Movie Madness: Band of Robbers

This 2016 Indie movie reimagines Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as adults in modern day time. Huck has just got out of prison and wants to lead a normal life, while Tom is now a corrupt cop who has not let go of his childhood schemes. Both have not been able to forget their dreams of finding treasure, and so they form a “Band of Robbers” with two other friends and begin the hunt.

The movie follows the plot of Tom Sawyer pretty well* and has plenty of call backs to the original story/time period. For instance, at the beginning of the movie Huck is seen smoking a corn cob pipe and he is staying in a house that is from the correct time period (with matching furniture). The major changes include having the movie narrated by Huck, the cave with the treasure is turned into an old hotel that was once called “The Cavern”, and Becky meets Tom for the first time as an adult.

It is this last change that drew me into the movie. What is Tom like with no Becky? What role does Becky play in Tom’s growth? Turns out, Tom without Becky is a grade A asshole. He leaves Huck behind to get caught, uses his power as a cop to get away with crimes, and has no care in the world for anything not related to him. Becky is the reason why book Tom was able to grow as a person. Not having Becky around not only changed Tom, but also changed Huck. If Tom wasn’t reigned in by wanting to be good for Becky, that leaves Huck not having what little guiding influence Tom provided.

Overall, this movie was able to take the original themes of the book and give a more sinister take on them. There were times when I thought that Huck or Tom could actually be killed off, while the book never had me fear that. There was also a pretty interesting discussion on whether or not Injun Joe was racist (the answer was never agreed upon).

*If you never read it, or only read the Spark Notes in order to pass your HS English class, don’t worry. No prior knowledge of the book is needed to enjoy this movie.

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TV Trivia – Answers

  • On Three’s Company, what is the name “Chrissy” short for?
    • Christmas
  • What star of The Breakfast Club was also part of the original cast of The Facts of Life?
    • Molly Ringwald
  • On M*A*S*H, what was Walter ‘Radar’ O’Reilley’s home town?
    • Ottumwa, Iowa

Unpopular Opinion: The Nice Guy TM

 

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Stosh ‘Piz’ Piznarski of Veronica Mars might not be guilty of the crime fandom has accused him of. Despite the cast and crew of Veronica Mars dubbing him a nice guy and drawing comparisons  to Logan Echolls, the so-called bad boy, Piz in the narrative never does this. Aside from an innocuous comment about being “a lover, not a fighter”, he never wonders why Veronica is with Logan or expects her to be with him because he’s “nice”. He’s just a boy with a crush on a girl who’s already taken. A boy whose worst offense is accidentally/purposefully asking said girl out. Oh and that Zac Efron wannabe haircut.
On the flip side, you have Ted Mosby who is steeped in the Nice Guy ™ mud. He even comes out and says he thinks Robin should be with him and not Barney. That being said, I still liked Ted. I have a general soft spot for protagonists as it is, and somewhere along the way, Ted’s annoying quest to find his soulmate became endearing. Right up until the finale, anyway (forever bitter). Although I share the popular disdain for the HIMYM finale, I did not ship Robin and Barney. I’ve seen gifsets that compare Barney to Ted, as if somehow being a Nice Guy ™ is worse than spewing misogynistic garbage 24/7. Barney may not be a nice guy, but he does subscribe to the Nice Guy ™ school of thought. For he was once a nice guy, who got dumped by a girl, and then decided it didn’t pay to be nice. But guess what? I liked Barney Stinson too.

TV Trivia

Factoids

  • Today, there are more than 1.5 billion TV sets in use
  • US citizens watch the most TV. By age 65, an American would have watched the equivalent of 9 years of uninterrupted screening, viewing more than 20,000 TV commercials per year
  • On average, a movie makes about 5 times more from its DVD sales than ticket takings.

Questions

  • On Three’s Company, what is the name “Chrissy” short for?
  • What star of The Breakfast Club was also part of the original cast of The Facts of Life?
  • On M*A*S*H, what was Walter ‘Radar’ O’Reilley’s home town?

Answer in the comments below and the correct answers will be revealed tomorrow!

Interview with Silver (@LlNZZMORGAN)

Silver, also known as @LlNZZMORGAN on Twitter, knows all about being in a large fandom and the effects of cast members interacting with their fans. I spoke to her about the importance of community for fans of a television show, attending a convention, and what it means to be ‘fandom famous’.

When did you start watching The 100?

Around December 2014.

 

What do you think drew you to the show initially?

Everybody was talking about the strong women and feminism on the show. Hearing there was a show with more than one heroic female character was intriguing and new, especially for The CW, so I had to check it out myself.

 

That’s why I started watching too!

So in regards to that and progressivism I guess, the show has both received a lot of praise and a lot of criticism recently in regards to character deaths and representation on the show. Where do you stand on this?

I agree with the criticism, but this is what the show has been built on, sadly. As a minority, I noticed how they mistreated other minorities by killing them off for shock value like Anya/Wells. I am definitely happy and relieved to see the fandom finally speaking up, I think with this sort of voice the writers will be changing the way they treat their minorities, or at least that’s what I am hoping. Of course, I do understand why people may boycott it, but I personally am here for the representation still left such as LGBT, disabilities, and ethnic ones.

 

Going off that, let’s talk fandom: you are quite involved in The 100 fandom on Twitter, with over 8,600 followers. How important do you think a community like this is for people who are fans of a show like The 100?

The 100 is airing in a time where I feel like young adults/ new adults are more into politics than before, and in a way this fictional world can stir a lot of conversations because of that. Twitter is a place where you can express that. I personally have learned so much from the fandom, especially about tropes and even about feminism and sensitive topics that people avoid to discuss so for a controversial show, I think it’s interesting and that’s why it was a pretty huge fan-base.

 

In relation to being quite involved in the fandom, you’re also pretty well known. Would you say you’re ‘fandom famous’, so to speak?

I think I might be, I do feel like everybody knows me, but that’s mostly because I think I am always the most vocal on subjects that spark arguments.

 

And how do you feel about having that label? Is it a good thing or would you rather be more incognito?

I mean, at times it can be rough, but at the end of the day I feel like sometimes with my voice I can do more good [and] spread more awareness. Recently with real-life political issues it was easier to grab attention and shine light on issues that matter because of the label I have.

 

That’s a great point!!

You recently flew to London for a convention for the show. Why did you decide to go? What were your thoughts beforehand?

I flew all the way from Saudi which was insane. I definitely went to meet the cast I supported for over a year, especially that I am a huge fan of Lindsey Morgan and Ricky Whittle. Honestly, I didn’t realize it was happening till I was actually there because I just didn’t think it would happen.

 

Tell me about some of the best moments at the convention

 

One of my favorite moments was during the Ricky & Lindsey Q&A, I asked Lindsey and Ricky to impersonate each other and Lindsey actually got me on stage to help her out. She didn’t need to do that but she knew how special and important it would be to me. One of my other favorite interactions is when I ran into them in the lobby, Sachin recognized me (another detail I love about them is that they do genuinely listen, they knew who we were and everything) and I approached them. I asked them to take selfies with me and they were kind enough to agree. It warmed my heart how happy it made them to know the distance I flew for them; I didn’t expect that sort of response at all. My last out of the top three favorite interactions was my autograph session, I got to speak to Ricky on a more personal level, he told me he knew me from Twitter and that he had seen my support, he gave me advice on bullying and it felt very real and raw. Lindsey remembered every detail I told her days before which was insane, she reached out and held my hand right before left and I felt like I had made friends at the con, not met my idols.

 

I actually did notice that some cast members, particularly Lindsey Morgan, recognised you from Twitter. What does this mean to you, as a fan of both the show and Lindsey?

It felt special, I have been in many fandoms before but never have I seen nor heard a cast be so interactive and friendly with their fans. It meant a lot to me.  I am dedicated to Lindsey the most, so her recognizing me from online made me completely speechless to be honest.

 

What is it about Lindsey that you admire so much? Would you say you look up to her?

Of course Lindsey Morgan is beautiful, but what I admire about her is the way she addresses issues. In a lot of her interviews she speaks about what it’s like to be a woman of color in the industry, she shines light on issues women struggle with especially the minorities, she’s researched about disabilities and read dozens of stories about other people’s lives with them to portray her character. She’s very socially aware and smart but most importantly she spreads so much self-love and positivity. I do admire her for sure, she’s an amazing person inside out.

 

How important do you think it is for cast members to interact with fans on social media platforms?

I respect cast members who don’t, its optional of course, but those who do definitely impact their fans in positive ways. A lot of people look up to these characters and actors, being able to talk to them on social media platforms could make the fan feel important and just as loved and appreciated back.

 

One last question: do you have any predictions about the rest of this season?

I don’t think there is much to predict, sadly a lot of spoilers have been leaked but I do think it will be the end of ALIE, and hopefully the end of Ontari’s command.

Judaism and the 100

So I was reading a meta by the brilliant Anne here about faith and how it influences the show, and I was thinking about how the 100 is influenced by Judaism and Jewish Values. I was also talking about how the 100 season 3 will end with the exodus of the delinquents, which I wrote about here with Cams.

Background info: I am Jewish, I went to Jewish School for nine years and currently go to a Catholic High School where I am senior. Jason Rothenberg, the creator and executive producer of the 100 is also Jewish.

Forgiveness and Repentance in the 100 and in Judaism

Forgiveness in both Christianity and Judaism is often unearned by the wrongdoer, it is something we do because humans are made in the image of God and thus are worthy of respect, understanding and dignity. This concept is shown multiple times in the 100 through both words and actions. Bellamy and Clarke say to each other “If you need forgiveness I’ll give that to you” in both 1×08 and 2×16 where the person hearing the words feels like a monster. In 3×13 Clarke tells Bellamy “I forgive you but the question is will you forgive yourself”. Another example is after Kane realizes that Culling was not actually needed and his mother, Vera tells him that “God will forgive you”. Kane and Abby forgive each other with actions after the shock lashing, Abby still trusts him later in the season. Clarke and Lexa also experience this where in 3×04, Clarke bandages Lexa’s hands after the fight with Roan, implicitly forgiving her.

Now it is the concept of repentance that differs between Jewish and Christian traditions. For many Christians the act of repentance is often as simple as giving money to the church or taking confession because they believe that Jesus died for their sins and thus they are absolved already, however there does have to be regret. Both Jewish and Christian Traditions require the person to regret their actions. In Jewish culture, repentance requires a change in behavior, it is a choice to reflect on your mistakes and try do better. This is the essence of repentance on the 100. Both Kane and Bellamy are forgiven for their wrongdoing but they only truly become heroes in the eyes of the viewer because they change their behavior, they only succeed in their respective redemptions arc because they actively become better people. Bellamy and Kane both work to create a better world, to protect their people, and in terms of Bellamy being less chaotic and in terms of Kane being less rigid. Yes, they do both fall back into their antagonistic roles at times but that is what the active choice of the idea of repentance is.

This is why the Lexa repentance/hero arc didn’t feel like it happened to me. Because Lexa would bow to Clarke and say “I vow to treat your people as my people” in 3×03 while forcing the Sky People to stay within a border and not allowing them to gain justice for the murder of several of their citizens when Mount Weather blew up. In the aftermath of the massacre, Lexa ordered a siege of Arkadia wherein they poisoned the river and created a kill order on all of the Sky People, despite Clarke wanting to convince Lexa otherwise. Her promises to Clarke fell short of influencing her actions, she never changed from wanting to subjugate and punish the Sky people. Pretty words are not repentance. She also implied that Clarke was right to blame herself for the action Lexa’s betrayal forced her to commit in 3×03, let me repeat: LEXA’S BETRAYAL CAUSED CLARKE, BELLAMY AND MONTY TO BECOME COMMITTERS OF GENOCIDE – SHE IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THAT OCCURRING AND SHE NEVER ONCE APOLOGIZES OR SEEMS TO CHANGE HER BEHAVIOR. This is exactly why I understand Clarke’s forgiveness because forgiveness is healing to the person giving it, but I don’t understand anyone calling Lexa a hero because she hadn’t changed. I do believe that the writers know that Lexa never actually had an onscreen apology/change in her actions, which is why they are bringing her back in the Finale, so instead of forcing Clarke to stay, she can tell Clarke to leave which would be a change.

The Mourning Prayers

Now the first time we hear the words May We Meet Again on the show are in the context of a mourning prayer, The Traveller’s Blessing, and despite the term being used a lot on the show, it is almost always as a goodbye or alternatively sometimes as a promise that they will see the person they are speaking to again, see Abby using it with Clarke in 2×14 and Bellamy and Clarke using it in 2×16 at the end before Clarke walks off. The mourning prayer/epitaph in Judaism is May Your Memory Be Blessing. Both have very similar wording and the incredibly similar of meaning of “I will keep you with me after you leave”, “You will not forgotten” and “I will act as you would want me to act”.

The Exodus Story

In the meta referenced above, Anne talks about how Allie is a false god, which as I was talking with Cams about our predictions for the season finale, I realized could possibly mean that season 3 is a parallel to the Exodus Story.

Because after the revelation of God as the true God, the Israelites are sent away in part because of the 10th plague, the death of the first born, which I believe will parallel the delinquents being exiled after Clarke destroys the City of Light in finale that results in the death of almost everyone in it. The death of firstborn is as tragic as the death that will occur in finale, and it will destroy Grounder society in the same it destroyed Egyptian society in the Bible that the delinquents, like the Jews, will have to be exiled. Also, The delinquents/Sky People were treated terribly by the grounders – the siege, the limits of where they could go, the fact that they couldn’t use Mount Weather despite it being theirs by conquest, the lack of trade with the other grounders, and that’s just season 3.  However just like the Jews, they never lost hope that someday they would find a place of belonging, but like the Jews, the remaining Sky People must go through a journey, they must go out and face trials and be tested and doubt in order for them to  truly find their promised land.

The reason I believe that Kane, Abby, Clarke and the delinquents that enter the City of Light in next few episodes will be saved is because when the Jews were told of the tenth plague, they placed Lamb’s blood above their doors to tell the angel of death to pass over. I believe that this action of the Lamb’s blood is paralleled with Kane and Abby, especially because they both entered the City of Light to spare the lives of other people that they love, Kane for Abby in 3×13 and Abby for Raven in 3×10.

Allie and Jaha also represent an interesting parallel to the Pharaoh and God relationship where God hardens Pharaoh’s heart and then allows greater and greater harm to happen because of the plagues. Jaha convinces Allie that she can supersede free will and, as a result,  Allie forces people to commit horrific actions. Allie’s first act after forcing Raven to submit, thus overriding free will,  is making Raven cut herself until she would have bled out which is a parallel to the first plague being God turning the Nile River, the life source of Egypt, to blood.

Also after Moses kills the slaver, he runs away just as Clarke after slaying the Mountain Men runs away because both Moses and Clarke are afraid of their power. Moses also encounters God in a burning bush just as Clarke reconnects with Bellamy, the man she has the most faith in, by Lincoln’s pyre where they both address their demons and become a team again (3×12). In addition there are several times throughout the story where the Israelites lose faith in God, just as the Delinquents lose faith in Bellamy (3×05-3×010) but Moses never loses faith in God just as Clarke despite hearing about Bellamy seemingly going off his rocker never loses faith in Bellamy (3×05).

 

Abby is a fangirl, writer and poet from California. You can contact her on tumblr at the-ships-to-rule-them-all.

Throwback Thursday: Leverage

Ever wondered what a mashup of Ocean’s Eleven and Robin Hood would be like? Have no fear, Leverage is the show for you.

Leverage aired from 2008 to 2012 for a total of 5 seasons and 77 episodes. The show follows a grifter, a hacker, a hitter, a thief, and an ex-insurance investigator who use their combined skills to fight corporate America in order to help ordinary citizens.

Let’s meet the team:

Nathan “Nate” Ford (The Mastermind/The Brains): Former insurance fraud investigator who loses his job and wife after his son dies due to the insurance company (the same one he works for) refusing to cover medical treatment. This leads him into using alcohol as a coping mechanism, and he refers to himself as a functioning alcohol throughout the whole series (the rest of the team just calls him an alcoholic). He has personally tracked down each of the team members in one way or another while working for the insurance company, and it is this knowledge that leads him to know how to use their skills in each con.

Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter): An accomplished con artist with a talent for art theft and a dream of becoming an actress. The only downside is that she is only a good actress when she is running a con; put her on stage during a play and she is a hot mess. Sophie has a long list of aliases, including Sophie Devereaux. One unanswered question from the series is her real name.

Alec Hardison (The Hacker): A self-proclaimed geek (“age of the geek, baby”), whose first large scale crime was making the country of Iceland responsible for his Nana’s medical bills. He runs all of the electronics for the team, and designed the computer/video systems used at headquarters as well as the com system used during cons. He is also in charge of making legitimate aliases for the team, often using science fiction characters for the names (Dr. Who in particular). Hardison is one of the best actors on the team, and can talk himself out of almost every situation.

Eliot Spencer (The Hitter): An Oklahoma native who is highly skilled at martial arts, a weapons specialist, and a former black ops soldier who hates when guns are brought into a fight. His main responsibility is playing supporting roles in the con while acting as a bodyguard for the team.  He is presumed by most as a muscleman, but in reality he has a subtle intelligence (such as being able to distinguish gun shots, shoes, hairstyles, or styles of fighting) that relies on others underestimating him. In later episodes he works alongside Sophie as a grifter.

Parker (The Thief): A cat-burglar, pickpocket, safe-cracker, and expert thief who comes from an abusive background in foster care. She is “20 pounds of crazy in a five pound bag”, has no understanding of social norms, and lives solely off of cereal. Parker loves money, not stuff, and her favorite present is non-sequential bills. She once stole the Hope diamond and put it back because she was bored. While most see her as naive and childlike, she is next to Nate on being able to see several steps ahead and make contingency plans.

Each episode follows the same setup: the team meets the victim, runs surveillance on the villain, and then an elaborate con is run. The show uses flashbacks to show how seemingly devastating complications were actually anticipated, or how a random scene was a clue to how the entire plan worked. One thing that separates Leverage from other shows is that the characters are at the top of their field and the story lines and complications reflect it. The crew doesn’t hit a snag because somebody dropped the ball, they hit a snag because somebody sold the con too well.

While the show focuses on taking down corporate America (let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that?), it is the team’s personality, character growth, and relationship with each other that draws viewers in. Even during the first episode you can tell that they are already forming a family.

As the characters are a family, so too is the fandom. This fandom has steadily grown after cancellation thanks to Netflix and Hulu, and is welcoming of all ships. Whether you ship Hardison/Parker, or Hardison/Parker/Eliot, the fandom has a place for you and no ship wars occur. It is one of the friendliest fandoms out there.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Ion Television airs marathons every Sunday (Watch the trailer)

Where to find the fandom: Fanfiction, AO3, Tumblr: Leverage Tag, letsgostealaleverageblog, other-romantic-verbs