Showing Hollywood’s Awkward Turtles Some Love

I really hope you all don’t kill my love for my girl, Jennifer Lawrence. But after keeping track of the live buzz during the Oscars it’s starting to get there.


It started when she tripped on her way up the stairs to accept her award for Best Actress. Tumblr was awash with textual squeals of how adorable and real and human she was. And she totally was. I giggled, like anyone else, over her closing, flabbergasted, “Thanks!” But then I had to stop. Because a little while ago the internet was saying quite the opposite of Kristen Stewart, when she limped out on stage with Dan Radcliffe to present.

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6 Bad Ass Females the Winchesters Should Meet

For the past couple of months I have been entrenched in Supernatural, a show I was a full seven seasons behind in (only two now) and became very quickly obsessed with. The fact that I haven’t written about it on here yet is pretty remarkable, as its occupied so much of my brain, but the truth is there hasn’t been much point. Talking about gender issues in Supernatural is a bit like commenting that grass is green. It’s a sexist show. Period.

The problem isn’t only with Supernatural, of course, the issue of institutionalized, pervasive misogyny is latent in our cultural language. However, Supernatural, with its Americana Midwestern aesthetic and extravagantly butch dudebro emotionality is a glaring example. Female characters are relegated to either blonde waifish fridge stuffing or evil harpies in tight pants with their cleavage pushed up in their chins. To fully document the problem would fill up a dissertation, nevermind a blog post.

So, I decided to take a different approach to talking about this. If you have an imagination anything like mine, then you thrive on mashups and crossovers. For me, the best way to move along an idea is to take a character or element from someone else’s work, and see what happens. So with Supernatural’s serious lacking of impressive female characters, I keep finding myself inserting some of my favorites from other stories. So, I’d like to share my list of 6 (yes 6, because whatever) Bad Ass Females the Winchesters (and Cas) Should Meet.

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A She-Wolf is Never Just a Wolf

Last Friday, after plunking myself down for an evening with Netflix Instant on the Wii, two episodes of Doctor Who and the beginning of a long overdue Buffy rewatch (yeah, it was that kind of night) I watched Centurion. Against the judgment of many a film critic, yes, but who am I to deny the lure of Neil Marshall, lots of ax-wielding gore, and Olga Kurylenko?

Centurion is a period action flick with a unique task. It clearly makes efforts to be both historically accurate and groundbreaking (in effect, being groundbreaking by being historically accurate) from language, to costuming (as it turns out though, the Picts used to fight naked, oh well), to a multiracial cast, to the female warriors the movie showcases. Which puts Neil Marshall on tentative ground. He’s already staked his name as a game-changer in what is considered a boy’s club genre with The Descent. By making the cast entirely female, the story took gender tropes, that horror films typically take on as a mandate, out of the equation. But Centurion would of course not be all female, and to have too many at the forefront would be unrealistic. Too few and the villain, Etain, would simply be a novelty. Personally, I think he handled the numbers game well, at least. There are a few females, one with actual lines even, backing up Etain on the Pict side of the story; a speaking female on the Roman side, and one featured in the middle. However, what he did with this balanced casting is another issue.

Bechdel Test, Smechdel Test, a woman doesn't need a tongue to be heard

A part of me wishes that Olga Kurlenko was not so damn attractive, because it may just be me, but there seems to be something inherently beastly about her. The role of Etain is surprisingly believable on her, even if she doesn’t actually have the muscle mass to wield a weapon as effectively as she does in the movie. What can you do, they only make actresses in certain shapes and sizes these days. But like Marshall, Kurylenko clearly made an effort, evidenced in her fight scenes that feature her mostly from the front and by fault of her costuming her hair pushed back from her face, leaving little room for a stunt double. Not to mention, playing a mute lady warrior is not as easy as it sounds, particularly this one. Every silent moment is intense, and in every way Kurylenko embodies a woman intent on the hunt.  As our angelic love interest tells our hero Quintius Dias, “Her soul is an empty vessel. Only Roman blood can fill it.”

Yeah, this girl’s got issues.

(Spoilers ahead)

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What Are You Dreaming Of?

There’s been a lot of interesting news about Christopher Nolan’s latest jaw-dropper Inception – that its brilliant, that its kind of sexist, that its kind of not, that one of its stars is probably bisexual. All of these I could write about. But the truth is I wasn’t as blown-away by this movie as so many others people seem to be. I often judge a movie’s greatness by how long it stays with me after. I found that the only thing that stayed with me, the only part that I really kept pondering, was the ending. And as it turns out, the end is very relevent to our interests here on this blog.

(Spoilers ahead, obviously. I’m writing this for those who have seen the movie, those who haven’t aren’t getting any context, jsyk.)

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“Open Your Door”

My mother says I’m a product of my generation. “With all the video games and movies,” she attempted to clarify. Nevermind that I don’t really play video games aside from WiiSports and Mario Kart. Nonetheless, it made for hard case to explain mysudden acute interest  with violent, disturbing horror movies.

I’ve seen Quarantine and Saw. The Ring had me quivering under my comforter for six months when I was sixteen and Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake made me want to vomit. But these are not the kind of movies that I’m interested in, not anymore. Those movies are the products of my “generation,” the attempts to satisfy an ongoing and unending thirst for more. I’m not looking for more – I’m looking for It.

This past Christmas I watched Inside, an unflinchingly gory French horror film from 2007, involving scissors, knitting needles and impromptu C-sections. It was mentioned in passing in the behind-the-scenes featurettes for Grace, and since I had already managed to get through Martyrs and loved it, it seemed like a good idea to put it on my Netflix queue. It sat in its red envelope for over a month before I finally sat down to watch, and until about twenty minutes in I was worried that it was just another horror/thriller that was going to leave me shaken but empty by its end.  And then I knew that Inside had It. Or at least, it had something

(Spoilers and descriptions of graphic violence abound, be warned).

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