Two big shows out now about assassins, and I actually like them both despite the fact that I’ve really grown sick of the assassin trope in fiction as of late. These killers for hire with hearts of gold that we’re supposed to sympathize with have gotten to feel stale and inauthentic. Obviously they should be written as morally complex, but often that complexity can feel self-indulgent, and sometimes even grating. Thankfully, these two shows, Barry and Killing Eve, avoid that by adding interesting twists to the characterization of their assassins.
I know it’s kind of reductive to pit “black” Disney movies against each other, but as I walked out of my Black Panther screening, couldn’t help but think about the differences between the two films, particularly in the way they handled their villains. Both are films with a mostly black cast that use black villains, who are motivated by issues of particular resonance to black audiences. One of these films expresses its themes through the villain in a way that elevated the entire story, and the other botched it so terribly in a tone deaf and borderline offensive way. The main difference that really changed the outcome in how the films conveyed their messages was how they contextualized their villain.
*SPOILERS FOR BOTH FILMS
Right now on Showtime, there is basically what amounts to a Donald Trump fanfic playing as a half-hour animated comedy titled Our Cartoon President, and as embarrassing as it is, I enjoy it. I uh, really like it, in a way that finally made me understand what it means to have a “Guilty Pleasure”. At its core, I always thought the term was dumb since simply enjoying something that isn’t actively harmful to others shouldn’t produce a feeling of guilt. Like, if you know something is dumb, and you enjoy it anyways, that isn’t really a guilty pleasure, that’s just finding the passion in a sloppily put together piece of art. This show though, is a different animal, because its subject matter is the menace that sits in the White House today.
I’m about to watch The Crown on Netflix for the first time for a number of reasons beyond my control. I will say that before recent events, this show dramatizing the history of the British Monarchy seemed super boring to me. Like unbelievably so, but I’m at a place now where I’m in the mood to see pale British people fret about nonsense things that don’t matter to anyone anywhere. I wasn’t a Downton Abbey viewer for example, as just the thought of having to spend time with these rich Brits seemed vaguely nihilistic. Like, the idea of making the conscious decision to spend time with these people felt like a choice I would only make as someone who has absolutely given up. Here I am about to watch The Crown though, so make of that as you will. I have a lot of preconceptions and predictions about this show that I want to hold onto as long as possible, so I’m gonna record them all here and now before they’re rendered meaningless. Just gonna list these off in point form…
I recently finished watching Marvel’s: The Punisher, the Netflix TV series starring Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, and boy did it surprise me. I’ve had my fill of Netflix Marvel shows less because of their quantity and more because of their quality as of late. Daredevil‘s second season disappointed me, and Iron Fist and The Defenders were met with critical failure. Still, if there was one good thing about Daredevil‘s second season, it was Bernthal’s Punisher, and seeing a show revolving around that character had its appeal for that alone. Make no mistake though, I did not have high expectations for a number of reasons.
I love The Lion King. I’ve written gushingly about it before on this site, and I while I realize it probably isn’t the best Disney musical of all time, it certainly is my favourite. It has so much style and grace, and the score is absolutely incredible. Everything a I love about it can be experienced in the song “Be Prepared”, which is still my favourite song period. It’s a movie with an enormous amount of ambition, and heart and I’ll love it forever. That doesn’t mean that I’m an elitist who thinks it’s also an unimpeachable classic that should never get remade, which means Disney’s in luck! I’m super excited for this remake and I can’t stand the fact that it’s coming out in 2019, so in the mean time I’m going to write about my thoughts on it, like what I think of the cast.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, discussion of sexual assault, and the ways powerful men abuse their privilege, has dominated our cultural discourse. The insidious ways Weinstein leveraged his power to abuse and destroy countless women was disturbing, and the way he hid behind his wealth and dedication to good social causes was a particularly sickening facet to the scandal. The pathology to Weinstein hit such a strong cultural cord because he doesn’t represent an isolated case; he’s just one of many men in Hollywood, in the corporate world, in politics, in every arena men have power and influence over women, who behaves this way. This scandal resonated because men like Weinstein are universal, and the dawning acknowledgement of that in our society has led to… interesting reactions from people. Men in particular have taken this scandal as an excuse to express some of the classic stupid replies to sexual assault scandals, and today I’m going to call out the three that have littered social media that I hate the most. Note that the usual “Why didn’t they come forward sooner?!” response won’t be included here, because I think that question comes less from a place of misguidedness (as the subjects of this list do) and more from a place of malice.
With a show with as many characters as Game of Thrones, it’s inevitable that a herd of stinkers would work their way into the fold. Although, it’s a bit misleading to outright say the show has a lot of outright bad characters, and that’s not exactly what this list is about. There are some interesting, well-acted characters on this list, but my criteria for what makes them the worst is how much they actively hurt the watching experience. It’s not just about sucking, it’s a combination of how much damage they do to the show, how much wasted potential they represent, and how outright annoying they are. It’ll make more sense as you read through, so here are Game of Thrones’ 10 worst characters.
Game of Thrones is a show that’s famous for a lot of things, but one of them is its huge stable of characters. There are a ton of them and it was hard whittling them down enough to make a top ten list. My criteria for this list isn’t just who I personally like the most (because if it was, Walder Frey would slither his way into the mix), it’s also who I feel has the most depth, who’s most entertaining, and who is consistently compelling. That last part is important because if the show has any problems, it’s that it has a ton of storylines for a lot of the characters and much of the time, these characters spend a season or two being super boring. The very best characters on this show are interesting more often than they’re not, and when each of the principle characters are often doing wildly different things, that’s hard to maintain.