Twilight

Mockery and Things I Love

by sarahenni on May 22, 2012

I saw this post on Noelle Stevenson’s Tumblr recently, and it dovetailed with something I’ve been thinking about a lot of late:

Response by Noelle Stevenson. Click for Source

There is often a binary perception of how things in life should be appreciated: either love them (wholly), or don’t. And I’ve been thinking about how obviously untrue that is, and also how difficult it can be on the internet to express the complicated relationship most of us have with things we love.

The internet flattens things, making it difficult to tell when someone is being sincere, or bitingly sarcastic. In fact, I would say the internet is a place where it can feel impossible to be silly. And when I love something—like a book, TV show, or movie—that is complex, with both positive and negative parts, I express it most often by being silly.

Let’s take the most obvious example: Twilight. (Of course!)

I have read all the books more than once, including Midnight Sun. I own all four, and all the movies. I went to Forks. But I also did this. Silly! Because I understand that Twilight is flawed. Hugely. That does not, however, diminish my enjoyment of the books or the movie*.

This was brought up when we featured a Twilight-themed cover in the “Go Away, I’m Reading” series. The “In Forks, Send Help!” cover got a lot of reaction. A few comments were along the lines of: “Oh man, that’s great! Making fun of Twilight is the best because boy does it suck!” or, “I thought you were cool and everything until I saw you making fun of Twilight and now no sparkle party 4 U.”

I totally appreciate both of those points of view. My problem is that they represent extremes. And, to paraphrase John Green, the truth resists extremes. We live our lives not in black or white, but in a great big mess of gray. So I can’t please the person who loves Twilight genuinely, earnestly, completely, with no room for poking fun at sparkle motion or the fact that the original book says “moats” of dust instead of “motes.” (MOATS.) But! At the same time, I am not down with people only interested in sneering at Twimania. As Noelle said, if I didn’t have a nugget of love for something, I’d ignore it.

So what is it? What is the feeling of thinking about something often (like, entirely too often), finding friends with that same interest, engaging in repeated and serious discussions about it—-But also, mocking it? All over the place? With giddy abandon?

It boils down to: What is being so intrigued by something in which you also recognize, accept, and even, at times, delight in its weaknesses?

That’s love.

Seriously. That’s all it is.

I don’t have to believe that the things I love are flawless or above reproach. But being silly about something, or making fun of it at times, doesn’t make my love less geniune. It’s just what I do with things that interest me that deeply. For me, joking about a subject is still spending time with it.

I’ve found that it can be difficult for people to understand this, sometimes. ”But I thought you liked Twilight?” or “But you said the writing in Twilight wasn’t very good? So why are you re-reading it?“ I don’t have a better explanation for that besides: I love it. For better or worse, richer or poorer, subverting the male gaze or sparkling the shit out of an infant imprint, I just love it.

What about you?? What are some things that you love, but also find problematic? Do you have Thoughts on whether it’s hard to be silly on the internet? Can you believe it really said MOATS?!

 * This is a great post on how to be a fan of problematic things, re-linked to recently by Stephanie Perkins. Definitely worth a read!

{ 23 comments }

Breaking Dawn

by sarahenni on November 22, 2011

Well, the weekend—and thus the unofficial official moratorium on discussing the details of Breaking Dawn—has passed. THANK GOODNESS because I have so many THOUGHTS and FEELINGS to share with you on Le Saga Vampîre!

In my heart of hearts, I really didn’t think this movie was going to happen. Seriously. That book. Everything that happens in it. I figured movie studios/directors would run away screaming. But money overcomes all obstacles, and it was made, and lo! it was ridiculous and awesome. Honestly, it felt like the first and the last half were two entirely different movies. Thusly, my review will schizophrenically cover the con (the first half) and the pro (the WTF-ery).

Con: The Film’s Jaw-Slackening Interpretation of the Honeymoon

ha ha, i see what u did thar

In the movie, Edward’s use of sex as a weapon to maintain power over and press guilt upon Bella was truly, very seriously disturbing. I had a hard time watching it. I was angry and confused; though some elements from the book were shown accurately, I didn’t recall my overall impression of their honeymoon experience being as awful.

So I decided to go back and check. And I was right—it wasn’t.

In Stephenie Meyers’ Breaking Dawn, the scene after the oh-so-disappointing fade to black was much the same as the post-headboard angst-fest portrayed in the movie (#TeamHeadboard): feathers, bruises, patronizing display of sex guilt by Edward. Then, in both the book and the film, Bella gets a spine (more on Bella’s spine later…) and confronts Edward, telling him he’s ruining her post-coitus buzz: “Actually, I’m really pissed at you.” Good job, Bella!

Bella starts thinking of ways to manipulate Edward into giving human-vamp sexy-time another go. Continued efforts to seduce her stone-cold spouse using French lingerie are true in book and movie. But, in the book,  she offers up as bait the possibility that she might actually go to college for a while and postpone the whole vampire transformation thing. Then, she realizes that’s actually what she wants to do. All right, Bella! College is cool (I’m going to ignore for now that part where Bella says she’ll probably fail and instead of arguing to the contrary Edward just says “I’ll tutor you”)!

Then!

Just as portrayed in the movie, Bella has a dream about sparkle motion with her husband. She wakes up crying and…

I couldn’t tell if he was moved by the tears trembling in my voice, or if he was unprepared to deal with the suddenness of my attack, or if his need was simply as unbearable in that moment as my own. But whatever the reason, he pulled my lips back to his, surrendering with a groan.

And we began where my dream had left off.

They have sex at least twice more during their honeymoon before the whole “demon spawn” thing comes up. The book—and mark your calendars because this is the only time I have ever or will probably ever be able to say this—is much, MUCH more sex-positive than the movie.

In the movie, the moment when Bella wakes to discover that her chess/sex victory was just a cruel dream was legitimately wrenching. And it never got better. Edward withheld, withheld, withheld, and Bella was spun into this horrid microcosm of everything that could get twisted about female sexuality, all in about 15 minutes. First of all, you waited until you got married to get it on, and when you finally got the green light, your vampire now-husband loses control, just like he always said he would. So that makes it your fault! Duh! And, though you feel totally fulfilled and satisfied by the experience, you are wrong to and it can never happen again (while you are human). WOW! I’m sure glad they toned down the thrusting to make this pic PG-13 because I can’t think of a more positive message to send young girls! HURRAY.

And coming on the heels of all of that was the seriously uncomfortable LACK of conversation about whether or not to abort the half-vamp baby. In the book all of this was talked to death! It was confusing and weird because the kid was … well, no one knew what it was, but at least in the book we heard everyone defend their side. Somehow the movie’s “don’t just call it a fetus” line and other brief attempts at discussion didn’t suffice.

/haterade.

 The Pros: Everything Insane in One Hour

So, I was feeling quite sketchy about the movie thus far. (Though the quick succession of gratuitous ab shot and Charlie and his Rainier Beer scene [and Charlie watching a University of Washington football game!!] was an excellent way to start the movie, as it meant two drinks from my liquor-enhanced Dr Pepper.) The middle sagged with the weight of CGI wolves and their lupine thespianism. Just, what? I saw plenty of acting-in-jorts in New Moon and it’s impossible to overstate how much I would have preferred a lumber yard scene with some emoting abs over weird, Ent-like echoing voices.

He always looked so alarmed.

But then, coming to lighten the mood as reliably as a Bluth family chicken dance, came Jasper. Here’s how you infuse some humor into your movie about vampire cesarian sections and pedowolves: give JBone* any line. Any line at all. Because his simple “Not YET!” cracked up 200 people in my theater for a solid minute.

And, after all that anticipation, I was baffled to learn that Edward didn’t Google anything—he used Yahoo! Search, like approximately no one else in the 21st century. Though maybe it shouldn’t surprise me to see him using the computer like the technologically-challenged old-world geezer that he is.

So, remember how I said it felt like two movies? Let’s say the first one was something inane, sappy, and with questionable moral content. Like, a Nicholas Sparks movie. The second one was a terrifying horror film where everyone is covered in blood and it gets to the point where you have no clue who you’re actually rooting for. Like ALIEN. (Sorry in advance for that link.)

Watching Bella’ disintegrating physical form was worse than watching that chick from The Ring crawl out of the television. The makeup during that progression was so well done, it almost made up for the last three movies of dime-store wigs and un-dyed eyebrows. (Almost.) Then, the moment when Edward was all “let me pour this human blood into a styrofoam cup so you can pretend it’s just something I picked up at Sonic!” was freaking priceless.

OMG I love you. NO NOT YOU, fugly Jace. NEVER YOU.

The only thing I have to say about the imprinting is: This and this just made my life. But flashing FORWARD during the imprint sequence to a future Renesmee in an effort to somehow make the falling-in-love-with-a-baby thing less grotesque? That was a cop-out, Billy Condon, and you know it. Look at your source material. Look at your choices. Embrace. (Condon certainly didn’t shy away from that whole thing where THE BABY BROKE BELLA’S BACK. What has been seen can never be unseen.)

And I thought RPatz did a decent job at staring, unseeing, into the dark wooded abyss as it dawned on him that Jacob was going to bone his daughter. (And oh yeah, at that moment he thought his wife was dead.) That was … intense. (KINDA LIKE ALIEN. IT WAS ALL SUSPENSE AND TERROR GUYS)

And the “extra scene”? Possibly the best part of the movie. I mean, let’s be honest. What do you think I would do if I was immortal and drunk with power and couldn’t go out in the sunlight? I’ll tell you what—I would mock my minions’ spelling and grammar and cackle as they were dragged to their death, just like Michael Sheen. And that scene alone gave me hope for what is to come in Breaking Dawn II: Just Exactly What The Hell is Going to Happen.

WOW. So what about you guys?? Did you see it? Did you hate it so much you loved it, or vice versa? What are we going to do until NEXT November?!

*Nickname courtesy of Kate Hart

{ 16 comments }

Looking Forward to Breaking Dawn

by sarahenni on November 18, 2011

Today is the day, my friends. Breaking Dawn, the penultimate chapter of Le Saga Vampîre, is upon us. Twi-hards rejoice, casual fans giggle, and haters, well.

By now we are all familiar with the story, but it has yet to be seen how Summit and Bill Condon will handle the WTF-ery that is the plot of Breaking Dawn. Throwing an extra curveball into the whole formula is the fact that the book is being broken into two parts. Which cliffhanger will they go with to end BD1? The birth, the imprinting, the vampire transformation? And, tantalizingly, what is the extra scene Peter Faccinelli is talking about??

I was talking with Bestie Danielle, who will be accompanying me to see this glorious landmark of 21st century film, and we decided to outline the things that we are eagerly awaiting/desperately afraid of from Breaking Dawn.

The Wedding

 Me:  so apparently the wedding is ONE FULL HOUR.

Danielle:  SNOOZE

Lycanthrope, please. My own (REAL LIFE) wedding lasted like 20 minutes. At my wedding everyone was waiting for the open bar. At this wedding, I think you know what we’re all waiting for, and it isn’t a glimpse of that fugly ring.

Sparkle motion, people.

That, and perhaps an explanation of how someone whose abs were so gratuitously airbrushed just a year ago can have such a legitimately muscular back? Is this a STUNT DOUBLE? Or did Kellan Lutz actually mean it when he said he’d get RPatz off the couch for this one?

Speaking of people working out. I’ve also heard that Jacob’s washboard abs get flashed within the first five minutes, which is a good idea considering how long we’re going to have to suffer through these interminable nuptials. That leads us into the other thing that Danielle and I spent a good amount of time discussing…

That Whole ‘Imprinting’ Thing

I’m going to quote Danielle directly from our gchat conversation, because I was falling all over my desk laughing so hard.

Hold on to your bonnets ladies, and get ready to swoon! And by “ladies” I mean “babies.” And by “bonnets” well, I really do mean bonnets. We all know that Jacob has a type, and we think they heart him right back. But you know. It’s hard to know for sure. Since his type is babies.

The thing I’m looking forward to the most, friends? Can I be honest? Is the moment—the exact screen shot—when Taylor Lautner (God love him) has to give a hard stare right into the camera and convince us, the audience…

That he is falling madly in love with A BABY.

That .gif, my friends? Once the internet provides it to me? That .gif might as well be in my email signature block. I am going to have it as a moving background on my phone. It’s going to be EVERYWHERE.

Because seriously, WHAT? How can you ask anyone to do that? To make that convincing? Can you imagine what was going through that poor boy’s head while shooting that scene? “What’s my motivation? THE BABY?”

The Answer to the Question: What DID Edward Google??

Just saw preview for Breaking Dawn that featured Edward, like, Googling "Vampire Fetuses." I WILL NEVER SURVIVE THIS MOVIE. #BreakingRachel
@LadyHawkins
LadyHawkins

Like, Jacob is all, "VAMPIRE BB WTF??" and Edward goes, "I've been researching legends." Cut to him on his computer. Me: *is dead of laughs*
@LadyHawkins
LadyHawkins

The hilarious Rachel Hawkins was the first to note this ridiculousness, and it spawned the crazy funny (and not entirely SFW) hashtag #WhatEdwardGoogled. I mean, Bella did use Google to discover what Edward was in the first movie, so maybe they’re going for consistency?

But I know that when I see this happen on the big screen, I’m going to be drowning my chuckles in spiked Dr Pepper because that one made the drinking game like, instantly.

The Obligatory Shot of Charlie Drinking Rainier

 Me:  You know what I’m looking forward to?
 Danielle:  Rainier beer?

Guys, this is seriously one of my favorite things about the entire movie series. And Charlie doesn’t joke around with Rainier, either. He’ll take it in a can, and he wants a tall boy.

What about you?? What are you looking forward to? What are you dreading like a Cullen dreads Volturi? When are you going to see it??

{ 20 comments }

Eclipse

by sarahenni on November 15, 2011

We’re here, people. Breaking Dawn Part I, a film of gratuitous vamp-boning, sparkling, and supernatural procreation, IS ALMOST HERE. I have my ticket and Jacob can’t even keep his shirt on he’s so excited.

So in the build-up to the WEDDING OF THE CENTURY OMG I thought I’d repost my thoughts (edited by current me) on the most recent in Le Saga Vampîre*, ECLIPSE.

So! I went to go see Eclipse yesterday with pretty high hopes, especially based on Myra McEntire’s enthusiastic vlog review. But I’m not so sure the movie lived up to it for me (sad face). I went to see it in downtown D.C. and the audience was made up of exclusively other adult women that had come straight from work. I totally loved that, but it did mean that there were bouts of giggles during scenes where the intent was for us to swoon.

(I’m seeing Breaking Dawn at a theater that’s within half a mile of a 1,700-student high school, so the experience should be more “authentic.” And awesome.)

First, the Cons.

Chemistry. Say what you will about the original film or New Moon, but I thought both of those movies did a great job showcasing chemistry between Kristin Stewart and her dudes. This movie kind of took it for granted and moved right into the action. (And the opening meadow scene didn’t count as building chemistry, did it? Because it was strange, right? … No? Just me?)

Here is my list of people in the film that had more compelling chemistry than KStew + RPatz, or KStew + Taylor Lautner (do we not have an annoying but awesome nickname for him yet? Tautner? TLaut?):

  1. Kristin Stewart and Billy Bud as Charlie.
  2. Jessica and Mike. Seriously.
  3. Emily and Bella.
  4. Jacob and Seth Clearwater (OMG who was that kid he was ADORABLE)
  5. Edward and Jacob, in the tent. *fanfic explosion*

Wardrobe. Okay, this makes me a weird nerd. But I thought Tish Monaghan did a stellar job in New Moon. Edward’s suit was divine, Jacob wasn’t wearing anything, and I even loved the funky wool mittens Bella had. In this movie, the wardrobe made people seriously disappear.

Sorry, what was that? I was busy staring into the middle distance.

How could someone do that to R Patz? While I was watching this scene, I could seriously only think, “please take off that ill-fitting v-neck sweater immediately.” (And not just because I am always thinking about R Patz taking off his shirt. I swear.)

"I just can't get enough of you in plaid."

The Bella and Edward “will they or won’t they” scene might have been hot, but the professional adult women in my theater audience were giggling like fifth graders throughout (myself included). Again, suspending judgment until I see the movie a second time.

The Flashbacks. Did we need them all? I submit, no. No we did not.

Also, I really missed Rachelle Lefevre. Bryce Dallas Howard wasn’t bad, but Rachel gave Victoria this badass attitude, even when she didn’t speak a word. She made Victoria compelling somehow, in a way that I thought was missing in ECLIPSE. It bums me out that she was deprived of the movie where Victoria actually, you know, does stuff.

Pros!

  • Bella punching Jacob’s face and breaking (or spraining) her hand. Perfection.
  • Jacob and Bella’s second kiss.
  • Dakota Fanning. Always, always, even with her unfortunate unmatching eyebrows.
  • Billy Bud, always. (And he was drinking Rainier again, YES. SCORE FOR THE NORTHWEST.)
  • The script nods to the audience. (Jacob to Edward: “I’m hotter than you.” Edward: “It isn’t all about me?”)

Myra was right– Alice’s overall appearance was much improved. And I liked getting to hear/see Jasper more, but good Lord almighty, I can’t tell if he is a poor actor of they are just trying REALLY HARD to make him be awkward all the time. He is even FROM THE SOUTH, but with this and True Blood it’s becoming clear that southern accents and vampires don’t mix very well.

The fight scene was pretty spectacular. And Victoria’s killing? AMAZING.

Also, all the “third wife” stuff was way better in the movie than in the book.

WHAT ELSE, guys? Any other impressions from watching the movie more than once? And what are you eagerly anticipating in BREAKING DAWN?!

*Okay, I embellished a bit. There's no circumflex over the i in the French word for vampire, (which is just plain 'ol vampire). Just tryin' to fancy the 'ol blog up a bit!

{ 13 comments }

A YA Halloween: Bella Swan

by sarahenni on October 26, 2011

Yes it’s the obvious choice, but with Breaking Dawn (Part I)’s opening weekend just a few weeks away, the timing is right for a Bella Swan costume (and I never get tired of seeing the accompanying guy outfit, ever). And the great part about dressing as Bella? She wears pretty normal stuff. In fact, the wardrobe design from the movies is—for me—one of the more positive things to come out of Twilight generally, and the movies especially. (Female gaze and all that.)

So indulge! Celebrate the silly awesomeness of Twilight and grab whatever you need to make this perfect last-minute costume work to hilarious effect. (Also I just really, really want that FORKS T-shirt.)

Bella

 


Long sleeve shirt
$7.99 - alloy.com

Cotton t shirt
$20 - amazon.com

Barbour jacket
barbour.com

Nike shoes
$48 - zappos.com

ALDO metal ring
$9.98 - aldoshoes.com

Metal ring
$9.99 - modcloth.com

Necklace
fashionology.nl

Heart necklace
16 - amazon.co.uk

Ugo Cacciatori silver ring
€406 - lindestore.com

essie nail color, wicked
$8 - macys.com

{ 8 comments }