Category Archives: Movies

Posts about movies or movie characters. See also our LitFlix.

Wonder Woman HISHE!

Life might be crazy, but there’s always time to take a few minutes for How It Should Have Ended, right? What do you think about this one? I know I liked the end…

Trendy Star Trek Documentaries

Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary has brought a lot of attention to the franchise in the past couple of years, along with the release of Star Trek Beyond (which deserved better buzz than it got) and the sad death of Leonard Nimoy in 2015. One effect of all this is the appearance of several new, readily-available documentaries that may interest my fellow Trekkies. I’ve put them in order from best to worst.

For the Love of Spock (2016)

For the Love of Spock promo

The best of the four documentaries, and for me the saddest, is For the Love of Spock. Leonard Nimoy was working on it with his son Adam before he died, so what was intended to be a 50th-anniversary retrospective also became a kind of memorial. It’s the best quality of the four, with archival images and clips worth seeing, along with new interviews. It’s about Spock, it’s about both Nimoys, it’s about the fans. Again the tone can be odd, almost frenzied sometimes, but the emotion is real. You’ll probably have to pay a few dollars to stream this one, but honestly out of all four, this is the one that’s worth the effort.

To Be Takei (2014)

To Be Takei promo

George Takei has become one of the most visible Trek alumni thanks to his social media following and activism, plus his work on the musical Allegiance about the US’s Japanese internment camps during World War II. To Be Takei is basically an overview of his life and the issues he cares about, and it’s definitely worth watching if you’re a fan. It’s got a kind of quirky tone, but be warned, it tends to charge back and forth between his general goofiness and the very serious activism stuff. It’s sometimes available on Netflix, but even when it’s not you can usually find a place to stream it via educational services and things like that.

Chaos on the Bridge (2014)

Chaos on the Bridge promo

I discovered this 1-hour documentary through sheer happenstance on Netflix while looking up The Truth is in the Stars below. It’s a William Shatner-hosted tale of Next Generation’s harried beginnings. It’s not very good either. I mean, the interviews are interesting and I appreciate how they let people tell conflicting versions of the story, but I question whether a video documentary is the best venue for it when there are more cartoon recreations of historical events than actual interviews and pictures.

The Truth Is In The Stars (2017)

The Truth is in the Stars promo

This most-recent effort was essentially recommended to me as “Have you seen this? It’s painful to watch.” Accurate. The idea is that William Shatner interviews scientists about Star Trek‘s impact. But mostly he talks about horses. The first ten minutes is him talking about horses for no apparent reason at all. The next hour or so was interesting if only to see who he’d interview next. He starts with actors, people like Ben Stiller and Jason Alexander (who shows up in like every Star Trek thing ever), then transitions through Seth MacFarlane and Neil deGrasse Tyson (both associated with Cosmos) to additional famous scientists and astronauts (like Michio Kaku and Chris Hadfield) to the great Stephen Hawking. And somewhere in there at the end it becomes genuinely touching? Mostly because we’re seeing Shatner try to deal with his own mortality. So I don’t know whether or not to recommend this one, because it’s reeeeally awkward to see Shatner just ramble at random people like this, but it’s cool to see who’s interviewed and is sort of meaningful at the end. It’s on Netflix, so if I’ve piqued your interest it won’t put you out to find it.

What’s your favorite way to get behind-the-scenes Trek info? Did I miss any documentaries? Let us know in the comments!

Thank you for reminding me how good this movie was, HISHE!

I guess it’s a Guardians of the Galaxy kind of week. But this one has me excited for the movie to come out in a way others things haven’t. Enjoy!


Why is Star-Lord such a Rake? – Throwback Thursday

With Guardians Inferno stuck in my head again, I have Guardians of the Galaxy on the brain, and thought I would throwback to this post (originally on Sourcerer). I also wrote a post generally about the music as a character in the film. This furthers that idea into the effects that character had on Star Lord. I argued overall that the music stands in for the mother – and all of Earth and human culture. Which is an interesting contrast then with the second film, which is about the relationship between Star-Lord and his father – and father stand-in. There’s probably more to say on that point, but I think that’ll wait until seeing the film a second time!

Here on Sourcerer, I have blogged about two things: comics and music. Today, I get to talk about both!

Let me set the scene. In Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the great movies and greater soundtracks of the summer, there was an odd scene at the beginning. Making a ridiculous spaceship escape, the hero, Star-Lord, gets confronted by a female woman who was sleeping below decks, and got thrown around as the ship flew off-planet. And his line, in this moment, was, “I forgot you were here.”

Star-Lord, or Peter Quill, is a human who was abducted at a young age by a crew of alien pirates, and grew up with them. He ends up as a womanizer, con man, and liar, and it might be easy to dismiss this sort of moment as “oh, those pirates.” From the other angle, it’s been criticized as a scene that really did not even need to exist. They could have cut it and not changed the movie much at all. Sure, Gamora later accuses him of being a womanizer, but how did she know? And do we need a throw-away scene to, as the audience, know that about him?

I have come to find a third opinion about this scene, about this character trait, this aspect of his personality. I use the term “rake” to describe it, perhaps a dated term but one I know well from my history thesis on William Hogarth (with his Rake’s Progress), and more recently with something like the Decemberists’ The Hazards of Love. I suppose more modern terms would be “player,” “ladies man,” or my favorite (from Scott Pilgrim versus the World), “lady-killer wanna-be jerky-jerk.” So why is Star-Lord this way? It makes sense to me now, and I want to share why.

It’s Not From The Comics…

Cover from Guardians of the Galaxy #1, 2008

Over on Comparative Geeks, one of the things we do is read the source material and then see the movie, something we call LitFlix. Well, for my Guardians of the Galaxy LitFlix, I read the whole 25-comic run of Guardians where you first see this group of heroes (plus friends) together. I’ve read some of the start of the newer run, as well. Sure, there’s a lot more of the comics I haven’t read, and Star-Lord has been around since 1976.

Still, in what I have read, Star-Lord has not been a Rake. He’s been manipulative and lies, uses his charisma and words as his weapons as much or more than his trusty elemental pistols. But him and relationships? Or less than that – him and womanizing? Not really a part. Certainly not to the extent that it shows up in the movie!

So it’s not some little detail they snuck in to try to be faithful to the comics, it’s not a nod to the hardcore fans. Assuming there even was such a thing for Guardians of the Galaxy before the movie was announced…

Where Does It Come From? How About The Music?

I’ve talked about the music in Guardians of the Galaxy before, and the wonderful Awesome Mix Vol. 1. So rather than rehash all of that, some greatest hits:

  • The soundtrack music used is also the actual music that Star-Lord has. It’s the album his mom made him when he was a kid, was the thing he had from her with him when he was abducted. Therefore, it functions in multiple ways in the movie.
  • Most importantly, I argue it is the voice of his mother, it is the lessons she has to give him. It is all he has left to learn from. She died right before he was abducted – two reasons that he can’t get/learn more from her. She remains a character throughout, though, in the music.

This is a movie that wants us to believe that, in an epic final battle with the Big Bad, to save the world, Star-Lord’s plan is a dance off. I mean, really…

But we believe it, because the music runs throughout. Because it motivates Star-Lord. Because when he has to present the story of a hero from Earth, it’s Kevin Bacon in Footloose.

And sure, this could be just a way to ask the science fiction, speculative, what-if question, “what if you were abducted by aliens and had only one album with you?” But the movie doesn’t just ask the question – it also answers it.

The Lyrics

So this is where the details of Awesome Mix Vol. 1 matter. A set of songs from the 1970’s, an era of free love an changing moral attitudes, an era of rock and roll becoming popular. And the lyrics… the lyrics to this album I (and many others, I’m sure) have been obsessively listening to ever since. And which, critically, Star-Lord was listening to obsessively throughout his life…

Or to look at one song in particular, “Escape,” the Pina Colada song. When you get down to it and listen, it’s the story of a guy falling out of love with his girl, responding to an ad in the paper for a man, and then finding out the person who put out the ad was his girl. And they learn more about each other, and fall back in love. It’s a story of finding true love, real love, in the last place imaginable in the age of free love: finding it with the person you’re already with!

If this was Star-Lord’s moral instruction, there’s probably only one way he could really come out. He was always going to be a Rake. And if the music was as important a part of the movie as it needed to be, he needed to reflect what the music said. So he did.

Just think of lyrics like this as your instruction on how to be a man… on how to be an adult… on how to be a human. How else could he have turned out?

Guardians Inferno

Thank you, James Gunn.

I mean, to be fair, he did tell us it was coming. Sort of.

But really, from a tweet like that, who would be expecting something like this?

Yes, that’s the director himself, James Gunn, in, well, this masterpiece.

I get this strong feeling that I missed an entire era of world history in which this music video makes any sort of sense. Today, I feel young. But also, a little sad about being young.

Anyway, I thought I would share. I hope you enjoy. And maybe you’ll even get it… But even if not, yeah, that’s most of the cast. Including Sean Gunn, who is apparently James Gunn’s brother!