Magpie Christmas List 2013

11. The Discworld Graphic Novels: I started reading one of these books at a friend’s house years ago, always kinda regretted putting them down  and wandering away.

10. Top Hat: I’ve deiced to start a collection of these.. hats that is. So let’s see I’ve got a Russian hat *although it started out as a faux raccoon hat and I lost/ crushed the tail. Yeah don’t use detachable hat tails as book marks, never ends well.* … Where was I again? Oh yeah want lots of Hats think Top Hat would be really cool. *Though where I’d wear it is anyone’s guess.*

9. Cowboy Hat : Dito except replace top hat with well Cowboy Hat. Also I think I could wear it out and about with a shred of dignity in tacked. Not much I grant you but more then a top hat. Which leads us to the next item on our list…

8. A Hat Rack: I intend to acluminate a collection of odd and interesting headgear, so I’m going to need somewhere to hang them all.

7. Thicker Curtains: Don’t get me wrong when we first moved into our house I loved my thin Purple curtains but after about five or six years the novelty of having purple curtains wears off a bit and then your just left with… well thin curtains.

6. Tyrion Lannister poster: Oh my god! This guy is so cool! I must have him on my wall!… Did that sound as creepy to you as it did to me?

5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Official Movie Guide by Brian Sibley: I’ve already got the visual guide and the actual film it’s self… but I want more.

4. Captain America Shield: And I’m not talking about the little toy one they sell to kids, don’t waist both our times, no I’m talking about a life size one you can hang on the wall. They do exist, I’ve seen them on the internet!

3. Elven/Dwarven/Orc…en? War manuals: Soon very soon I will have all the acquirements  I need to destroy all those who would stand in the way of my dominion over all earth and universe alike! *Mad Cackle*… What?

2. Reefer Madness: The Musical: It’s weird but it would appear that the parody of the drug propaganda of the 40′s or possibly thirties is in fact better at well… scaring us. Really the only thing that makes this a farce instead of actual propaganda is the fact they’re talking about Reefer instead of Heroine.

1. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Complete 3 Book Collection: I know in the past I’ve tried to be kind about the film… but My God! When you see even an episode of the original, the film’s all around general badness changes from merely disappointing to down right perverse.

 

 

Magpie’s Top Races of Middle Earth

Have just finished watching all three extended version Lord of the rings films, so as you would expect I desperately wanted to write a blog post on them. But you see I work better with a central focus to nit pick, even something as this is disgustingly stupid.

I have nothing to nit pick with these films, there just that good. Beautifully acted, magnificently written, gloriously directed.. my knowledge of good adverbs had failed me at this point but my main point still stands. If you can name it The Lord of the Rings did it well.

And then it dawned on me, the movies might be unpick-able but the world they’re situated is far from. *Well it wouldn’t be having a war if it was* I’ve spoken before of my preference for certain middle earth races over others, so I thought why not go all out and do them all. Oh Side note: This isn’t going to be like my other lists, this will start with my favorites and then work it’s way down to the ones I loath.

1. Hobbits. Yes I think this a surprise to no one who’s read my blog before. Or even glanced at the tags. Too much sense to do something daft like start a war, these hairy toed fellows instead spend their time more productively.

Their list of accomplishments is: buttons, stoves, pocket watches, clocks in general and indoor plumbing! Hobbits might never have invent the canon but I’d bet my life they’d have been the first to invent the computer.

2. Dwarves. Lets face it the dwarves have had it ruff, from the line of Durin getting kicked out of their home by a fire breathing dragon to the gentle Petty dwarves who were slaughtered for game by the elves. Despite that they still end up being one of the most bad-ass races in Arda! Come on people we need some more dwarf love all round.

3. Ents:

I am on no one’s side, because no one is on my side little Orc

Do I really need to say anymore?

4. Goblins: Here’s another species I feel have gotten a bum rap. They’re allergic to sunlight so they have to live underground which makes ‘em stunted and deformed. Plus to top all that off everyone seems out to kill them! Poor things no wonder they were angry at the dwarves dropping in.

5.Easterlings: Yeah…em give me some proof that they’re actually evil and I’ll show you an elf that’s actually immortal.

6. Rohiriins: Oh my god, these guys are awesome! Not pretentious or thinking their better then others just flat out bad-asses! This is what the race of men should be!

7. Wargs: Aww…come on they’re cute…you know when they’re not trying to eat you.

8. Orcs: If we’re going to talk about creatures who’ve had it ruff orcs came into being because they were tortured. They’re as much victims as anyone else here.

9. Gondorians: What’s all this about being the last free kingdom of men? And their king ruling over everyone Else’s? God no wonder Rohan hates them.

10. Elves: Rather like hobbits I’ve said all I really have to say about these people in other posts. So  to put it bluntly  I don’t like them, or rather I don’t like how they’re often portrayed. Like they can do no wrong, people… who made the rings of power in the first place?

11. Eagles: Because they could have easily fixed everything.

Magpie’s top ten WORST

I love films, who doesn’t, but every now and then we come across a film that sets our teeth on edge. You know you’ve found such a monstrosities when you realize, dear god I’d rather be reading.

10. The Rum Diary This was so boring I actually had to get up and leave. Of course as soon as I did Mum and Dad decided to turn on Will & Grace Thank you oh gracious givers of life, I bear no ill will to you at all. *glass breaks in hand* None what so ever.

9. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie This is one of those films that, while not technically falling into the category of bad leaves you saying “oh, my life would have been a hundred times better without seeing that.”

8. The Last Airbender Like I said in my stand alone review of it I don’t think this is a bad film because it betrayed and din’t do justice to the source material. I think this is a bad film because it didn’t do justice to it’s self, the thing is it didn’t start badly in fact it was quite good *not the original good true but it was holding it’s own*

It’s just the endless expatiation undid it, which if they’d had a good editor really would not have been needed!

7. Iron Man 2  You maybe wandering why I didn’t say Iron Man 3 instead, seeing in how I gave it such a scaling review before? Well, even though the third one was profoundly stupid and insulting to the very character it was supposed to be developing *take it to account that this is a character who I hate so if i say it’s insulting you know it really is* it did at least have a point.

Marvel wasn’t just trying to make a bunch of superhero movies willy nilly, no they were making them in same universe. Which is a far greater task, each film has to leave a mark or really it was just a waist of space. As daft as the third iron man was it did at least do that, it was a stupid impact but it was at least an impact.

6. Mr. St. Nick Oh Kelsey why?! Why!? You can act, and generally you choose things that let you. The prime word here being generally!

5. Fast & Furious 6 Let’s something strait here the rest of these films were not good, heck they were barley even combatant… they were not as bad as this convoluted sexist and plot-less piece of trash.

4. Step Up Ever wonder what could be worst then having an actor who can’t  act in your film? Try having a dancer who can’t dance, clearly writers who can not write as well as many actors who can not act!

3. Cocktail This film is the biggest load of sexist, money grabbing, poorly written, horribly paced bullshit I’ve ever seen and is under the misconception that Tom Cruise is likable.

2. Seven Pounds Made at the height as what I shall affectionately call Will Smith’s martyrdom , this film made people want to kill themselves… and it was called the feel good film of the year.

1. Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings Abomination of all things right and good in the world. I have discovered a new level of hell and it’s creator’s name is Bakshi!

Magpie’s top ten occurciaces to happen upon her rise to power

I’ve been think of late and I realised something, I’ve made very little progressed upon my plan of world domination. Well this I said to my self must be retrofired, I at least have to have a course of action on how power will go to my head as I run my dictatorship. So here it is the top ten things that will happen on my rise to power.

10. All countries will be absorbed into one. That is to say Scotland. *That’s right England we’re in charge of you know*

9. Equal rites between the sexes, that is to say none what so ever. Let’s face all you’re going to be doing from now on is bowing down to me and showering me with praise *I’m a very needy dictator* you may as well all do it equally.

8. Marriage equality. Yes that’s right I truly and unwaveringly believe that everyone should have the right to marry whom so ever they wish. *you know so long as everyone’s of legal age* So that they can be eligible to pay the new marriage tax I shall be implementing.*What? Running an evil empire is expensive.*

7. Total Artistic control Oh not for the artist but rather for me. See when you write a book, make a film or paint a picture before you can send it out into the big wide world you must run it by me. If I like it it’ll be released, if not well… it’ll probably been burned. Oh poor Steve Martin he may never get another film again.

6. All those displaying Narcissistic tendencies shall be sent to a work camp. I’m the only one allowed to display narcissistic traits, the world’s not big enough for more then one.

5. The 13th of September shall hence forth be know as Saint Jar Jar Day. I’m really getting sick of people ragging on Jar Jar Binks! Especially if they’ve never even seen The Prequel Trilogy. Yeah from now on that’s going to be a hanging offense.

4. Fraserburgh is now the capital city of the world. Aww Edinburgh thought that was going to be them, bless.

3. Since I’ve had quite enough of my brother, anyone who sees him in the street is to throw apples at him.

2. Christmas is now to be celebrated on the 15th of December instead of the 25th and is to be renamed Magpiemas.

1. Ashton Kutcher is to be banned from  acting in anything ever again. Failure to comply will result in immediate arrest, where upon arrival he shall be strapped down and made to watch repeated episodes of Two and a Half Men. Both his own and Sheen’s…see how he likes feeling his i.q actully drop points as he watches something. That i.q part wasn’t even a joke…watch it, you’ll litraly feel yourself getting dumber.

Anyway, back on point: Too long have I suffered through what might have been a perfectly good film only to have it ruined by the utter most blandness that is Kutcher. My first act in office of mad dictator of the world is to finally put an end to such a menace.

Magpie’s top Eleven facts about Charlie Chaplin

It’s odd, there’s just some knowledge that you can take for granted, for instance I always knew Charlie Chaplin was one of the first movie stars and that his films revolutionised  how films or at least comedy was made…I think.  But I didn’t know he spoke out against the Nazis while they were still popular in America, just like a couple of comic book writers did. *see, proof that I can fit a Captain America reference anywhere*  Or that he was actually booted out of America for apparently being a communist.

Rather akin to Meryl Streep’s The Iron Lady Robert Downey Jr’s Chaplin shone a new light onto a subject  that I sort of knew about but really never showed much interest in. So here are the top ten things I learned about Charlie Chaplin, some from the film it’s self and others from deeper research.

11. His mother was sent to an asylum when he was nine *although the film made him look a lot older* 

10.  In 1892 his mother had a third son fathered by music hall entertainer, who was taken away at six months old by his father and who Chaplin did not see again until thirty years later.  *Oddly enough he was left completely out of the film*

9.  His first stage appearance came at five years old,when he took over from his mother one night after she was booed off the stage *She never sung again after that*

8.  In 1919 Chaplin along with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford  and D.W. Griffith founded Artists United. They’re intention was to control  their own interests rather then depending upon the powerful commercial studios. *Ironic when you think who controls the company now*

7. Chaplin’s first and only child with first wife Mildred Harris, a son named Norman Spencer Chaplin was born malformed and died three days latter. Inspiring Chaplin’s film The Kid , the first of his movies to last over an hour of screen time

6. In his lifetime Charlie Chaplin had four marriages;  Mildred Harris, Lillita McMurray, Paulette Goddard and Oona O’Neil and around eleven children: Norman Spencer Chaplin, Charles Chaplin Jr., Sydney Chaplin, Geraldine Chaplin, Michael Chaplin, Josephine Chaplin, Victoria Chaplin, Eugene Chaplin, Jane Chaplin, Annette Chaplin and Christopher Chaplin.

5. In 1941 Chaplin started an affair with expiring  actress Joan Brady, offering her a contract with his studio. Both the contract and the affair ended a year later after Brady started displaying signs of severe mental illness. 

 A year after their separation,she filed a paternity suit against Chaplin. Although blood tests proved Chaplin was not the father, they were disregarded in court proceedings and Chaplin was ordered to support the child. The injustice of the ruling later led to a change in California law to allow blood tests as evidence.

4.  On 21 March 1944 Chaplin was tried for  violating the Mann Act which prohibited transporting Women over the border for sexual  purposes. Chaplin was finally aquited on 4 April that year. 

3.  During World War II, , an FBI investigation was opened on Chaplin under the premise that he was a potential threat to national security. *Or as they called it back then being a communist.

Chaplin denied being a communist, but felt the government’s effort to suppress the ideology was an unacceptable infringement of civil liberties. Unwilling to be quiet about the issue, he openly protested the trials of Communist Party members and the activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

 Calls were made to have the film Star  deported, with Representative John E. Rankin of Mississippi telling the House in June 1947:

“Chaplin has refused to become an American citizen. His very life in Hollywood is detrimental to the moral fabric of America. If he is deported … his loathsome pictures can be kept from before the eyes of the American youth. He should be deported and gotten rid of at once.”
Two years later after returning from the London premiere of his film Limelight
Chaplin was denied access back into the country and decided to throw up his hands and cut ties with America.
“Whether I re-entered that unhappy country or not was of little consequence to me. I would like to have told them that the sooner I was rid of that hate-beleaguered atmosphere the better, that I was fed up of America’s insults and moral pomposity”

 

2. There were strong similarities between Chaplin and  Hitler; being born in the same year a mear four days apart and raised in very  similar circumstances. It was widely noted that Hitler wore the same toothbrush moustache as the Tramp  and it was this physical resemblance that formed the basis of Chaplin’s most political film.

 

1. Greatley disturbed by the surge of militaristic nationalism in 1930s world politics, Chaplin found that he could not keep these issues out of his work:  

How could I throw myself into feminine whimsy or think of romance or the problems of love when madness was being stirred up by a hideous grotesque, Adolf Hitler?”

 The Great Dictator– a “satirical attack on fascism” took two years to develop simply the script and began production in September 1939 and was released in 1940 a year before America would finally enter the war.

Deciding it was the best choice and admitting defeat against it at last Chaplin submitted to using dialogue.  Making a comedy about Hitler was seen as highly controversial, but Chaplin’s financial independence allowed him to take the risk.

“I was determined to go ahead,” he later wrote, “for Hitler must be laughed at.”

Chaplin replaced the Tramp  with “A Jewish Barber”, a reference to the Nazi’s belief that the comedian himself was Jewish.  In a dual performance he also plays the dictator “Adenoid Hynkel”, a parody of Hitler.

The film was a resounding success and was  one of the biggest money makers that year. The critics however were less enthusiastic, many considering the ending, a six minute speech in which Chaplin stared strait at the camera and spoke his personal beliefs,  inappropriate. some have identified the speech as triggering Chaplin’s decline in popularity, and writes,

“Henceforth, no movie fan would ever be able to separate the dimension of politics from the star image of Charles Spencer Chaplin.”

The Great Dictator received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor.

Magpie’s Top Ten Fucked Up things on Bewitched

Alright just to get it out of the way, Darrin is not the fucked up thing here. I’m not saying he wasn’t a bastard some of the times , oh he most certainly was. It’s just that it’s been talked about so much there’s really no insight that I might offer that hasn’t been said a million times before. So instead I’ll focus on the less talked about though no less disturbing aspect of the show…the magic.

*Soaks in the boos and hisses of the crowed* Yes I said the magic, because really that is by far the most disturbing thing on the show! Darren’s treatment of Samantha was awful by today’s standards but remember Bewitched started in the sixties, so a lot of that may have been a result of it’s time. A reboot, if it’s set in modern day, of the series for instance would have to find some other conflict then him just banning magic in the house. Of which there was many in the original, in fact I believe the only reason they had him ban it there was to make him more unsympathetic so we wouldn’t see the true horror of the situation. So here they are, the ten most fucked up thing’s about Bewitched.

10. Wild animal noises being set upon Darren. This would have gone higher on the list, what with it being a perfect example of the witch community’s disrespect not only for Darren’s life but also for Samantha’s right to choose who she wishes. But it’s just so strange that I feel more shock then revulsion towards it really.

9. Endora’s idea to change Larry Tate into an object for a whole weekend. The fact that she didn’t actually go through with it makes this one’s horror level lower then the others. Still the fact that she would even contemplate turning an innocent bystander into inanimate object for an entire weekend, in essence making him a missing person, simply for her own conveyance is still kind of creepy.

8. The Changing of Darren’s face *no not that one* While Darren sleeps Endora complains that if Samantha had to marry a mortal she could have at least chosen a better specimen. The old witch resolves to make some improvements  and surprisingly Samantha joins in with the fun. However before they can change him back Samantha get’s distracted and Endora pops out, Darren wakes, sees himself and is suitably disturbed.

You may be wandering why I chose this instant, doesn’t seem so bad compered to some of the others. You’d be right, relatively speaking it’s not that bad at all but a person’s face is a large part of their identity and self esteem. Now a person can look in the mirror and choose to change it, there’s nothing wrong with that  because it’s a choice that someone makes for themselves. But to have that choice taken away, to have in essence your identity changed without your consent… I find it hard to put into words the horror that that makes me feel.

7. When Darren is split in two. The idea of splitting one character into two parts of themselves is not an idea that’s singular to Bewitched. It used in a lot of media like Smallville , Star Trek TOS and probably a whole bunch of others but those are the only two that popped into my head. Mostly it’s done with the “good” and “bad” sides of  that particular person with the eventual lesson being that you need both to be a whole person.

It’s a good enough moral and not done so much that it get’s boring. They also mange to betray it fairly well, using Darren’s “fun” and “work” sides respectively. It is done without Darren’s consent but it’s hardly the worst thing that Endora’s done to Darren, truthful I probably wouldn’t have even mention it if it wasn’t for the behaviour of Samantha.

When her mother splits her husband into two Sam decides to take the “fun” side on the holiday they’d had to cancel because of work. So here’s a disturbing query if Samantha hadn’t taken a disliking to the “fun” side would they have ever been put back together? The answer probably is yes but not before “work” Darren  getting fired for losing an important client by being boring. Once again lives ruined by the whim of Magic.

6. Endora making Darren only able to tell the truth. Now before you start on me  with the *but lying’s bad*  lark that’s not the point. Yes lying can be bad, and truth is generally the wiser choice but the ability to tell lies is part of freewill. We have the choice  to tell the truth or a lie, in robbing him of that choice Endora was in essence stripping Darren of his freewill.

5. Animal Transformations , throughout the run of the show Darren is transformed into many different animals. Not limited to dogs, monkeys, pigs and I think possibly even a fly once. Sounds all laughs and giggles doesn’t it, but imaging for a seconded if it were you or one of your loved ones that had their humanity striped away from them with a twitch of a nose. Not looking so overly funny right now is it?

4. The time Maurice killed Darren. Yeah I know it wasn’t permanent but still it aluminates just how dangerous magic can be to mortals or in fact anyone.

3. Love potions, yeah we’ve got a mortal word for that, it’s called a date rape drug! Although to be fair they don’t use them that overly in the show it’s self. On Bewitched Endora was once poisoned with one and the show’s short lived sequel Tabitha
the witch’s council try to make Tabitha  fall in love with her boss.

2. Mind control,  don’t kid yourselves people when Samantha twitches her nose and someone changes their mind on something that’s mind control.

1. The total lack of respect or even mear human dignity offered to the mortals on the show. That’s what this all boils down to really, Warlocks and witches see mortals as a lower life form to themselves. You know what’s the saddest part of that, when I said all witches and warlocks I meant Samantha as well!

Both Darren and Samantha are products of their upbringing, both attempt to get past this *Sam admittedly more then Darren* but the prejudice of their parent’s have been drummed in so hard from the moment they were born that they’ve become ingrained into their very beings. So does this mean their relationship ship is doomed?

In my opinion yes, because no matter how much they love each other Darrin is still mortal, and will eventually die. This might lead Samantha to cut herself off from  the mortal world to cope with her grief better, eventually she’ll become so cut off from it that no magic against them will seem too far like the Witches and Warlocks. Like Uncle Arthur I can’t see Samantha ever being malicious with her magic, she just won’t know or rather won’t remember when a something’s gone too far, which is an attitude she’s clearly shown the potential for.

 

Magpie’s top ten Likable Villians

You all know that character that lies, cheats, murders, sells drugs, rapes and is an all around general horrible excuse for a human being and yet you want more. Because no matter what they do you can’t help but to love them. Of course you do, they’re everywhere! Books, Film, television, even a couple of musicals. So out of all these mavericks is in my opinion *because yours means little to nothing on this blog* the best.

Honery Mention: J.R from Dallas He did everything, from blackmail to spousal abuse and yet people still wanted more. The undisputedly most famous character on the show, he would have gone higher on the least had I been better versed in his doings. The old Dallas never truly appealed to me personally and I won’t even dignify the new one with a mention. But I had to mention him simply because he is such a famous lovable asshole that it would be a crime not to.

10. Cain Dingle from Emmerdale The man threatens, steals, blackmails, physically assaults, get’s a teenage girl pregnant and yet today still one of the most likable characters on the show. Though that’s probably more due to the fact that everyone’s an arsehole

9. Macavity from Cats He scared the bajessus out of me when I was a kid, yet no matter what your feelings on him you can’t help but get chills when the first notes of that song start playing.

8. Moriarty from Sherlock I know this is going to sound awful but fuck it, I love him better then Sherlock. Almost as much as I love John and Mycroft.

7. Mandy from Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
Able to trick the grim reaper himself into being her slave. Nothing stands in the way of this pinkly dressed little girl from totals world domination.

6. Meg Giry from Love Never Dies
Andrew Lloyd Webber Taking a minor character from Phantom and transforming her into a sad little creature who is forced to sleep with men so the Phantom can play circus…Oh yeah and she snaps and threatens to shoot a child, but quite frankly someone should have done that sooner, he was really quite annoying.

5. Angelus from Buffy and Angel
Why did they bring back the boring one, this psychotic vamp could have his own show and I can guarantee you it would be a bigger success then both the other two combined.

4. Javert from Les Misérables Put aside the fact that he’s played by Russle Crow the god of kickassness in the film, this is an awesome and moving character. While you’re never exactly rooting from him to catch Val Jean, the inner conflicted and beautiful songs should be more then enough to have you in tears during his suicide…you know if you actually have a soul.

3. David from Prometheus
After an entire film of working his hardest and having humans talk down to him, belittle him, disregard his contribution and be told he doesn’t have a sole, it’s hardly a wonder the poor man snapped. Heck I would snap if I was in his shoes, yet the film clearly wants us to see him as the antagonist, well at least it did for me.

2. Hannibal from The Hannibal Lecter Trilogy and Hannibal
This cannibal is without a doubt the original and total badass. No matter how many people he eats you still want this guy to win.

1. Oswald Danes from Torchwood – Miracle Day
Now this one is a little different, usually with this kind of troupe the character has to have some likable characteristics on paper. Hannibal only ate those who were bad or mildly annoyed him, David was bullied by humans, Angelus is fucking hilarious , Mandy well…feministic I suppose, Javert and Meg were nothing if not sympathetic, Moriarty= genius, Macavity could dance and Cain and J.R were sometimes good fathers.

However Oswald Danes is a paedophile, with no remorse on what he did and actually helps the bad guys with their evil plan. So as you can see an all-round douche bag, so you would think logically that I would hate his guts, and normally you’d be completely right. But the show seems to go out of it’s way to make us see him in a sympathetic light. To the point where when the main bad guys double cross him you actually feel sorry for him. Now that could either be very intriguing or very very messed up.

The thing is however, I don’t think it was done deliberately, or at least the characters act like you’re supposed to hate him. Why this could be I have no idea, maybe the actor himself is just very charismatic or maybe the Torchwood writers just don’t know how to write an unlikable character. Which if you look at it is rather a refreshing change from writers that don’t know how to write likable characters.