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Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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Over the weekend, I finally got to watch Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. All in all, I thought it was a good movie; much better than Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. It had a more exciting plot.

However, this isn’t a review. I couldn’t help but notice something in a particular scene. Grindelwald was leading a meeting with his followers in France, I think, and of course the English Ministry of Magic was there to ambush and arrest him and his followers. It happened so fast it’s a blur, but what happened next went down something like this: the Ministry was in the crowd, anticipating the gathering’s behavior, when one of Grindelwald’s followers happened to look at an Auror. The Auror subsequently killed her. It seemed like one of those situations where the police are just lying in wait for action, and then someone looks at them funny or something and they fire their weapons, and all hell breaks loose. It seemed like the wizarding equivalent of racial profiling.

There’s one more thing I’d like to address. Why is everyone having a fit just because J.K. Rowling said that Dumbledore and Grindelwald were in a relationship at one point? Yes, Dumbledore dated a bad guy, but it’s not like Grindelwald was always bad. If I had to guess, I’d say that the pure-blood supremacy mindset is a learned behavior, so to speak. Grindelwald had to have someone or something influence him. Unless Grindelwald is also a sociopath. There’s no learning sociopathy. Grindelwald would just be born that way: a charismatic smoother talker with a screw or two loose. Maybe it’s a combination of both?

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Movies

Wonder Park

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June Bailey and her mother created Wonderland when she was little. But then her mom got sick, and June hadn’t really thought about it since. Until one day, when she stumbles upon it because she decides to run away from math camp. It’s her job to rescue the park from the darkness her neglect caused.

It was refreshing to see a female character interested in subjects like math, and her imagination was impressive as well. Beyond that, however, this movie didn’t really have a “wow” factor. The main draw was Rachel Platten’s song “Wonder”, which comes in about halfway through the movie.

The cast was quite a mix. Jennifer Garner and Matthew Broderick played June’s mom and Dad, respectively. Jennifer Garner was back in her groove with a – slightly – happier role. Peppermint was good, but it seemed to be an outlier for Garner.

Voices for June’s friends in Wonderland include Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Keenan Thompson, and last but not least, Norbert Leo Butz, known to broadway fans as Fiyero in Wicked. Oliver and Thompson provided most, if not all, of the somewhat dry humor.

The message in the movie was complex. On the surface, yes, it’s all fine and dandy when someone can believe in themselves and not give up, but at the same time, self-esteem isn’t always so simple; sometimes darkness isn’t easily kept at bay. Who knows what would’ve happened if June hadn’t found Wonderland again.

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More thoughts on subtitles

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Perhaps this would be more accurately titled “My frustration with subtitles”. However, I don’t think that’s where my true issue lies. I’m mad at whoever creates TV shows or whoever decides which languages the shows should have subtitles for.

Not everything is created equally. This is common knowledge, but I was still surprised to find it applied to subtitles as well. I was watching an episode of A Million Little Things on Hulu one night, and I clicked on the settings to put the Spanish subtitles on, because it would be fun. I was disappointed to realize that there weren’t any. It only had English subtitles. I guess not everyone is as nerdy as I am.

This sort of makes sense, because English is probably the most common language in the United States, and people need subtitles if they are deaf or hard of hearing. At the same time, I can’t help but think that Spanish is a common language in the United States as well. So why not have Spanish subtitles for all the shows too?

However, the languages a show is subtitled in may depend on the platform. Netflix usually has Spanish as one of the options. It even has traditional and simplified Chinese, which is cool.

Why can’t streaming platforms agree on a list of which languages to have subtitles for and put all the options on every show? I know they’d probably have to hire translators, but that’s not so bad, is it?

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Pushing through writer’s block

image: writingcooperative.com

Or at least I’m trying to push through writer’s block and get some writing done anyway. It’s kind of weird at the moment though; nothing I’m currently working on feels right. Usually, my ideas and stories flow through me. I know exactly what I’m going to write and I feel good about it. Like “warm and fuzzy feelings” type good. Lately, though, I feel like I’ve had to pull my own teeth just to get some ideas onto paper.

Is it just me? I hope not. I hope I’m not alone in feeling this way, and I hope the feeling passes. Because I really like what I’m working on. One of the pieces I’m working on is just a bit of Harry Potter fan fiction, which is not something I ever thought I’d try to tackle. Maybe I’m just intimidated by it? I know I definitely don’t want to mess up the world J.K. Rowling created.

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Movies

Captain Marvel

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Carol Danvers doesn’t rememberer her life before she was part of the Kree civilization. All she knows is that she’s fighting an intergalactic war against the shape-shifting Skulls. And she’s working with the good guys. At least, she thinks she is.

Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden did a really nice job bringing this part of the Marvel Universe to life. The sets and special effects were amazing, and the fight scenes were well choreographed. But it would be interesting to know which actors did their own stunts in which scenes.

Brie Larson is a badass. Not only that, but it’s clear she’s versatile as an actress. The juxtaposition of The Glass Castle and Captain Marvel couldn’t point out more differences if it tried, but Larson pulled off her roles in both movies flawlessly. Samuel L. Jackson made his usual appearance in the Marvel Universe as Shield agent Nick Fury, and Stan Lee still had his cameo. The movie actually opened with a tribute to Lee: “Thank You Stan”.
As far as superhero movies go, this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s heartwarming, funny, and plot-twisty. Don’t miss out. Or else Brie Larson will stir up more controversy where there normally wouldn’t be any.

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Gendered words

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It seems you did so not with reason or deduction, but something akin to female intuition.

London Spy, Episode 2

This quote from London Spy starring Ben Whishaw really got me thinking. But maybe I should set the scene first.

Ben’s character, Danny, is trying to figure out how his boyfriend, Alex Turner, was murdered. In the course of his personal investigation, he meets Alex’s mother. Before that, however, he meets two people claiming to be Alex’s parents. Danny quickly realizes that these people know absolutely nothing about Alex, and they eventually go to Alex’s biological parents’ house.

Alex’s mother, Frances, was sure that Danny would figure out something was off. But she seems to be surprised at how it did it, which is where the quote comes in.

Why is intuition a “female” thing? Guys can sense something’s off just as much as anybody else. I know “hysterical” originally referred to behavior during a woman’s menstrual cycle or something, but that in itself is strange.

Why do we have any words associated with someone’s gender at all? There doesn’t really seem to be any purpose behind it.

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I stand corrected

In a recentpost, I discussed what I thought was a translation error in Harry Potter y el prisionero de Azkaban. I sent it to two of my friends and one of my former professors to see what they thought.

You learn something new everyday, right? It turns out that “Pascuas” actually means “Christmas” in Spain. One of my friends sent me this explanation if you’re interested.

The one – honestly, probably only – thing I don’t like about is that they have so many words for the same thing. How do they choose what words to use when? Maybe it has to do with context? Even then, what words would someone use in different contexts?

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Movies

Dr. Eren and the cinematic point of no return

It’s kind of hard to believe that the Oscars were only last week. I don’t know why, but it seems like they were forever ago.

However, I will admit that I was more excited than usual this year because 1) Emily Blunt was in two movies that were nominated (Mary Poppins Returns and A Quiet Place) and 2) I appreciate movies more because of my film class.

In my last semester of college, I took “Introduction to International Film” because I needed another credit hour or something and the class was open. It turned out to be one of the best random decisions I’ve ever made.

First of all, my professor, Dr. Mine Eren, was super nice. Second of all, literally all I had to do during class was sit and watch movies. However, that didn’t necessarily mean it was easy. We had lots of interesting discussions about film elements like different types of camera shots and sound. Stuff an audience probably wouldn’t normally think about.

So, when it came time for the Academy Awards this year, I thought my excitement was justified. Not so much, as far as other people are concerned. I really don’t know what to tell them except “I’m sorry for my outburst of energy/emotion”. Then again, why should I have to apologize for something that makes me happy?

Dr. Eren pushed me past the “cinematic point of no return” so to speak, and I don’t regret it at all. I saw movies I never would have seen – or be interested in, for that matter – if it weren’t for her class. I can’t thank her enough.

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Movies

My version of minimalism

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The Minimalists. If you haven’t heard of them, their names are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. I was initially introduced to them on Dan Harris’s podcast, 10% Happier.

So I started listening to their podcast, simply called The Minimalists Podcast, where they discuss how to live a meaningful life with less. Less clutter, that is. I started thinking about all the things in my room that I didn’t necessarily need. It was kind of hard, because most of my possessions seem to be books, and I don’t want to get rid of any of those. Actually, I still can’t think of anything I want to get rid of.

I was watching their documentary, Minimalism:  A Documentary about the Important Things, on Netflix recently, when something clicked. The things in my life that are important to me are reading, writing (and blogging), Spanish, and entertainment. All I really need are books, a notebook and something to write with, my phone, my computer, and access to movies and TV.

I don’t feel that I need a lot more than I already have. I’ll need more books eventually, and maybe a new phone and computer down the road, but all of the things I mentioned are things that make me happy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Music, TV, and movies serve as inspiration for my writing.

Read and writing is what I’ve always done, what I always will do. Nothing is going to change that. I may not read as much as I used to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to read. I couldn’t imagine my life without reading. And it’s not bad that things like movies and TV inspire my writing and blogging.

But sometimes, I still feel like the things that make me happy are bad. I wish I could stop feeling ashamed of myself.


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TV

Breakdown: A Million Little Things

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If it weren’t for Outlander, A Million Little Things would probably take the top spot on my list of favorite TV shows. Is it weird that I even have a list to begin with? Why am I ashamed that I have a list?

Anyway, I actually took a break from the latter for a while because I wasn’t really sure if I would be comfortable with the direction in which it seemed to be going. But the commercials for it sucked me back in, and now I’m fully invested.

I’m going to break down the reasons why I love it so much, because they’re probably somewhat obscure. Here goes nothing.

Friendship

One day, John Dixon (Ron Livingston), Gary Mendez (James Roday), Rome Howard (Romany Malco), and Eddie Saville (David Giuntoli) get trapped together in an elevator. So what do they do? They sit down on the floor and get to know each other. It’s the Muggle version of how Harry, Ron, and Hermione become friends:

There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

So the guys and their wives (well, Gary and his girlfriend) quickly become the ride-or-die type of friends who will do anything for each other. Gary even goes so far as to drop whatever he is doing at the moment to help one of the others out.

I don’t have a lot of friends. Never have, probably never will. And I’m okay with that; quality over quantity, after all. But sometimes I find myself wondering about the ride-or-die part. I’m definitely Gary. If I’m able to, I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to help one of my friends. But would my friends do the same for me?

Don’t get me wrong, I found some good friends in college, but everywhere I go, I seem to run into people who seem to be nice to me just because I have cerebral palsy and I use a wheelchair to get around. And that’s the thing I hate the most. I’m more than just a disability, and it’s not something about me that should define me. If someone is going to be my friend, I want the relationship to be reciprocal.

Mental Health

In Episode 9, “Perspective”, Rome finally opens up to his father about his depression while they’re fixing one of the sinks in Rome’s bathroom. His father is somewhat unnerved by the fact that Rome is on anti-depressants. Mental health is one of the most stigmatized things ever, and it’s ridiculous if you ask me, but I digress. Rome explains his situation to his father like this:

You want to teach me how to fix the sink, but me, taking those pills, quitting my job, that’s me trying to fix me.

It really resonated with me, because I’m also trying to “fix me”. I’m trying to lean into the things that make me happy without feeling ashamed about it. I’m getting better, but I’ve still got a long way to go.

Family Dynamics and Amicable Divorce

In the penultimate episode of Season 1 (Episode 16, “The Rosary”), Eddie’s ex-wife, Katherine (Grace Park) chaperones their son, Theo, on a school field trip. Theo has a bit of an attitude because he’s used to Eddie being there for him. Eddie was a stay-at-home dad until he decided to rejoin his band, The Red Ferns.

Anyway, when Katherine and Theo get home, Theo lets her have it, with “just so you know, you did a bad job today” and “I knew it should’ve been Dad”. However, Katherine doesn’t respond by getting mad. She calmly explains to her son that she understands he’s in a bad mood, and she’s sorry, but it’s not okay to talk to her like that.

And Theo actually asked for a consequence. When I got in trouble, I knew I was going to have a consequence, but I didn’t ask for one. Theo’s self-awareness seems a bit unrealistic.

On another weird note, during Theo’s field trip, Katherine hears one off Eddie songs, and she calls him because she thinks it’s really cool and she’s excited. I can’t say I understand it; people can still be friends after a divorce? How? I guess some people are better off as friends. It was really nice to see that everyone hates their ex-husband or their ex-wife.