Tag Archives: Ali Larter

Choosing Appropriate Movie Content

When I sat down to blog, I wanted to finish recording Phoebe and my recent movie-spree. However, as I continued, I found myself defending my choices, which took away from the post too much. I also realized that I subconsciously had a rubric I ran the movies through before suggesting them to Dipper. I decided that instead of bogging down the other post, I would make this one separate.

There have been people who have questioned my choices, even though Dipper has approved them all. It may not seem like there is a system at work, but truly, there is. You see, I love Phoebe very much. I don’t think I could love her more if she were truly my flesh and blood. For all intents and purposes, her and Dipper are Family. And I would die for either of them, just as quickly as I would die for Tkout, my husband. I realize that since Dipper and I are so close, and she and I are so close, I’m one of the people she looks to as a role model. When I struggle with my depression and anxiety, she’s told me that I’m a superhero, because she sees me push through and do my best, even if that varies based on how sick I am that day. To that end, I believe the movies and images she’s exposed to now will help shape the woman she’s going to become. My hope for her is that she never forgets her own power and strength, and that she has the courage to push forward and meet her challenges head-on, and take her defeats with grace and no small amount of learning. She’s an amazing girl, and I think the world of her. To me, she’s already a superhero. The challenge is going to be to get her to see it herself.

The movies I show her are meant to entertain her, and sometimes teach her a lesson. Other times to give her positive role models. Every movie that we watch has gone through a checklist, provided below.

Content to Avoid: This obviously will vary a little in terms of what you find acceptable, this is just what I look for.

  • Sexual: I don’t know how much she’s heard from her schoolmates, if anything. I’m also not sure what her mom screens for. Kissing and other PDA is fine. The most sexual scene she’s seen with me was when Alice and Spence are rolling around on their bed in Resident Evil. It’s in a flashback, so it’s choppy, and even though you get the idea of what’s going on, there’s nothing graphic. It’s enough to suggest the nature of their relationship, and easy enough to pass over.
  • Sexuality: I consider myself open-minded. But I don’t want to get into a discussion about sexual identity with a 9 year old who hasn’t hit puberty yet. She’s smart enough to handle it, and her parents are open-minded as well. But unless I’m asked, I’m not going to be the one to enlighten her.
  • Explicit Violence: Here’s the thing, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is vicious and bloody, but much of it happens off-screen. For instance, when Franklin is sawed in half, it’s in the dark. You don’t see it in bright light and CGI effects. I try to keep away from overtly gory content.
  • Rape: Sexual content and violence. This one I stay away from, even if it’s hinted at, because I honestly wouldn’t know what to say. There is never an excuse for rape, it is never justified. NEVER. Also, I don’t want to be the one to tell her that the world is that ugly.
  • Religion: Some of the movies have religious themes, or plot points, but they aren’t overly religious. I will answer any questions she has about my faith, but that being said, I don’t show her movies that are heavily steeped in religion. Dipper has expressed his intent to help guide her in that path as he sees fit, and I willingly agreed to leave it to him.
  • Race: Children aren’t born racists. I’m trying to find content that includes different nationalities, rather than highlights their differences. I in no way deny that racism exists, but I think that going out of my way to point it out is a form of racism. She’s going to see it in action at some point in her life, and that will be a teachable moment.

Priority Content

  • Badass women: When I was growing up, you had to kind of pick and choose to find your strong women. Phoebe needs to grow up seeing Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) kick xenomorph ass in Alien, Alice battle hordes of zombies, Marian refused to be Indiana Jones’ damsel in distress (in Raiders of the Lost Ark), and so many others. The occasional damsel in distress is fine. But, she needs to grow up knowing she can be her own superhero, and that being a girl doesn’t mean you are a plot device in someone else’s story. (Not to mention, the behind-the-scenes, such as Milla Jovovich designing most of her Resident Evil gear, which is probably why she gets progressively more badass as the movies go forward. Oh, and her stunts? Most of the time they’re really her.) Not to mention, the Resident Evil franchise is loaded with strong women. There are main characters Alice (Milla Jovovich), Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), and Claire Redfield (Ali Larter). Even female characters who have supporting roles in one or two films are just as strong. There’s Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), Nurse Betty (Ashanti), K-Mart (Spencer Locke), Crystal Waters (Kacey Clarke), Becky (Aryana Engineer), and Angie (Sophie Vavasseur). Not to mention, there’s representation in the franchise. There are strong women of Asian, Hispanic, and African heritage. Not just Caucasian.
  • Healthy male/female interaction: Look, I know this post sounds a little man-hatery. Rest assured, I don’t have anything against men. My best friend is a guy. But that being said, Phoebe will have to learn how to interact with the opposite sex in terms of earning respect, working together, and living in general. She has plenty of time to learn those things, but I want to combat the idea that she isn’t complete without a man. Or that she always needs a helping hand to get things done. I want her to strap on her own shitkicker boots and march confidently into situations. That’s another reason I love Ghostbusters and Alien so well. In both, the women work alongside men, but don’t rely on them. They work as a team, relying on their own smarts and teamwork. Suicide Squad comes to mind for this criteria too. When you look at the movie, it’s primarily female-driven. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) puts together the Suicide Squad. She gets Harley Quinn and Enchantress/Dr. June Moon (Cara Delevingne), and Katana (Karen Fukuhara). All of whom are really capable and diverse women. The supporting cast is pretty kickass too. Diablo’s wife, Grace (Corina Calderon), casts her shadow from the grave, as the only person who could curb her husband’s gangbanger side. Similarly, little Shailyn Pierre-Dixon shines as Zoe, Deadshot’s daughter.
  • Healthy friendships: Finding a good friend is really difficult. It’s important for her to grow up seeing people take care of each other. Especially women. Most women are raised to fight each other, to compete, to constantly view other females as enemies rather than allies. Again, I look to Resident Evil. Alice and Claire Redfield come to trust each other, and rely on each other as allies throughout the rest of the series. The Ghostbusters reboot, while heavily panned by critics and “fans”, was based on the premise of four women combining their smarts and talents to stop the destruction of the world. They’re not focused on their looks, or having sex with their stupid (and stupidly handsome) secretary, played by Chris Hemsworth.

  • Healthy body image/self-worth: There are a few movies I could site for this, but Ghostbusters is my favorite. The main women are varied in size and shape. Kristen Wigg, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, are all powerhouses. They share the screen and the gags well. Not to mention, the gags aren’t about who’s fat or sexy or stupid. All women are shown with talent, capability, and once Abby and Erin settle their initial differences, they proceed with a healthy and loyal friendship.
  • Life lessons: Yes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is terrifying. But you know what else it is? A life lesson. Don’t pick up people on the side of the road, and in a larger sense, don’t get too friendly with strangers. “Stranger danger” as it was called in my day, is a real thing. Possibly moreso now with the advent of technology that allows us to remain connected 24/7 to people around the globe. Phoebe needs to know basic truths to protect herself.

A Fitting End

This past weekend was a total shitshow. I’m not going to go into it further than that, because the medical issues involved were (largely) not my own. What I can say is that I backslid in terms of my anxiety, but I am fighting my way out. I am guessing the next few days will be rough, but I am toughing it out as best I can.

Sunday afternoon, Tkout and I went on a date to go see Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Dipper had suggested we take a break from the stress of the weekend and have a small date. I was worried that I wasn’t going to do well, since I have been having trouble in packed theaters. That didn’t happen to be a concern, since there weren’t more than 13 people in the whole theater.

For those readers that maybe haven’t been following the series closely, this final movie is meant to close the franchise and answer some unanswered questions, and clear up inconsistencies between the other films. The film opened in theaters on Friday, January 27th. The Final Chapter received mixed reviews, some people loved it’s action-driven scenes. Others were nonplussed with the offering as the conclusion to the long-running franchise.

I fall in the middle. But that’s not really surprising, considering I do for most Resident Evil movies when I first see them. The plot of this one had me intrigued from the start though, because it was a return to the Hive. Basically, Alice needs to save humanity from extinction, and the answer to that problem (as well as answers for questions she and the audience have had for years) lie where it all started. Below the bombed-out remains of Raccoon City, in the Hive.

PROS:

  • It was great to go back to Raccoon City and the Hive. It felt appropriate, given that’s where the virus escaped.
  • We finally learn Alice’s origin story.
  • How she survived all the previous movies is explained.
  • The visuals were stunning.
  • The action scenes were well choreographed.
  • The movie tied up many previous loose ends nicely.
  • We finally find out the true origin of the T Virus.

CONS:

  • There felt like too much action and not enough plot. I would have liked to learn more about Alice, Wesker, Dr. Isaacs, and Claire Redfield.
  • Where did everyone go?! Luther. Jill Valentine. Ada Wong. Leon Kennedy. Chris Redfield. If this movie picks up from where the last one left off, what happened to everyone?! You can’t expect me to believe they all conveniently died off!
  • How the hell are the zombies running?! When did that happen!?
  • MOAR CREATURES! I was hoping for much more mutated obstacles and hellbeasts.
  • I was hoping to see some of the creatures from the first film make an appearance, only  more badass and mutated than they were at first.
  • What happened to DC?! In the penultimate movie, Resident Evil: Retribution, Wesker gets Alic & Co. to come to DC for humanity’s final stand. I would have at least liked to see what happened. Even for a few minutes!

I’m a fan of the franchise, so I’m going to go full-tilt fangirl and say that the movie was a blast. I’m extremely glad I got to see it on the big screen, and even happier that it was left open-ended. I wouldn’t mind if the franchise kept going. I know Resident Evil: The Final Chapter just came out in theaters, but I can’t wait to own it! That way I can have a weekend-long marathon with all movies included!

Recommended for a cheesy good time !

Film poster for House on Haunted Hill (1999 fi...
Image via Wikipedia

House on Haunted Hill” is one of my favorite go-to movies when I’m not feeling well, or when I’m up for some cheesy good fun with decent acting.  Among the cast members are real screen gems – one of my favorites being the snarky Geoffrey Rush, who is to be able to take on almost any role seamlessly.  Taye Diggs and Ali Larter are also unexpected (and I believe at that point, relatively unknown).  Chris Kattan showcases his diversity – as the current owner of the haunted asylum and not as the usual funny man.

The plot is rather simple – the spoiled wife of an amusement park tycoon wants to host her birthday party at the most haunted place on earth – which just happens to be Vanacutt Psychiatric Institute for the Criminally Insane.  The spoiled wife, Evelyn (played by Famke Janssen), sends her guest list to her husband Stephen (Geoffrey Rush).  Just before Stephen sends the list, it is mysteriously changed (we assume by the asylum), which results in a group of strangers arriving for the party.  Stephen enjoys his wife’s irritation and decides to continue the party – adding that anyone who survives the night will receive $1,000,000.  To sweeten an already good deal, Stephen casually mentions that the total money will be divided among whomever survives (in other words, if you die, someone else gets your money).  The aylum’s owner Watson (Chris Kattan) warns everyone that they won’t survive the evening if they decide to stay.  He won’t explain why, but is very adamant.  Before Watson can escape the asylum for the night, the asylum’s defense system kicks in and metal panels cover the windows and doors.  Its only then that Watson begins to tell the true history of the asylum, and the capabilities of the evil that lurks within.

There – that’s enough of a teaser – go rent the movie !

The movie didn’t do well as far as reviews go, but I rather enjoyed it.  I thought that the special effects were pretty good, and the plot was decent.  Where the movie really shined was the acting.  Geoffrey Rush is by far the best actor of the film, but Chris Kattan is a close second.  Rush was able to create and maintain a suspension of disbelief which allowed the viewer to begin to care about the characters.  Rush began as the character I loved to hate, and then towards the end transforms himself and shows that despite all of the bluster and the wife-hating, he was actually a good person.  The transformation was believable, interesting, and felt “right”.  At first I was worried that Chris Kattan’s humorous roles would impede on his ability to be the flighty owner of the asylum, but I was completely wrong.  Kattan carried his role admirably.  As a direct result of this movie I gained greater respect for his acting.

This movie is well worth giving a try.  The acting is great, the special effects are good, and overall its a good movie.  As I said before, its a cheesy good time.  Nothing Oscar-worthy – but definitely a fun movie to watch with friends or on a date !