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Cupid's Bow
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Recommended: Yes.

I’d forgotten how much cognitive dissonance there was reading American superhero comics. It’s such a weird window into the American psyche.

To be fair, Venom: Lethal Protector (written by David Michelinie) was published in the 90s, so it’s dated in some respects – Eddie’s crop top and mullet for a start. But some of the other things are really eye popping because of their continued topicality. I used to occasionally read comics in this era, and at the time I didn’t really notice that the biggest wish fulfillment elements aren’t really about the superhero at all. They’re about American society. Also, there’s some on-point social commentary in Lethal Protector, and I think most of it (but not all) is even on purpose.

The most notable things:

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Reblogged from Tumblr here. This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/431927.html.

9th-Dec-2018 02:00 pm - Venom: Role Confusion (Meta)
misc - cupidsbow vidding
I wanted to talk about the Role Confusion series I’m currently writing, but I have to be a bit careful about it, because I don’t want to break my creative spell by giving too much away about what’s to come.

The thing I wanted to talk about is something I suspect won’t end up in the fic, but kind of underpins everything.

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Reblogged from Tumblr here. This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/431831.html.
misc - cupidsbow vidding

Eddie Brock objectively has kind of iffy ethical judgement and poor impulse control. He steals from his girlfriend, confronts Drake against advice and before he’s done any digging to get independent evidence,  breaks shit in Drake’s labs that will get Skirth in trouble, and isn’t completely 100% against eating people’s heads once Venom comes along, not to mention gives away money when he’s nearly broke, crawls into a tank and eats raw crayfish, passionately snogs an alien who has very sharp teeth, and fights Riot with brawn (instead of brains, thank god for Annie) even though he knows Venom can’t win that way. That’s kind of the whole point about Eddie Brock in the movie, right? He’s too impulsive, and has slightly grey morals, and they are exactly the character flaws that Venom is designed to test, because Venom is the id turned into a character – the child inside us who always wants more and now

Like, that’s the central point of Eddie Brock the way he’s written in the film, and he needs to be that way, because Venom is not a hero, certainly not a Superhero… he’s an anti-hero, and so his host needs to be that mix of decent and dubious to make it work.

That said, I still expect Eddie Brock not to be That Guy – that dickhead we have all met. He’s nice to people who have less power than him, even when no-one else is around to see, and adding Venom into the mix doesn’t change that. Brock is genuinely kind and respectful, but sometimes makes shitty decisions that have unintended consequences for others, and Venom doesn’t change that either. It’s relatable, right.  It’s just so refreshing to see an ordinary person with a few flaws thrust into the role of having superpowers.

And honestly, Venom’s decisions as a vigilante are not objectively that much shittier than, say, Captain America or Batman. It’s just Eddie/Venom makes them without the text pretending they have any moral rectitude… which says more about the superhero genre as a whole than it does about Venom.

I know a lot of people have joked that Eddie Brock is the hero Millennials deserve, because he embodies the zeitgeist – we’re now in an era where no-one believes in absolute morality anyway, careers are tanking left and right, and we’re all just bumbling along trying to be decent to each other, and too broke to buy anything but cheap carbs. Eddie Brock in a nutshell.

There’s just something unexpectedly comforting about an anti-hero like that. He’s so ordinary, and even if he sometimes makes poor life choices and needs to shower more, he still manages to make a few good friends and does his bit to save the world, but also needs a hand to get it done.

That’s so much more reassuring than most of the actual superheroes we’re meant to admire – who are so full of steely, manpain-infused resolve that they can barely accept intimacy, let alone trust someone else’s moral judgement. Ugh.

I think maybe we’re entering the age of the anti-hero. It feels more honest, and it suits the times.

Reblogged from Tumblr here. This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/431400.html.
misc - cupidsbow vidding
 When I was young, and took myself Very Seriously As An Artist, I used to think that art could be objectively good or bad. 

I don’t think so anymore. Instead, I think the evaluation of all art is far more subjective than is entirely comfortable.

I mean, obviously, I still think my taste is super excellent… I’ve just come to understand that many people don’t share my excellent taste, no matter how educated or informed it is. They think their contradictory taste is super excellent, and even have good reasons for thinking so. I concede they are correct. And I am also correct. We’re all correct! Because we are all judging based on different premises.

That’s not to say you can’t quantify art in various more or less objective ways. If you set out a list of criteria, you can assess art against it, and end up with assessments that are fairly consistent. This is how art tends to be included in the Academy, for instance, and be part of a formal curriculum.

It’s also supposedly how art critics have a job. They assess new art, like films, against an agreed upon set of criteria, and come to a conclusion about whether it’s good or bad art, worth seeing or not, based on how well the art meets those criteria.

But here’s the thing about judging art that way… the criteria are much less objective than we like to think they are. I’m a fan of plot and characterisation, so I tend to agree with the kinds of formal criteria that end up being used for fiction within universities. Of course, I’ve also had credible academics tell me that any science fiction that meets the criteria isn’t SF because it’s too good. Just stop and think about that for a minute.

To unpack that, there are two biases working in any formal system of judging art, not within every critic, but just as part of the systemic workings:

  • the biases in what is considered “good” in any given era (that is, who gets to make that choice, who has the power); and
  • the biases in the people applying the criteria to a piece of art (as in the SF isn’t SF example, but more importantly, when the art is made by a woman or person of colour or someone else who Shouldn’t Make Art… at least in the eyes of the particular critic making the judgement).

Those “objective” criteria we set so much stock by are usually, still, even now, based on the things old white dudes value as art. And despite my love of well-constructed plot and nuanced characterisation, I have come to understand that sometimes there’s more value in breaking the rules than sticking to them, when the rules reaffirm the inequalities that are such a burden for so many real people in the world.

Which is a long-winded way of saying: you can tell me that Venom is a bad film all day long, but so far you don’t bring any convincing arguments to show me:

  • why your criteria for “badness” are better than mine for “passableness” (I’m not even arguing for “goodness” for heaven’s sake), or even what your criteria for badness are, and 
  • why I should agree with the critics’ taste over the tastes of a bunch of feminist-leaning women and queers (ie. fandom), not to mention, of course, my own super-excellent and well-educated taste.

Give me actual reasons, as opposed to “it’s objectively bad” and “tone issues” and maybe we can have a conversation. I’ll start by saying I concede there are pacing issues, and one major hole in Venom’s characterisation (we aren’t given enough of him falling in love with Eddie for his motivation in the climax to be entirely believable). I don’t think those things are enough on their own to make the movie “bad” because there are other things of value that balance them out, like a male lead who emotes all over the place.

In short: I’d appreciate it a lot if you stop parroting film school talking points, and actually think. You probably have good reasons for thinking the film is bad, and I would genuinely like to hear them, even though I’ll probably not agree with you. But repeating the same tired phrases over and over will not advance our understanding of each other or the film in any useful way, and it’s frankly a waste of my time when I could be reading Venom fanfic instead.

ETA: I do also see the irony in arguing about this in regards to a film that cost $100 million to make. That’s potentially a worthwhile conversation to have too. I’m not entirely sure how much capitalism should inflect the value of art as something we make part of our inner landscape, quite apart from the money we spend on it. It’s one of those thorny issues I have never reconciled.

Reblogged from Tumbr here. This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/431344.html.
misc - cupidsbow vidding
To expand on my comment about race in Venom being fairly well represented compared to most other mainstream comic-book films -- I didn’t go into detail on my race reading of the text in that post, but it is worth it’s own post, so here we are.

I'm not arguing that race representation is actively good in this film, just that it fails less than usual. There are several issues here, from spread of representation, depth of representation, and character coding. The film fails in terms of its three leads, with the villain being the only character of colour. But outside the leads, the film does quite well. It’s not enough to just have diversity in a film if every white person is coded “good” and every person of colour is coded “bad”. That is also a form of racism, and quite an insidious one.
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Reblogged from Tumblr here and here. This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/430914.html.
misc - cupidsbow vidding
I thought after my stupidly long Venom meta the other day, I’d be over this. But I’m still not.

So many of the reviews say something like this, right at the end of the review, after bagging the film thoroughly:
Venom is not a good movie (it is, in fact, a bad movie), but pound-for-pound, set-piece for set-piece and minute-to-minute, I had more fun sitting in a theater watching Venom than any other film in recent memory. Its absurdities are glorious to behold, and instantly marked Fleischer’s film as the ill-advised studio movie to beat in 2018. I am thrilled to feel safe in assuming we’ll be getting a sequel, and am positively beside myself with excitement to imagine what wonders it will contain. Somehow, the groundwork has been laid for something even sillier than the film currently in theaters. (x)
Like… how many times can people say it was the most entertaining movie in recent memory and still insist on how objectively bad it is?
Apparently you don’t get any points for being entertaining, or deliberately portraying an anti-machismo anti-hero that subverts the usual cliches of toxic masculinity. That doesn’t make a movie “good.” In fact, it seems to make a movie actively “bad” according to critics.

Seriously, have people lost the ability to see that there are different reasons for something to be “good”? A lowbrow comedy can be a good lowbrow comedy, but it will still never be an Oscar Wilde drawing-room frippery or a tortured character-study like MacBeth. Not every movie has to be as visually gorgeous and thematically complex as Citizen Kane. Some can be Rollerboogie, or Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, or Braindead, and make you laugh and laugh. (Oh, god, Braindead, I should watch that again.)

I didn’t think this was a hard concept, but apparently it is.

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Reblogged from Tumblr here and here. This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/430759.html.
misc - cupidsbow vidding

I’ve been thinking a lot, in between marking essays, about Venom, and the Rotten Tomatoes gap between critics and the general audience. Below I try to explain the gap, and there are spoilers for Venom, and a few other older movies.

Most of the time when there’s a gap like that, I get it, and my taste usually coincides with the critics. Take Star Wars: The Last Jedi, for instance. I thought it was pretty darn great, bar a few pacing issues in the middle bits. And one of the things I loved most about it was that even though Luke was old now, he still had a chance to be wrong, learn, and grow. He got a real hero’s journey. I thought his arc was utterly in keeping with the character flaws he’d had as a young man, and the whole thing was a highlight for me. But I get it, okay. I get that in our cultural moment, a certain subset of fans can’t abide any male hero to have a flaw, and especially not a hero they’d built up in their minds as perfect, even though that’s never what Luke was. Throw in that Empire was also loathed when it came out, and even though I agreed with the critics, I wasn’t surprised by the negative response. It was understandable to me.

But Venom is a whole different thing.

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Reblogged from Tumblr.


This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/430582.html.
misc - cupidsbow vidding
When I signed up for Equinox this time around, I knew I'd be making this vid in between a deluge of marking, and planned that it would be a form of stress relief. I figured it would be a short vid, and when it came time to edit it, I decided to go for maximum fun. I picked one of my fave songs, which I knew would be a good match for this, and went for every cheesy effect and silliness I could think of. My favourite part was vidding the muppets so they sang the song. :)

Anyway, I hope it brings you as much fun when you watch it.

 Superstition by [personal profile] cupidsbow
Visual Source: Labyrinth
Music: Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Rating: PG-13
Physical triggers: Flashes of light, some fast cuts.
For: For gwenfrankenstien, for Fall Equinox 2018.

Summary: You believe in things that you don't understand.

Download from Mediafire: Superstition-cupidsbow.rar (MP4, 37.89MB); Superstition-HD-cupidsbow.rar (WMV, 68.32MB)
Stream: YouTube or Vimeo (Password = equinox) This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/429323.html.
misc - cupidsbow vidding
Title: Blonde by [personal profile] cupidsbow
Visual Source: Atomic Blonde
Music: Maneater by Hall & Oates, and Suicide Blonde by INXS
Rating: M
Physical triggers: Flashes of light, some fast cuts.
Warnings: The song has a reference to suicide, although it's used as a pun (dyed by her own hand). The video has no suicide, but does have the murder of a woman, a death by drowning, several shootings, and the usual action-movie violence. There is also a clothed sex scene, and nude bathing scene.
For: For cara marie (genusshrike), as part of Festivids 2017.

Summary: By her own hand.

Download from Mediafire: Blonde-cupidsbow-sm.zip (MP4, 35.9MB); Blonde-cupidsbow.zip (WMV, 85.36MB); Blonde-cupidsbow-HD.zip (WMV, 132.95)
Stream: YouTube, or Vimeo (Password = blonde)

Password = blonde

This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/428710.html.
misc - cupidsbow vidding
Title: Monster Shipping by [personal profile] cupidsbow
Visual Source: Monster Factory - Polygon (Web Series)
Music: I'm Shipping Up to Boston, by Dropkick Murphys
Rating: M
Physical triggers: Flashes of light, some fast cuts.
Warnings: This vid contains extreme violence, dismemberment, bloodshed, and fighting with both fists and weapons.
For: For gwenfrankenstien, as a treat for Festivids 2017.

Summary: Welcome to Polygon Arena.

Download from Mediafire: MonsterFactory-cupidsbow-SM.zip (MP4, 89.47MB); MonsterShipping-cupidsbow-HD.zip (WMV, 128.69MB)
Stream: YouTube, or Vimeo (Password = monster)


Password = monster

This entry was originally posted at https://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/428986.html.
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