Spartan Girl!


I'm a journalism freshman at MSU, and I hope to eventually publish my own novel one day.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

World Trade Center movie

It has been five years since the 9/11 tragedy. It still seems fairly recent to most of us, especially those that were directly effected by the attacks. Maybe that's why I feel it isn't very respectful to start making movies about it.

First there was the made for TV movie about Flight 93, which was followed by a theatrical version. Now there's going to be a movie depicting two police officers being trapped under the wreckage while rescuers attempt to save them.

I guess they're looking at it as a way to pay tribute to the victims and heroes of that event. A monument would probably be a little more tactful--if they ever build one. I know there have been movies made close to the time where the events they were chronicling were taking place, namely the two World Wars, so it shouldn't seem that unusual...

Still, why do I feel that this is just a way to expose more of the terrible experiences to the media?

Not everyone wanted to see video footage of people jumping from the Towers when the planes crashed. It was terrible enough seeing the Towers collapse. But that was just the news; they're supposed to air these things when they happen. This, on the other hand, is Hollywood. And call me cynical, but this can easily be viewed as an attempt to make money off a tragedy.

I heard that two police officers were disturbed enough to walk out of the theatre during a screening of World Trade Center. I don't know how the rest of the people that lived through that ordeal are going to handle it. Even if some might be all right with this movie being made, others may not be. Chances are, most of them are going to carry those memories with them to their graves. They can't be expected to move on so easily. Think about it: how many of you are willing to let others watch a movie about the most traumatic experience of your life?

I realize that the studio can't count on complete approval for making this movie. There are always going to be people that will be bothered by it. I just hope that they at least considered the feelings and viewpoints of those people before coming up with an idea to make this movie.

Anyway, that's my two cents on the subject. I could be wrong. Maybe I should see the movie before judging the purposes. But I don't think I will. I see it as my way of respecting the victims of 9/11.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What has happened to fast food?

Okay, am I the only one that is kind of put out by fast food places putting out "healthy choices" in their kids' meals?

I realize that the intentions may seem well. After all, it is better for kids to have milk with their meals instead of a soda or milkshake. And there's nothing wrong with choosing apple slices or yogurt instead of french fries.

Still, these are fast food places, people. It's SUPPOSED to be junk food! The United States may be the world's fattest country, but it isn't because of fast food alone. No, it's because people choose to eat at fast food places so much instead of once in a while!

And the reason why there are shows like Honey, We're Killing the Kids is because parents let their children eat whatever they want! More likely, it's because they're too busy to cook a meal themselves rather than just picking up something from McDonalds.

What really annoys me is that these "healthy choices" options are nothing that you can't already have at home. Is there any point to buying your kids yogurt and apple slices from Wendy's when they can just as easily have it at home (if you buy it at the grocery store)? All it does is cost you extra money! It's ridiculous!

If you want your kids to eat healthy, simply don't pick up fast food that often! I realize that in this day in age, you can't really cook your kids a healthy meal because you're so busy at work. I would recommend making a meal plan so that you don't have to do take-out every night. Take them to a fast food every once in a while, perhaps as a reward. But don't make fast food places change. If you're concerned about your health, you don't have to buy your food from there. Fast food places should stay the way they are; it's people that need to change.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Love Triangles

Today I'm going to discuss yet another plot cliche used in movies and books: the love triangle.

This device is probably as old as time. It's been used in classics such as Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, and Titanic. People supposedly like conflicts that involve a person having to choose between two love interests, especially when both of them are decent, rather than the old "one good, one bad" routine.

Frankly, I'm not one of these people. Love triangles are not as romantic in the real world as they are depicted in Hollywood. When a person who is already involved with someone else, that means he or she is either cheating or thinking about cheating. And even if they aren't involved, that means that the party cannot make up his or her mind. You would think that the two competitors would realize that if their love interest can't choose between them, they would realize that he or she is probably not worth it. But nooooo...they always blame each other.

Do you see how annoying this is? Sometimes, the love triangle happens because the person who can't make up his or her mind is the writer. This appears to be the case in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie; Elizabeth is apparently falling for Jack Sparrow, even though she's engaged to Will. As much as I love the character of Jack Sparrow, I think this is pathetic. Wasn't there already a plot like this in the first movie because Elizabeth was engaged to someone else while she was really in love with Will? Do I detect some fickleness on the lady's part.

I'm sure it will be resolved in the next movie. All the same, I'll be kind of annoyed if she chooses Jack over Will. Jack is funny and everything, but doesn't she realize that he's already "been around", as implied in the repeated joke of Jack getting slapped by prostitutes? I wouldn't want to be with a guy that's been from port to port! Besides, Will is brave, noble, and he loves Elizabeth (not to mention that he's ORLANDO BLOOM, for crying out loud)! I don't get why some female character are supposedly attracted to dangerous men. Wouldn't they rather be with a nice guy who loves them instead of dangerous men that may disrespect them? I know I would.

Here are a few other love triangles that I can't stand:

The Dawson's Creek Triangle: Oh, gag. What was so special about Joey Potter that made Dawson and Pacey go gaga anyway? As I stated earlier, she clearly wasn't worth it if she couldn't make up her mind between the two of them. Like Dawson and Pacey were good prospects anyway. Pacey slept with a teacher, for crying out loud! And Dawson has to be the whiniest guy on the planet!

Gone With the Wind: I don't know why Scarlett kept wasting her time over Ashley. He clearly wasn't interested in her. Rhett probably should have left her sooner.

Smallville: Will somebody PLEASE tell the writers to axe Lana Lang? I can't take it anymore!!!! And get Clark in the Superman tights!

Any triangle on a soap opera: Like I said, the women involved are spineless. They just can't seem to get along without a man, can they? A real good message to single women--NOT.

The Wedding Planner: The guy in the movie was cheating on his fiancee and Jennifer Lopez STILL ended up with him?! She should have followed through on her threat of plan involving "a machete and a pair of plyers." Hasn't it occurred to her that what goes around comes around. No one in the right mind wants a guy who is a cheater.

Love triangles are clearly overrused; they are the reason I can't stand most chick flicks. Avoid them in your writing and in real life. You're likely to get hurt if you're in a love triangle. I'd advise you to remove yourself from the situation, if and when you ever end up in one.

P.S. Despite my problem with the love triangle, I loved Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and can't wait to see the next movie.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Why Superheroes Don't Need Girlfriends

After watching recent superhero movies, there has been a thought lurking in my mind. I thought it about it while watching Smallville and the Spider-man movies. Yet after I read the summary for Superman Returns, that thought became crystal clear:

Superheroes are better off single.

Seriously, they are! I know that most of them currently are single, but they’re always pining over the love interest they can’t be with. It doesn’t give them comfort; it’s just another source of stress for them to deal with. I realize that this is mainly the writer’s fault. They insist on using the classic superhero’s dilemma: “I can’t be with you because my enemies will use you as a target.” It’s understandable, but it’s been used so many times that it’s been reduced to a tiresome cliché.

And are most of these women really worth the angst that the superheroes go through? No, they aren’t! Yes, they’re beautiful, yet beauty, as they say, is only skin deep. When you look past their facial features, there isn’t a lot that is likeable, at least from what I have seen.

When is the last time we have seen a superhero’s girlfriend that has been supportive to her boyfriend instead of a source of emotional anguish? Was there ever a love interest that wasn’t a damsel in distress whose safety isn’t a constant concern to the hero? Granted, she usually has no idea of the superhero’s secret identity. Still, it’s hard to sympathize with their characters when they act so annoying.

Let’s begin with Smallville, already infamous among Superman purists for messing around with the mythology. Throughout the five seasons of the show, Clark Kent has been pining for Lana Lang, one of the many women in his life whose initials begin with L. Obviously, he cannot tell her about his abilities because 1) she would freak and 2) her parents were killed in the meteor crash that brought him to Earth as a child.

Lana knows that he’s hiding something and isn’t happy about it. Whenever she isn’t lamenting about why everyone “abandons” her, she harps on Clark for keeping secrets from her. She does this in almost every episode, which is why a majority of viewers are sick of her—aside from the fact that every guy in the whole town wants her). Chloe, Clark’s friend, was smart enough to wait for Clark to tell her his secret (even though she already found out in the fourth season), so why does Lana have to throw a fit about it?

Even worse, last season began her relationship with Lex Luthor. Okay, I’m supposed to believe that Clark and Lex became enemies not only because he was evil, but also because of some stupid girl? What is this, Dawson’s Creek? It’s bad enough that everyone else in Smallville is in love with Lana, not to mention that Clark saved her life at the cost of letting his adopted father die! Why don’t they just both get over her so Lex can start hatching more evil schemes and Clark can start being a journalist/superhero?

If next season is indeed the last, I hope that it will end with Clark attending a Smallville high school reunion, where he comes face to face with Lana for the first time since officially becoming Superman, and wonders, “What did I ever see in her?”

Now let’s move on to Spider-man, whose love interest is Mary Jane Watson. I won’t get it into the comics’ version, because even though Peter and M.J. had a rocky relationship because of her inability to accept her husband’s choice of career, they eventually worked it out. I have no problem with the comic book version of Mary Jane—it’s the shallow, snotty, self-absorbed, movie version of Mary Jane that I can’t stand.

I think I can summarize her character with a monologue from Peter in the first movie: “You may not have realized this, but we’ve been neighbors since I was six...” For the first part of the film, she barely acknowledges his existence—unless of course, he was taking pictures of her or complementing her acting skills. A nice yet somewhat awkward guy like Peter was certainly better than the creeps she kept hanging around.

And like so many other superhero girlfriends, she falls head over heals in love with the man in the spandex while basically ignoring who he is in real life. I can understand that she’d be attracted to Spider-man because mysterious guys are somewhat of a turn-on. But after her near-death experience at the hands of the Green Goblin, she suddenly comes up to Peter and declares that he’s the only guy for her? Yeah, right!

As disappointed as I was that Peter didn’t end up with Mary Jane in the first movie, I thought that he deserved better. That thought became more apparent in the second movie, when she’s rubbing the fact that she’s engaged in his face and sniping at him for missing her play. Again, I would have understood her callous behavior had it not been for the fact that this was supposedly when she “knew all along” that he was Spider-man (or so she claimed). If that’s true, then wouldn’t saving people be slightly more important than seeing The Importance of Being Earnest?

Still, I liked the Spider-man 2 ending. All I can say is that she had better have an attitude adjustment in the next movie. Scenes from the teaser trailer involving her with her ex, Harry Osborne, do not make me hopefully (though the trailer itself is overall awesome).

I could go on, naming other names. Many have noticed that other superhero films have taken the trend of b*****y female characters. It’s obvious that it was a big mistake to hire Katie Holmes as Batman’s “first” love interest in Batman Begins. I watched the movie with an open mind, but her performance just reeked of Joey Potter. She breaks up with him because she couldn’t handle the fact that he was Batman? Whatever, Joey Potter. If you can’t handle Batman, then go back to pining over Dawson and Pacey—like they could hold a candle to him!

And now, because they just have to continue the “tortured hero” angle, the Superman Returns writers have proceeded to ruin the one superhero girlfriend I still had any admiration for: Lois Lane.

Okay, I admit, she wasn’t much better than the other girls to begin with. For a seemingly intelligent woman, she can’t look past A PAIR OF GLASSES to realize that Clark Kent is Superman. Even worse, she barely gives Clark the time of day just because of those same glasses, while she has a big crush on the Man of Steel.

Nevertheless, I liked her. She was a woman with a career, something that would be rare in a 50s comic. Even though her adventurous spirit kept getting her in trouble, she didn’t act like a damsel in distress. I respected her. And whether you’ve read the comics or watched the Lois and Clark TV show, she proved that it is possible to be married to a superhero with a little patience and a lot of support.

In the new movie, Superman has been gone for five or six years. Despite the dubious time period, I can get over the fact that she’s engaged—even that she has a kid. But to write a Pulitzer winning article entitled, “Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman”? After all the times he saved her ungrateful life, she convinces people that they don’t need him anymore?!

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I can’t take it anymore. Yes, I know that’s only fiction, but I wonder how many police officers, firemen, and soldiers suffer the same problem within their families.

Frankly, it isn’t fair. Superheroes have enough to deal with their obvious savior complexes and the other issues they have. I realize that they, like, anyone else are lonely, but they should stop wasting time with women that are obviously not worth it, and try to find someone that will understand. It would a lot less aggravating.

I end this editorial with a plea to the writers of Spider-man, Smallville, and any future Batman or Superman sequels: it’s not going to kill you to let superheroes be happy. The miserable, lonely hero is getting old. Either give them better girlfriends or break them up. A lot of regular people are single, and some of them are all right with it. Superheroes shouldn’t be any different.