Introducing Mary Jane Watson

[Originally Published August 19th, 2016]

Okay my fellow NOCs, there are just a few truths we need to acknowledge when it comes to Spider-Man on the big screen. Out of five films, only one of them, Spider-Man 2, was any good. The rest were bloated messes that robbed Spidey of any and all joy. Tobey Maguire was a decent Peter Parker but not the best Spidey. Andrew Garfield was just the opposite. Spider-Man was done an injustice.

For the handful of minutes that Tom Holland was on screen, as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man inCaptain American: Civil War, he was far and away the best who has done it. He had the right combination of angst, youthfulness, humor, and wide-eyed wonder and hero-worship that the budding hero needed. It was a revelation of a performance and I cannot wait to see Spider-Man: Homecoming four or five times.

Read the rest here.

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What I’ve Learned: Star Trek at 50 (Me at 44)

It is no secret that I love Star Trek. My daughter asked me why. I told her the following: I love it for its aspirational nature, its optimistic outlook for humankind, it’s marrying of science and art, and its borderline Shakespearean drama. I also love it for its horrible effects, its over-emoting, and the sheer high-corniness of most of the story lines. To me, Trek is the epitome of important television1. It entertained me. It made me think. It spurred me to action. Trek and Raiders of the Lost Ark are directly responsible for my pursuing undergraduate and graduate education. I learned things from Star Trek. Our conversation got me thinking about what I have learned from Trek. Read more here.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night…

I will present to you one of the most beautiful sentences in recent memory: Ava DuVernay is directing the film adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. The sentence itself isn’t beautiful, but what it conveys is. We’ve all seen the hype and hoopla around DuVernay being the first black women to helm a $100 million dollar film. While this is an accomplishment worth lauding, DuVernay can make a beautiful film on half a shoestring and great storytelling. She is also the queen of cinematic #BlackGirlMagic. I’ll get to why this is important in a bit.

Madeline L’Engle is one of me and my daughter’s favorite writers. The “Time Quintet” series: Wrinkle, as well as its sequels: A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time are required reading. While I am a big proponent of books being adapted to film, not every book deserves this (cough Twlight series cough) But Wrinkle deserves so much better than Disney’s 2002 television film. I know that films are Herculean tasks to make and release. A lot of people put in a lot of time, effort, and (sometimes) imagination to create an experience for us. This film was horrible. All of the wonder, jeopardy, hope, and love were leached from the film. The film lacked heart, passion, and was poorly acted and scripted. The source material deserved so much more.

Read the rest here.