I return to air tonight on CosmicGeppetto.com, probably in a bathrobe, to re-gush over Logan and its trifecta of Oscar-worthy performances in Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Dafne Keen’s X-23, and Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor X. First things first, though, let’s summarize for ya our favorite piece of casting news this week: smoldering actress Serinda Swan (Graceland, Smallville) getting tapped as Medusa in the upcoming Marvel network TV series, Inhumans.
We will be on the Cosmic Geppetto show tonight (airing at a later time) to discuss the vaunted superhero film in-depth, raving about the many finer points of the experience like how X-23 comes in the adorable, unassuming package of an 11-year-old with all the wisdom of a thirty-something seared into her eyes. Or how all three stars deserve Oscar nods next year or we riot. ICYMI: Here is our must-read on the film, giving you a primer on the precocious prodigy who stole hearts all over theaters this last week.
Until We Share the Aired, Edited Version of Our Appearance,
Enjoy Lil’s Prior 2 Appearances on Cosmic Geppetto:
Meryl Streep aside, the 2017 Golden Globes was Textbook 101 in why award shows without live performances shouldn’t be on television at all.
(TL;DR: Being a public figure calls for a modicum of self-awareness, a trait these award shows and their attendees lack in shovels and spades.)
Why do we watch ceremonies like the Golden Globes in the first place? The 3 G’s: The glitz, the glamor, the gossip.
Some of us watch for what’s apparently on-trend in upcoming fashion seasons, some to see what certain celebrities’ new faces look like, and a marginally few even watch to support their favorite works of art or to bemoan which ones got good ol’ snubs:
What don’t we watch for?
Not one of us watches in hopes that Meryl Streep will share her stunning sociopolitical belief that Hollywood actors are in the marginalized segments of society… or that Clint Eastwood will start stumping for Trump in front of a chair (Right-wing or Left, STFU about your politics at entertainment award shows! It’s not a Nobel; thank your mama and get off the stage. Hold a press conference on your own time!). None of us watch, either, for our personal stake in the movies or shows getting showered with gold (quite literally). These televised ceremonies target viewers who have nil to do with the entertainment industry. All in all… we only watch because it’s a guilty pleasure, much like the Real Housewives of [insert city].
These broadcasts, year and year again, repeatedly show a willful ignorance of this fact. Instead, they opt for self-indulgence, not unlike our buddy King Lion here:
3 Compelling Reasons Why the “Award” Part of Award Shows Need Not Be on TV:
1. The lack of entertainment on a show celebrating entertainment:
We love Jimmy Fallon, but boy, did he fail Sunday at this whole hosting thing. Keeping with the theme of self-indulgence, Fallon opened with, in lieu of a raunchy, satirical monologue like his predecessors, a cutesy cold open that only those who have seen the film La La Land (which is 2% of Golden Globes viewers) will appreciate. The rest of the night was spent with him doing the intermittent ’80s hip-hop parody… because.
As someone who has watched the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, etc. with glee from a very young age, I have only noticed this pattern in adulthood: The shows that invite cynicism from the viewers (mainly due to boredom) are ones that provide little in the way of comedy and/or live performances.
The Oscars, while still managing to be way too long each year, at least sprinkle musical performances throughout the evening. The Tonys are very much a show in that their theatrical skits encapsulate the magic of what the night was meant to celebrate in the first place. Same can be said for the Grammys; each year, people tune in for their favorite artists’ performances of their latest and greatest, capitalizing on the Grammys’ huge production budget.
Then there are “shows” like the Golden Globes and Emmys, which rely entirely on the talents of the host to eke by, praying for controversial moments that will end up talking points the following week. In the past, Ricky Gervais and the dynamic duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have buoyed the Globes with politically incorrect jokes taking direct aim at Hollywood inhabitants in the room, assuming the point of view of those at home. When we the viewers hear Tina and Amy joke about where Leonardo DiCaprio likes his supermodels or a tipsy Ricky Gervais demand Mel Gibson explain what sugar t*ts are, we feel included in the night. A part of the glamor and self-celebration.
2. The insufferably self-important speeches relevant to no one not in the industry:
Ok, Meryl, try to “empathize” with this:
On a show in which every movie star is decked out like a show pony and liquored up to the nines, someone suddenly taking a moment to preach their political views to the masses is not only being tone-deaf, but appearing to hijack the entire night’s spotlight for themselves.
Besides Meryl Streep, Tom Hiddleston also failed to get this memo (or just ignored it in true lack of self-awareness). Accepting his trophy for his role in AMC’s The Night Manager, Hiddleston also took home the win for Biggest Humblebrag of the Night. He told a long story about how, on a trip to South Sudan, a bunch of Doctors Without Borders had approached him and claimed they binge-watched his miniseries while working to lend help to the war-torn region. Hiddleston declared how moved he was by “the idea that we could provide some relief and entertainment for people who are fixing the world in the places where it is broken.”
Essentially, he patted himself on the back for lending entertainment to the people risking their lives helping the less fortunate in Sudan. Scandal star Joshua Malina summed it best when he tweeted:
“Thank you to Tom Hiddleston and all actors who dare to perform in projects that are shown in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.”
3. The Inevitable Technical Malfunctions:
Not all actors are blessed with the gift of improv, which is fine, except when the Teleprompter fails and they have nothing to read.
Every goddamn year, without fail, the Golden Globes has at least one instance of this. This year, it happened as soon as Jimmy Fallon made his way to the stage. What we, the entertain-ees, are left with, is a steaming pile of blushed cheeks and Fallon hemming and hawing. What is it with Dick Clark Productions and uncoordinated tech? Maybe Mariah Carey is onto something. Maybe DC Productions is not trying to purposely sabotage the poor souls on stage, and ruin the viewing experience for all, but one does wonder: Are they comfortably incompetent because they are passively chasing that “moment” in this age of instant viral social media?
The 3 positives from this year’s Globes?
People who still wanted to entertain… and Me:
Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig:
Blake Lively? She’s Been Slacking since Gossip Girl!
SEASON 7 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” premieres 7 weeks from today, thus beginning our celebratory countdown with the 7 best episodes of the show thus far, in our humblest of opinions, of course.
DISCLAIMER: It is a tall order to ask any “Walking Dead” fan to just list SEVEN of his/her favorite episodes, but LIL GRIPES rose to the occasion. Mind you, if we’ve omitted a favorite of yours, PLEASE comment below and let us know! Let us know what you loved about it! xx
No. 7: Season 5 Episode 1, “No Sanctuary”
The best “Walking Dead” episodes tend to relish in a slow burn rather than high-octane action. “No Sanctuary” is one of the spare, spectacular exceptions.
Maybe it is the elevation of the stakes we knew our heroes were facing right from the start…This season premiere picking up chronologically rightafter our protagonists were all herded into a dank and dim (read: creepy) train car at Terminus. It opens with them then being herded off into ::you guessed it:: a human slaughterhouse. When Glenn Rhee, Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes are just four people away from having their throats slit in a human-trough lineup, you goddamn better be sitting on the edge of your seat biting what’s left of your nails.
*More on Glenn’s hilarious James Bond-esque evasion of certain death not once, but three times, later.
Maybe it is the satisfaction derived from watching the sweet, slow blow of revenge… Thanks to Carol 2.0’s boldest act of badassery yet (leading a herd of walkers whilst covered in their guts toward her friends’ place of capture and blowing up a propane tank to lure said walkers toward our heroes’ captors, the Termites), we got to see glorious gore exacted upon the villains for once. Never has having human faces being devoured on this show been as satisfying as when these walkers made a fine Sunday feast out of the Termite cannibals.
(I literally applauded and hooted in cheering during the scene in which the above GIF appeared)
Maybe it’s that our heroes have reunited again as a family working together toward a common goal after spending a whole half-season sprawled apart. With Rick gone farmer all of season four, it was especially welcome to see “Kong Fu Rick” back, blasting machine guns while dripping forehead-to-beard with both the blood of enemy humans and walkers. Given the first chance via Carol’s explosive diversion, Rick stabbed and gunned his way to freedom, leading his group out of the hazy maze of foggy smoke, fiery walkers, and frightened cannibals with appropriate bravado. Rick made it clear: The show had returned from summer hiatus and so had he–he’s playing for keeps Season 5:
*Now back to Glenn… One of the mostly darkly funny moments this entire series has been how Glenn managed to evade near-death this many times in a roll in the slaughterhouse… Especially given that it was a bat-to-the-head situation, as if morbidly teasing what’s to come for him in the comics (Negan, you SOB). The guy lined up before him had just been knocked unconscious over the trough and his throat just slit open, bleeding him dry. The expression on Glenn’s face (brilliantly brought to life by Steven Yeun) said it all: “Here it comes. This show is about to kill off a major beloved character…again.”
Terminus butcher raises his bat to knock out Glenn. The Termites’ leader interrupts him, “Hey, how many shell counts did you have?” He answers.
Butcher raises bat over Glenn again… Termite leader says to the other butcher, “I need your shell count!” He replies, “Oh man, I’m sorry; I didn’t count mine… It’s my first round-up.”
Leader excuses him for this time’s slip-up and decides to use the moment to chit-chat with Rick. After a good five minutes pass, the first butcher resumes raising his bat over the back of Glenn’s head for the third time. MID-swing, *KA-BOOM* An explosion knocks them all off their feet and onto their sides.
And Glenn the Survivor survives…again…
~ CUE 007 THEME ~
LINE OF THE EPISODE:
“[My bag] has a machete with a red handle… That’s what I’m gonna use to kill you.”
– Rick to Gareth, the Terminus leader
P.S. How hot does Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) look in this promo photo for this incredibly grisly episode? They don’t call it sexy dirt for nothin’:
Episode ranked #6 next week… Suggestions of your own?
*SIGH* Let me begin by stating that I so wish people weren’t thisobsessed with race. We don’t need to inject race into discussions where it doesn’t belong, but nevertheless, racial controversy has bled over into conversations about nerd-centric movies and TV shows. This applies to gender in equal measure. So… let’s do this.
Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One
INSTEAD OFthrowing a collective hissy fit when a Hollywood star who happens to be Caucasian is cast in the role of a canonically non-white character, we should be acknowledging and cheering on the increasingly diverse casting that is happening in Superhero (and general Geek Culture)-Land as of late. Progress is happening, but people have a tendency to focus on the negative and controversial rather than all the good.
For example, when Tilda Swinton was cast as the Tibetan sorcerer Ancient One in Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, people flipped out. For every “Ancient One casting,” however, there seems to be double the instance of reverse whitewashing (colorwashing? brown-washing?) and gender-reversing (see: 2016’s Ghostbusters) going around…
“Progress is happening, but people focus on the negative rather than all the good.”
Yes, let’s start here. Everyone complains about white male hegemony (a.k.a. “The Man”) but the fact that they cast Tilda Swinton, an actress acclaimed for her daringly androgynous roles, as a powerful male sorcerer is actually quite forward-thinking. Tilda may be “white,” but the Ancient One is one of the most powerful entities in Marvel comics. He is a teacher to many fellow superheroes and without him, Stephen Strange would not have become the Sorcerer Supreme. They chose to endow his skill set and title upon a female. Funny how this is never brought up amidst the controversial cloud that looms over this casting choice, but that is incredibly socially inclusive and progressive.
2. Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot (portrayed by Will Smith in Suicide Squad, 2016)
This is not a colorblind case of a minority actress being repackaged as an all-white character. Actress Chloe Bennet is half-Chinese and half-Caucasian in real life, but Daisy Johnson is 100% white in the comics. They rewrote her character for the TV adaptation so that the actress’ Chinese lineage played a major factor in Daisy’s own identity. As the earthshaking superhero, her powers apparently originate from her Inhuman Chinese mother, who was a major villain in the second half of season 3.
4. Elektra Natchios(portrayed by Élodie Yung and Lily Chee in Daredevil, 2016)
CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female
Young Elektra (Lily Chee) on the show:
One of the most iconic female anti-heroes in Marvel Comics history, Elektra Natchios, the main love interest of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, has always been closely affiliated with her Greek lineage. Well, in the Netflix adaptation of Daredevil, they finally switched her character’s heritage up. This time, she’s a woman of indeterminate Asiatic descent who was adopted by a Greek diplomat at a young age. One can’t help but think this change was to accommodate the actress’ actual half-Cambodian ethnic makeup.
5. Iris and Joe West (portrayed by Candice Patton and Jesse L. Martin respectively on The Flash,2014-present)
CHANGE: White ⇒ Black
Comics ‘ Iris West v The CW’s Iris West
Comics’ Joe West v The CW’s Joe West
Many were initially shocked at the momentous casting of Barry Allen/The Flash’s love interest and her father/his foster father as African-Americans. While race had little-to-no impact on their characters’ context, this was major cause for celebration of racial inclusion because of Iris’ major role in Barry’s life. She is his Lois Lane and she has never been depicted or portrayed as anything but Caucasian before this version. Even the most cynical of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) should be loudly applauding this moment in pop culture history.
So nice they did it twice! While Warner Bros. turned their back on Grant Gustin from the CW’s The Flash for the titular speedster big-screen role, they adopted the TV adaptation’s idea of casting Iris West as a young black woman.
10. Jimmy Olsen (portrayed by Mechad Brooks on Supergirl, 2015-present)
CHANGE: White ⇒ Black
Not only is this the first non-white Jimmy Olsen, it’s also the first time we’ve seen Superman’s photographer BFF look like a buff leading man instead of a scrawny, goofy sidekick.
Again, SJWs, not only did they change an iconic protagonist from white to black, they made him pinup-worthy… and Supergirl’s love interest. In fact, the actor’s second-billed on IMDB as the leading man to Melissa Benoist’s Kara Zor-El.
11. Dr. John (now Joan) Watson (portrayed by Lucy Liu on Elementary, 2012-present)
CHANGE: White Male ⇒ Asian Female
The classic “Elementary, My dear Watson” line now refers to an Asian-American female instead of a British male war veteran. The fact that the show has been a continued hit for CBS for four years now and little raucous has been raised over this double-identity swap suggests the public is readier than most think for gender and race-bending entertainment.
12. Nikita (portrayed by Maggie Q on Nikita, 2010-2013)
CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female
Maggie Q as Nikita, the first Asian lead ever on a broadcast drama series:
Three previous incarnations of Nikita before the CW series:
La Femme Nikita has been a story told many times and many ways with many different starlets. The CW took a big-but-calculated risk casting this screen icon as anything other than Caucasian for the first time. Despite a decidedly shitty timeslot (Fridays at primetime), it amassed a huge cult following and excellent critical raves for its four seasons. Moreover, it made Maggie Q, previously known for being a model-turned-action star in Asia, an easily recognizable name and face in the American conscious.
13. Mercedes Graves (portrayed by Tao Okamoto in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016)
CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female
This change may feel merely ornamental at first blush. However, Mercedes (“Mercy” as Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor fondly called her) is canonically not just a cog in Luthor’s evil entourage, but his most trusted advisor and personal assistant (and sometimes bodyguard/chauffeur). Mercy has caused Superman and Lois Lane a lot of grief due to her unwavering loyalty to Lex. The appearance of Mercedes in the film was a delightful Easter Egg find for comics fans and having her look Asian is majorly indicative of mass media’s increasing acceptance of all.
An iconic superheroine based in Norse mythology is being played by an African-American actress? Her character also will be playing Thor’s new love interest (He’s ditched little Ms. Natalie Portman apparently). What a great time to be alive! Run the streets streaking in pure ecstasy!
This is, perhaps, the biggest race swap in geek film and TV history. Spider-Man is Marvel Comics’ most popular superhero by far and Mary Jane one of its most endearing love interests. Mary Jane’s race is not integral at all to her character, but devoted fans may take umbrage with the discrepancy between the image of her in their minds and their beloved comics and the one on the big screen.
They’ll go along for the ride, though, and accept the change that has come… Because change has come. Significant progress has been made in diversity in La La Land and it would be foolish to complain about a few perceived slights and not proudly laud the bold steps Hollywood has taken forward. It’s a brave new world, folks. Accept it. Love it…
Ezra Miller (below left) is The Flash in DC Comics’ cinematic universe. Grant Gustin (right) is not.
Gripers (like me) gonna gripe,but grief is a process and it is time to move past the stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression into one of Acceptance of this tragically appalling news. After all, Miller is already neck-deep into filming 2017’s Justice League with Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman as forensic scientist Barry Allen-turned-fastest man alive, The Flash. He is also confirmed for 2018’s solo venture, The Flash.
The Bargaining Us would have retorted, “Have you seen Grant Gustin do dark on his show? When he cries, WE ALL CRY.” The Zen and Accepting Us spots THREE POSSIBLE- AND REASONABLE- ULTERIOR MOTIVES for why the DC and Warner Bros team made such a bizarre snub:
1. They wanted to cast a female Asian Flash without casting a female Asian Flash.
Here’s my official stance: If your core demo wants to see a character take on a different cultural, racial or sexual identity, do it! Comics’ business model, perhaps more than any other’s, has a direct line from Consumer to Business. That relationship between comics and reader is highly personal. For that same reason, however, it is unwise to go around retooling, willy-nilly, these hyper-iconic figures just to please a small-but-vocal group of SJWs who barely read the comics. Forced progress is never any progress at all.
… Which brings us to: DC seems to have gone for a sound middle ground with the selection of Miller for the role of Barry Allen, who has always been buff, blonde, and manly in the comics.
This hilariously off-color meme sums up not just the evolution of The Flash but the overall state of comics and comics-based movies and TV shows over the past two decades:
Miller is effeminate without being female and Asiatic without being Asian (The actor’s lineage is 100% Caucasian).
DC can avoid a potentially franchise-killing controversy for casting a non-white Flash while appeasing those who have been incessantly demanding non-Caucasian males on the small and big screens. The preternaturally boyish Grant Gustin isn’t the traditional Barry Allen in terms of looks, either, but his chameleon-like acting chops won the most purist of comics fans over the moment his pilot aired.
Plus, The Flash is not He-Man; a super-fast guy should look lithe and limber, not bulky and stout.
2. DC wants indie credibility.
DC is losing big-screen dominance to Marvel Studios/Disney and part of the reason is that MARVEL KNOWS HOW TO CAST. Their secret formula? Taking actors formerly famous for only being critics’ darlings and plopping them in the middle of these epic set pieces and storylines. Miller is the perfect get if this is DC’s newfound endgame. He’s exclusively known for small, non-studio films for which he’s received mucho critical clout inhabiting these quirky, prodigiously insightful characters. Gustin has no such reputation. Before The CW’s The Flash, he was only known for being a too-cool-for-school prepster on FOX’s millennial-centric musical Glee.
3. DC is unwilling to keep track of continuity.
Marvel Studios’ motto is “It’s All Connected,” meaning that all current Marvel Studios TV, Netflix, and cinematic properties are running simultaneous storylines in the same universe (officially known as the MCU). At the same time that Loki was plowing through midtown Manhattan with an alien army in The Avengers, Matthew Murdock from Netflix’s Daredevil was already practicing his nighttime vigilantism in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC with just a bandana covering his face. The Netflix series had yet to even be developed when The Avengers was released but “The Battle of New York” is now constantly referenced as having impacted the events of Daredevil. These are just two examples. Off the top of my head, Marvel Studios has had to maintain continuity throughout all of the following shows and feature films so far:
In no particular order:
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: Civil War
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 3
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agent Carter (recently cancelled)
Upcoming Netflix shows: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher
Upcoming MCU films: Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, etc.
Marvel is already visibly struggling to keep all these stories synced chronologically and contextually. Casting Gustin as The Flash in the cinematic DC-verse would mean entangling every last piece of canon previously established on his show with those in past movies like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as the upcoming Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Wonder Woman.
DC don’t want none of that action. Sorry, Grant. They’re just too lazy? Who knows?
DISCLAIMER: Ezra Miller is a fine young actor. My beef isn’t that I think he’ll underperform…It’s that it was entirely unnecessary to recast the Flash when Grant Gustin’s performance has been one of the most sensational and popular in recent superhero movie/show history. You are fixing what isn’t broken and taking a risk on a new unknown variable versus hedging your bets on the likability of a familiar face.
AN ENTIRE SUMMER OF US GOING, “PLEASE NOT DARYL. PLEASE NOT DARYL. PLEAAAAAASE. NOT. DARYL.”
This past Sunday, the art of suspense during the Zombie Apocalypse was raised to a hellish new high. Everyone was anticipating Negan, the Biggest Bad to appear yet in AMC’s The Walking Dead TV universe. More specifically, everyone was anticipating his famous death-by-Lucille (a barbed-wire baseball bat) scene from the graphic novels upon which the show is based, during which he beats one of the core protagonists to death brutally and unapologetically.
Well, after delivering one of the most charismatic villain-entrance soliloquys of all television and movie history, Negan (the perfectly cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan) did beat one of the group to death. Just.. we don’t know who. Plenty of fans had something to say about that fact.
*To clarify at this point, the show almost always remixes deaths from the comics so it stays its own entity and keeps faithful readers off the scent.
GUESS WHAT… IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO.
The camera switched to a first-person POV as we simply saw Negan swinging (both-handed like he’s trying to win the biggest prize at the county fair), a sudden projectile of blood and heard the cries, screams and bone-crunching as the screen faded to black. It was a monumentally traumatizing moment, yes, but the specifics of that scene were not supposed to be the defining moment of the season six finale. After the episode, bellyachers abound whined that one could “have slept through that entire episode and woken up at the last few minutes because nothing happened wah-wah.”
The episode’s climax was never supposed to hinge on the death itself. The climax’s impact only worked because of the story that directly preceded it–the story of how Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the leader of a band of survivors who have successfully outlived extreme terror and danger for some time now, was stripped, layer by layer, of all confidence, hope, and strategy.
THE CLIMAX’S IMPACT ONLY WORKED BECAUSE OF THE STORY THAT DIRECTLY PRECEDED IT.
He began the episode with an alarming amount of swagger, threatening the Saviors, Negan’s muscly (and many) band of followers, to their faces and ended it on his knees with zero moves left on the chessboard. Rick couldn’t even muster the rage when Negan menaced his son. His eyes were void of all emotion except for pure and simple fear, just like a wild and wounded animal completely backed into a corner.
Rick’s (and by default, his group’s) journey from bravado to barely-begging was a triumphant exercise in tension; all that mattered was someone, no matter the person, paid a fatal price for the group’s ignorant hubris. Now whether it is Glenn (as in the comics) or fan-favorite Daryl or someone else entirely is next season’s arc to unfold. It was not a cliffhanger but a glimpse into a brand-new story.
IT’S FUN TO GUESS, THOUGH. JUST FOR KICKS, A POLL BY THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER ON WHO FANS THINK BIT IT BY BAT: