Ghostbusters 2016: A provocation

The new Ghostbusters premiered this July and received a very negative welcome. After many years of waiting for a third Ghostbusters, the fandom gets it, but it’s not a sequel as expected, instead they decided to make a reboot of the movie. The cast is a brand new one, there are cameo appearances of the original actors here and there, but this Ghostbusters tells the story of different people.

The plot is pretty much the same, from hunting ghosts to saving the world, it’s still comical, it’s still an adventure, it’s still about ghostbusters, so why did it get so much hate? The new ghostbusters are all women, the movie has a female lead and that’s the real difference from the original.

Personally I didn’t really like the movie. I’m a fan of the original one, but I’ve never been obsessed with it, I haven’t watched Ghostbusters II because I think Ghostbusters is one of those movies that shouldn’t have sequels, it’s good and funny on its own, but making a sequel is overdoing – I think pretty much the same of Star Wars, I like the original trilogy, but not the prequel and surely not the sequel they have started this year. Same goes for Ghostbusters: it was a nice, funny movie, I always like to rewatch it, but I was never interested in watching the sequel. I also wasn’t going to watch this new reboot, but the really bad criticism got me curious. My friends and acquaintances were devided, the “feminists” were excited and talked about it as the best movie of the year, the more close-minded boys were even angry about it, the smarter ones were indifferent and just commented that it wasn’t bad, but we didn’t need it.

After watching it I stand with the guys in the middle: it’s not that bad, but we could do without. It fails to equal the original – but that’s not odd considering few reboots manage to best the originals (the only remake I really enjoyed is that of Nightmare, for the mere reason that it’s terrible and completely fails to be scary, which is awesome for me because I get to watch the movie without worrying about how I’ll sleep at night). I didn’t enjoy the acting too much, but I really appreciated it as a crack movie. I like the role reversed for which the girls got the “stereotyped role for males”and viceversa. The women get to be the cool guys and the dude is the cute face only there to be looked at. It’s good to show this role reversal, for the sake of people seeing how stupid gender roles are. There probably are too many fart jokes, but it’s not like the original movie was smarter on the comical side, so overall it can be funny.

I call it an average movie I could have done without watching. But after seeing the angry mob of brainless sexist boys (and men) claiming that female ghostbusters ruin their childhood, I’m inclined to reconsider my idea: maybe we did need this movie. Even if just as a provocation.

Originally, I thought I’d watch the movie, write a mostly negative review and be done with it. Now, though, I want to address the reaction of the web. When people start insulting a movie because it has a female lead where there originally was a male lead, it’s not about the movie anymore.

If before I thought they should have avoided making this reboot, now I believe it was the right choice. It might not be successful as a film, but it certainly is as a provocation.

Though I still think that in order to fill the lack of representation on screen we should make new movies, not retell known ones. We shouldn’t suddenly change the colour of Hermione’s skin, we should write a new dark-skinned character as powerful as Hermione. But that’s harder and lately TV fails to be original.

This new Ghostbusters is a needed provocation, if not a funny film.


Viola di Mare: Italian LGBT movie


 Surprise surprise! We have an original Italian lesbian movie! Viola di mare (Purple sea) is a love story between two women in sexist times, in a land (Sicily) where is hard to be different.

 Sara and Angela are childhood friends, but it’s when Sara comes back after years away that they actually fall in love. That is when the sparkle finally gives birth to a fire and they cannot run from those feelings.

 But people don’t forgive being weird, women have to marry men and carry children, that is their worth, that is their only purpose. And so one of them has to change, one of them has to look like a man, so that they can be together.

 Angela dies, a delicate boy taking her place in Sara’s arms.

 Viola di mare is a story of no easy love, it’s a story of happiness and pain, grief and hiding. It’s the story of a lesbian couple from the south in the 19th Century.

 It’s not among my favourite LGBT movies, but it’s a nice one. There aren’t many Italian LGBT movies and this is among the good ones. 

How I became familiar with “The 100”

 I learned about the show thanks to some clexa fan-video where I saw this new couple and I had to check it out. I started by only watching Lexa’s scenes and I loved the chemistry between the two actresses (Alycia Debnam-Carey and Eliza Taylor), Alycia’s performance was wonderful, I loved her character immediately. I was going to keep watching only the couple’s scenes, as I do with shows when I’m only interested in one or two characters, but then this friend of mine who was, at the time, kinda obsessed with the series pushed and begged me to watch the whole thing, so eventually I gave in.

 I didn’t like season 1 too much, the start was taken right off Lord of the Flies, a lot of ideas weren’t original at all, but bad and less than bad copies of other shows or movies. There were a lot of cliches too, but when the grounders made their appearance I hoped it could get better. It didn’t, but it wasn’t all that bad, I would never put The 100 in those lists of best TV shows, I can’t understand the people who do that, but as an average show it is not too bad, the customs are nice, the special effects get better after season 1, the characters are very well written and the cast is a good one. The real flaw about this show is the story. It’s a pity the story is actually what people normally watch a show for – though, is that still true?

 But I should admit, I liked the grounders society, their clans, their story, if we don’t mind the Commander’s story, it’s still pretty interesting. I hoped season 3 would have focused on them and their clans. It is not an original idea, of course, but it could have still been used in an original way. A lot of shows have clans and that kind of stuff, but none of them is really that good, with the characters it has, The 100 could have succeeded. But of course they had to throw in there a storyline that, if I’m allowed, is boring, overrated and still not original.

 The thing that makes me angry the most though are the messages the show sends. A lot of newspapers have called The 100 a progressive and open-minded show, but that is not true. I hate the way strong women are portrayed: in order to prove that they are strong they have to give up grief, they can’t even process their pain because they have to suck it up and go back fighting, while the boys can be whining idiots and make horrible decisions because they’re hurt. When Clarke makes one bad decision, they immediately blame her, when Bellamy makes plural huge bad decisions and kills hundreds of innocent, puts his people at risk destroying all Clarke has fought for, he’s forgiven because he was grieving.

 This only sends the message that boys don’t really need to do anything to be strong, they can do the worst and be forgiven because they’ve been through a lot, while girls have to prove over and over again that they’re strong and to do so they have to never show hurt and never grieve.

 In season 3 the show also starts to become unnecessarily violent, as if challenging Game of Thrones, but resulting quite pathetic. They kill the few people who always fought for peace, they show the rape of a man and handle it in such an ignorant way, joking about it on the Social Medias. And apparently a woman can only win a war if all she has to do is pull a lever.

 That’s all kinds of wrong. We have a rape that doesn’t matter, ’cause he was a man and men don’t get raped, a lesbian who, how surprising!, dies right after finally sleeping with the woman she loves, a man who dies because he refuses violence (men are strong because they’re violent after all, isn’t it?), an idiotic boy who’s forgiven everything because he was hurting, a girl who can only win pulling levers (because women couldn’t win wars otherwise)…and a bunch of disgusting choices by the developer Jason Rothenberg. 

 If at first I considered it a nice average show with very good characters that had some potential, I now see the all thing as pathetic, they keep ruining every good thing they still had.

 Though I do want to say again that I have nothing against the actors. The cast is the only thing that keeps getting better on the show. If it weren’t for the cast, I would have never started the show in the first place. 

Black Sails: my favourite show

 I watch a lot of TV shows lately, some of them are good, some others definitely aren’t, but none of them is Black Sails. This is my one and only favourite TV show, the only one that still hasn’t disappointed me in any way – there’s only one season left, so I hope I’m not talking too soon. I may speak about Orange Is The New Black, Person of Interest, Wentworth, and many others, but none of them comes close to the amount of love I have for Black Sails.

 Black Sails is an American show written as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. In the show real life pirates are also portrayed, such as Anne Bonny, Jack Rackham, Charles Vane, Blackbeard, Benjamin Hornigold and Ned Low. It is a pirate show, so if you don’t like pirates and realism, you shouldn’t watch it. It can be brutal, it can be very crude, and some scenes are not exactly nice. Rape is not a taboo, sex is not a shameful act, prostitution is not something hidden away, violence is daily occurrence. I love it. It doesn’t spare us the gruesome details, although it’s not exaggerated, it’s not shy in showing us how it was at the time. And although it presents us with a world that was unforgiving, a world where women were just a little more than slaves, where dark skinned people were meant to be slaves, it is not a show of discrimination. On the opposite, it shows us a place where discrimination can be beaten. Prejudice is there, of course, but discrimination doesn’t always win and the smart people know better than that. The world they live in is an educated jungle, but the island of Nassau (New Providence) is a safe harbour, quite literally. Black people can be more than slaves, women can earn the respect of the strongest of men, gay men can be as fierce pirates as straight men.

 Everyone has a chance to fight their way through life in Nassau. But Nassau is an island of pirates, a safe hold, and Britain will not stand and watch for long.

 Charles Vane is a charming character, probably the character with more morality among the leading figures, he’s tough, but he can show care, he’s been through hell and he walks with his head held up high, he’s proud to be a pirate, one of the most respected captain in Nassau.

 Eleanor Guthrie is a smart woman, she knows how to manipulate people and how to bend to circumstances, she knows how to survive in a world that can change in a day. She’s beautiful and can be as ruthless as reasonable.

 James Flint is the captain who always falls on his feet. No matter how much his men can come not to trust him, he will find his way into their mind and change their opinion. His charm is in his words, he delivers powerful speeches that can get his crew to face whatever he asks of them.

 Max is a prostitute, she fights her way to freedom, passing through hell to get there. She knows people better than anyone and knows how to gain power over them, how to sneak into their heart. Her charm equals her intelligence and she comes out as a very wise character in multiple occasions.

 Anne Bonny will not hesitate to cut you to pieces with her knives if you piss her off and Jack Rackham is just the best man you’ll find in Nassau, apparently hopeless as a captain he’ll fight desperately to earn that position. John Silver is probably as good with words as Flint is, but where Flint is feared, Silver is “loved” – if such a thing were possible in Nassau – at least for a while.

 The thing I love the most about the show is the accuracy of the fights. I fence – Medieval fencing – and I can’t watch fights on TV because I’d spend the whole time pointing out all the mistakes that make the fight so not realistic. On Black Sails I can enjoy the fights as well as the amazing acting of the cast. 

 Anyway, if you like pirates and you don’t mind a crude show, go watch it because it’s worth it!

Wentworth: variety in prison

 Wentworth is the prison we’re taken in following Bea Smith’s arrest after she tries to kill her abusive husband.

 Bea is a beautiful redhead. She’s a strong yet broken woman, over the seasons she will have to fight harder and harder to survive in prison and later to maintain her position as Top Dog. For her it all starts with a desperate attempt to put an end to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband. Her marriage broke her spirit and her daughter is her only reason for happiness and hope when she ends up in prison for not revealing her husband’s domestic abuse. Prison will break her even more and grief will haunt her through the seasons of this show, only to come to a wonderful evolution in season 4 when she will finally find someone to love, something to do, something to look forward to.

 Franky is a raging lesbian, a fighter with a sharp tongue, she’s full of witty remarks and anger from an unhappy childhood. She’s in prison for throwing hot oil on the host of a cooking TV show after he verbally abused her on camera. She’s a tough character and will go back being Top Dog after season 1. She has anger issues and a fragile edge to her tough persona that we will see come out as the seasons go on and she falls for the prison’s psychiatrist, Bridget Westfall.

 Boomer is not someone to mess with, she is in prison with the charge of “intentionally causing serious injury”, she’s a close friend of Franky and will protect our favourite prison’s Top Dogs all through the seasons. She’s witty and funny, has a great sense of humour that earns her a great deal of love from the fandom. Her character will develop beautifully in the last seasons.

 Liz is the mother hen in our favourite unit, she got eleven years after getting drunk and accidentally killing her mother-in-law. She has already served several years as we meet her when Bea goes to prison and she takes the new inmate under her wing. She proves herself to be a great friend, but it is also evident how she still struggles a lot when alcohol is involved, which will cause her many troubles in season 3 when she will have an important but difficult reunion.

 Doreen is a sweet woman who ended up in prison for “Reckless Endangerment” after her unborn child dies in a car accident caused by her wasted state when she was driving. She longs to have another chance at being a mother and she will finally have it when in season 3 she gives birth to Joshua. She’s very close to Liz and initially part of Franky’s crew.

 Vera is the Deputy Governor in Wentworth prison who, since the very first season, aims to become Governor. Her job is everything, her life limited and asocial because of her mother who requires her attention at all times and berates her at every chance she gets. She always tries to do the right thing and almost always means well, but she will find that good and evil are more alike than she thought, that innocence is a relative thing and abuse can pull the worst out of someone.

 Will is the good guy if you ask me, he’s a screw as well, he stumbles in his grief for the death of his wife during the first season and will take that pain with him in season 2. He’s friendly with Bea and they have a relationship of mutual respect, he’s probably the most understanding of the guards in the prison, maybe even of the inmates, he tries his best to help her and their relationship, although complicated, is something of a beautifully silent friendship.

 New characters are introduced every season, but I will only mention four of them, as quickly as I can.

 Joan is the governor in season 2 and she will soon manifest her psychotic and manipulative side, only showing it fully near the end of the season. Everyone will start to call her The Freak after some brutal abuse she puts some inmates through. As horrible as she is, as much as the fans can hate her, she’s a very strong, very well written character. Her personality is complex, her past playing an important part in it, and it will slowly unravel through season 4.

 Maxine is a male-to-female beautiful woman with a heart of gold. She’s my second favourite character (only because Allie walked in with her bright eyes and disarming smile and took the first position away) and I love her with all my heart. She’s in prison for stabbing her boyfriend with scissors after he broke her heart rejecting her after the gender reassignment surgery, she’s not easily accepted in prison and is targeted with discrimination even from a pretty close-minded screw, but she bonds with Bea during the season and she comes to care very deeply for the redhead Top Dog.

 Kaz is a sort of violent vigilante who hates men, she makes her first appearance in season 3 and becomes an inmate at the beginning of season 4, she antagonises Bea immediately, even though she admired her and fought in her name in season 3. She’s had a hard childhood with sexual abuse from her father, she deeply cares for her women, although she’s not good in showing it positively. She will be easily manipulated by Joan into aiding her to achieve her goal to take back her power.

 Allie is the light in the darkness. She’s part of Kaz’s crew but will soon develop feelings for Bea that will bring her to wanting to change side. Kaz is much of a motherly figure to her and she will feel deeply betrayed as the woman crosses the line in her fight against Bea. Allie is a beautiful young woman who will finally bring light in Bea’s life, she’s patient and caring, always ready to simply be there for the people she loves, she has a bright personality that collides with her difficult past of drugs and abuse. She’s strong, forever flirty and smart, she has all my love since the moment she introduces herself to Bea and the crew in episode 1 of season 4.

 This Australian show is full of amazing variety and wonderful representation that make it seem more realistic. Many shows forget about the variety in life, forget about how we’re not all straight, we’re not all white, we don’t all fall in love with the kind of person we expected to have feelings for, we’re not all strong, we’re not all able to overcome our weaknesses. In Wentworth there are LGBT characters, both positive and negative – Joan was in love with a woman and yet her character is not exactly positive. I think it’s important to have negative LGBT characters as well, it shows even more equality as it confirms that LGBT people are exactly like straight people: they can be good, they can be bad.

 Liz struggles with alcohol, she doesn’t easily overcome her weakness, she succumbs to it more than once, her strength is in understanding her limit, not heroically besting it. Doreen tries to redeem herself, but doesn’t cease to make mistakes along the way, Kaz fights for what she believes in, women’s right not to be abused by men, but crosses the line in her violence. Kaz is a good example of how even feelings that we can associate to “feminism” – which is a term we’re used to often hear in a positive meaning – can degenerate in the same violence they’re trying to fight. Where does the good stand, where does the bad start? Is there such a thing as bad and good? In Wentworth we can empathize with all of them, but who do we consider bad and who do we still consider good even if they crossed the line? To which extent do intentions matter? Is Kaz justified for beating those men just because they, or most of them, had abused women? We understand the feeling, the need for justice, but can we forgive taking justice in her own hands? As long as it’s self defence, we haven’t got much of a problem answering that question, but what Kaz and her crew did was not self defence, it was vengeance. Can we excuse Franky, who was pushed just a little too much and snapped? Or Liz, who was pushed and pushed until she got drunk and accidentally killed someone?

 Wentworth can get a bit brutal over the seasons, although it doesn’t really come close to the brutality we witnessed in this last season of Orange Is The New Black, but it shows human dynamics in hard situations, it shows how prison can push people to display the worst of them. It is a show worth watching, even if season 4 will probably break your heart after blessing you with its breathtaking beauty. The cast only gets better and better, some amazing actors giving us their best performance – Socratis Otto playing a wonderful Maxine, Danielle Cormack rocking her role as Bea Smith, Kate Jenkinson stealing a lot of hearts with Allie’s blue eyes, Pamela Rabe offering one of the best performances in the show as Joan – .

 It’s a show I highly advise you to watch, it took me a while to actually watch it after I heard about it and I surely don’t regret binge-watching 3 seasons to catch up with season 4 before the finale. It also made me fall in love even more with Australian accent, I don’t even know why I find it so sexy.

 Now, enough of reading this article, go watch the show and come back to comment!