Blogging 101

Nobody Expects the…

I was reading One Little Library’s post The Best of 2014 (So Far!) on her favorite books of 2014, which gave me inspiration for this post. Some of her favorites are ones she didn’t think she would like (Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest, for example, which sounds like a fun read).

So I thought for today’s Blogging 101 task, I’d make a list of some things I have expected to hate, but have actually enjoyed quite a lot this year:

  1. Battlestar Galactica: science fiction tv show about humanity’s struggle to survive after sentient robots attack.

I didn’t necessarily expect to hate this show, but didn’t expect to get so sucked in by the plot and characters. There’s a lot of sci-fi that is just a vehicle for phallic spaceships exploding, but this isn’t one of them. BSG is a really intelligently written show that uses its sci-fi premise to offer social criticism and make you very uncomfortable. You will probably be extremely upset that Starbuck is a fictional character if you watch.

  1. Hanging out by myself in public places.

I have a lot of down time between many of my shifts, but it’s not worth my time/gas money to drive home. As a result, I’ve been spending a lot of time in sandwich shops reading, eating, and/or watching bad movies. It’s been quite pleasant to sit in a corner while people make me food and expect minimal human interaction. Even though I would still rather sprawl at home on the couch with no bra.

  1. Wolf Children: anime about a woman struggling to raise her half-wolf children after their father dies.

Guys, I am really not someone who enjoys anime. It usually just confuses me endlessly, but Wolf Children was a lovely movie about loss, family relationships, and establishing an identity independently (spoiler alert: there are also wolves. And children). I find Hosoda’s films highly imaginative but grounded in the deep emotional connections between characters. Plus there’s some beautiful animation going on in his movies.

  1. Kindred by Octavia Butler: science fiction novel about an African-American woman in the 1970s who is thrown back to the early 19th century to guide her plantation-owner ancestor.

I find sci-fi is very hit or miss for me, so even though I’d heard great things about Octavia Butler, I was skeptical about picking up this novel. I’m so glad I gave it a chance—one of my favorite books of any genre now. Kindred is so action-packed and absorbing with some very unsettling observations about race and gender in both the past and the present. No matter how disturbing this book became, I couldn’t put it down until I knew how it ended.

  1. Enlightened: tv show about a woman trying to change her life and the corporation she works for after having a huge meltdown on the job.

Cheating because I didn’t expect to hate this show, but I did read a lot of negative reactions towards Laura Dern’s character, which put me off watching. I ended up loving her character, who is extremely flawed but stubbornly optimistic. I didn’t expect a show about a woman having a mid-life crisis to seem all too relevant to my own life, and for the writers to basically send a giant “fuck you” to corporate America. Added bonus is the appearance of Luke Wilson in this series, who is aging extremely well.

  1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: pretty much the contemporary YA version of King Lear.

I don’t read a ton of YA fiction (too much angst—been there, done that), but I wanted a nice light summer read. While I suppose it didn’t end up being nice or light, it was a lot of fun to read and kept me in suspense until the end. Much more carefully and intelligently written than many other YA novels out there.

  1. Iron Sky: bad movie about Nazis who colonize the moon post-WWII.

I didn’t expect to hate this movie, but I didn’t have high hopes for it. The premise sounded like it could either be brilliant or horrendous. With its hyper-awareness of its own absurdity and surprising amount of snide political commentary, it’s definitely one of my favorite bad movies now.

  1. The Walking Dead: I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you’re familiar with this show. If not, it’s a tv show about zombies.

I just started watching this show, and I’m enjoying it so much more than I thought I would. It’s really disgusting, which is somewhat problematic because I’m usually eating when I watch tv. That being said, it’s not (quite) as much about blood and guts as I thought it would be, though I’m not sure how much longer I can keep watching without becoming totally repulsed by the human race as a whole.

  1. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: comedy tv show.

Kind of cheating again because I couldn’t think of any reason I wouldn’t love John Oliver’s show. However, I do love it more than I thought humanly possible, especially this clip from his latest episode:

What about you?

Have you been pleasantly surprised by anything that you initially thought would be terrible? Or maybe you’ve gone back to something you hated the first time and loved it the second time around.

Ha, I’ll hate you a lot if you say this blog. 🙂

Film Reviews

Iron Sky, Or: Moon Nazis Are Coming

The Film:

Iron Sky

The Premise:

Nazis who have been living on the dark side of the moon since 1945 decide the time is ripe to re-conquer the Earth after President Sarah Palin-alike sends a mission to the moon as a publicity stunt. A war between the Space Nazis and Earthlings ensues.

A man with shaggy hair and beard stands in front of a wall, holding up a sign that reads "Moon Nazis are coming!"

The Uncondensed Version:

The film begins with the failed mission of an American shuttle landing on the moon. When the astronauts landed on the dark side of the moon, they inadvertently trespass on a secret Nazi base. The first astronaut is shot, the second is captured, and the space shuttle is destroyed with a rocket launcher (Would a rocket launcher work in space? This is an important question to me).

The Nazis take the astronaut to their headquarters, which is A GIANT SWASTIKA-SHAPED BUILDING. How has no one noticed this??? Is this a commentary on the American space program? I just wasn’t expecting political commentary from a bad movie.

A swastika-shaped building stands above a moon crater.

Now we get a little Nazi backstory. Renate is just the little Nazi who could. She teaches the children the Nazi ways of peace, unity, and love because she believes so goshdarn hard. If she’s guilty of anything, it’s believing too much in making the world a better place/Nazi propaganda. The future führer, Klaus, is played by Günsche from Downfall, aka the Nazi Who You Are Uncomfortably Attracted To (a role usually reserved for Ludwig Müntze, who at least has the decency to be a fictional character). Things on his wish list include babies with Renate and the death of the current führer.

A blonde woman in uniform gestures emphatically in the foreground, while a man in uniform looks on, hand resting on the head of a taxidermied wolf.
(I’m sorry, but he just looks so good standing next to a taxidermy wolf.)

Back to James, the second astronaut.  James is African-American, so the Nazis, led by a man who looks suspiciously like Einstein, perform experiments on him to make him white. Einstein-alike is also working on a secret Nazi super-weapon, the Götterdämmerung (seriously). It turns out the device can be powered by IPHONES, so the Nazis’ strategy is to get James to bring them iPhones, and, essentially, “take me to your leader.” This really begs the question of how their cars and technology have not evolved since the 1940s (they have fucking space zeppelins, I swear to god), yet they have survived on the moon for 60+ years and have managed to create a super-weapon powered by iOS. I KNOW…it’s just a bad movie, but still. I would appreciate some consistency. Also, none of the Nazis need helmets or space suits on the dark side of the moon. That just bothers me.

So anyway. James, Klaus, and Renate go to Earth to find iPhones and meet the President. Then Renate falls in love with James and has to learn a hard lesson about neo-Nazis and Charlie Chaplin.

Meanwhile, the movie gets even more political as President Sarah Palin-alike reveals she has orchestrated the moon landing as a publicity stunt. But it hasn’t boosted her ratings as she had hoped. What will give her that ratings boost? Starting a war, apparently. I wonder where she will ever find a group of warmongers who are almost universally despised by the American people with whom to do battle.

Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly), Klaus and Renate meet the President, quickly becoming key figures in her re-election campaign.

A woman with a beehive hairstyle and glasses is featured on propaganda posters that simply read "Yes!"

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin-alike’s campaign manager(I think?) becomes obsessed with Klaus, but he doesn’t really care about her since she’s not a Nazi. Though she does a pretty great/actually funny parody of the Hitler rant scene from Downfall (coincidentally, she is played by the Jabberwocky from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland [which became too unbearable even for me]).

A woman in a high-rise building speaks angrily, a cityscape at night behind her.

Finally, there’s a war between the Earth and the Moon Nazis, which is going pretty well for the Earth until the Götterdämmerung is revealed to be a huge Nazi UFO/space warship. The movie ends pretty much how you would expect it to, though I won’t reveal every detail because THIS MOVIE IS ABOUT THE JOURNEY. And the moon getting nuked.

The Critique:

Overall an excellent bad movie. Not as good as Nazis at the Center of the Earth, but better than expected. I should never have suspected a film about space Nazis would be less than spectacular.

Some of the humor and quirkiness were actually effective rather than falling uncomfortably short as they do so frequently in bad movies. The strong sociopoilitical critique worked quite well, bringing environmentalism, nuclear weaponry, and the Republican Party under scrutiny, albeit largely for comic purposes.

The major disappointment of this film is, of course, the complete absence of Hitler. Surely colonizing the moon would require decades of planning. How did the Nazis utterly fail to bring Hitler with them to the moon??? I feel it’s just inconsiderate in this day and age to make a bad Nazi movie without the presence of Hitler or at least an explanation of his absence. I knew in my heart that the Götterdämmerung wouldn’t be Robot Hitler, but I was still extremely disappointed that Hitler didn’t appear in this movie, in robot form or otherwise. Coincidentally, I believe this is the only context in which I am legally permitted to express dismay at the absence of Hitler.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther4/5 Pink Panther heads

What should I watch next? I’m thinking FDR: American Badass, but I’m willing to take suggestions for my Bad Movie Bucket List here.