Yay! You didn’t suck in the movie! HARD WORK JUSTIFIED.
Alright, so I watched Suicide Squad over the weekend. Remember when I made that little Harley Quinn for Comic-Con? I spent a lot of time on that little bugger. And it made me nervous. I normally wait until the movie comes out before I take the time to make a critter from a new movie, because what if the movie sucks? Then I end up bitter that I spent all that time making something that I ended up not liking. Even with Star Wars: The Force Awakens I had people suggesting left and right that I should make a little BB-8, but I wanted to hold off on it until I saw the movie myself. That being said, I made a little Harley anyway because I loved her new look in Suicide Squad, and hoped for the best when the movie came out. Good news! The movie itself wasn’t anything great, but Harley Quinn was good. Here are my thoughts:
I’ll start with the caveat that I don’t know much about the characters in Suicide Squad outside of Joker and Harley, so I watched it more or less as a layperson. Otherwise let’s start with the good:
- Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn: Margot Robbie’s acting skills were severely underutilized here, but for what little they DID make of her, I loved it. She got the flirty-killer thing down, and I feel like she managed to show Harley’s conflicted romantic feelings for the Joker really well in just one short scene.
- Viola Davis as Amanda Waller: Loved her too. I also loved the parts where people would start babbling on to Colonel Flagg before he’d interrupt them and say “you need to be talking to her, not me.” That used to happen to me SO MUCH at my old job. The struggle is real.
- Will Smith as Deadshot: Deadshot was probably the only other character who helped hold the movie together. Classic “badass who did bad things but HEY LOOK he’s a daddy awwwwwwww,” but it worked.
- The bar scene: The movie needed so much more of this. We got some backstories (because OMG bad guys are people too), we saw the characters finally start to find some common ground…and then it all quickly went back to their disjointed “squad” that doesn’t really act as a squad. Sigh.
And then the bad:
- Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn: See above. They could’ve done so much more with it, and they didn’t.
- ENCHANTRESS. WTF: The introduction to Enchantress was pretty cool. Then it all went downhill, FAST. I feel like the director told Cara Delevigne “Okay, stand here and flail your arms around like one of those inflatable waving dudes you see at car dealerships. Yes, YES, WAVE MORE! FEEL THE EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE 0% APR.” No. Just no.
- Too much in too little time (or inefficient use of time): I still don’t know who the hell most of these characters are or why I should care about them. Harley and Deadshot were the only ones who had backstories that were fleshed out beyond an ineffective 1-minute montage. Keyword being ineffective. Ocean’s Eleven introduced ELEVEN people and still managed to make me like them for one reason or another.
- Boomerang and Katana: They didn’t need to be there. At all. Also as much as people gripe about Harley’s hotpants and stiletto-boots, can we talk about those long-ass ribbons on Katana’s outfit? Girl, you’re going to get tangled in that shit in no time. Also Katana sobbing to her sword seemed out of place and awkward. You know what? Killer Croc could’ve been taken out too and the movie would’ve been exactly the same.
- There was no “squad moment”: Look, movies like this follow a formula. Gather a bunch of misfits, introduce all of their individual abilities and personality quirks, and then towards the end you have a big “OH SHIT THAT’S HOW IT ALL WORKS TOGETHER” sequence. It’s cheezy, it’s predictable, but it works. Suicide Squad completely missed the point of the “squad” part. Deadshot shoots things. Diablo sets things on fire. At no point do any of them do these things in a concerted effort. They do their jobs individually at the same time, but none of it meshed together well enough to make it feel like everyone’s roles were falling into place.
On the fence:
- Jared Leto as the Joker: Still not sure how I feel about this one. Jared Leto did pretty well to make his own Joker, which is a pretty difficult feat when you’ve already got two VERY different bars set by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, but something still felt a little off about it. It was never QUITE where it needed to be. Not scary enough to be dread-inducing. Not crazy enough to make you say “oh holy shit, what’s wrong with you??” The end result was a mafia boss in clown makeup. Supposedly a lot of footage was cut and the Joker was meant to be much darker, but look, what matters is what’s actually IN the movie. You don’t buy a shitty chocolate chip cookie and then have the baker tell you “oh, the original batch had higher quality chocolate in it, but we had to cut it out” – what matters is the freaking cookie that you bought.
Overall impression: there were loads of flaws, but I actually liked it. It was pretty much what I expected it to be: nothing ground-breaking or particularly distinctive, but fun enough that I wasn’t constantly asking myself “are we done yet?” It’s a superhero (villain?) movie for crying out loud, you’re not going to find anything deep or substantial here. Compared to Dawn of Justice Suicide Squad did FAR better in keeping things relatively consistent (none of that “Superman can hear Lois Lane all the way in Africa but can’t hear his own mother in the same city” crap), and at the very least it didn’t take itself too seriously. On the other hand while Dawn of Justice dragged things out, Suicide Squad crammed in too much. DC needs to find a happy medium soon, or the upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League movies are going to be a rough time for everyone.
Over the weekend I had some of my work up at the Castle of Dreams: Studio Ghibli tribute art show. It was a small and casual art show, with over 200 pieces of work on display in all kinds of media, free beer, and lots of fun enthusiastic people in attendance. There were paintings, sculptures, painted wood rounds (some of my favorites!), and other crocheted items in addition to mine! Check out all the goodness!
By Cathy Le
THE FEELS. ARGH. Painting by Cathy Le
By Cathy Le
Loved the color and detail on this one. Made by Kristina Dang
Close up of the panels
Close up of the panels
By Joshua Hernandez
By Kimberly Smith
By Bad Saber
By Bad Saber
Look at the detail!
By Bad Saber
By Mike Esparza
By Mike Esparza
I just wanna hug it! By Cully Mulryan
By Cully Mulryan
By Tess Hinkleman
By Kristina Kenner
By Phuoc Tran
By Sophia Duran. It’s all paper cutouts!
Close up on the paper cut out details. Super impressive.
By Christian Navarrete
By Valerie Gudell
By Valerie Gudell
By Valerie Gudell
By Jessica Padilla
…and then there was my stuff, which looked pretty underwhelming compared to all the other amazing art that was out there.
But hey, all three pieces got sold! If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from this, it’s that I need to learn to present my work better if it’s going to be up for purchase. I’ve gotten used to taking some photos of my critters and then unceremoniously dumping them in public places, so presentation “in the wild” wasn’t on my mind. Maybe I’ll put it all in a nice diorama and price the entire thing instead of having a bunch of sad looking little items in a glass case. One way or another a lot of great art was shared, and proceeds all went towards the Center for Recycled Art! I’ll have to look into more art shows around town, I’d definitely do this again. 🙂
At first I thought I wasn’t going to be able to participate in this, but with a hail Mary last minute e-mail and some generosity on the part of the people running the show, I’ll have some works up at the Castle of Dreams Studio Ghibli art show this weekend! And while I still don’t sell my work, these little guys will be up for purchase at the show, where proceeds will go towards the Center for Recycled Art.
This mini-Totoro is a repeat offender and this time he’ll be around with a pair of soot sprites!
Kaonashi (aka “No Face”) is also a repeated character and he’ll be at the show, ready to eat everything in sight and take on all the emotions of the world.
And Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle is the newcomer out of all the Ghibli-related characters that I’ve crocheted in the past, burning away!
Come to the show to see these little guys along with LOTS of other really cool Ghibli-themed art. I only caught a small sliver of what’s to come when I dropped off my work – I spotted lots of amazing paintings and I saw that someone crocheted an ENTIRE NEKO-BUS. I can’t even imagine how much time that must have taken. I’m excited about this show, there’s going to be food trucks, drinks, and lots of cool Ghibli-themed art! Come on out!
Here’s the info:
Saturday, June 25th – 3PM to 9PM
Sunday, June 26th – 2PM to 5PM
Texas Art Asylum
1719 Live Oak
Houston, TX 77003
$2 per person cover charge (cash only) for ages 6 and up. Kids 0-5 years old are free!
Full Facebook event posting here.
It sounds obvious, but writing patterns is a lot tougher when it’s meant for other people to read. When I write things down for myself I’ll scribble some notes for reference in case I screw up, but it’s a bunch of nonsense shorthand that would only make sense to me. Writing a pattern for the general public is a different ballpark. I forget that every step needs to be accounted for. That every piece of material needs to be documented. Things that are habits for me aren’t going to be habits for everyone else. Things that seem common sense to me aren’t going to be common sense for everyone else. Will these instructions be clear? Will these materials be accessible to most people? I’ve already had to take a character apart entirely multiple times and remake it. I’ve looked through Amazon reviews for other crochet books to see what people liked and didn’t like about certain patterns, but I know I can’t please everyone. I’m just hoping it doesn’t end up like this:
This whole book-writing thing is a lot of work, but it’s been fun so far. The most frustrating part is that I can’t show what I’ve been doing yet! I’ve been crocheting more than ever to meet my deadlines (to the point where I’ve had to intensify my old woman status) and researching more into works of classic literature than I ever did when I was ASSIGNED to be reading some of these works back in high school. Hopefully lit geeks (and people in general!) will be happy with the characters I’ve made, but I can’t say which characters will be in the book yet because I honestly don’t know who will make the cut and who won’t. Hopefully I can crank out an extra character or two for Comic-Con drops if I get some time in between the book-work, but my final deadline is RIGHT before SDCC, so if my hands are still intact I might try to squeeze a few out just a week before heading out to San Diego. CROCHETING OVERLOAD HALP.
TL;DR: Shit’s hard, yo. Hopefully the results will be good. Hard work, but fun work.
Since my upcoming book is covering characters from classic literature, I’ve had to go back and remember what I read in high school and what I actually remember from all those books. I feel like my English teachers did pretty well in giving me a good range of reading assignments (except for a few duds here and there), but there’s still SO MUCH that I haven’t read. Among a few surprise “never-read” books on my list:
- Pride & Prejudice: On top of that, I’ve never read ANY Jane Austen. AT ALL. And Jane Austen was one of the few authors that I remember my peers actually liking at that time. That’s a huge deal when it comes to moody teenagers being TOLD to read a book. How??
- 1984: I could have sworn that I’d read this one, but apparently not.
- The Catcher in the Rye: Another one that I remember my peers actually liking, although I’m not sure if I’d find the same appeal if I were to read it now.
- Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath: Steinbeck in general sounds likes a writer I would like.
As for the ones that I HAVE read, putting together this book has also let me remember all of the books I enjoyed reading for school:
- To Kill a Mockingbird: My favorite. Easy to read, easy to understand, lots of southern charm packed in, and it teaches so much about life and being a good person. It’s the only book I read in school that I voluntarily re-read as an adult.
- Bless Me, Ultima: I’m not sure how widespread this one is as school reading? It’s similar to To Kill a Mockingbird in that it’s also a coming-of-age story told from the child’s point of view with lots of lessons about life and humans in general, but with much darker themes and lots of rich cultural imagery.
- Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451: I’ve listed these two together because they made me feel the same way while I was reading them. When I read them in high school they already seemed a little too close for comfort. I’d imagine if I were to re-read them now they’d be even more uncomfortably close to our current society.
- Picture of Dorian Gray: A guy is so vain that he sells his soul to have a painting do all of his aging for him, while he goes on a hedonistic rampage. What could go wrong?
- The Awakening: Okay, so I actually didn’t like this book at the time that I read it. I plodded through it only because it was assigned reading, but I grew to appreciate this one so much later on in life. This is definitely one where if you don’t read it as a teenager, you should DEFINITELY read it as an adult to pick up on all of its social commentary.
And then I’ve got the KILL IT category:
- Anything by Charles Dickens. I DON’T NEED SIX PAGES TO TELL ME THE SUN IS SHINING JUST STOP. Sorry to all the Dickens fans out there, the man’s got great stories, but DAMMIT GET TO THE POINT, CHARLIE.
Maybe I’ll have to try to make up for some lost time when I’m done with this book of my own! So to all of you awesome people out there: what are your favorite books, what are books you haven’t read but feel like you would enjoy, and what books are in your DIE DIE DIE category?