Screen Junkies » Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:04:14 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Hey Spielberg, Enough With The Aliens Already http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/hey-spielberg-enough-with-the-aliens-already/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/hey-spielberg-enough-with-the-aliens-already/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2011 18:06:20 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=223065 We love you, but there are other subjects to explore.

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I know a lot of you are going to think I did this article just to get the chance to say the word “Spielbergian” again.  Now, while it is true that I love that word with all of my heart and soul, there is another reason here.  Dear Mr. Spielberg, enough with the aliens already.

I just got the opportunity to interview him at Comic-Con and it was a dream come true.  Well, I only got to ask one question, but still.  This man has been part of so many films I love.  I mean, he’s a genius.  He’s a big part of my childhood.  And…AND…I actually loved Cowboys & Aliens.  I think it was a bad idea to premiere it at Comic Con when almost every single reviewer was exhausted/hungover/brain dead.  I think it might have been over-exposed, which builds up expectations to a fever pitch.  Nothing could possibly live up to the hype.  I thought it was fun.  I thought the cast was amazing.  I had an absolute blast watching it.  I just think we have a bit of alien fatigue.

Get The Alien Cribs Tour In 'Cowboys & Aliens' Trailer

Look, our economy is about to collapse…or not.  I don’t want to go into politics, but let’s just say that things are not well.  People are losing jobs left and right.  It totally makes sense that post-apocalyptic dramas are popular.  Zombies, destruction, Smurfs…oops!  Sorry.  Smurfs are not part of the apocalypse.  They’re just annoying.  But I think we all know what would happen if aliens attacked now.  We’d find a way to do terrible things to them, a la District 9…or we’d be dead.  Didn’t Stephen Hawking just tell us this?  We wouldn’t be friends.  We wouldn’t all come together to help each other.  We’d destroy them or they’d destroy us.

We’re not innocent enough to believe in the goodness of the world anymore.  Not when profit or death is involved.  It’s why Super 8 was one of the only alien films this year that worked.  It played on the nostalgia of a more innocent time.  (Wrote a little piece on it.  Take a look.)  But there are only so many ways to do aliens in a film.  Steven is an expert on all things alien (he even gave Jon Favreau some tips on the alien design for Cowboys & Aliens), but even the great man himself can give us too much of a good thing.  This year alone, he’s got Super 8, Cowboys & Aliens Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and the TV show, Falling Skies.  There are other topics!  And Steven, haven’t you done enough with aliens?  Robot aliens, aliens in mech suits, aliens mining for gold, aliens whose ship building blocks look like little silver Rubik’s cubes…I still haven’t forgiven him for the aliens at the end of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  And all of this in addition to all the non-Spielberg alien films out recently.  Battle: Los Angeles Paul I Am Number Four, Mars Needs Momsthe list goes on.

New 'Tintin' Trailer Proves Mo-Cap Doesn't Have To Suck

Spielberg is an icon.  I admire that he’s doing something different with Tintin.  I mean, it still looks creepy and they obviously haven’t solved the uncanny valley thing with the eyes.  And, of course, American audiences probably won’t go see it, but at least he’s doing everything he can to back it.  Just please give the little green men a rest.  For a little while at least.  Well, after Men In Black III.  And if you put aliens in the next Indy film…I’ll…I’ll steal his hat.

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – I Wish I Was The Moon S4E6 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-i-wish-i-was-the-moon-s4e6/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-i-wish-i-was-the-moon-s4e6/#comments Mon, 01 Aug 2011 17:53:53 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=222808 Sookie and Eric finally do the deed.

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Oh, yes.  It’s finally happened!  Sookie and Eric!  Well, that is until King Bill walks in on them.  Damn it Bill!  Royal or not, you have crappy timing!  We wanted to see some Sookie/Eric sex!  And really, Sookie shouldn’t have stopped Eric from staking Bill with that poker.  Instead, Eric kneels before his liege.  Oh, that isn’t going to end well.  Did you all see the True Blood trailer from Comic Con?  Yikes!

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – I Hate You, I Love You S4E5 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-i-hate-you-i-love-you-s4e5/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-i-hate-you-i-love-you-s4e5/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2011 19:19:06 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=221886 Wild sex dreams and the kiss you've been waiting for.

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True Blood fans!

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – I’m Alive And On Fire S4E4 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-im-alive-and-on-fire-s4e4/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-im-alive-and-on-fire-s4e4/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 16:35:31 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=220606 Amnesia Eric continues to amuse us.

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Oh my god, I love Amnesia Eric!  There is really no other way to start off this recap.  We begin where we left off last week, as Sookie tells him, “You drank the whole fairy,” as if she’s some sort of Slushee.  Well, a Slushee spiked with some serious booze because fairy blood makes vampires drunk.

Yes, Amnesia Eric is drunk as a skunk.  He zips around at vampire speed, pinches Sookie’s butt and runs off into the sun after attempting to bite her.

Very interesting to note that even wasted, Eric says he’ll never hurt her.  After attempting to find Eric and failing, Sookie calls in her knight in shining…um…silver fur?   It’s Alcide to the rescue.

(Check out more of our Gif Recaps HERE)

So, let me pause a moment here.  Is anyone else feeling like this season’s official poster is wildly accurate?  Sookie is all about flirting with all her admirers…equally.  Not sure how I’m feeling about that.  Nothing wrong with it, but it’s making her seem a bit wishy washy.  I mean, I get how mind-numbingly hot these three men are, but she just seems to be floating through it.  Please let me know your feelings in the comments.

After Pam dresses down King Bill after being grilled about where Eric is, we head over to Hotshot for one of the most disturbing story lines ever.

Poor Jason is still tied to the bed and he’s being raped by woman after woman.  The one he shoves off says that her brother/husband…brother, husband!…just bites her on the back of the neck and holds her down until it’s over when he screws her.  She cries and says Jason is the best she’s ever had and yells, ”next.”  Then they send in a little girl.  Jason convinces her to let him go and she does.  But…I have to say this here.  I was more than a little disturbed by my own (and my viewing companions’) reaction to this scene.  It’s awful.  It’s gross.  I’m also fully aware that if it was a woman in that same situation, I’d be even more horrified.  I really hope the writers let Jason experience the aftermath of mass rape the way they would with a female character.  Please weigh in below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Over at Castle Bill, Nan is trying to find out what happened to Eric.  We see exactly how hardcore Nan is here as she dismisses Salem as a bunch of puritans who needed to get laid.  The real info here though is about a massacre that happened 400 years ago in Spain “by a single witch with a reason to hate vampires.”  She says that necromancers aren’t they same as they used to be.  I’m wondering if she was involved.  In fact, I’m wondering why she’s so single minded.  I’m dying to find out her history.

In Marnie’s store, she’s deep in a dream…of the Spanish Massacre.  A powerful witch is being burned at the stake while clergy joke about how to torture her.  Marnie witnesses the entire thing and learns a chant from the witch…who is the woman possessing her.  Uh oh.  Powerful witch with a “reason to hate vampire” possessing a powerful witch in the present.  I’m sure we’re going to get more info on this one.  Did anyone else notice the hooded figure?  Vampire?  And can anyone figure out what the chant translates too?

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Goodbye Letter To Harry Potter http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/goodbye-letter-to-harry-potter/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/goodbye-letter-to-harry-potter/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2011 20:40:04 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=219876 You will be missed.

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I’ve been accused of having no heart.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m famous for my love of puppies and kittens.  I think it’s wonderful that Arwen and Aragorn got together in The Lord of the Rings, even though she gave up her immortal life for him.  I think My Little Pony toys are just adorable.  I have a heart.  I just don’t cry at movies.

Last night I saw an early screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.  The streak is broken.  I cried.  I hate admitting that, but it’s true.  I know everyone has something to say about the end of this series, but I’m going to have to weigh in here.  Harry needs to know what a big deal this is for me.  No, I’m not crazy.  Doesn’t he feel a little real to you too?

Dear Harry,

I’m really not alright with this parting of the ways.  I’ll never be alright with it.  You’ve been a part of my life for so many years now.  I might have been too old to wait for an owl when I turned eleven like so many of my friends, but believe me, I would have.

Your story struck me for so many reasons.  I never got over that little spark of hope that there really was magic in the world, even if we couldn’t see it.  That maybe, if I just opened my eyes a little wider, I’d see something amazing.

I think every little kid (and quite a few adults) hoped that someone would swoop down and pull them out of their misery/everyday life/ordinary existence and tell them that they were special.  That all the crap they went through (and would continue to go through) meant something.  In the absence of a real half giant on a motorcycle coming to swoop us up and away to Hogwarts, we lived vicariously through you.

Second 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows' Trailer

What meant even more was that it never really did work out as planned.  It wasn’t just the sweet story from the first book/film.  I mean, your parents died saving you, but in the end, it all could have been a magical beginning to a lovely, quiet life of magical cooking and traveling through the Floo network instead of being stuck in traffic.  But no one pulls punches in real life and no one did here either.  Your story got darker and darker.  Your life got harder and more complex.  The villains were real and people you loved died.  Now, after living through your discovery that there was more to life than you knew as a little kid, we live through your discovery of mortality and pain, and what it’s like to grow up.  In a very magical and dramatic way, of course, but if you think about it, how different was it?  We all go through wonder, then disillusionment.  We just saw it amplified up on the big screen.

In a way, I think that’s why stories like yours are so well loved.  Everyone has to be built up and cut down and then build themselves back up again to move forward in life.  But to each person, it feels far more dramatic and painful…and sometimes joyful than it looks to the outside world.  Inside everyone’s head, they’re saying, ”What I just went through…yes, I know you’ve dealt with it to, but LOOK!  It’s huge for me.  Don’t you get it?”  So when we get to see you battle evil for a real cause and fall in love and lose people so dramatically, so magically, we are looking at our own battles.  You’re living them as loudly as we feel them.  Do you know what I mean?

Last night, when I watched the epilogue play out on the silver screen, it really hit home.  Seeing those who survived move on and age and realize they’ll never be as innocent as the first day they boarded the train to Hogwarts at platform 9 3/4 was like the day I visited my old elementary school.  The chairs looked so small.  The teachers so old.  There was such a sweet sadness there.  It’s a time that can never be captured again.  I think that’s why I finally shed tears at a film.  Because the phenomenon that was Harry Potter is over.  I’ll never discover the next chapter.  Your story has been told.  I’ll never hear the haunting notes of the score begin another leg of your journey.  I’ll never get to say, ”I can’t wait to see how they do that,” or hear the binding crack as I open a new book, or sit back in my theater seat and repeatedly tap my husband’s arm, unable to contain my excitement about what was about to be shown on screen.

I feel a little older today, Harry.  And a little sadder.  I’ll miss you.  Tell Ginny I said hi.

Love,

Jenna

 

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin’? S4E3 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-if-you-love-me-why-am-i-dyin-s4e3/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-if-you-love-me-why-am-i-dyin-s4e3/#comments Mon, 11 Jul 2011 17:41:06 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=219578 We had no idea that Eric could smile.

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It’s week three of True Blood and we’re into the meat of the story.  When we last left Sookie and Eric (it makes me so happy to type those names so close to each other), Eric had lost his memory and Sookie had no idea what was happening. This week, we’re dropped right back in where we left off.  I have to take a moment here and mention how well Alexander Skarsgard pulls off the character change.  I can’t wait to see where this goes.  (And book readers, you know I’m dying to see the shower scene too!)

(Check out more of our Gif Recaps HERE)

Sookie, sitting in her car, has no idea why the shirtless Eric is playing games with her. When he tries to attack her, she flees the car, punches him in the face (woohoo!) and says, ‘I am not your f*cking dinner!”  And this is why we love Sookie.

Eric, after explaining that he has no idea who he is, starts speaking in the same language that Marnie cursed him in.  (Anyone know if that is the language from his homeland?  I suspect it is.)  He remembers flashes of Marnie, her alter ego and the witches stripping his memory. Sookie agrees to help him with his little issue (and really, how could you resist that lost puppy thing he has going on?) but sets the ground rules.  No touching, no biting.  Yeah, cause that is going to stick.

Back at the Goddess Emporium, everyone fusses over Marnie and her vampire bite, which, she says, ”hurt.”  Duh.  (I believe ”duh” was her subtext.)  Tara (still loving her this season since she’s not running around like a chicken with its head cut off and howling) and Lafayette argue about who’s sh*t is more freaked out.  When someone suggests they call the police, Lafayette states the real reason everyone is on edge in the townThere is really nothing anyone can do to stop the vampires. Not a damn thing.  They can take out cops, they can kill you in a second.  Really, what Marnie did is the only thing that might be effective.  Now, while the witches try to make this into a religious war, Marnie says something that I bet a lot of people will miss.  ”He came in here, uninvited.”  Well, that’s not entirely true, crazy Marnie.  His Grace King Bill’s little sex toy/mole did.  Hmm…

Over in Hotshot (is this anyone else’s least favorite storyline?) poor chewed up Jason is still chained to the bed while creepy daddy/uncle/brother or something talks about the first were-panthers, Ghost Mama and Ghost Daddy.  (Remember last week, we got some info on the mythology of Luna’s people about shape shifters?  There may be a quiz in your future.)  It seems that the sky people (assuming that means the people of the big three religions) turned people away from nature.  Ghost Mama and Ghost Daddy spoke to the panther and said they didn’t want any part in that.  The giant kitty ate them, let them soak up his magic (is that the same as stomach acid?) and barfed them out.  Voila!  Were-panthers.  Back in Jason’s room, Crystal swears that she’s not going to let him die once he turns and points out how ”purty” he is to her sister/cousin/creepy child.

Cut to a terrible YouTube video made by a bunch of kids, trying to convince America that vampires are a real threat.  Ya think?  They have a website full of them at vamps-kill.com, which of course is a real viral site.  Check it out if you need some bad acting.

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Shut The Hell Up In Movie Theaters http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/shut-the-hell-up-in-movie-theaters/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/shut-the-hell-up-in-movie-theaters/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2011 21:02:25 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=219131 And turn that damn phone off, too.

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”Oh my god, Brad Pitt is still so hot!  Look at him!  It’s like looking at the sun.  What do you think Brad and Angie’s sex life is like?  Wait, what just happened?  Why are there dinosaurs?”

No, I’m not about to go off on Tree of Life.  Well, I could, but I won’t.  Not this week anyway.  What you just read is a small sampling of what I had to listen to during a recent viewing of the film.  Really, I could have picked any movie and given you a list of lines I overheard.  Why?  Because people can’t shut the hell up in the theater!

No Texting In The Movie Theater

I’ve blogged about this before, but it bears repeating.  I’m sure you all saw the video from the Alamo Draft House with the transcript of the drunk moviegoer who sent text messages and got kicked out.  Seriously funny stuff and I appreciate the heck out of ADH for having the guts to do that.  (Also, I want them to open one in Los Angeles.) But that’s beside the point.  The point, my friends, is that people are rude.  They’re rude and I’m sick of it.

I review films for a living and I have to go to quite a few screenings.  Let me tell you, even some of my fellow critics are guilty of it.  I’m not sure when we went from being respectful audience members to a room full of primates, but I think it has a lot to do with home viewing and cell phones.  All of a sudden, it’s totally acceptable to sit in a restaurant and talk on your phone.  I’m certainly one of those people who checks my emails in the middle of a conversation.  (To be fair, I only do it if someone else does it first.)  I’m used to talking in front of my TV because I can pause and rewind.  But in a theater, I keep my damn mouth shut.

So here is my plea.  My list of things not to do in a theater.  My humble attempt at begging you not to do something that is going to make me smack you in the back of the head.  Oh, I’ll do it.  Don’t test me.

First, shut up.  I know your Facebook and Twitter buddies think your soundbites/updates are just the funniest thing since Caddyshack.  In fact, I bet you’d be an awesome stand up.  But this is not open mic night at the Improv.  I paid a lot of money to be here and I certainly didn’t pay to hear you wax poetic about 3D or bitch about the glasses.  I mean, I agree, they’re a pain in the ass, but we can talk about that after the film.  We can have a mass burning of the damn things if you like.  I’ll bring the lighter fluid.  But while the film is on, no one cares how fabulously witty you are.  Oh and those stage whispers count too.  I can still hear you.  Don’t make me get out the duct tape.

Smart phones are little magical boxes full of win.  I love mine.  Not when I have to make an actual phone call, but who does that anymore?  (Well, outside of restaurants.)  But not in a theater!  I’m fairly certain your Twitter followers will live if you don’t update them every five minutes.  I actually watched a woman have an entire Twitter conversation about the film she was watching during the movie.  Also, she spoiled the twist for me.  Now, you may say, why were you reading it?  Well, considering it was the brightest light in the room, it was hard to resist.  (I also might have been looking so I could get her Twitter handle and send her a nasty message after the show.  It might have been really, really nasty.)  Shut off your phone.  Will someone please tell me how there are that many stupid people in the world?  I can see you, you idiot!  Bright shiny light, dark room.  Sigh.

Keep your stinky food at home.  I don’t want to pay $78 dollars for a tiny box of candy any more than you do.  I’ve certainly been known to pack a lunch.  But more than once in my life, I’ve sat next to someone eating a tuna sandwich or Greek salad during a film.  You smell.  You smell bad.  It’s worse than someone eating McDonald’s in a subway car.  And there is no way to escape.  If I try to get up, I step on toes, block people’s view of the screen and probably fall down on someone’s lap. Embarrassing when that happens.  So I just have to suffer through that curry dish you’re stuffing your face with.  Seriously, how do you even eat something like that in the dark?  It’s probably all over you.  Last week, someone was crunching Corn Nuts next to me and slurping the bottom of the soda cup through a straw.  And it was a huge soda, which means they’re going to climb over me to get to the bathroom in about 10 minutes or shake the entire row while doing the seated version of the potty dance.  It’s only two hours without food guys.  You’re unlikely to starve to death.  Chew gum or something.

Babies do not belong in the theater for non-baby films.  I mean, your kid is adorable.  It’s just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  In fact, I’m pretty sure your bundle of joy will grow up to broker world peace, cure cancer and invent the flying car.  I’m also pretty sure that this horror film is going to scar him for life and he’s going to scream his adorable little pumpkin head off through the entire thing.  Maybe we leave wittle puddins home next time?

And one more thing.  I like to refer to this as the bathroom rule.  You know how you go into a public restroom and correct etiquette is to leave a space between you and that other guy?  If the theater is pretty empty, please don’t sit right next to me or right in front of me.  I’m sure you’re a great person and if we met on Match.com or at a bar, we’d totally hit it off.  We’d probably be married in a week or besties in seconds.  But there is such a thing as personal space.  If you have the luxury of a choice of seating…chose the one a few seats away.   Seriously.  I’ll crunch corn nuts in your ear if you don’t.

What is your worst theater etiquette story?  Mine had to be the guy eating a tuna sandwich, followed by pistachio nuts whose shells he threw on the floor, all while kicking the seat.  I like to think he was ambushed by goblins when he left the theater.  Go ahead and sound off below.  I can’t wait to vent with you.

 

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – You Smell Like Dinner S4E2 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-you-smell-like-dinner-s4e2/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-you-smell-like-dinner-s4e2/#comments Mon, 04 Jul 2011 17:13:33 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=218807 Were-panthers hopped up on V, and so much more.

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Well Fangbangers, week two of True Blood is upon us.  Sookie is back in town, everyone is up to date on what’s happened in the past twelve months and we’re ready to hit the ground running.  This week, we’ve got were-panthers on V, baby vamps questioning their lifestyle choices, Pam stealing the show,  and what book readers know is the beginning of a very juicy Eric plot line.

(Check out more of our gif recaps here)

We start off with Jason, tied up on a bed.  If you recall last week’s episode, our hunky cop was trying to take care of the people of Hotshot while Crystal was away and got knocked into a cooler with some rotting lettuce heads.  When he wakes, his head wound is being licked by one of the kids.  Puppies can be so cute!  They try to free him, but in walks Crystal’s disgusting excuse for a boyfriend, threatening his life.  If only she were here…

”Your blood tastes like freedom, Sookie.  Like sunshine in a pretty blond bottle.”  This may be the line of the night.  Eric, who showed up in Sookie’s room last week while she was naked and told her how wonderful it is when reality matches your imagination explains that he owns her house and she can’t kick him out.  Sookie’s blood, if you remember, allows vampires to go into the sunlight without ending up looking like one of those overcooked potato chips that find their way to the bottom of every bag.  Eric wants to claim Sookie as his so no one can hurt her.  She’s not too thrilled having just been through that with King Bill.  Eric explains that there are two Sookies.  One thinks she’s just human and the other is beginning to realize that she’s better than that.  She counters with that, when she does, does Eric think her legs are going to magically open for him?  Saucy.   He leaves, promising to fix her broken door.

King Bill gets some information about Marnie raising a dead bird from his little mole/witch, who has clearly been giving him more than just info.  He decides to use her as a human Slurpie.  One wonders if witches taste different like fairies do.

Meanwhile at Fangtasia, Pam, Hoyt and Jessica are facing a group of Light of Day protesters.  Hoyt goes to defend his fanged lady.  Pam tries to stop them from bothering the people using their ”constitutional rights to be f*cking idiots” when Hoyt smacks one of them in the kisser for calling Jessica a fanged whore.  Pam has to restrain Jessica while Hoyt gets the bejezzus kicked out of him, saying,  ”Technology has taken all the fun out of being a vampire.”  The AVL wouldn’t be happy to hear that someone got a vampire attack on video, you know.

In the woods, naked Sam and naked Luna (that happene faster this week, didn’t it?) flirt after running around as horses.  Sam tries to move in for a kiss after asking to hear more about her, but it seems Luna has a secret.  She gallops off without saying what it is.

Sookie used to be able to head over to Bill’s house without a problem.  When she tries that nowadays, she’s stopped by armed guards.  And no, it’s not because he’s busy having sex with a witch in his bedroom, which he is.  It’s because he’s now the King of Louisana.  His house reflects the change.  It’s all extra fancy now, with bear skin rugs and a fireplace.  When she walks into the bedroom, Katerina is still putting her clothes back on.  Bill introduces her as ”part of his security” and then kicks her out.  Classy.

Over at Jesus and Layfayette’s house, the talk is all about that not-dead bird.  Jesus doesn’t believe it’s black magic because he doesn’t think it exists.  Um, Jesus, you live in Bon Temps.  I really don’t think it’s safe to think anything doesn’t exist.  You just saw a dead bird fly around a room.  Really, he’s just blaming the bad witches for using magic for bad purposes and says that Lafayette is all light.  I love this couple and I can’t say that enough.  But if Jesus really loves Lafayette, he’ll make him cut off that rat-tail.

Back at the king’s mansion, Sookie asks for Bill’s help keeping Eric away.  She starts to ask him about how he became king, but before he can answer, she reconsiders, saying that every time she found out something about him when they were together, she ended up wishing she didn’t know it.  We flash back to London in the eighties.  Bill is in a punk club discussing the hated Prime Minister Thatcher with a bartender.  Aw, eighties Bill almost makes me miss that decade.  Almost.

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In Defense Of The New Geek http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/in-defense-of-the-new-geek/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/in-defense-of-the-new-geek/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2011 17:17:01 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=218365 Welcome to the ranks, newbie.

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I was at E3 a little while ago covering the brand new video game goodness we’re getting in the coming year.  Now, I’ve been a geek my entire life.  Not everyone I came in contact with may have known it.  I didn’t fit the old stereotype of a geek.  I’m a girl, I had lots of friends, left my basement, did social things…I also played video games, read comics, played Dungeons & Dragons…on graph paper, no less.  I owned quite a number of 20-sided dice.  I played with Transformers.  I loved dragons, read scifi and fantasy novels.  I knew what a critical hit was and got all the +1 sword jokes my guy friends made.  But I never played Final Fantasy.  Now, I can defend this.  I hate random battles and realistic-looking emo characters with adorable little creatures flying around behind them…sorry.  I bring this up because when I went to preview the newest version of the game, Final Fantasy XIII-2, the information I had was due to my research, not actual game play.  There were a number of people who gave me some serious crap for that.

It was like I’d never done anything geeky in my life.  Like I was brand new to the game and shouldn’t be there.  It brought up a subject I’ve spoken/written about quite a bit recently: welcoming newbies to our ranks.

There was one particular way I differed from my fellow geeks back when I was a kid.  I wanted everyone to be geeky with me.  I used to say it was the difference between girl geeks and guy geeks.  For instance, back then, a guy geek might say, “Oh hey, I know this really cool thing about Green Lantern.  You don’t know chapter and verse on it?  Well, you suck.”  A girl geek might say, “I know this really cool thing about Green Lantern.  Want to know it too?  Then we can geek out together!  And braid each other’s hair…”  Just kidding.  But the line between girl and guy geeks has blurred.  It blurred a long time ago.  Today, those two types exist, but I feel more comfortable saying “exclusionary geeks” and “inclusionary geeks.”

In our geek world, we’ve largely been on the exclusionary side.  One could argue that part of it is how most geeks were treated back in the day.  This comic/game/book series is our thing!  One upping each other in our knowledge/skills/etc. was how we felt good about ourselves.  And really, it’s no different than people who get into a band early and hate on those people who only like that one hit song they had or jump on the bandwagon late.  I still feel very protective of my early love of Bon Jovi, for instance.

With the current glut of superhero films out there, we’re getting a ton of bandwagon-jumpers.  I mean, how many of you have rolled your eyes when some person who doesn’t fit your vision of a comic book fan says something like, “Oh my god, I totally lov Iron Man!”  You just know that person wouldn’t know anything about the Demon in a Bottle story line.  Just like that girl sitting next to you at Thor who said she’s going right out to her local comic book store because she loved the film.  You groan and mutter under your breath that what she really loved is Chris Hemsworth‘s abs. I would almost guarantee that when this newbie comic fan enters her local comic book store, she’s either going to get flack from the local denizens of said store, or the person at the counter is going to make her feel so uncomfortable that she’ll leave and never come back.  It’s like nerd revenge.  We were teased as kids so we’re going to make the new converts feel bad.

Of course, it’s annoying to hear someone claim to be into geeky stuff and know that it’s new.  We can go back to the whole discussion about certain actresses pandering to the geek crowd so they’ll be followed and loved by die hard fanboys. (I’ve talked about it enough, so suffice it to say, sure there are women who do that.  There are men too.  But there are plenty of geek women out there.  Famous ones, pretty ones, etc.)  But in the end, haven’t you enjoyed what you love being cool?  Isn’t it wonderful to find out that you’re not the only one who appreciates what is wrong with Green Lantern?  Or right.  I’m not judging.

In defense of the newbie, I say this.  There was a time when you didn’t know who the X-Men were.  There was a time when you knew nothing about DC versus Marvel or who Stan Lee was.  There was that very first moment when you opened The Fellowship of the Ring and read the very first page.  Do you remember what that felt like?  Do you remember the wonder?  The desire to learn more?  The drive to beg any older kid on the block to lend you his prized comic collection so you could get the whole backstory on your favorite cape?  (This is assuming you were a kid before the internet took over.  For you I’ll say, the drive to hit Wikipedia and look it all up.)   Don’t the newbies deserve that very same moment?  So what if you got into the X-Men with the animated series?  Who cares if it’s only now that you know the difference between the Green Hornet and the Green Lantern?  Who gives a crap if you’re a level 1 orc and new to the Horde?  Everyone gets in on the ground floor, just like you did.

In the end, more of our number can only be a positive thing.  More fans means more new comics from new and exciting writers and artists.  More desire for new content means that idea you had for a great new comic series might actually get you published.  It means more of your favorite characters up on the big screen or the small screen.  More and better games.  More innovation.  And more people to geek out with over a mug of mead or a flagon of ale.  Be good to the newbies.  When you see them in a store, tell them where to start with the slew of stories about that superhero.  Show them your favorite indie one shot.  Be patient as they learn how to handle a first person shooter.  Kindly explain why The Hobbit is better/worse than The Lord of the Rings.  And remember that first moment you learned about all this as their face lights up.  +1 to your charisma.  Climbing off my soapbox now.

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – She’s Not There S4E1 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-shes-not-there-s4e1/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-shes-not-there-s4e1/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2011 17:35:52 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=217881 It's that time again. We're heading back to the decadent deep South and the small town of Bon Temps.

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True Blood fans!  It’s that time again.  We’re heading back to the decadent deep South and the small town of Bon Temps.  Back to the sultry evenings, sexy vampires, werewolves, shape changers, fairies and witches.  Oh right.  And sex.  After last season’s backwards head coupling, who knows what we’re going to get!

(Check out more of our gif recaps here)

Now, many of you may have seen the first 8 minutes of the season, since it’s been posted just about everywhere.  How many of you found your nose wrinkling and eyebrows lifting by the end, thinking things like, sure, we knew there were fairies at the end of last season, but wow, they live in a shiny place?  Wait…these are evil fairies that feed people fruit that glows.  Hold on, Sookie’s granddaddy Earl is that guy from Office Space?  “I’m going to have to go ahead and ask you to stay in the fairy realm and eat lumieres this Saturday.”  But hey, Stephen Root was on the show too.

Well, we’re certainly in for a change up this season.  Not only is Gary Cole living with the fairies, but Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter is a witch!  I’ll be recapping True Blood for you this summer, and as I’ve said in my earlier pieces, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.  I read them all and I do respond.  So ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, let the blood bath begin.

Sookie and her fairy godmother Claudine (who really hasn’t helped very much…I mean, she’s been in mortal danger every other episode for years now) appear in the land of Fairy, where everyone is stunning and dresses like they’re sexy aliens in a episode of classic Star Trek.  Sookie runs into Barry the bellboy and fellow telepath with his male model/fairy godmother. They’re offered glowing fruit of light (sounds like something you’d eat in D&D for a +1 to health or something), which makes our fair lady nervous.  And suddenly she spies…granddaddy Earl, who thinks he’s been hanging with the pretty people for a few hours.  Well, it’s actually been 20 years, granddaddy.

When she tries to communicate telepathically to Earl that this is a big ole trap, Queen Mab (who you may remember from a certain Romeo and Juliet speech) shows up to blame Sookie for letting a vampire into their realm.  You see, fairy blood is like vampire crack and the bloodsuckers almost destroyed the entire fairy race.  You’d think they’d come out with True Blood: Fabulous Fairy Flavor.  They’d make a killing.  Anyway, now they’re harvesting humans and trying to close the portal between realms.  Sookie’s power turns Mab back into her…less moisturized form and transports them to some sort of desert.

Fairies may not be all that attractive when they’re not glamoured, but they can shoot glowing attack balls out of their hands.  One friendly fairy (the brother of Claudine, Sookie’s godmother…which makes him the very, very hot Claude from the books…not seeing it yet) helps Sookie and Earl escape, bringing them to the lip of a portal/canyon.  This is still looking like a Star Trek episode to me.  Anyone else?  While Mab blows balls of fire and starts to collapse the portal, Claude tells them that, only Sookie can go back because she’s on a no glowy fruit diet and he wants to be able to go back to the human world, which used to be theirs too.  They jump…

…and land in a graveyard.  Ah Earl.  We hardly got to make any Office Space jokes before you gave Sookie a watch for Jason and croaked!  But, we finally get to see Eric and Bill…for a second as they realize dessert, I mean Sookie, is back.

And how long has our time traveler been gone?  Remember what happens in Fairy?  Sookie comes home to find her house being repaired.  Jason (in cop clothes, but still hot) tells her she’s been gone thirteen months!  Everyone thought she was dead and her house is up for sale.  Jason doesn’t believe her fairytale (yes, I meant to do that) until she gives him the watch.  He tells her to keep her mouth shut because everyone will think she’s crazy if they learn the truth.  Yes, because a world with vampires and a town that was possessed by a maenad would totally think that fairies were super out there.

And then, at long last, the vampires show up.  Bill is all mopey about the fact that he couldn’t feel her for so long.  Also, everyone thought he killed her.  Eric (drool) shows up and tells Sookie that everyone else lost hope…everyone but him.  (Oh, please weigh in on whether or not you’re Team Eric, Bill or Alcide!)  He leaves, and Sheriff Andy shows up, pissed off that our lady’s disappearance cost him a safe town plaque.  Bill covers for her…anyone else notice that we’re half way in and no one’s gotten naked?  After a tearful goodbye, he leaves.  And we find out that Andy is using V!  Wait, what?

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Should You Return For More ‘Game Of Thrones’? http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/should-you-return-for-more-game-of-thrones/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/should-you-return-for-more-game-of-thrones/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2011 19:09:23 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=216900 Or was one season enough.

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The season finale of “Game of Thrones” aired last night on HBO, which means I have a very long year ahead of me. To make myself and thousands of fans feel better, I’d love to start a discussion about what the series did right and what it did wrong. I’m going to throw a few arguments out there to get it going. Now, I’m a huge fan of the books and the series blew me away. So many shockers, fantastic casting and…

Yes, that last word would have been a spoiler. I know there is a great divide between people who have read the books and people who have not. So here’s how it will work. There are spoilers below if you haven’t watched the finale. I won’t spoil anything in future books and I’d appreciate it if the commenters don’t either. However, I may hint at something. You’ve been warned.

6 photosEmilia Clarke

To continue…dragons! Yes, HBO ended the season with the final, dramatic moment of the first book, which means they’ll be spending a lot of dough on Season 2. That final shot of Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) naked and unburnt (strangely, still with hair, unlike the book) was a powerful one to end it with, and left me slack-jawed when I first read it. One of the reasons this show has been so successful is how close they’ve stuck to the source material, and I hope that continues as the show goes on.

Now, there was one particular moment that veered away from the books to the detriment of the show, and that was the relationship between Daenerys and Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). The casting was brilliant here and it never fails to amaze me how those actors speak in a created language and never once stumble or fail to get their emotions across. But the first sex scene between them was little more than a rape in the show. In the book, it was more of a seduction scene. I understand why it was done that way, but in the end, it robbed us of the full impact of Emilia Clarke’s performance. As we watch this girl (who is in her early teens in the book) sacrifice everything to save Drogo’s life, agonize over her love dying and finally kill him out of mercy, those of us in my viewing room last night who read the book felt the need to explain to those who didn’t that yes, she really was deeply in love with him. We also had to explain a bit about why. I mean, that first sex scene…yikes. What was so compelling and heart breaking for readers lost quite a bit of impact for first time viewers. (Let me say here that I watched with a very large group last night, made up of those who read the books, those who didn’t and people who watched a marathon last night and people who have been weekly viewers.)

6 photosSibel Kekilli

Speaking of casting, there was a rather unexpected discussion about Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley). A large portion of the crowd thought she was too old to play the role. I have to completely disagree here and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. I’m starting to think that we as a society have come to expect women in their fourties to look like women in their twenties after years of actresses shooting stuff in their faces and the casting directors who love them. (Case in point, Claire Forlani in Camelot. I’m not saying I have any knowledge of what she’s done or hasn’t done, but she has that look.) I was a little horrified by what I was hearing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on casting. I know you’ll all have a lot to say about Shae (Sibel Kikilli).

Let’s talk about the women in the show…did any of you read the EW article on whether or not Game of Thrones was anti-feminist? I think we can finally put that to rest, don’t you? The women in this book are strong…alright. Not Sansa (Sophie Turner). But all the rest? There are two women from the second book that I’m dying to see cast. My friends, if you’ve read the books, please let me know who you’d like to see play those roles. I know you know which ones I mean. Please try to keep it spoiler free or be very clear about what you’re about to say. I think one of them in particular is going to be a tough one.

Ah, Sansa. A bit of a dishrag, no? Poor thing. I’m at the end of the third book, so I’m not sure where she goes after that, but there was a moment last night with Joffery…a look in her eyes that makes me wonder. And that brings up another point. I watch weekly with someone who hasn’t read the books and I continually have to explain that, no, so and so is evil right now. No really. Yes, I know they seem to be doing something nice, but that happens later and…sigh. There are quite a few characters that turn around as the books go on. I’m afraid that I’m seeing too much of it too early on. A certain royal, a certain soldier…it’s understandable that the actors have to find justification for some of their actions, but I think a lot of who these characters will be has already come across.

Let’s talk about naked exposition. Yes, all monologues come with breasts in this show. As soon as a character launches into a story about the past, there are naked women washing themselves after a romp or auditioning for the role of whore. There is a lot of information to process in this series and people do tend to tune out during speeches. However, if what you’re having them say is so important, maybe boobs aren’t the way to get them to pay attention. I have no problem with nudity and used sparingly, naked exposition is a perfectly fine device. But maybe there is a better choice in certain places. Maybe some of the exposition isn’t actually necessary. Last night’s discussion about kings and the madness of an earlier one could easily have been left out in favor of more time with Bran and his three-eyed crow or the horse lords or the boys on the wall. That said, perhaps there would be more people into Shakespeare if naked people showed up on stage during every soliloquy.

And now, the death (again) of Sean Bean. The man has made a career of wonderful death scenes, but the one last week was heart-squeezing even if you knew it was coming. The gasps and screams from the viewers at last night’s marathon were window-rattling. Personally, I think that’s part of the brilliance of the series and the show. When I first read that scene, I threw the book across the room, never intending to pick it up again. (I might have done that when they killed Lady as well.) Of course, I only lasted a few hours and I just had to know what happened. I did the same thing last night when another beloved character died in the third book. I even cheated and checked Wikipedia to see if I was wrong about what I read. I know many people, including one last night, said that they might not come back to the show after getting so invested in Ned Stark only to lose him. But this series and show is about the starkness of life. (Yes, that was intentional.) Just like real life, no one is safe. People die, even when you love them. Doesn’t it make you care just that much more? To know that this may be the last precious moment you have with someone? This is a world with children wielding swords and zombie-like walkers from beyond the wall. It’s not day care.

So, let the discussions, love fests and arguments begin. As always, I read all the comments and I’ll be weighing in as well. Let me leave you with this thought: If Peter Dinklage doesn’t get an Emmy for his performance, the world makes no sense and I will lose faith in humanity.

If you’d like to discuss with spoilers, take the conversation over to Twitter @jennabusch.

Winter is coming.

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Do Video Games Based On Movies Still Suck? http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/do-video-games-based-on-movies-still-suck/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/do-video-games-based-on-movies-still-suck/#comments Wed, 15 Jun 2011 19:15:07 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=216225 The ones showcased at E3 this year try hard to change the tide.

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Please don’t do the math, but many moons ago, I played the E.T. video game.  I’m still angry about it.  Heck, my dad is still angry about it and he doesn’t even play video games anymore.  Games based on films have mostly been, to put it nicely, suck fests.  It’s so bad that when I mention that I’m covering a film-to-game adaptation, people say things like, “All movie games are crap.”  Or, “I’ll pay my rent this month instead.  If I’m going to annoy my landlord, it’s going to be for Call of Duty or Halo.  At least I can distract him by offering to let him play.”

I just spent three very long and brightly lit days at E3 (and a few days before that doing previews) and saw some of the latest crop of tie-ins. (Check out all of Game Front’s coverage HERE) Some were successful, some not so much.  Part of the reason is what they’re basing it on.  Let’s be honest…it’s really hard to milk 40+ hours of content off of a two hour story.  Very often, the mistake is basing the game off the film alone.  It’s what appears to be the case with the upcoming Captain America: Super Soldier.  Now, I played this on two different platforms at E3, and I only played the demo they had available.  I’m not saying the full game is going to be boring.  I’m just saying that it appears to be a single story, set exactly when the film is set and looks to me like a generic game setting/style with characters from the film shoved in.  The game play was pretty meh as well, but that is a failing any game can have.  It’s also an article for another day.  From what I saw, there was just nothing different about it.

Studios often think of a video game tie-in like a Happy Meal accessory.  The marketing department wants this game to come out with the film and there isn’t time to make it happen with any sort of quality.  This is not always the case, of course, but let’s be honest here.  When was the last time you saw a film and said, “Ooh, I bet the game is going to be super duper cool, just like the movie!  Let’s stop and pick it up on the way home.”  Consumers are pretty savvy and we know how this all works.  Tie-ins are a quick way to make a buck with recognizable characters.  (Another article for another day?  Why films based on games also suck.  Anyone care to weigh in below?  Anyone else excited/terrified about the upcoming Warcraft?)

 

 

That said, there were a few titles that stood out in the film-to-game arena.  My vote on why?  They didn’t stick to the script of one film.  They expanded the universe or used the long history of the genre to create a playable story.  A long form story.  One in particular was Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 in a new story line.  As far as I know, this has nothing to do with the film.  A rift in time is opened by a scientist who sends Anti-Venom to heal Amazing.  And healing our web-slinging friend leads to his death.  The scientist has gone back in time to start his company early, creating a new, alternate time line.  2099 and Amazing have to work together to change things back to the way they were.  We just saw a preview, but aren’t you already intrigued?  Yes, I know Spider-Man games come out regularly, but not making this a direct story tie-in means that they’ll get mileage out of the name, get people excited to see what Spidey is doing in the upcoming film incarnation (despite it being way to early for a reboot) and have a game that doesn’t bore the spit out of me.

 

 

Same thing goes for the upcoming X-Men: DestinyX-Men: First Class is out in theaters, and in my opinion is pretty darn fantastic.  Well, except for January Jones acting like a piece of very attractive cardboard.  It would have been very easy to do the latest game as a film extension.  You play as a young Magneto…you fight Kevin Bacon and all the baddies in swingin’ sixties garb.  The final boss?  Professor X, of course.  Or your own demons.  You know what I mean.  No, in X-Men: Destiny, we’re back in the present.  Well, the future, actually.  There are three brand new mutants who have to constantly decide what side they’re on, while they take on x-genes from mutants throughout the game.  A scientist (again with the evil scientists) has isolated these genes, which are unique to the mutant they came from, and using them to upgrade his abilities.  So here, you’re getting that battle from the film, but outside that specific story.

 

 

And then there is the holy grail of movie games, Arkham City.  If you played Arkham Asylum, you know how amazing the gameplay is.  But again, it’s a story outside the film…at least I assume it is.  It has Catwoman as a playable character!  I watched her kill someone with her thighs!  (Sweet dreams tonight boys!)  As we all know, Selena Kyle is in the upcoming film, The Dark Knight Rises.  But this story works all on its own.  Hugo Strange has stolen the cherished possessions of the denizens of Gotham away in a vault.  In the level we were shown, Catwoman needs Poison Ivy’s help to get in the sewers and steals back Ivy’s precious orchid in exchange.  Now, she crushes it beneath her high-heeled boots, but hey, that’s what you get for trusting a crazy cat lady.  Again, this is a story that involves the greater universe, not just a two hour story stretched out far past its limits.

Now I know we’re dealing with comic book universes as well as film stories here.  Those aren’t the only ones that look promising.  We got a preview of Aliens: Colonial Marines as well, which didn’t rely on a film script.  Now we didn’t see much here, but you start off on a ship that crashes into Hadley’s Hope. It takes place immediately after the events on LV-426…I don’t want to spoil anything here, but let’s just say that I’m going to be having nightmares about fighting off “the crusher.”  The action was intense!  This is being touted as a true sequel to the film Aliens.  See?  Beyond the film!  I’m not reliving something I just watched.  I’m living and gunning down xenomorphs in an expanded universe.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Do you like to replay the film or do you want to go beyond the script?  Do you agree that sticking too close is part of the reason film games often fail?  Feel free to expand into complaints/compliments about gameplay.  I’ll be reading every single comment.  And…I know this is opening a can of worms…tell everyone your vote for the worst film-to-game adaption out there.  Okay, fine.  You can vote for the best too.

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Does ‘Super 8′ Bring Back That Spielbergian Nostalgia? http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/geek-out-does-%e2%80%98super-8%e2%80%b2-bring-back-that-spielbergian-nostalgia/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/geek-out-does-%e2%80%98super-8%e2%80%b2-bring-back-that-spielbergian-nostalgia/#comments Tue, 07 Jun 2011 15:32:30 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=214996 Our new contributor to all things geek, Jenna Busch, takes us back to simpler times, when kids solved mysteries without the Internet.

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The other day my mom asked me, ”Is Super 8 like an updated version of E.T.?”  Now, this is a woman who doesn’t follow movie news at all and can’t remember the name of the film she’s currently watching without looking at the DVD box, so this wasn’t an unexpected question.  ”No, Mom,” I said, rolling my eyes.  ”I mean, yes, it’s produced by Steven Spielberg and sure, there is an alien and yes, there are kids…but it’s a completely different film!”

After that conversation, I went to a second screening of the film.  While I watched, all I could think about was how right my mother actually was.  (I hate it when that happens.)  Sure, the story is different.  There are no adorable aliens hiding in the stuffed animals and drinking beer, believe me.  But the feeling I got from watching the film was very, very similar to what I felt watching E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial in my footie pajamas at the drive-in.  It’s the same thing I felt watching The Goonies.  Warm fuzzies.

‘Super 8′ Gets A ‘Goonies’-esque Clip

Super 8 came from a desire to relive J.J. Abrams‘ childhood, shooting films on Super 8, just like Steven Spielberg.  Abrams said in an interview with Empire Online that the intention was never to pay direct homage to Spielberg’s films, but that his childhood was very influenced by Spielberg’s work.  Now, since I know info on the film has been locked up tighter than Fort Knox, here’s the deal.  A group of kids are shooting a zombie film on Super 8 in the summer of 1979.  The Walkman has just been introduced.  Back then, you could take off on your bike for the entire day and show up at dinner time, no questions asked.  Kids climbed in and out of each other’s windows and snuck out of the house at night without sinister motives.  Anyway, one night while shooting a scene at the train station, the kids witness a horrific crash.  Their still-rolling camera catches evidence of something leaving the train…

So, back to the Spielbergian fuzzies.  Why did this film do to me what, say, District 9, for instance, did not? Part of it is the time period.  These were the days when the film they were shooting on took days to develop.  These were days when, if something was weird and you wanted to find out more, you went to the library.  (In case you’re wondering, it’s a large building full of books.  Like your Kindle, but with chairs and walls and a lady in glasses shushing you.)  Your social group was the five or six kids on your block, especially during the summer.  No camera phones.  No asking the Twitterverse if anyone else knew what these random little silver cubes you found were.  Everything was slower and less complicated.  I know I sound like someone’s grandmother here.  And no, I don’t want to go back to a time when I didn’t have a little magic computing box that sometimes works as a phone.  I’m just saying that part of the reason early Spielberg was so heartwarming was the simplicity of the story.  If you want to set a narrative about kids discovering an alien now, the story has to be so much more complex.  What are the mechanics of the alien?  Let’s look up info about alien sightings on Wikipedia.  Hey, I took video and posted it on YouTube.  Of course, one of the kids must be a genius hacker who breaks into a government computer to get information…

8 photosNew ‘Super 8′ Stills Show Everything (But The Monster)

You don’t really get that warm fuzzy thing from modern films outside of Pixar because there is simply too much to concentrate on.  (Look at something like Inception. A brilliant film in so many, many ways, but missing one thing…heart.  Hell, where do you fit it in?)  There is something about the simplicity of the story and giving the actors time to actually feel things that breaks through our defenses and reminds us that we’re human.  That’s part of it.

There is also the casting.  Now, I don’t know how involved Spielberg was in the casting, but I’d be shocked if he wasn’t a large part of it.  The kids in this film, mostly newcomers, had a charming sense of…well, childhood about them.  There were no preternaturally adult-like kids here.  (I’m looking at you, Dakota Fanning.  Don’t know how your sister managed to avoid that.)  There was no self-aggrandizing, self-aware acting.  Abrams managed to direct these kids in a way that brought out their innocence.  You don’t blink when Alice (Elle Fanning) climbs in the window of one of the boys.  You don’t fear that the boy who likes to blow things up is going to end up blowing up a school in five years.  This was a Spielbergian group of kids, right down to their speech patterns.  A group getting together to save the town/their friends a la Goonies.

Finally, like E.T., this is an adventure story that revolves around a group of ordinary kids doing something extraordinary, often despite the adults in their world.  The kids know best here.  It’s their heart that gives them the right answer.  Their innocence.  Their lack of jadedness.  The Spielbergian (god, I love that word) message that the heart…that kindness gives you the right answer.  In The Goonies, kids have to sav the town and do the right thing.  In E.T. it’s the kids who are kind to the alien.  And without spoiling anything, it’s kids who save the day in Super 8.  Damnit, I hate when Mom’s right.  Don’t tell her I said that, okay?

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