To the Bone (Spoilers)

My husband really doesn’t like watching depressing movies and shows. To him entertainment should be uplifting and happy, as a way of escape. I of course beg to differ. I like serious films, sometimes even artsy ones. I’m no film buff – I watch movies like I read books: to experience a unique story from another person’s POV. (Which doesn’t mean I don’t also like mindless entertainment. I do. But they have their place.) Anyway, now that my husband’s away, what’s a better time to watch all these serious and/or depressing films, right?

So I decided to watch To the Bone today. During dinner, no less. It’s supposed to be about how anorexia “really is”, allegedly, and I’ve hung around tumblr enough to know what “thinspiration” and everything involved means. So I was curious to see how they did this, and see if they glorified it in any way. It’s interesting to see that they casted Lily Collins, who actually had an eating disorder when she was younger. She lost some serious amount of weight for the role, I heard, which is kind of scary in its own way. I recognized some visual techniques with shadows and makeup and (I’m guessing?) prosthetics to make all the actors look much thinner than they are. So it actually looked, on a pure physical sense, very believable.

I think the movie is good. Yeah, what a bland statement, I know, but that kind of sums it up for me. Mostly because I kind of predicted the emotional growth story arc as I watched, so it was a little, well, boring in that sense. I knew Megan was going to lose her baby right after the baby shower. I knew that Luke’s cheerfulness will bite him in the end (although I was hedging on him actually have a heart failure or something, which sometimes happen just as you’re starting to recover because your heart can’t handle all the work running a heavier body). I knew that Eli will hit rock bottom and somehow then dig herself out, so to speak, and it’s a hopeful end. So as far as character growth and plot elements go they all seem a little bit too hopeful and cliché. (I don’t know what I’m expecting, though. I’m not really rooting for anyone to fail and die, and optimism is kind of the end game, so, yeah, that’s not really a complaint) Maybe it’ll work better in a longer series form? I don’t know.

I do think the movie has fantastic dialogue and all the details about people suffering from eating disorders are so on point. The way they automatically know all the calories of anything, the many ways to purge, the way Eli keep on circling her arm with her fingers to see if it had gotten bigger, the scene at the restaurant where she tastes food and then spits it back out, the fact that someone can look overweight but still be anorexic, etc. etc. Phenomenal job on all those. The film does leaves a lot of things unsaid, because people with ED would immediately understand what was going on and its significance. Though it makes me wonder about the film’s intended audience. I understood a lot because of tumblr, but would people who don’t visit tumblr at all and knows nothing about ED? Would they realize that Eli eating that piece of candy bar is a giant leap forward? Like, yes, they’d get that it’s a big deal, but would they feel how huge a step that is? I mean granted she might exercise it away later, but she actually swallowed it, you know?

The film did get really artsy at some points, especially in the end with Eli’s journey into the sand dunes. I get that she looking at a skeletal corpse of herself is the lightning rod that finally gave her the push to get better. And I get why they did it. It just feels a little too neat for me. So is the bonding scene between her and her mother. I think I’m just expecting a messy film because an eating disorder is a messy business, and the way the film is so composed and, packaged?, is a little weird. I suppose it’s made that way so it conveys the point but doesn’t actually trigger anyone, but it does diminish effect a little. (Like if they have more scenes of Eli exercising like crazy on the stairs or something, or actually showing people throwing up, it would be more impactful. But I understand it might give someone a panic attack, too.)

So all in all it’s a good film. It got a lot of the details right, and it is important to see the struggles of actual sufferers and how well-rounded human beings they are instead of just a sickness. But the plot is a little cliché and the up and downs are a little too tame. A lot is at stake (people’s lives, ffs) but it didn’t give me the feel that it is. A little bit more drama would actually work better. At least for an audience like me who does not suffer from eating disorders.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (Spoilers)

Finally saw this movie yesterday. My s.o. actually already saw it for free as a company event (working at a gaming company sure has its perks), but he liked it so much he went to see it again with me. I could’ve gone for free, too, but I left for China the day before its release so, yeah, I’m just glad it’s popular enough to be still playing four weeks later.

And it was great! It was funny and action-packed, and I’ve gotten a new respect for the character Yondu, which I don’t remember having at all in the first movie. Granted that was like three years ago and I don’t quite remember that much about it, but Yondu definitely didn’t stand out to me except that he was blue with a weird red fake-hawk thing. I think they did a great job with his character growth, and I was actually very sad in the end. I liked that they ended with a glorious funeral for him, though. It’s fitting and very cool.

My s.o. asked if Drax was gaslighting Mantis with the way he kept calling her ugly for comedic reasons. I was first, surprised he actually knew the term, and two, no, wrong term, it was negging that he was doing, kinda. I don’t feel offended or anything; I actually thought it was very unusual when they paired Drax and Mantis together in the way that they usually set a romantic “pairing” but just basically turned it on its head and went, uh, nope, completely the opposite reaction. And they didn’t sexualized Mantis even though she’s one of those “naive and innocent pixie” tropes. She’s just pure naive, not naively sexy (although she is powerful enough to make Ego sleep for a little bit). I mean I’m sure fanboys will still find her sexy and rule 34 it but the movie itself didn’t have super compromising situation where her boob’s hanging out or ass/thigh shots etc, which is super refreshing.

And Zune. I wonder how many millennials would get the joke. I mean I barely knew what Zune was and by the time I heard of it it was already dead, so. And I liked the whole father-son fake bonding thing that Starlord went through. I was a little bit worried that Mantis is going to be the “damsel in distress” and she kind of was at the end, BUT Quill also had a damsel moment when he was pierced by Ego’s tendrils and getting his energy sucked, so I think that balances it out. Look, I’m a feminist in the way that I want equal treatments. If you have sexy women then you better have sexy men, too. If you have weak women getting abducted but you also have weak men getting abducted (or strong women and men getting abducted) then I have no problem with it as a whole. It’s the imbalance that bothers me than the act itself.

I’m a little meh about the thing between Gamora and Nebula, though. It’s good that her story arc is not romance with Quill but reconciliation with her rival sister. I do like that they didn’t harp on the “and she’s a tender loving person after all” with Nebula. She’s still psychopathic and crazy and driven to kill people, but we see that she does care, actually a little bit more than Gamora seems, which is cool. I like the depth they added while keeping her bloodlust the same. It’s just that I’ve seen the arc before (blood is thicker than water and your sibling may want to kill you but they really do love you etc.), and so many more colorful craziness is in this film that it’s a little faded by comparison (but by no means drab). I guess the only weirdly tacked on thing is Ayesha and her cronies, but that kind of is the main plot, in a way, so it’s not really tacked on, just feels like so because this movie is a little bit unfocused and have a tad bit too many plots, although it pulled all of them off fairly well.

All in all I greatly enjoyed the movie (my s.o. liked it a lot more thought since he loves 80s stuff and all the music/theme/retro feel makes him ecstatic). I’m sure everyone had seen it by now although the theater was packed when we went, four weeks post release, so perhaps not yet. Man, summer comic movies are so awesome. I’m going to see Wonder Woman next week, and from what I heard about it so far it seems great too.

Beauty and the Beast

I’m actually looking forward to this movie.

Beauty and the Beast was the first Disney film I’ve seen, ever. Of course at the time my English was nonexistent but my mom basically explained the story to me while we watched. I think it’s her favorite film, too. Anyway, she thought it’d resonate with me because I was a bookworm and a girl and it got cute stuff like talking furniture, and no damsel in distress to save (sorta?). The 9-year-old me was too young to analyze all the pitfalls of Stockholm Syndrome, so I loved it. It was my favorite Disney film. Still is when it comes to 2D animation (Pixar kind of gave me a lot more favorites in the 3D department). I related to a smart, bookish girl, even though she wasn’t Asian (fun fact, Disney’s Mulan I didn’t like at all because it totally destroyed the fable of the actual Hua Mulan.) It makes me happier that in this live-action version, Belle is the inventor on top of that.

One gripe though: I like the choice for Belle and Gaston. I also like the way they animated Beast. However, all the talking furniture are creepy as hell!