Female Villains: Best Written By Men

If you’ve read my title and aren’t offended, congratulations!  If you read it and are, get over it.  I’m a woman and I’m giving an honest opinion of what I’ve seen of female villains in movies and shows and how they are portrayed.  And I’ve discovered that the best female villains were written and scripted by men.  Here’s why.

A woman is going to write a female villain in terms of ‘how would I act if I was evil’.  All well and good, but she’s also not likely to be honest about it because she doesn’t want people to not be able to relate to her female villain.  In her attempt to make them relatable, she makes them too weak or nice in a way.  Not good!  When you make a female a villain, make them a conniving b*tch because that’s what a woman is when she’s angry, or has plans for world domination.  Now, not to say all men have female villains down pat.  They make mistakes too… why?  Because they’re human like us and nobody is infallible.

An example of a bad female ‘villain’ is Maleficent, as portrayed by Angelina Jolie in the 2014 movie of the same name.  It was written by a woman about one of Disney’s most iconic villains, and she made her good.  The mind positively boggles.  The movie had a low reception from moviegoers, with a score of 51% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Their critique was Jolie’s performance was good, but the script and the idea that Maleficent was the ‘heroine’ just didn’t fit.  And most loyal Disney fans would have preferred the traditional Sleeping Beauty story with Jolie playing the green-skinned villainess as she was supposed to be.  We all know that even though the movie was named Sleeping Beauty, Prince Philip, and Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather were the real heroes.

Now the example of a good female villain would be Hela, portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok.  She was powerful, terrifying, eerily attractive, and above all: a cold-hearted b*tch.  Thank you, male writers!  I have tears in my eyes!  Hela was the perfect villain and Cate Blanchett did an excellent job with bringing her to life.  She was devious, vengeful, spiteful, and strong.  You hated her, but at the same time, you admired her.  She knew what she wanted from life, or, death as it were; and she knew how she was going to get it.  Things just conspired to get in her way, but she certainly wasn’t a villain who was a pushover.

Now, that’s not to say that women can’t do female villains, it’s just rare for them to be honest enough with their character to create a foe worthy of their protagonist.  When I created my main villain of my trilogy, I just stopped analyzing and let the character speak to me.  Princess Rae dan Kae of Capricorn, killed her mother when she was born because of the curse of a pair of horns that protrude from her temples cutting her open.  Her father blamed her for his wife’s demise, but never said anything directly to her.  Rae dan Kae is the unspoken heir to the throne, and is too terrifying for any man to approach to ask for her hand in marriage.  She is conniving and plans to subjugate the other nations to her whim and will.  Her father thinks he makes the plans, but she is really the influence over him and many others in her kingdom.  She kills because she can, and her moods are unpredictable.  Rae is incapable of love and the only true emotion she is possession of is contempt.  Everyone else and all other nations are beneath her and her idea of Capricorn.  She was the perfect opposition for Zodia in every way, and when I wrote their clashes, I really enjoyed myself.

Well, there you have it for that problem: the dilemma of worthy female villains.  Careful with humanizing them because you could possibly take away those traits that will make them truly despicable.

And on that note, it’s been real!

I Love It When a Review Comes Together

I’m proud to say that I know the original A-Team show, and not because I was alive when it was airing (by any means).  But, one night we turned our TV on and the Retro channel was playing this quirky dramady about four guys on the lamb, ex-military, helping people who couldn’t go to anybody else.  To six young kids, they were modern day Robin Hoods with automatic weapons and a sexy black van.  Now, everyone these days tends to remember the A-Team movie, that fell shy of the bar the show raised, but, I don’t think I will go into those details right now.  For this post, I’ll just focus on why the show was so good.

One of the main reasons the show was popular, were the characters.  The main characters were the four members of the Vietnam special forces team: Col. John Hannibal Smith, Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck, Capt. H. M. Murdock, and Sgt. B. A. Baracus.  They had their skills, their quirks, and their signature looks that people could relate to.  Hannibal was the leader and ‘father-figure’ as it were of the group.  He smoked cigars, was usually on the ‘jazz’, and was a struggling actor.  He led the team without any doubts as to the decisions he made; and if anything did faze him, he kept it to himself.  He also had complete faith in his men, and whether or not he told that to them plainly, or masked it in loving sarcasm, he still told them.

Even though he was a rank below Murdock in the military, Face operated as Hannibal’s second-in-command.  He was the scrounger of the group; ask and you shall receive.  He was also their playboy, always with a girl on his arm and a smooth phrase on the tip of his tongue.  He was the looks for all the girls who watched the show.  He was all about appearances, being the grifter, he had to look good.  He was always armed with a killer wardrobe.  Face always whined about doing dangerous jobs, or ones that didn’t bring in a lot of money, but in the end, he still did the right thing.

Murdock was always the wildcard, the unpredictable contestant in every plan.  He was technically committed to a psych ward right after the Vietnam War, and had been there ever since.  Murdock was usually the person that was silently called upon to freak their targets out.  He had his dog, Billy; he spoke to his horse, among many other things that made Murdock unique.  Although, the best thing Murdock did for them was fly.  He flew helicopters, planes, even a patched together glider.  While singing German opera on that last one.  Only a certifiably crazy person woulddo something like that.  Although, Murdock was also a bit of a chameleon.  He dabbled in the jobs of Hannibal, Face, and B.A.  He admired Hannibal, was in awe of B.A., and loved Face.  But, he was still basically the child of the family.

The last member of the team was B.A. Baracus.  B.A. was the team’s sergeant in the army, but on the run, he was the driver, the mechanic, and the muscle.  He was also actually the soft spot of the group.  He loved children and many a kid worked their way under his thick skin.  He also liked helping the elderly, and frequently got the team on their charity cases.  He kept mostly to himself though while off the job, never dating or seeing any women.  There were a few women on the show who had an interest in him, but his true love was always his big, black, beautiful van.  And everyone heard about it if anything happened to it.  Heads rolled.

On the whole, the show was a huge success, despite the best efforts of the television station.  The feminists and liberals hated it, but the actors still took over the show and kept it true for the sake of their young viewers.  And those young viewers have grown up now, and are thanking that show for making their childhoods memorable.

And on that note, it’s been real!

 

Game of Reviews

Warning: SOME SPOILERS!

I’ve mentioned Game of Thrones before, but I’ve never really talked about it in detail.  I decided that the time is now.  Everyone who even has an interest in pop culture, knows about Game of Thrones.  Actually, the oddest of people know about Game of Thrones.  I was very surprised when it was revealed that my doctor watched it, and we started talking about it, and now it’s something we can chat about whenever we want to.  However, that’s not what this post is going to be about.

Recap… and… go!  In my honest opinion, the show started off strong, but has since gotten stronger.  They needed to get rid of certain characters in order to not only advance the story, but to advance the show.  Yes, there is a difference.  Joffrey was alright as the little twat of a character he was, but, he did not feel like a villain.  He felt more like the spoiled child character that hangs around far too long.  Thankfully, he was removed from the picture in a fitting and gruesome manner.  He only hung around for four seasons (thank God).  He just wasn’t a fascinating enough character anymore.  After we found out he was the product of incest, we lost all interest.

After Joffrey, the Stark children started advancing.  We had Sansa finally learning (through many a difficult trial) how to properly play the game.  And she started to see who she could trust and who she couldn’t.  But, she decided to follow the old philosophy: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  Sansa basically had Petyr Baelish on a leash before his end.  Now, she just needs to get a few others to heel, and she’ll be all set.

Arya has grown from a pup into a feral wolf, which is equal parts good and bad.  It’s good in that she seems to be able to assassinate whomever she wants; and it’s bad in that she doesn’t understand the importance of playing the game.  Arya wants to storm ahead on her path of revenge, and damnation to any who try to stop her.  So, she is an asset, as long as she learns how to control her emotions/listen to other people.

Bran is a little confusing, and that is only because of all the fan theories surrounding him.  Some people say that he is actually the Night King, so, anything we do say about him, is speculation.  He is the Three-Eyed Raven, meaning that he has the gift of sight.  His gift certainly came in handy when dealing with Baelish, but what will Bran do now to ensure his cousin’s victory in the war to come?  And again, people are hypothesizing about Bran being the Night King.  I am not saying anything with regards to those theories.  It would be difficult to explain how Bran is the Night King, while at the same time warning everybody about it.  Eh.  Mind games can only go so far.

With Jon, we see the biggest step of all being taken.  He is the King in the North, and now, a sworn banner to Daenerys Targaryen; while at the same time, being Aegon Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne.  And the beautiful thing about it is: he won’t want it!  The moment Bran and Sam tell him the news and show him the paper, he will deny his august right in favor of Daenerys.  This will try everyone once the word gets out.  Sansa will want him to remain in the North instead of going South to rule because she more than likely feels that he is on her side whatever happens.  Arya will want him to go South, if only so that she can go with him to kill Cersei.  Bran will play Devil’s Advocate and say the pros and cons of both sides.  Daenerys will not like Jon’s claim to the throne at first.  Unless/until she suggests they wed to stop any fuss.  Tyrion will be against it (because he likes her himself), and many others will point out the familial ties.  Jon will more than likely say no (despite having already slept with her) because of it, but Daenerys will not let it stop her.  That will be one of many conundrums the next and final season.

And then, we see the redemption of Jaime Lannister.  He started out as the quintessential *sshole, but he transformed.  He learned humility when he lost his hand, and learned to have feelings for somebody other than Cersei (in a romantic way) with Brienne.  Of course, Cersei has seen her again in the dragon pits and knows that she now works for the Starks.  She’ll have her cold eyes on her now.   But, at the end of the previous season, Jaime turned his back on Cersei and decided to ride North to help the Dragon Queen and the Starks fight against the Wight Walker Army.  He decided to keep the promise he made and leave his sister, who is now pregnant with his fourth child.  Congratulations, Jaime!  You are a character that has almost come full circle!

Well, there are many GOT theories and thoughts and wishes that fly around, but not all of them (or any, depending on the writers) will come to fruition.  We shall see in the eighth and final season many things that will make us cry, laugh, cheer, and gaze in awe.  I hope that we will not be disappointed.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Go Down with the Ship

Everyone (well, most everyone) knows what a ‘ship’ is these days.  A ship is when fans pair their favorite characters together and make them a couple.  Regardless of gender, BTW.  The idea of ships is not in and of itself; it’s just hysterically funny.  Some of the ships people do come up with, it’s like, “You had nothing better to do, so you did this.”

My younger sister had no idea what a ship was, so I decided to ‘educate’ her.  She probably still hates me for it now.  Here is a list of some of the ships that have been done, and I will asterisk the ones my sister hates.

  1. Cherik – Charles and Erik (X-Men)
  2. Ereri – Eren and Levi (Attack on Titan)
  3. McDanno – McGarrett and Danny (Hawaii Five-0)
  4. Jelsa – Jack Frost and Elsa (The Guardians and Frozen)
  5. Jonerys – Jon Snow and Daenerys (Game of Thrones)
  6. Olicity – Oliver and Felicity (Arrow)
  7. Stony – Steve and Tony (The Avengers)*
  8. Bagginshield or Thilbo – Thorin and Bilbo (The Hobbit)*
  9. Stucky – Steve and Bucky (Captain America)
  10. Thorki – Thor and Loki (Thor)*
  11. Lokane – Loki and Jane (Thor: The Dark World)
  12. Larcy – Loki and Darcy (Thor)
  13. Johnlock – John Watson and Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)

There are a few other ones from Middle Earth that don’t have official names, but they exist, and piss my sister off so much.  Except for maybe the Boromir/Eowyn one.  She likes to entertain the possibilities.

The funny aspect is that there are people out there who spend a large portion of their day thinking this sh*t up and putting it out on the internet.  It’s hysterical!  I’m laughing my *ss off right now!  We all have characters we really like and we want to see them happy in their shows, or movies, or whatever.  But, really?  Putting them in impossible relationships like that?  Your life is sad, sad, sad if you’re thinking about that.  And you probably don’t have a relationship of your own if you’re worried about somebody else’s.

And on that note, it’s been real!

The Border Men – A Study of Masculinity

Very few people these days probably remember the Zane Grey novels or the wonderful stories they tell.  I have read a couple of them, but my favorites are the ones that pertain to the Zane family.  The author himself was the great-grandson of Ebenezer Zane, and the great-grandnephew of Jonathan and Betty Zane.  His family were the founders of Zanesville in Ohio, and great patriots and scouts of the frontier.  So, he wrote a trilogy that elaborated on his family; as well as their relationship with great border man, Lewis Wetzel, or Deathwind as he was called by the Native American Indians.

The one thing people cannot deny when they read Betty Zane, Spirit of the Border, and The Last Trail is the utter and true masculinity of the men involved.  The frontier of Ohio during and after the American Revolution did not tolerate weaklings and peaceful men.  Those men came after the land had been settled and the area secured by more noble souls.

The two lead men who the reader hear most of in all three books are Jonathan Zane and Lew Wetzel.  While the first book does focus on the courage and speed of Betty Zane, the books always have something to say about the two border men.  Now, the definition of a border man was basically an Indian scout and tracker.  Both Zane and Wetzel were intimate with the ways of the Indians, as they had both been held captive by them at least once in their lives.  They had varying opinions about the Indians, for personal reasons.  Jonathan did not hate all Indians, he just didn’t trust them as far as he could throw them.  He had been kidnapped with all his brothers (he was one of five boys), and watched as his youngest brother, Isaac Zane, was separated from them for years. For Wetzel, it was different.  When he was about eleven-years-old, he went hunting with his thirteen-year-old brother.  Upon their return from hunting, they found their home burned and their parents and other siblings butchered and scalped by Indians.  This set Lewis Wetzel on a path of revenge that consumed the remainder of his life.

The first book in the trilogy is about Betty Zane, the youngest and only girl in the Zane family.  Naturally, she’s doted upon by her four (surviving) older brothers.  Throughout the story, Wetzel is soft spoken and caring of Betty, and when one of the villains tries to forcefully kiss her, Wetzel almost kills him.  That was how gentlemen viewed the honor of women: it was sacred.  Eventually in the book, he reveals to Betty that he is in love with her; but because of all the men he’s killed, he feels he is not good enough for her.  When the man she does love is stabbed in the dark by the aforementioned rogue, Wetzel hunts him down and kills him for Betty.  Because he loves her, he kills for her.  Then, he returns and helps defend Fort Henry against Indians and British forces, even holding an opening in the wall all by himself with just an ax.  Tragically in the end, Lew Wetzel must abstain from women, and Betty Zane marries another man.

The second book does focus more on Wetzel as he traverses the frontier around historical Fort Henry.  A wagon train has brought more settlers as well as Moravian missionaries, dedicated to converting the Indians, to the fort.  Two, identical twin brothers take separate paths: one is a missionary and a peaceful man; and the other wants to follow in the steps of Wetzel.  However, scheming renegades and dangerous Indians soon interrupt their lives and throw them all out of balance.  Wetzel is reaffirmed in his life choices when he finds the bodies of the young scout and the young girl he loved.  He buries them side by side and goes to save the second young couple.  In one of the pivotal scenes in the book, the renegade, Girty, attempts to rape a woman, while the missionary is bound nearby.  Wetzel and Zane come crashing in, and Wetzel savagely kills the outlaws for what they did before and what they were about to do.  Once again, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

In the third and final book, Grey focuses on his great-uncle, Jonathan Zane.  Zane is described as being a lover of nature and of the wild; a quiet, thoughtful man.  In the final book, he meets his match in the fiery Helen Shepard, a young girl from Virginia.  She is immediately smitten with him, but he does not reciprocate her feelings.  Through the matchmaking wiles of his siblings, Eb and Betty Zane; Jonathan and Helen are drawn into a sort of Much Ado About Nothing love trap.  However, a traitor within the fort has his eyes on Helen, and hates Jonathan Zane.  After being wounded, kidnapped, and then returned by Wetzel, Jonathan owns up to his feelings for Helen, but begs her not to return them.  But, he must also confess this to Wetzel when she is taken from the fort (not to mention that Wetzel basically called it from the first moment he met Helen).  His old friend tells him to leave their life of scouting and hunting and marry Helen, because he won’t let him miss his chance like he did with Betty.  In the end, Jonathan makes the right choice, and Wetzel continues his path alone.

Zane Grey wrote about real men; rough and rugged, but also kind and caring.  These men killed so that their families, or the families of others might live in peace.  Isn’t that honorable?  Isn’t that something to be admired; and not scorned?  It is truly a twisted world that doesn’t acknowledge real men, and instead, tries to beat them down.

And on that note, it’s been real!

 

Ani-view: Vampire Knight

Because I rather like vampire hunters (sorry Twilight folks), this particular anime caught my eye.  Also, it had Vic Mignogna voicing a (two) character(s) so I wanted to see it.  Yes, this anime is technically classified as a Shojo anime, meaning that it is geared specifically towards girls, but I’m a girl; so it’s fine.

The story takes place at Cross Academy, an elite school that has day and ‘night’ classes.  The day class is obsessed with the night class, and the (majority) of the night class couldn’t care less.  The two classes are patrolled by only two students: Yuki Cross, adoptive daughter of the headmaster; and Zero Kiryu, her moody partner.  In the very first episode, it is revealed the night class is comprised entirely of aristocratic vampires, under Kaname Kuran, a pureblood vampire.  Kaname seems to have an obsession with Yuki, which both scares and excites her; and just plain pisses Zero off.  The hostility between the two men is palpable whenever they cross paths, mostly on Zero’s part, but Kaname sometimes exhibits his own irritation.

When you first meet her, Yuki Cross appears to be a love struck, clumsy girl.  She has a special connection to both Kaname and Zero.  Her connection to Kaname began when he rescued her from another vampire that attempted to kill her when she was a child.  He then visited her after he took her to Master Cross.  Her connection to Zero came a little later, when he was brought to her house after his family was brutally murdered by a vampire.  She tried to help him as best she could, and finally, he opened up to her a little.  Yuki wants to help both men whenever she can, but sometimes, she trips over herself in the process.

For Zero Kiryu, it is almost ironic that he works as a mediator between humans and vampires.  He comes from a long line of vampire hunters, and hates all bloodsuckers with a passion.  Oh, and the irony continues when it is revealed that Zero is also a vampire, slowly descending to what is called a Level E: a purely animal vampire breed.  Zero doesn’t show affection for much, except for Yuki.  He cares for her, but he feels threatened by Kaname because he sees how the other vampire looks at her, as well as how she feels about him.  Zero is torn between the girl he cares about and his own predilections.

Kaname Kuran is mysterious and hardly ever reveals what he’s feeling.  He’s used to people bowing and scraping to him because of his pureblood lineage.  That’s why I actually think he kind of likes Zero’s insolence on occasion.  It’s nice to not have everyone kissing your *ss.  Now, occasionally, Kaname shows his displeasure, usually with Hanabusa Aido, but it’s never actual anger.  Kaname is always calm and collected, a true leader of vampires.  His love for Yuki is incestuous (as is revealed later in the second season) and he will literally do anything to protect her.  Even working with his rival (Zero) to keep her safe.

The anime was ‘fun’, but I wished that Yuki had made a different choice when it came to men.  She left Zero in the end and he promised that if he ever saw her again, he would have to kill her, because he is first and foremost, a vampire hunter.  If you’re a girl, you’re probably going to enjoy this anime; if you’re a guy, probably not.

And on that note, it’s been real!

 

Troy: Why It Almost Worked

I’m sure most people recall the movie Troy when it came out in 2004.  It was one of those big, ancient pieces.  And yes, while the event is based off an actual time in history, we must remember that it is most famous for Homer’s rendition of it in his very large book, The Iliad.  The movie was entertaining and featured plenty of action and a tragic love story; heroes, bold and brave; and a marvelous movie score.  However, it lacked a key element that would have made it very successful, and gone on to continue Homer’s work in The Odyssey.  It was missing the gods!

If you’ve read the original epic, or have a basic grasp of Greek mythology, you will remember that the whole war did start over a woman.  Three Greek goddesses were arguing over which one was the fairest: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite.  They went to the fairest man alive, Prince Paris of Troy.  They asked him to be the judge, and each offered him a reward for choosing them.  Hera offers him political power; Athena offers him victories in war; and Aphrodite offers him the most beautiful mortal woman.  Paris turns Hera down because he is already a Prince of Troy; he turns Athena down because he prefers love making to war mongering; and he accepts Aphrodite because he is a man fooled by appearances (Helen is taken back by her husband and makes comments about her adulterous relationship with Paris in The Odyssey).  He then steals Helen away from Menelaus, and flees to the safety of Troy.  Menelaus goes to his brother, King Agamemnon, and together, they rally the soldiers of Greece.  From there, the Greek gods take sides in the fight: Apollo, Ares, Aphrodite, and Artemis fighting with the Trojans; while Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Hermes, and Hephaestus fought for the Greeks.  Occasionally, Zeus would waggle a finger to aid this person or that, but he never took an official part or side.

The politics and drama between the gods would have added to the movie, making it grander.  Also, it would have explained to those who did not know, the reason why Achilles was killed by an arrow to the heel.  Just saying.

Another fact (which I mentioned above) is that it would have and should have led into The Odyssey, Homer’s tale of Odysseus’ long journey home.  Sean Bean was basically narrating the movie, so it would have made sense for his character to get the spin off he deserved.  The story of Odysseus’ road back to Ithaca is full of cunning and adventure and (yes) sex.  He sleeps with the nymphs Circe and Calisto for pity’s sake!  It would have been epic!  Anyway, I’m going off an a tangent because I really wanted to see that, but he’s too old now (sh*t!).  Anyway, that is why the movie, Troy, could have been better.  If they had modeled it more after Homer’s work, rather than guess at the actual historical event.

And on that note, it’s been real!