst either. I can’t say whether to watch it or skip it, this one is up to you, since I liked, but not loved it. I will say, Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin did fine job on this one. 13+ 3.5/5 

The Bad (and Not So Bad) of Bridget Jones

When the first Bridget Jones book Bridget Jones’s Diary came out in 1996, the author Helen Fielding said it was a feminist book and it was an instant best seller, fast-forward five years and the 2001 film version starring Renee Zellweger comes out and teen girls and women fall in love with the awkward character once again. But in reality, there is far much negativity with the character. It has been nearly twenty-one years since the first film was released to mostly favorable reviews, but the protagonist and stories have not aged well.

For one, within the first five minutes of the film, there’s a terrible joke about Auschwitz, a racist joke about Japanese people and a butt grabbing uncle. No lovely introduction for a rom-com. Much of the film revolves around Bridget’s weight, her smoking and relationships with two very dull men, one of whom is a pig. The weight subject is hard to ignore and they make Bridget seem fat, when she never is. Her weight being between 125 -136 pounds in the first film, which make her BMI in the healthy range for her 5’5″ height. But Renee Zellweger had to gain like 30 pounds for the role, but still nowhere near fat, just curvy, which a much healthier image than those waiflike models that storm runways. Better than promoting too thin like Kate Moss or Kaia Gerber or promoting obesity like Lizzo or Ashley Graham. Bridget should have been proud of her curves and being a healthy weight, not ashamed.

She should have just stopped smoking, drinking and started exercising and eating healthy and not wasting her time, puffing away, getting drunk and wallowing in her loneliness and self hatred with junk food, sad music and romantic movies. She is so naive and desperate to find love, she falls for the first guy that shows her attention, who happens to her boss at work. He is inappropriate to her and she takes it all like gifts from him, from grabbing her butt in an elevator, to sending her steamy instant messages, to sleeping with her taking her on a trip away and even cheating her with thinner, younger woman whom is actualy engaged to. The only good thing she did with him is tell him off at work and quit, though later she finds her wondering if she wants him back.

The other boring man she is attracted to is Mark Darcy, a top London barrister, a Fitzwilliam Darcy (hence is name) type character, but less personality, who has known Bridget since she was a child. He is an awkward fellow, though not nearly as embarrassingly as her. In the first film, he seems to only want Bridget when she is seen with Daniel Cleaver (her boss) or any man. He does eventually fall deeply in love with her exactly the way she is, but the two couldn’t more oposite in every way except being British.

The film teaches ladies that sexual harrassment is okay and to just cover it up. Daniel Cleaver would have gotten #MeToo-ed in today’s world. The fact Bridget eats up all the inappropriate actions of Cleaver, is a sickening problem and glamourised for part of the first movie, until she finally realizes what she went through. Just taking it in the first place is awful enough. She at first is so desperate for a relationship, she’d do anything for one. The movie also makes the note of if you’re over 30 and single, your life is over. Not true, because some people find true love later in life and some people never do and are still happy.

The story glamourizes smoking, sexual harrassment and heavy drinking and is fat phobic, though the main character is far from overweight. They make it seem like weight loss and a relationship are the only things that can make a woman happy, which isn’t true at all. The naivety of the protagonist at times seems so much like a teenager that has never dated before and knows very little about sex, since she allows herself to be manhandled and made fun of. She also had created so many problems in her life from heavy smoking to heavy boozing to obsessing over romance and her body, instead of enjoying her life. She constantly complains but doesn’t do anything about until forced to. What kind of female role model is this?

The story isn’t all bad, because Bridget does eventually stand up for herself, get another job, stops smoking, works out, learns more about dating and goes after her true love. But the vast majority of the film is the oppsite of being feministic. It is not an inspirational story, in fact none of the books or movies are. In Bridget Jones’s Baby she doesn’t even know who the father is. Bridget is not the brightest bulb, in fact, she can be downright stupid. She constantly makes makes mistakes and pins so much negativy on herself that it oftentimes shows in the way she presents herself, her atitude, body language, etc. Who wants someone like that in their life? Why would anyone fall in love with a person like that?

Should Bridget Jones be cancelled for teaching the complete oposite of how to be a lady and feminist? Or should just say, “Oh well, it’s fiction?” To me stories like these are harmful because of how teach bad things. Like how these illuminate self-loathing, harrassment and how not to get a man to want you.

Bridget Jones is a relatable character for so many women, but not always in a good way. Her way of life is not always healthy or positive and we need more positive female role models. We need ones that embrace themselves with postivity, acceptance of the flaws they can’t change and changing bad habits. We also need ones that don’t just sit around and complain about their lives, they actually do something about it, because self-pity won’t get you very far. BJ tought me to hate myself and obsess over finding true love, not to enjoy life and be patient and love who I am. Not the kind of heroine I’m sure Helen Fielding set out to create, but she did, sorry, not sorry. There are other female icons real and fictional that uplift and inspire for the better, so bye bye Bridget!

The Power of the Dog (2021)

The Power of the Dog is a 2021 Western psychological drama film written and directed by Jane Campion and is based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee. 

In Montana in 1925, wealthy rancher brothers Phil and George Burbank meet widow and owner of an inn Rose Gordon during a cattle drive. The kind George is taken quickly by Rose, while the turbulent Phil, influenced by his mentor Bronco Henry, makes fun of Rose’s son Peter for his lisp effete ways. 

George and Rose get married and she moves into the Burbank ranch house and is able to use George’s money to send Peter to college to study medicine and surgery. Phil takes a instant hatred towards Rose, believing she married George for his money. George arranges a dinner party with his parents and the gorvernor. He intends to introduce his guests to Rose, so they can meet her and hear her play the new piano, of which she says she can barely play. During the party, Rose is shaken by Phil’s earlier mocking of her skills, is unable to play more than a few notes. She begins heavily drinking alcohol, something she was against doing before. 

By the time Peter has come to stay at the house for summer break, Rose has turned into an alchoholic. Phil and his men tease Peter and resorts to staying in his room. He he brings home a rabbit he has caught, making his mother excited, but she later finds that Peter has killed and dissected it. Alone in the woods, Phil masturbates with Bronco Henry’s scarf. Peter enters woods and finds magazines with Bronco Henry’s name on them with pictures of nude men. He watches Phil bathing in a pond with the handkerchief around his neck. Phil sees him and runs him off. 

Phil begins to show respect to Peter, offering to teach him how to braid a lasso from rawhide and teach him how to ride a horse. Peter goes with him. Peter goes on his own one day and finds a dead cow, from which he cuts off pieces of it’s hide. While working on fencing, Phil hurts his hand moving the wood. Peter tells him about finding his alcoholic father, who hung himself and cutting down the body and Phil scoffs. 

Rose’s drinking worsens when she sees how much time her son is spending with Phil. After learning about Phil’s rule of burning the hides he doesn’t need anymore, Rose goes against him and gives the hides to local Native Americans who thank her with a pair of gloves. She then faints from too much alcohol in her systemand George helps her, throwing away a bottle of Bourbon that he had found in the bed. 

Phil is angry about not having any of the hides he needs to finish Peter’s lasso and he tries to throw is anger towards Rose but is stopped by George. Peter calms Phil down by offering him the hide he had gotten from the dead cow, but Peter fails to tell him that animal was already dead when he found it. Phil is touched and informs him that their relationship will be even better now. 

This is not your typical western, being that it takes place in the 20th century, so you do see cars and electricty, instead of covered wagons and oil lamps. The film is a bit too slow throughout and doesn’t go into enough detail about Rose’s first husband and Peter’s father, other thank he was abusive, an alcoholic and hanged himself. Also, not enough scenes of George and Rose together. But the movie is filled with powerful emotion. 

Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Phil Burbank oustandingly, making you really believe his a cowboy and rancher and not just a great English actor. Jesse Plemons is also great as his brother George Burbank, although his character could’ve been on the film more. Kirsten Dunst is fantastic as Rose Gordon and Kodi Smit-McPhee also does a fine job as her son Peter Gordon. 

This film is filled with themes such as grief, love, hatred, jealousy, sexuality and greed as well as wealth and alcoholism. It is a bit slow for much of the movie, so it can be a bit boring, but the acting is superb and the music is exquisite, the setting is absolutely beautiful throughout. But at a runtime of two hours and six minutes, I was hoping for something at least half way exciting to hold my attention better. 

Overall, this is one of the better films of last year. It’s not a perfect motion picture, but it’s not quite terrible. It is very well done , aside from being really slow, but it’s not as good as other westerns, but does deserve applaus for acting, costumes, soundtrack and setting. The story and film itself is lacking as far as entertainment, so I found myself wanting more and was disappointed since this got such rave reviews and awards. It left me wishing for more. If you’ve never seen a Western film before, don’t start with this one, try a classic like Hang ‘Em High first. Overall, a fairly well done movie. 18+ 3.5/5 

The Fallout (2021)

The Fallout is a 2021 American high school drama film written directed by Megan Park in directorial debut. The film stars Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Julie Bowen, John Oritz, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp and Shailene Woodley.

High school student Vada Cavell goes to the restroom in the middle of class after her younger sister Amelia calls her when she has her first period. While in the restroom, a school shooting accurs and Vada hides in a stall with her classmates Mia, a dancer, and Quinton, whose brother is killed in the shooting. In the following weeks after the incident, Vada’s trama causes her to become depressed and isolated from her family. She also isolates herself from her friend Nick, since she cannot relate to the gun control activism he has been coaxed to do. Instead, she becomes closer to Mia and begins to spend lots of time at her house.

Vada’s parents put her in therapy and returns to school, but finds the situation uncomfortable. She cannot bring herself to go to the restroom where she hid, resulting in her peeing on herself when she hears a soda can being crushed. To cope with the stress, she takes ecstasy, resulting in Nick having to help her through the high. She and Nick argue about her weak coping skills, resulting in her venting to Quinton and trying to kiss him. Quinton rejects her, as he is not emotionally ready for a relationship yet. She isolates herself more from her family and friends, including Mia.

Later, Amelia admits to Vada that she assumed Vada was mad at her for the call that has put her in more danger. Vada tells her that is not the case and they make up. Vada recconnects with her parents and Mia, with the two of them agreeing to remain friends. Vada makes progress with her therapy, in coming to terms with what happened, though she admits that she and Nick might not make up. Vada waits for Mia outside of the studio she takes lessons at. She recieves a notification of another school shooting in the country.

The story of a school shooting is both powerful and disturbing and this film does cover that part, but it spends far too much time on Vada withdrawing from others in her life and her depression as well as her relationship with Mia. Not enough of this film is spent on the actual shooting, mostly just the aftermath and the students, school staff and the students’ parents’ reactions. Had the film focused more on the incident and not the feedback of the school community, I would have enjoyed it more. The acting from all the main stars is great. The soundtrack by Finneas O’Connell was also great.

The character of Vada Cavell is a tomboy with no real sense of fashion, dressing like a cross between a female basketball player, a rapper, hippie and Billie Eilish and had very little as far as personality, making her a rather boring protagonist. Mia Reed, the rich girl Vada becomes best friends with, also has very little perosnality and does underage and inappriate things, even with Vada like drink wine, skip school, smoke weed, have sex and listen to unedited music, making her not a likable character much at all either. Vada’s mother Patricia is overprotective of her daughters and her father is more likable as he is more lenient, fun and not afraid to curse (though some may not like that).

Overall, I found this film to be anything but spectacular. It is good and that is all. You’d think for a story about school gun violence, it would’ve been great, but I found myself rather bored for a good portion of this movie. Also the abrupt ending, just made it worse to me. Powerful story, not executed powerfully enough. 18+ 3/5

4 ways screenwriting provides you with novel writing skills — Uninspired Writers

Over the last few weeks at uni I’ve been studying script writing, with particular focus on screenplays. It’s a lot of fun, and very different from novel writing. Yet at the same time, there’s a lot of skills that can be applied and strengthen your novel writing ability. I’ve discussed before how writing short stories […]

4 ways screenwriting provides you with novel writing skills — Uninspired Writers

Classic of the Week: Boogie Nights (1997)

Boogie Nights is a 1997 American period comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heather Graham. It is set in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley and follows a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star in pornographic films, documenting his rise in the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970’s to his downfall into the 1980’s. The film is an expansion of the director’s mockumentary short film The Dirk Diggler Story (1988).

In 1977, high school dropout Eddie Adams is living with his father and emotionally abusive mother in Torrance, California. He works at a Reseda nightclub owned by Maurice Rodriguez, where he meets porno director Jack Horner. Interested in starting Eddie in porn, Jaxk auditions him by watching him have sex with Rollergirl, a porn actress who loves to roller skate. After arguing with his mother about his girlfriend and sex life, Eddie moves in with Horner at his San Fernando Valley house. Eddie gives himself the screen name “Dirk Diggler” and becomes a star because of his good looks, young presence and unusually large penis. His success allows him to buy a new house, a large wardrobe and a 1977 Chevrolet Corvette. With his friend and co-star Reed Rothchild, Dirk pitches several successful action themed porn films. While his is at a New Year’s Eve party at Horner’s for the year of 1980, assistant director Little Bill Thompson finds out his wife is having sex with another man. Bill, tired of the adultry, shoots them both dead.

Dirk and Reed begin using cocaine on a regular basis and because of this, finds it very difficult to have an erection and falls into violent mood swings and beomes aggrivated by Johnny Doe, a new leading actor Jack has recruited. In 1983, after fighting with Jack, Dirk is fired and takes off with Reed to start a music career with Scotty, a boom operator, who is in love with Dirk.

This is a film you either love, hate, or have a love-hate relationship with. It is awkward to the max, not a film one would want to watch with your parents, or anyone super conservative. There is still to this day, controversy with this film. The fact Eddie Adams is a teenager working in the porn industry and using drugs, is highly inappropriate and can make some viewers very uncomfortable, but this is not Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film like this, he does these kind of things again in 2021’s Licorice Pizza. PTA is known for pushing the bounderies and causing controversy with his works.

The film also

This would have been a really good movie if it weren’t about a teen porn star and druggy. The film focuses far too much on Eddie in the porn film industry and not enough on his life outisde that ot the other manin characters. Though this film recieved tons of rave reviews, I was left unimpressed. The acting is outstanding, the costumes are period perfect and the soundtrack is great is as well, but the story lacks in quality. Adding great talent does not always make for a great movie.

The film also talks far too much about the size of the star character’s pecker and focuses a bit much on him trying to get erections. If I want to watch teen porn, I’ll go on porn website. This movie is considered a dramedy, but I didn’t find it funny much at all. The sexual jokes were all throughout, giving the film a pretty sleazy feel, which I guess is what PTA was going for just like in Licorice Pizza, where a fifteen year old boy tries to woo a twenty-five year old woman.

Overall, a decent film, but the runtime of two hours and thrity-five mintutes is had me wishing it could’ve been over sooner. Fantastic acting and a great soundtrack is really the best thing about this one. Not Paul Thomas Anderson’s best work, but not his worst. 18+ 3.5/5