Female desire in movies and tv shows – with or without men

I recently watched “Everything sucks” on Netflix (now cancelled, after just one season) and was really taken with it even though the show itself is neither laugh-out-loud funny nor a cinematic master piece (it is utterly charming, feel-good and all around fun, though).

But something in the story-telling really resonated with me and after watching “Super 8” again, I realized it: “Everything sucks” not only takes into account the desires of its female protagonist but also rewards them.

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Favorite movies: ‘Small town murder songs’ with a different Peter Stormare

Since I only recently gushed about Peter Stormare and “Small town murder songs” written and directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly, I realized that I never really wrote about that movie (with the exception of a very small, very German blog post about the soundtrack). But I just watched it again and feel like I want to talk a little about it, so here we go. Continue reading

Let’s look at my favorite movies, tv shows and games of 2017

You already got to read the few albums and artists I discovered last year (and liked), so here’s (part of) the reason why I didn’t have more time for more music. Yes, I am a couch potato and I couch potatoed my way through last year.

  1. Claws

If I had to describe “Claws” to anyone, then I would say it’s a crime story centered around a nail salon, told with the ridiculous twists and drama/comedy-tonality of “True Blood”. So yes, it wouldn’t make much sense. I try not to think too much about the plot of “Claws” because for one, Niecy Nash, who plays the protagonist and nail salon owner “Desna” is so good that I actually don’t care about anything else. BUT! The styling of the show, the plot twists and especially the cast of women are so good (“True Blood” Kelly Preston, Judy Reys from “Scrubs”, Jenn Lyon and Karrueche Tran are such a good team, I could watch them without any crime stories or other plot just minding their business in the nail salon every day).

Usually, I am really not into these kind of shows. Did not get into “Breaking Bad”, didn’t care for “Weeds”, did not get into “The Wire”. The whole money laundering, drug, mafia-stuff is really not my cup of tea. But “Claws” really got me.

  1. American Gods

Like many, I really love the Fullerverse (the usually intertwined universe Bryan Fuller creates with his TV shows) and especially his aesthetic and use of music. The soundtrack for “Hannibal” and “American Gods” is absolutely amazing and so is the one for “Pushing Daisies”, for completely different reasons, though.

I read the book “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman about 10 years ago in a library sweep of all his graphic novels and novels but had forgotten a lot of details. So, I was generally interested to renew my memories. But the real reason why I eventually stuck with it were to cast-choices I absolutely adore: Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Stormare respectively as Easter and Czernobog. I first saw Chenoweth in “Pushing Daisies” (and actually would have preferred her as the love interest because of her intense, overwhelming charm). And I basically watch everything with Peter Stormare in it because that’s an actor who gives it his all and is always so mesmerizing, no matter the movie. I still would recommend “Smalltown Murder Songs” as THE Stormare-movie because it’s such a good performance and an overall perfect movie (the soundtrack, people!, is the perfect metaphor of the protagonist’s inner rage).

Ok, but “American Gods” is generally cast perfectly and all those little stories between the main plot are incredibly beautiful and occasionally transcending. I can’t wait for season two because I actually forgot how the novel ended.

  1. The OA (and particularly Alice Krige)

This weird, fantastic realism take on an abduction story is one of the oddest entries in this list because I still don’t know whether I liked it or not. Is it too ridiculous? Is it too cheesy? Still, it had an impact, a very emotional and visual impact on me and when I think of that show, I feel things and that’s, after all, something, isn’t it?

Most of those feelings and most of the reasons why I really loved the show came from Alice Krige’s acting. She plays the mother of the protagonist who sees her daughter after she has been missing for seven years. Every scene with Krige is absolutely beautiful and devastating.

In fact, she ranks amongst the most memorable acting scenes in the last few years for me:

(in no particular order):

Alice Krige – The OA (2016) (every scene in season 1)

Peter Abernathy – Westworld (2016) (episode #1, season 1)

Peter Stormare (see #26) – American Gods (episode #2, season 1)

Viola Davis – How to get away with Murder (episode #4, season 1)

  1. Insecure

I wish I had this show when I was in my twenties because it’s so funny and fun without dodging serious issues when you’re young, broke and full of self-doubt. I also love how the issue of racism is prevalent but never on the nose. There is a subtlety to it that is really effective because it portrays the micro aggressions that are difficult to address because “they’re not really racist, but …”.

Issa Ray’s fashion is also the best thing I’ve seen this year on TV (it’s a close race with that one Niecy Nash bodysuit in “Claws”, though).

  1. Survivor

My boyfriend and I got into “Survivor” recently and I have to give it to Jeff Probst and Co: this show is so well executed and thought out. I can live with the evil editing of some characters (I mean, that’s basically what makes reality TV interesting) and can tolerate some of the more forced emotional moments. But it’s in generally an excellence example how great editing can make the most inane premise thrilling and how devilish you can create drama with simple twists in the game formula.

  1. Channel Zero

I love this show. “Channel Zero” takes on a different creepy pasta (basically an urban legend born out of reddit or tumblr threads) each season and runs with it. The acting is amazing, the atmosphere is throughout unnerving and super creepy and the make-up and special effects are never over the top. The plot generally is pretty tight, so no “American Horror Story”-going-off-the-rails with this one. This is the horror anthology I expected when AHS started out.

  1. Big Little Lies

Ok, so, I will start with a disclaimer: Given the ending, I feel like one particular actress should have been featured a lot more often and not pushed to the sidelines that much. But that actress also was able to tell her story in one singular scene without even speaking. Which means: if there is a season 2, give that woman more to do because she obviously is capable enough to even work with an undercooked character and breathe life into her.

“Big Little Lies” was so mesmerizing because despite its sometimes pretentious-leaning look it was so well made from the set, the camera, the soundtrack, the lighting and obviously, the acting.  I loved the fact that the scenes were given time to play out, that the characters could breathe and really get everything out of the performances. There are certain scenes with Nicole Kidman that convey so much that it breaks your heart (it reminded me of “Birth” where she was equally amazing).

I still wonder whether reading the book will actually expand that great impression or minimize it, that’s how good that show was.

  1. GG Gab and MrKravin

I have these weird phases were I can’t be bothered to watch TV or read a book but want to just lie there and watch Let’s Plays. But I generally prefer horror games and non-problematic Let’s Players who are not too loud and annoying which really decimates my choices. This year, though, I discovered GG Gab aka Evelien from the Netherlands who is not only a lady (hurray!) but also fun, swears without slurs and is entertaining without putting on a show. Plus, she plays a lot of games, so even when I want nothing but watch Lets Plays for a whole weekend, I will not run out of material. Thanks for that, Gab!

And it’s Evelien’s own fault that I discovered MrKravin aka Mike through her because she recommended him a couple of times. MrKravin is equally one of the more low-key players in that you can watch him and not get your ears shattered with every jumpscare-scene because the player just screams in your face in (mock) surprise. He’s also pretty funny and tends to go for even the shittiest horror games which can be quite entertaining.

(also: wordless commentary on tired clichès)

  1. Horizon Zero Dawn

I finally brought myself to buy a PS4, because I want to have it when “The Last of Us 2” comes out (don’t fight me on this, Muriel, I know you didn’t like the first one but that’s just how it is!). The first game I decided on was “Horizon Zero Dawn” which is basically an open world game with robot animals and dinosaurs. It’s visually striking, has a good storyline and a pretty awesome protagonist. You can’t get lost in it that long which was a shame once I really got into it but generally that’s quite good because as a working adult in a happy relationship and numerous interests I really don’t have the time to ever finish stuff like the Witcher ever (EVER!).

  1. The Big Sick

The weirdest thing about “The Big Sick” on this list is the fact that the last romantic comedy that I loved as much was “Obvious Child” and it’s equally about a stand-up comedian. Maybe that’s my kind of genre? I don’t know. Kumail Nanijani’s kind of autobiographical love story is really funny, very well plotted and superbly cast (give me Holly Hunter every day, even though I will have to scrunch up my face sometimes in concentration to really understand her). What I also love: at least for me, it didn’t have those weird, lengthy moments where I am wondering how long the movie might be till the end. That’s a good thing!

  1. Prey

“Prey” is a PS4 game set in space but without the great saga element of “Mass Effect” which somehow really puts me off (it sounds too time-consuming!). Instead, it’s a pretty fun sci-fi-dystopian story and you’re basically trapped on a space ship and have to fight an unknown (and evolving) evil. I know that it was originally supposed to be a remake of an old game with a similar premise and that fans of that old game were not too happy with the result but since I haven’t played that original game and don’t really care, I’m like … yeah, whatever.

Disclaimer: I played the game in easy-mode after two attempts to hack it in the normal mode. I am a casual player and can not be bothered with investing hours on end honing my gameplay before I can finally beat a single, measly boss. Shame me for it, I don’t care.

The game is beautiful, it plays up to my hoarding-tendencies that I have by making collecting crap to make other crap necessary to survive and the story might not be mindblowing but it is interesting, somewhat unique and makes for a fun 20-30 hours. In a way, it was a bit like “Horizon Zero Dawn” since it also is a somewhat open world with a very clear cut main storyline and a few fun side quests.

I also liked that I could choose between a male and a female protagonist, even though promo material and most reviews picked the male “Morgan”.

Best of 2016: 30 things that delighted me last year

I wanted to write this weeks before New Year’s Eve and then I didn’t, so now I have to use the last free day before work begins to hurl out this stupid list just because tradition. Hrmpf. Anyways, as my last entry already stated, from a world political point of view, 2016 was horrendous. Not the worst year ever (seriously, that’s a bad thing to say) but definitely a year that marked a lot of changes that will affect the rest of the world immensely this year.

But I was blessed enough to have a pretty good year personally, I didn’t lose any friends, I even made some new ones, my family is alright, my cat is alright and I still don’t regret moving in with my partner (for someone who needs to rest after a three hour event with people, this still amazes me). But what else made 2016 a little more tolerable? Continue reading

Cake Box #2: These things obviously won’t happen monthly

1. Inside No. 9

I can never quite figure out which League of Gentlemen-Gentlemen deliver the greatest pieces of pop culture but for fans of their tv-series, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith definitely lead the way for unconventional, dark and horrifying comedy which – weirdly – is still quite seldom to be found (and no, “Supernatural” doesn’t count).

The newest (well, more recent, it’s been out there since a few months) gift to fans of the macabre is “Inside No. 9”, a rare form of the clever genre of horror anthology that – in stark contrast to the grim and almost misanthropic “Black Mirror” by Charlie Brooker” – has a lot of fun with delving further and further into the depth of human depravity. Even though not every episode might be outright terrifying, there’s not one that isn’t entertaining and interesting because there are many ways in which Pemberton and Shearsmith try to work with their environment – oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the gist of the show is that every episode features a room or a house or a building that has the #9 (hence the name). Therefore, some episodes play in a single room whereas others have a whole creepy villa to roam through (one that reminds me a lot of the beany baby-heaven of “Psychoville”, by the way).

Although the first episode is – in my opinion – as grim as it gets, the gothic/horror elements of each episode stack up to a truly awesome finale that had one of my favourite jokes of the entire season in it. The whole series feels like a nod to Roald Dahl who equally managed to mix up the terror with the grotesque and comedic and who also kept us glued to the pages (or in this case, the screen) through very concise storytelling and thought through characters. For horror fans in general this series is riddled with great references and inside-jokes as pretty much everything else this golden writing team has come up with. It’s very weird, very British and very amazing.

2. Bad Machinery goes Mod

For reasons unknown, I kinda stopped reading my daily/weekly/monthly webcomics and only recently got back to it only to discover that I had abandoned the great stories of John Allison so much that I missed one and three quarters of new stories. GASP! The current one is a great romp through a re-discovery of the mod-movement (with great hairstyles and dire consequences) that – as all teenage movements go – soon plunges into chaos.

Teenagers, ey? *scrunches up nose in disgust*

3. The funniest thing that happened to me since the last Cake Box

Ok, so because it’s summer, I logged into OkCupid because around this time every year I do something very regrettable because I am bored (’tis true). That’s neither funny nor entertaining and I never ever would have mentioned if it weren’t for this thing that happened. So, because I am not really actively looking for my soulmate (mainly because I don’t believe such a thing exists), I am mucking about a lot and usually send random (but not creepy) messages to funny profiles. One of the dudes got a picture from me that featured Bill Cosby in a pineapple-shirt (there is an explanation for that but it’s tltr). Anyways, he went on my profile, apparently didn’t find it as amusing and charming as it obviously is because he didn’t reply. However, one day later he did message me to blame me for a dream he had in which Bill Cosby offered him a drink on a train to Alaska.

Juliane W. – subliminally putting random stuff in your dreams since 1984.

I wonder whether I should simply send everyone the Bill Cosby-picture from now on to see whether they all will dream of him and whether the dream-situations with him vary, like offering some chili on a sailboat to Greece or dancing on a plane to Honolulu. (edit 02/2015): since I didn’t know about the countless accusations against Cosby, I guess that I really should not make anyone else dream of him in the near or far future unless I wanted to commit to my dark side and turn everyone mad)

Who wouldn’t love some more Cosby in their lives?

4. Margarethe

When I still worked at the gossip-mill, I once wrote an article about a former German tv-host who had since more or less retired. I wanted to know more about her present life and decided to add her on Facebook because unlike most other celebrity profiles only friends could see her posts and because unlike many many more famous people, she didn’t have a Page but a profile. Well, nothing happened that day and I wrote the article and forgot about it.

Weeks later, Margarethe accepted and I thought that it was so funny and weird that I simply left her in my feed even though I am highly picky with my Facebook-friends and regularly weed out people. Well, she’s still there and I tell you why – her Facebook-profile is one of the most charming celebrity-profiles I’ve ever seen. She writes like a typical somewhat older person who can work her way around the internet but is not really savvy: Her entries are really long and read like postcards or personal letters. And they are full of trivial infos about her garden and her holidays and what she cooked, how she spent her weekend with friends, etc.pp. It’s just a lovely Facebook-island that is innocent, maybe a little naïve but incredibly good-natured.

Soap Box 10: Things that bugged me in March

People, what a month that was. I quit my job in March and had my last day at work last week. It’s a scary thing because I was bold enough to quit without having anything new which leads to most friends and family-members reacting as if I decided to jump down the Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. But here’s the thing: I was unhappy at my job for a very long time and it was really hard to find something new with a 9 to 5-gig. So I saved a little money, thought a lot about it, panicked a lot about it and then quit. BAM!

Although I am already a little fearful that my expectations for my next job are too high (you know, not necessarily being unhappy at work and being paid moderately for it) but now it’s too late anyway and as often as I ask myself whether I regret my decision, the answer stays the same: Nope.
That might change in six months’ time but till then, let’s see what bothered me last month, because there’s always something, isn’t there?

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Qotsamentary-Mockumentary

Holy macaroni, I nearly threw my laptop out of the window, that’s how freaking excited I was to see Matt Berry and Steve Agee doing something funny for the upcoming Qotsa-album. Although this means that I will have “One track lover” stuck in my head for the next week, I still think this is amazing and I actually think that the album itself needs to be super-great to top this jolly thingy right here. Also, I might be drunk whilst writing this. Why did I write this? Because I am quite possibly drunk and therefore overshare, which is something that I do when I am quite possibly drunk, Facebook is my oyster tonight!

“Whatever is there is either gone for good or there forever” will be my motto for 2013.

And because this needs to be known:

Here’s a movie trailer that made my day: Hansel and Gretel

SURPRISE! I love Jeremy Renner, so obviously, I try to catch up with his movie work (and his private life, his internet history, doctor’s appointments and sleeping habits – just for fun). I watched the whole dire Bourne-Trilogy to understand what’s going on in the fourth movie but I really was giddy when I heard he plays in a Hansel and Gretel interpretation with blood and gore and Peter Stormare (who makes the worst movies watchable). Even if this will be the worst shlock fest ever (and it sure sounds like it) it was directed by the guy who did „Dead Snow“ – a zombie nazi ski movie! It can’t go wrong, it has Famke Janssen as the villainess and Gemma ‘where did she play again’ Arterton in it and it looks like Tarantino meets Gilliam. I am sold.

The Bourne Trilogy Answer: Something something conspiracy theory aka there’s no way that something this convoluted and complicated exists so I stopped caring during the second movie and dragged myself through the third one. It better be worth it, Jeremy!

The Gemma Arterton answer: In a lot of good British movies and – as usual – a lot of bad American movies that made no impression on me. She is pretty though, which is why I totally have to hate her, stupid bitch. Oh wait, she’s married? Oh well, I guess she is actually not that bad after all, now, I have to get going, Jeremy’s Facebook account doesn’t hack itself.

Robert ‘Patti’ Pattinson & Kristen Stewart: Burn the witch!

First of all, that poor Rupert Sanders, sure, he betrayed his wife but I think we can all agree that as a man he had no chance to withstand the vicious, probably vulgar and disgusting approaches of that vixen Stewart, thank God that she consented to the affair, otherwise he probably would have raped her, driven by animalistic instincts as his gender is, after all, completely void of reason.

They even admit it themselves, God bless ‘em, little dim-witted creatures Continue reading