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The Hunger Games Assassin

A tragedy occurred last Friday in Santa Barbara, CA. And per usual, rather than turning this into an opportunity to have a national discussion about issues like caring for the mentally disturbed and gun control (especially in this case, where the gunman, Elliot Rodger, has a known history of mental illness stretching back to his childhood, yet still had no trouble registering three guns), the media looks for someone to blame.

Conveniently enough for the media, Elliott Rodger is the son of the one of the second unit directors on The Hunger Games, Peter Rodger. So instead of even attempting intellectual analysis, we get this:

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Blaming Hollywood, particularly movies that feature any sort of violence, is the oldest trick in the book. In this case, it meshes so well with the “Blame the parents! He must have been raised wrong!” excuse that everyone goes to as a secondary means of blame (not to say there’s never any legitimacy in that argument, but we don’t know details here) that the sensationalist math was just too easy to compute: If the father played a part in creating a movie that contains violence, that MUST have played a part in making the son violent!

Never mind that The Hunger Games series intends to show the terrifying, raw wrongness of such violence and its general acceptance in society. Never mind that Elliott probably wouldn’t be the type to support a strong female heroine fending for herself and eventually overpowering an oppressive male figure, given the disturbing, misogynistic manifesto he’d been writing for the past three years and the video explaining his plans for revenge against women. He certainly didn’t take in the message of doing everything you can to protect the ones you love, as his loved ones will now be shamed and broken for the rest of their lives because of his purely selfish actions.

So is the media really going to argue that he missed everything else that the film was about and went straight to the killing part? REALLY?!

Also, we’re not film experts, but we’re pretty sure the 2nd unit directors take care of all the cutaways and scenic or stunt shots that don’t involve the core cast. The principal cast did almost all their own stunt work in the first film, so that would’ve been handled by Gary Ross. The only time something violent occurs in a “second unit” setting is the District 11 riot, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh, not Peter Rodger. So the father in question was responsible for approximately zero percent of the violence relayed on screen.

Of course, The Hunger Games isn’t the whole brunt of the media blame game. Hollywood in general has been picked at a lot here. The Washington Post went so far as to blame Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow for starring in/creating movies in which a socially awkward, “shlubby” underdog manages to enter or maintain a relationship with a hot female because it promotes wish fulfillment and entitlement. Personally, we’re calling bullshit on this too. Anyone with a steady head on their shoulders understands that romantic comedies or dramadies, in fact movies in general, are not the stuff by which real life is measured and does not represent everyday interactions. Anyone who doesn’t recognize this probably has what Elliott Rodger did— more profound mental issues that need to be addressed. Of course, nobody will simply consider mental illness because, as Judd Apatow pointed out, that doesn’t sell papers. (The irony being that the attention that one gets from from the media after attempting or committing a killing spree helps perpetuate the cycle of violence. A fact forever lost on the media.)

Let’s Stop With The “Bad Influences” Blame Game,
The Girl With The Pearl

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The Newsy Round Up

Mockingjay: Part 2 filming is drawing to a close, and X-Men: Days of Future Past was released in theaters in the US yesterday. This means one thing to the Interwebz! Tons of Jennifer Lawrence appearances on the talk show circuit, and yep pesky paparazzi shots of her milling around Berlin, the last location allegedly being used on Mockingjay: Part 2 film shoot. I say “allegedly”, ’cause I’m not the location scout, and for all we know, or I know, they’re off to Belgium to film, and drink awesome, tasty, delicious beer!

I’m sure you’ve heard, or seen, or perhaps done your best to ignore the press of Jennifer Lawrence repeated

20140524-173756-63476797.jpgchatter over the last several days. I know I would be one of those people however! So, yeah… Gotta admit that this particular editorial writer has very little to say about Jen’s mounting social faux pas, i.e I saw a blip about a rape joke she made, then immediately knew to turn and virtually walk away. Erm why? Because I wasn’t in the room the so-called joke was let loose in, and I’d rather not examine a joke or whatever the hell happened, as a second or third, or billionth party, because in my humble experience it would be like playing the worst game of Telephone ever. Or make me dislike her, which is something I’m not ready for yet, thank you very much!

Anyway, if you’re like me and like to do your best not to care that Jen is sometimes not a role model, and is just a 23 year-old girl! I suggest relishing in going to see X-Men, or… Yeah, maybe not.

Happy Memorial Day!

Them There Eyes

The Fandom Flop

Working on a fandom site: It’s more complicated than that ol’ Facebook relationship status.

A wonderful poster about learning to deal with people if you want to ever have a website

A wonderful poster about learning to deal with people if you want to ever have a website

Fansite folk are lucky beyond belief for all the recognition and opportunities we’ve been given, but things often get tricky behind the scenes. Though it’s usually friendly competition between fansites, that’s not always the case. There’s pressure to outdo someone else: To post first, to have the coolest design, to get the exclusive, to be the most interesting, etc. Internally, there’s the never-ending matter of who does the work vs. who takes credit for the work. You question who’s in it for the love of Fandom X and who’s in it for the perks and acknowledgements.

Thankfully, most of these are not Victor’s Village problems given our editorial nature (though damn does our layout need an update!) Personally, I work and have worked on other sites where these problems definitely crop up.

All of this, we hide from the audience as much as humanly possible. Why? Because nobody wants to be THAT GUY. Whatever problems we have, we’re usually level-headed enough to recognize that it’s not about us, so we don’t make it public knowledge. It’s about creating an exciting environment to enjoy something we love tremendously and just want to talk about non-stop! And oh, do we talk…

Recently, you’ve probably noticed people airing out their dirty fansite laundry. Sometimes it’s been in the form of confrontation, other times reaction. And whenever we see it, we absolutely cringe. It all goes back to production vs ownership. Fansites are not a contractual entity, so if you create and curate on your own sections of the content, aren’t they yours?

More of this, please!

More of this, please!

Look, maybe we’re the new age hipster mom and pop shop taking about corporate establishments here, but it comes down to morals. If Them There Eyes or JJ decided left Victor’s Village under any circumstance, their work is theirs. Why? They worked their ass off creating it! And they did it for their own reasons, not so I could use it to benefit me later on. They’ve helped the site I started blossom and thrive and I owe way more to them than they do to me (Obviously, the same goes for Twiffidy, who was a wonderful addition to the site for two years before retiring from the site with zero love lost)!

Even though we’re not involved, it’s embarrassing because accusations and consulting lawyers and being upset about what people think of you is the exact opposite of what fandom is about. None of you should have to see that, let alone have the situation explained to you due to misleading information elsewhere. It’s sad that it got to that point.

The truth is, sometimes fandom fails you.

Site runners forget that we’re doing this for YOU and not for ourselves. Even if we live off what we make from our sites (which is few and far between, by the way, as most sites barely pay for themselves and almost all of us work full-time outside these shenanigans), we started our sites with the hopes of inspiring people and sharing our love of this thrilling, enchanting, emotional journey with others. We forget that in the long run, we are one of SEVERAL media outlets covering this fandom and our individual sites are not terribly important in the grand scheme of things because fans could easily get the same news elsewhere. We’re lucky to have you and acting like we’re the center of the Internet just ain’t cool.

Nobody wins here. So can we all agree to save the drama for our mamas and act like the stellar Hunger Games fanatics that we are?!

PLZKTHX!
The Girl With The Pearl

Top 5 Things We Learned From The Digital Look at Mockingjay

FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY!

He's in a bunker and NOW he needs a hat?!

He’s in a bunker and NOW he needs a hat?!

Lionsgate is done holding out on the fans and they’re making up for the wait in big ways!

Feast your eyes upon TheHungerGamesExclusive.com, which in its first incarnation includes..

  • Six Mockingjay Set Photos
  • A Video Interview with Julianne Moore
  • A Roundtable with Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobsen, and Peter Craig
  • A Page from the Script (That You Can Win!)
  • The Hunger Games Franchise Motion Poster

THIS. This is the glorious stuff we were looking for when we found ourselves totally underwhelmed with the sheer consumerism of Capitol Couture! Not that the fashions aren’t cool, but it’s great to see that there’s some more tangible facts about the themes and overall filmmaking processes this time around.

In that spirit, let’s discuss the five most important things we learned today!

Look at that wonderful REAL PERSON who will be featured!

Look at that wonderful REAL PERSON who will be featured!

1) Plutarch Heavensbee will not be a freaky animation!

We were seriously concerned with rumors immediately following Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death that stated he would be added into his final scenes via CGI. It just seemed wrong and… what’s the word? CREEPTASTIC. Thankfully, it’s just a rumor!  Francis and Nina revealed that for PSH’s non-dialogue scenes, previously recorded footage of the other was cut into the scene (thank you, consistently monotonous D13 uniforms!) and his dialogue was written out, with some lines occasionally given to Haymitch or Effie when appropriate. There’s no mention of him missing out on a *major scene* as suggested in early reports.

2) Effie Trinket is in District 13, bitches!

Fulvia who?! Rather than work in Plutarch’s assistant, the script was repurposed to include Effie Trinket in District 13, at the request of Suzanne Collins! But don’t expect Effie is be a punchline– the filmmakers make it clear that while she brings some levity, Effie is NOT adjusting well and is not there for a higher moral purpose. We’re so glad with get more than one or two scenes of Elizabeth Banks in action!

3) The Capitol tunnels are NOT in Paris (at least not totally in Paris!)

In the intro to the roundtable, the indoor Atlanta set is described as being in part “filled with dingy tunnels”. And here we thought filming was going to Paris for the tunnels! It’s set possible that they will utilize the Paris tunnels to a degree, but it looks like a hefty part of that sequence is coming off a soundstage!

Yes! TELL ME YOUR SEEEECRETS!

Yes! TELL ME YOUR SEEEECRETS!

4) Danny Strong ain’t the only screenwriter up in here!

It turns out Danny Strong was not as involved in the Mockingjay films as we thought! Scripts go through multiple drafts and it looks like Strong only wrote draft numero uno. Obviously, that’s a damn important draft, but after that, things went into the hands of Peter Craig, novelist and screenwriter most famously known for his work on The Town. Not only did he finalize the script, he’s been a near constant presence on the set and works with Francis to help the script change and evolve as needed. In case you didn’t know, this almost NEVER HAPPENS. It’s like spotting a unicorn!

5) District 13 probably ain’t so techie in the film version!

In her interview, Julianne Moore described District 13 has a bomb shelter in which the citizens barely manage, which sounds like a far cry from the tech-savvy District 13 from the books. Sure, the look is minimalist and food rations are puny, but Book!D13 is still slick with both food and weapons technology. Movie version seems a bit bleaker, but we suppose they can develop double exploding bombs either way, right?

Now When Do We Get MOAR Mockingjay News?!
The Girl With The Pearl

Hunger Games Presents From the Mockingjay Set

It’s Katniss Everdeen’s birthday, but we’re all being spoiled with presents!

New photos AND video from the Mockingjay Part 2 set made their way online over the past day, giving up our first bits of Mockingjay related news in PRETTY MUCH FOREVER.

It started with photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and a whole bunch of Capitol extras on the streets of Paris. Observe!

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This bit started pretty hilariously. Media outlets shared plenty of headlines similar to “Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth hide from paparazzi and/or hide costumes behind overcoats!” Of course, we’re sure that like us, most of you noticed immediately that THOSE COATS ARE THEIR COSTUMES because this is the scene were Katniss and Gale disguise themselves to blend into the crowd evacuating to Capitol Square.

Seriously, did they think Liam Hemsworth just happened to have a little shredded leather number that makes him look like Andre the Giant handy?! And Jen’s coat has an over-the-shoulder cape situation. C’MON NOW!

Spoiler-ish in nature as it may be, we’re thrilled to get a first look at the fashion and Capitol “look” behind this film. It’s definitely going to be hard (perhaps impossible) to meet our Trish Summerville standards, but Kurt and Bart are doing well so far!

It seems the filming continued to take place in a pretty public area, because it wasn’t long after that that we got video of the actors, this time with the addition of Josh Hutcherson and Natalie Dormer:

And… SWEET BABY JESUS! WHAT HAPPENED TO JOSH HUTCHERSON’S HAIR?!

Peeta’s always been slightly blonder than you average blond man, but never has it been such an invasive shade of straight up yellow. Blonds don’t look like that! Did the Capitol somehow permanently fuck with his hair color during hijacking? Do you think it’s just the poor lighting? Seriously, somebody help us understand this. It hurts our eyeeeeees!

Now we need promo photos and video just to confirm that his hair is not as yellow as we think it is. For serious!

On another note, damn you Natalie Dormer for being one of like four women in the world who can rock the half-shaved head look! You’re unknowingly encouraging people other than you four to make terrible hairstyle decisions!

Sure, this is paparazzi info and not anything official. But hopefully now that SOME of the movie details are already out there, Lionsgate will actually feel compelled to release some quality looks into the film! We may not be that lucky, but a girl can hope.

Wishing For The Beginning Of The End Like A Dummy,
The Girl With The Pearl

Jennifer Lawrence Put A Ring On It

… Just not the ring you’re thinking of!

Seriously? THAT caused all the rumors?!

Seriously? THAT caused all the rumors?!

Yup. J-Law went out on the town wearing a really adorable turquoise and gold ring that looked like any other piece of fairly common fashion jewelry. But she wore it on her left ring finger! Therefore, the media went apeshit.

The general media speculation was “OMG! OMG! OMGGGGG!!!!1!1! Is she engaged?! Why else would she wear that? What an unconventional ring!” SLOW YOUR ROLL, PEOPLE!

First off, since when can you only wear a ring on your left hand ring finger if you’re engaged? We know there are probably some old school superstitions that keep some people from wearing a ring on that particular finger, but in the past, we’ve worn rings on whatever finger we damn well please! None of us were engaged at ten-years-old, but if our shiny new ring only fit that finger, SO BE IT. If I weren’t engaged, I’d continue with that trend, too!

Given the media frenzy.. This is OH SO APPROPRIATE!

Given the media frenzy.. This is OH SO APPROPRIATE!

We’re sure even starlets don’t want to get every freaking ring they own resized, so it goes on whatever finger it fits on. It’s not rocket science!

We get it. Really we do! Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult have dated for like.. TWO YEARS all together, which is practically an eternity by Hollywood standards. They’re old enough and wealthy enough to consider marriage without everyone thinking they’ve completely lost their minds. Speculation will happen.

While we’re all dreaming of an X-Men themed wedding in which Sir Ian McKellan officiates (because that would be the natural course of action for these two, we assume), there are some things you just don’t make assumptions about! Clearly, someone’s engagement is one of those things.

So wear whatever jewelry you want on whatever finger you want, Jen. If it were something bigger, we know your people have press releases for that.

Til Then.. LIVE YO LIFE!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Hunger Games Promotion Rule

Yes, he got an exciting premiere and a vacation in Hawaii out of it, but this has probably been a bit of a rough week for Sam Claflin.

Why, you ask? He’s been busy promoting his new movie, The Quiet Ones. We’ll even help by throwing in the trailer here:

But there’s not a whole lot of focus on the film at hand. If you’ve been watching the interviews, you know what we mean. There’s four questions tops that most media sites bother asking Sam:

1. So what’s this movie about?
2. It’s scary! What scares you?
3. How was all the 70s costuming?
4. Catching Fire! Mockingjay! Finnick! TELL US MORE.

We should note that it’s definitely not Sam-clusive. We know the same thing happened to Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth when they promoted other films, even on The Academy Awards red carpet. And in a way, we feel a little bad for them. We’re sure they don’t mind talking about The Hunger Games, but it must make them feel like their projects outside the series are pretty inconsequential in the eyes of the public (as we are represented by the media. Horrifying, isn’t it?!)

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily help that The Quiet Ones is a Lionsgate property and some of their advertising looks like this:

Now the young and/or easily confused among us Hunger Games fans believe Finnick has taken up a time-warp side job of filming supernatural phenomena! Not really… we hope.

We get it, interviewers ’round the world. The Hunger Games is a <strong>really big freaking deal</strong> and the fact that these actors are in the franchise is part of the reason why many fans will go see their other films in the first place. But let’s take it one film at a time.

We all know you’re going to ask Sam the same slew of exhausting questions once promotion for Mockingjay: Part 1 rolls around, so why not ask them then? Do you really think he’ll give you some crazy scoop in the meantime? Doubtful!

In the meantime, please try to come up with some creative questions surround the movie the actor in question is actually promoting. We know it’s not as big of a media draw, but this is something of value to them that they put work into, even if it’s not a major blockbuster. Give em some credit there! We’ll get back to Mockingjay en masse later!

He Sported That Hairdo, So Sam Deserves Credit!

The Girl With The Pearl

The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and… The Hanging Tree?

Yesterday, there was a lot of talk of bunnies in my family. Particularly, a giant one that hide eggs and leaves candy for children. Yup, this guy:

happy_easter_bunny_wallpaper

A little creepy, tbh…

As if that wasn’t enough, one of the kids lost a tooth in the midst of all this bunny talk. Suddenly, the conversation switches to “TOOTH FAIRY!”

Couldn't help myself...

Couldn’t help myself…

While these particular mythical beings aren’t popular everywhere in the world, you know what is? Beings of mythical proportion. Think the Greek or Roman Gods, sprites, Santa, ghosts, mermaids, urban legends about serial killers lurking anywhere a teenager would even think about rounding second base… the list could go on forever!

Except, of course, in Panem.

It’s not that there’s no myths or legends at all. It’s just that the ones we’re introduced to are very much routed in reality. Perhaps the closest we get to myth is “The Hanging Tree”, because it’s told from the perspective of a dead man. A spirit or a ghost, perhaps. But even so, they don’t address it as such.

Panem takes itself pretty seriously, especially Katniss, so maybe there’s just no need for myths in the story. Maybe they’d just take away from the stark reality too much. “Don’t worry about the Bogeyman, kid! If anyone’s going to kill you, it’s the government!”

Still, we don’t think that legends could story manifesting in ANY world. Because that would mean people have stopped making up elaborate stories. Could that ever happen? We don’t think so. There’s always going to be that creature in the woods/lake/closet or the invisible bringer of good fortune. No matter what you call it or what story you build up around it, it’s there.

You may say legends got stopped out in the same way religion clearly was in Panem (and has been attempted in our world at various points), but we have our doubts. Religion, to a government that wants to be all powerful, poses a threat. So maybe we stomp out the ones vaguely tied to religion. Children’s stories do not. In fact, many of these beings work as cautionary tales that help keep kids in line.

More than anything, it’s probably a case of Katniss Everdeen growing up too fast to care one bit about childish stories, but we gotta admit, that makes us a little sad. Everyone needs a good dose of fantasy to offset their reality.

Our Imagination Still Runs Wild,
The Girl With The Pearl

The Hunter Games and Other Sad Misunderstandings

FANDOM: Some people just don’t get it. Or they get some fandoms, but perhaps not yours. Sometimes it’s just a little faux pas that’s a whole ton of hilarious.

The MTV Movie Awards were pretty uninteresting and uneventful this year despite plenty of Hunger Games WINNING (Jen for Best Female Performance, Josh for Best Male Performance, and Catching Fire for Movie of the Year!) Perhaps the most amusing moment of the night came just after Josh gave his first acceptance speech:

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JUST LOOK AT JOSH’S FACE. LOOK AT IT!

Yes, there’s not that much of a difference between The Hunger Games and The Hunter Games. It could have been a slip of the tongue, because we doubt Cameron Diaz lives under a rock THAT big. But it’s not the first time we’ve heard someone say “The Hunter Games”.

There’s a chronic thing among people who just don’t get the series:
They can only manage one of the two words.
Either “Hunger” is replaced with any two syllable word ending in -er, or “Games” is replaced with a kinda sorta rhyming word.

The Hunter Games. The Hunger Dames. The Bunker Games. The Hunger Pains. And these are people genuinely suggesting this is the title. It’s exhausting.

We’re sure you’ve heard some good ones too. Even people who enjoy the series (but aren’t super enthusiastic about it) do this on occasion. It’s like a disease! As fans, we’ve gotten used to this ridiculousness, but perhaps it can be cured.

That’s right: They got a fever and the only cure is more Hunger Games. If we all reach out, maybe we can save them from their embarrassing, grievous misnomers!

Advocating, Annoying… What’s The Difference, Really?
The Girl With The Pearl

The Mockingjay Treatment

Another day, and also it’s another day without any Mockingjay news to speak of. Or, no legitimate Mockingjay news, because if you know me, you know I’d prefer to not give paparazzi shots, or trumped-up rumors that much credence, or any modicum of my precious time. So, what’s there to discuss today if there’s nothing Mockingjay related happening in our little corner of the world? Um, well how about we pick up where JJ took off yesterday, yep– where she ripped the concept, and the news that the last book in the Divergent series is too, just like Harry Potter, and Twilight, and The Hunger Games– is being split into two films as opposed to one. Let’s pretend we’re living in an alternate universe for a second or two? And in this world The Hunger Games franchise is going just as well as it has been, but instead of splitting the last installment of the book series into two, that they’re keeping it a singular film?

What would a single film for Mockingjay be like? That’s where my mind’s at right now. When the news broke years ago that Mockingjay was getting the Harry Potter/ Twilight treatment I disapproved, I said it was about making more money not about the story. However I came around, and now I’m struck thinking what would happen to the story of Mockingjay if it was adapted as one film? The word that comes to

Hey, who made this!?

Hey, who made this!?

mind first is the word “truncated”. I know how I’ve felt before when seeing favorite novels of mine adapted into film, and seemingly half the story is missing. I’m serious, I can think of two great novels where the film adaptations quite literally left out entire, great, all-encompassing chunks of the story. For Example: East of Eden, the 1955 adaptation directed by Elia Kazan. It’s touted as a masterpiece, as well as being one of the three films James Dean starred in before his untimely death at 25. What’s missing though is the disheartening fact that the film starts the story’s original narrative in the last third of the story. Yep, they started the film at the back end of the story, and did they backtrack and fill in the gaps? Not really, nope. Second example I can think of I’m actually happy to state that I’m happy with: The Cider House Rules (1999), is a gem of a book to film adaptation, not only because the film stays true to the novel it’s based on, but because the essence of it, even though entire sequences, years even of the story are cut– but, because it worked. Why I think it worked though is this: The screenplay was adapted and written by John Irving, the man who wrote the novel The Cider House Rules. Aye there’s the rub.

 

Truncated is the word we’re still fixated on, got it? East of Eden and Cider House Rules are perfect examples in my opinion, of films adapted from great novels that used the editing process to both enhance, and well– alter a story to the unfortunate point of dilution. Mockingjay if it was made into a singular film adaptation I feel in my heart of hearts would suffer the poor treatment of East of Eden, edited to the point of scant recognition. What would be taken away though? First, and the most sad– Buttercup. I believe Buttercup would be cut out of the story almost completely. And judging from all the tweeting the executive producer, Nina Jacobson has been doing featuring the cat portraying Buttercup– his being cut would leave us as a fandom with even less to grasp onto during this news drought. Second: Say good-bye to possibly another one of Katniss’ friends being omitted! Who would it be though? Delly’s probably cut anyway, and Madge is a ghost, or Taylor Swift, that leaves someone from the Capitol! Flavius? Octavia? Venia? Well, Venia may have been cut anyway, and I don’t think we’re going to cry into our cereal over that, are we? Are we?! Hm, what else? Welp, I think realistically the world building would go out the window? I mean sure, there would be some– but it would be very loose, and not wide and expansive. I basically think we’d get the same amount of world building that we got in The Hunger Games, and then go on our merry disgruntled way wishing there was just, well… more. Thank god we’re getting two films, all’s I’m saying.

Now, someone pitch East of Eden to HBO so we can get a mini series out of that masterpiece of a novel, and cast someone hot like Timothy Olyphant as Adam Trask!

Them There Eyes

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