Author Topic: Wonder Woman  (Read 245 times)

Offline kimmy

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Wonder Woman
« on: June 04, 2017, 10:29:48 pm »
So the new Wonder Woman movie has had a spectacularly successful opening weekend, along with amazingly positive reviews.  It has already earned over $100 million in US box office, which is the third best of the year (behind Beauty and the Beast, and Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2.)

This comes as a tremendous relief to me.

I was not terribly invested in Wonder Woman, the character. I really only know the character from Saturday morning "Super Friends" cartoons, and some reruns of the campy TV show starring Lynda Carter.   I didn't read any of the DC Comics.

However, I was quite emotionally invested in the success of the movie.   I remember reading, once upon a time, that when the first Supergirl movie, starring Helen Slater, was a box office failure back in 1985, the movie studio decided that movies starting women didn't sell and they weren't going to make any more.   Given the recent failure of the female-led Ghostbusters remake, and given the poor performance of recent DC movies (particularly the new Superman movies and the Batman vs Superman movies)  I had a bad feeling that this just wasn't going to be successful and would end up as another black eye for the idea that people would want to see women-centered movies outside the realm of romances and chick-flicks.

I have also had a feeling, for a while, that the female "superhero" people wanted to see a movie about isn't Wonder Woman, and certainly not Captain Marvel or Black Widow... but rather Harley Quinn.   That's a little problematic, as she's first off more a villain than a hero of any sort, and also that her popularity is, I think, built more around a sort of "broken doll" fetish rather than her redeeming qualities (such as they are). I do, however, think that with the right writer and with the sensational Margot Robbie in the sequinned hot-pants, there's still potential for them to tell a tremendously good Harley Quinn story.  It wouldn't be a "nutty girl in sequinned hot-pants saves the world using a giant wooden novelty hammer", it would be more like "damaged woman struggles with her demons as she tries to find her way in a world that's as crazy as she is."


As for Marvel's upcoming Captain Marvel movie... I just don't think you can tell a proper Captain Marvel movie without Rogue from the X-Men.  The two characters' histories are so intertwined that the most interesting parts of both characters are all wrapped in each other.  But the Marvel/Disney universe doesn't have Rogue, and the Fox X-Men universe doesn't have Carol Danvers, so the part of the story that made both characters compelling in the comic books just won't even exist in the movie. I also think that when you say Captain Marvel, people think of a big square-jawed dude with a lightning-bolt on his chest, not a blond girl in a jump-suit.


Anyway, back to Wonder Woman, I haven't seen it yet, but I plan to.  I think that like many others I started feeling some optimism for the project when I saw Gal Gadot in the Batman vs Superman movie. A lot of reviews said that she was one of the few bright-spots in the film, and I felt the same.  I got shivers in my spine at the part where she takes on the Doomsday monster.  There have been precious few times in movies where I've gotten shivers in my spine from anything a female character was doing.

 -k

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Offline MH

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 05:35:43 am »
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o the new Wonder Woman movie has had a spectacularly successful opening weekend, along with amazingly positive reviews.  It has already earned over $100 million in US box office, which is the third best of the year (behind Beauty and the Beast, and Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2.)

This comes as a tremendous relief to me.

Why ?

Do you think that the success of the lady superman means that attitudes towards women have changed, ie that it's a signifier ?

Or does it mean that attitudes towards lady supermen have changed ?

Or does it mean that this will now change attitudes towards regular ladies ?

Or are you concerned about superpeople movies or Hollywood in general ?

You seem to be looking for some meaning behind this and I want to know what it is.

Also since you are talking about 'mass culture' are you making the masses into a kind of 'other'.  Do you consider yourself part of the masses ?  I doubt it.  You seem to be looking for a moral signifer here, which says something about how you look at 'society' (sorry for the use of quotes, I know I don't define my terms very well but that's so boring). 

Lately I have been thinking that in a way all problems are cultural problems and that if we all think about things that way it could help.  Mass media certainly helped America accept the 'gays' by way of Billy Crystal, Ellen, Nathan Lane, Will & Grace just as Bill Cosby made people realize that Blacks could do no harm.  :(

We don't have much in the way of top-down culture anymore so we need to figure out new ways to moralize, which may now involve online or in-person fighting.

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I was not terribly invested in Wonder Woman, the character. I really only know the character from Saturday morning "Super Friends" cartoons, and some reruns of the campy TV show starring Lynda Carter.   I didn't read any of the DC Comics.

In first year university I was 'unwoke' and homophobic but also oblivious.  In the girls' dorm, two ladies shared a room.  One pair used to spend a lot of time together and always watched the Lynda Carter show.  I thought them odd but didn't figure it out until a year or so later.  Two years after I graduated, I ran into another pair of ladies from that dorm who were room-mates, walking down Yonge Street together.  We chatted and caught up, then moved on.  I was as much heart-warmed that they could have found each other randomly like that, their first week away from home, as I was shamefully titillated by the encounter.  In the aspect of how cis males respond to such pairings, I am part of the masses.

One of my BurningMan friends came from Black poverty in the US, and made his way to college where HIS college room-mate made him discover his true sexual self.  They would make a big show of going on dates with ladies from the Black sorority - getting dressed up for their fraternity friends to see.  It was a great cover: a public showing of courting, dancing with the ladies at frat parties... then the two would give them a kiss goodnight and retire to their dorm room for several hours of hot lovemaking.  Those girls must have thought they were too polite, or maybe religious.  Ah well, disappointment is a part of life.

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However, I was quite emotionally invested in the success of the movie.   

This bears examination, see above.

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As for Marvel's upcoming Captain Marvel movie... I just don't think you can tell a proper Captain Marvel movie without Rogue from the X-Men.

I read Captain Marvel comics that were 50s reprints.  Dr. Silvana was the main villain... when did these other tie-ins happen ?

----

The thing that will help new points of view get attention, such as women's stories, is utter boredom with middle-class white male stories.  As Jesse Brown from Canadaland says we have seen every combination of these and are saturated.  I am not above watching something because I 'should', ie. eating my cultural vegetables, but I don't have to any more.  I started watching Orange is the new Black out of such motivation and almost turned it off.  But when they wisely started focussing on the back stories of how women of culture get in jail, it got interesting and now I watch every episode with anticipation.


Offline kimmy

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 09:48:10 am »
Why ?

...

You seem to be looking for some meaning behind this and I want to know what it is.

I will think more on this and respond more later.

Also since you are talking about 'mass culture' are you making the masses into a kind of 'other'.  Do you consider yourself part of the masses ?  I doubt it.  You seem to be looking for a moral signifer here, which says something about how you look at 'society' (sorry for the use of quotes, I know I don't define my terms very well but that's so boring). 

I am certainly part of the masses, but the masses has a will of its own and I am as uncertain where it's heading as anybody else.  I suppose I am looking for clues as to where things are heading.

In first year university I was 'unwoke' and homophobic but also oblivious.  In the girls' dorm, two ladies shared a room.  One pair used to spend a lot of time together and always watched the Lynda Carter show.  I thought them odd but didn't figure it out until a year or so later.  Two years after I graduated, I ran into another pair of ladies from that dorm who were room-mates, walking down Yonge Street together.  We chatted and caught up, then moved on.  I was as much heart-warmed that they could have found each other randomly like that, their first week away from home, as I was shamefully titillated by the encounter.  In the aspect of how cis males respond to such pairings, I am part of the masses.

That's cute!   "Baywatch" provided a similarly formative experience for a girl I used to know. She even bought a red one-piece bathing suit for me to model for her.

I read Captain Marvel comics that were 50s reprints.  Dr. Silvana was the main villain... when did these other tie-ins happen ?

The Marvel Comics Captain Marvel is not the Captain Marvel you remember ("Shazam!") who was I think a DC Comics character. 

The character who will be in the upcoming Marvel movie is the character who was originally known as Ms Marvel.



She has a new costume that doesn't look like swimwear now, and has become a "Captain" rather than a Ms.   ...perhaps she got drafted, I really don't know.





The thing that will help new points of view get attention, such as women's stories, is utter boredom with middle-class white male stories.  As Jesse Brown from Canadaland says we have seen every combination of these and are saturated.  I am not above watching something because I 'should', ie. eating my cultural vegetables, but I don't have to any more.  I started watching Orange is the new Black out of such motivation and almost turned it off.  But when they wisely started focussing on the back stories of how women of culture get in jail, it got interesting and now I watch every episode with anticipation.

I think there is a market for new and different stories, but there also seems to be a backlash from people who are annoyed that they aren't the center of attention.   There was some amount of grumbling from curmudgeons about the new Star Wars franchise being centered around a female character and about the prominent feminist presence in Mad Max: Fury Road, for example.

Must go; will post more later.

 -k

Offline MH

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 10:51:32 am »
I am certainly part of the masses, but the masses has a will of its own and I am as uncertain where it's heading as anybody else.  I suppose I am looking for clues as to where things are heading.

Ok.  So the super ladies' acceptance as a bellweather for regular ladies' acceptance.

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That's cute!   "Baywatch" provided a similarly formative experience for a girl I used to know. She even bought a red one-piece bathing suit for me to model for her.

Response redacted.

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The Marvel Comics Captain Marvel is not the Captain Marvel you remember ("Shazam!") who was I think a DC Comics character. 

That's disappointing.  I don't like superpeople movies but I *might* have gone to see the DC guy say 'Shazam'.
 
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She has a new costume that doesn't look like swimwear now, and has become a "Captain" rather than a Ms.   ...perhaps she got drafted, I really don't know.

There were 3 Cpt. Marvel superheroes: The Captain, Captain Marvel Jr. which was not his son as that would complicate things I guess, and Mary Marvel.  :D



I remember having a crush on her, although she seems to wear flats and be marginally brunette.  Ok.

These people, along with an old codger named Captain Marvel Sr. I think (he was a faker, with no super powers but everybody knew and let him get away with it... comic relief) formed the Marvel 'family'...








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I think there is a market for new and different stories, but there also seems to be a backlash from people who are annoyed that they aren't the center of attention.   There was some amount of grumbling from curmudgeons about the new Star Wars franchise being centered around a female character and about the prominent feminist presence in Mad Max: Fury Road, for example.

Must go; will post more later.

 -k

These people, like you, are considered about the morality of others... busybodies... I am one...

Offline Bubbermiley

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 01:14:59 pm »


The Marvel Captain Marvel was created so Marvel would own the copyright on the name, once it was left unclaimed by Fawcett after DC won a suit against them that claimed Fawcett's 1940s Captain Marvel was too much like DC's Superman. Then DC got the rights to that Captain Marvel, but Marvel already had a comic being published under that name so they had to call the comic (and awesome 1970s Saturday morning TV show) Shazam!.



Fortunately I downloaded the complete series of Shazam and Isis before it became traumatic to look for Isis videos online.




Offline MH

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2017, 01:31:33 pm »
Yes, I'm waiting for a reboot on that broadly-appealing female superheroine named ISIS.  I can wait a long time.

Also the new Marvel looks like a dud.  I'll take my 50s sensibility superheroes over these Soviet-styled automatons any day, comrade.

Offline Moonlight Graham

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2017, 08:21:36 pm »
Wonder Woman being successful is important for women because that character really is the only top-tier female superhero in comics that approach the level of star characters like Superman, Spider-Man etc. and has held her own in a longstanding solo comic series  There are other great female comic superheroes but most female characters are part of a team like X-Men or Avengers (Storm, Scarlett Witch etc) or just aren't on the same level of popularity as Wonder Woman historically (She-Hulk, Supergirl etc).

Anyways, for those reasons I don't think this necessarily means many more female superhero movies will come since, as I said, there is a major lack of historically mega-popular female heroines in comics.

Also, I think female protagonists have proven they can lead blockbuster movies, like Hunger Games & Star Wars: A Force Awakens so I don't think Wonder Woman bombing at box-office would have changed that dramatically..unless it was well-reviewed and still bombed.
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Offline MH

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2017, 08:50:59 pm »
Wonder Woman being successful is important for women because that character really is the only top-tier female superhero in comics that approach the level of star characters like Superman, Spider-Man etc. and has held her own in a longstanding solo comic series  There are other great female comic superheroes but most female characters are part of a team like X-Men or Avengers (Storm, Scarlett Witch etc) or just aren't on the same level of popularity as Wonder Woman historically (She-Hulk, Supergirl etc).

Why is it important for women that there be a top-tier female superhero though ?  Can't we focus on something less important like... I don't know... pay equity ?

I really hate all of those movies by the way, if you can't tell.

If the movies were more relevant to culture then I might have cared more. 

Why aren't there more female themed rollercoasters ?

http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/coasters/browse/a-to-z

Offline kimmy

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2017, 06:26:49 am »
Why is it important for women that there be a top-tier female superhero though ?  Can't we focus on something less important like... I don't know... pay equity ?

What good does that do?    Pay equity, and the underlying issues, have been talked about for a long time, and really very little has changed. Ultimately many of the factors in the often-quoted pay gap between men and women aren't a result of outright discrimination anyway, but rather a result of choices.   One thing that really help close the pay gap in the future would be if more women went into STEM careers instead of traditional female careers.  Who knows, maybe if I'd had Agent Patterson on my TV when I was a kimlet instead of Kelli Bundy, maybe I would have made different choices in my life.  Who can say?

I don't know enough to comment on the nature/nurture debate, but I personally feel that having a Barbie that whines "Math is hard" probably wasn't very helpful for young girls. In previous generations, the Disney princess would wait for a heroic prince to come and save her... in 2015 Princess Elsa skips the boyfriend part and just fixes things on her own. In previous times her worth would be validated if the handsome prince loved her, but now she can prove her own worth.     In times gone by, a superhero movie would have the damsel in distress tied up and wait for the hero to come rescue her. In The Avengers movie, the Black Widow is tied to a chair while some bad-guys attempt to interrogate her... once they've told her everything she needs to know, she quite easily frees herself and smacks the shit out of everybody without a needing hero coming to her rescue-- quite deliberately lampooning the damsel-in-distress trope.  It used to be that the women in these movies-- action movies in general, really-- were just props for the men.


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I really hate all of those movies by the way, if you can't tell.

If the movies were more relevant to culture then I might have cared more. 

The genre has been with us for over 80 years.... I can't think it survived this long without being relevant to people in some way.

And I think that stories with fantastical premises often allow writers to explore themes that they simply couldn't in a story set on a couch in a crappy Paris apartment.


 -k

Offline MH

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2017, 06:39:30 am »
What good does that do?    Pay equity, and the underlying issues, have been talked about for a long time, and really very little has changed. Ultimately many of the factors in the often-quoted pay gap between men and women aren't a result of outright discrimination anyway, but rather a result of choices.   One thing that really help close the pay gap in the future would be if more women went into STEM careers instead of traditional female careers.  Who knows, maybe if I'd had Agent Patterson on my TV when I was a kimlet instead of Kelli Bundy, maybe I would have made different choices in my life.  Who can say?

I had to look up STEM careers. 

Well, ok if equality is a lost cause then I suppose we can focus on cultural symbols.  Maybe that's a sign that we're all well-enough off, who knows. 


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I don't know enough to comment on the nature/nurture debate, but I personally feel that having a Barbie that whines "Math is hard" probably wasn't very helpful for young girls. In previous generations, the Disney princess would wait for a heroic prince to come and save her... in 2015 Princess Elsa skips the boyfriend part and just fixes things on her own. In previous times her worth would be validated if the handsome prince loved her, but now she can prove her own worth.     In times gone by, a superhero movie would have the damsel in distress tied up and wait for the hero to come rescue her. In The Avengers movie, the Black Widow is tied to a chair while some bad-guys attempt to interrogate her... once they've told her everything she needs to know, she quite easily frees herself and smacks the **** out of everybody without a needing hero coming to her rescue-- quite deliberately lampooning the damsel-in-distress trope.  It used to be that the women in these movies-- action movies in general, really-- were just props for the men.


The genre has been with us for over 80 years.... I can't think it survived this long without being relevant to people in some way.

And I think that stories with fantastical premises often allow writers to explore themes that they simply couldn't in a story set on a couch in a crappy Paris apartment.


 -k

What's this Paris movie ?  I want to see it !

Sure, the genre is relevant, but as I have been saying on the other thread it's on the back of the cultural infrastructure.  It may mean that they're mining cultural memory to maximize profits for the mass market.  But mass culture itself is dying now, and what replaces it will be more accommodating to alternative viewpoints IMO.

Again, be careful what you wish for.  We will have 'diversity' on a mass scale in the way of backwater towns with vastly different culture than San Francisco or Toronto.  I know where I want to live.

Offline kimmy

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2017, 09:48:06 am »
I had to look up STEM careers. 

Well, ok if equality is a lost cause then I suppose we can focus on cultural symbols.  Maybe that's a sign that we're all well-enough off, who knows. 

I don't think equality is a lost cause.  In many ways I think equality is a won cause. The laws say the battle has been won.  And yet it doesn't feel like like the battle has been won, because prejudices and attitudes lag behind.   Changing attitudes and challenging prejudices is now where the battle is at, and popular culture is both a tool in that fight as well as a barometer of the state of that battle.

What's this Paris movie ?  I want to see it !

It's a hypothetical movie that I use as shorthand to represent the kind of movie August1991 would like to watch.  It stars unattractive people, a drab setting, and has no special effects at all. A chain-smoking French woman with unshaven armpits and an out of shape middle aged French man talk about their relationship, over the course of two hours and many cigarettes. Subtitles are provided for plebs like me.  It is the greatest cinematic achievement of our time.


Sure, the genre is relevant, but as I have been saying on the other thread it's on the back of the cultural infrastructure.  It may mean that they're mining cultural memory to maximize profits for the mass market.  But mass culture itself is dying now, and what replaces it will be more accommodating to alternative viewpoints IMO.

Again, be careful what you wish for.  We will have 'diversity' on a mass scale in the way of backwater towns with vastly different culture than San Francisco or Toronto.  I know where I want to live.

I know of what you speak. I live in a place that's a lot closer to those backwater towns than to Toronto.

I'm not sure that mass culture is dying.  It's evolving.  Some time ago "popular music" fractured from a monolithic entity into a thousand different things, but music continues on. We are seeing the same kind of thing in other forms of media.

 -k

Offline MH

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2017, 09:59:04 am »
Changing attitudes and challenging prejudices is now where the battle is at, and popular culture is both a tool in that fight as well as a barometer of the state of that battle.

Ok.  So this is a signifier then.  Mass Culture and the Culture of the Moralist are melting in I guess.

I guess these movies are more important than I give them credit for.

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It's a hypothetical movie that I use as shorthand to represent the kind of movie August1991 would like to watch.  It stars unattractive people, a drab setting, and has no special effects at all. A chain-smoking French woman with unshaven armpits and an out of shape middle aged French man talk about their relationship, over the course of two hours and many cigarettes. Subtitles are provided for plebs like me.  It is the greatest cinematic achievement of our time.

Have you seen Amour ?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1602620/

I care you to watch it.   I don't know what August1991 looks for in a movie but I imagine he would like a Quebec James Bond movie.


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I know of what you speak. I live in a place that's a lot closer to those backwater towns than to Toronto.
 

Yes, Toronto is amazing I agree.  Would you say that it's the ultimate evolution of the perfect human gathering or just simply the best one there currently is ?

Offline Moonlight Graham

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2017, 05:05:51 pm »
Why is it important for women that there be a top-tier female superhero though ?  Can't we focus on something less important like... I don't know... pay equity ?

It's related to pay equity.  If society, including both men and women, and especially middle-aged men in board rooms etc, has a more normalized belief that women too can save the world and be strong leaders etc. just as much as men, then that's something to root for in our culture.  People seeing & believing that women can be Wonder Woman instead of just Ariel The Little Mermaid or Barbie or a dainty princess that needs to be saved will help break glass ceilings.
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Offline kimmy

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2017, 08:37:05 am »
Ok.  So this is a signifier then.  Mass Culture and the Culture of the Moralist are melting in I guess.

I guess these movies are more important than I give them credit for.

I'm of the belief that the Will & Grace sitcom and Ellen DeGeneres sitcom and talk show have done more to change attitudes towards gay people than Pride parades have done.   It's before my time, but perhaps the Mary Tyler Moore show was similarly important for working women. 

I also agree with what Moonlight just wrote:
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If society, including both men and women, and especially middle-aged men in board rooms etc, has a more normalized belief that women too can save the world and be strong leaders etc. just as much as men, then that's something to root for in our culture.  People seeing & believing that women can be Wonder Woman instead of just Ariel The Little Mermaid or Barbie or a dainty princess that needs to be saved will help break glass ceilings.

It might be a little late for middle-aged men in boardrooms.  But it's not too late to offer girls stories about women who make their own way instead of being passive figures who wait for others to take care of them and define them and validate them.

Your attitude seems to be that since it's a silly genre it's unimportant and has no impact.  I don't think a story's value or impact depends on its genre.  Some of our oldest and most enduring and most culturally important stories use fantastical story elements and plot devices to make their point. We see this in the Bible and in the ancient myths of just about every culture.

If you showed people "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Gattaca", I think a lot of them would say that "Sleepless in Seattle" is realistic and "Gattaca" is just sci-fi.   But personally I think that "Sleepless in Seattle" is one of the most unrealistic, fake things I've ever seen, while the possibilities and perils depicted in "Gattaca" become more and more relevant with each advance in the field of genetics.

"Sleepless in Seattle" is set in a real place and has a realistic premise and has no super-powers or special effects. So it's realistic, right?  Well, no. It's sheer fantasy drivel. It's one writer's fantasy of a beautiful love story, and it's just as escapist as anything involving unicorns or light-sabers or space-ships.

As an aside, I think it's actually harder to tell a "real" story in a real setting than in a fantastical setting. Your reader or viewer is completely willing to suspend disbelief for the unicorns and lightsabers and spaceships, but won't be able to get past details that he or she relates to personally.  Even details like "he can't park there!" or "how the fuck can she afford that apartment?" break the illusion if you get them wrong, to say nothing of bigger annoyances like "who in the fucking blazes would actually drop everything and travel across the country to meet somebody they heard on a radio show?"


Have you seen Amour ?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1602620/


That's exactly the kind of movie I avoid. Judging from the synopsis it sounds terribly depressing.  I have seen "real" movies that I found very powerful and deeply affecting, and I'm sure Amour is very good. But I don't want to be reminded of human frailty and mortality ... when I watch a movie I want to forget about that stuff for a couple of hours.

I'm an enthusiastic fan of escapist fare.

Yes, Toronto is amazing I agree.  Would you say that it's the ultimate evolution of the perfect human gathering or just simply the best one there currently is ?

I've never been *to* Toronto.  I've been *through* Toronto many times.  My first instinct when I get into Toronto is to get out of Toronto as quickly as possible.

 -k

Offline MH

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Re: Wonder Woman
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2017, 08:55:21 am »
  I don't think a story's value or impact depends on its genre.  Some of our oldest and most enduring and most culturally important stories use fantastical story elements and plot devices to make their point. We see this in the Bible and in the ancient myths of just about every culture.

I'm not convinced.  People didn't think the bible was fiction, they thought it was the document of human inception and evolution and a moral blueprint.

Maybe 'value' and 'impact' aren't the right terms, but I can't accept that the bible and Grimm's tales could be on the same level of impact.  Granted that they are different, but I think genre matters.  Even within the realm of 'folks narratives' some are more important than others.

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If you showed people "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Gattaca", I think a lot of them would say that "Sleepless in Seattle" is realistic and "Gattaca" is just sci-fi.   But personally I think that "Sleepless in Seattle" is one of the most unrealistic, fake things I've ever seen, while the possibilities and perils depicted in "Gattaca" become more and more relevant with each advance in the field of genetics.

Ok, but Gattaca exceeds the grasp of its genre while Sleepless in Seattle seeks to comfort the viewer and not change dialogue so much.


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That's exactly the kind of movie I avoid. Judging from the synopsis it sounds terribly depressing.  I have seen "real" movies that I found very powerful and deeply affecting, and I'm sure Amour is very good. But I don't want to be reminded of human frailty and mortality ... when I watch a movie I want to forget about that stuff for a couple of hours.

Ok, so you seek escapism.  Thankfully, Will and Grace and All in the Family snuck their medicine into some humour, subversively, so that people would challenge themselves somewhat and not escape.

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I've never been *to* Toronto.  I've been *through* Toronto many times.  My first instinct when I get into Toronto is to get out of Toronto as quickly as possible.

Yes, I agree that Toronto is fantastic.  Next time you come let me know and Joan and I will take you around...