A Thirsty Ode to Kylo Ren

Long, long ago, and far, far away

Lived the galaxy’s #1 Dark Side Bae

He has a big scar, and he likes to wear black

To be sure, he’s a Fangirly Certified Snack

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There’s not much ’bout the Force that he doesn’t know, yo

He joined up with Snoke ’cause he couldn’t fly Solo

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We wouldn’t say no to a one-night force bond

With this bad boy Han and Leia spawned

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He’s bad with people, but good with a saber,

We dig, like the First Order Department of Labor

If you wanna know how to get under that mask,

Radar tech Matt is the person to ask

You’d better act fast, to quench that thirst,

Before rebel babe Rey can get there first

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“Goodbye Whitney of Old”

FullSizeRender(3)Whitney and I have been living together for over 4 months now and one thing I learned pretty quick is that this girl loves her some Elton John.  So this quick ode goes out to my sweet Whitney who turned a quarter of a century yesterday.  It won’t make much sense to anyone but Whitney and it may not even make sense to her, so excuse this bit of nonsense and Happy Birthday, Whitney!

Goodbye Whitney of Old
(to the tune of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”)

So you think that you’re getting old?
You’re still only twenty-five
You still have time to party
Still lots of time to jive

You know there’s still lots to binge
Lots of movies to see
I need you to see me through all of this viewing
You’re just too young to be singing the aging blues

So goodbye Whitney of old
Where Simba was your main man
There’s got to be someone who’s better
A Marvel Chris or a Dan

Back to the yowling Brendans in jungles
Powerline fans who love Roxannes
I think you’ll finally find your future lies
Beyond the Whitney of old

Look at how much you’ve changed now
You watch Brits who bake pavlovas
The girl who hates those Hallmark movies
Has suddenly found the love

You even like dragons and imps now
Jon Snows and Starks and Hounds
Okay so that doesn’t sound all that grown up
But I had to incorporate Thrones somehow

So goodbye Whitney of old
Where Simba was your main man
There’s got to be someone who’s better
A Marvel Chris or a Dan

Back to the yowling Brendans in jungles
Powerline fans who love Roxannes
I think you’ll finally find your future lies
Beyond the Whitney of old.

Ellen

An Open Thank-You Letter to DC Entertainment

Dear DC,

I don’t remember a lot about my childhood (most likely a result of all the heavy drinking and drug abuse. The 90’s, am I right?). There are however, a few memories that have followed me to adulthood, like the psychological equivalent of adult acne. For example, I vividly remember one stunningly embarrassing conversation I once had with my mother when I was ten year old.

We were driving in the car, on our way to my daily swim team practice. My mom had been uncharacteristically quiet for most of the drive while I, oblivious, bounced around in my seat, excited to see my friends and to show them my brand new modified-Anakin-Skywalker haircut.

For context, I should explain that Attack of the Clones had just been released to theaters, and I was completely captivated  by all things Jedi, bless my heart. Also, if you’re curious as to what a modified-Anakin-Skywalker haircut looks like, it’s really just a short pony-tail without the goofy little side braid. Mom had to draw the line somewhere.

We were almost to the pool, when my mom blurted out, “Whit, do you wish you were a boy?”

I was a little taken aback. “Um, yeah, sort of.”

I knew right away that I had said the wrong thing. To this day, I have never seen my mother look so crushed. I rushed to explain.

“Boys just get to do all the fun stuff, and they are always the good guy.”

My mom didn’t look any less devastated. I tried to summon all the eloquence at my ten-year-old disposal. I told her that I didn’t like princesses. That I related better to the male heroes I saw on screen. That I wanted to be like them because I just saw more of myself in them. That I’d give anything for a girl protagonist that spoke to me, but that I couldn’t find one.  To this day, I’m not sure if I ever really made my point, and mom never brought it up again.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized that my mother and I had been having two very different conversations.  Her concerns were, um, worldly in nature.  I was simply trying to explain to her that, as there weren’t many kick-ass women on screen for me to emulate, I was making do with what I had on hand. Shortly thereafter, I decided to shake my tomboy persona. I chose to hang up my lightsaber, rather than have that conversation ever again.

Maybe it’s because the pop culture landscape has changed so much, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how that little girl felt. Now girls have Hermione Granger, and Rey, and Katniss, and Peggy Carter. All she had were a handful of Disney Princesses who made her feel that a woman was only really valuable if she was beautiful, a message that became even more crushing the day she realized she would only ever be average-looking, at best.

If I could, I would go back and tell her about that not too distant future. I would tell her about the surge of on-screen female heroism that would finally help us reconcile the words femininity and feminism. I’d probably tell her about Wonder Woman‘s Diana, a character who’s ass-kicking capabilities are exceeded only by her compassion and selflessness.

So thanks, DC, for making the movie that I needed fifteen years ago. You and I haven’t always seen eye to eye, but because you and other studios are making strong women a priority, other little girls won’t have to make the choices I did. They won’t have to decide between the heroine that most closely resembles them biologically and the hero that speaks to who they are and who they want to be. Keep making movies for those little girls, and the mothers who cut their hair.

Whitney Weldon

 

Get with the Program: Home Town

home townAirs: Tuesdays at 10:00/9:00c on HGTV

TV show equationHome Town  =  Fixer Upper – 1/2 Asian – Texas + Mississippi

Premise in a Sentence:  Fixer Upper in Mississippi.

Really, I just wanted to use this post as a way to tell all of my Fixer Upper fans that if you aren’t watching Home Town, you should be.  But I guess I can go a little more in depth.

The show follows Erin and Ben Napier as they try and save their small town of Laurel, Mississippi by renovating one house at a time.  She is a designer and he is the handyman.  Sound familiar?  This show was always going to be compared to it’s Texan cousin, mainly because it is obviously HGTV’s attempt to recapture that Fixer Upper magic.  I am happy to report that it holds up pretty well in comparison.  I am even going to make a bold statement and say that the Napiers have had a more promising start than the Gaines’.  Have you ever gone back and watched those early episodes of Fixer Upper?  It’s disconcerting.  Chip is not his Chip-py self, he barely even cares about demo day, and Joanna is clearly uncomfortable on camera.  Not so with the Napiers.  They had the banter and dorky humor down pretty quick, perhaps because they had a pretty good example of a winning formula.

homeBen Napier is not quite as entertaining Chip, but his resourcefulness makes up for it in my book.  He is quite the Mr. Fix-It and seems more than capable when it comes to building furniture, restoring construction, and coming up with solutions to make Erin’s designs work.  Erin’s design aesthetic has a nice lived-in element to it, but it has variety.  Every project thus far has felt different while still having her stamp on it.  The best way I can describe it is that she seems to like a lot of stuff on the walls, but in a good way.  The town of Laurel seems to have more of a small town quality than Waco and the houses have more historic character.

Like I said, it’s pretty hard not to compare the two, but both shows come out of the comparison in good shape.  Part of me wonders if they should have just gone the Flip or Flop way and just called this Fixer Upper: Mississippi, but I am happy to see seemingly nice people get their own platform.  Fixer Upper is always going to be my go-to HGTV viewing, but I am happy to have Home Town in the off season.

Ellen

The Reviews Are In: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

This is the last Fangirly review I will ever write. And it’s all Ellen’s fault.

See, Ellen has a job where a working knowledge of pop culture is requisite. Needless to say, Ellen is very good at her job. She knew long before I did that that reviews for James guardians-galaxy-2-poster-charactersGunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the film for which we bought our tickets weeks in advance, was getting slightly less glowing reviews than it’s predecessor. She told me, “Go into this movie thinking that’s it’s only OK, and it will probably exceed your expectations.”

So I did. I trust Ellen to a fault, not just because she’s my hero (please don’t tell her I said that), but because she has a nose for this sort of thing. Ellen’s the pop culture guru and I’m the one that can, under the right conditions, burp the first four letters of the jsc3020-cmp-v3781007-jsc3050-cmp-v2631009-comp-r-1486345142271_1280walphabet. You could say we both bring things to the table.

But as I sat through Vol. 2, I kept forgetting that it wasn’t a perfect specimen of modern film-making. I kept dancing in my seat to the soundtrack. I kept getting wrapped up in the story. I kept enjoying watching characters develop. I kept laughing so hard that I cried, and in some instances, crying so hard that I laughed. In short, I kept forgetting why I wasn’t supposed to love this movie unreservedly.

6ab3ae6be78d4be8fb6407ee754133c867474d74If I’m being honest, it wasn’t Ellen’s fault. She was just trying to shield us both from potential disappointment. But I can’t help but wonder what my experience of this movie might have been if I hadn’t spent the whole 136 minute run-time wondering which of it’s glaring flaws I was missing. I learned that I’d rather be surprised by life’s occasional disappointments rather than spend my time anticipating them. The pop culture landscape is such that people can earn a living from tearing down something someone else put blood and sweat into making.

So I’m done reading movie reviews. I encourage you to do the same. Whether you use guardians-of-the-galaxy-2-2016-billboard-1548them to decide which movies to see, or you use them to validate opinions you already had, I think that the brain trusts over at Entertainment Weekly have officially outlived their usefulness.

That being said, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to fans of Batman V. Superman. You thought that movie was great, and I trashed it. Hard. While I stand by what I said, you are entitled to love that dumpster fire of a movie (double standards are fun, aren’t they?).

Oh, I was supposed to review Guardian of the Galaxy, wasn’t I? Guys, so good.

Whitney Weldon

 

Grade A, Choice Picks: Ellen’s Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2017

May is upon us and you know what that means, children?  We are officially in the summer movie season!  Even better news, the lineup this year looks fairly promising.  There are still a lot of sequels but even those seem to be bringing something new to the table for their respective franchises.  With that, let’s take a look at the top 10 movies that I am most looking forward to seeing this summer.

10. King Arthur (May 12) Look.  At the very least, Charlie Hunnam.  On top of that, though, Guy Ritchie makes a fun movie and I have always been a fan of the Camelot mythology.  The trailers weren’t getting me super pumped, but the early rumblings are that this is a surprisingly great movie and should be a good time at the movies.  Plus, Charlie Hunnam.

9. The Big Sick (June 23) I always have to have at least one Sundance darling.  This film is about a Pakistani stand-up comic who falls for a white girl and struggles with telling his parents about her.  He further has to navigate his feelings when she becomes sick and falls into a coma.  Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon wrote this movie together based on their own relationship and they are utterly charming together on their podcast The Indoor Kids.  I think this one will be a nice reprieve from all the shoot ’em, blow ’em up we have on the docket this summer.

8. Dunkirk (July 21) This one doesn’t look it will be particularly fun to watch, but I am excited to see Christopher Nolan bring his touch to a war movie.  The approach that he is using to tell the story of this event by showing it from three different POVs of land, air, and sea has the feel of a mini Band of Brothers to me and that only further intrigues me.

7. Baywatch (May 25)  Could this be a trainwreck? Yes.  But I think it is more likely to be a pretty fun summer comedy.  Some recent TV spots that I have seen with Zac Efron in drag going “undercover” have me a little worried about the caliber of comedy we will be dealing with, but I am hoping it goes more in the direction of 21 Jump Street with irreverant and self-aware comedy.  You sort of have to with Baywatch, right?

6. Alien: Covenant (May 19) I am not always huge on “scary” or jump scares. Even though this looks like it will deliver both of those in spades, there’s no denying it also looks awesome.  Prometheus was both a hit and a miss with audiences, but this looks like it will be getting back to more of the intensity that Alien(s) delivered.  I may be watching with my hands over my eyes for half of it, but consider the ticket bought.

5. War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14) Both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (don’t ask me which came first) were huge surprises for me.  What could have been quick money grabs on a pre-existing franchise ended up being very thoughtful films on the essence of “humanity” and a group of apes fighting for their right to it.

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7th) I think it is safe to say that I have developed into quite the Marvel fangirl over the past 15 years, so to see Spider-Man getting his “homecoming” is pretty exciting.  After seeing Tom Holland make his debut as the (age appropriate) web-slinger in Captain America: Civil War, I was even more excited.   Add a dash of John Hughesian high school comedy with a pinch of RDJ’s Iron Man and you have what should be a great addition to Marvel’s roster.

3. Wonder Woman (June 2) Diana, don’t let me down.  This movie might have taken my top place if not for the DCEU’s less than stellar showing thus far.  My faith is still with Wonder Woman, though.  The trailers seem promising and Gal Gadot was one of the few redeeming qualities about BvS: Dawn of Justice.  I’m rooting for you, so please, please don’t screw it up!

2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)  I don’t know if I have made this clear yet, but I love Marvel movies and the first Guardians is my favorite Marvel movie, ergo, I am dang excited for this movie.  Early reports seem to indicate that this is not as great as the first, but not as great as the first is still pretty dang great in my book.  Already have my ticket to see it on Friday.

1. Baby Driver (June 28th) It’s always a safe bet that a new Edgar Wright movie will be number one on my list.  After SXSW, it is being touted as the action movie La La Land.  So, yeah, I’m in.  The premise of getaway listening to music to block out his tinnitus allows for the action sequences to all be set to music.  Did I already mention that I’m in?

-Ellen

 

Fan-Rants- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Subversive Power of a Good Narative

Dear Internet,

Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but so much has happened in the last three months. Ellen and I have fulfilled our mutual destiny by moving in together. Yes, that’s right; these two single soul-sisters are finally makin’ it happen. I’d say that our roommate dynamic is one part Golden Girls, one part Playing House (Ellen’s beagle Steve operates as a sort of Baby Charlotte to our Emma and Maggie).

Ours is a quiet existence, which is just fine with us, as it affords us plenty of time to pursue our passions: painting, dance, basket weaving, and making “ah-OO-gah” noises at cute boys through open car windows…

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Scratch that: we watch a lot of TV. Tonight’s media menu was The Music Man, followed by a YouTube palette cleanser, rounded off with a fresh episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you, like so much of the world, have written S.H.I.E.L.D. off as another one of ABC’s lost causes, you’re assumption is as understandable as it is premature.  S.H.I.E.L.D. has had it’s ups and downs over the last 4 seasons (I’m looking at you, season 2). But nothing makes for fine TV escapism quite like a world in turmoil. Our evermore chaotic 24 hour news cycle is the perfect fodder for some scintillating social commentary, if only a member of our media-elite should take enough time from mustache twirling and fake news-ing to look for it (these are the jokes, folks). Enter  Agents shield-season-4-jemma-fights-lmdsof S.H.I.E.L.D. If you haven’t kept up, let me bring you up to speed.

Through a escalating and, frankly, very complicated series of events, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team
have found themselves trapped in a parallel “framework” reality where the government and media are controlled by Hydra. Some- Daisy, Gemma, and Coulson- remember the world as it was, while others- Fitz, Mac, May- have bought into the lie.
Fitz, in particular, has made a temperamental 180 as the new de facto leader of Hydra. Gone is the sweet Fitz of yester-season. In the framework he murders and manipulates anyone who opposes him as he works to bring an as yet unspecified Hydra agenda to fruition.

IAIN DE CAESTECKERThis season, in addition to being beautifully written, has been less than subtle in it’s criticism of our recent, ahem, regime change. References to “alternative facts” and a seamless work-in of the line “nevertheless, she persisted” abound.  This week’s episode featured a scene where one especially sleazy character offers to take another female character “furniture shopping, anywhere she wants”. For anyone not picking up on the reference,  I offer you this proud moment in American history.

Some might be tempted to say that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been heavy handed, that they are pushing an unapologetically progressive agenda. To which I say, maybe.

Or it’s just a story about a group of people trapped in a reality they don’t understand. Where ideologies that were once collectively deemed hateful and unsupportable have gained a foothold. Where good people are changed beyond recognition by conditions out of their control.  And, like any good example of the superhero formula, it shows that while some people might succumb to their circumstances, other will rise above them and work to make the world a better place.

Oh, and then we went to Chick-fil-a for dinner. Have you tried the spicy chicken sandwich? It’s like buddah.

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Whitney Weldon

Fangirly Presents: Why Women aren’t Funny

You know what sucks?

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And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I was informed today that women are, tragically, not funny.

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It’s true.

I know this because the person who let me in on this secret was, himself, blessed with a penis, so you know he knows comedy.

At first I was furious. How could someone make, with such confidence, such a blatantly untrue generalization?

Then I thought about it. And, wouldn’t you know it, he’s right.

Women really aren’t funny.

I mean, we have no sense of irony.

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Woman are historically terrible at physical comedy.

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Honestly, how many women can do impressions?

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I think, and this is just me, that women are too preoccupied with their appearance to be funny.

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And you know who really isn’t funny? Mature women.

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Maybe if we didn’t harp so much about objectification in the media.

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Maybe if we just got better at rolling with the punches.

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If we weren’t so damn prissy. You know, developed a sense of bathroom humor.

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It’s no wonder that male comedians don’t want to work with women.

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And why there aren’t any good female comedy duos.

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Who would have thought that ovaries, those things that launch our transformations into raging hose beasts with each new moon, would be the agents of our comedic destruction?

Let’s rally, ladies. Let’s focus on our strengths. Like wifery.

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And being good at literally everything else.

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Actually… wait…

I think I just thought of a joke.

Ok, bare with me, I’m new at this.

What did the woman say to the dumb-ass who thinks women aren’t funny?

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Get it?

Whitney Weldon

Fangirly Icons: Madeline Kahn

In these divisive times, it is important to focus on just about anything else.  In keeping with Whitney’s inspirational post from yesterday, I thought I would start another new feature on here, Fangirly Icons.  Whitney and I are never short on awesomely amazing ladies who we look up to, so this should be no problem for us.

For this first foray, I wanted to highlight my literal favorite of all time, Madeline Kahn.  I recently did a binge of every Madeline Kahn movie I own and was again reminded of how amazingly talented she was and how little credit she seems to get for the groundbreaking work that she was doing as female comedic talent of the time.  She was doing broad, over-the-top comedy that still came off as understated and nuanced, doing silly comedy in an intelligent way.  She was able to be loud and brassy (Blazing Saddles), nagging and conservative (What’s Up, Doc?), reserved and disturbed (Clue), and cultured and refined, with a touch of animalistic (Young Frankenstein). She was often a featured player in her movie roles, most notably in her run of Mel Brooks movies, but no matter the size of her role, she always stood out.

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As a little girl watching these movies, I always loved seeing this beautiful, seemingly-sophisticated lady be just as silly (if not sillier) than the guys.  A woman who was described by all who knew her as shy and reserved, making jokes about “sausages” and “poo poo undies”.  She delivered dirty jokes with a graceful, knowing arched brow that seemed to dare the viewer to try and scorn her for it.  To that point, Madeline Kahn was once quoted as saying, “It’s acceptable for men to act the fool. When women try, they’re considered aggressive and opinionated.”

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It has only been within the past 10 years or so that people have finally begun discussing this phenomenon and we as a public are still working on recognizing that yes, women CAN be as funny as men.  In this humble writer’s opinion, Madeline Kahn was being funnier than men 50 years ago.

Ellen

Fangirly Presents: The Most Inspirational Women of 2016

If you’re anything like me (or even if you’re not) you woke up this morning feeling pretty disheartened. It’s been a rough few months. And as I thought this morning about what Fangirly’s response should be, none of my ideas were really in keeping with the upbeat and positive tone that Ellen and I have hopefully cultivated here. So I eventually decided not to focus on events that I found disappointing, but rather to emphasis people in pop culture who represent the kind of world I want to live in. And because 2016 has been a incredible year for women in pop culture, I decided to inaugurate (get it?) a new annual feature: Fangirly’s Inspirational Women of the Year. Some of them are fictional, and some of them are flesh and blood BAMFs. You’ll notice that this list won’t be a patent pending Fangirly Top Ten. That’s because, unlike our dear President Elect, Fangirly doesn’t believe in ranking women on a scale of one to ten. So without further ado, Fangirly Presents the Bad-ass Broads of 2016.

Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

After the release of The Force Awakens, Fangirly wasted no time in gushing about the galaxy’s newest Jedi-Jane. She’s tough and smart, and we salute her. In the film’s 138 minute run-time, she managed to save the galaxy and make knee-length harem pants look cool. It’s genuinely difficult to say which of those feats is more impressive.

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Malala Yousafzai (He Named Me Malala)

Although Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about activist Malala Yousafzai came out in 2015, it didn’t reach most American audiences until 2016. Not that Fangirly feels that they need to justify adding Malala to any list that includes the catch-word “inspirational”. If you haven’t gotten around to seeing He Named Me Malala, you’re probably not alone. But with Islamophobia on the rise in this country, it might behoove you to do so. It’s the true story of a young Muslim girl who spoke out in favor of educating women, putting her in opposition of the Taliban. Here’s a video of 16 year old Malala’s address to the UN in 2013.

Wonder Woman (Wonder Woman)

After her turn as the most watchable part of Batman V. Superman, DC released trailers for the Wonder Woman movie, set for release in 2017. Wonder Woman has been a feminist icon for decades, and her stand-alone film is a stride long overdue. Please enjoy this perfectly bitchin’ piece of pop culture history.

Winona Ryder (Stranger Things)

After years away from the spotlight, Winona Ryder returned to the screen in Netflix’s Stranger Things. If you haven’t binged Stranger yet (and I promise, binging is the only way to go), you’ve not only missed one of 2016 best shows, but also one of it’s best performances. Winona, in the words of Veronica Sawyer, you’re beautiful. Only, in this case, we actually mean it.

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Beyonce Knowles 

Because, duh.

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Ellen (Of Fangirly.com)

This year alone, Ellen moved cities, jobs, and wrote a hit web-series, The Cate Moreland ChroniclesShe was an inspiration to me this year. Get it, girl.

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Peggy Carter (Agent Carter, Captain America: Civil War)

2016 marked the last time we will most likely see Hayley Atwell’s iteration of Peggy Carter on screen, and it’s a loss that we feel already. Peggy was the embodiment of smart, strong women in a male dominated field. She was a reminder that if women everywhere can learn recognize their own value, we’ll get that patriarchy slayed in no time.

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Hillary Clinton (The 2016 Pre-Apocalypse, I Mean, Election)

Whether or not you agreed with her policies or trusted her judgement, this woman has done something amazing. She is the first ever woman to be nominated by a major political party in the United States. She’s worked her entire adult life to open that door, and thanks to her, one day a woman will walk through it. Thanks for reminding us that women are more than just a p#ss to grab. You may not be my president, but you are one Nasty Woman.

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Whitney Weldon

The Reviews are In: Dr. Strange

maxresdefaultThere’s a moment during Marvel’s Dr. Strange when the titular Sorcerer Supreme, while discussing the (spoiler) sometimes dubious motivations of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) with Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo, thinks for a moment and says, “She’s… complicated.”

Complicated is a pretty good word for Dr. Strange, too. It’s characters are layered, it’s action set pieces are frickin breathtaking, and it boasts a level of political and social awareness and I, for one, am coming to expect from Marvel. But first things first. Let’s reign it in for a sec and talk about the Cumberbatch of it all. If you’re not a fan of England’s finest import doctor-strange-1since Posh, Scary, Baby, Sporty, and Ginger, you’re either not female or not a fan of marine mammals. If such is the case, this might not be the post for you. So… scoot. Yep. Go watch the new XXX trailer on repeat.

Are they gone? Oh good. Now that it’s just us Cumberbitches, let’s get to it.

Even as someone who expects only the very best from Benedict Cumberbatch, I found his performance impressive. His interpretation of Stephen Strange (a  Marvel Comics deep cut) is part Dr. House, part Tony Stark, and part Hilary Swank from The Next Karate Kid. It’s a zag for Cumberbatch, who’s characters tend to be varying degrees of austere. Dr. Stephen Strange is a celebrated neurosurgeon who loses everything when a car accident causes permanent nerve damage to his hands. He wanders the globe in search of a cure, only to stumble upon a secret order of sorcerer ninjas in Kathmandu who take him in and teach him their ways. He’s thrust into a world of magic, inter-dimensional evil, and Danish bad boys. That last one, of course, refers to Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), zealot follower of a malevolent force hell-bent on forcing the Earth into submission.

Dr. Strange doesn’t subvert superhero tropes by any means, but because the source doctor-strange-benedict-cumberbatch-rachel-mcadams-copertinamaterial is so unknown and the film itself so visually arresting, I sort of didn’t care. We still had an unfailingly loyal girlfriend (Rachel McAdams), a conflicted BFF (Ejiofor), and a reluctant teacher (Swinton). No, what made this movie interesting wasn’t it’s humor or complex characters or it’s new, mystical approach to superheroism, but it’s uncanny timing.

Stephen is given a choice between two opposing, but equally fanatical, factions. One is lead by a woman forced to make difficult, and often morally compromising, decisions that she believes will facilitate the greater good. The other is driven by a radical who, while claiming to be acting in the best interest of the world, actually seeks to acquire eternal life and make the human race as miserable as he is himself. Sound familiar?

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And THAT is what I love about the superhero genre, and why it will never bore me. Because almost without trying, they manage to reflect our own experiences back at us, in a way that encourages and rewards bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming tyranny. Also, the muscles.

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I really like the muscles.

Whitney Weldon

The Fangirly Show: Episode #12 Fangirling About Stranger Things

Whitney and Ellen get back at it after their summer hiatus by talking about the summer’s most bingeable show, Stranger Things.  80’s nostalgia, conspiracy theory, Winona Ryder, and a hot dad sheriff, it’s all here.  Plus, we delve into how the Netflix model is changing how we watch TV, for better or for worse.  As always, Whitney tries to embarrass Ellen in a new game, this time quizzing her on Netflix taglines.

You can listen and subscribe HERE on iTunes, (NEW!!) on Google Play, or you can go HERE to listen and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Stranger things

Fan Rants: My Worries About Wonder Woman

If this trailer doesn’t give you girl-power induced tingles, try watching it with your eyes open. DC’s Wonder Woman is one of the most anticipated movies of 2017, if you can believe my twitter feed. It combines all the things I love most: superheroes, period pieces, and brunettes gettin’ it done. But in light of the most recent DC tent poles, my Wonder Woman hopes now have a pretty big asterisk.

WonderWomanSupermanBatmanIf you’re at all familiar with Fangirly, you know that Ellen and I have some issues with the way women are portrayed in superhero films, DC films specifically. And although DC is far from the sole guilty party, it’s safe to say that they struggle the most with bringing their female characters to the big screen in a empowering and (frankly) interesting way. I think I’ve pretty much said my peace on Batman V Superman and Man of Steel, so lets look to more relevant examples.

In a long list of disappointing things about Suicide Squad, perhaps the most substantial bummer is how it obliterated its opportunity to bring us any well-rounded or well-thought out women characters, which would have gone a long way toward engaging DC’s ever-dwindling non-fanboy audience. Take Harley Quinn. Here’s a character who lost her freedom, her career, her sanity, to her relationship with a green-haired gangster. She’s a poster 2A8183C600000578-3160445-image-m-68_1436863964058.jpgchild for the devastating effects of abusive relationships, but the most interesting thing this film found to say about Harley Quinn was that she was “hot” and “crazy”, not necessarily in that order. And don’t even get me started on the scene where the Joker offers Harley’s “services” to a male business associate. Seriously, don’t.

The other ladies in the movie are hardly worth mentioning. In lieu of giving June Moone a SUICIDE-SQUAD-55personality they gave an age old shortcut: a love story. Katana serves no narrative purpose at all,  unless the shadowy government agency that formed the squad had some kind of Affirmative Action quota to fill. And Amanda Weller, easily the film’s most intriguing character, male or female, get’s boiled down to one word- bitch. Reductive? Sure. But also not that surprising.

The reason women can’t seem to catch a break in these films is because I’m fairly certain that they aren’t made with women in mind. Several scenes in Batman V Superman were complete undecipherable unless you were intimately familiar with the comics on which the film was based. And even though girls are carving a real niche for themselves in the comic book arena, the fact still remains that most comic fans are one X chromosome shy of 12670724b2dcebae01d32954ca08fcc760bac3e368b5075752c482d983b67a09.jpga matching set. Dudes, in other words. Which is why, you understand, I have my concerns about DC attempting to launch a franchise centered around a character that is an icon of Third Wave Feminism.

DC, you cannot get this wrong. Wonder Woman will be the first female stand-alone superhero franchise, and it’s success means more than just a bottom line. That means resisting the urge to put women in hot-pants. I know you have it in you.

Yours optimistically,

Whitney Weldon

The Reviews Are In: Suicide Squad

suicide-squad-assembled.jpgI’m not going to tell you that there is nothing to like about Suicide Squad. The latest DC offering, with it’s confetti-colored Hot Topic aesthetic, is a fun time at the movies. But like it’s similarly underwhelming big brother Batman V. Superman, this movie unnerves me in a way that goes beyond just poor film making. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

SUICIDE-SQUAD-55Squad is an ostensibly anti-superhero film about a handful of colorful villains that, through the cloak-and-dagger machinations of some deadpanned civil servants, get drafted into the hero business. They can save the world in exchange for a commuted prison sentence, or they can get dead. Even so, it’s a hard sell. These baddies are, apparently, the only people in the entire DC universe equipped to take on Enchantress, an extra-dimensional witch-demon who is, I don’t know, trying to bend mankind to her will? As ever, villain motivations are a little fuzzy here.

The story itself is about as messy as it could be, and not it a good way. The entire first act is Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller sitting in a restaurant with a colleague, delivering endless backstory and exposition between bites of steak, and even then the film manages to forget to introduce some of it’s characters (sorry, who is Slipknot?). It then proceeds to hit all the predictable notes, never letting you forget what kind of people the protagonists are (at one point, Harley Quinn smashes a store window for no discernible reason and drawls, “What do you expect, we’re bad guys!”, as if we were likely to forget).

As sloppy as the writing was, I’d happily overlook it if, just this once, DC had given me some interesting, fleshed-out characters to work with. Swing and a miss. All attempts at depth and humanity fall just short, resulting in a coterie of criminals that never really feel like much Suicide-Squad-Trailer-El-Diablo-Fire-xlarge-large_trans++Rp36Ti1MFCYr8PMuS2fHb17hoDUspm84EYl8tHPMRlkmore. Deadshot (Will Smith) stands out as the most sympathetic character, a man who is trying to reconcile the killer he is with the father he wants to be. Otherwise, there isn’t much to relate to here. June Moone (Cara Delevingne) is an archeologist with all the charisma of a Crate and Barrel lampshade. Diablo (Jay Hernandez) is a former kingpin who murdered his family in a fit of rage. Killer Croc and Boomerang, who between the two of them accrued about ten lines of dialogue, zero of which were memorable. And these were the least troubling of the crew. No, the majority of my beef lies with loony lovers Joker and Harley Quinn.

JOKER1On the one hand, you’ve got the Joker (Jared Leto), who’s particular brand of crazy is surprisingly formulary. It’s hard not to draw comparisons between this Joker and the Heath Leger performance that preceded it. The scariest part of Leger’s Joker was his restraint; his outward insane levity was constantly at war with the much darker madness within. Leto’s Joker wasn’t quite so…layered. And for as much unjustified screen time as he had in this film, there should have been layers.

Speaking of missing layers, we have Harley Quinn, who in true DC fashion is yet another female character not allowed to cover more than 40% of her body at any given time. As with the Joker, we are told that she’s nuts rather than allowed to see any evidence supporting that fact. Not to mention the fact that she’s fetishized beyond the point of relateability. I present exhibit A…

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I don’t want to say there was nothing redeeming about Suicide Squad. It boasts some pretty impressive cinematography and special effects. You might even say that Harley Quinn is a metaphor for the film itself: pretty to look at, and not nearly as wild as it could have been.

Whitney Weldon

 

 

Fangirly Exposed: ASMR Videos

It’s not as weird as you think, I swear.

Actually, that might depend on who you ask. ASMR (not a clinical term) is a sensory response only experienced by a certain percentage of the population. Exactly what that percentage might be currently remains a mystery. What researchers do know is that not everyone experiences this very nebulous, and as yet unexplained, phenomenon.

So what is it? Good question. Have you every gotten that tingly feeling that starts at your scalp and then slowly works it’s way to your limbs? Maybe it happens when you’re getting a haircut or talking to a friend.  Triggers can be as diverse as the people who experience them, but there are a few common denominators: soft voices, personal attention, hand movements, and a non-threatening atmosphere are only a few.

So you might be thinking, “Yo, Whitney, how does the fall under Fangirly’s purview? You guys write about pop culture, not fringe science.” Very astute.

Turns out, there’s a burgeoning internet subculture surrounding ASMR. YouTube is lousy with what’s called ASMR “trigger videos”. Here are a few of my favorites. Heads up- theses videos work better with headphones.

1)

Easily my favorite ASMR channel. Asmrrequests tends to be more innovative and creative with it’s content. I also recommend this video.

2)

I only recently discovered ALBinwhisterland, who was recommended by a friend (word up, Amanda). This channel is quickly growing on me.

3) And finally…

Another of my favorite channels, whispersunicorn has the added benefit of being quietly, and surprisingly, hilarious.  A quality we value highly here.

So that’s it. My not-so-dirty little secret. What are you favorite ASMR videos? Hit us up in our comments section!

Whitney Weldon

Fangirly Crush of the Week: Poe Dameron and Finn

Far, far away and long, long ago

Lived Finn

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and his rebel associate, Poe

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Their bravery earned them the widest acclaim

Combined sex appeal got them all kinds of game

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The Galaxy by their deeds was impacted

And the enemy by their butts was distracted

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In all the ‘Verse, there wasn’t a Lady or Foe

That wasn’t slayed by the likes of Finn and Poe

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But it ain’t gonna work, girls, go cry to your mother

‘Cause these dudes only have eyes for each other.

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Whitney Weldon

 

 

 

 

A Fangirly Birthday Tribute: Whitney’s 2016 Gifture Book

There once was a normal girl who lived on a normal street went to her normal school and had a normal day.  She even had a normal name of Whitney.

sweatpants

 

One day, Whitney came home to her normal house and began her normal evening routine wishing she could have something other than normal.

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What this normal girl didn’t know was that she was destined for greatness and would soon be a member of the coolest, most exclusive club there is: The Society for Exceptional Ladies.

what-boom

As Whitney laid her normal head on her normal pillow, she was pulled out of her bed by masked figures.

scared

 

 

They instructed her to be quiet as they put a black bag over her head.  shocked cat

They seemed to be taking her somewhere and before long she was made to sit in a chair.

Scared and shocked

“Where am I?  Who are you?  Is this a Saw-type situation?  Because I will have you know that I am well trained in the horror movie genre and know how to handle any situation you throw at me?”

kill you

As her hood was pulled off, Whitney saw she was sitting on a chair in the middle a darkened room with only a single light bulb hanging over her.  She could see others standing in the shadows, but decided to first deal with the person standing directly behind her.

Come at me bro

“This isn’t a horror movie, Whitney.  You’ve been selected for The Society for Exceptional Ladies.”

excitement

The woman came around to face her.

“The Society…. wait.  Are you Peggy Carter?”

ac2

“Yes, I have nominated you for the society based on your general badassery and for always fighting for superior representation of women in superhero movies.”

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Whitney was still in a state of shock but managed, “Batman v. Superman was a bit of a mess, right?  They should never have cancelled you, Peggy.”

ac

“Sorry,” Whitney said.  “I didn’t mean to bring up a touchy subject.”

Peggy shrugged and moved back into the shadows as two more figures came out into the light.

ta

“Tina and Amy?” Whitney exclaimed.

“Yes, it is…we.  We have nominated you for your hilariousity and your ability to always make your cousin laugh.  Without fail.”

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They moved back into the shadows as a Tina of a different variety emerged.

tina fall

“I have nominated you for respecting the male form, especially those of the famous variety.  And especially their butts.”

tina butt

“It has been my absolute pleasure,” said Whitney.

wink

Over the course of the next hour, several more extraordinary ladies came forward.

Rey nominated Whitney for her never needing a guy to hold her hand.

Rey

Veronica Mars nominated her for being as sassy as all get out.

vm

Penny Hartz nominated her for always trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

penny

Jane Kerkovich Williams nominated her for owning up to her peculiarities.

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Alex Kerkovich nominated her for knowing the value of both TV and a well placed pop culture reference.

alex

Jane Austen nominated her for being one heck of a writer.

ja

The Clones nominated her for embracing all all aspects of her personality.

ob

Mindy nominated Whitney for knowing her self worth.

ass that wont quit

Kimmy Schmidt nominated her for always keeping it cool.

kimmy

And her cousin Ellen nominated her for being the best cousin, friend, psuedo sister, all-around-awesome person that a girl could ask for.

bad-max-side-five

(Oh, I’m sorry.  Did you not think I was going to be in this club?)

as if

Whitney accepted her new membership in the club with aplomb.

i do rock

She went on to eventually become the club’s president because even the most extraordinary of ladies had to recognize that Whitney was the most extraordinary of them all.

opera doc

THE END

Happy birthday, Whitney!  I agree with everything the extraordinary ladies said.

-Ellen

The Reviews Are In: The Conjuring 2

Here’s a not-so-secret secret about me: I suffer from sleep paralysis. It’s a sleep disorder that causes the sufferer to maintain consciousness while the body remains asleep, causing temporary immobility. Sounds awful, right? It is. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is the hallucinations. More often than not I see a dark, menacing, vaguely human shape standing Who-Plays-Demon-Conjuring-2in the corner on my room. Or, if I’m really lucky, I’ll see something waving to me from inside my closet. These experiences are the closest I’ve ever come to pure, mortal terror.

And, for the record, that’s pretty close.

The point of this story is that there is not, nor will there ever be, anything more terrifying than our own imaginations. And I further postulate that there isn’t one filmmaker working today who understands this better than James Wan, directer of The Conjuring 2. He knows how to give an audience a creaky floorboard, an empty rocking chair, and a shadowy presence looming slightly off-screen, and let their brains fill in the gaps.

This sequel to 2013’s The Conjuring (also directed by James Wan) once again stars Vera the-conjuring-2-movieFarminga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren, reputed paranormal investigators. This film, like it’s predecessor, tackles a real-life haunting, the case of the Enfield Poltergeist. In London, a single mother and her four children are terrorized by what they believe is the spirit of the previous owner of their home. Ed and Lorraine travel to England as agents of the Catholic church to determine if the haunting is legitimate.

Vera Farminga and Patrick Wilson are as groovy as ever and their onscreen romance continues to be the beating heart of the Conjuring franchise. Frances O’Connor also shines as the cockney mother at her wits end, as she and her family battle overdue rent, leaky

The Hunter. Photo by Matt Nettheim.

The Hunter. Photo by Matt Nettheim.

pipes, and the forces of darkness.

The best thing about this film is it’s restraint. Wan has a talent for building tension and then letting it diffuse, only to have it build again. It’s terrifying, but not relentlessly so. The audience gets the chance to recover from a scare before another one gets thrown at them.

I think it’s safe to say that the Conjuring franchise is horror for people who don’t like horror. These movies aren’t crude, or gory, or campy. They’re thoughtful and poignant and frequently so scary that half of your time will be spent actively trying to not crap yourself. You know, if that’s something you’re into.

Whitney Weldon