Category Archives: Movies and Entertainment

50 years of Star Trek

What does one say about the biggest science fiction phenomena of all time? (Star Wars is fantasy. It doesn’t count.) Granted I haven’t been around since the beginning, but I feel I was born and grew up in the right time to be a fan. 

My mom has always been a big Star Trek fan. I didn’t really understand Star Trek till just before The Next Generation was ready to premier. As a kid I was bored by The Motion Picture and always saw the classic show as something parents watched. 

It wasn’t till a day when I was around ten that it captured me. I was playing in the living room while my mom was watching The Wrath of Kahn. I ignored most of the film as usual until the final space battle grabbed my attention. I was blown away by how real it looked as well as how intense it was. 

Then it hit. The scene that left theaters riddled with tears. Spock’s selfless sacrifice and death. Even as I write this I can’t help but tear up and laugh. Characters I barely knew beyond their names invoked such powerful emotions in me.

My ten year old face was drenched in tears as I struggled to figure out why. Why did this impact me so much? Well, fast forward to a few days ago. I was watching the resently released directors cut blu ray.,I was in tears again as I was decades ago. 

Star Trek won me with the most emotional scene I ever saw as a kid. It won me not only with the world it created but those who were in it. I have cried many times in Star Treks run on both the bug screen as well as small. 

Tasha Yar’s death in season 1 on Next Gen further cemented my love for the franchise. The two hardest for me however were the destruction of the Enterprise D (the ship I watched from day 1) and the death of Data. 

Why do I point out the saddest parts you ask? Simply to prove a point. These parts would mean nothing if the shows were not as captivating as they were. Sure dome were badly written or just downright silly but it was the people who came first. Their lives in this world. 

If it weren’t for them then Star Trek would be nothing. Their good times and bad times carried me as a fan. 

Gene Rodenbarry said the best stories are the ones that still work if you take out the fantastic. Meaning the human adventure is the most endearing. 

I think he was right. After all what would any genre truly be without the human element. I will forever love Star Trek in all its incarnations. Even if Paramount messes it up from time to time. 

Happy anniversary Star Trek. Live long and prosper. Boldly going where our imaginations dare to dream. 

Something bothering me about the Rocky Horror remake.

So this has been on my mind for a while. I’ve let it stew around till I could explain it properly. Hopefully i can express this properly. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t get the remake.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is about Brad and Janet as fate sends them in to a chance encounter with Dr Frankenfurter and his unusual crew. A solid enough premis for any film. Dr Frankenfurter is a transvestite. That is some one who dresses in the clothes designated for the opposite gender. The part was masterfully played by Tim Curry and has since gone on to live as big of a legend as he himself has become. 

Fast forward to this year. Next month the tv remake will air starring trans pop queen Laverne Cox as Dr Frankenfurter. I could pick many things about what I’ve seen in the remakes trailers to complain about but I want to focus on just one major flaw. Laverne Cox’s  Frankenfurter is not a transvestite. This literally breaks the character. 

What I mean is this. Laverne Cox may be a male to female transgender but that is not important. She is a woman. Which is fine for the character and a fun change up. The problem is fishnet stockings and lingerie are women’s clothing. How can she be a sweet transvestite if she’s just wearing women’s clothes? 

Frankenfurter also created Rocky. A mindless muscle man to be his sexual plaything. For the era it was quite outrageous for these things to be expressed in such a manner. I can’t help but ask what the new film is trying to portray? Frankenfurter is now a woman but Rocky is still a man. So is it a feminism thing? 

I really feel this is not only a bad representation of the character but also harmful to the trans comunity. This Frankenfurter should be wearing leather pants or some tightie whitie men’s underwear. Somthing to actually enforce the transvestite notion that is so re enforced through out the story. They could have played it up further and made Rocky a woman and made her Frankenfurter’s femme to her butch. Try and even out the dynamic. It would have been a fun twist to the classic Frankenfurter and Rocky. 

Instead we get what I think most will see. A woman who was a man playing a man who dresses in cross dresses for sexual pleasure. I hope I’m wrong about that but so many in this world are so ill  informed when it comes to the differences between tranvestites, crossdressers, drag queens, and transgenders. For all I know she is playing Frankenfurter as a woman through and through. This would be fantastic but leaves the plot hole of the whole tranvestite thing. So either she is playing a man who is a transvestite or a woman who doesn’t seem to understand it. This can get quite confusing. 

I don’t mind the remake. It will never take the place of the classic and I am sure it will have its own audience. I just feel this was poorly planned out by the people who created this version. After all a woman in thigh highs and a corsette is hardly a tranvestite. Lol. 

Forgive me for the choppy writing. Trying to get my thoughts across while typing on a phone is rather difficult. 

LGBT playing LGBT

More often than not we hear stories of straight men and women playing LGBT characters in movies and television. For some reason when this happens there is a percentage of people who come out against a straight person playing the role of a LGBT character. My question to them is this. Why?

One of the biggest complaints I have seen is that it takes jobs from LGBT actors. This is probably one of the oddest statements I have ever heard. When it comes to rolls for LGBT people I would be far more worried about playing a stereotype character than not getting a role just because I am what the character is. Up till the last few years. Trans people in cinema and television have typically been street walkers and jokes. While these rolls still happen they would be the last I would want to play. As an actor it is typically far more interesting to search for rolls that expand and stretch our capabilities. Not fit us in to the easy out rolls.

I think one of the best examples of this is the wide work of Neil Patrick Harris. Since his re emergence on the hollywood scene he has played all sorts of different types of characters. Most notably being his character on How I Met Your Mother. He played the roll of Barney quite well and created a stir of fans that loved the insane antics of this womanizing character. All the while living his happily out life with his partner and kids.

Sometimes the casting can work well though. Laverne Cox in Orange Is The New Black was a great casting choice and I couldn’t imagine a straight person (male or female) playing that role nearly as well as she did.

Then there is Jeffrey Tambor in the TV show Transparent. While most of the show is utter garbage and its characters the worst examples of the rich crying because they can. He stands as a great example of a straight man playing a LGBT character and doing it really well. Despite the shows flaws I often understood the emotions he conveyed and it really felt as if he as the character felt everything that was happening to him. Very rarely could I even find fault with the character until the late second season.

One of the funniest complaints I have heard as of late is with the revival of Rocky Horror Picture Show. I do not understand at all the point of casting a transgender person as a transvestite. Especially a male to female Transgender person. It violates the concept of the role. Yes I am walking in to a double standard here but even I am guilty of it. Unless they plan on playing Frank N Furter as a woman dressing as a man. Then I would think the role would work.

I would like to reverse this as well. Why wouldn’t a LGBT actor want to play a straight character? Just because that isn’t who they are off-screen doesn’t mean it will effect them in any way. A role is a role. Especially if it lets you expand the characters you play. No one realized Ellen Degenerous was a lesbian back when she had her 80’s sitcom. Amanda Bearse lasted for years as Marcy on Married With Children as the annoying neighbor who fell for one man after another.

In the end the argument over whether LGBT rolls should go to LGBT people or just anyone is ridiculous. Everyone can try out and anyone can get the part. Granted I am sure there are behind closed door things that happen that I am not aware of. I can only speak for the obvious. Limiting an actors abilities to their personal gender or identity is still trying the hands of the artist. Something I am firmly against.

Pee Wee’s Big Holiday

So amidst everything going on in my life I decided to take a break and check out the new film about a Pee Wee Herman. A character that has been out of the limelight for almost 30 years. While I was not expecting much from the film. I at least expected to be entertained for a hour and a half.

The film follows Pee Wee as we learn he has never left his home town and feels he has everything he need right there. This already bothered me considering the first movie had him traveling all over the place to find his bike. I don’t think the first film was referenced in the second film so I decided screw continuity and just watch. While working at his job a rugged man on a motorcycle (Joe Manganieleo: True Blood, Magic Mike) shows up and they immediately click. They hang out for a little bit then the rugged man tells Pee Wee he is a celebrity from TV. (he is actually playing himself in this film.) He tells Pee Wee he needs to get out of the city and see what life has to offer. As incentive he gives him a birthday invitation for his party in one week.

If this sounds more like a gay love story than just an adventure movie then hold on. This film is essentially a love story to not only Pee Wee but to Joe Mananiello. The plot is pretty linear and follows Pee Wee on this one note quest. There are a few distractions that take place but they leave as quickly as they arrive. This is not entirely a bad thing. Sticking to the main story did make the run time seem really short. Even at an hour and a half the movie didn’t really feel that long.

Paul Reuben’s reprises his character role as Pee Wee and does an ok job. It was amazing to see he could still play the character as well as he did considering how long it had been. While watching the movie I was looking up information on it as I usually do watching movies. Paul Reubens is 63 years old……. To say the least I was stunned. I had no clue he was that old and with that in mind the fact he could even play the character as authentically as he did was amazing.

There are some funny jokes in the movie. They are few and far between but they are there. The ones that are good are laugh out funny. There are also jokes that go on far to long. Had they shortened them they would have been much funnier, but this movie seems to enjoy the idea of stretching jokes out as long as they can.

I don’t want to go on too much about the film itself rather than the information i learned about it afterwards. As I said earlier, the movie is not the best. It could have used a lot of cleaning up in almost all departments other than acting. I found out afterwards this was made as not only a return of Pee Wee Herman, but a little more of an explanation of the character and who he actually is.

This is an interesting point considering the movie is Pee Wee fawning over Joe¬†Mananiello. By the end of the film we see the same is happening in reverse. Joe sits in his bedroom at his expensive party whining that Pee Wee didn’t make it and questions why. There is even a girl who shows up through out the film who goes by the nickname of Pee Wee. It is hinted that she has feelings for Pee Wee Herman but he is to focused on his goal of being with Joe to notice. They do share a kiss during their goodbye but it only serves to add to the confusing nature of the movie.

The reason i bring up these points of the film is the same reason I bring up the film itself. For a movie with such a basic plot, it really doesn’t explain much. Sure it is designed to be a simple adventure, but with the little side points trying to clearly say something this only added to the uncertainty of the stories.

What probably made me laugh the most was the fact you could replace every character in the film with a character in Spongebob and it would have worked. Reuben’s voice as it is now sounds an a lot like Spongebob. Making Pee Wee a restaurant cook did nothing to take away form this feeling. Even his boss felt like Spongebobs. At least they didn’t have a squidward.

I was glad I watched it and enjoyed the occasional laugh it gave me. Fans should give it a watch. If you do please feel free to comment and lets discuss it. I welcome the other thoughts on it. I wonder if anyone will see the same things I got from it. Maybe something entirely different. I would love to know.