So, I’ve had Sam come to stay with me for a couple of days this week. This is cool and groovy for a variety of reasons, not least because she seems to have a good effect on Sheffield and it was therefore warm enough to have a picnic.
It was also cool and groovy because we got to be silly in a number of ways. We played a fighting fantasy book – I found the first one in a charity shop for all of about 50p, so it had to be bought. Also, if you are both an 80s child and a geek, how can you be self-respecting if you haven’t played at least one old-school game involving the use of paper, pencils, dice, and all eight fingers keeping your place(s) in the book so that if you died, you could just backtrack?!
Something else that is has happy nostalgic memories for me is playing Chips Challenge, which I used to do with Kirsten when we were still in primary school. Because we are that cool.
Anyway, but Sam and I did not play Chips Challenge. We did, however, watch Ultraviolet.
It is bad. It is so shockingly bad, that in a bizarre kind of a way, it’s almost good.
First off, it fails in a fairly major feminist way. There is only one female main character, Violet. So clearly she cannot talk to any other woman. No, talking to herself does not count, not even when she says things like “God, what am I doing?”, because God is portrayed as male most of the time. Also, her entire motivation for her killing spree is that she had her pregnancy forcibly terminated. We are told this, by Violet (as narrator), at the very start of the film, which is just as well, because the film itself consisted mainly of matrix-style fight scenes and very little in the way of actually letting you know what was going on.
But since it was so clearly an Epic Fail, there was no need to treat it seriously. So we didn’t. We narrated it. Actually, with our narration, it was quite good. Film directors, take note. What you really need to make your films better is a couple of sarcastic, foul-mouthed, feminist young women with no tolerance for badly done computer graphics, especially when it looks like you’ve photoshopped each individual frame that your female lead appears in.
It should be said at this point that even though I’m crap with films, I have seen more than one film with Violet in. She was the woman in The Fifth Element, and yes, I can say the woman. When we talk about films and I can say the man, then we shall be living in a matriarchy. Until then, it is a figment of the MRA’s imaginations. Even Bring It On has more than one named male character, for fucks’ sake.
Anyway, the point of that was to point out that Milla Jovovich (see, I can do research!) is no stranger to gratuitous nudity. Which is good, because there was quite a lot of it in Ultraviolet. Possibly she would have preferred doing the naked thing in Ultraviolet in fact, because I seem to recall that Bruce Willis appeared in her naked scenes in The Fifth Element, and that doesn’t sound like fun to me. Don’t get me wrong – if I wanted a man to do the “shit, I have a complicated moral dilema to make… in a vest” thing, well then, Bruce Willis is clearly the man to get hold of. But as a man to do the “hmm, I see that you are a naked woman and I am going to be empathetic towards you and try not to scare the fuck out of you” thing, maybe not so much.
So yeah, there was gratuitous nudity, and I do believe that most of the plot was based around Ways To Get Violet Naked. Which mainly involved her sneaking into places she wasn’t meant to be, sometimes going to the lengths of modifying her own DNA, or something. I think that this is where the film went wrong, because there were other things that were much more exciting, that were hardly even touched upon.
For example, the hair. The hair, as I may have mentioned, was amazing. It went different colours! Just like Britney Spears did in that music video that I didn’t want to dance to when I was in Year 10 because it was a “sexy” song and I was not a fan of the underage-sexy-dancing thing. Except that Britney Spears’ hair went different colours because she wore wigs, and only went from blonde to brown to red, whereas Violet’s hair went all kinds of cool colours, like blue and, well, violet, presumably just because she willed it so.
Also, her jackets changed colour to match. Which was amusing. Although her hair did not go stripy when she was in stripy places. This saddened me.
The other thing that wasn’t really talked about, but should have been, was the way that both she and her motorbike worked independently of gravity. That was many kinds of awesome, except that it made my eyes hurt when she drove up buildings.
In fact, if the film directors hadn’t been so busy making her out to be a vampire, Violet could clearly have been God. She could perform miracles and smite men that she didn’t like, and, a bit like that Bible story that I half-read about once, with the sacrifice of the child, she got really close, and then went back in a “yeah, I wasn’t really going to let them kill the kid” kind of a way. There are many parallels.
This, my friends, is why I am not a professional film critic.
However, it is a little bit good for me to watch these films, because I get double the amusement – once whilst watching the film and arsing about with Sam, and then again when I criticise the film whilst talking to J, and he mentions the gratuitous sexual assault before I can. He got bonus points in that conversation for criticising Kill Bill, which is what I usually do when arguing against him, thereby utterly confusing me.
In conclusion: Ultraviolet is shit, unless you watch it with Sam. Popcorn would have been nice though.
I’ve got no good reason to repost this. It was pretty damned disgusting the first time round. But for some reason, I couldn’t just delete it. And I’m off to buy eggs in a moment, so it’s almost relevant!
It was the kind of thing that made me think that vegans have a point.
Because, when I was making breakfast this morning, I cracked the egg into the bowl, only to see a huge, bloody eye – all that had formed, pretty much – of a three-day-old chick staring back up at me.
I apologise for being disgusting and graphic, but it freaked me out, if it’s any consolation. I should have known something was wrong – and on one level I did – when I cracked the egg and the yolk just started to pour out. Unfortunately for me, I was curious, and hungry, and thought I’d probably just broken it myself. So I carried on… and then there was blood, and an eye, and a tiny beak, and a little red patch that would have been the rest of its body, just lying there in the bowl.
It turns out that I am incredibly squeamish when it comes to partially formed dead baby animals. So I cried out, dropped what remained of the egg, backed away and burst into tears.
I felt that I – metaphorically as well as literally – had its blood on my hands, although the rational part of me knew full well that after being in a fridge for three days, it was never going to live. I don’t think that would have bothered me, had it not, in the way it was curled, looked so much like a human feotus from an ultrasound scan. Except with a beak.
That didn’t stop me eating a truly excellent sausage sandwich, cooked for me by J, in consideration of my emotional state, ten minutes later. And it doesn’t change my views on abortion, or indeed veganism. It just made me pause for a moment.
Well, it’s that time of year again. We in England can ignore the specific date (it’s the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, which is of course American) but if it’s still something you believe in, why not blog about it? And why not blog about it, if you’re going to, when many other people will also be blogging about it. Perhaps studies will be conducted on this kind of thing one day. Who knows?
On the subject of abortion, what can I say that I haven’t already said eleventy billion times before?
I think this year, I’m going to go with short and sour. If you are anti-abortion*, and actually believe that simply by making abortions illegal you will stop them happening, you live in a delusional little dreamworld that I want no part of.
For those people who are a little more pragmatic and reasonable in their outlook for all things sexual, I can think of a few sites, off the top of my head, that might come in handy. Abortion Rights works to improve the current UK abortion law for women, and their links are well worth taking a look at. For more general or advice-based services, Brook (for under-25s), Scarleteen (online only, mostly geared towards young adults – but this post on rape is something everybody should read) and FPA (formerly the Family Planning Association) are all helpful.
*I’ll be damned if I’ll call them “pro-life” when I can see no respect for the lives of women in their arguments. Of course, they’d say that I’m damned already.