House of Cards is back! Some things happen. Some things don’t happen. These are the questions you’ll inevitably ask while watching season 3…well, at least, these are the questions I inevitably asked while watching season 3.
The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards debuted last night, Sunday, Feb 8 with much old school fanfare and culminated with poignant, socio-politically relevant “glory.” It just took about 3 million years to finish. With an abundance of performances (More than ever before! Yeah, no shit. I had to tape The Walking Dead AND Better Call Saul!), how did the venerable (and not-so venerable) talents of the music industry fare?
Following insidery drama news and rumors surrounding the Fantastic Four set and concept, Fox has decided to release the teaser trailer Tuesday, January 27. This release comes ahead of the release of Matthew Vaughn-directed Kingsman: Secret Service, which premieres Friday, February 13, the Fox film most pundits expected to showcase the trailer. A full trailer for the superhero team film, directed by Josh Trank, still could be attached to the other comic adaptation.
Yeah okay, whatever. So how does it look?
Actually, it doesn’t look half bad! Much of the plot hasn’t been revealed, nor has Doctor Doom, but the central four are shown in various aspects of their transformation. For those living under a rock (or under a rock-like Thing), Miles Teller is Reed Richards (stretchy Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara is Sue Storm (force-field-powered Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan is Johnny Storm (fiery Human Torch), Jamie Bell is Ben Grimm (rocky The Thing), and Toby Kebbell is Doctor Doom (metallic evil Eastern European dude).
Mysterious voiceover dominates most of the trailer, which is mainly comprised of pre-transformation events. The vaguely British(?) voice states:
How did we get this far? Human beings have an immeasurable desire to discover, to invent, to build. Our future depends on us furthering these ideas(ideals?). Our responsibility that rests on the shoulders of generations to come. But with every new discovery, there is risk. There is sacrifice, and there are consequences.
Say what you will about whether it looks like a “good movie” or “faithful adaptation,” at least everyone is really pretty.
- Is there any possible way to make The Thing NOT look ridiculous in a live action adaptation? I’m still skeptical…
- Is blind Kerry Washington coming back? Because that’d be just fine with me. (I know she’s not. A girl can dream.)
- How Philip Glass-y is the score really going to be? Personally, I want it to be full-on Philip Glassy mesmerizing beauty all the way.
- Why are Johnny and Sue fighting?
- Why is Sue crying over Johnny?
- Does Sue place a force field over the entirety of Manhattan to save it from Doctor Doom’s villainy?
- Where’s this plane headed to? Is this our first glimpse of Latveria?
- Speaking of, Doom, is that you?
- Doom, is that you?
- Is all of this still attached to the crazy continuity of the X-men films, or are they using the alternate universe travel as a bridge to the X-men verse? The latter probably makes more sense.
Check out the trailer and snap judge for yourself. Remember, one good teaser trailer does not a good movie make. Hopefully this doesn’t film (and subsequent franchise) doesn’t suffer from Man of Steel Syndrome:
It’s here! Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s “final” hosting gig of the Golden Globes a.k.a. my favorite awards show because movie AND TV stars get drunk live on air. Let the video assumption and award upsets begin!
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler already changed and look glorious.
All the movies North Korea was okay a.k.a. those random hacker guys that were actually responsible for the Sony Hack.
Just Keep Simmons 😀
Emma Stone as Big Eyes is perfection.
Oh hey, Joaquin!
Cake is like a fluffy dessert…
Amy’s impersonation of British actors impersonating Americans is perfection.
Our society totally values pretty people over…anything else.
Who would you rather? Tina or Amy? Both!
Everyone knows I like it Ruff-alo.
Chris Pine? Yes.
Oh hey, TJ Miller! I still love Cloverfield.
I don’t like Tyler Perry movies, but I’d totally see Girl, I Thought You Were Gone.
Jessica Chastain’s reaction to the Bill Cosby jokes is hilarious.
Cumberbatch! Cumberbatch! Cumberbatch!
Lololololol Aniston didn’t get on the Batch bandwagon.
JK Simmons wins first for best Supporting Actor! He’s wondrous. I’m glad he’s getting some recognition and not just for those Farmer’s Insurance commercials.
Joanne Froggatt deserves it. Some recompense for dealing with that bullshit rape storyline in Downton.
Fargo wins as per usual.
Billy Bob Thorton doin’ the thing.
Margaret Cho being awesome.
Cumberbatch and Hunter are concerned.
Streep is a trooper.
Gina Rodriguez wins for Jane the Virgin! YAY LATINAS FOR THE WIN! ALL ABOUT IT!
Transparent is so good. IT’S SO GOOD. Totally deserves that win.
Meh. Hans Zimmer should’ve won for Interstellar. But I haven’t seen The Theory of Everything yet, so maybe that score is okay, I guess.
Prince said it’s Original Score, so it’s Original Score OKAY?!
John Legend, Common, and Prince moment!
Why is Katie Holmes there?
Matt Bomer wins!
Clive Owen is wearing velvet, to make up for Cumberbatch’s disappointing lack of velvet.
Ricky brings out his signature drink and snark.
Whoa! Amy Adams surprise wins for Big Eyes! What up!
Salma Hayek looking like a princess.
How to Train You Dragon 2 wins! I haven’t seen it (wanna see it), but everything is awesome about The Lego Movie.
Patricia Arquette wins for Best Supporting Actress! She’s great! (Jessica Chastain is still my favorite working actress right now.)
Welllllll, I would watch Bridesmaids 2.
The Skeleton Twins are still funny.
Oh isn’t funny when white people can’t pronounce Latino names?
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, hot and funny.
The room may not have liked that feminist joke from Tomlin and Fonda but I did!
Jeffrey Tambor is transcendent in Transparent. The show is utterly brilliant. Go watch it!
I’d watch that intense romantic drama a.k.a. I ship Lupita-Colin.
Leviathan wins even though every single list said Force Majeure would win.
Jessica Lange is PISSED! I think Maggie Gyllenhaal is great so whatevs.
The Affair is sooooo good, guys. I know you didn’t watch it but you should.
Catherine Zeta-Jones has remerged and she looks beautiful. Can she be in the next Bond movie?
Kevin Spacey knew he was going to win. And I don’t want to know what would’ve happened if he didn’t.
Julianna and Don, where’s that movie?
That’s not fair, Tomorrowland hasn’t come out yet. Where’s Batman and Robin?
It’s hard not to like George Clooney.
Richard Linklater wins for Best Director for a drama! And I totally am bombing my predictions list!
Anna Faris and Chris Pratt present together.
Okay, I wanted Viola Davis to win, too. Still, Ruth Wilson blew me away in her dual portrayal on The Affair.
My dad, the consummate Batman fan, is very happy: Michael Keaton wins for Best Actor, Comedy or Musical.
Either everyone wore too much self-tanner or the lighting in that room is atrocious.
I LOVED The Grand Budapest Hotel although for a comedy it sure did make me cry. #nostalgia
Alright, alright, alright. Matthew’s up.
Julianne Moore is NOT hiding her joy for winning a Golden Globe for Still Alice!
Eddie Redmayne wins for The Theory of Everything! Cumberbatch must be kicking himself that he isn’t younger and could’ve been in that role as he was in the Hawking mini-series.
Favorite awards look from Streep I’ve seen in recent years.
Boyhood wins for Best Picture, Drama! Hollywood Foreign Press loves it some experimental family drama.
Well, here’s to hoping Margaret Cho hosts next year!
The Legend of Korra is dead. Long live The Legend of Korra. With the series finale of LoK putting the final nail in the coffin for the Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel, Wannabes Andrew Darowski and Maricela Gonzalez look back on the series as a whole, what they loved, hated, and everything in between.
Thoughts on the Series Finale and Final Season
Andrew: Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I was fully on board with Korra, so take all my comments with a grain of salt. I was more satisfied with the finale than I expected to be, but I just don’t think Korra turned out to be the show that they originally wanted. I took a big step back when I saw the giant robot (Sort of a shark jumping moment for me).
I don’t know that kuvira was well-enough set up to be a compelling villain, so the last five minutes of her and Korra talking and then Kuvira accepting defeat felt a little weak sauce.
I don’t know when varrick became such an important character, but at least someone in the series had a definitive romantic conclusion.
Mako is just a mess as a character overall. Looking at him across all the seasons, it makes me wonder why he was there.
Maricela: I feel like I have to eat my words about being such a devout LoK fan as for the first time, I felt a deep sense of disappointment in this final season. While there were a lot of great moments (the mecha was crazy but more like crazy-awesome to me), the season felt uneven and a bit aimless. (Andrew: Aimless is a very good word for it)
Is that because Korra herself spends much of the season aimless? Maybe. For instance, I understand it’s taken her years to fully get over her traumatic experience with Zaheer. But why does it take her practically the entire season to figure her shit out? Even when we thought she did (the return of Toph), her first face-off with Kuvira showed that wasn’t the case.
Kuvira as a villain had little setup in the last season. I remember thinking in the third season finale, “Why do I need to know the name of Su’s head of security? Who gives a shit? Zaheer and his Red Lotus crew are total boss villains. I can’t wait to see how that develops!”
Then, it didn’t.
In that sense, the final season feels like a final season but one that precipitated out of a few additional seasons. After the defeat of the Red Lotus. After establishing Kuvira as a main character. After setting up Korra and Asami’s progressing relationship.
And I do have to agree on how random and pointless Mako’s arc has been. I really wanted to love him, and I still kind of do, but that’s mostly me projecting Zutara feels over Mako and Korra’s early romance. What was his arc in the final season? Hanging out with Prince Wu only to kind of but not really sacrifice himself and die? No. That’s not good enough.
While I really loved the unexpected (but totally expected) Korra-Asami “ambiguous” relationship confirmation at the finale, I feel like the focus on their friendship/romance came at the expense of developing Mako, and to a lesser extent, Bolin as a full-fledged, rounded out characters.
Andrew: Can I give my bit on Korrasami?
Andrew: On the whole, I wasn’t a fan of it anyway. but I’m much more upset about how it was handled. Basically it seems like a gutless execution for some media frenzy about how “subversive” they are being. Almost an attention grab. I expected more balls. If they wanted them to be a couple, they should have made them be a couple. That would have made the whole final season a different experience. If they openly say: “Hey, Korra and Asami are together. They will be together for the whole season. Here’s some actual television that deals with them being in a relationship.
I’m not talking about adding a sexual component. Just say it outright, and don’t make it a final scene. With it being the last scene, they don’t really have to answer for anything, and they didn’t risk any sort of backlash.
Maricela: What’s interesting that stands out in the creators’ post-show statements on how Korrasami canon developed was the degree of self-censorship that occurred before taken the pairing seriously. They may have liked it in the writers’ room, but it wasn’t considered as a real possibility…until it was considered as a real possibility. Could they have done more? I definitely think so! Was a kiss off the table? It seems like it was, but who knows? Maybe that was negotiable with the network, too.
It’s a small step in the right direction of media representation, just as the inclusion of a young woman of color as the main character is a small step in the right direction. I say small because let’s be real, Legend of Korra never had the audience it deserved. Even with media attention, the so-called Minivan Majority won’t really know about it unless they’re being extra vigilant on their online media. And it’s quite a busy time of year! I don’t think it was merely an attention grab, but I do think that such a singular focus on the final scene doesn’t quite take into account of the show works as a whole. Korrasami didn’t happen in a vacuum, and maybe if more people watched the series from the beginning, it wouldn’t have been cut short.
Andrew: None really stand out…is that a bad sign…
Maricela: “Beginnings Part 1 and 2.” Glimpses of Avatar Wan and the explanation for why the Avatar exists in the first place are thematically powerful and visually stunning.
Least Favorite Episode
Andrew: Varrick and Bolin and EMPs and freedom fighters
Maricela: This season’s “The Coronation” was weaker than most. Predictable, too much time spent on Prince Wu, and it didn’t really progress the story anywhere unexpected. Did we really need an entire episode to set up Kuvira’s coup? No.
Andrew: Again, none are really standing out…Su, metalbending mom
Maricela: Korra with Meelo as a close second favorite
UGH This Character is the Worst (in the Best Way)
UGH This Character is the Worst (in the Worst Way)
Maricela: Prince Wu
How You’ll Remember LoK
Andrew: Honestly, the final shot and the creator commentary ensures that the only way anyone is likely to remember it is with Korrasami.
Maricela: I’ll remember Legend of Korra as an experiment in form, theme, and world building. Bryke had created such a vast, rich world with Avatar: The Last Airbender that to progress that already huge world into a very different future is quite a feat. Not everything worked (Sorry, Mako) but everything that did work, worked beautifully. TV series, animated or otherwise, have a lot to learn from LoK.
ATLA or LoK
Andrew: ATLA 100%
It has taken me three movie experiences over roughly 474 minutes to understand what a great, disappointing waste of time The Hobbit trilogy really is. This realization didn’t occur after falling asleep both times I saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It wasn’t when I laughed heartily during the extended barrel-riding sequence from The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. The long-delayed epiphany dawned on me early into The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies when Smaug the Magnificent decimates the wooden village of Lake Town and yet the focus shifts to selfish sneak Alfrid comically pushing villagers out of the way of the Master’s escape. This isn’t the last we see of Alfrid. Oh no, he continues throughout the film, his screen time rivaling that of Bard the Bowman as one of the most prominent human characters. Why? Why?! WHY?!
Many elements of The Hobbit trilogy don’t make much sense from the prominence of new character Alfrid to the basic structural issue of three 2+ hour long movies for one dense-but-not-THAT-dense little novel. And by sense, I mean story sense, narrative clarity, making-sure-people-enjoy-the-movie sense.
One of the few redeeming qualities that make The Hobbit trilogy worth watching is the ever-present, hardly toned down angst and sexual tension of Thilbo Bagginshield.
Thilbo Bagginshield, the portmanteau of Thorin Oakenshield and Bilbo Baggins, revolves around the emotional, almost explicitly romantic arc of Bilbo and Thorin’s relationship throughout the three films. From the earnest hug capping off An Unexpected Journey to Bilbo’s choked up recollections of Thorin at the end of Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit trilogy chronicles the dramatic arc of Bilbo and Thorin’s relationship. Like most of the best love stories, Thilbo Bagginshield ends tragically with an end slightly changed from the book.
Poor Martin Freeman just can’t get away from the creative shippers who pair his characters with dark-haired, brooding men. (Disclosure: I’m a Cumberbitch AND a casual Johnlock shipper.) Still, it’s virtually impossible for Richard Armitage not to have chemistry with his costar. (See: BBC’s Robin Hood.) Every time Thorin looks at Bilbo, I can’t tell if he’s about to engage in conversation with his platonic friend or jump his bones.
And I’m not the only one who’s noticed.
Back in 2012, I had the opportunity to see An Unexpected Journey before its premiere date, thanks to a diligent friend who actually read school emails. As soon as I came back to my dorm, I headed straight for Tumblr searching for Thorin/Bilbo shipping materials: fan art, fan fiction, anything I could get my virtual hands on. Nary a GIFset could be found. Tolkein wrote The Hobbit back in 1937, and the Internet was still devoid of Thorin/Bilbo? Preposterous!
What a difference a few days make. By the time the film officially debuted, as soon as I came home from the midnight release (I already bought my ticket months in advance!), I noticed Tumblr’s collection of Thorin/Bilbo slash fanworks started to grow.
On December 14, An Unexpected Journey’s Friday U.S. release date, the coupling had a name: Thilbo Bagginshield. By Monday, December 18, a full-fledged ship was officially active. Now, Tumblr, AO3, and other fandom-friendly sites are full of Thilbo Bagginshield related works—from unassuming angsty playlists to in-depth novel-length fan fiction involving MPreg, yaoi, and who knows what else.
While The Hobbit trilogy films are plagued with problems, they still hold glimmers of the LOTR films we loved of yesteryear, er, 14 years ago. One of the trilogy’s biggest flaws is that it tries too hard to match the mood of The Lord of the Rings instead of embracing what makes The Hobbit so enjoyable and lasting. And yet, even from this complex web of audience expectations and filmmaker fatigue, comes a new and unexpected gift for viewers to enjoy: Thilbo Bagginshield.
Don’t we deserve more than coded suggestions of a same sex interspecies romance from an bloated adaptation of a fantasy classic? Of course we do! But when all you have are a handful of interesting sequences and glimpses of characterization in a series mired in bland, carbon copy attempts of capturing the same majesty as The Lord of the Rings film, we’ll take what you we can get.
I am a Cumberbitch.
Not a Cumberbabe, Cumbercookie, nor a cog in the wheel of the Cumbercollective. A good ol’ fashioned O.G. Cumberbitch. That is to say, I’m a longtime, fervent fan of the body of work (and body) of actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
Jumping head first into the publicity tour for his latest film The Imitation Game (and a new happy development in his personal life), Cumberbatch has been all over the media with features in Out, Fast Company, and Vulture, not to mention buzz over his final confirmation as Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (And thereby making SDCC increasingly obsolete? Discuss!)
Being a part of the Cumberbitches United Front means being known as an authority on all things related to Cumberbatch, acting as the Keeper of the Cumberkeys, if you will. Such a position grows more unnecessary the more popular and mainstream he becomes. Not only does his latest media frenzy focus more general attention on Cumberbatch and his work, but it also focuses more attention on his built-in “rabid” fan base.
Vulture‘s interview/profile on Cumberbatch, his fans, and the memes they create touches on this subject from an outside perspective. Like many reports on subcultures, not everything about the reported community is covered nor are the nuances of the community understood. I can’t speak for every Cumberfan: this reflects my Cumberbatch fandom experience.
Bein’ a Basic Cumberbitch
Somewhere in the winter break of late 2010/early 2011, I watched the first series of BBC’s Sherlock. A quick binge-watch and prolonged Tumblr perusal later, I became a burgeoning Cumberbitch. From then on, the Sherlock fandom and Cumberbitches United Front took up most of my Internet time as I anticipated the future Sherlock series and went through the talented super British actor’s back catalog. Pro-tip: watch Starter for 10 and Third Star; skip Fortysomething.
Memes, inside jokes, and puns (so many puns) developed as Cumberbitches fed on another’s enthusiasm. Anything involving otters, Gingerbatch, and the unaired Sherlock pilot still brings me pure, unadulterated joy. Vulture mentions #cumberwatch, and I’d like to think I helped popularize the term. Never forget Cumberwatch 2012 a.k.a. the 2012 Oscars coverage that refused to show Cumberbatch on screen save for three seconds during War Horse‘s presentation. Not to mention the Cumberwatch when he confirmed attendance at The Avengers premiere AND NEVER SHOWED UP AT THE RED CARPET. Oh no, I’m not still bitter for wasting 2 hours on multiple shaky cam live feeds. Not at all.
Memes and adulation aren’t the only aspect of the Cumberbitch fandom. Genuine, valid criticism from the fanbase is an oft-unreported part of the fandom experience.
Because we humans are complicated creatures, sometimes one aspect of our identity runs into conflict with another. As much as I identify as a Cumberbitch, I’m first a stalwart supporter of the proliferation of people of color and women’s representation in society and culture.
That’s why I refuse to identify as a Cumberbabe or another moniker that Cumberbatch has suggested as alternatives to the fan-derived Cumberbitches. He has stated on numerous occasions that Cumberbitch seems misogynistic. What is misogynistic is a man telling a woman what to call herself and explain to her what constitutes as misogyny. So, no thanks, I’ll call myself whatever I want to, thank you very much.
The Khan Conundrum also caused me to reflect on fandom identity in relation to my social politics. For those out of the whitewashing pop culture dialogue (fix that), the Khan Conundrum refers Benedict Cumberbatch’s casting as Star Trek Into Darkness villain Khan Noonien Singh, a character known in Star Trek canon to be of North Asian, most likely Indian, descent. Ecstatic enthusiasm for the opportunity to watch Cumberbatch in a significant, slick role in a sci-fi cultural juggernaut was immediately tempered by the disconcerting disappointment in witnessing another role seemingly perfectly crafted for an actor of color go to a white actor.
Blame for the Khan Conundrum falls most directly on JJ Abrams, the executive producers, and writers of the film. And yet, whether conscious of the decision or not, Cumberbatch chose a lucrative, high-profile career move over rejecting the pervasive cultural norm of whitewashing.
Then there’s the issue of Cumberbatch’s discomfort with his fan base, a feeling experienced by almost all popular celebrities. Fans can “get out of hand,” and yet opinions can vary greatly over what “getting out of hand” actually means. Illegal activities, creepy questions, and creeper live interactions encompass “getting out of hand” to me. Other than that, all is fair game! Individuals express their fandom in a multitude of avenues, so just because I don’t read much Cumberfiction, for example, doesn’t mean others shouldn’t read and write it.
Much to Cumberbatch’s apparent chagrin, there will always be Cumberbitches. The levels to which the Cumberbatch fandom celebrates their community goes way beyond mainstream. In essence, Cumberbitches will continue their vibrant, wondrous lunacy despite his growing acclaim and credibility as a “real” (read: not-just-Internet) celebrity.
The Cumbercampaign Conspiracy
From what I can tell from inside and outside of the fandom, most of the talk regarding his engagement being strictly a career move has been from news and gossip outlets reporting on said engagement as opposed to strictly fandom sources. Sure, do some fans think outlandish things? Yeah! When do human ever not think outlandish things?
Let’s face it: it’s Oscar season and Cumberbatch has his best chance so far in his career to snag an Academy Award. He wants it. Bad. And he isn’t alone: fellow actors Michael Keaton, Keira Knightley, Eddie Redmayne, and Reese Witherspoon are but a few who are also actively campaigning this
election cycle awards season.
Here’s as far as my Cumberbitch Cumbercampaign conspiracy theories go:
- Do you think the timing and manner of his engagement announcement is part of his Oscar campaign? Yes.
- Do you think his engagement and relationship is part of his Oscar campaign? No.
- Do you think he’ll win the Oscar? As of now, no. But give the Harvey Weinstein machine time.
- Do you think he deserves to win an Oscar? Yes! If only for Third Star—his performance in that slayed me. I haven’t seen The Imitation Game yet, so I can’t say.
- Do you think his Doctor Strange casting will help/hurt his Oscar chances? Help, definitely! He’s posturing himself to be a part of the Hollywood machine, and Hollywood looooves Hollywood. Plus, his thespian cred remains in tact as his short residency as Hamlet at the Barbican became a well-publicized point of contention as to why he couldn’t (at first) join the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
- Do you think he’ll be a good addition to the MCU? I think so, but frankly, I don’t care. My Tumblr feed will be filled to the brim with MCU canon Hiddlesbatch and that is good enough for me.
There is nothing wrong with being a part of a celebrity fandom. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise—not the general public, not the media, and not even the celebrity herself or himself.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to add this reapersun tote bag to my Christmas list.