January 21, 2004

With the upcoming release of You Got Served, Hollywood will have managed the remarkable accomplishment of remaking Purple Rain, Flashdance, and Breakin' in the past two years.

I sure hope Cool as Ice isn't next in line...

Posted by Sarah T. at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

Random thought induced by appearance of Gary Cole on SVU: the person who should've replaced Ethan on SV was...Sheriff Buck.

Think of it! Duelling Satans!!! Plus, you know, an experienced older gentlemen for SV's young folk.

Posted by Sarah T. at 01:19 AM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2004

Stepford wives, and husbands, and spunky girl reporters...

"Asylum" spoilers...

Well, I guess it wasn't really worth anyone's getting worked up over Lex's unnecessary brain damage, since apparently everyone else in Smallville this week had had operations to remove key portions of their brains and conscience, too. Jesus Christ. Later I may be able to focus on some of the more interesting points of this episode, but right now I'm a little distracted by the whole replace-Jonathan-Martha-Chloe-and-Pete-with-stupid-heartless-morally-cretinous-pod-people issue, okay?

Posted by Sarah T. at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

"Asylum" tonight. *whimpers* I don't think I can handle it.

Posted by Sarah T. at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2004

I can't believe some of these old chestnuts are still kicking around.

I don't think that arguing for an aspect of romantic love in any given relationship is inherently reductive. How can it be? How is romantic love any more, or less, meaningful or complex than any other kind of connection between people? I do think that a person who looks at the rich human tapestry and sees nothing but romantic love has a reductive viewpoint. That, however, brings us to the tired error of logic that drives so many of these slash debates.

If you took every slasher who ever slashed and treated them as a gestalt, then, yes, you could argue that "slashers" reduce every relationship to a romantic one and "slashers" can and will slash anyone. Except, of course, that there's no slash credo which all or even a majority of slashers adhere to that states such a thing. Further, if you take any given slasher, who will, after all, be writing the individual story about the individual character that ought to be what you care about if you're reading the story with an eye to fair judgment instead of merely reinforcing your prejudices, you will almost never find that she believes such a thing. If you take Sarah T. as your J. Random Slasher, you will find that she believes wholeheartedly in about five or six slash pairings and can be sold by a good writer on several others. The rest, she either doesn't care for or can read only with the mental reservation that it just doesn't fit her view of the canon. With most slashers, you'd get a similar result--not some wacky view where any two people of the same sex can be thrown together just for the shock value of the gay. Yes, you can construct an arbitrary category for which your derogatory description is true. But you don't read a category, you read stories, and when your categorical description fails to accurately represent the people who are imputed to it, then your category is just an artifact to support your argument, not a fair description of anything.

It's just a really, really, really stupid fanboy argument. Can't we put it to bed?

Oh, and P.S.: You are right to worry, though. We are planning to turn you gay next. Better defend those idealizations of your own masculinity fiercely! Once Superman cracks, what hope do you have???

Posted by Sarah T. at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2004

Sometimes I think one of the most frustrating things about fandom is that the average age is always 18.

Posted by Sarah T. at 03:28 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2004

More media!

Okay, just one.

Cheaper by the Dozen: Built into this bland family comedy is a secret subplot for the middle-aged mothers in the audience. That subplot is: TOM WELLING BEING SEXY. In the course of the film, we see him: rumpled and sleepyheaded in bed; wet in the team showers; leaning over the hood to fix his car; shirtless, then pulling on a tight white T-shirt; and holding cute kids on his lap. I'm amazed they managed to slip that much fanservice so discreetly into the film...your average eight-year-old, or your husband, won't even notice!

This film is inoffensive, as long as you don't think too hard about the gender implications (or the fact that the high-school-age kids apparently don't really consider it part of their role in the family to look after their younger siblings). Just sit back and watch the special story put in just for you. And stick around for the credits: Welling gives Hunt a sweeping romantic kiss!

Posted by Sarah T. at 02:49 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2004

Some media consumed during the first half of the break

This year, I'm going to try to keep a better record of what I read. I'm reading more nonprofessionally than I have in several years, so I'll brave the future in which I wince rereading my notes in order to be able to remember it all.

The Return of the King

Smallville: "Lineage" and "Hourglass"

Reversal of Fortune. This is a longtime favorite of mine. To my mind, it's the most thoughtful of all movies about the American legal process, which manages to wrap a troubling meditation on the inescapable indeterminacy of narrative and the inherent limitations of a system of justice that depends on it in a traditional crusading-lawyer-rights-a-wrong story. Strong performances by Glenn Close and especially Jeremy Irons as the impeccably, hilariously, disturbingly odd Claus von Bulow (though you'll never convince me that the Oscar he won for the performance wasn't a retroactive award for his work in Dead Ringers a year earlier--Jonathan Demme hadn't yet established that you could win Oscars for a mere horror film). A bit too celebratory of Dershowitz, but what can you expect?

Tom Shales, Live from New York. This was a Christmas present from my sister, a Saturday Night Live retrospective. To me it was interesting primarily as an exercise in triangulation of characters described from multiple perspectives, though there were some hilarious passages. There was more candidness than I would have expected from the interview subjects, but that's only valuable in so far as you're really interested in the topic, and my interest is fair-to-middling, especially after the earliest era. Still, if you enjoy SNL, you'll probably find this a worthwhile read.

Rex Stout, The League of Frightened Men. I am perpetually rereading the Nero Wolfe novels. Despite the obvious flaws (occasionally half-hearted puzzles, authorial manipulation to delay resolution), their charm will never fade for me. Nero Wolfe was my first model for how to live an independent intellectual life, though even as a naive kid I appreciated the value of Archie's sardonic counterpoint to his pretensions. LFM is the tale of a group of men who fear they're being murdered one by one by the victim of a college hazing many years earlier. It's one of the earlier novels, in which Stout was, I suspect, trying to sell his mysteries as more mainstream dramas. Wolfe pontificates at the drop of a hat and there is some lurid melodrama that's supposed to be character work. Read it for the banter and the period atmosphere.

Stout, Too Many Cooks. A slightly later novel, with Stout just hitting his stride. Wolfe attends a retreat of world-class chefs for...reasons of his own. The characterization is much more appealing and plausible in this one (if it's fanciful in spots, it's a charming rather than a grim fantasy, and it manages to avoid the Curse of Twee that so often strikes the "exotic-world-of-[x]" mystery), the humor is top-notch, and the puzzle better-than-average. [Note: there are some awkward moments dealing with black characters, but given that the book was published in the 30s, I tend to think Stout was well-meaning if insensitive at points here.]

Lost in Translation. This is the kind of film that may not improve with multiple viewings, as it's so delicate and lyrical that it suffers when the mind starts dissecting mid-scene. My third viewing was not the best, but it's still a lovely and haunting piece, a perfect depiction of cultural vertigo and the tender fragility of human affections. It also features the first Yalie heroine in recent memory.

Posted by Sarah T. at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2004

Ou est les gay superheroes d'antan?

I rewatched "Lineage" on Christmas Eve and was struck by the ways it seems to presage "Shattered." Lionel's cavalier manipulation of Rachel's madness, his willingness to sacrifice a child (Lucas) to preserve his secret, Clark's forced revelation of his powers to Rachel and Martha's relief that everyone will think she's simply insane if she speaks of them, even the haunting image of Lionel staring helplessly through the glass at an ill Lex...there are a lot of connections there.

Since I got the DVDs for Christmas (God bless Mom T.), I also watched "Hourglass" again for the first time in a good long while. After two years, it still holds up damn well, if for nothing else than the sheer overexposed creepiness of Cassandra's vision of Lex's future. This episode is also noticeable for showing us the first real cracks in early, fey Lex's armor--the desperate way he tries to wipe Death off his hands at the end is really memorable. I have to admit, this episode made me nostalgic for the fandom of yesteryear. It feels to me right now as if a great many writers now are caught up in their own AUs, in random futurefics, in elaborate exercises in denial, drawing their inspiration primarily from fanon rather than from the immediate canon we get on a week-to-week basis. I remember so clearly watching Lex scrubbing his hands on his jacket and thinking, "Oh, my God, he was holding his *mom's* hand when she died, too!"--and before I could write anything based on it, seeing the Spike's excellent (and wholly independent) take on the same idea pop up on the list. Rather than annoying me, it thrilled me that someone else was watching so closely, and seeing something like what I was seeing in the tiniest details of the show. I miss that. I hope that the many fics playing off "Shattered" promise something of a return to that for the fandom.

Posted by Sarah T. at 06:14 AM | Comments (1)